Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Genealogy Class #2

Tonight was the second genealogy class, finishing up where we started on Monday. Yay! The totality of this class was by-far the best class I've taught so far, and for a year of classes, 1-2 a week, that says something! Hooray!

The second class seems like it would be easier, but never quite so much. Especially because, in theory, you leave a good portion of the first of the class to questions about the previous class, a recap on what we covered, and what experiences/challenges came up when the 'students' went home to play on their own.
In my class, no one apparently went home and played. So.... the Q & A portion of the class was about 3 minutes, instead of my allotted 30min. Hmph.

So, in following the ideas that we covered on Monday - the bigger databases, Ancestry, LDS, and Rootsweb, I thought we'd first need to backup and start with some simple searches on Google, and move from there. The class ended up looking like this:

- Google. How to search on Google. Use Quotations! The fun of Google Books, and just basically outlining what information you'd find in a basic Google search (like people's personal websites, archived information... what "archived" means)

- Forums. Both Rootsweb and GenForums. These have been invaluable to me, and hopefully a great place to start for people who don't have a lot of information yet. Seems like with the examples I showed tonight (from my own family and family searches from the class), there isn't a lot of activity on the GenForums any longer. Is there somewhere better? Rootsweb still seems to have a lot of action.

- The GenWeb. I'd always found TWO helpful aspects to the Genweb - county "lookups" and the search engine for the archives. While the archive search is still AMAZING and something EVERYONE needs to have bookmarked, all the counties we looked at (four), none had volunteer "lookups" any longer. Is the GenWeb losing some oomph in that way?

- Gravesites. We covered Find a Grave and Interment. Find a Grave seems to have greatly expanded, now offering (not consistent, mind you, but still) obituaries and family group links. WOW! Someone is really on it with this site. Interment is helpful, but Find A Grave definitely stole the show.

- A quick look back at PAF software and how to create a gedcom file, exporting.

And that was a wrap. Whew! I think I overwhelmed them. I would've been overwhelmed if I was just starting out. It was a lot of websites. And we finished 1/2hr early. But... I got great feedback from the class - that they really enjoyed it, learned a lot.

So... YAY! I want to teach more! I want to start a, once a week, Genealogy Group!! I want to be a GenWeb volunteer again (I was for years when I was NC, going to the library and printing off old newspapers from the 1800s and then transcribing and uploading). I want to join more groups. Lawd. I'd never work. And I'd never make any money to afford me time to do all that I want to do.

The class said was that they could tell I was passionate about genealogy research. It definitely came across. I hope that's a good thing :-)