Thankful Thursday – RAOGK

Hit a brick wall in your family history research? Need that one record to help prove a fact? Are you searching for a particular record in another county in Illinois or area of the country but cannot get there to obtain it? Not interested in hiring a professaionl researcher to track down your document? Then look at Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK).

RAOGK is a network of genealogy volunteers around the country. Each volunteer signs up on the RAOGK website specifcying what record(s) they are willing to search. Most searches are free. Some require a remittance of copy fees and postage.

I have used this service a couple of times when I could not get to a particular location to search for a record. The last time I used the service I was able to receive records by mail to review before a research trip. On my research trip I had the opportunity to meet the RAOGK volunteer who helped me. She also helped me conduct more research at the local historical society where she volunteered.

How to you use the RAOGK service?

  • Visit their website.
  • Read the Guidelines for making requests.
  • Scroll all the way to the bottom of the Guidelines page and click the box that says “Let’s Go Find a Volunteer!”
  • Select the state in which the records can be found. Let’s choose “Illinois.”
  • Scroll through the page looking for the county in which the records reside and see if anyone has posted a lookup.
  • Look at Cook County. There are many volunteers willing to do lookups for obituaries, vital records and visit cemeteries.
  • Locate a volunteer who is providing the search you desire and contact them with your request.

The RAOGK service is that easy to use. If you do not see a specific record you are interested in for a county, then check the “ALL” area at the top of each state’s page. Someone might be offering a record there. Check the site often as new volunteers add themselves all the time.

The next time you are searching for a genealogical record make sure you check out the RAOGK pages. Do you know of other similar services? Please comment below the article.

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