We enable people without access to traditional banks (including many women) to expand their businesses, educate their children, save for the future and raise themselves out of poverty. Through Kiva, a non-profit organisation working with microfinance institutions, you choose a borrower to support with a loan of just $25. Similar loans by other lenders are combined until the required total is reached. As your money is repaid you can withdraw it or lend it to someone else. Money that is loaned over and over again does more good than a one-time donation. Join 'Genealogists for Families' - together we are making a difference!

29 December 2011

Meet the Team: Blanka Lednická

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Blanka Lednická from the Czech Republic.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in a small village in the Vysocina region, Czech Republic. I'm a professional genealogist for two and a half years (I have worked in IT area before, but studied history), focused on the family history in Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian part of Silesia. I'm married, have two very young daughters, two dogs, four cats and a large, about three hundred years old house. My hobbies - well, one large, genealogy; some smaller - travelling, reading, collecting tourist marks and probably something more can be found.

What do lending and participating in this project mean to you?

I studied international relations and security studies and this kind of help is the one I like most - to help people who want to help themselves. Every time there is some huge collection to feed the hungry people, I get angry because we are just teaching these people how to NOT take care for themselves. I support those projects which have some long-term goals - and small loans belong among them.

I joined Genealogists for Families because I belong among genealogists. And I felt this was the right thing to do - to connect with other people who have the same interests and help a bit more.

Did you choose particular borrowers because their occupations or situations have some significance in your family history or your own life?

I choose women - that's my main strategy, because I want to support those who are taken as the weaker ones. I prefer those people who are willing to create or sell something they have produced. When you take a look on my Kiva account, it's quite clear that I prefer African countries because I'm interested in them. My main subject during the IR study was Western Africa so I try to focus on this part of the continent, but it's not always easy to find the right person or group.

My ancestors were farmers and I know very well how hard it is to get enough food for whole family. So I also prefer those people who have more children (and send them to school). I also take a look on the field partner, on the number of people they have helped through Kiva and also Portfolio Yield, because I want to know how much money the field partner takes from those we are lending to.

Is there a borrower whose success story inspired you?

I joined Kiva after one TV news where microloans were described. I loved the idea and I decided to help too, because I can help. I have read about large borrowers who lent their money to hundreds of people later on, but what inspired me most was the fact that even I can help with just a little amount of money.

Do you have a strategy for raising funds or saving for your $25 loans?

I have done just a few loans on Kiva, but my strategy can be easily described as "someone paid the invoice to PayPal account, I can send some money to Kiva and do one more loan". This is just a small amount of money for me which I won't miss - $25 is about 18 beers in average Czech pub, one large package of diapers, 13.5 litres of gas...

Kiva loans have one thing in common - they are addictive!

What is your Web site or blog?

Czech Genealogy for Beginners (http://czechgenealogy.blogspot.com)
Professional website (www.familyresearch.cz)
And you can find me on Twitter (http://twitter.com/ClariciaCZ) or Facebook.

What are your main family history research interests?

Almost all my ancestors are from Bohemia or Moravia, just one line from Germany. Many of my ggg-grandfathers were farmers who lived their quiet lives in the Czech countryside. My main lines are Vetrovec (Rakovnik district), Bartl (Kolin district), Cudlik (Jihlava district) and Kralicek (Zdar n/Saz. district).

"Tradition does not mean preserving the ashes but keeping a flame alight." This is my motto and I try to keep the flames flaring. Judy, thanks a lot for this initiative.

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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

22 December 2011

Meet the Team: Helen V. Smith

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Helen Smith from Queensland, Australia.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a public health molecular epidemiologist (fancy type of scientist). I am also a researcher, author and speaker and have a wonderful time doing these. My major hobby (25-year obsession) is family history with swirls of medical and social history for flavour and life. I like my tech toys, and in my free time I love reading.

What do lending and participating in this project mean to you?

My family have had a history of helping people in need, with money or by giving a hand where needed, as Dad believed in making a difference. He was involved in Lions and on the social welfare committee of the Tramways where he worked. Mum and Dad also fostered children in the early years of my childhood. We had made loans through Kiva before (all of which had been repaid). I believe in paying forward and that anyone can make a difference. I was thrilled to become a member of Genealogists for Families.

Did you choose particular borrowers because their occupations or situations have some significance in your family history or your own life?

