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!

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. It looks like this.

* 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:
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.
VistaPrint

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!