Monday, August 27, 2012

Volunteer Opportunities with Genealogy

I’ve been volunteering all these past months by transcribing the 1940 Census.  Thanks to the more than 100,000 volunteers, the state of New Hampshire 1940 census records have been completely transcribed, and are available for full searching on several websites.  It was a very enjoyable, easy job, and I set a goal of doing at least two pages a night.  Since the entire 1940 census has been completely transcribed (all the states and territories) I’m going to continue transcribing for  There are US draft cards, foreign records, vital records and all sorts of projects that need transcribers.  If you are interested, please click on  and sign up, too.  This helps make records free and searchable online for everyone.

What other volunteering have I done for genealogy?  I was a volunteer for Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK), which has now closed and reopened as a wiki at this link:   However, I continue to do “random acts” through the Londonderry Historical Society, and answer several genealogy queries a week.  You can do this through or your local historical society.  My “random acts” include lookups, photographing gravestones and homesteads, and finding obituaries on microfilm.  This is relatively easy, and a good way to hone your research skills.

If you join a genealogy club or society, you can volunteer to speak, write in the newsletter, find speakers, start a website or hold a workshop.  You can even start up a genealogy club in your local neighborhood or library if there is not one near you.  Genealogy libraries such as the American Canadian Genealogy Society in Manchester or the New England Historic Genealogical Society library in Boston are often looking for volunteers to work in the stacks, help with research, conservation, or to assist librarians. For our local New Hampshire Mayflower Society I sit on the board, edit the newsletter and chair the scholarship committee. 

There are many groups transcribing and photographing cemeteries.  The biggest international online project is , but is a new one that takes advantage of the GPS function built into smart phone cameras.  Check out both on-line projects and consider participating.
In 2013 the New England Regional Genealogy Conference will be held in Manchester, New Hampshire on April 17 to 23.  There is a need for many volunteers to help out, even if you aren’t attending.  Please see the website  or contact the volunteer chair Christine Bard at or call (603) 424-0961. 

If you know of any other volunteer opportunities in genealogy, especially any local projects, please leave a comment on this blog post.


  1. Hi Heather!

    I haven't done much in the way of volunteering so far, except looking things up for people on paid sites that I subscribe to that they don't, and taking photos of headstones in a local cemetery for Find-A-Grave members.

    Glad to see that RAOGK has reopened.

  2. Heather -

    Great ideas! I've done many of what you list here but haven't gotten involved yet at RAOGK now that they are running again with the wiki. I've got a few people that I am starting to help create genetic family histories because of need with their kids. This is a fun project that makes me feel like I'm helping out individuals in a tangible way. I wish that I had more time to volunteer locally. Unfortunately, with work schedules and my daughter's schedule (we homeschool) my volunteer time is limited at the moment.

    Great post!

    ~ Steph

  3. Amazing that you find time to volunteer in so many areas. It's people like you that make it easier for the rest of us to research our famility histories. I too volunteer but on a smaller scale. Thank you for your kind works.

  4. NEHGS members can also volunteer from their homes if they have a computer, an Internet connection, and are detail-oriented enough to do record transcribing or proofreading. I've been doing this for several years and it's great when a new database is made available at and I know I helped, in a small way, to make it available.

    1. Hi Elizabeth! I didn't know that about NEHGS. I've always wanted to volunteer there, but the communte would be horrific from New Hampshire. I'll have to look into this way of volunteering from home. Thanks so much for leaving your comment.