Back in 1999, a fantastic resource was established to bring together members of the genealogy community all around the world. The brainchild of Bridgett and Doc Schneider, Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK) was created to help genealogists collaborate with the genealogy community to document their research, while also offering genealogists a way to give back to a community that had helped them in the past. RAOGK quickly turned into a global organization. The group’s volunteers were able to help thousands of genealogists make progress in their family history research.
Bridgett Schneider courtesy of RAOGK Wiki
The ROAGK website went offline in 2011 because of a computer disaster. Sadly, Bridgett Schneider passed away later that year, and the website was never able to come back online. In tribute to Bridgett and Doc Schneider and all of the participants in RAOGK, many volunteers have created programs similar to ROAGK to help bring together the expertise of the genealogy community. Doc and Bridgett’s legacy and the efforts of thousands of volunteers inspired us to create a place for researchers to come together and collaborate to help other members of the genealogical community.
Today, at Mocavo, we are excited to announce the launch of Genealogy Karma. Modeled after Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, we hope to empower the Mocavo community and connect researchers all around the country. If you’re looking for documents, records, or photos from an ancestor who lived far away, we will connect you with family history volunteers who can do this research for you in other cities. Likewise, if you’d like to give back to the Mocavo community and have a little time to donate, you can sign up as a volunteer.
To begin visit www.mocavo.com/karma
To request help:
1. Simply click on “I need to request help.”
2. Select the county for your request.
3. Create a short title and add a detailed explanation of your request so that others can help find what you’re looking for.
4. Tag your request to help others discover it. For example, you can tag your request as “photo”, “birth record”, or “tombstone”.
5. You can also select to be notified if someone replies to your request.
6. Post your query.
1. Simply click on “I want to be a volunteer.”
2. Select the counties that you can help with.
3. Submit your information.
4. We will then let you know when there are opportunities to help other genealogists in your area.
Similar to surname groups, genealogy karma has a new twist that allows the most valuable content to float to the top of the page.
You can vote positively or negatively on each question and answer. As a result, the most popular questions and most relevant answers rise to the top so that you don’t have to dig through heaps of information to find the good stuff. Next to each question or answer within Genealogy Karma, you will see arrows. If you find a request you are interested in or response that is particularly helpful, you can “vote it up” so that more people will see it. If you find a request to be wildly off topic or unhelpful or if you think an answer is inaccurate, you can “vote it down” so that it will migrate to the bottom of the page. The topics at the top of the page will be the ones with the highest number of “up” votes so that you can quickly see the most valuable questions and answers.
Check out Genealogy Karma and take advantage of the vast network of Mocavo community members spread far and wide. Let us know what you think in the comments below or by emailing us at email@example.com.
UPDATE: After receiving some much appreciated community feedback, we decided to remove the floating/voting system mentioned above. Thanks to the Mocavo community for your feedback on this feature!
In November of last year we announced the first ever Mocavo Community Digitization Grant. We committed to provide up to $25,000 in digitization services to preserve historical records and make them available for free access. Today we are delighted to announce the recipient of the Mocavo Community Digitization Grant is the Bethany Children’s Home.
Bethany Children’s home is a regional ministry serving over 300 youth and their families, every year, in Eastern Pennsylvania. The home began in 1862 as one man’s dream. On a trip home from Norfolk to Philadelphia, Rev. Emmanuel Boehringer passed through the aftermath of the Battle of Antietam, where 25,000 men lay scattered across the countryside dead or wounded. As he stopped to help bandage their wounds, many of the men asked: “What will become of my children?” And thus Rev. Boehringer’s dream for an orphans’ home was born.
Upon returning to Philadelphia, he began taking orphans into his own home at 702 Morris Street. On September 21, 1863, the home’s first resident, six year-old Caroline Engel, arrived at the Boehringer home. Originally called “The Orphans Home of the Shepherd of the Lambs,” the organization began to grow and by 1871 it had found a new home in Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania, where the name was officially changed to Bethany Children’s Home.
A previous resident of Bethany from 1937-1952, Carl Bloss, initially returned seeking genealogical clues and answers regarding his paternal family, but found that Bethany had no archival program in place. In 2009, Carl began volunteering to organize and properly preserve their significant collections, which include photographs, 16mm motion picture film, scrapbooks, documents, and registers. This past January, Mr. Bloss submitted a very unique proposal to Mocavo to digitize two ledger books containing information about the children who were residents of the home between 1863-1990. The ledger books contain a wealth of information including pictures of the children that resided in the home, their birth date, baptism and christening information, details about their birth parents, adoption records, and much more. After reviewing the many worthy submissions that we received, we knew that Bethany Children’s House would be the perfect recipient of the Mocavo Community Digitization Grant.
