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21 Mar 2005



Mining Online Resources - I


Computer SIG - 10 January 1998
by Judith Rempel
Help for the Beginner & a Bit for Others Too - Online Genealogies - Data Online - Search Tips
See also Computer Special Interest Group

Judith RempelA number of small, technical problems prevented us from reviewing the range of websites intended for this meeting. As a result, the links to the sites have been re-assembled in this place, so that our SIG participants and others might also visit - at their leisure.

Starting out

That aside, the intention was to use the AFHS website layout to peek at some really worthy, basic starting points.

From the AFHS home page, the "General Family History Aids " area on the left is a good place to start. Going there, and selecting Getting Started will take you to the beginning of a series of "chapters" meant to provide a basic "course" course in genealogy research. They are written by our own Brian Hutchison, a certified genealogist who makes a living at genealogy. His suggestions are very much worth considering.

Again, from the AFHS home page, one should follow the Search Aids link and check out the resources to be found there, especially:

  • World Pages - to find addresses, email addresses and maps of possible family members or persons to consult in the genealogy research
  • Cyndi's Amazing Structured List - probably the most comprehensive, friendly, and intelligently organized set of web links available for the genealogist
  • Software Online - this is not a specific site, but a location on our website where you can find links to a wide variety of software (genealogical database software, html converters, viewing software, and software reviews) so that you can try out and select the best software for your needs.
  • UK+Ireland Genealogical Information Service comes recommended from one of our knowledgeable members as the single most useful source of information on searching in the United Kingdom. If you have kin in that part of the world, this is a "must-see"
  • Dear Myrtle - This is a daily genealogical column published on AOL in the Genealogy Forum, and the "Best of" are available at this site. It comes recommended by another member of our group.

Online Genealogies

Here, the intention was to let the SIG visitors compare for themselves some examples of how genealogies are exhibited online, and to help consider which layout they might want to employ once they are ready to try their hand at building a website.

  • Family Tree Maker's User Home Pages - this is a link to a single page at the FTM site which lists all the FTM users who have posted a website with the help of FTM, and whose surname begins with "Pee" Click on the link and you'll see what is meant. If you would like, you could substitute the /p/e/e/ in the web address (URL) with those first initials in your surname. Maybe you'll find a researcher with similar interests. Delving into these pages will show you several styles of websites that FTM assists the user in building. Find a page that offers an InterneTree and make sure your browser is "java-enabled" and you're in for an interactive treat. Of course, the FTM site has much more to offer than this.
  • Judii Rempel - okay, here's the approach I've taken. This link will take you to my surname list and associated family-group-sheet type pages that were built from a gedcom using GedPage.
  • Suddie Mumford - is one of our members who has used PhpGedView software to generate his webpage.

Data Online

In this section, I wanted to point you to a number of really great, general indices that exist online. In this case, you should go to the Canadian Genealogical Projects Registry of the AFHS.

On that page, you'll find links to data online pertaining to: Adoptions, Births, Censuses, Church Records, Deaths, Divorces, Genealogical Collections, Immigrants, Land Records, Marriages, Military Records, Residents, Queries, and Surnames.

Specifically, you should consider visiting:

  • The AFHS pages on births, marriages and deaths as reported in Calgary newspapers in the 1890s.
  • The Loyalist surnames being researched by our members.
  • Obituary Daily Times - a collection of newspaper obituaries indexed as part of a large project that spans many cities.
  • Social Security (US) Death Index and the SSDI Limits for Genealogy are very important finding aids for persons who had family members eligible for Social Security death benefits.
  • BC Archives - these archives are an incredible source at the other end of the country. See it for marriage or death records that took place in British Columbia. Wander around a while and you'll find access to their image collection as well. If only our Glenbow Museum here in Calgary could prepare such materials for online use - we'd really have something to be proud about.
  • AFHS Members' Surname Interests - we can't neglect the folks at home. Here are our colleagues and an alphabetized listing of the surnames they're searching. Click on a member's name and you'll see the geographic locale associated with the surname interest as well as the others they are searching. It's great to find "new" cousins right in our own back yard.
  • Ancestry Databases - and another member mentioned that Ancestry has posted some free-access databases online. Course, some you have to pay for....

Search Tips

The last thing I wanted to do, was indicate the search engines that I find most useful.

  • HotBot is my "hands-down" favourite search engine because I find it comprehensive, precise and doesn't lead me to a lot of dead links.
  • I found HotBot through another great, meta-search engine,Dogpile. You can use this one to select a search engine for yourself. You use it like any search engine: just specify your search terms in the usual way. Then, it will go out and delegate the work to about 20 other search engines (altavista, lycos, hotdog, etc.) to provide you with a report. You then can review the brief "hits" that each engine supplied and decide which engine is best for you .. or simply use them all by continuing to use Dogpile as your choice.
  • On this note, one of our members indicated that Ask was her favourite. Let's try it out and see if we agree.

Well, that's it for this time. There are/were other recommendations as well, and as they come to mind/are forwarded to me, they'll be posted on this page. So come on back and visit again.