Weekly Prompt #14 – Genealogy Technology

I’m feeling particularly uninspired this week with my genealogy, so I was happy to see that this week’s Weekly Genealogy prompt was right up my alley.  Thanks to We Tree for creating the weekly prompts, and thanks to Thomas for keeping allo of our events organized and sending reminders via the Facebook Genea-Bloggers group.

This week’s prompt is to write about the technology we use for our genealogy.  I consider myself to be quite technologically adept and as much as I can, I try to utilize a cloud computing approach.  

-For organizing all of my family tree information, I use TNG: The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding for my Genealogy page.  The benefits of having my family trees online and accessible from any computer with an internet connection are numerous! 

-I use blogs extensively to communicate, share, and record my genealogy endeavors.  I started my first personal blog in 2003, and at that time, my hobby of choice was cross-stitching,  so I mostly shared my progress with the pieces I was working on.  In early 2006 I started this genealogy blog and over the past three years,  I’ve created 7 other genealogy-focused blogs since then.  I even have one more in progress that I expect to begin seriously working on this summer sometime.   I use WordPress for all my blogs, with about half of them being self-hosted.  I would love them all to be self-hosted, but for now, I can’t deal with the headache of moving them to my server right now while I’m still in school.  That will happen after I graduate in 2010. 

– In the social networking realm I belong to Facebook, MySpace (though I hardly use that anymore), and Twitter.  I have profiles that I maintain on Ancestry & Footnote.  I am on Geni & FamilyHistoryLink, and WeRelate, but for various reasons have not been impressed in the long-run with their offerings. 

– For my paperwork, I try as much as possible to stay digital and rarely print anything out. I also try to actively get my papers scanned into digital formats.  For most of my image editing, I use a free program, PhotoPlus, and if I’m at a computer where I don’t have it installed, I have been known to use PicNik and Adobe’s online editing platforms. 

-I use GoogleReader extensively to keep up with the latest news.  Not only for genealogy but for my professional and other interests as well.   RSS feeds are absolutely fantastic for me, truly like my own personal newspaper.  I even get upset when I visit a website these days and they don’t have an RSS feed!  Not only is Google Reader great for just staying aware, but I also use it quite a bit as my own personal search engine. 

Over the past few months, I’ve been increasingly contacted by people who find information I’ve put online and I enjoy corresponding with them and learning more about their backgrounds and their genealogical process.  I’ve found new distant relatives, made new friendships, and have had the opportunity to increase my own knowledge of different source materials as a result.    Technology is a very powerful medium and I will continue to maximize it as best I can.