Monday, January 9, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 2 - Paid Online Genealogy Tools

Amy Coffin of the WeTree blog came up with a series of weekly blogging prompts for each week of 2012.

This week's prompt is this question: "Which paid genealogy tool do you appreciate the most? What special features put it at the top of your list? How can it help others with their genealogy research?"  I'm a bit confused as to whether the tool has to be an online tool or any tool that you've paid for - so I'm going to choose two!!

Okay what do I pay for and use in the way of genealogy tools?  I pay for an online subscription to Find My Past (Australia) which I have been very impressed with in the first month or so that I have been using it.

I have just subscribed to the iPad version of the Inside History magazine.  It's probably a bit too early to judge yet, but once again I love the design and layout of the magazine.  It is very visually appealing and enticing.  And of course, the content is great too.

I pay for and use Family Tree Maker as my software.  I have mixed feelings about Family Tree Maker now - I keep upgrading but think I need to attend workshops at QFHS to become more competent with navigating the layout now.

I have also subscribed to Origins.  This has all sorts of records and I should use it more than I do.  For fun, one day, I looked up the London Apprenticeship Abstracts.  The site had the most interesting information about Livery Companies.  I knew next to nothing about Livery Companies and was intrigued to see just how many companies there were -  including Makers of Playing Cards and Paviors (who dealt with paving and highways).

But for my money, the best value so far of online tools has been  Pharos Tutors.    I have completed two courses with them to date - one on Wills and Administration with Gill Blanchard and one on Caribbean Family History with Guy Grannum.  The teachers are very supportive as is the administration staff.  The courses are modestly priced but rich in content.  There is a really wide range of courses from Beginners right through to how to become a professional genealogist.  Pharos and the Society of Genealogists combined last year to deliver the Family History Skills and Strategies Long Distance Course which consists of ten modules which can be completed over an 18 - 30 month period.  Most courses are anywhere from 3-5 weeks long so quite digestible I think.  Even though it's been a while since I did my last course I still receive regular bulletins from Pharos with great information about all things genealogy.  I must declare that I recently entered a competition with Pharos and after a great deal of pencil sucking and straining my brain about significant dates including regnal years, I won a copy of the Oxford Companion to Local and Family History.  I have been thinking about using this marvellous resource as a prompt for future blog posts too.

And now for the second tool but by no means least important tool, which I have mentioned already - QFHS.  I have been a member of this society for - I don't know how long....over 20 years I'd say.  From the moment I joined the society I was made to feel most welcome.  The Society has a very well resourced library and bookshop at Gaythorne in Brisbane.  It has a prodigious output in terms of publishing and has won many awards for its contributions to family history research. Workshops are run on a regular basis and all sorts of services are offered to its members - both metropolitan and regional.  Even if you don't join, the website is useful - I refer to the Quiklinks page on a regular basis for reference to all things Gene in Australia and oseas.

There's only so much you can do at home on your own.  Joining a Society I think has to be a number one priority if you are new to genealogy.  You'll meet some of the most wonderful, generous, completely batty and gorgeous people there - just like you really !!  Do join in and participate in your Society's activities.  Volunteers are needed for all sorts of things - indexing, cataloguing, writing, speaking, helping others in the library etc. and you will learn so much from your colleagues.  I'm the kind of girl that only learns by doing.  Don't be shy or feel that you can't be of any assistance to anyone.  We all have to start somewhere and genealogists are the friendliest bunch of folk I've yet to meet.


Peeboo said...

Alex - great blog, please keep it going. I'll type a longer comment when time permits, but suffice to say as someone who received white cotton gloves for Christmas I'm looking forward to further posts.

Alex Daw said...

Why thank you Paul. I'm very chuffed to have made the grade;). White gloves huh? And I'm assuming they're not to help you look more like Mr Claus!

Queen of the Tea Cosies said...

Yeah!? What about knitters!?

Alex Daw said...

Correction granted - knitters and genealogists are very friendly folk - and close knit too!

Judy Webster said...

Alex, I like your list. I will be interested to read more of your thoughts as this '52 Week' series unfolds.

Alex Daw said...

Thank you Judy. It's a good process this isn't it? It really forces you to reflect.