I tend to look for people who are trying to develop a small business, particularly women. I feel that this type of loan makes the biggest future impact in a community because possibilities become real to everyone. Women particularly because it is often very difficult for them to get a loan. In my time I have made loans that have assisted people to buy a sewing machine and an oven.

Do you have a strategy for raising funds or saving for your $25 loans?

One of my strategies for collecting the $25 is throwing those pesky 5c pieces into a jar. I often throw the other silver coins in as well to lighten my wallet but definitely the 5c. It doesn't take long to add up and $25 is the price of a few cups of coffee to us but as part of a Kiva loan, is life changing to others.

Web site or blog?

My main blog is at http://helenvsmithresearch.blogspot.com/ and you can find my others blogs from there.

Your main family history interests?

My main research interests are my Quested One Name Study (anywhere, anytime), Busby (Oxfordshire and Brisbane), Philpott, Amos, Hurrell in Kent, Eng, Rollason (Foleshill Warwickshire and Brisbane Queensland), Weeks, Spear in Devon Eng, Hamer and Lewis (Ludlow Shropshire) and Culley/Cullicoat (Mabe Cornwall). More of my interests are on my blog pages.

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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

17 December 2011

We Won a Genealogy Award!

I am delighted to tell you that today (the same day that our Kiva team reached the milestone of 100 members) Genealogists for Families received a GeneaBlog Award for 'Best New Community Project'. The press release, GeneaPress: 2011 GeneaBlog Award Winners Announced, begins:

Tamura Jones' annual GeneaBlog Award for 2011 honors four genealogy bloggers. He writes, 'One fun thing about the Genealogy Blog Awards is that it does not have fixed categories. Every year I look for blogs to highlight, and then create a fitting category just for them. There is no fixed number of awards either. This year, the Genealogy Blog Awards highlights just four genealogy blogs, but these sure are four worthy ones.'

When you read the full press release, check out the other three award winning blogs. I especially enjoy Clue Wagon, which has some of the funniest posts I've ever read.

This award belongs to our entire Kiva team and everyone else who has supported the project and advised and encouraged me over the past three months. Thank you, and congratulations!

15 December 2011

Recruiter's Reward Winner Announced

On November 5th, in 'Recruiter's Reward', I said that to help the project grow I would give a $25 Kiva Card to the Genealogists for Families team member who recruited the most new Kiva members by 15 Dec 2011. I also explained how to use your personal referral link.

There was a very clear winner - Peter. He recruited 22 people via his LostCousins newsletter. Congratulations and thank you, Peter! Please email me and tell me where to send your Kiva Card.

In a more recent LostCousins newsletter Peter says that between Christmas and New Year the LostCousins site will be totally free. That is, all members will have subscriber privileges whether nor not they have paid a subscription. I'm glad I heard about this is advance. I've recently found more relatives in the 1911 British census, and if I enter them on my LostCousins page before the free period starts, it will increase my chances of being contacted by others who are researching my families.

Meet the Team: Pauleen Cass

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Pauleen Cass from the Northern Territory.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Darwin in Australia's Top End, but am a Queenslander born and bred. I've now retired from full-time employment when I worked in the administration of university research centres. Apart from my family and friends, my obsession is family history which I've been doing for the past 25 years.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

After being contacted by Judy I read up all the information on her blogs and decided to definitely go ahead with it. I was inspired by her own family's story of giving.

What do lending and participating in this project mean to you?

I believe that we in Australia are incredibly fortunate with our lives and families, certainly I have been. I want to be able to share that good fortune with others who are working hard to establish their family's well-being and security. I've read and heard about micro-loans and their successful impact on people's economic security. The very high reliability of repayments means more loans can be made over time.

Did you choose particular borrowers because their occupations or situations have some significance in your family history or your own life?

My first foray into Kiva has been less structured than it may be in the future. My emphasis will be on supporting women especially where it helps them to bring up their families and educate their children. I chose one woman because she does carpentry – a skill that has been in different family branches. With my first loans I decided it would be best to give the last amount to complete a loan. My geographical emphasis will probably be the Asia-Pacific region and Africa where my daughter is going to work.

Is there a borrower whose success story inspired you?

