Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness

Harrop plaque at Bunurong Cemetery
Bunurong Cemetery plaque

It was a beautiful day in Melbourne today – the sun was shining and the birds were singing and we’ve spent the afternoon out and about. I’ve been waiting for a really nice day to complete a Random Act of Genealogical Kindness because there’s nothing more morose than a picture of a grave or cemetery plaque taken when it’s dark, dreary and wet. As you can see by the picture, today was a good day for the job.

For those who don’t know about Random Acts of Genealogical Kindess (RAOGK) and those who have forgotten, I’m going to take this opportunity in a new medium to give them another plug because they deserve it. RAOGK was established in 1999 by Bridgette and Dale Schneider, who were former employees of RootsWeb. Their site is run soley from sponsorship and money raised from sales of genealogy related products. Over 4,000 (yes, that’s right) volunteers from the USA, UK and Australia along with other countries like Africa, Botswana and Etheopia plus nearly all the European countries belong to RAOGK.

Volunteers agree to do a free family history related task at least once per month in their local area for someone who is not. Volunteers donate their time, free of charge, and only ask for reimbursement of any costs involved, like printing, postage, film or parking, etc.

Today’s mission was requested by a chap in Bristol whose email arrived while we were in Birmingham funnily enough, so he had to wait until we got home. Within an hour of sending the photos I received a very nice thank-you – which is all we ask really because most family historians are more than willing to help others.

Perhaps you’d like to volunteer yourself? I’ve been a part of RAOGK for many years and have had the best fun with it. I’ve been asked to do different things than those listed sometimes and I can always say no but usually I say yes because it’s all an adventure really and it’s great to be able to help someone else.  Or, perhaps you need a photo of a grave or house, or some documents you can’t get yourself. Why not check out the volunteers page, volunteers are listed by area and what they’re willing to do and what resources they’ve got on hand so it’s easy to work out if the potential volunteer might be willing to do the ‘act’ then you just email them and ask. Easy!



  1. Hi Jennifer,
    sadly as of 16 October RAOGK needs some assistance themselves. Please see Dick Eastman’s blog

    Perhaps the Ballarat Family History Group or Historical Society might be able to help?

  2. Hello, I have been trying to go to the RAOGK website but for some reason it will not load. Do you know if there is a problem with the site at the moment? I am looking for someone to take a photo of a plaque my family have had rerected recently for my Aunt who died 60 years ago. She was buried in Ballarat. Can you make any suggestions who could help me as I live in Sydney however her sisters live in Moree and Griffith and will never see the plaque.
    Hope you can help,
    Thank you

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *