Saturday, March 19, 2011

Gary Hoffman and Barbara Renick at CGSSD Today

I really enjoyed both parts of the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) meeting today at UCSD. 

In the first hour, Gary Hoffman made a short presentation on "Cloud Computing," describing what is "New" in the computing world, including the message of the Japan earthquake - put your valuable data in the cloud somewhere!  He then took us on a tour through some of the new features of (mainly about the Ancestry Tree app for iPads, iPhones and iPods), (date changes, adding sources), and (the Family Tree becoming available to the public gradually, not all IGI information in the tree).

In the second hour, Barbara Renick gave us a 90 minutes whirlwind look at a number of free websites - both genealogy related and non-genealogy-related - in "Internet Tools for Genealogists."  The links for many of Barbara's topics today are on her Links page at her ZRoots site -  There are 115 links there on one page, including genealogy sites, search and travel sites, tool sites, organization and index sites, and library sites!

She highlighted the FamilySearch Research Wiki over and over ( as a place to determine useful information for research helps, genealogy subjects, localities (country, state, county), and historical record collections on FamilySearch.  When Barbara finds a new website with useful genealogical information, she checks the FamilySearch Research Wiki to see if it has been included already.  If not, she adds it to the appropriate wiki page on the site.  This is a wonderful practice of "giving back and adding on" to grow the Research Wiki content.  Many in the audience of about 100 were unaware of its' existence and surprised by the content.  This was an excellent lead-in to my presentation next month at CGSSD about the updated FamilySearch website in general.

The most useful material for me was the information that can be obtained from many non-genealogy-related websites like Search Engine Colossus (, for searching websites in other countries), RefDesk (, for finding handy tools like Medical and Legal dictionaries, Calendars and lots more), EpoDunk (, for information about localities), BabelFish (, which has no limits on translation text length), the  site (including surname maps for 1850, 1880 and 1990 census years), and many more.

I will try to feature some of the suggested websites in my Tuesday's Tip weekly series over the next few months.

All in all, it was an excellent genealogy day spent with friends and colleagues, and two exciting and helpful presentations.

UPDATED 20 March: Modified the Hamrick link to go to the Surname maps - thank you, Carol!


Carol said... takes me to a site for VueScan software, not a surname mapping site...Help!

Elizabeth said...

It's great to get information from your speakers, since I don't have that type of information locally.