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22 December 2014

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Top 10 Social Media Sites for Family Historians – Revised 2014

I think that social media was made for family historians. We are different from other people - we actually enjoy finding distant relatives and keeping in touch with them! Social media helps us to find relatives and old friends in ways that were not possible in the days of mailing lists and message boards. The first time I said that was more than four years ago, in this post. Four years is a long time on the internet, and things have changed. Some of these sites have fallen off my radar so it's … [Read more...]

Why a blog is more attractive than a website

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you are better off publishing parts of your tree as separate articles in a blog than as a full family tree website as produced by most family tree programs. My reasoning will be demonstrated by searching for a name and a place that I am interested in for my own family history: The very first result in this list is a blog post:¬† Compare that page with this one:¬† Which one looks more interesting? Which one would look more interesting to … [Read more...]

Social Media for Family Historians, 2nd edition

The second edition of my book,¬†Social Media for Family Historians, is now out.¬†It explains what social media is; what use it is; and introduces you to more than 25 social media sites that can help family historians to communicate, share and collaborate with other family historians and with their own families. It has been expanded and updated, with some sites removed that I no longer consider useful, and new ones added, such as Google+. The section on getting started with Facebook in … [Read more...]

LibraryThing for local and family history societies

I've been saying for a while now that I think LibraryThing is ideal for allowing small societies and libraries to maintain and display their library catalogues. Not only is the software practically free (US$25 one-off fee for unlimited books) but it is online, allowing members and potential members the ability to search their catalogues for free. The Lake Macquarie and District Historical Society has been using LibraryThing¬†to show off its catalogue since 2009. I admit that I didn't know … [Read more...]

Can Google+ replace Facebook and Twitter?

I've been playing with Google+ for a few days now, and I've had some time to experiment and to see how others in my circles are reacting to it. Most seem to be using it as a substitute for Facebook - posting to a limited audience in their own circles. Many of them like that you can more easily post about specific subjects to specific people, a capability that Facebook has but hides very well. The more public figures - developers and power-bloggers, for example, are making everything … [Read more...]

First look at Google+

Google+ is Google's new experiment in the world of social networks. I say 'experiment' because it is only in limited release; you have to wait for someone to be able to invite you, and then you have to accept the invitation during one of the brief, unpredictable periods when new members are being accepted. I also call it an 'experiment' because Google have tried something similar before. It was called Google Wave and it didn't catch on. Google Wave was removed from circulation. It is … [Read more...]

Twitter for family historians

What is Twitter? Twitter is what is known as a microblog. You can send and receive messages, called tweets. A tweet can be a maximum of 140 characters. Tweets can be seen, and searched, by everyone unless you restrict them only to your friends. You can search for messages by a single person, by a word or phrase, or by a topic or hashtag, which is word, often abbreviated, with a # in the front of it. A tweet you particularly like can be retweeted to your followers. Tweets can include … [Read more...]

What time zone is that?

I have finally solved my inability to calculate international time zones. We are increasingly becoming more global. Social media allows us to communicate and collaborate with people from all over the world, in real time. This means that we can chat with people and take part in live video-conferences and video-streams from around the world when they actually happen. An essential requirement is knowing what time something is going to happen. It is no good deciding to watch a video telecast … [Read more...]

My own mini-scanfests

When you come back home after a productive research trip to an archive or library do you often end up with a stack of photocopies? Yes, me too. I use my digital camera whenever I can but sometimes it just isn't possible to take photos. Sometimes the repository doesn't allow it, and other times the documents are folded up so well that it is just easier to get the experts to photocopy them. When I get home I tend to leave them for a while in the 'filing' pile, and the longer they stay there … [Read more...]

Follow an archive day on Twitter

Today is Follow An Archive day on Twitter. Twitter users around the world are tweeting about their favourite archives, and archives around the world are tweeting about themselves, using the hashtag #followanarchive. I've learned about a lot of archives I didn't know about, and a lot that I did know about but didn't know they used Twitter. Here are a couple of examples: @BaselineLPMA ¬†NSW Land and Property Management Authority Heritage Information website at http://www.baseline.nsw.gov.au, … [Read more...]