22 September 2011

Genealogy and Technology - my list for the meme

If new technology will save me a significant amount of time or make me a better family historian, I am happy to use it. If it won't, or if it is beyond my budget, I make no apology for sticking to traditional methods.

After reading the responses to the original list by Geniaus and the expanded list by John Newmark, I am relieved to see that I am not the only one with a low 'tech savvy' score. My list (below) is annotated as follows:

* Things I have already done / found = bold type
* Things I would like to do / find = italics
* Things I haven't done / found and don't care = plain type
* My comments are in [square brackets].
  1. Own an Android or Windows tablet or an iPad
  2. Use a tablet or iPad for genealogy related purposes
  3. Used Skype for genealogy purposes
  4. Used a camera to capture images in a library/archives/ancestor's home
  5. Use a genealogy software program on your computer to manage your family tree [The Master Genealogist]
  6. Have a Twitter account [JudyQld, where I share genealogy tips, not trivia]
  7. Tweet daily
  8. Have a genealogy blog
  9. Have more than one genealogy blog [Updated - now eight! Genealogy Leftovers; Updates Genie; Queensland Genealogy; UK/Australia Genealogy; Yorkshire Genealogy; Jottings, Journeys and Genealogy; Genealogists for Families; and Outback Story]
  10. Have lectured/presented to a genealogy group on a technology topic [as a small segment in a talk on 'Who Else is Researching My Family?']
  11. Currently an active member of Genealogy Wise
  12. Have a Facebook Account [but I prefer to use email to contact friends, and I find Twitter more useful for keeping up to date with genealogy news]
  13. Have connected with genealogists via Facebook
  14. Maintain a genealogy related Facebook Page [Queensland Genealogy]
  15. Maintain a blog or website for a genealogy society
  16. Have submitted text corrections online to Ancestry, Trove or a similar site
  17. Have registered a domain name [www.judywebster.com.au]
  18. Post regularly to Google+
  19. Have a blog listed on Geneabloggers [as per No.9 above]
  20. Have transcribed/indexed records for FamilySearch or a similar project [but I've indexed 51,000 names from archives and other sources and listed the names on my Web site]
  21. Own a Flip-Pal scanner
  22. Can code a webpage in .html [using a text editor; I keep the code simple so pages load quickly, and I can update them whenever I wish]
  23. Own a smartphone
  24. Have a personal subscription to one or more paid genealogy databases [FindMyPast]
  25. Use a digital voice recorder to record genealogy lectures
  26. Have contributed to a genealogy blog carnival
  27. Use Chrome as a Browser
  28. Have participated in a genealogy webinar
  29. Have taken a DNA test for genealogy purposes
  30. Have a personal genealogy website [on my own site and on WorldConnect]
  31. Have found mention of an ancestor in an online newspaper archive [Trove]
  32. Have tweeted during a genealogy lecture
  33. Have scanned your hardcopy genealogy files [most of them]
  34. Use an RSS Reader to follow genealogy news and blogs [I've tried Google Reader and Thunderbird but I generally just use the reading list on Blogger's dashboard]
  35. Have uploaded a GEDCOM file to a site like Geni, MyHeritage or Ancestry [to Rootsweb's WorldConnect, which, unlike Ancestry, is indexed by Google and allows anyone to contact me free of charge]
  36. Own a netbook [Acer Happy - 1.2kg - great for travelling]
  37. Use a computer/tablet/smartphone to take genealogy lecture notes
  38. Have a profile on LinkedIn that mentions your genealogy habit [I created a profile as an experiment, but I don't often use LinkedIn]
  39. Have developed a genealogy software program, app or widget
  40. Have listened to a genealogy podcast online
  41. Have downloaded genealogy podcasts for later listening [especially National Archives podcasts]
  42. Backup your files to a portable hard drive
  43. Have a copy of your genealogy files stored offsite [see Natural Disasters and Family History]
  44. Know about Rootstech
  45. Have listened to a Blogtalk radio session about genealogy
  46. Use Dropbox, SugarSync or other service to save documents in the cloud [I use Dropbox and Evernote to keep backups of my most important genealogy documents online.]
  47. Schedule regular email backups [every time I download emails]
  48. Have contributed to the FamilySearch Wiki
  49. Have scanned and tagged your genealogy photographs [most of them]
  50. Have published a genealogy book in an online/digital format.
I have only done four of John's extras:
  • Can code a webpage in .html using Notepad or any other text-only software [same as no.22 above]
  • Have a local library card that offers you home access to online databases, and you use that access [Brisbane City Council, State Library of Qld, National Library of Australia]
  • Brought a USB device to a microfilm repository so you could download instead of print
  • Started a Genealogy-related weekly blogging theme other geneabloggers participated in ['Thrifty Thursday']

Changing the subject slightly... One of John's items was 'Have used Photoshop or other editing software to clean up an old family photo'. Use caution if you do this. What if the position of a rip in a photo means that a facial scar is obliterated? 'Cleaning up' the photo may result in misleading information about that person's physical appearance.

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  1. Judy, thanks for your thoughtful responses. You are tech-savvy as you know what tools you want to use and you use them effectively.

  2. You're score is higher than mine, but I agree with Geniaus its not about how many gadgets you have but how you use them that matters.

    I'm going to have great fun exploring this, and your other blogs when I'm not (supposed to be) working!

  3. Many thanks, Judy, for your comments on my posting, especially the different viewpoint on Twitter - I must have a look at it. It is good to know there are others out there who feel a bit like me.

  4. Jill, Carole & Susan - thanks for your supportive feedback. Susan, I think you will find Twitter useful (and not overwhelming) if you just follow a small number of relevant people. Apart from the two examples I mentioned on your blog, you should also have a look at Chris Paton who shares lots of tips for Scottish and Irish genealogy.


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