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High-Definition Genealogy High-Definition Genealogy by Thomas MacEntee provides various services to the genealogy and family history community including market research, consulting, education, and more.

03 June 2010 ~ 2 Comments

Transitioning A Genealogy Society

I recently was asked to participate in a series of guest posts entitled Summer of Genealogy Wishes over at the Gen Wish List blog.  Tina Lyons runs a super site which has lots of useful information for genealogists including ideas about genealogy societies.

Check out my guest post entitled Genealogy Societies: The Transition Balance Beam which discusses various approaches a genealogy society can take to begin using 21st century technology and marketing techniques.  These approaches can ensure not only attracting newer and younger members, but also retain older and loyal members as well.

©2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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28 May 2010 ~ 2 Comments

Using Webex For Collaborative Genealogy Research

webex

This week I was successful in using Webex – a web conferencing application from Cisco – to assist a genealogy colleague with some tricky research issues.  You can read more about Gini’s story here at her blog Ginisology.

The Process

  • The challenge: find information using German records on Ancestry.com to find Gini’s great-grandfather, Hans Bacher.
  • The issues: Gini was ready to upgrade to a World level subscription with Ancestry but she wasn’t certain that it would yield the results she needed.  In a way she wanted a “test run” but as a current Ancestry customer, this wasn’t possible on her own.
  • The solution: participate in a collaborative effort using my Ancestry World subscription here in Chicago and allowing Gini (and her mother) who were located 1760 miles away to interpret the results in German.

Webex To The Rescue

I’ve been using Webex over the past few months including teaching to the California Genealogical Society and Library in Oakland, California from my home here in Chicago.  For Gini’s situation, I decided to make the distance education process more personal and do a one-on-one session.

So I sent Gini an invitation to join my Webex session set for a pre-determined date and time.  We also contacted each other on Skype which meant no telecommunications charges.  For the next two hours, I was able to display my computer desktop and perform searches, enlarge images, discuss records on the phone, and also maintain a research log of the items located for later reference.

While we were not able to conclusively determine what happened to Hans Bacher once he found out Gini’s great-grandmother was pregnant, we found strong evidence that he may have ended up – of all places – in Chicago, Illinois!

A Proper Use of Ancestry?

I wanted to answer this question – whether it was proper for me to allow Gini access to my Ancestry World subscription – and give my thoughts on the issue.

  • First, I’d never give out my user name and login to anyone, even a good friend like Gini.  I don’t think that is wise and I do think that would violate the Ancestry terms and conditions.
  • Second, in this situation, Gini was already an Ancestry subscriber and thus couldn’t get a free 14-day trial for the World subscription.
  • Third, it is my belief that when all is said and done, that Gini might very well upgrade her subscription because she was able to really see the value of the product and the depth of the German record holdings.  The World War I military records especially for Bavaria – which is where Hans Bacher was located – are phenomenal.  I think this type of “sneak peak” which allows a potential customer to interact with the records can convert that person to a paying customer.

Conclusion

Webex has its own “taste it, try it” option with a free 14-day trial and any genealogist can use this to perform the same collaboration as I did with Gini.  In fact, this past February, another genealogy colleage – Craig Manson of Geneablogie – was able to use the trial version of Webex to teach two sessions from his home in Sacramento to the same CGSL crowd in Oakland.

If you are interested in working with Webex or even have me lead a session for your genealogy society or even one-on-one sessions, please contact me.   Currently, I am working with several genealogy societies and plan to appear at their upcoming meetings as a speaker at one-half my normal speaking rate if I appear “over the ether” using Webex.

© 2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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27 May 2010 ~ 1 Comment

Email Signature Cheat Sheet

email

Recently, in my role as Publicity Chair for the Illinois State Genealogical Society, I was asked to develop an “email signature” to publicize various events including the upcoming FGS 2011 conference in Springfield, IL.

What Is An Email Signature?

An email signature is usually a snippet of text or an image embedded into your blank email template.  Each time you create a new email, the text or signature will appear at the bottom.

Here is an example of my current email signature using Outlook 2007:

email signature

Why Use An Email Signature?

Look at the bottom of your email as real estate that should be used wisely.  If you run a business, you should be placing links to your website or advertising your latest special or offering.

If you sit on the board of a genealogical society, think about advertising your next event or project.  It costs nothing and every time you send an email, the message gets out.

Email Signature Cheat Sheet

In order to get all our ISGS board members on board and have them create email signatures, I had to address all the different email programs such as AOL, Gmail, Hotmail and more!  That’s why I’ve created the FREE Guide to Email Signatures over at The Connected Genealogist (downloads in PDF) to help walk you through the process.

©2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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