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GREEN VALLEY GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY

From the Green Valley News, Sunday December 5 2010, page C2


Genealogy Today, by Betty Lou Malesky, CG

The Coming Year in Genealogy

It doesn't take a crystal ball to see what the coming year will bring for family researchers. We can expect more changes, whether we like them or not, some for the better and some worse.

In mid-November Ancestry announced changes to its search page. An unwritten rule must say its website must be continually in flux so users don't become too comfortable with it. At least this seems to be the pattern at Ancestry. The old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," doesn't apply.

In my experience the "old search" page Ancestry provided until about 2008, works much better than any of the enhanced search pages. This year name and place filters were added and the search page changed to include family members' names. Now search forms have been modified a bit more "to make entering that information just a bit easier."

The more search options provided, the more hits you receive. The more hits, the more irrelevant stuff you have to plow through to find what you want. I entered a man's name in the new search page with residence Virginia, birthplace Ireland, and received over a hundred hits, few of whom lived in Virginia, some not even born in Ireland. The man I was looking for was not among them, even though he appears in several Ancestry databases. So much for making it easier.

The latest rumor circulating about Ancestry is that it's ripe for takeover with Google said to be interested. What that would mean to us as users remains to be seen, but Google's appearance is constantly changing too, so that likely would not change. Ancestry stock issued at $16.10 a year ago just topped $29.72/share.

FamilySearch added 34 collections of genealogical records in mid-November including 15 million indexed records and 2.5 million images. FamilySearch's beta website continues to grow by leaps and bounds with huge additions each month. Volunteers have indexed 160 million records so far this year and will likely exceed that record in 2011. Alas, this site is also continually being updated to make it easier to use. Just as navigation is mastered, it's time for another revision.

Martha Stewart appears to be the latest to jump on the genealogy bandwagon. If you are a crafty person, her website features 12 family tree designs suitable for framing at www.marthastewart.com/. Click on the "Crafts" tab, and enter family tree in the search box at the top of the page. Interestingly enough, one family tree page links to Martha's hints for "Tracing Your Family History." The information is very basic, but might encourage someone to look elsewhere for further assistance. It's difficult to find a link a second time on Martha's website, but perseverance helps.

On Friday evening January 12 at 8:00 p.m., NBC will begin its next season of Who Do You Think You Are. While they haven't announced the names of celebrities who will be featured, comedienne Rosie O'Donnell was spotted being filmed in the Jersey City, N.J. public library for a show to run in the fall. This series was one of NBC's most popular offerings in 2010.

If we look ahead to 2012, the long-awaited 1940 U.S. census is scheduled for release on April 2nd. For many of us in Green Valley this is the first census on which we can find ourselves. Questions asked are published at www.1930census.com/1940_census.php and are similar to those of previous 20th century censuses. Most of us likely already know birth dates and places of immediate family members but we may find some surprises.


GVGS
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