Monday, August 21, 2006

Genea-Musings on Vacation

The time has come to go on vacation, and I can't figure out a good way to keep Genea-Musings going during the next two weeks. I will be internet impaired for most of the time.

We leave on 8/22 to New England, and return on 9/3. We will see cousins in Salem NH and Westford MA, and my aunt in Augusta ME, plus doing the regular sightseeing things - you know, like taking photos of ancestral homes and town halls, visiting cemeteries, and the like. When I get back, I'll post some pictures and have more stories to tell.

While I'm gone ... please visit the other Genea-bloggers on my Blogroll on the right margin. They all would love to have you read their content and comment. The great thing about genea-blogging is that more and more people are doing it, and many of them have a lot to say, and do it well. Many of them (us!) are not well known in the "genealogy industry" and many have unique points of view and emphasis - it is really "Genealogy for the Rest of Us."

I'll be back in two weeks. Cheers -- Randy

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Hiding in the SSDI

Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak has a column on here that vividly illustrates the potential pitfalls of using the data in the Social Security Death Index.

Megan's mother died recently, and while all the data in the SSDI entry is correct, a researcher following the leads in the index might not recognize the entry or might be very frustrated by it. Read the column for the details.

I have not had an experience like this - my parents SSDI entries were logical and correct with no surprises.

If you are unable to find someone in the SSDI, consider that the first name you knew them by may be a middle name, that a divorcee might use her maiden name, that a widow might have married again, that they might have died in another state, etc.

Have you used Survey Monkey?

Have you ever wanted to do your own surveys about genealogy, or just anything, online?

I was going through my list of genealogy blogs and clicked on Dan Lawyer's blog Taking Genealogy to the Common Person, and he had an interesting post about "How Well Do You Know Your Relatives?" on 11 August. At the end, he had a survey request. I took the survey and submitted my results. The "Done" link connected me to Survey Monkey.

At Survey Monkey, you can design your own survey, collect the responses and analyze the report. They do all the work for you.

For unlimited survey capability, there is a cost. But a Basic Survey subscription is free. You get:

A basic subscription is totally free and includes all of the basic features of SurveyMonkey. It's a great option for individuals, students, and anyone who doesn't need the advanced features of SurveyMonkey. Unlike other services, there are no annoying banner ads on your surveys. In addition, all of your survey responses remain absolutely private. Please note that basic subscribers are limited to a total of 10 questions and 100 responses per survey.

There are a number of other survey tools online, and I haven't done any due diligence. For a start in surveying, this is a pretty cool tool.

Go visit Dan's blog and take his survey, and think about how Survey Monkey, or a similar service, could help your genealogy society thrive, or at least get to know its members better.