I've just read about the HIV clinic at Guayacil, Ecuador and Baco D-MIRO which provides financial support to HIV positive people. I want to explore this further because for four years I worked as the senior administrator of a national HIV Centre in Australia and believe in supporting those who are HIV positive.

Do you have a strategy for raising funds or saving for your $25 loans?

Not really. Obviously repaid loans will be reinvested into other loans but in the meantime I want to progressively make more loans. Perhaps a good idea for Christmas/birthdays?

What is your Web site?

Family history across the seas (www.cassmob.wordpress.com)

What are your main family history research interests?

Most branches of my family were Queensland pioneers (Kent, Kunkel, O'Brien, Gavin, Partridge) with progressively later grafts (Melvin, McSherry, McSharry, McCorkindale). My focus is learning as much possible about their lives. I also have an interest in immigrants from east County Clare, Ireland and a group from Dorfprozelten in Bavaria.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

11 December 2011

Christmas gifts - and I need your help!

As you plan your Christmas shopping, please consider Kiva Cards and other gifts that support the work of Kiva (I love the piggybank and the calendar).

After almost four weeks away from Brisbane for family reasons, I will be working very long hours to catch up on client work. I therefore need your help to continue spreading the word about our Genealogists for Families team on Kiva. Some of you have already made a huge effort, and I hope more of you will help with publicity now. You may want to try the recruiting strategy that has worked best for me, which is a brief email to friends, relatives, workmates and colleagues. Here is a sample email, which can be modified as you wish.

"Genealogists worldwide (and their non-genealogist friends and relatives) are working as a team to help families in low income areas. Our motto is, 'We care about families (past, present and future)'. Within 10 weeks the project had 97 members from 9 countries helping more than 180 individuals or groups all over the world - and the numbers increase daily. It would be great if you'd join our team, http://www.kiva.org/team/genealogists. There is more information on that page. Anyone can join - you do not need to be a genealogist! If you know someone else who may be interested, please forward this email."

I avoid using the word 'loan' in the email in case it gets marked as spam.

When I joined Kiva there were 1,000 borrowers listed, and now there are 6,000. Let's try to persuade more people to join Kiva. Together we can make a difference!

08 December 2011

Meet the Team: Jennifer Jones

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Jennifer Jones from Victoria, Australia.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I have lived in Bendigo in Central Victoria since 2006, and I love it dearly for its extra friendly people and its history. Bendigo was a prosperous Goldfields town, and thankfully many of the buildings are still standing.

I am a very keen family historian, studying for a Certificate of Genealogical Studies and considering going on to do the Diploma. After over 33 years of running my own automotive business with my now ex-husband, I currently work in office administration. I love my job more than I expected, so I work much longer hours than I intended. That means my time spent on family history and research is limited until I retire.

My other passion is fitness, particularly cycling. I have ridden many kilometres in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland, plus some memorable riding in London and Wales. I am the proud mother of three children and two adorable grandsons.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families Project?

I read about it on Twitter and I thought it was a worthy cause that I would love to be involved with, one day when I had more time. After a couple of weeks of reading very positive tweets about the loans that were being made, I realized that there was nothing stopping me from making a difference today. I joined that day and have made two loans so far. Very exciting.

What do lending and participating in this project mean to you?

I feel very honoured to be participating in this project. I love that we are empowering hard working individuals in very poor circumstances to help themselves and have some control over their future. This is going to give them and their families a much better future than they would otherwise have had. Genealogists have always been a very generous group of people, so it doesn't surprise me at all that this project has taken off so successfully.

Did you choose particular borrowers because their occupations or situations have some significance in your family history or your own life?

At first I wondered how I would choose a borrower. There were so many and all sounded worthy. I decided to give my loans to females as I feel they probably have more difficulty and face many more obstacles in operating a business, in some underprivileged countries. I decided to concentrate on agriculture due to its importance to health outcomes among the underprivileged. Having given it some more thought since, I've decided my next two loans will be to someone trying to get a start in the clothing business. In the 1990s my second cousins wife, when she was in her 80s, went to Timor and set up sewing co-operatives throughout the country. I'm sure she would love to know that I'm continuing on her tradition in my own small way.

Do you have a strategy for raising funds or saving for your $25 loans?

