7th April 2018

Get the data off the page

posted in genealogy |

With another afternoon of local history research “in the can”, I’m going to go out on a limb and declare the book project complete. Except for the eventual print run and sales… but that’s just a detail, right? We met in the community center, and after I handed over the proofreading hints, the group segued into research on a more personal level.

Not everyone can afford to subscribe to one of the commercial genealogy site. Besides the risk of undirected research, it helps to see what others do when confronted with an ocean of details. My own experience allows me to avoid some of the obvious pitfalls, so I took the time to “walk” some of my interested (and interesting) neighbours through the basics.

Why would you want to put that pile of papers, unsorted, aside? What can a software solution do for me (meaning you; I’ve already worked this out)? What are the costs involved, and are the programs really that similar/different? How does the link to the commercial world actually function? Will they take my data and sell it to others (yes, of course).

After several hours, I hope that there will be some converts to the computer approach. Ink fades. Papers get soaked in coffee. A database is robust, as long as you remember to back up regularly.  I showed the interested that you could start with a free software package, and then move seamlessly to a commercial solution without risk. And in case of uncertainty, I’m just a phone call away. Now that sort of offer is really “going out on a limb”.

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