Friday, February 29, 2008

My Genealogy and Technology - Carnival of Genealogy

Beautiful Daughter's Maternal Line: Sara (with her eyes shut - silly girl), her mum, grandmum, and her Na - great grandmother
Winter, 1975, British Columbia, Canada

Here it is Leap Year Day, 2008 and time for another edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. The topic this time, Technology.

What technology do you most rely on for your genealogy and family history research? Select one piece of hardware (besides your computer), one piece of software (besides your internet browser), and one web site/blog (besides your own) that are indispensable to you. Resist the urge to dilute the impact of your 3 choices by mentioning several others you use and appreciate as well. This is an exercise in appraising the technology you use/recommend the most.

1. Hardware? No doubt here, it’s my printer I use the most, but, honest, I am trying to cut down to save British Columbia’s trees, so it’s my scanner that’s really indispensable. (I could still print somewhere else after all, using someone else’s paper, couldn’t I, son of mine?) I have always used Canon® scanners and been happy with them; this one is a Canoscan® 4200F. I’ve scanned buttons and badges, plates and ribbons and plaques, books, postcards, menus, milk cap tops, ferrotypes, stereocards, and oh, yes, old photographs, of course. In fact, right now, I’m looking at buying a second scanner, one that’s lighter and smaller and doesn’t need power of its own, so I’ll be able to take it away with me sometimes.

2. Software that I couldn’t do without? That would be the Microsoft Office Publisher® programme. I edit several newsletters and a genealogy journal, and often do up brochures and small posters and booklets. Publisher® is quite easy to use, has a wide variety of templates to follow or not, there’s lots of clipart to add and 'old fashioned art' is available through companies like Dover Publications and easy to incorporate. I guess I could go back to the olden days and write out my family group sheets and charts by hand, but I hope I’m never literally ‘cutting and pasting’ a newsletter ever again.

3. Website? Library and Archives Canada (LAC)
In Canada, most of our genealogical information that is on-line is free and LAC has been the leader in many of these digital initiatives. LAC’s website includes the ‘Canadian Genealogy Centre’ with images and indexes for the family history basics and more – census, passenger lists, military and land records, etc., and genealogy guides for both topics and places. On the LAC website, there are also search facilities for other national archival resources and for the many on-line exhibitions and catalogues, including the AMICUS catalogue which I use often. In AMICUS you can search for published materials on Canada or by Canadians which is held at Library and Archives Canada or at over 1300 libraries across Canada. Have a look for example, at the specialized AMICUS sites for federal publications or for ‘Sheet Music From Canada’s Past’, like "The Lake Erie galop,", 1882, by A.T. Hood.

Main LAC website:

‘Sheet Music From Canada’s Past’:

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