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Computer Users’ Group

November 18, 2010

Sharing Your Data: You’ve collected a lot of family data over the years and may have shared some with family members you know but there may be family members out there that you don’t yet know and they may have broken down your brick wall. Sharing your data on the Internet is a way to meet others and perhaps learn a lot more. If you’re not going to publish it in a book, why not share it?

One way that is becoming popular is through social sites such as . Just searching on Google for facebook genealogy has 2,700,000 hits. A place to start is which shows the many aspects of genealogy available on Facebook. If you don’t belong to Facebook, click on the link and sign up. Then you can post information about and photos of your ancestors, invite family members that you know to join and let them suggest others that may be interested. Someone with an interest in that surname may join and lead you to new information. You’ll find major players such as and New England Historic Genealogical Society, some with ways to post information and some with just a lead-in to their site.

A more direct way is through a combination genealogy and social site such as the one offered at . Here you can post a family tree and invite others to join. In fact, someone in your family may already have posted a tree so search through the surname list before posting anything to see what’s out there. Enter just a surname or a given name and surname and see what’s available. There are 188 Robert Dills listed. And you can click on a name to learn more. You can include up to 250 people and 250 MB of photos for no cost. The upgrade to premium costs $76 a year and allows up to 2500 people and 500 MB of photos. And while the free site includes basic searching, the premium site includes enhanced searching. So you can sign up and check it out. Keep your gedcom less than 250 people and give the site a try. If you like it, you can upgrade or stay with your limited tree. If you don’t like it, you can leave. One very useful item is called Smart Matches. When you have posted a family tree, it will search all other trees for a match to everyone in your tree. Could learn something that way.

Message Boards and Mailing Lists offer a way to ask a question and perhaps someone out there will know the answer and lead to to more information. But they are a way to share what you’ve learned by answering the questions of others. There are many groups out there and Rootsweb is a good place to start. See Rootsweb’s home page and scroll down to see Mailing Lists and then Message Boards in the left column. When you join a Mailing List, you can choose to be notified of every post to that list or you can choose to get one message at the end of the day listing all postings. With a Message Board you can search through all previous posts, post a message and receive notification when someone answers or you can answer other queries.You can find a surname board or a location board to subscribe to or you can just read what’s there. There are archives of those boards that go back several years. First, enter what you want in Find a Board and then enter in the search box for that board what you’d like to search for. Then check whether you want to search the board you’re using or All Boards. But Rootsweb thinks that you’re stupid and will change back to All Boards any time you change a search term. There are many ways to narrow the search. If you get too many Davids , try searching for his wife’s maiden name and limit it to the board you are using. Try anything that may be unique to the person you are searching.

Another good message board is Genforum which is here: And this board doesn’t call you stupid and it lets you choose what you want.

Another approach is to create your own home page. You can do this through your Internet Service Provider (ISP), any other site offering free web hosting or through a genealogy site such as Rootsweb. The advantage of the latter is that it will be listed for those searching for genealogical information.

The first step in creating your own home page is to find out from your provider how to sign up, create an account and what process is necessary to send up data. With Roadrunner, go to this site: .Choose whether to use a template or design your own page. Although I have a Roadrunner Home Page, the process was not so limiting when I created mine.

AOL used to offer a nice tutorial on setting up a personal home page but I could not find anything about setting up a personal home page on AOL.

Rootsweb offers Freepages that you can use for free and you can use their surname listing to index all of the surnames in your genealogy for others to find. Start here and go through the process of agreeing to terms and signing up for free space. and click on Freepages Accounts.

With all of the above, you need to know how to create a web page. A web page is created using HyperText Markup Language (HTML). You don’t have to know it to create a web page but if you want to learn a little go to With HTML you can create a web page using any text editor, even Notepad. But If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, you get use a web creation program or web page editor..You may already have such a program on your computer. Some versions of Microsoft Office come with FrontPage and some older Windows programs came with FrontPage Express. All newer versions of Word OpenOffice Writer and WordPerfect can create web pages. You just use the program to create a page of text, graphics and links (usually, Insert Hyperlink) Depending on the program you either save or export the file as HTML.Try out one or more of these options and see how it goes. If you don’t have one, try one of these 10 free ones:: Note that some are listed as best for professionals and others, like Coffeecup are for beginners

If you create your own web page and want to post your genealogy on it, then you have to convert that to HTML. There are several programs out there, some free and some you pay for. GED2WEB is a free one that works pretty well. There are plenty of places on the web where you can find and download the program but this site takes you right to the source; the home page of the author and his wife. Check out some of the interesting links. . There’s also GED2WWW and GED2HTML. You tell the program the location of your gedcom file and it creates an HTML version of your family tree. Create a link in your web page to the file created by the program and send both up to your host. Usually that is done using an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program. One such program is FireFTP that is a free add on to the Firefox browser. In addition, several of the web editing programs include FTP programs.

