Most genealogists have this in common – The excitement they feel genealogists doing volunteer work, hoping to help others find out more about their ancestors and to feel that same thrill of discovery. In the next little while we will be taking an in-depth look at some of the main volunteer resources on the web and how best to navigate and use them.

Last week we discussed RAOGK.org

book mormonToday we will be discussing another great volunteer resource called the Rootsweb Books We Own List (BWO). In the website’s own words:

“Books We Own is a list of resources owned/accessed by individuals who are willing to look up genealogical information and e-mail or snail mail it to others who request it. This is a free service – volunteers may ask for reimbursement of copies and postage if information is provided via snail-mail.”

The site currently has over 1500 volunteers and new volunteers are added every week.

The website portal provides several search options. You may search the site using a search bar or you can search using the Master Index. The Master Index includes United States Resources, Family Genealogies, Resources by Country and General Resources.

Also included on the main page is a table titled, Other BWO Links. This table includes two important sections titled BOok’s We’d like to Own and Copyright Policy. If you feel you would like to volunteer on BWO, please read the Copyright Policy very carefully first.

If you browse the site with a particular book in mind to have a lookup done in and cannot find it, you can then visit the BOok’s We’d like to Own link and fill out a form stating the book you are interested in. Hopefully someone who owns or has access to that book will then contact you.

If you request a look up from a book and do not hear back from the volunteer within a reasonable amount of time it may be due to an incorrectly typed email address. A nice feature that Books We Own has implemented is an Undeliverable Replies page that you can check to see if a message was not returned to you because of an incorrect email address. If you find that is not the case you can then contact the BWO Webmaster about finding out if the volunteer is still active.

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