Please Read BEFORE making requests!
- Is this a free service?
- How do I make a request?
- How much can I ask of a volunteer?
- How much information about my ancestors should I send to the volunteer?
- May I send the same request to more than one volunteer?
- There is no volunteer in the area I am researching, what do I do now?
- What should I expect from a RAOGK volunteer when requesting information?
- Will RAOGK volunteers look up information on the living or help those looking for their birth parents?
- Do RAOGK volunteers do in-depth researching?
- How often do the volunteers do lookups?
- When can I submit a different request to that same volunteer?
- What if I receive no response from the volunteer?
- How do I thank the volunteer after my request has been filled?
- What else can I do to show my appreciation for the lookup that was done for me?
- Where do you get your volunteers?
The site is free to use. However, you WILL be expected to reimburse expenses incurred such as: film, video, postage, copies, and/or printing fees. In some areas you will also be expected to pick up parking fees. You are NOT to be charged time.
If you feel you have been unfairly charged, please contact us and we will look into the situation.
Locate a volunteer in the area where information is needed. Read their Act of Kindness. Please only select a volunteer who has stated they will do the research you need in that area. Please do NOT request lookups/information if you live within travelling distance (up to 50 miles) from the city/area where you’ve made your request. In some instances and in some areas, the volunteer you’ve requested information from may even live further away than you do.
When you have made your selection, click on the volunteer’s name.
Fill in the form, making sure you have entered your e-mail address correctly.
Click the submit button. If you have filled your e-mail address in correctly, you should receive a blind carbon copy of your request for your own records.
You may request one or two items concerning one or two ancestors.
Do NOT ask a volunteer to do anything outside of their specified location or to do anything for which they have not volunteered.
How much information about my ancestors should I send to the volunteer?
Give any information you may have which will make it easier for the volunteer to know they are retrieving the correct information. Be very specific in what you are requesting.
May I send the same request to more than one volunteer in the same location?
No, please don’t. Our volunteers do not appreciate duplicating another volunteer’s work. If you do place the same request to more than one volunteer in the same location you will receive notice of your error, with the possibility that your lookup will not be honored.
There is no volunteer in the area I am researching, what do I do now?
Keep checking back. We have people volunteering daily.
What should I expect from a RAOGK volunteer when requesting information?
A timely response (from 48 hours to 2 weeks) indicating whether they will be able to honor your request. If the volunteer will be able to honor your request they might at this time make you aware there is a waiting list, their methods of honoring your requests, whether there is any charge in doing this request, and if so, some may request pre-payment.
Will RAOGK volunteers look up information on the living or help those looking for their birth parents?
No birth documents will be looked up on anyone born after 1930 without proof of death first being provided.
If you are an adoptee you can go to Cyndi’s List — Adoption or RootsWeb’s Guide to Tracing Family Trees — Lesson #31 to obtain information to help you with your quest.
Do RAOGK volunteers do in-depth researching?
They normally do not. It is up to each volunteer to choose if they want to do more than our recommended guidelines.
If you need someone to do in-depth researching, your best course of action is to hire a professional genealogist. Some sites on the internet that list professional researchers are:
- Association of Professional Genealogists
- Professional Genealogists and Genealogy Services Directory
- AAG International Research
- Genealogy Quest
How often do the volunteers do lookups?
Volunteers are only obligated to do one look-up per month. However, many volunteers choose to do more than the one per month. You may be placed on a waiting list if that volunteer already has other requests to fill.
When can I submit a different request to that same volunteer?
After one month.
If you make more than one request of any one volunteer per month, that volunteer may request a researcher’s fee. It’s up to the volunteer to decide what to charge for this.
What if I receive no response from the volunteer?
If your first attempt receives no response after 2 weeks, e-mail that volunteer again. Please use the RAOGK website to make your second attempt, so there will be documentation of both attempts.
There are many legitimate reasons why a volunteer may not have responded timely to a request, such as e-mail or computer problems, family or personal illness, or vacations. Please remember that those who have signed up for this site are volunteers and may
be busy with other aspects of their lives.
If you receive no response to your second attempt after one week contact us to report the non-responsive volunteer. Be sure to enter both dates you attempted to make contact when completing the “contact us” form.
NOTE: If you (or your ISP) use a spam blocking service that rejects mail from unauthorized addresses (either addresses not on an approved sender list or not in your address book), our volunteers cannot be expected to click a link to verify that they are not spammers in order to reply to you. Make sure your spam filters allow mail from all senders and do not use a challenge/response blocking feature.
How do I thank the volunteer after my request has been filled?
Send the thank you to their email address or their postal address. Volunteers appreciate knowing that they’ve made a difference.
What else can I do to show my appreciation for the lookup that was done for me?
Please come back to this site to return the favor by volunteering at least once for your own home area.
Where do you get your volunteers?
All of our volunteers have come to us, we do not solicit folks to do so. Our volunteers consist of people who are from all walks of life, with various knowledge of genealogy and the areas for which they volunteer. Many of our people sign up after being helped by one of our volunteers and only wish to “pass it on.”
Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness is NOT in any way responsible for the transactions between volunteers and requesters. This site only lists those who have submitted their names to be volunteers.
Please do not send your requests for lookups to the site coordinator, or the site’s hosting service. Requests sent to either one will not be answered.
Thank you for using our site.