We are inspired by the work that the volunteers at Bethany Children’s Home have done to preserve this information, and are excited to help bring this valuable content online for the rest of the world to experience. We have begun work on digitizing these records and will make them available for free at Mocavo.com later this summer.
If you have any questions about this story, or about the Mocavo Community Digitization Grant, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Donne (and Jon Bon Jovi) said that no man is an island. With Mocavo’s newly introduced Surname Groups, you don’t have to be stranded on your own genealogical island. Mocavo’s Surname Groups help you tap into the collective knowledge of thousands of other genealogists who have also stumbled through the same genealogy quandaries perplexing you.
Some of you may be familiar with Mocavo Forums, which we launched late last year. Mocavo Surname Groups are the result of feedback and experimentation from Mocavo Forums, which are now retired. If you posted any questions in Mocavo Forums, be sure to check out the new Surname Groups. There’s also a new twist in our Surname Groups that allows the most valuable content to float to the top of the page. You can vote positively or negatively on each question and answer. As a result, the most popular questions and most relevant answers rise to the top so that you don’t have to dig through heaps of information to find the good stuff. Next to each question or answer within a Surname Group, you will see arrows. If you find a question you are interested in or response that is particularly helpful, you can “vote it up” so that more people will see it. If you find a question to be wildly off topic or unhelpful or if you think an answer is inaccurate, you can “vote it down” so that it will migrate to the bottom of the page. The topics at the top of the page will be the ones with the highest number of “up” votes so that you can quickly see the most valuable questions and answers.
Aside from the convenience of being able to see the most valuable information right at the top of the page, there are some other cool tidbits in Mocavo Surname Groups:
- You can tag your query by specific regions or types of genealogical research.
- You can edit your queries, if you wish to update information
- You can also post comments to queries, instead of just answers if you have a question about a query or need some clarification.
- A reputation score is attached to each Mocavo community member. You can earn reputation points if your answer is voted up or accepted, and you also earn points when you post a query or accept an answer.
- Best of all, in the answers or comments, you can add photos or documents for easy reference.
Whether you are new to genealogy or have been studying your family history for years, we want to help. We are excited to introduce the Mocavo Learning Center, a resource that provides expert advice and best practices to aid you in your research. The Mocavo Learning Center includes instructional articles and tools – like forms and questionnaires – that will help you record and organize your research.
The Mocavo Learning Center contains the following helpful categories:
- Getting Started: Are you new to genealogy and don’t know where to start? Let us help you get on the right track with detailed guides that walk you through each step of the family history research process.
- What’s New on Mocavo: Discover new record collections as they are added to the Mocavo Community.
- Resources and Records: Gain insight into many popular as well as lesser-known records and resources that bring you closer to discovering your heritage.
- Resources by Location: Learn about multiple records and resources you will use when your research leads you to different areas of the world.
- Tips & Tricks: Uncover little secrets that help make discoveries and break through your brick walls.
- Family History Toolkit: View and print multiple genealogy forms that help you record and organize your research.
There is something helpful for every genealogist! Visit the Mocavo Learning Center today to learn how to get even closer to discovering your family’s story.
Many of us piece together the puzzle of our family’s history by building and interacting with a digital family tree. We at Mocavo understand the importance of being able to bring your family history to life online, which is why we are proud to announce our new Family Tree Viewer.
The viewer enables you to build a new family tree from scratch, and/or upload a GEDCOM file to your Mocavo profile. Once you have created or uploaded a family tree, you will then have access to an entirely new set of features that will further help you uncover the mystery of your family history.
With the new Family Tree Viewer you can:
- Build multiple family trees
- Create profile pages for each ancestor
- Save discoveries to ancestor profile pages
- Search for ancestors within your tree
- Export your tree to a GEDCOM file
- Set custom alerts for the ancestors in your tree
You can create or upload as many family trees as you would like. You can make your tree public (share your tree with the Mocavo Community to help others discover their family history) or keep it completely private (no one will be able to view, or search for your tree). Take advantage of the ability to bring your family tree to life on Mocavo today at www.mocavo.com/treeviewer. If you have any questions, please contact support at email@example.com.
