Saturday, April 21, 2007

Alan Jones on USGenWeb and WorldGenWeb

Seven of us from CVGS went to the CGSSD meeting today as a research trip. We carpooled from Chula Vista to UCSD - about 20 miles each way.

During the first hour, we attended the FamilyTreeMaker software users group meeting led by Lance Dohe. He usually demonstrates how to use the different features of FTM and if he doesn't know the answer, he invites guidance from the audience. Today, there were questions about creating a list of individuals who were born or died in a certain locale, correcting locality names using Find and Replace, adding data from one database to another, and several others.

During the refreshment break, Alan Jones set up a slide show on the screen with humorous cartoons taken from the newspapers (Frank and Ernest, Family Circle, and others) that had everybody in stitches. After a short business meeting led by John Kracha introduced the guest speaker.

Alan's presentation on "Using USGenWeb and WorldGenWeb" highlighted the FREE information that can be found on those web sites. He used screen shots, with text box comments to illustrate the heirarchy - state, county, and sometimes town - of web sites, and showed the various resources that might be found on the sites. Alan also went through several of the USGenWeb Projects and described them and showed results. He emphasized contacting the volunteers on these pages who have books or records, or have written queries, or are on a surname list, in order to obtain more information. The information on WorldGenWeb was sparser as he ran out of time, but he encouraged people to use the Translation service on Google - he has used it to write a letter to Italy and to translate one from Italy. Alan's talk was interspersed with anecdotes and stories from his own research.

It was a wonderful presentation and our CVGS members enjoyed themselves tremendously.

All of us were amused that Alan was driven to do genealogy research because when he was a teenager, they had a 16 generation pedigree chart for the family dog with certificates, but he didn't know who all of his great-grandparents were. So they embarked on the genealogy journey together. I sincerely doubt that he has his 16-generation pedigree chart completely filled out yet. Does anybody?

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