Saturday, January 14, 2012

What I learned from listening to GeneaBloggers radio last night

Friday nights here in the US find genealogists tuning in to a wacky, fun, informative internet radio show broadcasting live. Those who miss a GeneaBloggers episode may download the recorded version, just search for it at iTunes. 

Ol' Myrt here prefers to listen live and interact with others in the chat room that opens during each broadcast. The only catch is that host Thomas MacEntee broadcasts at 8pm Central US, and you'll need to calculate the time zone difference for where you live. I noticed Audrey Collins tuned in again this week from her home in greater London. Because the show is on the internet, anyone with an internet connection can tune in.

Last night's broadcast Information Overload: Finding the Genealogy Data You Need was episode #50 and this coming week's broadcast will mark the 1 year anniversary of the show. By contrast television shows typically run 8-12 weeks for a "season" and then everyone goes on hiatus. Ever supportive of diverse elements in our genealogy community, our intrepid reporter/host Thomas has effectively brought together some of genealogy's brightest innovators and best speakers to talk about our favorite topic - family history. The result is an impressive library of archived shows designed to get listeners up to speed about surviving record groups and research methodologies eschewing a hint of "presentism" in this digital age.

Thinking back over last night's show, the following points come to mind.
  • Co-host Sharon Sergeant, noted genealogist who specializes in investigative genealogy and research, was an effective counterpoint to Thomas during the opening segment. Last week the co-hosting was handled by the equally capable Lisa Alzo. It will be interesting to see if Thomas settles on a permanent co-host or continues to mix it up well by choosing a different 2nd chair each week or so.
  • Guest Dan Lynch, author of Google Your Family Tree focused on setting Google Alerts. While I've used them for years, it didn't dawn on me to set an alert for the locality and church in the language of the country in question rather than just the English equivalent.
  • Thomas spotlighted Harold Henderson's Climbing The Spiral Staircase: Learning Genealogy, where he suggests four ideals as we develop our research expertise and summarizes his thoughtful tome with "Genealogy learning does differ from an actual spiral staircase in one interesting way: I see no reason to think that it has a top." 
  • Drew Smith of The Genealogy Guys Podcast and an active member of the American Library Association talked about underutilized library resources including vertical files and items not found in the genealogy section of a library. Drew's ideas always get me thinking. When he mentioned resources peculiar to his local public library in Tampa, I realized we each ought to blog about unusual resources at our local libraries, to get the word out to other researchers. An even better idea would be to make a notation of the appropriate FamilySearch Research Wiki page for the locality. We get by with a little help from our friends.
  • Thomas spotlighted two website to assist with marking changes on websites, cautioning that items behind the membership wall won't show up. I think watching an "announcement" page may be an effective turn around.
Wouldn't you agree that listening to last night's show was time well spent?

NOTE: My readers will recall several times this past year it has been my honor to sit in and play host while Thomas traveled to genealogy conferences to speak. GeneaBloggers radio show is just plain fun!

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.


  1. Good point about publicizing our own local library holdings of gen interest. Even better idea about using the FamilySearch Research Wiki--something I've been promising myself to learn more about this year. Now I have a specific task to apply that learning to!

  2. Love this quote, "Genealogy learning does differ from an actual spiral staircase in one interesting way: I see no reason to think that it has a top."
    I have long used the phrase, "a puzzle that has no end" when describing my love of genealogy to friends who wonder how it can be so intriguing.

  3. Incredible focusing skills required to follow the hosts and guests as well as the galloping chat room! :) BTW Australia was also tuned in. Lord knows what time it was there!

  4. Thanks for this summary. I was pleased to see the reference to ChangeDetection. I use it to monitor pages that interest me, and I also put their button on some of my Web pages for the convenience of visitors.