People my age often complain about electronic technology or as some call it, e-Tools. Like many of my peers, I too, worry about how much it changed our lives. Some of it is not for the good.
Television had its own problems and now video gaming and the constant checking of our social media makes all of us seem even more distracted and unconnected.
But I want to say that I cannot imagine living without my e-Tools.
I volunteer on Wednesdays at the Keystone Genealogy Library in my hometown. One of the ladies there has a cell phone that has these light tinkling angelic bells that sound off when her prayer circle is alerted.
We are used to them because they have gone off about three times over the years I’ve worked there. By the way, the room is only open on Wednesday and is volunteer run. Anyway, the other day the bells kept tingling and without checking she mentioned that her prayer circle must be busy today. Finally, she checked her messages and found out why.
A young person in our small community had a serious traffic accident on her way to work that morning, and everyone in the prayer circle was asked to pray for her. It was a serious accident, and the prayer group grew exponentially. What a wonderful thing electronic technology can be in our lives. We often grumble about the negatives, but we seldom talk about the positives.
For example, frankly, I would hate to go back to dealing with life without an electronic calendar. It makes my life simpler, and it truly helps me keep things straight. I simply click on meeting invites, and voila it is on my calendar in one click.
Because I have my calendar automatically alert me 15 minutes before any meeting, I am almost always on time. My doctor’s office sends me electronic links for my calendar. I simply click on the link, and it uploads to my calendar.
Facebook has been wonderful for keeping up with old friends, and I have figured out a way to keep myself from sitting down and vegging in front of it. Most of all, though, I love seeing all the photos of my grandchildren.
Texting is a wonderful way to keep up with immediate family, especially when getting ready to travel. My daughters, daughter-in-law and I texted back and forth for several days before our annual beach trip. We divided up the work of who would bring what.
Texting is also how my colleague’s prayer circle communicated. The person who set up the circle used an app.
Speaking of apps, I am learning Spanish using an app and working to get Chuck set up on an app called “Elevate”, which is for brain training. Chuck’s neuro doctor says that his problem isn’t dementia or Alzheimer’s and that he needs to retrain his brain to be more in the moment.
Most of all though I cannot imagine how I ever got along doing genealogy research without technology. Here’s a list of five of the most important to me.
My Top Five
1. My IPad is the backbone of my genealogy research system. It keeps me organized. It not only has my calendar on it but even my entire genealogical trees. My notepad in my iPad is where I keep random notes, bits of research for later use, and even my grocery list. Evernote on iPad stores my research.
2. Speaking of Ancestry, I have an Ancestry app for viewing, updating, and organizing my family trees. My trees have over 15,000 names. I can also view my DNA results. And all of it goes with me as long as I bring my iPad.
3. The Evernote app mentioned earlier is where I store my research for the family book I’m writing, and OneNote is where I store random findings under the different family surnames. For example, I just found some super information about civil war hospitals. I stored it for later use under Military Research in Evernote. When I get ready to use it, I simply search for the word ‘civil war hospital’; and it reappears.
4. My TinyScanner app which works with the camera on my iPad or iPhone works like a charm. This one feature saves me more time in courthouses and libraries than one could ever imagine. I simply scan the documents I need. Now if I could just ever catch up downloading the photos into storage. Right now many are stored on my camera roll.
5. I read almost all my books and magazines online now. It is convenient because whatever I’m reading goes everywhere with me. I have kindle apps on my iPhone and my iPad. I have a subscription to Family Tree Magazine. I have books for research stored on my iBooks app, and many of those were free. I even found a Hamrick family e-book published around the 1920s stored there. I also use my iPad for tutorials when I need to learn how to do something new.
So as you can tell, I’ve embraced the electronic world; and my life is easier for it. Better yet, though, I wonder how ever did the genealogy world get along without the digital age.
I remember because I’ve been doing genealogy research for over forty years, but I wouldn’t want to go back to those “good old days”.
So What if I Lose My iPad?
Yesterday, I lost my iPad. I couldn’t find it anywhere. My calendar, my books, my magazines, my research, everything was on it.
No need to panic though, because everything was backed up. Best of all, though, I got my iPhone and went to the Find My iPhone app. There I had stored my iPad info. My iPhone then located my iPad and made it send out a dinging sound. I followed the sound and found my iPad.