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Video

Using the Montgomery County PA Orphan’s Court Records on FamilySearch.org

I have created my very first video tutorial!!! This tutorial demonstrates how to access information in the Orphan’s Court Dockets which are part of the Montgomery County Pennsylvania Probate Records on FamilySearch.org. These dockets may contain valuable genealogical information for those of you who are researching Montgomery County Pennsylvania ancestors or cousins. If you are having problems finding what you need in these records, give this tutorial a try. Thanks and happy searching!!

Google Giveth and Google Taketh Away

Just needing to vent (er, I mean lament) over the impending demise of Google Reader. Like so many others, I had been a very happy and active user of Reader for several years — particularly to keep up with the genealogy blogging community. After Google made the announcement of the death of Reader, I let the dust settle for a few days and then started looking for a replacement. I’ve since found one that I’m pretty happy with – and I’ll get to that later. The main problem in this situation, however, is that having to research and come up with an alternative to Reader wasn’t something I was anticipating having to do.

This is the second time that I’ve felt like Google has pulled the rug out from under me. The first was when they abandoned the newspaper archive project. I used that extensively in my genealogy research. I could have better understood if they abandoned the scanning, indexing and adding of new content to the archive while leaving the search mechanism intact. But they pulled the archive search box too. Yes, the newspapers are still available, but searching them is now so much more convoluted. And we have no guarantee as to how long the existing newspaper archive will remain available.

Both times Google has used the excuse that the popularity of these services is too low to justify maintaining them. I can maybe believe that with regard to the newspaper archive, but with Reader? Really? If that’s the case why are so many complaining about it on blogs, websites and even G+?

Then, virtually before the ink was dry on the press release announcing the end of Reader, Google announced a new service called Keep. This one apparently is in direct competition with the very popular Evernote. Honestly, I’m not sure I even want to give it a try. I’m afraid if I like it and start relying on it, they’ll stop supporting it too! Or maybe it’s just me being overly cynical.

But back to the Reader replacement. I chose to go with Feedly and I am slowly getting used to it. I’ve actually been trying out some of the different layouts just for something a little different. Eventually I’ll probably even prefer it to Reader. Eventually.

Open Thursday Thread: What Did You Think of RootsTech?

Thomas MacEntee posted the following on his Geneabloggers blog:

“Last week’s RootsTech was an outstanding success on many levels based on blog posts, social media chatter and other feedback circulating on the Internets.

Whether you attended in person, watched the live streaming from home, followed the blog posts and tweets, or just downloaded videos and syllabus material, what did you think of RootsTech?  If possible, let us know your thoughts about:”

So here are my responses, interspersed with the quetions:

1. Did RootsTech live up to your expectations or the hype, especially if you were a first time attendee (in person or online)?

I was a first time at-home attendee. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was impressed by many of the online presentations. It is encouraging to see people with both vision and technological expertise driving the industry forward.

2. If you “played along at home” via the RootsTech website, how was the quality of the content? Were there any technical problems in watching the live stream?  Are video clips and handouts easy to find?

RootsTech did a superb job with the streaming videos. No lag time, no glitches watching with my FiOS connection. I thought the video was easy to find and was pleased that the conference syllabus was available to all.

3. What about the mix of genealogy and technology?  Was it too “techie” or perhaps not enough tech?

Personally, I would have liked to delve a little deeper into the technology, but given the diverse background of the at-home audience, I think they picked a good level.

4. If you attended in person, anything about the logistics or the facilities that you would change? Does RootsTech need a larger section of the Salt Palace Convention Center next year?

Not applicable.

5. If you were King or Queen of RootsTech and planning for 2013, what would you do differently?

This is a tough one. It might be nice to add a couple of webinars for the “home” attendees. With kids in school, it’s a hard time of year for some of us to travel. Webinars would allow a minimal amount of interaction with viewers being able to potentially ask questions.

6. What would your elevator speech be for RootsTech if someone unfamiliar with the event were to ask you “What’s RootsTech?”

Another tough one. I guess I would say that it’s the place to go to interact with the people who are driving the technology that makes it easier, faster and more convenient for genealogy researchers.

Click here to go to the original post on Geneabloggers [link].

Geneabloggers Interview

I’m a little late in getting this out, but I just wanted to thank Geneabloggers (and especially Gini) for profiling me in the “Let Me Introduce You” posting on Monday. I was so surprised and thrilled when Gini contacted me about this and I think she did an amazing job with the article.

I would definitely encourage anyone blogging about genealogy-related topics to join the Geneabloggers community if they have not already done so!

Latest Episode of Who Do You Think You Are

I watched the latest episode of “Who Do You Think You Are” tonight. It is actually the first one that I saw as it aired – the previous ones I watched online. This one was with Kim Cattrall. It was a little different in that she was looking for information about her maternal grandfather. He abandoned his family in the 1930′s and no one knew what happened to him after that. So instead of going back several generations, she was looking at the (relatively) recent past and going forward.

As is usual with this show, Kim managed to have amazing good luck on her quest, with one happy coincidence after another. It started with one of her Aunts producing a newspaper clipping from 1980 of Kim’s cousin, daughter of her grandfather’s younger sister in her wedding dress. Per the article the dress was made by her grandfather’s mother (Kim’s great-grandmother) for her daughter who married in 1949 and was now being worn again by the granddaughter. Kim goes to the address mentioned in the article as the home of her grandfather’s sister 30 years ago. No one answers the door. Ever resourceful Kim knocks on the neighbor’s door and that neighbor just so happens to know the sister in question and is willing and able to give her the current address. The kindly neighbor also tells Kim of the existence of a second sister. (Is this too good to be true or what!)  Oddly enough, when Kim meets with the two sisters they have a good conversation, but the sisters can’t provide any further information on Grandpa – he abandoned them too!

A hired researcher is quick to the rescue finding that just a year after he abandoned his wife and three daughters, Kim’s grandfather married again! Kim is off to the town where the second marriage took place. After a quick perusal of the marriage and birth registers and an old city directory, she is off to the village where Grandpa lived with bride number 2. She stops at a pub. (Here’s where I fully expected one of the patrons to be intimately connected with the family – silly me!) No worries, though. A quick look in the phone book and she immediately locates the widow of wife number 2′s brother. She then meets with her grandfather’s sister-in-law and niece and eventually learns that her grandfather and his second family relocated to Australia in the early 1960s. A quick look on Ancestry and she has the death records for Grandpa as well as his second bride.

Now, we need to remember that Grandpa’s whereabouts have been a family mystery since 1938. All I can say is wow! I wish I could break down my brick walls this easily! Anyway, it does make for a good show, and while most of the other episodes have featured heart-warming stories of fine upstanding ancestors, it was quite a departure to feature a bigamist!

In any case, the show was good. It was entertaining. And in an ideal world, we would all be finding our ancestors and errant relatives with such ease!!