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!

08 December 2012

Kiva Cards, Lost Emails and Short Loans

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

Lost Emails:  If you are not getting Kiva's emails, they may be in your spam folder. Most repayments go into your Kiva account on the 17th or 18th of the month, but they could arrive later. You might want to put a recurring reminder in your diary. If you are likely to be busy or away, set up Auto-Lending (you can cancel it later if you wish).

Short Term Loans:  I was recently asked how I had managed to make so many loans. My repayment installments cover the cost of several new loans each month, because I choose many short-term loans (as well as some longer ones). Each loan's page shows the Repayment Term (x.months) and Repayment Schedule (Monthly, Irregularly or End of term). If you don't know how to quickly select a short loan, see point 5 in Progress Report and Team Tips.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we are making a difference!

Team Loans in need of Funding

If you don't particularly need to select a loan for a specific area, occupation etc, you may be interested in adding your support to a borrower chosen by another team member.

There are several ways to identify team loans that are not yet fully funded. For example:
  • On the team page (the link opens in a new window), above the Family Tree logo, click 'Loans'.
  • At 'Loan statuses to display', select 'Raising Funds'.

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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we are making a difference!

27 September 2012

Year 1: Genealogy Benefits and Team Achievements

Genealogists for Families is one year old today. When I started this project (to continue a family tradition of helping others) I did not realise that there would be so many genealogical and personal benefits for our team members!

The Genealogists for Families motto is 'We care about families (past, present and future)'. As family historians we know that our lives have been shaped by previous generations, and we care about the world that our children will inherit. Through Kiva, we can make that world a better place.

To combine genealogy with Kiva, some of us make commemorative loans on dates that have special significance for our family.

When I asked team members what they thought were the benefits of belonging to 'Genealogists for Families', most said that they wanted to make a positive contribution in the world, and that they liked the sense of community; but that could apply to any lending team on Kiva, so what are the specific benefits for members of a genealogy team?

  • From the Meet the Team guest posts in this blog, plus team members' lender pages on Kiva, we get to know new people and learn about new genealogy resources. (For example, Fiona heard about Yvette's Dutch genealogy Web site, followed the advice there, and found an ancestor who had previously eluded her.)

  • We swap tips for genealogy at team social events and on social networking sites. (Kerry said, "I love the networking - getting to know other genealogists so that you can ask their advice.")

  • We increase our chances of contacting 'new' relatives. Contributors to the 'Meet the Team' series mention surnames that they are researching, and at least one team member has subsequently been contacted by a previously unknown relative.

  • An Australian team member was given a personal tour of National Archives overseas by another team member who works there.

  • When two team members made their first visit to State Archives, another member (a professional genealogist) offered to be their guide for the day.

  • Australians helped a team member in Britain by contributing local data to her One Name Study.

  • Links on our Kiva lender pages and in 'Meet the Team' posts provide free publicity for our Web sites and genealogy blogs. This may also attract new clients for team members who are genealogy professionals.

What have we achieved in one year?

In addition to winning an award for Best New Community Project...

  • Our team has grown to 215 members (who live in Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, England, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Spain, USA and Wales).

  • By re-lending money as it was repaid, we have loaned a total of $28,500. (Jan 2014 update: With continued re-lending, and over sixty new team members, the total sum loaned has now reached an amazing $88,000!)

  • Many of our 1,082 loans (the number increases daily) were to large groups, so I estimate that we have helped over 3,500 families. 

These two colourful charts show the many activities for which our loans have been used, and the countries where the borrowers live.

Activities for which our loans have been used

Countries where our borrowers live

If the only thing stopping you from joining Kiva is the $25 needed to make a loan, you could raise the money by doing online surveys (from which I earn at least $25 each month) or passing around the hat at an informal social event. It will be worth the effort, because a small loan really does make a big difference. Please join us!

26 September 2012

Our Birthday Prize Winners

I was disappointed that only eleven of our 215 members entered the prize draw to celebrate the first birthday (tomorrow) of the 'Genealogists for Families' project.

The main prize (a team T-shirt) was won by Kelli Taylor in Canada.

Two small consolation prizes were won by Roger Moffat (a New Zealander currently living in the USA) and Doug (also in the USA).

Congratulations to the winners, and my sincere thanks to those who took part.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

20 September 2012

Two More Awards for Genealogists for Families

In 2011 we won the GeneaBlog Award for 'Best New Community Project'. Now, a week before Genealogists for Families celebrates its first birthday, I am proud to announce that the project has received two more awards.


From Pauleen we received the HUG (Hope Unites Globally) Award:   "What you have done to set up and continue the Genealogists for Families group definitely fits... Thanks for all you do to bring hope to the world!"

To accept this award I must in turn nominate someone else. I don't suppose anyone will be surprised to hear that I am nominating Kiva.

From Jill we received the Illuminating Blogger Award:   "Genealogists for Families Project team leader and blogger, Judy, is an inspiration as she encourages genealogists to reach out and help families in third world countries with micro-loans. Judy's enthusiasm for this project and her personal generosity know no bounds."

On behalf of the team... thank you! If you are new here... please join us! Together we are making a difference!
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13 September 2012

Kiva Team Birthday Prize Draw

To celebrate the first birthday of 'Genealogists for Families' on 27th September 2012, there will be a random prize draw.

What is the prize?  A team T-shirt.

Who can enter?  'Genealogists for Families' Kiva lending team members who are not anonymous and who have made a total of at least two (2) loans before submitting an entry for the prize draw.

When do entries close?  11:59pm (GMT) Tuesday 25th Sep 2012.

How do I enter?
  1. Log in to Kiva and check that you have made at least 2 loans.
  2. Find your name on www.kiva.org/team/genealogists/members (you may need to use 'Next page'). Click on your name, then note the Web address, which will be in the format 'www.kiva.org/lender/your-Kiva-ID'.
  3. Email me privately at the address shown in the sidebar here, quoting your Kiva ID and#270912prize.

Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!
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10 September 2012

Make Your Own Personalised Kiva Badge

Genealogists for Families team member Alex (whose genealogy blog is Family Tree Frog) has just told me about a site where we can create personalised dynamic Kiva badges for a blog or Web page.

