Want to further accelerate your software skillbuilding? Join a users group. These specialized genealogical societies endeavor to help members make the most of their programs. Users groups typically hold meetings, sponsor seminars or provide other forms of “technical support.” For example, the Silicon Valley PAF Users Group (SVPAFUC) <www.svpafug.org>, based in San Jose, Calif., meets monthly, publishes a newsletter, offers training sessions and posts free tutorials on its Web site. To track down a users group in your area, query Google <www.google.com> (or another general search engine) for your program’s name plus users group.
If you can’t find a nearby club devoted to your program, you still can benefit from joining a more-remote group. Even though you’d miss out on the meetings, you’d get the other perks, including help from fellow members. Another alternative: See whether your local genealogical society has a general computer special-interest group. Or you can take advantage of online grassroots software support — you’ll find myriad program-specific mailing lists and message boards, where family historians share tips and answer one another’s questions. Start with the resources at these Web sites:
• Ancestry-Roots Web Message Boards
• Cyndi’s List — Software and Computers
• Genealogy Resources on the Internet
From the June 2004 Family Tree Magazine.