43rd Carnival of Genealogy – Technology

by Kathryn Doyle (2/29/2008)

One of the many new wonders I have discovered since entering the world of genea-blogging is the Carnival of Genealogy which is a collection of blog posts around a designated theme.

I’ve decided to jump on the carousel this month and describe my three technology picks. Carnival hostess, Jasia, asks: “What technology do you most rely on for your genealogy and family history research? Select one piece of hardware (besides your computer), one piece of software (besides your internet browser), and one web site/blog (besides your own) that are indispensable to you. Resist the urge to dilute the impact of your 3 choices by mentioning several others you use and appreciate as well.”

So here goes…

Hardware: I consider myself moderately techno-savvy but gadgets and toys didn’t really interest me until the iPhone . It is literally with me 24/7. I’m just beginning to tap into its genealogical potential by downloading and listening to a variety of podcasts. I’m especially enjoying the old Irish songs at Mike O’Laughlin‘s Irish Roots Cafe.

Software: I’ve been using Reunion for Macintosh by Leister Productions, Inc. since 1990 when I had my Mac SE with its 20 MB hard drive. I upgrade to every new version, now up to 9.06. It has grown into an amazing program, always keeping up with the technological advances of the Mac OS. There is plenty of support at ReunionTalk, an online community of users.

Web site: One of my favorite “sharing” sites is findagrave.com, which grew out of founder Jim Tipton‘s love of visiting the graves of famous people.

The site is a collection of memorials (now over 21 million), arranged by cemetery, which include biographical information, photographs and even “flowers” for the “gravesite.” I especially like the way that you can create virtual cemeteries and link family members together, even though they may be buried in different places. In the seven years since joining the site, I’ve been involved in many collaborations with volunteers from all over the country. Please take a look at my memorial for my ggg-grandfather, William Hainey BRIGGS. You can leave flowers if you want.

Book Repair Committee

by Kathryn Doyle (2/28/2008)

The sound of laughter coming from the upstairs annex at the old library in the Latham Building was a sure sign that it was the second Tuesday of the month and the book repairers had their backs to the wall as they toiled in tight quarters. Since the move to the Breuner Building last year, the restoration work continues in more spacious quarters and the mirth now emanates from the back room of the new library. You can’t help but get the feeling that these five loyal volunteers really love what they are doing.

The CGS Book Repair Committee, headed by Bill O’Neil, has been meeting like clockwork on the second Tuesday of every month, since the group formed in 1987 under the tutelage of the late Dick Thrift. Because the repair process can require several steps and the committee meets only once per month, it can take several months for the repair business to be completed. During that time, the books are out of circulation.

The committee allows the California Genealogical Society to maintain open stacks. Books in need of care are marked by a blue ribbon and stay on the shelves to allow patron use until the menders can get to them. The most common repairs are for torn spines and loose pages, but the committee has seen it all. Bill explained that their goal when repairing books is to strike a balance between “keeping them in one piece and doing no harm.”

Each member “adopts” a book and works on it one day a month until it is ready to be placed back on the shelf. The average book takes three months to complete. The committee repairs an average of 100 books per year.

Tools of the trade.

Lorna Wallace puts the finishing touches on a newly repaired book
Book repair group: (standing) Lorna Wallace, Marianne Frey, Bill O’Neil;
(seated) Anne Robinson and Dick Rees.

Photographs by Kathryn M. Doyle, Oakland, California, 12/11/2007.

Copyright © 2008 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.
Amazing New Offerings at the Family History Library

by Kathryn Doyle (2/25/2008)

CGS March Membership Meeting

Saturday, March 8, 2008 at 1:30 p.m.

Oakland Family History Center
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA 94602


Those who have signed up for the CGS Research Tour to Salt Lake City in April won’t want to miss the March Membership Meeting. Margery Bell, Assistant Director of the Oakland Regional Family History Center, will update us on the new projects that the LDS Church is working on from new.familysearch.org to the results of the massive indexing program that is underway. Currently more than 100,000 volunteers are indexing over 1 million names a month and they are rapidly coming on-line with links to the original records. Some of the new technologies can be seen at FamilySearch Labs. Marge will also show us the family history center portal that is the gateway to the member websites available in the Family History Center and demonstrate how their favorites list is organized to provide easy access to some of the choice websites for genealogical research.

An avid genealogist for thirty-eight years, Margery Bell is the author of “Line Upon Line: A Beginner’s Guide to Genealogy” that is published with Ancestral Quest software.