COG: Technology I Rely On

Technology is important to me. Since I was a kid, I’ve always loved technology. When I got into the genealogy game, computers and the Internet were already cemented in our lives, but genealogy was just starting to use it. I was lucky to start my genealogy research when the Internet was around. I am in awe of all of you who needed to do most of your research using things such as the Family History Libraries and postal mail. Like most things on the Internet, people sometimes jump to conclusions and believe everything they read, which can cause some research to be done incorrectly. I’ve always had technology in my research, and in my life, so this Carnival of Genealogy post was right up my alley. We were told to just pick one of each of the items below and to try not to talk about other things. So here mine goes.

The piece of hardware I rely on the most, besides my computer, is my digital camera. I use it mainly to take photos of headstones and other cemetery-related items. Sometimes I will also take photos of historic locations related to my research. Since it’s a digital camera, I don’t need to worry about how many photos I take (except I need to make sure not to fill my memory card.) Currently, I have a Sony and it’s all I really need for what I use it for. Seven megapixels is way more quality than I need. Though, I gotta say it’s nice for when you need to have a lot more detail, which works especially well on those hard-to-read, old headstones.

The software that I rely on most now is RootsMagic. I began using it about a year ago when I read some reviews and it looked worthwhile to try. I was previously using Family Tree Maker, but it seemed like it was getting bloated and more expensive. I don’t need a lot of fluff, just the basics done well. FTM had a lot of online add-ons and other things that usually just got in my way. RootsMagic, while different at first, became easier for me to use due to its basic design and functionality.

The website I rely on the most, in genealogy and everything else, is Google. From Google Search to Google Maps to Google Docs, it’s all extremely helpful. And now with Google’s Street View on their maps, I can even see the house that my ancestors possibly lived in. Milwaukee was recently completed and today sometimes checking out this houses in person in some of these neighborhoods isn’t the smartest idea. While the results aren’t all genealogy-related, sometimes I run across something I wasn’t expecting. This happened to me while searching for my Muhm ancestors a few months ago. I’m not sure what I’d do without it sometimes.

About Brian Zalewski

I started genealogy research about mid-1999. My grandfather had passed away in April of that year. Since then I’ve done a lot of research not only for myself, but for friends and other relatives. In 2006, I married the love of my life, Darcy, and welcomed the birth of our daughter, Aerissa Jean, in 2010 and our son, Xander Lee, in 2012. I can’t wait to tell them stories about all of their ancestors.

Additional Resources

A Featured Post

How to Find Purchased Land

I thought I would write a post on how to convert one of your ancestor’s Land Records into an actual physical location. Right now, I only have the information on how to do this in Wisconsin with the resources that they have available. Other states may have these items available too. Your mileage may vary. […]

Comments

  1. Brian,

    Interesting article! I too find my digital camera useful but I must say that lately I have forgotten about it. I’ve been trying to scan the thousands of photos I’ve inherited!

    I’m reading the Carnival from the bottom of the list up so you are the third person to vote for Roots Magic. I am definitely going to have to check it out.

    Thanks so much for your great additions to this carnival.

    Ken

  2. Brian,

    I’m a Google fan also, and I also LOVE my Sony camera. I enjoyed your article and may download the Rootsmagic program to try it out.

    Janice