I have set aside $100 to go towards loans, as a starting point, and will continue to re-loan as the loans are paid back. My strategy is to try to get as many family and friends involved as possible. I see the Christmas period as an ideal time for this. I'm planning on gifting Kiva cards to some friends so they can choose their own borrower and hopefully become inspired to continue on. My personal feeling is that $25 to me is such a small amount, that doing without it will cause me no problem at all. I wouldn't even notice $25 less in my bank account. I feel so blessed to have an almost perfect life and to live in the lucky country. I am very fortunate to have excellent health as do my family. I feel so blessed that the need to give a struggling family the opportunity for a better lifestyle and better health outcomes is very strong in me.

What is your website?

Tracking Down The Family (http://jonesfamilyhistory.wordpress.com/). I am on Facebook and Twitter.

What are your family history interests?

The Taylor and Lloyd family who came to Australia from Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire Wales in 1841. In my maternal line, Waters, Morrison, Gilmour and Louden. These are mostly Scottish and Irish. Most of my ancestors became struggling farmers, which is another reason that I am drawn to this project.

I have always believed that one of the ways to be happy is to do what it takes to make others happy. This project is giving the opportunity of happiness to less fortunate families than mine, and that makes me very happy. I am looking forward to making more loans and following the success of the borrowers as they repay their loans.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

01 December 2011

Meet the Team: Kirsty Wilkinson

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Kirsty Wilkinson from the UK.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Edinburgh, Scotland but am originally from Worcestershire, England. I'm a professional genealogist and run the 'My Ain Folk' family history research service. Genealogy fills most of my time but I also enjoy going to the cinema and occasionally playing video games (I'm a big Professor Layton fan).

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

I'd seen a few of my Facebook friends posting about Kiva and thought it seemed like a great scheme but never actually got around to joining. When I heard about the Genealogists for Families project on Twitter I thought it was time I got involved.

What do lending and participating in this project mean to you?

As someone who is self-employed I'm aware of some of the challenges of running a small business and would like to give a hand to others in a similar situation. I don't regularly give to charity but with Kiva I feel that my money (even if only a small sum) is really helping others to build a better future for themselves and their families.

Did you choose particular borrowers because their occupations or situations have some significance in your family history or your own life?

The loans I have made have been to assist people to expand their businesses and increase their income as I feel this has the best chance of improving their situation in the long term. I haven't chosen borrowers with particular occupations but, in the spirit of the Genealogists for Families project, I have selected people who are working to support families. For example, I chose a borrower who is supporting both his father and his young daughter through his business.

Do you have a strategy for raising funds or saving for your $25 loans?

My plan is to make one loan a month, which is a realistic goal for me financially. In terms of genealogy, I think of it as the equivalent of spending an extra day at the ScotlandsPeople Centre each month. Once my loans are repaid I plan to use the money to fund further loans.

What is your Web site?

My genealogy business website is My Ain Folk (www.myainfolk.com).

What are your family history research interests?

Professionally, I specialise in researching at the main Scottish archives and libraries including the ScotlandsPeople Centre, the National Records (formerly National Archives) of Scotland and the National Library of Scotland. My own ancestry is a mix of English, Scottish and Irish and these days is rather neglected!
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

24 November 2011

Meet the Team: Gill Chesney-Green

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Gill Chesney-Green from Nottingham in the United Kingdom.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm now retired from teaching drama in the UK and divide my time between living there and in Gibraltar. I do a little genealogy (not as much as before because the tree is pretty full now and I'm running out of information that is available until further records are transcribed), astrology, a little counselling, singing and playing guitar in Gibraltar (for fun not a career choice!) and dabbling in little 'crafty' activities as the mood takes me.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

I've often found that life throws up a series of 'happy accidents'. I'd been doing some genealogy work and looking for links to mental health and genealogy. I stumbled upon the 'Wandering Genealogist' site and his forebear who ended up in an asylum. It was on his site that I found the Geneameme, which was interesting, so in an idle moment I filled in answers to the questions and sent it off to Geniaus. It was not very long before I received a reply from Judy Webster who'd noticed that my email contained a link to Kiva, and I was invited to join the team.

What do lending & participating in this project mean to you?

I've been a member of Kiva since 2006. I was initially drawn to them because I felt that the money I gave was going to do more good than any money I donated to charities that filtered money down to the recipients in a less targeted manner. Who would best know what a man or woman wanted and needed but they themselves? I liked that. Peer to peer lending... the person who knew what they needed to get them on their feet and an individual able to lend an amount of money to aid that need in being met. Back in those days one could donate any amount to any recipient and I loaned larger amounts than the $25 now suggested. Once I started, I was hooked, and constantly re-donated my money and added to it over time.

