Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Using Personal Digital Assistants (P.D.A.s) for Genealogy

PDAs aren’t just for displaying or sometimes updating names, events & dates from your family tree. I love my Sony Clie (thanks to my kids for giving me this!). I usually call her 'Clio'--- for the ancient Greek muse of history.

You can also use your PDA as a photo album for pictures of family, ancestors & genealogy friends, as a compass (with a GPS receiver), as a travel log, to catch up on newspapers, or read a book, perhaps Women on the American Frontier , by William W. Fowler (1881). You can use a PDA as an alarm to get you to the archives on time, then later use it to watch a family video, or as an MP3 player to listen to favourite historical tunes while you check your e-mail (with a wireless modem). You could also record or write notes & citations, update to-do worksheets, keep track of new contacts & new cousins, or your genealogical reference collection , even plot & note cemetery recordings, take cemetery photographs, calculate or convert dates or Soundex codes, check a Latin dictionary, or U.S. state information, or the C.I.A. World Fact Book, share heirloom recipes at the next reunion, or keep track of your every-day genealogical research, correspondence or project timelines.

If you're interested, check out these resources:

Selected On-Line Articles & Forums

PDA 2005 Biannual PDA Roundup, by Beau Sharbrough: hardware/software & accessories, with glossary & comparisons.

Also his PDA Forum:

“PDA & Genealogy”, David M. Goodman, of the Baltimore County Genealogical Society, (Maryland, U.S.A.) 2002. Lots of links & an article by Mark Howells, “Genealogy in the Palm of your hand”.

“A Tombstone In Your Palm”, by Steve Paul Johnson, (1999)

“Pix on Your PDA”, on Computer

Selected Articles & Books

Digitizing Your Family History: Easy methods for preserving your heirloom documents, photos, home movies and more in a digital format, by Rhonda R. McClure (Family Tree Books: Cincinnati, U.S.A.: 2004)

Hand-held Computers”, Issue 87, Dec. 2002, Family History Monthly, London, U.K.

**This book & the magazine are in the British Columbia Genealogical Society's Resource Centre collection.

Selected Software –Websites

For lots of links, go to Cyndi’s List & check the index for
Software & Computers > Handhelds, Palmtops & PDAs

MyRoots v4: (my own choice) works with Mac or PC; view & update; room for source citations, unlimited notes; also relationship calculator, filtered searches & more.


MemoWare: Free & shareware books & other documents, including histories, dictionaries, databases, literature, maps, etc. for PDAs

Readerware: For cataloguing book collections, Palm & Palm compatibles (very useful if you're like me & have to check out every used bookstore you see or hear of

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