I created a badge that shows all of my Kiva loans that are currently raising funds or 100% repaid. It looks like this.



If I change the settings to include loans that are in the process of being repaid (usually in monthly installments), the badge cycles through a larger number of images and looks like this.



Want to make your own? It's very easy.
  1. Find your Lender ID.
  2. Go to Humsara and follow the instructions.
When you have installed your own Kiva badge on your blog or Web page, put a link to it in a comment here.

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

02 July 2012

A Commemorative Loan

My Dad
Today would have been my father's 93rd birthday. He was the inspiration for the Genealogists for Families project, so I wanted to make a commemorative loan that was somehow relevant to his life.

We lived on a grazing property 45 miles from the nearest town, so we could not just pop down to the shops to buy fresh produce. Remembering what life was like there, I decided that my $25 loan should go to a man who milks cows and grows vegetables!


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

16 June 2012

Progress Report and Team Tips

Progress Report:

The Genealogists for Families team now has over 200 members worldwide (Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, England, Netherlands, NZ, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Spain, USA and Wales). In less than nine months we have loaned a total of $19,000.

Team Tip No.1 - Choosing a Loan:

This week two new members of the 'Genealogists for Families' team asked for advice on selecting loans through Kiva.

1.  On www.kiva.org, at the top of the page, click 'Log in'. (I use an email address and password, not Facebook.)

2.  Click 'Lend'.

3.  On the 'Choose a Borrower' page, in the left column, you can (if you wish) use check boxes to filter the loans by any combination of criteria, including country, gender, groups or individuals, and sector (which usually refers to the borrower's business - agriculture, manufacturing, services etc).

4.  Click 'Advanced Options'. For Risk Rating (Stars), Delinquency and Default, drag the circles left or right to set your preferred ranges. For example, if you are a cautious lender you might set the Risk Rating at 3-5 stars and Delinquency and Default at 0%-2%.

5.  Use the 'Sort by' drop-down menu to display the loans in various ways. 'Repayment Term' sorts them with short-term loans at the top. 'Expiring Soon' will show loans that are most urgently in need of funding.

6.  If you intend to search for similar loans in the future, set your filters and sort order, then create a bookmark in your browser.

Team Tip No.2 - Terminology:

Not sure what terms like 'delinquency' mean? If there is a dotted line under a word, hover the mouse pointer over it to see a pop-up explanation.

Team Tip No.3 - Expiring Loans:

If a loan is not 100% funded within about 30 days, it will expire, and money that was received is refunded to the lender's Kiva account (and you can then choose another borrower).

Often this does no immediate harm to the borrower. Some Field Partners disburse loans before they are fully funded on Kiva - but if a loan expires, the Field Partner is seriously out of pocket. If that happens often, the Field Partner may eventually go out of business, which would have a negative impact on borrowers and their lenders.

If you have not joined our team, now would be a good time. Free loans are currently being offered to new members of Kiva!

Are there any tips you want to share with team members?

09 June 2012

Meet the Team: Mark Taylor

After a lull in the series, I was pleased when Genealogists for Families team member Mark Taylor from Victoria, Australia, volunteered to write a guest post.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Mark Taylor and I'm a Genealogist. Now that I've confessed to being an obsessed, computer bound, eccentric name collector, I feel better already. I run a BMW Dealership at Bundoora in North East Melbourne, and am therefore able to continue my childhood passion of playing with cars. I also love bird watching (there I go confessing again), playing tennis, and my 3 girls.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

I read about GFF on the 'Australian Genealogy' Facebook page, and lent my first $25 to a Mongolian seamstress seeking funds for a new sewing machine.

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

I have always been concerned that overseas charity donations are consumed by administration. Kiva is a brilliant grassroots way to see your money at work, and gives you the choice of how much you give to admin.

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

In choosing a borrower, I prefer to lend to families with children. I enjoy reading the business plans to find those I think will succeed. Now I also look at social needs, and I'm covering the globe. South and Central America done, Africa next. I'm trying to keep 50:50 on gender too.

Is there a borrower whose success story inspired you?

The borrowers are all inspiring in some way. I felt strongly for the Colombian locksmith whose tools were stolen. He had to borrow to replace them. I hope he locks these ones up!

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

In today's economic climate, saving is important. I know that most of what I lend I can eventually get back if I need it, so for me Kiva is a form of saving. The social interest rate is far higher than the banks', and with our dollar falling, I may even make a profit. To reinvest of course! I started out thinking that I would make a loan every 2 weeks. That has changed to once per week, and I have been reinvesting repayments on top.

Web address of your Web site or blog?

www.kiva.org/lender/mark7436.

Your main family history research interests?

Albiston, Barrie, Carbines, Fillan, Hayhow, Lilley, McCallum, Sheerman, Waldram. I've found famous artists and actors, murderers, murder victims, preachers, banned authors, AFL stars, champion jockeys - and agricultural labourers. I've seen family feuds dissolved, birth families found, heirlooms rediscovered, tears shed. It started as a tree full of names. Now they are telling their stories.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

30 May 2012

Mnatsakan needs our help urgently

Mnatsakan is a young entrepreneur who has a bakery where he makes lavash, an Armenian national bread. He needs investments to develop the bakery by buying special equipment to puddle the paste and flour to make lavash. This will allow him to expand his production and increase his sales, generating more income and creating improved living conditions for his family.

The funds he needs must be received by Kiva (as $25 loans by people like you and me) within the next three days. The 'Genealogists for Families' team is responding to this urgent call.

Because several team members made loans to Mnatsakan in a short space of time, his profile on Kiva zoomed up onto page one of the default ('popularity') listing. That means visitors to Kiva are much more likely to choose him. (What a great example of teamwork! Thanks, Mark, for bringing this special case to our attention.)

There is still a long way to go; so if you can help this hard working young man with a loan of just $25, please see www.kiva.org/lend/420519.

