Thursday, February 28, 2008

Technology Schmechnology

This month's topic for the Carnival of Genealogy is:

Technology. What technology do you most rely on for your genealogy and family history research? Select one piece of hardware (besides your computer), one piece of software (besides your internet browser), and one web site/blog (besides your own) that are indispensable to you.

This is interesting timing for me. I'd mentioned in a post on The Oracle of OMcHodoy that my computer had recently been sent out for repair. The initial problem was that the photos in the "My Pictures" folder were duplicating themselves when I tried to delete extra copies or move photos to new folders. It would then put the copies into the same folder I was trying to clean out. No one I'd talked to could understand this; in fact even tech people would look at me as if I was possessed.

I finally called in some tech support people I'd used once before. He found that somehow Windows (XP) was looping the files and that it would need to be re-installed. I was leary, as I'd once had mega problems with a tech support group that lead to a court case (I won; that contract was the "Worst Buy" I'd ever made). Anyway, I got my computer back last Wednesday. The computer guy had backed up my data so I didn't lose my photos or hopefully, my genealogy database (I wont' know about this until I install the new FTM I ordered, but the file is where it should be). The first problem I'd had was described in a post from 24 Feb 2008 on The Oracle of OMcHodoy, so I won't go into it here. But suffice it to say that last night I again attempted to re-categorize pictures in one folder to find that the pictures self-duplicated and placed the copies into the folder I was trying to clean up. I swear, my computer is possessed, not me.

Anyway, I managed to delete the copies (I had to do it one by one instead of in groups) and move a few photos to a new folder, but it's quite distressing to know I spent a couple hundred dollars to fix a problem that wasn't fixed (the email to the computer guy should be read today).

So you can imagine, I'm in one of those "technology schmechnology" moods where it is not my friend. But to be honest, I wouldn't have gotten into Genealogy had it not been for technology. I wouldn't have gotten into Genealogy had it not been for technology that allowed me to store photographs. I would not have been able to share the family photos had it not been for technology, either. Because I think the best part of Genealogy is sharing "finds", I'm going to pick the CD Burner as my best technological friend. This device not only allows me to store photos in case of disaster, it allows me to send photos and data to family members who share my interest. If nothing else, the computer guy did replace my old burner, which stopped working quite a while ago. I realize now how much I missed it.

As for Software, I'd have to pick Family Tree Maker as my best friend. I have an old version and am waiting for the 2008 version now. It sure makes tracking data easy!

There's a lot of talk going around by a lot of people who think is cheating people by charging for information that people can get for free at the National Archives. I say this is baloney. First of all, it would cost me a heck of a lot more to travel to the NA to get the information or to hire someone to go for me. Second of all, someone had to pay for people to scan images, index the data, and host and maintain the site. There is a wealth of information at and it 's much more user friendly than other sites I'd used. So I vote for as my most indispensable Genealogy website.

Though I must say, I'm glad I didn't have to pick my favorite genea-blog. That would just not be possible.


Ken Spangler said...

I can relate to you on the possessed computer.

I didn't think of my CD burner as a useful technology but you are definitely right. I have recently upgraded to a DVD burner and I can now store all my research on one DVD, almost!

Good luck on casting out those demons!

Jewelgirl said...

Hi, What are the chances, that
we have a post with the same title?
My brain doesn't have a clue!
I have paper & CD file back ups,but
I just can't see putting my whole life on to a computer and have it crash and burn. All the hard work gone in a second, don't think I could deal with the loss, I care way to much about genealogy.

Janice said...


Here is hoping you get your computer problems fixed. I know what you mean about tech folks. I used to have a tech guy whose all-encompassing solution was to reformat the hard drive and lose everything on your computer. My new guy is great.

Now my hard drive is partitioned with the OS on one drive and my programs and data on the other. This way odds are when (notice I didn't say IF) my computer dies, I can retrieve my data at least.

Thanks for the great article, and for reminding us of how essential a modem/internet connection are to us these days.

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