Technology and the Search for Family

Today I spoke at the New Canaan library about the myriad of technologies that exist to make our lives easier as genealogists.  Technology has changed the way we do our research, how we organize, preserve, and share it.  Technology allows us to learn from home and collaborate with others easily -- and now, with DNA, it has brought an entirely new class of evidence into our tool box. It’s certainly an exciting time to be working on your family history!

Organizing your research

Researching more efficiently

Google is a powerful tool for genealogical research!  Use search operators to focus your online searches and increase the number of relevant hits.  See Google’s help page: https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/2466433?hl=en

Here’s an article that explains it in more detail, from Family History Daily:

http://familyhistorydaily.com/genealogy-help-and-how-to/6-secret-google-search-tricks-for-genealogy-thatll-help-you-find-your-ancestors/?__prclt=Et2G4j8J

Set Google search alerts for subjects you are interested in:   www.alerts.google.com

Read digitized newspapers and books that contain details about your ancestors’ lives:

·      https://news.google.com/newspapers

·      http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov

·      http://www.fultonhistory.com

·      https://archive.org//

·      https://www.hathitrust.org

·      https://books.google.com

·      https://patents.google.com

·      https://scholar.google.com

Google also helps you understand material published in other languages:

https://translate.google.com

 

Images – search and management

Google image search can help you identify your old photos, especially if they include landmarks.  If you are lucky, you might be able to find out if your old family photos appear anywhere else on the web, possibly discovering other descendants.

https://images.google.com

 

Facial recognition

·       https://photos.google.com

·      https://fotobounce.com

 

Age determination

·      http://how-old.net

 

Photo and document scanning apps

·       http://turboscanapp.com

·       https://www.camscanner.com

·      https://www.google.com/photos/scan

·      https://www.photomyne.com

 

Image capture and annotation software

·       Screen capture (on a Mac): command+ shift +4

·       Snagit (purchase):  https://www.techsmith.com/snagit.html

·       Jing (free):   https://www.techsmith.com/jing.html

 

Photo archives

·      https://www.flickr.com/commons/

·      https://www.instagram.com

http://www.deadfred.com

Handwriting recognition

Once OCR technology can be used to search handwritten material, finding our ancestors in all the documents they appear in will be as easy as finding them in printed media.  ArgusSearch is a German company that is working on this problem, and was the second-place winner in the 2015 RootsTech innovator challenge.  Watch this space for future developments!

http://www.planet.de/argussearch-keywordspotting-dokumentenklassifikation-kopie.html

If you are interested in the evolution of OCR technology, here is an interesting 2004 article by Eugene Borovikov, entitled “A survey of modern optical character recognition techniques:”

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1412.4183.pdf

Adding social and historical context

·      https://www.historypin.org

·      http://www.ourtimelines.com

·      www.theclio.com

·       www.historypin.org

·       http://www.oldnyc.org

Maps

·      https://www.google.com/earth/

·      https://www.google.com/maps

·      http://www.davidrumsey.com

·      https://www.loc.gov/maps/

·      http://maps.nypl.org/warper/

·      http://hcl.harvard.edu/libraries/maps/

Crowdsourced data

·      www.findagrave.com

·      www.billiongraves.com

·      www.facebook.com

https://plus.google.com/s/genealogy/top

Education

Articles

·      https://familysearch.org/learningcenter

·      http://www.genealogy.com/articles/

Webinars

·      http://familytreewebinars.com

YouTube videos

·      https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=genealogy+education

Find interesting blogs by Googling your area of interest + blog, or checking the blog lists published on:

·      www.cyndislist.com

·      www.geneabloggers.com

Podcasts – check Cyndi’s list for updated show lists, and subscribe on Apple Itunes or Google Play.

Online courses

·      http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/educational_courses

·      http://vigrgenealogy.com

·      https://genealogyonline.bu.edu

·      https://www.familytreeuniversity.com

Specialized groups

·      www.facebook.com

·      www.twitter.com (hashtag #genchat)

 

Sharing your research

Create your own blog

·      www.blogger.com

·      www.wordpress.com

·      www.tumblr.com

Create an online family timeline/story

·      https://twile.com

·      https://www.treelines.com

·      https://jrnl.com

·       https://www.thehistoryproject.com

·      https://www.tapgenes.com  (family medical history)

·      https://www.storyworth.com

 

Self-publishing

·       www.blurb.com/bookwright

·      www.lulu.com

DNA

You can find some great articles for learning about DNA and how it can be used for genealogy at the International Society for Genetic Genealogy’s wiki:

http://isogg.org/wiki/Beginners'_guides_to_genetic_genealogy

Top DNA blogs

·      The Genetic Genealogist:   http://thegeneticgenealogist.com

·      DNAeXplained –Genetic Genealogyhttps://dna-explained.com

·       Your Genetic Genealogisthttp://www.yourgeneticgenealogist.com

·      Segmentology:  https://segmentology.org

·      Kitty Cooper’s Bloghttp://blog.kittycooper.com

·      List of genealogy blogs:  http://isogg.org/wiki/Genetic_genealogy_blogs

DNA testing companies

·      https://www.ancestry.com/dna

·      https://www.familytreedna.com

·      https://www.23andme.com