Update, 2 Jun 2012: The response to this was amazing. The loan was fully funded before the deadline, and 24 of the 57 lenders were Genealogists for Families members! Many enthusiastic people followed the loan's progress and commented via the team's Facebook page. Mark said, "Well done to the GFF team. I think this is what Kiva is all about. Lots of people getting together to make a real difference. I hope that lavash is good! There are a whole lot of people here with a little stake in this bakery."

Another borrower who needs more support is Gulchehra, who does beautiful gold embroidery. She has four children, and needs a loan to purchase plastic windows and other things to fix her house.

20 May 2012

Genealogists for Families: a Milestone


The Genealogists for Families project is less than eight months old, but today we reached a significant milestone.

Through the non-profit organisation Kiva, the Genealogists for Families team has now loaned a total of $15,000 to low-income borrowers without access to traditional banks. We have helped over 1,000 individuals to expand their small businesses so they can support their families, educate their children or install windows, running water etc in their homes.

(Postscript, 18 May 2013:  It is only one year since I wrote this, but the total amount loaned by our team has now reached a staggering $57,000+. That's because we have over 260 members who keep re-lending the same $25 each time it is repaid.)

The graph above shows the wide variety of small businesses that our loans are currently supporting. It does not include loans that have already been fully repaid. (Repeatedly lending the same $25 does so much more good than a one-time donation to charity!)

Please join the Genealogists for Families team - we are really making a difference! For a limited time, new members can make a free trial loan. It costs you nothing because it is sponsored by an anonymous donor.

You may be also interested in a series of articles in which team members write about their family history research interests and how these are linked to their experiences with Kiva.

02 May 2012

Meet the Team: Stephen Daglish

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Stephen Daglish from Buckinghamshire, England (United Kingdom).

Tell us a bit about yourself.

A love of music but a sad lack of talent led me into a career in the administrative side of the music industry, working in areas such as rights, repertoire and royalties. This has also given me an opportunity to travel extensively around the world. My interest in genealogy was inspired by my wife's cousin from New Zealand. He researched her family tree and eventually persuaded me to look at mine. Having reached a road block, I began a one-name study which looks at the history of the surname, worldwide. I am also Registrar of the Guild of One-Name Studies.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

Through the LostCousins newsletter (an excellent read, and very informative).

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

I find this an excellent way to use our interest in family history to connect with people looking for opportunities who can inspire us with their vision for their families and future.

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

My wife and I found that both our families moved to London in the Victorian era, setting up family businesses within a few streets of each other. We know that they needed help to set up and grow their businesses – so we tend to look for borrowers who may be working in similar trades.

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

Not really. I started with one loan and when that was part paid back I added enough to make another. I have just made my third loan. I have also used a Kiva card as a gift - a nice way to get others involved.

Your Web site?

Daglish One-Name Study (www.one-name.org/profiles/daglish.html), which has links to the fledgling Dalgleish study.

Your main family history interests?

My time is mostly devoted to my one-name studies for DAGLISH and DALGLEISH. Having worked on the Daglish name for many years, DNA testing confirmed the suspected but until then unproven link to the Scottish Dalgleish, and this is proving a new and interesting challenge.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

26 April 2012

Meet the Team: Yvette Hoitink

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Yvette Hoitink from the Netherlands.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I work as a consultant digital innovation at the Nationaal Archief, the National Archives of the Netherlands, where I'm involved in projects that create online access to historical information. Genealogy has been my greatest hobby for over 20 years (yes, I started when I was very young!) As a spin-off, I've also become interested in local history, cartography and photography.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

I saw the 'teams' feature on Kiva and just for fun I decided to type in 'genealogy' to see what would come up.

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

I've seen what the impact of a small event can be in the course of history. Ancestors who were the only ones to survive out of 10 siblings. Ancestors who were brave enough to move to start a better life and wouldn't have met their spouses otherwise. Without these events, I wouldn't be here today. I'd like to think that just maybe, my donation will make a difference in somebody's life today and in the lives of their descendants for generations to come. Sometimes all you need is a chance.

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

So far, I've given out 3 loans. These are all to women who are trying to improve their lives by starting a business. I used to own my own computer company so I guess I can relate to them.

Is there a borrower whose success story inspired you?

My first loan was to a woman from Kenya who had had a Kiva loan before. The first loan was to buy chickens for her poultry business and now she needed money for cement to renovate rental homes. I think that shows a great entrepreneurial spirit that deserves to be supported.

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

I've published my genealogy database online, which includes information on over 6,000 Dutch emigrants to the USA and their ancestors. I provide this information for free, but there is a Donate button on my website if people want to contribute. Several grateful American descendants have used the button. I've already received enough donations this year to cover the hosting costs, so any other donations I receive will be turned into Kiva loans.

Your Web site?

Yvette's Dutch Genealogy Homepage (www.dutchgenealogy.nl).

Your main family history interests?

I'm not only researching my own ancestors but also working on a reconstruction of the population of the villages of Aalten and Winterswijk in the Netherlands between 1500 and 1900. This includes trying to find out what happened to the people that emigrated from the area in the 19th century.

Postscript, Sep 2012: Yvette says, "I've recently started working as a professional genealogist, helping people from around the world to trace their ancestors from the Netherlands. I'll make a Kiva loan for each new client."
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

19 April 2012

Meet the Team: Fiona Basile

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

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Currently I'm a full time parent to 3 teenage boys. I live on the Gold Coast in Queensland. My hobbies, apart from annoying our ancestors, include craft activities and catching up with friends.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

I was researching family history on the Internet, landed on Judy Webster's site, and the rest is history!

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

I've always liked the idea of giving those in need a hand up, rather than a hand out. I love watching the progress as the borrowers benefit from their loans.

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

I don't have a particular method of selecting borrowers. Often it will be something in their profile that strikes a chord. For example, I grew up on a dairy farm and one of my loans is to a farmer. Another loan is to a mother, trying to educate her children. That's something of a priority in my life too.

Is there a borrower whose success story inspired you?

They all inspire me!

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

I decided I would make four loans initially, then would finance more as these were repaid. Well, the first payments came in, amounting to $15, and I couldn't wait! My saving strategy is to go without something, say a café coffee, and watch the savings build.

Your Web site or blog?

Dance Skeletons (http://danceskeletons.blogspot.com/).

