What is TaskRabbit and how can it be a resource for genealogy?

So the other day I was out to dinner with a friend and he mentioned utilizing a site called TaskRabbit.com. I have heard of TaskRabbit before, but only thought it was for people who needed their houses cleaned or their grocery picked-up. However, I found out you can also do virtual tasks as well. For example, data entry or researching hotels in a particular area – basically tasks you can do from the comfort of your own home online. I figured since there are virtual tasks available I might was sign up and become a TaskRabbit to make some extra money.


Essentially the concept of TaskRabbit.com is that TaskPosters provide a task that needs be done and then TaskRabbits bid on the task. The TaskPosters then chooses a TaskRabbit based on skills, TaskRabbit experience, past performance, and the amount of money the TaskRabbit asks for to complete the task. Once the TaskPoster chooses the TaskRabbit, the TaskRabbit then completes the task and receives payment from the TaskPoster once the task is complete.  All financial transactions occur through the site and the TaskRabbits compensation is deposited in their bank account. Another item to keep in mind is TaskRabbit.com is available in certain cities in The United States (Boston, Austin, NYC to name a few – here is a complete list).

So why I am writing about TaskRabbit.com on a genealogy blog? A lot of times during your research you cannot find something online and need to go to the source in person. For example, you are researching your grandparents, who were married in Austin, Texas and you cannot access their marriage record online. You know their parent’s name are on  the marriage record and want to get your hands on it, but you live in Bangor, Maine. So you have three options:

  1. You can travel across the country to Austin and get the record yourself.
  2. Hopefully you have a contact in the Austin area who can go in your place to retrieve the record.
  3. You could use Ancestry.com’s ProGenealogist.com to hire an expert to retrieve your records. (You can also do a Google search for individuals in a particular region who do genealogy document retrieval).
  4. There is actually a 4th option (which I think you already may know where I am heading),

First let’s discuss the three options above and the potential setbacks to each before we dive into the 4th.

  1. Traveling to an area to retrieve a document is tough because it costs money and time. Unless you are going to a particular area on a vacation or to visit someone this option may be difficult for some.
  2. If traveling is out of the question than hopefully you know someone in that area who is handy to where the document you are seeking is located. If you do and they are willing to retrieve the document – you are in luck. If you do not know anyone than you have to resort to another route which is hire someone.
  3. The example I gave above, ProGenealogist.com which is an Ancestry.com site. Through ProGenealogist you can hire an expert to conduct research and/or retrieve a document. This is a great option, but they do not provide costs. Instead you have contact them for an estimate and then ProGenealogist will get back to you in 5-7 days to discuss your goals. This is a great option if you want to hire someone, but in a way you are sort of at their mercy with their timeline and their costs. Which leads me to the 4th option which what this blog post is all about, TaskRabbit!

The reason I like TaskRabbit for genealogy is you can name your price and when you need your task accomplished by. You can charge as little as you want or as much as you want. Essentially if a genealogical need ever arises that you cannot do in person just go onto TaskRabbit. Post what you are looking for or what task you want accomplished, where the TaskRabbit can find the document, and when you would like the document and/or task accomplished by. Also in regards to price, you can either a) name your price in your initial posting or b) see what TaskRabbits are asking for when they bid for your task. Another aspect I like is you can choose your TaskRabbit based on past performance, experience, and not just on their bid amount. Keep in mind, if you are seeking document retrieval the document needs to be in area where TaskRabbit’s services are available.  Not only does TaskRabbit have to be used for document retrieval, but you can also require a TaskRabbit to conduct online research as well which you may not have the time for. This type of work can be assigned to any TaskRabbit regardless of region because it is considered a virtual task.

The one downfall to TaskRabbit is it not necessarily geared towards genealogy nor known for genealogy. With that being said, hopefully I can change  that by announcing myself as the first TaskRabbit in the Boston, Ma, whose services will  be geared towards retrieval of genealogical documents, conducting online genealogical research, or beings a resource for genealogical task one can come up with. Once again, if you need anything genealogical related in the Boston area or online research, please let me know and I would be happy to work with you: My TaskRabbit Profile.

What are your thoughts? Has anyone else used TaskRabbit to conduct genealogical research?

Happy Hunting!


About donnycr

Started intensely conducting research on my family history just while finishing my graduate degree in 2008. Since then I have discovered numerous amounts of lines which I didn't even know about until recently. I am strictly an amateur genealogist and conduct my research as a hobby. I am mainly self educated and constantly learning about genealogy tips and tricks. One day I hope to turn my passion for genealogy into a profession, but for now just building my expertise. I enjoy connecting with others to exchange information and knowledge. I actually have a team of researchers working with me. Well actually one researcher, my mother, who works with my on uncovering our family history. I guess my father and I have sports and my mother and I have genealogy. Family lines I focus on are: Reagan, McNanny, Johnson, Newman, Gillis, Matchett, Esty, Esson, Crotty, White, Leighton, Sherwood, Driscoll, Alyward, Bohan, Fraser, Lynch, Savage, Haggerty, Guy, and more to come. If any of these lines interest you, please let me know and will be happy to connect - connect with me @ dreagan15@gmail.com Thanks - Donny View all posts by donnycr

2 responses to “What is TaskRabbit and how can it be a resource for genealogy?

  • pastsmith

    Reblogged this on pastsmith and commented:
    This is a pretty cool idea. Am I the only one who’s never heard of TaskRabbit?!

  • Andrew Kaufman

    I was wondering if there is any info as to the origin of Lewis Payne (one of Lincoln Conspirators) in the three known publications of the Payne family. It is just a little project that I want to start up to keep me busy. I found those books online at ancestrallinks.net and their titles are:

    1.- Barnabas Payne and His Son John C. Payne: Some Data of Biography and Genealogy – by Payne, W. O.

    2.- The Genealogy of the Families of Payne and Gore – by Whitmore, Willam Henry

    3. – Thomas Payne of Salem and His Descendants: The Salem Branch of the Paine Family – by Paine, Nathaneil Emmons & Henry D. Paine

    I know that the name might have been misspelled throughout the years and that it could have been Lewis Paine, and ancestrallinks.net also have some titles on that particular spelling too and they are:

    1.- A Sketch of the Children of Dr. William Paine (Esther Orne Paine Harriet Pain William Fitz Paine) and Frederick William Paine the Public Spirited – by Sturgis, E. O. P.

    2.- My Ninety-five Milestones – by Paine, Margaret Fletcher Kent

    3.- Paine Ancestry. The Family of Robert Treat Paine Signer of the Declaration of Independence Including Maternal Lines.. – by Paine, Sarah C & Charles H. Pope

    4.- Paine Family Records – by Paine, H. D.

    5.- Paine Genealogy. Ipswich Branch. Including a Brief History of the Norman Race to Which All Families of “Paine” Belong. – by Paine, Albert W.

    I am sure if anybody had started such project yet but if you have, please let me know if there is any information to be found in those publications.

    Thank you.

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