While I was working on a project last night, it suddenly struck me: I use a lot of different technology tools to do various tasks involved in genealogical research. I had been banished from my desktop computer because my wife needed to feed her Solitare and Mahjong addictions. I shuffled off to the family room, hopped on the laptop, opened up my Dropbox folder, and continued working right where I left off.
*Ding!* It occurred to me that probably only a handful of people in the local, “offline” genealogy societies had probably ever even heard of Dropbox, let alone how it could be useful in their research. Most of these sorts of tools, while technology-based, really aren’t all that scary, and don’t take a great deal of effort to learn to use effectively. It’s time to take these tools to the masses.
I think I will call this presentation: “Ten Hi-Tech Tools for Low-Tech Genealogists, ” One benefit of the format is that it allows a different selection of ten tools each time out of the gate. They can be adjusted according to anticipated audience proficiency, but also added and dropped as new things come along.
Here are the ten I started with (in no particular order), and I will be adding more as they come to me.
- Dropbox – here, there, and everywhere
- Transcription (transcription software with built-in image viewer)
- Digital camera – the wand scanner before there was a wand scanner
- Picassa – free and easy
- Google (focus on reader and alerts)
- Evernote – I just started playing around with this one
- SnagIt – sure SHIFT+PrtScn works, but this works better
- FamilySearch (highlighting catalog and wiki, rather than collections)
- Social Media – it need not frighten you
- Blogs – it’s a funny word, isn’t it? What you can find in other folk’s blogs, and why you might want to start one
Of course, at about five minutes per tool, this is not a study in excruciating detail – just a way to share some things people might want to check out a little further for themselves. What tools do you use that you think should be added to the list?