It's true: I'm a Carnival of Genealogy newbie.
I didn't participate in the last two Carnivals, mainly because a) I am still a fledgling blogger and didn't have enough posts under my belt to deserve any iGenes, and b) it took me a while to figure out exactly what a blog carnival is.
I mean, who knew? As of today, there are 3,617 different blog carnivals in progress, ranging from the sublime to the downright unique. Interested in pets? Check out the "All About Dog Training" carnival. Need to cleanse your body and soul? Check out the "Detox With Apples" carnival. Ever read something and think, "Whoa!" Then the "Carnival of Crazy" is for you!
But if blogging about genealogy and history is more your thing, you might want to check out these carnivals:
Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture
Carnival of Central/Eastern European Genealogy
Cabinet of Curiousities
I was seriously thinking of entering the "Carnival of Cheese" until I found out it had been discontinued. Rats. And I really like feta, too.
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. 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.
Other than my computer, the piece of hardware I rely on most would have to be my digital camera.
My camera goes everywhere with me. Voted one of Popular Photography & Imaging Magazine’s Top 25 Products of 2007, (see "Stuff I Like," to the left) my beautiful Canon EOS 40D is almost like my second child.
Almost. In a quieter, less demanding sort of way.
Not only do I use my camera to photograph cemeteries, historic places, and cute things my daughter does, I’ve also used it numerous times to photograph family photos, letters, and documents in a pinch when no scanner or copier was available.
For places that don’t allow photography, I keep my much smaller and easier-to-hide Sony Cybershot in my purse. I’ve been known to hide in the back of libraries, photographing pages of books rather than pay to use the copier. Shhh!
Plus, it’s no secret that I have a terrible memory. My friends call it “Swiss Cheese Brain,” and I'm almost positive that they mean it in good fun. But my digital camera has saved me on numerous occasions. That book I saw in the cemetery superintendent’s office? I’ll never remember what it was called… so I take a picture of the cover! That web site I saw advertised at the SCGS Jamboree that I wanted to investigate? I’ll never remember the URL.
But a picture is worth a thousand little scraps of paper!
My camera is also very useful for helping my husband get the correct items at the supermarket, but that’s for another post.
I keep a couple of 4 GB CompactFlash media cards in the bag, along with an extra battery. I love the way this camera’s battery is charged; rather than a long, annoying cord that attaches to the camera, the battery itself goes into a little unit that plugs directly into the wall. Genius!
Like many genealogists, I use Family Tree Maker for my genealogy database. I’ve used FTM since back in the days of Broderbund ownership, so I suppose that, to some degree, I still use it out of habit.
I don’t have time for much of a learning curve these days.
But I do like the way FTM integrates with Ancestry.com: one click of a button, and it searches Ancestry’s collections for a particular ancestor. I’ve found lots of useful items this way that I did not find using Ancestry’s regular search page.
I’m still using version 16, mainly because I’m a) too cheap, and b) too scared to upgrade to the new version. I've been burned too many times by upgrades.
However, my father recently purchased the new version and seems to like it just fine. He’s never used anything else though, so he doesn’t really have anything with which to compare it. I tried it out on his computer, and the interface was so different from version 16 that it was very confusing for me.
But I suppose I will eventually comply and buy the new version. I always do.
I really wanted to come up with something unique and creative for this one, but after spending the better part of an afternoon helping a friend with her research, I realized that there really is one particular web site that I rely on most.
Don’t hate on me for saying this, but that one web site is Ancestry.com.
I know, I know… there’s all sorts of reasons why Ancestry is BAD.
But just like the with the bad boys in college… I can’t help myself.
Yes, Ancestry costs a boatload of money. And yes, they probably do steal your stuff (or at least, Ancestry users steal your stuff).
But they do have a LOT of stuff. I can sit at my computer in my bath robe sipping coffee while my toddler watches cartoons and surf the 1920 Census. I can’t do that at the National Archives.
There are many, many other genealogy and history sites on which I rely, but I always seem to go to Ancestry first. Once I’ve exhausted them as a resource, I’ll look elsewhere.
But I’ll always go back again later. Maybe I had the wrong search criteria the first time, or maybe a new database was added. Who knows!
If I’m really lucky, I’ll meet a new cousin through their "contact other users interested in this ancestor" feature. That has happened on more than one occasion.
It's nice to know that I'm not always the only one out there searching for a particular ancestor, even if it seems that way.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
It's true: I'm a Carnival of Genealogy newbie.