My foray into family history

I’m fortunate enough to sit near the family history specialists at work. Fortunate because Tricia and Leonie are both lovely and very interesting people. It is family history month this month and last week they co-ordinated a wonderful series of talks at work. Many months ago, Leonie started twisting my arm about giving a talk. I told her quite truthfully that I’m not particularly knowledgeable about family history. She didn’t let this stop her and decided that I should give a talk on apps and suchlike for genealogy.

So that’s how Geneappogy came about. I spent a while researching various apps for family history and it quickly became apparent that it would be at least as useful to talk about apps that can be generically helpful for research and information storage. I also covered why devices are so convenient as a research tool and what other tools they can replace.

In the Jungle  © Molly Tebo

I felt  like a bit of a fraud since I hadn’t tried all of the apps I was talking about. One I did try however was BillionGraves. This is a pretty cool idea which is all about crowdsourcing the recording of grave yards. Last weekend I went for a walk to a nearby pioneer cemetery and tried it out. I used the app on my smartphone to photograph the graves, this took about half an hour (and it automatically geotagged the images). When I got home, I transcribed the information from the gravestones via the website which took a few hours more. I was impressed that it was so easy and relatively fast to do. Now the information on those grave stones is searchable by genealogists all over the world which is nifty. 😀

Back to the talk. It was held in the State Library theatre which is quite a formal venue. I was glad that I had a decent crowd (over 50) as it made the theatre look not too empty. I’m not going to go much into what I talked about, but if you are interested in finding out more (I’m looking at you @MsSMuffett), my e-handout is available here and the prezi I used is here.

Despite the large amount of information, I got through it fairly quickly. The audience were polite but did contribute when I asked them to. They asked some good (and a few curly) questions. At the end I invited them down the front to ask further questions and to try out some of the apps on tablets and smartphones I had brought along. A number of people said complimentary things about the talk and they were most interested in seeing Google drive and Evernote demonstrated rather than the dedicated FH apps.

Finally, I was asked by the president of the WA Genealogical Society to do another talk along the same lines for their members. Quite flattering really! I’m glad it went so well and I could help out my work buddies. 😀


2 thoughts on “My foray into family history

  1. well done 🙂 sounds like a great experience!

    I’m quite intrigued by the grave app now……. there are quite a few old cemeteries nearby, only trouble is that names and inscriptions are hardly readable anymore after over a century!

  2. While I have installed the Ancestry app on my phone, I was not aware of the others (not sure why I stopped at Ancestry. Thanks for the information.

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