Friday, 17 September 2010

Genealogy Podcasts at 40,000 ft

I took advantage of the flight out to BC on Thursady to catch up on some genealogy podcasts downloaded to my iPhone. I've got out of the habit of listening to podcasts lately.

First up were two episodes from The Genealogy Guys, George Morgan and Drew Smith. One was recorded at the most recent FGS conference, mostly consisting of a Q&A session with a heavy emphasis on problems involving the mid-Atlantic states. As I don't have any research interest there, or in the US in general, it was rather a loss for me. The other episode included some technology tips with recommended websites including, and

Treeseek is one I didn't know. I confess the statement on the main page "We do all the work for you, by obtaining your genealogical information from FamilySearch" didn't encourage me to look further.

I then listened to a few episodes of the Genealogy Gems Podcast from Lisa Louise Cooke. It so happened she had been a speaker at the most recent OGS conference in Toronto and had taken advantage of being there to interview a number of Canadians. I particularly enjoyed the interview with Janice Nickerson speaking on her experience as lead researcher for the Canadian version of Who Do You Think You Are. There was another good interview with Dave Obee who gave a once over lightly introduction to Canadian history needed to understand the context for Canadian genealogy.

The was also a two-part interview on forensic linguistics, an unlikely but intriguing topic. The idea is that we have characteristics of our communication, written and spoken, which we pick up from our family and as we go through life from usage in the places we live. Usage of the phrase "devil's strip" in Akron, Ohio, was an example given. Analysis of our, and our ancestors communications (letters and recordings) can give clues about background.

The only disappointing episode was a video from the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree last June when the sound quality was so poor I found it impossible to listen to.

I also listened to the most recent TNA podcast "Sailors, storms and science" which discussed the use of ships logs in climate change research. It appears that there are often weather observations, recorded as often as hourly, in ships logs. That's in addition to anything else that impacts on the operation of the ship. Obviously if your ancestor was on board one of these you have a very rich resource for understanding their experience while aboard. The collection for Royal Navy ships, 120,000 logbooks, is held at TNA.

Overall I found the podcasts a good way to pass the time during the long flight from Ottawa to Vancouver. I'll continue to listen to TNAs podcasts, even though they heve less emphasis on family history these days, and probably pay more attention to the Genealogy Gems Podcasts in the future.

1 comment:

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

Podcasts are great. They've entertained me at night as I battle insomnia.

I was in the audience at the Genealogy Guys FGS 2010 podcast. It was a real treat. They were true professionals and the hour went by really fast.