In 2011 we won an award for Best New Community Project. 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 $5 via Kiva Zip or $25 via Kiva. Similar loans by other lenders are combined until the required total is reached. As your money is repaid (often in monthly instalments), 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!

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.
---
Did you miss these blog posts?
* Repayments mid-month
* Online Surveys

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!
- - - - - - - - -

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).
- - - - - - - - -

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.
- - - - - - - - -

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

10 January 2012

Prize for a New Team Member

Last month I donated a $25 Kiva card as a Recruiter's Reward. It was won by Peter, who very generously asked me to give it to someone else in another competition or prize draw.

Right now the 'Genealogists for Families' lending team on Kiva has 132 members. I have chosen a number (x) between 133 and 145. When the xth person joins our team and makes a loan, he or she will be awarded the $25 Kiva card with which to make an additional loan.

Invite your family and friends to join our team, and tell them that if they do so soon they may win the Kiva card! They can join via this link: www.kiva.org/team/genealogists.

To be eligible, you must have made a loan and your name must appear on the team members list. If you are there as Anonymous, you can change that setting on your Lender Page.

The winner will be announced here, and I will also send a message via Kiva. The prize must be claimed within one month of the date of that announcement, otherwise it will be issued to someone else in a second prize draw.

06 January 2012

Meet-Ups in Brisbane, January 2012

I look forward to seeing some of you at one (or both) of the Genealogists for Families 'meet-up' events in Brisbane (Queensland, Australia) this month. If you are interested in genealogy and microlending, you are welcome to come along even if you have not yet joined our Kiva lending team. You are also welcome to bring family or friends who are curious about what we do.

The main get-together will be at 1:30pm, Sunday 22nd January 2012, at... (Correction! The venue has been changed. Details are in a more recent blog post.)

A smaller gathering will be held a week earlier, at 10:30am, Sunday 15th January 2012 at Tognini's cafe near the State Library of Queensland bookshop.

I chose those dates and venues partly because the Lifeline Bookfest, the largest second-hand book sale in the world, will be nearby at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. A map of the area is on www.culturalcentresouthbank.com.au.

If you think you may be able to join us on Sunday 15th or 22nd January, please email me at the address shown in the sidebar.

05 January 2012

Meet the Team: Alona Tester

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

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm the Office Manager at Gould Genealogy and History, and often the person on the other end of the phone when people phone. I do love to do my own genealogy, but my own has taken a back seat to work more recently. Apart from that I love reading.

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

To know that you are helping aid someone's life in a very positive way is what drew me to it.

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

I read through borrowers, and what they were requesting for, before making a choice. But as for having any significance to my own family history, no.

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

I just put it in perspective... do I REALLY need this or that, when it could be helping someone else, who more than likely would make better use of it.

What is your Web site or blog?

http://www.lonetester.com

Your main family history interests?

When I get to do my family tree I'm mainly focusing on my WINTER family from Finland and Australia, and my TREWARTHA and BANFIELD families from Devon, England and New Jersey, United States.

- - - - - - - - -

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

03 January 2012

'Genealogists for Families' Gathering in Brisbane

6 Jan 2012: Please see 'Meet-Ups in Brisbane, January 2012' for updated details of the two coffee-shop get-togethers in Brisbane (Queensland, Australia) for 'Genealogists for Families' members and potential members.