Sunday, April 28, 2013

Digital Tools for Genealogists

One of the gems of the Worcester Public Library is our Local History and Genealogy Collection.  Located on the third floor of the library this section features a wealth of resources to help our patrons pursue research in family history as well as the history of Worcester.  In addition to these physical resources the web tools listed below offer social, interactive assistance for genealogists. is a genealogy social networking site.  The goal of this site is to create a global family tree of shared ancestors.  It functions as a family tree building service, allowing you to build off the work that other members have already completed.  Family members can use Geni to share information and keep in touch.  Geni also works as an organizational tool for family documents and photographs.  Basic membership is free and includes 1 GB of upload space.
Find out more about Geni by watching this introductory video.

FamilySearch Blog
FamilySearch is the database associated with the Family History Library, the world's largest collection of genealogical records.  What once functioned primarily as a database connecting users to records now offers many more services.  FamilySearch, like Geni, includes a family tree tool and the ability to upload and share family photos.  One feature of this site which you may initially overlook is the FamilySearch Blog.  This blog keeps readers up to date with information on FamilySearch as well as news about the wider world of genealogy research.
Pinterest is an image-based social networking site which allows users to create virtual pinboards or scrapbooks.  Images posted to this site are called pins and may be shared, repinned and liked by other users.  Because of its visual orientation Pinterest is ideal for sharing historical family photos.  It can also be used to organize bookmarks to genealogical websites and resources, instructional videos and event-planning ideas for things like family reunions.  WPL has utilized this tool to share photos related to library history on our Worcester Room Board.  Check out how other genealogists are using this tool:
For more information on using Pinterest for family history:
Cyndi's List is a curated index of websites relating to genealogy.  Of particular note is the category "Social Networking and Genealogy."  This page features of list of articles on how new social media can be used in the context of genealogical research.  It also features examples of how they are being used.  This list is updated daily so it's a good site to keep in your bookmarks if you want to stay up to date on what's new in genealogy on the web.

Ancestry Insider
For users of and FamilySearch (which should be all modern genealogists) this blog is a must read.  The blogger attempts to independently and without bias critique and report on the two giants of online genealogy research.  Posts are timely and informative and will help to keep researchers abreast of the ever-constant changes which come with online research.

Here at WPL we are constantly researching and trying out new technologies in order to better serve and educate our patrons.  If you're interested in learning more about genealogy on the web you may consider attending next month's work shop with Joy Hennig, Web 2.0 for Genealogists (May 23rd and 28th).

More genealogy resources:
Online Databases - Genealogy
Local History and Genealogy Resources

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