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we asked members of the Mocavo Community to participate in our Romances of the Past Contest by sharing their family’s most heart warming love stories that have withstood the test of time. So many of the submissions really tugged at our heart strings and therefore we couldn’t help but share them with the entire Mocavo Community. Check out some of the most romantic submissions in our honorable mentions section and find out which three winning submissions stole our hearts.
Mocavo and FreeBMD Announce Partnership – Search 300 Million English and Welsh BMD Records with Mocavo
Today at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live conference in London, England we are excited to announce our new partnership with the FreeBMD Trust. The FreeBMD Trust shares Mocavo’s commitment to bring all of the world’s genealogical information online for free putting everyone’s family history within reach.
Beginning today, Mocavo community members can search nearly 300 million FreeBMD records through the Mocavo search engine. Information from FreeBMD will also be automatically matched to Mocavo members’ family trees. When one of our community members finds information from FreeBMD, they will be able to review that information in full detail on the FreeBMD Trust’s websites at freebmd.org.uk, freecen.org.uk and freereg.org.uk
The FreeBMD Trust oversees the FreeBMD, FreeCEN and FreeREG projects in the UK, which are dedicated to transcribing the UK Civil Registration Index, UK Census Data and UK Parish registers respectively. These projects are undertaken exclusively by volunteer transcribers who have dedicated countless hours to making this invaluable genealogical resource available and free for all to access. To date the amazing work of these volunteers has resulted in the transcription of nearly 300 million records. In 2007, the FreeBMD Trust was awarded the Prince Michael of Kent award by the UK Society of Genealogists for their ongoing contributions to genealogical research. In addition to our partnership with the FreeBMD Trust, Mocavo is also honored to announce that we have joined the Open Genealogy Alliance. Like the FreeBMD Trust, the OGA is aligned with Mocavo’s mission to bring all of the world’s genealogical information online for free putting everyone’s family history within reach. The FreeBMD Trust, Open Knowledge Foundation and the Open Rights Group are existing members of the Open Genealogy Alliance. We are joining forces with them to enable everyone to easily discover their heritage. There are many sources of genealogical information that exist in the public domain but are still beyond the reach of most genealogists because they are in analog format, are only made available through paid subscriptions or are made available by public agencies on antiquated and unnavigable websites. Mocavo is in the process of digitizing valuable records, hosting them for free and organizing them in ways that make it easier than ever for our community to make new discoveries about their pasts on a daily basis. We look forward to working with the OGA and FreeBMD Trust on this important mission. Start searching FreeBMD on Mocavo now!
We’ve asked for feedback from our Mocavo Community and we heard you loud and clear. One of the big requests we kept receiving was the ability to contact other Mocavo community members so, ask and you shall receive!
Where can I find this new feature?
When you find a public tree that contains an ancestor you’re looking for, the tree will say “Uploaded by Jeanie the Genealogist” then you can click on Jeanie’s name and be taken to her profile page. From there you can click “Contact” and send her an E-Mail via Mocavo.
How do I turn on messages through Mocavo?
When you log in to Mocavo, you’ll see a small box at the top of your screen asking if you’d like to allow Mocavo Community Members to connect with you via E-Mail. If you click “Yes”, any time a Mocavo member sends you a message, it will go right to your E-mail inbox. No one will be able to see your E-mail address until you reply to them via E-mail. Your account is defaulted to the “No” setting until you answer “Yes”. Share stories, research tips and findings through us; you can help someone who’s stuck or reach out for help if you’re bewildered.
What if I’ve already clicked Yes/No but want to change my answer?
If you’ve already clicked Yes or No in the message box when you log in to Mocavo but wish to change your response, you can go to Account >E-Mail Preferences then check or uncheck Allow Mocavo Customers to Contact Me.
Try it out and as always, let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are there any love stories in your ancestors’ pasts that really pull at your heart strings? We’d like to celebrate Valentine’s Day by inviting you to participate in Mocavo’s Romances from the Past Contest. The first place winner will be awarded a hour long research consultation with Chief Genealogist Michael J. Leclerc (a $200 value). Feel free to submit as many stories and photos that you would like.
To enter the contest:
1. Go to www.mocavo.com/upload and select upload document
2. Select your photo from your computer
4. Name your file, select type, and but sure to include in your description “Romances from the Past Contest” and add a story here if you’d like.
5. Don’t forget to share your story with your friends and family through Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google Plus, and Email (not required)
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact our support team at email@example.com.
Happy Valentine’s Day from Mocavo!