Thursday, August 19, 2010

Exploring - Post 1

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has launched their revamped website named American Ancestors - today. The press release is here.

The website design is completely different from the previous site design - here is the home page (two screens, some overlap):

There is a row at the top right for "Login" "Join" "Free Registration" "Visit NEHGS" and "Text Size." Under the logo is a menu for "NEHGS News" "Explore" "Connect" and "Store." Each menu link has a dropdown menu for different features within that category.

Under the menu is a Search field to enter Keywords (names, dates, or events) and under the Search field are links for "Popular Databases" and "Free Databases."

Under the Search Box are three columns - one for daily columns, the middle one for upcoming NEHGS events, and the right column for NEHGS on Facebook, including photos of some of the NEHGS Facebook Fans (I tried to get mine to come up - are they only the most recent fans?).

From the Home Page, I clicked on "Explore" and saw (two screens below, some overlap):

The top of the Explore page says:

"The NEHGS website is one of the most widely used online genealogical resources in the country. More than 15,000 members research on the website every day. This site features nearly 3,000 unique searchable online collections, offering information on more than 135 million people. The extensive NEHGS Library catalog is also fully searchable through the site."

The "Popular Databases" listed on the page include (note these can be accessed by members only):

The "Free Databases" listed on the page include (note these can be accessed by any registered user - not just members only):

Over on the left sidebar is a list of more pages to explore - for Resources (Advanced Search, Articles Index, Database Catalog, External Databases, Hire the Experts, Learning Center, Library, Library Catalog, Publications, Special Collections) and for Connect (NEHGS Experts, NEHGS on Facebook, Photos from Past Evets, Related Links, Research Services, Virtual Tour of NEHGS).

Back on the Home Page is an educational boxes for The Daily Genealogist (a brief fact or article - like a blog):

Just below The Daily Genealogist feature is David Allen Lambert's "Question of the Day" feature where David answers a question about genealogical research and resources:

Over on the right-hand side of the Home Page is a box showing the latest article on the "NEHGS on Facebook" page at I wrote about the opportunity to ask research questions, and receive answers form NEHGS staff or other researchers, on the NEHGS Facebook page in NEHGS Using Facebook Page as a Message Board.

There are many more pages to explore on the web site, and I look forward to doing that in future posts here on Genea-Musings. I am especially interested in the search capability, the image viewer, faster navigation and the unique content mentioned in the press release.

My first impression of the revamped website is that it is a winner - fairly spare face, excellent contrast, great use of graphics, loads quickly, intuitive and quick navigation, and technologically aware. Other than that, I like it!

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