Did you choose particular borrowers because their occupations or situations have some significance in your family history or your own life?

The borrowers are not chosen for any other reason than that I like what they are trying to do. I don't concentrate on gender, geographical location or type of business particularly... although I remember being particularly drawn to one man from Palestine who was in such fear for his life that he had to remain anonymous. I couldn't imagine how risky this venture was for him and how 'near the edge' his life must have been. I donated to him because of his determination to better his life and that of his family in the face of such difficulties. Sometimes I just pick borrowers in order on the list, feeling that if they are there asking for help they don't particularly want me to make a judgement about whether they or someone else is more 'worthy' of the money I loan.

Was there a borrower whose success story inspired you?

In the early days of my association with Kiva, when the loans were fewer, I used to follow the progress of the entrepreneurs; but, to my shame, I don't any more. I'm happy to know that the recipients are able to fulfil some of their plans and that their lives and those of their families will be enriched. This is enough for me to know... that their lives are better than before and that, with continued effort, they will carry on getting better.

Do you have a strategy for raising funds or saving for your $25 loans?

Originally I'd earned some money, in addition to my teaching job, by doing some work for the BBC (writing their GCSE Drama revision pages on the BBC 'Bitesize' website). When I stumbled upon Kiva I felt that this was a good way to use some of this extra money in a sensible way that wasn't purely selfish. I used a good portion of this money for Kiva's benefit and over the years have added to it when I can. It'll never come back into my hands directly now. What I haven't had I don't miss.

What is your Web site?

Astrologica (www.astrologica.co.uk)

Family history interests?

The most interesting areas of my family history are the Swinnocks from Kent (in Maidstone from late 1500s) and Tebbs from Yorkshire (from where my family's mental health issues seem to emanate). I hope my children and grandchildren will carry on the search when I'm gone.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

17 November 2011

Meet the Team: Chris Paton

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Chris Paton from Largs, North Ayrshire, United Kingdom.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Although Northern Irish, I have been working as a family historian professionally in Ayrshire, Scotland, for six years, having previously spent 12 years in television documentary production for the BBC and others. As well as genealogical research, I also write regularly for several British family history publications, and have a few books published in the UK and Australia.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

My first exposure to Genealogies for Families was through an announcement on Twitter by a fellow Scottish based genealogist, Kirsty Wilkinson, who announced that she had made a loan. I bookmarked it to have a look at in due course, but when contacted by Judy, one of the project's co-ordinators and its originator, I thought I'd better get my act together and actually have a proper look! I did so, and was really impressed by the concept.

What do lending and participating in this project mean to you?

As family historians, it's our job to uncover and preserve a family story for the generations to come. But you can only do that if there is a story to preserve, and there's something even more exciting about helping people to create such a story in the first place. In due course, perhaps some future family historian can recall such stories, long after we are all gone – but whether that happens or not, in the here and now, one loan can help to change a person's life, and that's got to be reason enough.

Did you choose particular borrowers because their occupations or situations have some significance in your family history or your own life?

I chose a 26 year old grocery store owner in Iraq, whose identity remains anonymous because of the political situation in his country. In 1991, when I went to university in Bristol, England, I was given a small bursary from a trust fund set up in the name of an MP called Ian Gow, who was murdered during the Northern Irish Troubles. For various reasons the first year of my course had to be fully funded by myself, and that small bursary made one hell of a difference - it paid my rent in Bristol for a few weeks, which allowed me space to find a part time job to finance the rest of the year. A small loan now to someone else in a troubled area is a privilege to make. If it works for the recipient, the money will be repaid and I can re-invest; if not, it was as much a gamble to try and help someone from a troubled area as was once shown to me.

Is there a borrower whose success story inspired you?

Afraid not, this is a new territory for me! But I do like the concept of Judy's father's 'Do good money'. It seems a sound philosophy. So I will try to invest periodically, perhaps once a month.

What is your Web site / blog?

My research website is Scotland's Greatest Story (www.scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk), whilst I also run two genealogy news blogs, Scottish GENES (Genealogy News and EventS) (http://scottishancestry.blogspot.com/) and British GENES (Genealogy News and EventS) (http://BritishGENES.blogspot.com/).

