Friday, 24 April 2009

10th New England Regional Genealogical Conference - Friday am

Friday morning saw two sessions. Starting at 8:30 am 300 people were in a packed ballroom listening to Daniel M Lynch speaking on "Google Your Family Tree." He is author of a book by the same title that sells in Canada through Moorshead Magazines.

The talk covered the first 1-1/2 chapters of the book. He dissected the Google results page, and the result for a particular hit. His three favourite tips for searching were to examine the cached version of a page where the search terms are highlighted which makes it easier to spot the relevant segments; use the quotation format "search term" to obtain more exact results; use wildcards like "John * Reid" which will find John D Reid as well as John Reid; and use the ~ which finds synonyms, so ~genealogy finds hits with "family history", ancestry, roots and similar.

Another of his suggestions was to start with a broad search, then refine using progressive filters.

The second talk was by Megan Smolenyak on "Reverse Genealogy", techniques for moving forward in time. She gave a prioritized list of the most useful resources, census index, phone directories, online images, online newspaper archives (the most rapidly rising in utility), the SSDI (US only), online vital records, search engines, and other online sources.

I had a chat with her later, and she declined to say whether she was involved with the US version of Who Do You Think You Are?

No comments: