Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Old School vs. High Tech Genealogy Research

I recently joined the Facebook group "Technology for Genealogy," partly because I love to talk about geeky technology stuff, but mostly because I am interested in how new (and existing) technology is being used by the genealogy community. There have been some very interesting discussion topics posted, including cloud computing, genealogy programs, scanners, photo editing, Google Earth, Google Fiber, capturing digital images using a camera, and pay-for-use genealogy websites. The responses have provided me with a lot of great ideas, so I highly encourage you to join the group and get in on the discussions! As genealogy research becomes more and more digital, I often think about my mom's efforts back in the late 1950's through the early 1970's, when everything was "old school." I have a suitcase full of letters she wrote to older living relatives, people she thought might be related, and countless courthouses or genealogy societies, looking for any clue or document she might uncover. She never had a computer, never had a genealogy program to track her information or create a research plan. Tracking and documenting was done on rolls of butcher paper and in spiral notebooks. Her correspondence and documentation are incredibly precious to me, especially because they reinforce for me the value of good old fashioned research. She and my grandfather were able to obtain a lot of family history information, which I've used as the basis for my own research over the past 10 years. I'm sure my mom and grandfather would be amazed at all the information now available at our fingertips, and I'm sorry they aren't here to see the advances that have been made. On a completely different topic, my DAR application has been approved! It's been a long time goal of mine to make the genealogical connection back to a Revolutionary War patriot, and with the help of Cathy Lawrenz of the Prairie Rose DAR chapter in Overland Park, KS, I was able to submit my application. I'm very excited to become part of such a great patriotic organization.

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