Saturday, June 30, 2007

CVGS Program today: "The Magic of Rootsweb" with Alan Jones

We had our special 5th Saturday program today, with 30 in attendance. After my welcome and a short summary of the upcoming CVGS programs and events for the next two months, Connie introduced our speaker - Alan Jones on "The Magic of Rootsweb."

Alan used a Powerpoint presentation, consisting mainly of screen captures, to lead us through the many web pages, search engines, databases and other features on the site. He effectively highlighted the features he wanted to discuss with arrows and text boxes with big letters inside.

He covered the following Rootsweb features in considerable detail:

1) Mailing Lists - how to find a surname, locality or topic list (he recommended using the index list), subscribe to it, post on it, and find the list archives, with examples of success stories from his own research.

2) Message Boards - how to find a surname, locality or topic board, access it and post to it, with success stories from his own research.

3) WorldConnect database - how to access it, how to search for people (he recommended not using too much information unless it is a common name), and how to move around on the results pages. He talked about how to contact the contributor, see all of the names in the database using the Index link, how to download the GEDCOM database, and how to add a Post-em note.

4) Social Security Death Index - how to access it, search for people on the index using Advanced Search, how to make a Post-em note and how to download a pre-written letter to send to the Social Security Administration in order to get the SS-5 application.

5) UK Free BMD Index - what it is, how to access it, how to search with it, and how to use it to see the actual entry in the index.

6) The US Town/County Search - what it is, how to use it, how to search with it, and how to find information on Rootsweb concerning that county (click on the highlighted county name on the results list).

7) Web Pages at Rootsweb - there are many surname sites, locality sites, genealogy society sites, transcription sites, etc. at Rootsweb.

Needless to say, this was a quick tour through only some of the free information, contributed by researchers, available on the Rootsweb site. The 75 minutes went by real fast! Alan has a friendly style and uses some humor and research examples in his presentations.

Many attendees thought that this was one of the best presentations we have had - and it opened a lot of eyes as to what the Rootsweb team has been doing over the last 15 years!

Thank you, Alan, for a wonderful talk! We treated Alan to lunch with 6 CVGS leaders, and had a fun time discussing societies, internet genealogy, family stories and the like.

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