Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Genealogy Podcast

(My third cousin once removed, in Poland plowing the field of his farm.)

I just love how new technology has invaded the world of genealogy. It's been several years now since computers came on the scene and researchers began to create and utilize software programs to store their data. The internet brought whole news ways to research including e-mail to connect with other researchers around the country and around the world. Commercial web sites popped up giving researchers access to databases at their fingertips. Shortly thereafter researchers started creating their own web sites with lists of their family surnames and old family photographs. The instant messaging phenomenon has evolved to the point where genealogical and historical societies can have online meetings or web casts with their membership. And the most current trend is for researchers to create personal Blogs to document their research efforts and solicit advice.

With the introduction of laptop and handheld computers, genealogy researchers got mobile and could take their entire collection of documents, photos, and files on the road with them. More recently, even those who couldn't previously afford mobile computing devices got an affordable option: thumb drives. Thumb drives, or "travel drives" as they are also called, are essentially mini hard drives that you can carry around in your purse or pocket. Now researchers can store all their files on thumb drives and pop them in to public computers at libraries, schools, and offices.

It was only a matter of time before the latest craze... the iPod, was utilized for genealogical purposes. Within the last 6 months, several individuals began producing podcasts on various topics of interest to genealogy researchers. For those who aren't familiar with podcasts, they are essentially audio or video programs recorded and available for downloading to personal digital music devices of which iPod is one brand. Now you can listen to (or watch if you're lucky enough to have a video device) genealogy meetings in the palm of your hand!

One such podcast that I've listened to and found to be lively and helpful is produced weekly by the Genealogy Guys (George C. Morgan and Drew Smith discuss genealogy). They cover a variety of topics from week to week and they seem to know their stuff. Imagine attending a genealogy seminar (or several if you choose) every week. Think of all the tips you could pick up! And the best part is you don't have leave the comfort of your own home. Of course you can if you want to, and that's the beauty of it. Think about taking in a genealogy seminar while walking your dog through the park, while putting some miles on your exercise bike, or even relaxing in bed on a Sunday morning instead of reading the newspaper.

I welcome the new technology and I can’t help but wonder when I’ll see regular online genealogy conferences or recorded podcasts put on by genealogical societies. How cool it would be to listen to the PGS of Texas or PGSA meetings without having to pay for transportation costs and lodging to get there. Who will be the first to do it? Whoever that is will have me as a subscriber!

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