What are your main family history research interests?

I'm very much interested in Scottish land and church records, and Irish records of all sorts. Not so interested in long lists of names in trees as the stories that can be found out about each of them - an ancestor's name means nothing to me without one.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

16 November 2011

Repayment Day

My emails this morning included good news from Kiva: "We'd like to give you a repayment update on the loans you've made through Kiva. A total of $25.99 has been repaid today." (I made a lot of loans in September and October, hence the large repayment.) Needless to say I will be lending it again. I am looking forward to choosing my next borrower - I enjoy that process immensely!

If you are new to Kiva you may not know that repayments are usually made on the 17th or 18th of the month. Of course, it depends on the repayment schedule for your borrower. To find out what that is, look for something like this on the borrower's profile page (near the photo) and click on 'more info'.

Some of my loans are being repaid in monthly installments. Others are less regular (for example, if the business involves the raising and selling of livestock).

To see the 'big picture' for your repayments, go to 'Portfolio' - 'Estimated Repayments'.

Last month my repayments were only $3, so I added $22 and made another loan. This month's $25+ is very convenient!

10 November 2011

Meet the Team: Thomas MacEntee

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Thomas MacEntee from Chicago, Illinois, United States.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I consider myself a professional genealogist specializing in social media and technology. I write articles for publications, I teach classes and give lectures both in-person and over the Internet via webinar. I created and manage the GeneaBloggers website which lists over 2000 family history blogs. I absolutely love what I do and want to make sure that each person who wants to search for their roots can take advantage of the many tools and resources in the genealogy community.

What do lending and participating in this project mean to you?

Being part of Genealogists for Families actually helps bring me back to my roots, to the way my ancestral families have always operated: being available to assist others in a time of need. Through my research, I've found that in many of the small towns where my families settled, there was an underlying support system and a prevailing attitude that "helping one person or one family succeed means we all succeed."

Did you choose particular borrowers because their occupations or situations have some significance in your family history or your own life?

I chose a borrower who actually had a business related to history. She is creating a cultural tour business and since I know that heritage travel is a growing industry, I believe she'll be very successful.

Was there a borrower whose success story inspired you?

What struck me most about the borrower I selected was her determination and tenacity. She is located in New Orleans which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. With practically all the odds against her, she moved back there not only because her roots are there, but because she is committed to the rebuilding of New Orleans.

Do you have a strategy for raising funds or saving for your $25 loans?

While money is tight for me, I looked around at everything I had and I knew that $25 or even more is an amount I could spare.

What is your Web site?

GeneaBloggers (www.geneabloggers.com)

What are your main family history interests?

Dutch lines of Dence, Putman, and Van Slyke; English lines of Austin, Crandall and Leehive; Huguenot lines of Deyo, Freer and Lefevre; Irish lines of Farren, MacEntee/McEntee, McGinnes and Slattery.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

05 November 2011

Recruiter's Reward

To help the project grow, I am offering a Recruiter's Reward. I will personally email a $25 Kiva Card to the Genealogists for Families team member who recruits the most new members by 15 Dec 2011.

On 15 Dec 2011 (Australian time) I will look at team members' lender pages to see how many names (if any) are listed under 'YourName's Invites'. To see an example, go to my page (opens in a new window) and scroll down to 'Judy's Invites'. The person who has recruited the most new members who have made a loan will be rewarded with a $25 Kiva Card.

If your given name appears on the team members list, you are eligible. If you are there as Anonymous, you may want to change the settings on your lender page so that you can take part in competitions and prize draws.

'Invites' will appear on your lender page if someone joins the team via your unique Kiva invitation link. You can put that link in your emails, blogs etc. To find the HTML code to use:
  1. Log in to Kiva.
  2. Click 'My Teams'.
  3. Click 'Genealogists for Families'.
  4. Click 'Recruit Friends'. You will see a screen that looks like this (but with your referral link, not mine, in the field at the bottom).

The recruiting strategy that has worked best for me is a brief email to friends, relatives and other people who know me (including family historians with whom I connect online). Here is a sample email:

Genealogists worldwide, and their friends and relatives, are working as a team to help small family businesses in low income areas. Our motto is, 'We care about families (past, present and future)'. Already the Genealogists for Families project has 63 members helping 91 individuals or groups. It would be great if you'd join our team at [insert your Kiva referral link here]. More information is on http://genfamilies.blogspot.com/. If you know someone else who may be interested, please forward this email.