Your main family history interests?

My main interests at the moment are Tasmanian Convicts and Quakers. Surnames include Hortin, Pearson and Taylor.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

12 April 2012

Meet the Team: CeCe Moore

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member CeCe Moore from California, USA.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a Southern California native and live by the beach with my fiance and my seven year old son. I am a former professional singer/actress, but am now behind the camera working with my partner producing commercials for our company StudioINTV. My genealogy activities include serving as the Southern California Regional Coordinator for the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG), the co-moderator of the ISOGG DNA Newbie mailing list, as a genealogy advisor for DNA testing company 23andMe and writing the blog 'Your Genetic Genealogist'.

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

It is a forum where I can contribute in a small way and see exactly where that contribution is going and what it is accomplishing. Many charities seem to be too weighed down by bureaucracy and it is difficult to know how the money is really being spent. Although I cannot do a lot, I like the idea of many people working together to help a specific individual or family to better their lives.

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

Not so far, but I do tend to focus in on women who have small children. In the future, I would like to loan to individuals in the United States whenever that is possible because I believe we have many who need help right here at home. I plan to get my son involved in choosing the borrower to teach him about actively helping others.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

The wonderful and inspirational Joan Miller invited me to participate.

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

I have taken the advice of Judy and enrolled in the survey sites. It is slow going, but I have finally earned enough to make a new loan.

Your Web site or blog?

Genetic Genealogy blog (www.yourgeneticgenealogist.com/), and my personal genealogy blog (http://mytangledvine.blogspot.com/), and the business Web site (www.studiointv.com).

Your main family history interests?

I am an active genetic genealogist who strives to help others understand and utilize the fascinating application of DNA testing to family history research. I am the volunteer administrator for the Proctor DNA Project, the Travis DNA Project and the Hemings/Jefferson autosomal DNA Project.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

05 April 2012

Meet the Team: Kerry Farmer

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Kerry Farmer from New South Wales, Australia.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live and work in Sydney, although I did live for a few years in London and also in Tokyo, in the years when I was a computer programmer and systems analyst. I started teaching 'Family history, using the Internet' in 1997 and later joined the GenClass group of instructors teaching online courses. Since 2010 I have been the Director of Australian Studies with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, responsible for developing the Australian Records certificate, and writing many of the courses. 

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

My parents have always been heavily involved in community projects and fund raising for charity. Through Rotary International and Indigenous Community Volunteers, my Dad has organised or been involved in major international and Australian community projects, using his skills to help people help themselves. For me, getting involved with Kiva seems a great extension of that.

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

As a mother myself, I tend to be drawn to women borrowers who are trying to help their families. Sometimes a particular occupation or location or even a name attracted me to want to help a particular person.

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

When repayments from previous loans start getting close to another $25 I top it up to make another. So far one of my loans has been funded by surveys I've completed. Another couple came about when I was paid a small amount for giving a genealogy talk to a community group. They apologised for the small payment and I told them that I would use the money to make a Kiva loan. When I described what Kiva was about, in both cases people in the audience donated for their own Kiva loans.

Your Web site or blog?

http://familyhistoryresearch.com.au is my main website; http://famresearch.wordpress.com is my blog.

Your main family history research interests?

ETHERINGTON in Australia and southern England. Others include BENNETT, BOND, CARTER, KELLETT, LYONS, MILLS, MOORE, SCRIVEN, SHUTER in England and Australia, McKENZIE and McNEILL in Ayrshire (Scotland), EVERETT in Ireland, SHUTER in Poland and KELLETT in South Africa  plus a line in Asker, Norway with patronymic surnames that change every generation.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

29 March 2012

Meet the Team: Roger Moffat

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Roger Moffat from Caledonia, Michigan, USA.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a very proud New Zealander who considers Christchurch his home town, even though I haven't lived there in more than 20 years. I'm retired, but was previously Manager of New Zealand's Scott Base in Antarctica, preceded by four years at New Zealand's Campbell Island weather station in the Southern Ocean. I've been pursuing family history since attending a family reunion in 1989. I'm active in the Clan Moffat Society in the USA, and with the Western Michigan Genealogical Society, whose databases website I run.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

I joined Kiva in 2011 after seeing some publicity about it on Facebook. Prior to that I had been aware of the organisation and looked over information sent in the mail, but hadn't become involved.

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

It's such a small amount that means so much to those who receive it, and unlike many groups which take your money and then immediately ask for more, with Kiva you get good feedback on the progress of 'your' dollars. And when it's done, you have 'your' dollars back to then lend to someone else.

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

Both of my parents were born on farms in New Zealand, so I tend towards those looking to improve their situations in a farm setting.

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

No, I started with one loan, and when that was half paid back added enough to make another loan. I expect that by the end of a year I might have four loans going.

Your Web site or blog?

Roger's Ramblings (http://LisaAndRoger.com/). It isn't as up to date as it could be as I've tended in the last year or more to use Facebook as my blog - a habit I tell myself I must break.

Your main family history research interests?

My Dad's ancestry is (seemingly) entirely Scottish, and my Mum's is predominantly English, with a line or two of Scottish. Six generations are shown on the pedigree chart on Roger's Ramblings. The surnames of my 8 great grandparents are Moffat, Stoddart, Dewar, Breingans, Lineham, Lansberry, Scarlett and Mulvey/Mulvay.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

22 March 2012

Meet The Team: Gary Barton

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Gary Barton from Arizona, USA.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Retired Xerox Corporation Marketing Director. I reside in the sunny desert community of Mesa, Arizona, USA (with 100 days of 100ºF temps last year). Since retiring from the editorship of our family association's quarterly newsletter I've become happily involved in the Guild of One-Name Studies (a UK based worldwide organization) and am the Guild's Regional Representative for eight mountain states in the USA.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families?

Through Dick Eastman's Newsletter. Hopefully my email signature will reach others (Make a Small Loan, Make a Big Difference! Learn How at www.kiva.org/team/genealogists).

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

It's a meaningful way to 'make a difference' on a limited retirement income.

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

I loaned to a USA borrower recovering from the results of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana. I did so because I wanted to start at home. Unfortunately $25 is a small amount but it was amalgamated with others to reach the borrower's desired $10,000 USD. She's repaying on time.

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

My demographics don't match most Profiler Surveys, but the funds are accumulating slowly.

Web address of your website or blog?

www.garymbarton.com and www.bartondatabase.info and www.one-name.org/profiles/Barton.html.

Your main family history interests?

I'm lucky to have identified 29 of my 32 great-great-great-grandparents, many back 10+ generations: (Denmark) HANSEN; (Germany) STIEGELMEYER, HINNENKAMP, SCHUTTE, OTTE, ZIES, SEVERINGHAUS, MTEZGER, PFAU; (Netherlands) VAN COUWENHOVEN, SCHENCK; (England) STUBBLEFIELD, LOONEY, SKAIFE, GRANGE; (French Canada) LANGEVIN, RAVENELL, MALO; (Ireland) DOOLING, RICKEY.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

20 March 2012

The How and Why of Auto-Lending (Tuesday's Tip)

Here is another tip for 'Genealogists for Families' Kiva team members.

Check your account settings now. Do they suit the way you use Kiva?

Many Kiva loans are repaid in monthly installments, but there may be times when you cannot check your Kiva credit on repayment day (for example, if you are travelling, ill or just very busy). To avoid leaving money sitting idle when it could be used for another loan, or to control what happens to your Kiva credit when you depart this life, you can, as a precaution, set up Auto-Lending.

(September 2013: Please see the updated instructions for auto-lending.)
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

15 March 2012

Meet the Team: Kelli Taylor

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Kelli Taylor from Alberta, Canada.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a mother of 2 teenage boys and wife of a very supportive husband. I have a Communications degree and enjoy research, reading and writing, which fits well with my passion for genealogy. I have helped my dad with our family history research for about 15 years. I live in Calgary, Canada and I love my surroundings, with the prairies to the east and the Rocky Mountains to the west.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

As a relative newcomer to Twitter, I was fortunate to connect with Joan Miller, who promotes the Alberta Family Histories Society via social media. As a family, we've been with KIVA for a few years, and it's made our involvement more interesting to be part of this group.

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

So far our investments have been related to our personal interests, such as motorcycle transport. We generally loan to people in places we have traveled to, such as Kenya and Ecuador. I may make a few adjustments now, based on some of our team members' loans.

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

So far, no. There are no loans available in places related to my heritage.

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

Usually we roll our coins about every 4-6 months, and that is the money we use to offer loans. We have given KIVA gifts to family and friends for birthdays, Christmas etc., and have encouraged people to find their own connections in order to determine who to loan to.

Web address of your Web site or blog?

http://donandkellijourney.blogspot.com/

Your main family history interests?

Smith (Switzerland), Taylor (England/Ontario), Waite (England or Ireland), Sundell (Sweden), Arnold (England), Lockerbie (Scotland), May (Ireland), Hay (Scotland). We are now using DNA to break down brick walls for Smith and Waite. Fingers crossed!
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

08 March 2012

Meet the Team: Diane Rogers

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Diane Rogers from British Columbia, Canada.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm now mostly retired, but busy. I regularly teach genealogy classes and I volunteer for the British Columbia Genealogical Society. I'm very interested in Canadian women's history and I do love to read, mostly history or mysteries.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

I've been a Kiva member since 2008. I just recently happened to notice the Genealogists for Families Kiva project information on Judy Webster's website, while surfing the Internet for Australian newspaper information.

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

I hope in a small way I'm helping someone else to make a positive difference in their life.

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

I believe I've chosen all women borrowers or women's groups. I've been interested in supporting women's projects for a long time, through MATCH, for instance.

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

No - it's just me.

Your Web site or blog?

The main one is CanadaGenealogy, or, Jane's Your Aunt (www.canadagenealogy.blogspot.com). I also have a site about Newdale, Manitoba, Canada where both my mum and grandmother were born (http://newdalembgenealogy.wordpress.com/).

Your main family history research interests?

Researching family currently mainly in Canada, US, UK, and Sweden - Axner, Broström, Carmichael, Cox/Cocks, Eriksson, Gilchrist, Irwin, Löfholm, Rogers, Rydberg, Saggers, Staines, White, Zetterberg.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

07 March 2012

Free Trial: new Kiva users get a free $25 loan

Please tell your friends that right now there is a FREE TRIAL offer that lets them join Kiva and make a $25 loan without it costing them a cent!

This is a great opportunity to introduce others to the joys of being a Kiva lender. Details will be on www.kiva.org until the free loans have all been allocated. Invite your friends to give it a try, but be quick!

Those who make a free loan are also welcome to join our 'Genealogists for Families' lending team.

01 March 2012

Meet the Team: Carole Riley

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Carole Riley from New South Wales, Australia.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live and work in Sydney and have recently changed careers from Information Technology to genealogy. I've just finished my Diploma of Family Historical Studies at the Society of Australian Genealogists, where I volunteer on an increasingly regular basis.

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

I've been lending on Kiva since 2008, and have just made my 27th loan. It's gone from being a thrill whenever I get a repayment to being a normal part of my life. I think it's so important to help people help themselves; they are the ones who will succeed and help their families grow and thrive.

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

When I started I lent only to women, usually in countries I had been to. Now they all seem equally deserving and I don't spend much time at all choosing borrowers. There is usually little connection to my own life, unless you count gender; the majority are still women.

Is there a borrower whose success story inspired you?

I am most partial to the single mothers who are feeding their families as best they can. I grew up in such a household.

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

Not really. I relend when I get enough repaid, or almost enough, and then I kick in the difference. I have no idea how much money I have in the system. A recent Melbourne Cup win resulted in two more new loans!

Your Web site or blog?

http://caroleriley.id.au and http://heritagegenealogy.com.au.

What are your main family history interests?

My mother is Protestant Irish/Scottish and my father is a part-European Fijian, so my interests are many and varied!
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

28 February 2012

Kiva - there's an App for that! (Tuesday's Tip)

Have you have ever wished that it was easier to find a particular type of borrower (for example, one who needs a loan for further education)? There's an app for that!

