Let's say you've been a good little genealogist. You've interviewed your living family members, been to the library poring through old records and microfilm, and been all over the internet accessing all the cool data sources featured here at the Free Genealogy Tools blog.
And now you want to know more. You want a photo of great-grandma's gravesite in Indiana. A copy of a birth certificate from a small town in Arizona. A baptismal record from back in the old country.
You can plan one heck of a road trip to begin gathering up these old records (which is pretty much what Alex Haley did in writing Roots!).
Let a volunteer help you track down your family's roots
Or...you can ask for help. A site called Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness is built around a lovely concept: volunteer family historians agree to devote one day a month as volunteers, and offer free assistance to anyone in need in acquiring local records.
There are thousands of RAOGK volunteers all over the US and in many places around the world. Ask, and ye may well receive. Volunteers have been known to comb through courthouse records, visit graveyards and photograph the headstones, unearth local library records, and so on.
There is no fee for this wonderful service. However, protocol requires that volunteers are reimbursed for any out of pocket expenses, like copying fees, postage, and so on. Also, keep your request short and sweet... one person, one record.
Visit the main page of Free Genealogy Tools for more, umm, free genealogical tools.
And don't forget to also check for your family history at Ancestry.com and NewspaperArchive.com. These are subscription databases, but they are among the most powerful research tools available for looking into family roots.