I avoid using the word 'loan' in the email in case it gets marked as spam. To get the latest stats on members and loans, scroll down the team page at Kiva.

So... the race is on! Be creative, have fun, and know that someone out there will have a better life because of your efforts.

UPDATE, 15 Dec 2011: The winner of the Recruiter's Reward has been announced.

03 November 2011

Meet the Team: Joan Miller

The Genealogists for Families project began through the generosity of one woman doing what we family historians and genealogists do well - remembering those that came before. Australian Judy Webster has created a worldwide project of like minded individuals helping others, while honouring her father's 'do good' philosophy of making a difference. I am honoured to be part of this project.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Joan Miller and I'm a genealogist from Western Canada. My home is in Calgary, Alberta and I am a retired lab manager of a medical research lab. I enjoy using genetic genealogy, social media and technology to complement the paper trail research. I also love to teach about these topics. I'm a long time member and volunteer with Toastmasters International, an organization that teaches effective communication and leadership. I'm also a self proclaimed Genea-Conference groupie. Happily married, proud mother of two, I enjoy genealogy, soccer (yes, I still play), travel (ideally in combination with genealogy) and public speaking.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

I first heard of the project when Judy sent me a direct message on Twitter asking if I would be interested in joining. Members of my online social circle were using Kiva, including genetic genealogy buddy, Carole Riley. Carole had been successfully sponsoring microloans through Kiva for awhile. Whenever she made a new loan she would tweet or post a message about Kiva on Facebook; and each time I thought, "I must check this out". But life was busy and I didn't... at first. Judy's invitation to the project was the incentive I needed. This project began September 27, 2011 and I joined soon after on October 3rd.

What do lending and participating in this project mean to you?

The concept of microloans to those less fortunate resonates with me. We are empowering the individual or group with a loan. This is not charity, this is helping others help themselves. I feel good about this project and I especially enjoy being on a team of like minded individuals. I'm not surprised our project has taken off... genealogists are like that. This is the 'Random Act of Kindness' on a global scale.

Did you choose particular borrowers because their occupations or situations have some significance in your family history or your own life?

Choosing a person or groups to sponsor is a heady responsibility when you think about it. Our $25 means so much to someone. I'm an equal opportunity type of person but do lean towards projects where women have shown initiative to create a business. There are many countries where women simply don't have a voice or opportunities to advance. My family's background in agriculture and ranching may have influenced my first two loans, which were to women in the Philippines, one in fishing and the other in pigs. My third loan was to a sewing business run by a man in Bolivia and the fourth loan went to a group in Zimbabwe in the clothing business. All are small businesses with plans to create growth.

When I choose an individual or group, I often select the area of the world first or let Kiva suggest an area, then I sometimes choose a sector (food, clothing or shelter). I scan the list of entrepreneurs asking for loans in that area. I read everything on the page. Do they have children, are they supporting many people, do they have a long range plan, does that plan sound feasible? I also enjoy looking at the pictures. I check the credibility of the field partner managing the loan, as they are responsible for collecting the repayments. I choose field partners with a rating of 3 stars or more. The delinquency rate is another important factor. If the delinquency rate is high I will move on. (The exchange rate doesn't concern me. If I lose on this, so be it.) When the selection is finally made, I include a small percentage for Kiva administration (this is optional). I plan to continue varying locations and gender, and individual vs group when choosing a project. I will keep re-lending as the amounts are paid back.

Do you have a strategy for raising funds or saving for your $25 loans?

We are so fortunate here in Canada. A $25 loan is a small cost when compared to a world deluxe membership at a large online database (which I have) or a trip to the latest conference.

I enjoy helping the project grow and was delighted when Judy asked me to be a co-captain on the project, blog and Facebook group. I am employing my genealogy public relations and social media contacts to help grow the project. We have exciting ideas brewing to bring more awareness to the project. Stay tuned for more.

What is your Web site?

Luxegen Genealogy and Family History (www.luxegen.ca). I'd love to connect with you there or on Twitter @luxegen or Google+.

What are your family history interests?