If you are missing your 'preferred' borrowers because those loans are fully funded within hours, Kiva Alerts can send you an email whenever a suitable borrower is listed. For example, if you want to know about loans to students at Strathmore University in Kenya, set an alert for 'Loans from Field Partner'  - 'Strathmore University'.


Play around with the drop-down menu to set up alerts that match your favourite selection criteria.

This is just one of the applications that Kiva's App Gallery has for your computer, Windows Phone, Android, iPhone, iPod Touch, etc.

Join the Genealogists for Families Kiva team. Together we are making a difference!

23 February 2012

Meet the Team: Meryl Naismith

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

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Although originally from Melbourne, Australia, I now live at Stawell. It is a country town in Victoria with a gold mining history and a working mine. Since 2005 I have been retired. Prior to that I was a teacher and Student Welfare Counsellor.

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

There is so much need and to be able to help families help themselves is a privilege.

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

My first loan was for quarrying. Many of my forebears were quarriers and brick makers. It is a hard life but I note that the borrowers are on their third loan. Kiva is helping make a difference. My second loan was to a man in Iraq. I have taught students who came to Australia as refugees from Iraq. I know the stories.

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

So far I have made two loans and sent five Kiva gift cards. I am watching repayments and will add some more soon to help another family.

Your Web site or blog?

http://ongoingsearchforlostormissingstories.blogspot.com/

What are your main family history interests?

Mostly I am tracing my family, and descendants, who arrived in Australia in the 19th century. There are many. Additionally I like to help others with their research. It delights me that I keep finding people with whom I share family connections - however loose.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

16 February 2012

Meet the Team: Julie Goucher

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Julie Goucher from Devon, England.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I have a career in pharmacy management and a history degree. I live in the South West of England, but am originally from Surrey, where the vast majority of my ancestors are from, although I do have family links to several continents! I have been researching my family history since 1986. I am also a keen reader and love books, quilts and antiques.

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

Initially I wasn't sure. I wanted to support, but I wanted to do this with a genealogical link, almost a personal challenge or memorial. I do though believe that even in the very smallest of ways we can help others to make a difference to their lives.

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

I made my first loan to commemorate the birthday of my late Grandmother. I chose a particular individual in Sierra Leone because he was looking after several family members, purely because they were his family which I thought was wonderful, and embracing of the ethos of this group. My Grandfather was stationed in Sierra Leone during the Second World War, so that was a nice additional link to the loan.

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

No particular strategy. I am simply going to make monthly loans to commemorate specific events with my family and perhaps link in with specific locations. The July loan is likely to be in celebration of my Wedding Anniversary and probably an individual or two in Kenya as that is where I got married!

Web site or blog?

Anglers Rest (http://anglersrest.blogspot.com)

Your main family history interests?

My family links are deep in the Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire Borders of the UK and a fairly random link to Warwickshire. I also have family links to Canada, Australia, India and New Zealand - not to mention Sicily, as I am half Sicilian.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

11 February 2012

Volunteers Needed

** UPDATE, 12 Feb 2012 **

I deleted this post when I discovered that it was damaging the project's reputation. A team member emailed me and said (quote), "Normally I like being part of a team but your list of volunteer jobs... too much push... reminding [me] of phone charity calls - once you make a donation they never ever leave you alone."

Ouch! But I can understand her point of view, and I apologise.

I hated having to ask for help. I will try not to do it again. To those who left comments and offers of assistance: thank you! I will email you so we can continue the discussion privately without irritating others.

09 February 2012

T-shirts and Other Genealogy Conference Gear

How can we raise awareness of the Genealogists for Families project when we attend family history conferences?

* Wear a special T-shirt. I designed and ordered one from Vistaprint.

* Wear a tag (in a pin-on plastic name tag holder, not a lanyard) that says, in big black letters, 'Ask me what GFF is'.

* Hand out flyers. Design your own, or ask me to email you the one I use. To save paper, I print two to an A4 page and cut the pages in half.

* Have interesting examples to show people. Print the top section (down to the map) of the profiles for this group and this individual.

* Include the project's Web address on your genealogy trading cards. These are 'business cards' with your name, contact details, Website, blog, Twitter name, etc. I usually print my own (using sheets of cards available at Officeworks) but I also ordered some (free) from Vistaprint.

What else would you suggest?

Meet the Team: Kylie Willison

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Kylie Willison from South Australia.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Genealogy is my main obsession. I also do volunteer work, run an art group, and am a beginner textile artist.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

On the 'Australian Genealogy' group on Facebook.

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

I think it's better to give than receive. I enjoy giving and was very interested when I heard about the project.

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

I chose a woman who works in the textile industry because I'm a beginner textile artist and because some of my ancestors also worked in the industry.

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

I've started out with one initial loan which I will re-invest if it is paid back. I'm also saving coins in a box at home.

Your Web site or blog?

My website is www.kyliesgenes.com and my blog is www.blog.kyliesgenes.com/.

Your main family history interests?

My main research interests are South Australia, Victoria, Germany and UK. I love finding the stories behind the facts and sharing them on my blog.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

06 February 2012

We Have a Winner - or do we?

On January 4th, when our lending team had 132 members, I chose a number (x) between 133 and 145, and promised to give a $25 Kiva card to the xth person who joined our team (subject to certain conditions). Finding a winner turned out to be much more complicated and time consuming than I expected.

When I opened the envelope, the winning number was 136. I checked my list and found that the 136th person to join was 'Anonymous', and thus ineligible because he/she is impossible to identify or contact.

I wrote the remaining numbers on slips of paper, put them in a jar, shook it vigorously, and drew... no. 144. The 144th team member was Donna. I checked her lender page and found that she had not yet made a loan and was therefore not eligible for this prize.

Another dive into the jar produced no. 137 - Lynn from California. Unfortunately she had not made a loan either.

Back to the jar! This time I drew no. 143 - Lynne (with an e) - but again, no loan and thus not eligible. (Sigh)

By now I was getting exasperated. Another slip of paper - no. 141. To my consternation, this "team member" is actually the lender account 'GFF Aussie Social Events'.

