The best thing that ever happened to my genealogy research skills was the invention of the iPad. All of a sudden everything I needed to take with me to a library or courthouse was in that one device.
Using my iPad, I have access to my family tree through an Ancestry app. I take quick notes using its notepad. I can take a quick digital picture of almost any document; and I can immediately organize and store almost any picture, document or note using either the OneNote or Evernote app.
Gone are the days when I lugged around a briefcase full of papers and notebooks.
But now even better is how much I can do from home without ever stepping into a library, archive, or cemetery. The Internet has transformed how we do genealogy research today.
So I am always on the lookout for new and fun ways to learn how to do genealogy better. Here are a few of those techniques, many of which were learned through genealogy conferences and conventions much like this one here in Ft.
1. I subscribe to “Family Tree” magazine and read my new editions online through my iPad. If I really like an article and want to use it as a template for later research, I simply make a screenshot of it. Sometimes I keep the screenshot in my camera roll, so I don’t forget to do the project; or sometimes I store it in Evernote as a research technique to be used later.
I also receive newsletters from both the National Genealogical Society and my state society and use their information in much the same way.
2. I am always on the lookout for good books. About half found are out of date, and many can be found online and downloaded for free in my iBooks app. I have even found books on my Hamrick and Lightsey family lines using this technique.
Using Google Books as a search engine has really broadened my reach. Another good search engine is WorldCat.
By the way I was always a collector of hard copies of books; that is until we decided to update one of the bedrooms upstairs. After going up into our attic, our contractor showed us where the library up there was overloading the floor and buckling the walls of the house. We had to quickly get rid of a lot of our books all at once. We now have only two modest bookcases in the office downstairs.
3. I am a big fan of podcasts, and I recently wrote about one by Lisa Louise Cook, who is here personally at the convention in Ft. Lauderdale this week. You can read about her podcast “Genealogy Gems” here.
The best part about listening to a podcast is I can take my iPhone with me and listen to it while taking a walk, driving my car or even cleaning the house. It is a very versatile educational tool and fits perfectly in my busy lifestyle.
4. I listen to a webinar at least once a month through my local state genealogical society. The Florida State Genealogical Society offers its members a monthly educational webinar called the “Poolside Chat” designed to help us become better researchers. It is especially beneficial when learning about a particular aspect of research. I try to listen to it live, but I can tune in anytime later at my convenience if I miss it on the night it is presented.
So this is how computers, the Internet and the iPad have dramatically changed how we do genealogy research and how we receive genealogical education.
By the way several of the program’s here at the convention in Ft. Lauderdale are being streamed live. For example, tomorrow morning a course entitled “Mapping Apps for Genealogists” will be streamed at 8 a.m. Since I’ve worked so late on this blog this evening, I may just stay in bed tomorrow morning and watch the course online here at the hotel.
What an interesting world we live in!