Nowhere is technology more important and prevalent than in the current surge of family history and genealogy research. Here are a few ways technology makes your search easier… Comments welcome!
Spread sheet programs like Microsoft Excel are perfect for tracking family timelines and tasks. Add dates, places, and names to separate columns and then filter and sort by subject. Tasks can be tracked and marked as completed easily.
Using mobile technology has never been easier. You can recording family history with your mobile tech either by documenting an oral history on video or by recording living history in an audio format.
Tablets and Smart Phones
Family Tree Software can now be loaded onto smart phones and tablets and taken with you wherever you go. This makes remote research easier than it’s ever been before. Your family tree travels with you! Another advantage to this technology is that you can use the photography app on your tablet or smart phone to instantly record photographs or video of tombstones, records, documents, or newspapers.
Mapping Software and GPS
Mapping software can be tweaked to help you track your family migration patterns and follow individuals and families as they moved east to west in the early days of U.S. expansion. GPS systems can help find the property your ancestor once owned or to locate a lost town or cemetery.
The Internet is a treasure trove of information but… it is a place to start only. It should never be the end-all to your research. However, the Internet can be used to search Historical Societies websites, on-line databases, genealogy sites, Military records, local city directories, and newspapers, as well as many other records and documents and are all readily available to search on the Internet.
DNA testing can be used to help locate find otherwise unknown genetic match or to discover one’s ethnicity of Haplogroup.
Social Media can be used to search for living family members who may already have valuable information to help you in your search. As always, be respectful when using Social Media.
Online genealogy courses and web seminars
Some universities and colleges now offer a number of beginning genealogical and family history courses for free. Family history webinars for almost every family history subject are also available.
Search Engines make it very easy to search your ancestors. Try different spellings of your surname. Think outside the box… Search maiden names and nicknames if you don’t find what you’re looking for.
E-mail and Text Messaging
Use e-mail and text messaging to contact family members. Ask what they know about your ancestors. Find the oldest living relative. Interview them.
Many news apps can be filtered to include genaeloy and family history. Use the personalization feature to filter articles you might find interesting or helpful to your search.
Blogs and Websites
Follow pertinent blogs and websites that contain genealogical content or, better yet, create your own family history blog and then join a blogger group.
More information is available today than ever before. Use a search engine to locate the records you may find important to your search.
Family History Websites
Genealogy sites such as MyHeritage.com, Ancestry.com, and FamilySearch.org can be an incredible source of information.
One of the most unique uses of technology in family history work is from a Salt Lake City company called Stories in Stone. For a fee, you receive a QR-coded piece of porcelain, aluminum, glass, or vinyl that can be attached to a headstone at the cemetery. With a mobile device and scanning software, you can visit a grave and scan the QR code to look at an obituary, video, music, photo, or story about the deceased. In an instant family history is available in a new and interactive way.
Remember, always cite your sources!!!!