What do you think? Can I pay the $25 Kiva card into that account and make a loan from there, or should I feel obliged to draw yet another number from the jar? In a couple of days I will make a decision based on your comments here.

03 February 2012

'Rewards Central' Tip for Australians

Note: this tip only applies if you live in Australia.

If you use Rewards Central (which I mentioned in my post about online surveys), log in and go to Earn - Email rewards - then '8046 Our 10th anniversary giveaway'.

You can also order some great things free (except for postage) from Vistaprint. I ordered the free sticky notes, tote bag and mouse mat, all customised to advertise Genealogists for Families and the blog's Web address. Then I explored the rest of the site and ordered a free T-shirt, free pen and free bumper sticker, all publicising Genealogists for Families. I will wear the T-shirt at Congress 2012.

In my next blog post I will share the design I created for the T-shirt. You may want one too!

I will use the sticky notes, tote bag, mouse mat, pen and bumper sticker for a prize draw, or auction them at the next team meet-up and put the proceeds towards more Kiva loans. Are there any other team members willing to order freebies and do the same?

02 February 2012

Meet the Team: Shauna Hicks

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

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm semi-retired after 35 years of working in government agencies, mostly libraries and archives in Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne. Currently I am a lead presenter with Unlock the Past at genealogy expos, cruises and other events, and in my spare time I do some research and write research guides which have been published by Unlock the Past.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

I received a direct email from long time friend and colleague Judy Webster, but at the time I was busy with other things so I put the email into my 'to do' pile. Always a fatal mistake as it sat there until I read another friend's blog, Geniaus, who wrote "It's taken a while". That was the spur that sent me into action and I took up two loans that night and have taken out two more since then.

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

To me it seems such an obvious way to assist other people with their businesses or projects without giving straight out charity. The loans are repaid and then you can regive the money to another person or group (and you haven't missed the money so why not).

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

I selected women who were trying to make a success of their business. In my own life I have been helped at critical times by other women so that was the reasoning behind my original choices. I also picked countries I had been to (eg, Outer Mongolia) or places I want to go (eg, Peru and various countries in Africa). But really choosing is the hardest part as they are all so worthwhile.

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

I did take up Judy's strategy of doing surveys to raise the money but I am finding it hard to spend the time doing the surveys. It's probably easier for me to say I won't have a bottle of wine with dinner when dining out (or at home for that matter) and use that money for Kiva instead.

Web site or blog?

Two blogs – SHHE Genie Rambles on my website (www.shaunahicks.com.au) and Diary of an Australian Genealogist (http://diaryofanaustraliangenealogist.blogspot.com/).

Your main family history interests?

A list of my family names are at www.shaunahicks.com.au/my-families/ but my main surnames and places of interest are: Gunderson from Seljord, Telemark, Norway; Johnston from Bailieborough, County Cavan, Ireland; Jeffers from Portadown, County Armagh Ireland; Carnegie from Montrose, Angus, Scotland; Finn from County Wicklow, Ireland; Price from West Bromwich, Staffordshire; Pollard and Judge from Croughton/ Brackley Northamptonshire; White from Farley/Pitton, Wiltshire; Trevaskis and Rosewarne from St Hilary, Cornwall.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

27 January 2012

Interested in Genealogists for Families social events?

Our first two team meet-ups (for coffee and lunch) were a great success, with five of us at the first gathering in Brisbane and ten at the second. More events are planned for Brisbane (including some at the State Library and State Archives), Adelaide, Sydney and elsewhere (for example, at genealogy conferences overseas and in Australia).

If you would like to be notified of dates and venues, please email me at the address shown in the sidebar. I will never reveal your email address to anyone.
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26 January 2012

Meet the Team: Maureen Arthur

Today is Australia Day. Amidst the celebrations, please take a moment to think of those affected by this week's floods and other local disasters, and those who work long hours or risk their lives to keep us safe. This week's guest post is by one such person - Genealogists for Families team member Maureen Arthur from Queensland, Australia.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. I work for Queensland Fire and Rescue as a communications dispatcher (I love my job!) My hobbies include researching my family history, transcribing documents for the Queensland Family History Society, and reading, especially biographies and true crime.

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

I can see that my input is being directly utilised by people in need. I have had concerns in the past about how much money is used administratively by some organisations. However, I feel that I can directly contribute through this project - no 'middle man' to speak of.

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

I can't say that I do. I read the biographies carefully and chose a group that appealed to me and who I thought could make a real difference to their village.

Is there a borrower whose success story inspired you?

I have seen several. I love reading about lenders who have had their loans repaid and are so excited to get their gift back into circulation with another person in need.

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

Just a small jar in which I place change. I don't have a lot of money to spare, but this way I don't miss it if it's spare change.

Your Web site or blog?

Shamrocks, Shortbread and Shenanigans (http://shamrocksshortbreadandshenanigans.blogspot.com/).

Your main family history interests?

ARTHUR c1850 Liverpool, TORPEY (same as Arthur), BURTON from Cumberland, OXFORD from Dorset, McNALLY from Fermanagh, GIBBONS from Tipperary, MANSON from Caithness, McDONALD from Invernesshire, are some of my main lines. The ARTHUR line is my reinforced concrete brick wall!
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

19 January 2012

Meet the Team: Leona Thomas

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Leona Thomas from Scotland.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born in, and live in Edinburgh, Scotland - but I'm not Scottish, having an Irish Mum and an English Dad! I was Primary teacher for 20 years and am now an EAL (English as an Additional Language) teacher. I adore animals and have an elderly lady cat (Smokie) at the moment. I am also an enthusiastic amateur genealogist. I have taken on some commissions lately to do research for friends (who insisted on paying me) and word is spreading so hope to have a few more projects on the go soon! It all started when I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of 9 people whose family tree would be researched for the TV programme 'Extraordinary Ancestors' made by Channel 4 in 2000. I was taken to Germany where we filmed for 5 days to put together my Prussian family history roots - back to 1620! Perhaps the most rewarding thing lately has been making links to living cousins and being able to tell them their family history - and even meeting up - which we have done a few times in the last couple of years.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

Through the newsletter from LostCousins by Peter Calver. He runs a super website and I've found a few of MY lost cousins this way!

