Thursday, February 28, 2008

Genea-Techie Stuff

The topic for the next Carnival of Genealogy, announced in the last edition, is "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." Jasia cautioned us to "Resist the urge to dilute the impact of your 3 choices by mentioning several others you use and appreciate as well. This is an exercise in appraising the technology you use/recommend the most."

Well, okay. As with most things when you have to select "the best" or "most important" the decisions are not easy. The fact of the matter is that what I consider to be at the top of the technological heap changes from month-to-month, sometimes even day-to-day, depending upon what I happen to be working on at the time. So I'm going to have to go with the here and now. . .

Hardware: This would have to be the DSL Modem. Without it I couldn't connect to the Internet and do all those other marvelous genealogy related things, like finding stuff, or writing this blog, or communicating via email with family and other researchers.

Software: Legacy Family Tree is the software that I use for recording all that wonderful information I find on family, near and far, close and distant. I've used a variety of programs over the years starting with PAF (DOS version) and even tried Family Tree Maker but I like Legacy. It works well for me. No matter which genea-software you use, it sure beats those 3x5 index cards I used to use!

Web Site: Okay, this is probably going to shock a few people, especially after a certain fiasco a few months back ;-) and I really, really hate to admit it - but right now, and for the past few months, the web site that has been indispensable to me in my research is www.ancestry.com and its sister site www.rootsweb.com (okay, maybe that is breaking the rules, or at least bending them a little, but they are owned by the same company).

Well, there you have it, for whatever it's worth. Ask me next month, next week, or even tomorrow and my recommendations will be different. It just depends, you know.

3 comments:

  1. Becky,

    Despite the fiasco this past year, I'll be the first one to admit that Ancestry is the best "overall" online service for obtaining genealogy records. I subscribe, but I will never again promote (sell) their service to others. Instead I let folks know how to access it for free (most libraries offer it).

    Ancestry has been indicating they may post their banners at the top of all USGenWeb pages hosted on Rootsweb, and so I'm waiting on that news to decide whether to move all of my web sites off their servers. If I end up doing that I'll have to unlink anything going to ancestry or to Rootsweb, and Ancestry will be back on my "black list."

    All I can say is that people using Ancestry.com to research should realize that the information you gain their is good, but narrowly focused. You are not going to be able to obtain most vital records there, and that a library or historical society that is located near your ancestor's home probably holds amazing treasures for you.

    Janice

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  2. Janice, I've only been a subscriber to ancestry for a little over a year. Prior to that I had tried them through their free trial offers several times but since I was still on dial-up internet access at that time it was painfully slow. High speed access is really needed to use their services effectively.

    I agree with your assessment that they are somewhat narrowly focused. Problem is, most pay services are. And despite their efforts, they won't ever have everything online - at least not in my lifetime.

    I can't afford to use multiple services so use what gives me the most bang for my buck and for now that happens to be ancestry - mostly for their census records. I could go to my local library and access ancestry from there but the library isn't open after 9 p.m. ;-)

    And I've gotten used to having it available whenever I want to check on something on a whim. So, I'm willing to pay for that convenience. They just better not take my web pages and call them their own.

    It would be a tough call whether or not to pull web sites off of Rootsweb. I'm glad I'm not in that position. When you get down to it, the fact of the matter is that they do own Rootsweb, and in theory, can do whatever they want with it. But they must know they risk alienating some webmasters whose pages they host.

    You are definitely right in saying that libraries and historical societies hold amazing treasures and a large percentage of their holdings are never seen or used by anyone. They are highly under-utilized resources, for sure.

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  3. Becky,

    I'm not going to go to far on Ancestry but I just wanted to say that I never cared for them but I did get a free year trial with them and it has been rewarding. No, I don't get original documents but I do get access to some things that help me to find the originals.

    To the subject at hand, I have to agree with you on the DSL modem! I recently switched my phone and internet to my cable company and have had nothing but problems. Thursday I will get my DSL and phone back to normal. I will be Soooooooo Happy!

    Your the second person to mention Legacy. I will have to check into that one also. I would love to graduate from FTM.

    Enjoyed your choices,

    Ken

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