03 November 2010 ~ 1 Comment

Upcoming Webinar – Google for Genealogists

legacy family tree

I am pleased to announce my partnership with Legacy Family Tree in delivering quality webinars to the genealogy community!

On Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST (7:00 pm GMT), I will present Google for Genealogists:

Most genealogists are only using 10% or less of the resources behind Google when it comes to genealogy research. Learn from professional genealogist, Thomas MacEntee, about the other 90% and how these Google components can be leveraged for better search results. Google is more than just a search engine – it is a wealth of information much of which goes unnoticed by the average genealogist. Besides search, Google allows you to access maps, books, journals, abstracts, patents and much more. These components may be what is needed to make advances in your genealogy research.

Click here for the current list of free webinars and scroll down to January to sign up for Google for Genealogists.

©2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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28 May 2010 ~ 2 Comments

Using Webex For Collaborative Genealogy Research


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.


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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13 April 2010 ~ 1 Comment

A Successful Virtual Workshop for CGSL


This past Saturday – April 10, 2010 – I presented They’re Alive – Searching for Living Persons for members of the California Genealogical Society and Library (CGSL) in Oakland, CA.  The neat thing is I was able to do this from the comfort of my home here in Chicago, IL using webinar technology.

When I started High-Definition Genealogy, I decided one of the offerings which would be of value to the genealogy community is distance education. What does this entail? Here’s a list of components and advantages made available to not only genealogical societies but individuals as well:

  • Technology rules.  I purchased a WebEx subscription earlier this year and I couldn’t be happier!  I can meet with colleagues at a moments notice and it doesn’t cost them a thing to connect!  I’ve actually been able to meet with genealogy vendors on short notice to discuss issues and demo applications on screen.
  • Easy setup.  CGSL set up a laptop with a screen and projector in the middle of their board room.  They called me from their conference phone so I could speak to the audience and they could answer questions.  I was not only able to display my PowerPoint slides, but I also could share my computer desktop and demo searches in real time.  Plus, I used my web cam to let the audience know that there was a real person running this workshop!
  • Lower costs.  Instead of CGSL having to pay for my travel expenses or for me to pay my own way, using distance education we both were able to keep our costs down.

So what does the future hold?  Well, soon I’ll be posting a list of offerings including a new workshop on how to become a genealogy speaker as well as one on how to obtain writing gigs for genealogy magazines and journals.  I will be able to offer this to individuals at a very reasonable price with folks connecting from the comfort of their own home.

In addition, I’ll be expanding my offerings to genealogy societies by allowing them to hire me as a speaker for their next meeting or special workshop at a very reasonable price compared to my “live in-person” speaking fee.  In addition, at the discretion of the genealogy society, they could allow their members to connect from their home computers.

Stay tuned!

© 2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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