Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Indispensable Technology for the Family Historian

Okay, before we go any further check it out. THIS IS MY HUNDREDTH BLOG POST! Woo-hoo! Par-tay!

And now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Jasia has posed the following topic for our next Carnival of Genealogy:

“The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy will be: Technology. What technology do you most rely on for your genealogy and family history research? Select one piece of hardware (besides your computer), one piece of software (besides your internet browser), and one web site/blog (besides your own) that are indispensable to you”

Okay, first let me say that I am an “in the moment” kinda girl. So whatever I give as my answer today might not be the same next month, or next week, or tomorrow.

I'm currently working on a genealogy where everybody LIED! I don't know if they didn't know the truth, or had something to hide, or if there is some kind of cultural going-on that I just am not getting. In any case, I am really fascinated with this family. As I try to unweave all the strands and figure out all the relationships, I have been making handy use of some pretty powerful tools and those are the ones I am going to give my big thumbs up to in this post.

INDISPENSABLE WEBSITE: And the winner is (okay I really wanted to participate in the iGENE awards so humor me here) - ANCESTRY.COM.

Groan if you like, but I went without this little gem of a site for almost a year. Now that I have it back, I am giving it all that pent-up love that it deserves. One of these days, I will make a very lengthy list about all the goodies I have found since my love and I have been reunited, but for my current project, it is MUY BIEN.

I open up on part of my screen, on the other half of my screen and I go from census to Ohio Death Records, working my way through the information and then adding it to my database software, which I have minimized and opened on my laptop. It's efficient and methodical — my logical brain is very impressed. Granted, I am only up to the 1850 census but we are talking a lot of related families here.

INDISPENSABLE HARDWARE: I vote modem, my wonderful cable speed modem. Did I mention I have a wireless router to go with that modem? Downloading all those census files and death record files would be O - H - S - O - S - L - O - W! And with the wireless router, I can sit there with my feet up, and nod companionably at my husband as he works on his own project on his laptop. We are oh so 2008.

INDISPENSABLE SOFTWARE: OK, this one is a little tricky. I have always used Family Tree Maker. I am currently using version 16. Family Tree Maker is familiar, it's comfortable and I have basically been happy with it. However, for this project The Master Genealogist is working extremely well. I've opened up a separate project on TMG and as I work my way through the census and the death records, I add the sources into the database as I add the individuals.

Now my one criticism of TMG is that the learning curve on it is definitely steeper than on FTM. However, I am adding basically just two sources of info, and once I have each source set up in my own persnickety fashion, it isn't that hard to enter. And that's what I like about TMG, its extreme flexibility when it comes to adding sources and citations. I can do it MY WAY, and the control freak in me is very pleased.

So there you have it — the technology that makes my research hum.

Until Next Time — Happy Ancestral Digging!

Note this post first published online, February 27, 2008 at Desktop Genealogist Blog at The News-Messenger Online

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