Notes from the past…

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Spring Cleaning….GENEALOGY STYLE!

Since I have once again taken up my genealogical research after an extended hiatus, I have been quite busy. In my RootsMagic program, I created a custom report called RIN List. The RIN List is simply a list of every individual in my database, sorted by each person’s Record ID Number (RIN).

With that list in hand (on the left side of my desk, actually), I started at #1 and have worked my way down to #96, adding sources and images, checking for new data and making corrections as I go. A big job, to be sure! It has actually been a quiet satisfying and exciting task, as I have met two new “cousins” online and received a lot of new data and photographs. If I were to choose one particular category of my research that is sadly lacking, it would be ancestor photographs. I have a lot of surname STANLEY images, but very few for the rest of the clan. So I am always particularly excited when I find a new photo!

I have also been searching for the best way to share my research with others, and in turn safely back it up online. The recent earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disasters in Japan clearly illustrate the need for a safe storage solution “in the cloud”, as entire towns were literally washed away!

My sharing/storage solution actually has four facets:

RootsWeb WorldConnect

RootsWeb FreePages

Picasa Web Albums


Overkill, you say? Do I really need that much “security”?

Well, each site has certain advantages over the others.

RootsWeb WorldConnect is probably the most “basic” solution. Not much more than a simple GEDCOM. A lot of names, dates and places, but no images. However, RoostWeb is the most active genealogical site online, so here my data probably has its greatest chance for exposure to like-minded researchers. My WorldConnect database is also pretty simple to update as needed.

RootsWeb Freepages is more like a regular website that can be customized at will. My FreePages site contains the website that I created using my RootsMagic program, with a few photos. I can change it if I desire, to add more images, links, etc. Also easy to update.

Picasa Web Albums is where my images go. Photographs and scanned documents, also census pages, military files, and other docs that I have downloaded from Footnote, Ancestry, GenealogyBank and FamilySearch. 1 GB of free storage and if that isn’t enough space (it ain’t!), I can get 20 GB for $5/yr. Can’t get much cheaper than that!

Finally, there’s WeRelate. A true wiki, I have my GEDCOM, notes, sources, links, images…just about all my research is here. And as a wiki, it is a collaborative environment with user-contributed data, the goal being the creation of a single family tree. We all work together at WeRelate! It is a bit more complicated to update the GEDCOM, although that promises to get easier in the future.

And don’t forget this blog! Here I offer a narrative of my on-going research.

Oh, did I forget to mention that it will soon be tornado season in north Texas? Cloud storage…

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Welcome to the new place!

The new site for Bluebonnet Country Genealogy is officially open! I’ve been tinkering since Sunday, and after a few new gray hairs and a choice word or two, everything is finally up and running.

At this time there are 4 sections, plus the Welcome Page:

  • Blog (pretty self-explanatory)
  • Database- leads to my PhpGegView genealogy database
  • Images- offsite to my Picasa Web Album
  • Timelines- only 1 created so far, but another in the works. Eventually, each ancestor in my direct line will have his/her own timeline

I believe “cloud computing” may very well represent the future of computing, as we’ve gone from the big 5 1/2″ floppy disc to the 3 1/2 ” disc and now to the CD and DVD, external hard drive and USB drive. Many more programs reside online, such as Google Docs, Timetoast (timelines creator) and now PhpGedview and The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding. The computer itself has shrunk from the bulky, space-consuming desktop models to smaller and more portable laptops to the new, ultra-small and ultra-portable netbooks.

While very little these days is a “sure thing”, keeping genealogy research online does offer another layer of protection against data loss. As for me, I have my data on my computer’s hard drive, as well as on an external hard drive, along with USB drives, CD’s and at an online storage site. While it would be a major pain in the backside if my hard drive died tomorrow, at least most of my data would be safe and recoverable.

There are still a few little adjustments I’m planning for this site, a few boxes yet to unpack, but I have moved in and am living here now. All posts from the old site have been uploaded here, and most of the images came with them. That was a nice surprise, since the last time I moved from (hosted by WordPress) to (self-hosted), most of the images didn’t make the trip!

Again, welcome!