Computer Users’ Group

March 15, 2006


We’ll start by reviewing what we covered in the last two months which included digital cameras, scanners, printers, graphics programs, Internet security, finding duplicate files and creating a family map.


A note about the Computer Tip of the Month for March, 2006. Dotty said that you could type your email address into Google and find where your email address is listed on the Internet. This can be important because spammers harvest email addresses and the more times yours appears, the more chances you get for spam. Some sites, such as Rootsweb, make the address into a graphic that can’t be harvested. If you can avoid putting your address up, do it. Try listing your email address in the following or similar manner: rdill is at cfl.rr.com to prevent automatic harvesting. You can also use a throw-away address from Yahoo, MSN or Google to use only when you post. Note that the email of the Pastfinder’s webmaster is not mine but a pastfinder address at Yahoo. Dotty found mine listed several times, mostly for listing upcoming Pastfinder meetings on the Florida Genealogical Society Web site.


Genealogical Web Sites

There are many web sites devoted to genealogy and/or specific surnames or specific places. We’ll look at some of the most interesting sites that may have the greatest appeal to our members. Some may be repeats of items covered on our web page or in previous meetings but they may be new to some and a refresher for others.


Cyndi’s List: This is the mother of all genealogical web sites. She now has 251, 300+ links to other web sites. If you can’t find it here, it probably doesn’t exist. Go to www.cyndislist.com . The site is now better organized and the first page has categories of subjects that include countries, obituaries, personal web pages by surname and family associations, getting started, finding supplies etc. The United States section lists states, the Civil War, National Archives, Social Security etc. Surely you’ll find something of interest here.


Rootsweb: This is the site that hosts the Pastfinders Web Page. It has a host of links to sites by surname, location, type of record, etc. Go to www.rootsweb.com .


Ancestry: You have to pay to get the full benefits of Ancestry or else log in from the library. You can go to the limited version of Ancestry from home and see if the records that you want may exist. WWW.ancestry.com . It includes all US censuses and you can find out from home if a person of the name you are seeking is listed in any census.


Heritage Quest: Available from home by merely entering your library card number. It has 25,000 historical and genealogical books that are fully searchable; the US censuses and Persi, the index of genealogical publications.


FamilySearch: This is the Mormon site and has data transcribed from government records and data submitted by users. Records come from countries all over the world so you can find reference to events that took place outside of the US. One great use of this site is searching for microfilms to order from the Family History Center.


RSS Genealogy: This site list hundreds of genealogical sites as well but this shows what’s new on each site. It shows, for instance, any changes that have been made to Cyndislist as well as pointing to the latest Ancestry Quick Tips from the Ancestry Daily News. With fewer sites than Cyndi, it may be easier to navigate among the “What’s New”. Go to www.rssgenealogy.com .


Genealogy Blog: The genealogy blog is at www.genealogyblog.com and is a owned and operated by Joe Edmon with the support of Heritage Creations which is owned by Leland Meitzer and currently in bankruptcy. It generally offers several new sites a day, most of which are interesting and which you might not find by other means. Bill Dollarhide is a frequent contributor.


Archive Grid: RLG, an international, not-for-profit membership organization of over 150 research institutions, announced its new product offering, archive grid, a Web site with nearly one million descriptions of historical collections. You can go here to get to it . http://www.archivegrid.org/welcome . The web site will be free until May 31 unless a sponsor shows up. We’ll go through a few examples of the kinds of records that are indexed. To see the actual document you may have to go to the institution, order a copy through an interlibrary loan or buy a fiche. And we’ll also look at the RLG site itself to see the products offered .


National Archives: The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has a Records Center in Atlanta where records can be viewed. The web site, www.archives.gov , will show you what you can find there, what you can order on-line and has a genealogical section that can be helpful.


From Our Members

Sandra Oliver offered this site:

Historic Pennsylvania: This site was suggested by one of our members and it has a lot of data for interest to members with Pennsylvania roots. Go to http://www.historicpa.net/ .


Fred Wettering came up with a couple: The first is Site Advisor that tells you whether sites you may potentially visit will dump spam on you or not. You have to download a short add-in program for either Firefox or Internet Explorer and install it and after a restart, the program will be active whenever you use your browser. When you search for something, the good web sites get a green checkmark and the bad guys get a red X. We’ll demonstrate with Firefox. Go to http://www.siteadvisor.com/download/ie.html check out the agreement and then download it for whichever browser you use. It installs as a browser plug-in. Pretty cool! Note that the site will adapt to whichever browser you are using so that you'll download the right plug-in.


Fred also offered this site for those that frustrated at trying to find a human at the other end of the line. Personally, I’d rather talk to their computer. It’s http://www.gethuman.com/ and you can type in a company name and you’ll find out the secret of talking to a real, honest to goodness human being. You may be lucky and find someone you can understand.