My roots are homogeneous UK (Ireland and Scotland) with a tiny bit of French. My ancestors came to Canada for a better life as farmers and homesteaders, to Quebec (KERR, 1840s) and to Saskatchewan (IRVINE, early 1900s). One grandmother (WOODLAND) was born in Ontario and had an Irish and French lineage. My other grandmother (WILSON) was born in north eastern Scotland, not far from Aberdeen. My 9th great grandmother (LEMOINE) was born in Paris, France, and came to Quebec as 'une fille du roi' - a 'daughter of the King'. Alas, no royal blood here. This was a program of the French monarchy to sponsor young women to populate New France. There were a lot of lonely frontiersmen! My list of surnames is on my web page.

I believe that true happiness comes when you are busy helping others. The Genealogists for Families Project gives us an opportunity to help others by working together towards a common goal - a goal to make a difference. I thank each and every one of you for making that difference.

Judy, your father would be very proud of you.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

01 November 2011

Col Webster: inspiration for Genealogists for Families

Joan Miller (co-captain of 'Genealogists for Families') has asked me to write about my father, Col Webster, who was the inspiration for this project.

Col Webster at the age of 86
Colin Clifford Webster (son of William Donald Webster and Florence Hudson) was born in 1919. He was proud of the fact that he had the same address for seventy years ("Plain View", Cunnamulla, Queensland, Australia - an outback grazing property where he raised sheep and cattle). My sisters and I grew up there too. Dad loved the land and the way of life, and some of his reminiscences are in Outback Story.

In 1989 my parents moved to southeast Queensland. Before my mother died in 1996, she said, "Your father will be lonely. Promise me you'll visit him often." That was an easy promise to keep, as I was only an hour's drive away and I enjoyed Dad's company. We worked together in the garden, he taught me about birds, we swapped books and we talked for hours.

Dad was quiet, unassuming, kind and considerate, with a great sense of humour. He was a true gentleman who lived his whole life with honesty, integrity, compassion and generosity.

He loved to give away fruit, vegetables and flowers from his large garden; and he was also generous in less conventional ways. A few weeks before Christmas, Dad and I would go to the local country markets where one of the stalls sold homemade goodies to raise money for charity. Dad would pay for a Christmas cake or pudding and tell the stallholder to give it to the next person who came by.

For as long as I can remember, my father set aside a sum of money that he would periodically lend to a hard-working person in urgent need of help. We called it his 'Do Good Money'. Dad passed away last year at the age of ninety, and I want to honour his memory by continuing his tradition. That is why I joined Kiva and established the 'Genealogists for Families' project.

My father was my friend and my hero, and I miss him. If his story can inspire others to join Genealogists for Families and establish the 'Do Good' tradition in their own lives, the world will be a better place.

28 October 2011

Progress Report and Free Publicity

  • The Genealogists for Families team on Kiva is now one month old. Our 40 members in Australia, Canada, USA, England, Scotland, Wales, Netherlands and Czech Republic have loaned a total of $1,450 to 58 individuals or groups. One loan is already 6% repaid.

  • If your name does not appear on our Team Members list but you want free publicity for your Web site, blog or business, do this:

    Log in to your Kiva account. Click 'Lender Page'. Click the radio button beside your name (not the one beside Anonymous). Edit other sections of that page as you wish, and include a Web address for your business, blog, online family tree or whatever. Click 'Save changes'.

Please invite your friends and workmates to take part in the Genealogists for Families project. Everyone is welcome - not just family historians. We are helping people and we are having fun!

25 October 2011

Press Release on GeneaPress and Geneabloggers

Information about our project has just been published in GeneaPress: 'Genealogists for Families' Project. GeneaPress has all the latest genealogy industry news based on press releases issued by genealogy vendors, societies, educators and other service providers.

Thomas MacEntee has also written about the project in Geneabloggers. His last sentence is very special!

23 October 2011

Welcome to the Genealogists for Families project

Hello and welcome to genealogists, their family and friends, and anyone else who believes that small loans can make a big difference to those who are less fortunate.

The stand-alone pages explain the project's background, how to join, what else you can do, and the potential benefits of belonging to the team. Future blog posts will provide opportunities for you to share your Kiva tips and stories. I will also be inviting team members to do guest posts about their family history research or other interests.

I want this to be a friendly place where team members can have fun. This is also where we will announce prize draw winners, so Watch This Space!