Our volunteers have agreed to do a free genealogy research task at least once per month in their local area as an act of kindness. While the volunteers of Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK) have agreed to donate their time for free, you MUST PAY the volunteer for his/her expenses in fulfilling your request (copies, printing fees, postage, film or video tape, parking fees, etc.).
RAOGK would almost certainly be on my list of Top Ten Genealogy Resources. I suspect I am not alone in this feeling. Not everything is online - sometimes, like the celebrities on Who Do You Think You Are, we have to go to the local cemeteries, courthouses, and archives. But we don't have their wealth, nor is our research being bankrolled by a major network. So finding fellow researchers willing to do the local research is priceless.RAOGK is a global volunteer organization. With over 4000 volunteers in every U.S. state and many international locations, we have helped thousands of researchers. Our volunteers take time to do everything from looking up courthouse records to taking pictures of tombstones. All they ask in return is reimbursement for their expenses (never their time) and a thank you.
[If you do end up using RAOGK volunteers repetitively, consider signing up yourself to be a volunteer.]
RAOGK wasn't listed in ProGenealogist's Top 50 Genealogy Sites. Why not?
Their list isn't subjective, but is based on the website rankings of four separate companies. The July/Aug 2008 issue of the Digital Genealogist explained their methodology. In this description, they note that of the four companies: "Typically their rankings are based on some combination of the number of visitors, number of pages visited, and the time spent on a Web site." RAOGK's absence simply means that less people are visiting the site than the fifty sites on the list. Does this mean most genealogists don't agree with me that this would be in their list of top sites?
No, it doesn't mean this. I actually wasn't surprised by RAOGK's absence once I thought about it. While I am indebted to the volunteers for what they have found for me, and I would definitely rank the website's value to me as a researcher higher than several other websites on the list, RAOGK isn't 'sticky.'
(Stickiness is the measurement of the amount of time spent on a website over a period of time.)
Most people who frequent the website aren't returning every day. We only visit the site when we need it. And it doesn't take too long to find the location of our research, and whether or not there is a volunteer there. Rankings that are based on how frequently a website is visited, or how long one remains on the website, are unable to measure the value received during those visits in any other way.