We have a list of many projects that do not require any computer skills at all. For example:
1. The microfilm has become a bit of a mess over the years - where researchers haven't put the film back in its original location. We could use a helping hand in going through each drawer and double checking each film is in the correct place.
2. As part of our effort to get all of our publications, newsletters and Journals digitized, we could use a helping hand with the labor intensive portion of pulling these things out of the page protectors. If you would like to learn to scan them with the copy machine, we'll be glad to teach you, but it's not necessary. Once the items are scanned they all need to go back into the books. This is not a hard job, but it time intensive.
3. We have almost 30 years worth of membership information that needs to be compiled into one place. Taking all of the information from different sources and alphabetizing it is the first step to organizing it.
None of these require any special time commitment - if you can come in one hour this week, and then in a few more weeks you have a few more hours, that is great. There is no deadline to meet. You do not need to have a set schedule, just let us know you would like to help!
One of the most useful public resources is the newspaper. While some of the entries seem mundane, they offer great clues to the researcher. A simple statement such as, "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith visited their son in Kansas City last week." can give the genealogist great clues in regards to the whereabouts of the son and the fact that he was still alive. For someone with a brick wall in front of them, this small mention could be a huge discovery. For this reason the NWMGS is making an effort to index the social happenings of The Catholic Tribune that was published during the late 1800's and into the mid-1900's. We have the microfilm for the newspaper and need assistance transcribing the items into a format fit for publication. If you are willing to spend a little time helping, please let us know!
We are also working on indexing some of the current newspapers in the 9 county area. We are learning that going back to microfilm is a labor intensive project. Why not index the current newspapers NOW, so our grandchildren won't have to? If you have an internet connection and would like to work on current newspapers from your home, we'd like to hear from you as well.
One of our latest endeavors at the NWMGS is to create a database of all the materials within the library. What does that mean? In short, what we envision is a central place where any researcher can type in a name and the computer will generate a list with the name of the resource, the page number within that resource, and the location within the library. This will greatly reduce the amount of time needed to locate any mention of your ancestor, and give you more time to concentrate on exactly what they were doing.
As you can imagine, this is a huge undertaking! We have thousands of volumes in the library, and every name in every book needs to be entered into the database. This does not take any special computer skills or even knowledge of genealogy. If you can type and are accurate in your entries, we could use your help! Quite a few of these entries can be done from home as well, so you do not need to be physically close to the library in order to help. Either send us an e-mail or call Connie at 816-233-0524.
Cemeteries are a treasure trove of genealogical information. Unfortunately, they are often vandalized and desecrated randomly. The weather and time wreak havoc on the valuable information contained on the stones. For those reasons, one of our initiatives is to start a team of volunteers who will help photograph the cemeteries in our nine county area. If you are interested in helping with this project please let us know! You do not need any special training or ability. A few simple pointers and a digital camera are all you need to be of help. We can work with you to assign a specific cemetery near where you live or work, work in a group or by yourself and arrange to get the pictures from you as well. There is no specific time commitment - work on it as much or as little as you would like. Any and all help is greatly appreciated.