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Geneabloggers Blog RollBlogs are an often overlooked source of information.  They can be especially useful to you if they are written by people who are researching your areas of interest.  Blogs are one of the most under utilized sources of general information after ILL.  People just don’t know how or where to search for a blog. Thomas MacIntee, the person who created and maintains Geneabloggers, has been a great help to me on this topic.  To give Geneabloggers a well deserved plug, it should be your first stop if you are searching for relevant blogs. (The same is true if you are thinking of starting your own blog.) Once you get to geneabloggers, you’ll want to check out both “Search Blogs” and “Genealogy Blog Roll.”  In either of these choices you will find a search box.  Type the name of the country or topic you are looking for.  Note that you can search your family surnames here, as well. Two other sites recommended by Mr. MacIntee are http://blogfinder.genealogue.com (with gives you a list of topics to pick from) and http://blogsearch.google.com (with Google’s usual minimalist search interface.) If you want still more information, go to the category “Blogs for Genealogy” on Cyndi’s List.

One tip.  If there is a website that you like and use a lot, such as FamilySearch or Cyndi’s List, always check to see if they have a blog.  These can be extremely useful for learning tips and tricks that will help you use a site more effectively (so you don’t miss important information or waste time). It’s not the type of blog you would usually put on a research list, but it may very well end up in your bookmarks, favorites, or blog feed.

FacebookThe only other Social Networking that I’ve had time to get into is Facebook and I use it carefully.  I have two Facebook accounts,  One I use to follow specific genealogy groups. The other is to keep up with certain family members and share information.   I have exactly five people on it.  If another family member want in, they have to ask to be included. This has never happened. Most of my family members are just not into Facebook.

One word of warning.  Family Facebooking can be a sticky wicket if you are not careful.  I learned this networking the old fashioned way — at a family reunion. A cousin tried to tell me a picture that I recognized as my father was my grandfather and vice versa. When I tried to fix the mistake, she would have none of it.  There are some family members that you simply do not engage in argument. This is why I keep my family Facebook small. If you think opening your own  would cause family problems, I would either skip it altogether or have several accounts.

Has anyone else had experience using other types of online social networking for genealogy that you would like to share?  Leave a comment.

vea/7 August 2014
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

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Genealogy LibGuide at the Newton Free Library

The Genealogy LibGuide: Available to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere

What on earth is a LibGuide?  Springshare created LibGuides for use by institutions such as universities, colleges and libraries.  They are a great tool for learning and teaching various subjects. Without LibGuides,  individuals would have to rely on a webmaster to enter their information into an institutional website. They would have to get in line with other individuals who needed the same service.  You might have quite a wait.  LibGuides allow you to enter your information into your own subject guide in a matter of seconds.  The Newton Free Library has been using LibGuides for several years to promote resources available to you in a number of subject areas.

How are LibGuides set up?  A LibGuide relies on subject tabs (also referred to as pages) near the top of the LibGuide.  You click on a tab to get to a specific part of a specific LibGuide.  Tabs/Pages are made up of various boxes that can have basic information,  booklists,  links to sources, almost anything that you think will help the people you are trying to reach.

Confronted with the basic information above, I still wouldn’t have a clue what it meant if I had never seen a LibGuide.  This is where I become your guide.  I created and am in charge of the library’s genealogy/family history LibGuide.  I have set it up so that you can use it to learn about different genealogically related topics.  I also teach from it.   If anyone else reading this blog wants to use this LibGuide to teach, feel free to go to it. (Of course you give credit where credit is due whenever you use another person’s work.)  None of our guides are restricted for use by certain people in certain geographical locations.  If you are half way across the world and want to use one of our LibGuides, all your would need to know is the web address. Got that?  Anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Now I would like to introduce you to the Newton Free Library’s Genealogy LibGuide.  If you are impatient and just want to go there and explore it yourself, click on this web address: http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy.  Feel free to take a look and then come back here if you want an explanation of the tabs.  If you have questions, you can either  enter them here in the blog or on the LibGuide itself.

