Friday, September 12, 2014

CGS Makes Three "Paying Your Genealogy Forward" Suggestions for Fall 2014

Looking for ways to use the knowledge and skills you've obtained on your genealogical journey to help others?  We have some volunteering suggestions here . . . and they're even Chicago-based!

#1 = Friends of the White City

Ray Johnson, President of Friends of The White City, explains, "FOTWC is a 501c3 corporation dedicated to educating the public on the historical significance of the 1893 Columbian Exposition. In the process we will be conducting on-going research on the Exposition, researching and raising money to preserve artifacts that remain and providing educational programs at no or low cost to schools, community groups, libraries, historical societies, etc.
There are many ways that volunteers can assist us in our mission. We are a very new non-profit so we are still working out fundraising and membership programs but here are some very immediate needs that a genealogist/historian may want to contribute:
1. Our on-going website content development - (Adopt-a-Topic) The structure of the page is complete but the content will be a never ending process and more than one researcher or author would be able to handle in a lifetime. The goal is to be the main portal to all things EXPO. In particular the content involving the Expo itself. I am looking for people who love a particular portion of the Expo and would be willing to contribute to the writing and research on that topic. The author would retain rights over what is written but would allow FOTWC to place it on our website. For instance, maybe one of your members loves the Ferris Wheel and would like to write a research article on the Wheel or George Ferris or has a family story about a ride on the Ferris Wheel and would like to submit it and that person could be a point of contact for everything "Ferris Wheel"

2. Family Lookups - Even though it is not an official program on our website yet it will be very shortly. In fact we already get requests from people whose ancestor worked at, displayed at, or won an award at the Fair and would like more info. Sometimes they just have a photo or an employee pass. There are records that exist at various repositories that can help solve a family mystery but alas research time is short without volunteers. We also will have a place on the website to display family stories submitted by family or volunteers.

3. Tour Docents - Currently FOTWC is partnered with the Jackson Park Advisory Council and give free tours of the former grounds of the "White City" on Saturday Mornings at 11:00am The tours finish this year on October 25th. We plan to offer the tours every year during the time period that the Fair was open (May 1st through October 30th) We are always looking for people with a love for the history of the fair who would like to give tours. We would provide the materials and training.
4. Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities - Of course throughout the years to come we will have volunteer opportunities for fundraising programs and events. (On plan is a fundraising fun run through Jackson Park called "Run Like The Devil Through The White City.") As needs arise we can notify those interested in volunteering.
We will have a place on the website for volunteers to register but in the meantime anyone interested in volunteering any skill or idea can email us at"

#2 = National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Database Registry

Enroll your relative today!

The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor was recently formed to build a database registry of U.S. Purple Heart recipients.  It commemorates the extraordinary sacrifices of America's +1.8 million servicemen and servicewomen who were killed or wounded in combat from all branches of U.S. military service, from all wars where the purple heart medal was awarded.  The mission of the Hall of Honor is to collect and preserve the stories of Purple Heart recipients across generations to ensure that all recipients are represented.  Now is your chance to help build the database registry with your relative's information!

Step One = Search the Roll of Honor Online Database at to see whether your relative is already enrolled.  If not,
Step Two = Follow the Roll of Honor Enrollment Instructions at
Step Three = Complete the Roll of Honor Enrollment Form at
Find more details on the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor website at

#3 = FindAGrave---
Photo Volunteer for Chicago Cemeteries

Genealogists worldwide have recently come to rely on FindAGrave to virtually find information from cemeteries that they can't physically visit themselves.  If you're able to visit local Chicago cemeteries, you can help other genealogists obtain digital photos of their Chicago ancestors' tombstones as a FindAGrave Photo Volunteer.  Here's how to volunteer:
A) Log in,
B) Click on your public name to go to your Contributor Profile,
C) Click “Edit my profile,”
D) Enter the Chicago zip code you can work within, and
E) If you’d like to receive requests, under “Preferences” select “Photo Volunteer.”
Find more details on the FindAGrave website's Frequently Asked Questions section called "What is a photo volunteer?" at .


When you have a success with one of the above suggestions (or a Pay It Forward project of your own), we’d love to hear about it!  Email a paragraph describing your experience + recommendations to CGS Publicity Team at, confirming your permission to share it on CGS social media and publications.