Monthly Archives: March 2006

Locals Decode The Past Through Genealogy

Kathryn Sheranko has an article, Locals decode the past through genealogy, in the Cranberry Journal (PA), about normal, every day genealogists, and the brick walls they hit and the solutions they find. Just a positive article about genealogy as a hobby, as well as mentioning the value of genealogy clubs.

Excerpt from the article:

In the quest to discover his ancestors, Robert Greb’s figurative brick wall turned into an ocean.

The Atlantic.

Like a Sherlock Holmes novel in reverse, the trail went dead when the boat reached the harbor in America.

“You get frustrated at times,” says Greb, who began dabbling in genealogy about a decade ago, post-retirement and in need of a hobby.
Names of his relatives that did not travel to America, choosing to stay in Germany, eluded him. He began attending Cranberry Genealogy Club meetings for help.

“Going to the genealogy club has helped me because they give you ideas. You get frustrated at times and when you go to these meetings, maybe somebody found that or figured that out,” he says.

Clooz Beta, House History, and Genealogy

I see that Clooz 2.0 is undergoing beta testing. Clooz is billed as a “electronic filing cabinet that assists you with search and retrieval of important facts you have found during the ancestor hunt” by its developers, and they’ve certainly added a few interesting things.

Three things about this new version of Clooz caught my eye (and they certainly helped me decide to add this to my collection of genealogy software):

1)Mapping. I think that within a few years, all major genealogy applications should have some kind of mapping features, or at least the ability to interact with the various online mapping resources. While I use now use a Mac most of the time, I have Windows-based genealogy software that I can’t let go of. I was at a “gathering”, if you will, of Mac users, and one was showing me MacFamilyTree ( and specifically they were showing me the map feature. I was very impressed. I’ve talked about this before, and I’ve seen an online demonstration of somebody using Google Maps with their website (they were using The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding) and in addition had the Google Maps thing somewhat integrated with their site – very neat).

2)Business/Business history related records. I think that as people dig up more information, they are going to want to keep more of that information, and Clooz has specific features to track business histories, or employment, and this could be a nice feature if you have a family-owned business.

3)House/Structural genealogy and history. This could also tie into the mapping I mentioned above, as people do like to go and look and see where their ancestors lived.

I’m very interested in mapping software for many reasons:

    * Cemeteries – tracking which one is where
    * Homesteads – where people settle
    * Migrations – how far people moved

It’s one thing to see a list of locations that somebody lived in. It’s quite another to see, on a map, that between 1805 and 1830 they moved from Virginia to Tennessee to Arkansas to Texas. You don’t think about the distances involved and the territory and terain until you see on a map, an approximation of where they lived.

Clooz is shaping up to be pretty cool, and once 2.0 comes out I hope to give a try and do a review. The beta is free and open to anybody right now, and stops functioning around the middle of April.

From: Genealogy Software News

Digital Cameras and Genealogy

I’ve been looking at new digital cameras as I want to upgrade for various reasons. Probably 50% of the photography I do is genealogy oriented, and while you don’t necessarily need the fanciest camera for that, if you end up being the family photographer and historian, you want something as decent as you can afford. There have been three sites (and especially their user forums) that were extremely helpful to my getting up to speed on the latest and greatest, and I just wanted to mention them:

Steve’s Digicams – Great forums, lots of information
Rob Galbraith’s site – Lots of information to crunch through – Same as above, and I have spent many hours browsing their forums (they have a great photo retouch forum in addition to the normal camera-oriented forums).

There are others, but I kept coming back to these three.

Internet Genealogy Community Study is Back!

The Internet Genealogy Community Study and its blog are back in action, starting up this week (monday to be precise).

Kylie Veale and her site, are, in her words, An Australian ‘Internet Studies’ PhD student researching online genealogy within the broader context of hobbyist Internet usage. How do genealogists use the Internet? What are the consequences of the development of genealogy as a significant Internet-based activity?

She has now published a “rolling draft” of her Thesis Outline, located here, where she breaks everything out (what else would an outline be?). It’s very interesting that while genealogy has spawned more than a few degrees, this is one of the few, if not the only, degree/thesis based around the study of genealogists themselves, and how they use the internet.

It’s a great premise, after all, the two most revolutionary things to occur in genealogy in our lifetimes have been the advent of personal computers and access to the internet.

Consumers Turn To Their DNA For Answers

The Boston Globe has a business article from the Associated Press, by Adam Geller, Consumers turn to their DNA for answers, about, you guessed it, DNA testing and its uses, and its growing market. While they focus on one genealogist, Art Thomas, and mention quite a bit of detail about what all is involved when it comes to DNA testing and genealogy, they also focus on what is apparently a booming business. They also mention some of the other uses (genetic diseases, paternity, etc.).

Excerpt from the article:

Last fall, Thomas, a retired information technology manager in Springfield, Ohio, turned to his body for answers. He scraped a cell sample from inside his cheek, mailed the swab to a test lab and waited for science to supplement his extensive genealogical research.

Thomas’ quest to unlock the secrets of his own DNA is far from a solitary one. A small, but fast-growing number of consumers are paying for a proliferation of partly self-administered genetic tests, hoping to determine everything from paternity to their propensity to develop certain diseases to their own ancestry

I didnt’ realize that Target sold DNA kits. Who new?