The first tab is an introductory tab.  Here you will find selected genealogical topics that relate to the Newton Free Library.  The one area in the entire LibGuide that you may not be able to use, unless you are a resident of Newton, Massachusetts, is the first thing you will see, the Database List.  Some databases you will only be able to use within the library building, like American Ancestors and Ancestry.  Others you can access remotely if you are a Newton resident (Heritage Quest).  If you are not from Newton,  you want to check with your local library.  They may offer these as well.   Below the database section you will find information on the Newton Genealogy Club, recommended websites, and the Dewey numbers for genealogy. (The library uses the Dewey Decimal Classification System to categorize books.)  In the side frame you will be able to link to this blog.  My answers to two questions round out this page.  What are the questions?  Take a look.

I put together the next tab, First Advice, for people just beginning their family and ancestor research.  Here you will find advice and links that should take you step-by-step into beginning your research. I hope it will keep you from making all the mistakes I made when I first started out. The next tab, appropriately named What Next, pulls together the First Advice tab into a consecutive list of what you need to do to track down your ancestors.  Included as well are books that can help you with your research as well as a forewarning  of some broad problem areas you will encounter.  As my grandmother would say, forewarned is forearmed.

The next tab, Going Online, should help you with your online research.  I include useful websites and suggested books. Take special note to the two boxes on the top left.  These are  instructions for how to use Family Search (a database anyone can use for free) and Ancestry (accessed only in a library at no cost or from home with an individually purchased subscription).  I include instructions and  a screenshot for every step. I developed this system for myself.  When I need to remember how to do something computer related over a stretch of time, I created this combination so I would have a clue what I needed to do the next time I had to do the same procedure, usually three months down the line.  It worked for me.  It works for my classes. I hope it will work for you.  If you use it and have a problem, please let me know.  If you click one of these “how to” sheets and nothing seems to happen, check your downloads.  Links to your downloaded material may appear in the upper right corner or lower left of your screen. Once you find it you can click on it and print it. You can also copy the link and save it in your computer.

Now that you have the hang of using a LibGuide, I think the other tabs are fairly self-explanatory.  If you are curious about the LibGuides other librarians here have created for other subjects,  you can take a look at all topics covered at http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net.  Enjoy.

vea/20 June 2014
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

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Since blogs are a part of online social networking  (aka Web 2.0), they provide you, as a reader, the opportunity to answer back.   Any time you have an opinion  or a comment regarding a post you have read, you can type it out and let us know what you think or give additonal advice.

There are two ways to get to a reply box in WordPress, the blog provider I use.  You can scroll to the bottom of the blog post where you will see the option to “Leave a Comment”, usually in blue.  Clicking on it will bring you immediately to the box where you can type your reply.  You can also click on the title in black at the top of a post (not the picture or logo below it).  This will bring up the original posting by itself, without any of the other postings that follow when you first bring up the blog.  You will have to scroll down to the bottom (past both the posting and a WordPress ad or two) to get to the box where you can type your reply.

Note that your reply will not appear immediately since most blog administrators will look over a reply before allowing it to appear on the blog.  I am no exception. This may be done for many reasons, but the main two are  to check for inappropritate language or to make sure a writer is not using their reply for the sole purpose of leading the reader to another website or blog where they are selling a product or service.

When you first look at a blog, it is a good idea to look for a posted Comments Policy.  Granted, it’s not the most exciting reading, but it is useful to know what is going on and how the blog opperates. There will probably be a certain amout of legalese to get through as well, but it is there to protect everyone associated with the blog, including the reader.  The Newton Free Library’s blog policy is posted to the right of the most recent posting title at the top of this blog’s home page.

Good bloggers will take note of the comments of their readers and send them through for others to read.  The feedback is useful and we love the conversation.

vea/24 January 2011
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com

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