And the way to really share with the largest audience is to post your family tree on Rootsweb or Ancestry. I prefer to start with Rootsweb because Ancestry owns it and will copy your tree to Ancestry whereas they will not move it to Rootsweb if you just post it on Ancestry. Go to and scroll down to World Connect Project Main Page in the left column. On the page that comes up, you can look at the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for more information and then click on Start Here. Register and then send up your GEDCOM. Write down the user name and password so you’ll have it later.

Email Etiquette. Some of what follows is my opinion which apparently differs from that of Bill Gates. There will be three items here that we’ll cover and show some examples of why a few clicks would make things better.

The email that I’m going to show has a short message that starts “It looks like an old chicken farm shed and nothing more........” and the first picture indeed looks that way. But there are 23 pictures here totaling about 2.5 megabytes of disk space. It was received from a friend with whom I worked for many years. It showed the inside which included an restaurant and bar and dozens of antique cars. I enjoyed seeing it all. Later I noticed an email from someone I had never heard of and I would have dumped it if the subject line hadn’t been the same as the chicken farm shed pictures. So I opened it and it said “I want the Ford, Jon”. Reasonable. But then I found he had included the 2.5 megabytes of the original message. He apparently decided instead of just replying to Jon, he would “Reply to All” and he sent everybody on Jon’s original email a copy of what they already had.. IS THAT NECESSARY? I sent a similar long message to someone and they wrote back “Thanks” and sent me back the original couple of megabytes. Microsoft and most other email program makers make that the default but in my opinion it is only necassary in very special cases. Most Pastfinder messages that I receive include my message. Only a couple of people don’t do it. If you don’t know if you do it, check your sent item folder for messages that are replies to other messages. Replies have the prefix Re: inserted before the subject in the reply. You can search for RE: in the subject of sent messages to find replies. It’s only a couple of clicks to correct the situation.

To prevent including the message that you received in your reply, in Outlook Express, click on Tools and then scroll down and click on Accounts. Then move to the right and click on the Send tab. Scroll down the page until you come to Include Message in Reply. Click on the box to remove the checkmark. Reverse the process if you really do want to include the message. In Thunderbird, click on Tools and go down to Account Settings and then click on Composition and Addressing. Uncheck the box in front of the line that saysAutomatically Quote Message in Reply. If your mail server isn’t covered here, use the above as guidance to find the location of the box to uncheck. Also try Help and search for something like Include Message. It was only 2 years ago (on November 19, 2008) that we covered this last but that didn’t seem to have any effect.

I receive many messages that have been forwarded and forwarded leaving all of the addresses of other recipients floating around the Internet for spammers to acquire. Here’s a message where I was the 9th recipient. It’s common courtesy when you forward a message to delete all of the other addresses. When you want to forward a message, you click Forward . Once you do that, the message becomes editable. Just swipe across all of those names and addresses and press Delete.

If you press Delete before you’ve pressed Forward you may delete the entire message. Go to Edit/ Undo and start over. I think it’s important to minimize the number of addresses floating around for others to steal. You may come across instances where one address is part of the message and deleting it also deletes the message. Undo it as above and then try to delete the top few addresses and leave the last one alone.

Lastly, when you want write to someone, it’s easier to find an old message and click on Reply then it is to remember the email address. But when you do, the subject of what you want to send becomes Re:old subject. It may sound trivial to make the subject fit the message but in the future, searching through messages by subject would not find that message because the subject was wrong. It’s so simple to do it right.

A Few Reminders. You don’t have to type the HTTP://or the WWW when you type in a URL And you don’t have to add the .com if you use CTRL-Enter instead of just Enter.

CTRL-c will copy whatever is selected (highlighted) to the clipboard where it will remain unless replaced and you may use CTRL-v to paste it into as many places as you want.

To copy your email address book from one computer to another, open the address book and in Outlook Express, click on Files and then Export and tell it where to put it. It could go on a flash drive. In the new computer repeat except after Files, click on Import. In Thunderbird, the process is almost the same except that you click on Tools instead of Files.

Add programs that you use most to the Quick Start Menu (Bottom Left) by pointing to an icon on your desktop, left clicking once and drag it to the menu.

Arrange icons on your desktop by dragging them to where you want them to be. Stick with a plan such as like items together. Insure they can be restored to where you put them by using a program such as Icon Restore that you can download and install from this site.;1

You can speed up your PC by getting rid of many of the useless fancy things that windows spends time doing. Go to Start/Control Panel and double click on System. Then go to Advanced (Advanced System Settings in Win 7) and Under Performance, click on the box that says Settings. Select the Visual Effects tab. Then click on the circle in front of Adjust for Best Performance to select that option. In Windows 7 you need Administrative Privileges to do this. See User Accounts on the Control Panel to set up as Administrator. If anything is changed that you’d like to restore, go to Custom and select that item. One that you might wat to check is Use Drop Shadows for Icon Labels on Desktop. Click Apply when done.