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!

15 December 2011

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!


  1. Thanks for telling us more about yourself, Pauleen. I especially enjoyed hearing how you choose borrowers. Where in Africa will your daughter be working?

  2. McSHARRY / McSHERRY are not very common in Queensland, so as my good deed for the day I searched some indexes I have on my computer. I found:

    McSHERRY in indexes to Crown Land sales (triplicate deeds of grant); land orders; nuns; Mackay cemetery burial records; Mackay funeral director's records 1955-1977; St. Stephen's (Brisbane) R.C. marriages.

    McSHARRY in indexes to registers of teachers and Northern District insolvency files.

    McSHARRY *and* McSHERRY in indexes to electoral rolls 1870-1884 (including references to an address 'McSharry's Camp, Q.N.R. Extension' in Springsure/Leichhardt); Lands Department selection files; Justice Department inquest files; Mines Department mineral leases; Immigration Department passenger lists.

    If any of these are new to you, email me and I will give you the source references.

  3. Thanks for looking these names up for me Judy-a very good good deed. I usually keep an eye on your Qld page. Unfortunately while not common names, having two James McSharrys is proving to be a real headache. I'll have to have a look at which of these I've looked up and which not. My daughter's off to Kenya which is why I selected one of my loans for that country.


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