Turn Back the Clock with Genealogy Technology

By Vanessa Wieland

Genealogy and Technology Go Hand-in-Hand

When the time changed this weekend, most of my clocks automatically changed with them, thanks to the wonders of modern technology. But while we may have lost an hour of sleep, we can use that same technology to find records of our family’s past. In the Spring 2018 Virtual Conference, we have an entire track designed to help our attendees make the most of the technology at their fingertips. From DNA websites to finding records and storing and organizing online, our sessions will help you use those tools to find solutions.
Get the right genealogy technology to fill your research toolbox and “turn back” the clock to find your ancestors.

Create a Timeline

Gena Philibert-Ortega says, “One of the most important things to do as you begin your research into the life of a female ancestor is to create a timeline. Timelines can help you visually see what you have found and gaps in your research. How do you create a timeline? A timeline might be a table in your word processor program, a spreadsheet, or even a form you find online. A timeline may include the date of your ancestor’s event (census year, birth date, marriage date, etc); the name of that event; any comments, analysis or next steps you need to take; and the source citation. Timelines can help you record findings, decide on future research, and assist in writing up your findings.”

Find Your Past with Findmypast

If you’ve dismissed Findmypast because you don’t have British or Irish ancestry, you might want to give this site another chance. Their free records contain not only Irish Roman Catholic Parish Records, but US and Canadian public vital records, US census records from 1790 – 1940. There are almost 1 billion records that are free to view.

Of course, if you do have British or Irish ancestry, the site has even more to offer. Three more reasons to check out this site:
1. Build your free online family tree in under 2 minutes on the site or upload a GEDcom to get hints.
2. If you’re looking for British newspapers, you should absolutely be searching on Findmypast.
3. And finally, their blog contains a plethora of information about researching your British and Irish ancestry.

Fun fact: Time travel fiction started with English writer H.G. Wells’ novel, The Time Machine. Between that and Doctor Who, the British have been doing time travel technology best for well over a century now. Why would their genealogy website be any different?

Dig Into Your DNA

In our virtual conference, we have not one, but two presentations on DNA testing websites. If you’re thinking about testing at MyHeritage or LivingDNA (or if you’re thinking about uploading a test you took at another site), these presentations will give you the lowdown on what you can expect from their results, as well as using their available analysis tools. Both are expanding and adding improvements to their tools rapidly, including matching, which gives you more opportunities to break down your brick walls.

Create New Genealogy Technology Combinations

Speaking of DNA and technology, Andre Kearns has a presentation that demonstrates just how you can combine using your DNA results with social media. Are you looking to prove (or disprove) a relationship to someone you’re researching? Of course, both of these tools are useful by themselves. Since DNA is a tool that’s always evolving, combining these two tools creatively can help lead to some serious breakthroughs.

What is your favorite genealogy technology combination? Do you have a particular website or piece of software that you can’t possibly research without?