2018 August – Internet and Digital Skills

Refining Internet and Digital Skills

Course Coordinator, Cyndi Ingle

Additional Instructor, Kimberly Powell, Luana Darby, AG

Held 29 July-3 August, 2018, at Daemen College, Amherst, NY. Registration Information.

A prepared and organized genealogist is a productive genealogist. Similarly, a prepared and organized digital workspace is a productive research instrument for that genealogist. The Internet and computers of all types require an understanding of all the ways in which they can be used to take advantage of their maximum potential as exemplary research tools.

The course will not directly address specific types of hardware and operating systems. Examples from the course coordinator will be given on a Windows laptop, but the intent is to demonstrate concepts for using technology within genealogical research. The focus will be on using computers and laptops, as well as tablets that can function as a small laptop replacement. We will begin the week with organizing our computers and digital filing. We demonstrate how to effectively search the Internet, online databases and records repositories. We learn the ins and outs of several popular, and necessary, repositories online. We will cover technology tools that enhance the research experience: spreadsheets, tables, timelines, maps, foreign language translation, etc. And then we will focus on the final product of a research plan or project – the output: photographs, scanning, web sites, blogs, and publishing. Each day will have scheduled time for students to work on their computers and put into practice everything learned that day.

Requirements

  • Although reliable Wi-Fi access should be provided by the college, students may also want to bring their own Wi-Fi hotspots to ensure connectivity during the classes.
  • Students must bring a laptop (preferred) or mobile device on which to practice new skills.
  • Preferred: students should have existing accounts set up for tools that will be used in class, ie. Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, FamilySearch, Ancestry, Scrivener, Word, Excel.
  • Optional: students may bring to class specific examples of past online problems that they want to explore.

MONDAY, Day 1:  Organizing

The week begins with organizing our computers and digital filing. Specific technology tools will be discussed to help make that digital environment orderly and we will begin the digital planning stages for a typical research plan.

File Management (Cyndi Ingle)
This class will cover typical types of genealogical filing systems and how they can be applied to digital files. File organization also means maintaining your own archive and backup copies of genealogically relevant files such as databases, images, documents, spreadsheets, PDFs, DNA data, and more.

Tech Tools (Cyndi Ingle)
This class will highlight popular tech tools for genealogy. We will go more in depth for those programs that are widely used for evaluation, data management, projects, and writing.

Planning: Research Plans, Notes, and Reports (Cyndi Ingle)
We will walk through a typical research question: how to create a research plan using software and online resources; working with a research log and notes; and creating a final research report with the conclusions reached and plans for the next steps to take.

Personal computer time to practice new skills (Cyndi Ingle)
One-on-one time with course coordinator, practice scenarios will be assigned. Student may also bring their own examples or problems to work on.

TUESDAY, Day 2:  Searching

The second day will be spent on how to effectively search the Internet, online databases and records repositories.

Finding Hidden Gems: Strategic Searches on the Internet (Luana Darby)
Have you ever wondered out how librarians can sometimes find things faster and more efficiently when searching on the Internet? Learn ‘how” to search Google, FamilySearch, and Ancestry like a pro to get what you need, as well as other key genealogy websites. Archives, manuscripts, libraries, and their associated finding aids will be discussed and may provide answers you cannot find elsewhere.

Advanced Google Techniques (Cyndi Ingle)
The most popular search engine is Google, so it makes sense to focus on best practices for using it. Most of the concepts learned here can be applied to other similar search engines. We will cover advanced search protocols with examples that are specific to genealogy.

Deep Searches & Online Finding Aids (Cyndi Ingle)
In this class we will only discuss search functionality within popular online records repositories. Handouts will include cheat sheets for current (as of the week of the class) search terms, operators, tricks, and tips. Learn and use advanced features for search engines and genealogy databases online. Learn about the records behind the technology. Dig into the records and the repositories that contain those records.

Personal computer time to practice new skills (Cyndi Ingle)
One-on-one time with course coordinator, practice scenarios will be assigned. Student may also bring their own examples or problems to work on.

WEDNESDAY, Day 3:  Records

Day three has the participants learning the ins and outs of several popular—and necessary—repositories online, building on the search functionality we discussed on day two. We will focus on specific record types and we will cover using the individual database interfaces for each site, how to get the most from the sites, how to print and save records, and how to take notes and create citations for these online repositories.

Follow the Money: Taxes, Wills, and Probate (Luana Darby)
Estate records and tax records are two types of records that should be utilized in ancestral research. Learn what these records hold, where to find them, and how they can help you understand familial structures and use them to open new research. Online record collections and finding aids will be discussed as well as resources for laws and statutes that govern these records.

Records: two continuous sessions covering a variety of record types (Cyndi Ingle)
Birth, marriage, death, census, ebooks, land, military, newspapers, obituaries

Personal computer time to practice new skills (Cyndi Ingle)
One-on-one time with course coordinator, practice scenarios will be assigned. Student may also bring their own examples or problems to work on.

THURSDAY, Day 4:  Methodology & Tools

It’s the Details That Count: Using Religion, Ethnic Groups and Locations (Luana Darby)
Sometimes it’s the little things that are missed in records – an ancestor’s religion, ethnic group or specific location. Learn how to use online tech tools and websites that are available for foreign language translation, handwriting, symbols, gazetteers, and much more.

A Powerful Analysis Tool – Using Excel to Expand Your Research Options (Luana Darby)
Organization and analysis of genealogical research can sometimes be difficult and overwhelming. We will discuss how to harness the power of a simple spreadsheet to streamline citations, research logs, census and family analysis. Learn how to download results from Ancestry and FamilySearch into a spreadsheet that you can organize and sort.

Tools for Sharing Your Family History Research (Kimberly Powell)
Genealogy isn’t as fun if you don’t get to share! This session will explore several tools and software programs that can assist you in sharing your family history research and/or results with family and friends, whether through a blog, online family tree, web site, or print.

Personal computer time to practice new skills (Cyndi Ingle)
One-on-one time with course coordinator, practice scenarios will be assigned. Student may also bring their own examples or problems to work on.

FRIDAY, Day 5:  The Output or Product of Your Research

The fifth and final day will focus on technology tools that enhance the research experience: spreadsheets, tables, timelines, maps, foreign language translation, etc. and the final product of a research plan or project – the output. We will talk about photographs and the scanning and filing of digital images.

Timelines, Maps, and Google Earth (Cyndi Ingle)
Software and examples of using timelines for data analysis will be covered. Several online mapping tools will be highlighted, including Google Earth and digital map sources.

Photos & Digitized Images: Scanning, Storage, Tools (Cyndi Ingle)
There are many reasons we must focus on photographs for genealogy. Initially they provide us hints and clues for our research. Along the way they add color and texture to the stories of our ancestors. And in our published work they give a face to the names of the people mentioned therein. Genealogists naturally become the family archivist for all photos and memorabilia. We will discuss the best options for scanning, archiving, replicating, and storing of digitized photos and images of records.

11:30 a.m. Certificates, Farewells, and Lunch