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

So often you put money in a collecting tin or donate to some good cause or other - but you never really feel in touch with who you are helping - and maybe even wonder if it DOES get to the people who need it. This seemed to address those concerns.

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

I worked with a little girl from Africa today who has such potential, and having heard of what her life had been, I thought I would look for an African cause to support.

Is there a borrower whose success story inspired you?

I chose the Sikulu group in Kenya. Solomon is a father of three children. He joined One Acre Fund in order to access fertilizer and hybrid seeds and ensure food security for his family. With income from maize sales, Solomon wants to educate his children. I looked for a specific child-centred or education project but there wasn't one at this time and this seemed a good alternative.

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

I decided to take this amount from the money paid to me to do family research. I felt that I might have spent that amount on something trivial without thinking much about it - but the same amount of money could do so much more used this way.

Your Web sites?

I am co-administrator of the Kannenberg Surname Group and administrator of the Thomas Family Tree group - both on Facebook.

What are your main family history interests?

Kannenberg (from Prussia), McCarthy (Co. Down, N.Ireland), Thomas (Portsmouth and St Germans / Landrake, Cornwall), Chissel / Chiswell (Cornwall), Campbell (Co. Down, N.Ireland), Butler (Buckinghamshire), Besant (Portsmouth), Ruse (St Germans, Cornwall).
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

18 January 2012

Update on Brisbane Meet-Ups, January 2012

Last Sunday we held our first Genealogists for Families social event in Brisbane. We met at 10:30 for coffee, and more than two hours later we were still chatting happily so we stayed for lunch!

Fiona, Chris and Ken came up from the Gold Coast, and Helen and I were the Brisbane representatives. I see Helen, and Ken and his lovely wife Chris, every few months, but this was the first time I had met Fiona. She has just started using Twitter and blogs for genealogy, and I love the name she chose (Dance Skeletons).

The cafe I originally suggested for our second event is under new management and no longer suitable, so I have changed the venue. On Sunday 22 Jan 2012 (1:30pm) we will meet at Tognini's cafe and wine bar, beside the bookshop near the entrance to the State Library of Queensland. If you are coming and have not already contacted me, please do so, as I need to confirm numbers for the table booking.

If you want to take this opportunity to ask for help with your family history, come prepared with names, dates and places on family group sheets, and photocopies of relevant certificates. You could also bring 'trading cards' with the address of your genealogy Web site, blog, Twitter account etc.

The Lifeline Bookfest, the largest second-hand book sale in the world, will be nearby at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Sunday will be the last day (8:30am - 7:30pm), so most items will be half price. You may want to park under the Centre (about $15) and bring a small suitcase on wheels.

I am already thinking about future get-togethers. With luck, a date in late February or early March may coincide with trips to Brisbane by Pauleen from Darwin and Chris from Rockhampton. A weekday meet-up at Queensland State Archives (BYO lunch) is another possibility.

What team social events (with or without a Kiva fund-raising focus) would you be interested in attending in your local area?

12 January 2012

Meet the Team: Jill Ball

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Jill Ball from New South Wales, Australia.

I am Jill Ball (aka GeniAus), a former librarian, teacher and IT specialist. Retired from full-time employment and fascinated by Web2.0 applications, I have embraced genealogy and family history with a passion. I will continue to be a Lifelong Learner while the brain holds up (see Continuing Genealogical Development on my blog).

I enjoy giving presentations and sharing my skills with other genealogists. My other passions are my family, travel, books and reading. My growing brood of grandchildren brings much joy and keeps me on my toes. Living in a semi-rural area on the outskirts of Sydney, I enjoy the leafy surroundings and peaceful environment (except for the sometimes raucous chorus of native birds). Living within an hour of the CBD allows me to enjoy the facilities and activities our beautiful city has to offer.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

I had been following Carole Riley's efforts for Kiva and thought it was a great idea. When Judy formed the group, I heard about it on social media sites and took the plunge.

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

I am blessed living in Australia and like to share some of the resources I have with those less fortunate. We support a number of charities but I don't feel a real connection with them. Getting a begging letter each year and sending off a donation is cold and impersonal. I prefer giving loans rather than straight out donations.

With Kiva there is a sense of belonging. Joining with genealogists from all over the world for a common cause forges a deeper bond with that group. Being able to browse and select a project to support with a $25 loan makes one feel more connected to the recipient of the loan.

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

Firstly I chose women as the recipients of my loans. I don't have a particular strategy, I just browse through the projects to find an area or person that resonates with me. I lean towards loans that are nearly fully funded so that they can be closed off.

I selected a pharmacist for my first loan as I have a daughter a few years younger who is a pharmacist in Australia. When I compared the life of Tuvshinjargal in Mongolia with that of my daughter they were poles apart. Giving the loan to Tuvshinjargal not only enables her to stay afloat and support her family but it will make medicine available to the community in which she lives.

I chose Thu from Vietnam for my second loan. She is representative of many people I have seen in Asian countries who work hard on small street stalls to eke out a living. When we travel I try to support hardworking people like Thu by buying their wares. I do not bargain with them; I always pay the price they request for their wares to help them make a little more profit. Hopefully my loan will help Thu grow her business. For similar reasons I selected Conchita from the Philippines for my third loan.

For my fourth loan I decided to move from Asia to Africa. I chose Thiane who runs a fruit and vegetable business.

I would like to make more loans in the health and education areas but when I have been selecting projects there have been few available in these categories.

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

I don't have a particular strategy for raising funds. $25 that buys half a dozen cups of coffee in Australia can make a world of difference to the recipients of Kiva loans so from time to time I will dip into the family coffers and add a couple more loans.

What is your Web site or blog?

Geniaus (http://geniaus.blogspot.com)

What are your main family history interests?

My research interests can be found on the family website, http://www.geniaus.net. I don't think I will ever stop researching and the family history will never be completed.

Due to its dynamic nature I enjoy using digital media for publishing information on the ancestors. My interests around family history include blogging, the use of social media and the application of ICTs to enhance traditional research.
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