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The internet evolution

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enealogy has undergone a massive transformation over the last few decades. Genealogists have made their way out of dark rooms full of microfilm readers. They have left behind the old stack of newspapers and the restrictions of office hours. They have given up sending out queries via regular mail. Today’s world is about technology that makes everything just a click away. More than 55 million hits will appear online by simply googling the word Genealogy. Getting to know what is out there will help you make the most of your online research. There are two types of website waiting for eager new genealogists, the ones that will rack up your credit cards and the ones that won’t. Many websites will lead you to believe they have the missing information you are looking for but a closer examination of their sources is always in order. Most websites will allow you to do a “free” search of their databases to entice you. If you spend some time poking around the website you can find the description or source of their information. This can determine if the locations, dates, and record types really match what you are looking for before you agree to spend any money.

by Tammy Vallee

Many sites offer a wealth of information from historical records at no cost at all. Countless hours of volunteer time have gone into extraction, transcribing, and indexing these records which have found their way to the world wide web. This can generally save time and money for a researcher when they find this type of information online. Indexes can also allow a researcher to make connections faster than may have been possible when viewing the original records. Returning to the original is always advisable to ensure that the information located has been correctly extracted while making sure no additional information is missing. As the Internet moves rapidly forward, undergoing continuing makeovers, a new trend has developed in the digitization of records. Each digitized historical document makes it possible to access these records at any time from anywhere in the world. Combined with the indexing work, it opens up records that may not have been considered or were not accessible before. This trend not only sees these records continually making their way online, it has set the standard for newly released records to make their debut in a digitized format.

The leader in digitization is Ancestry.com. Quick facts from their website state they have four billion historical records, nearly one million worldwide subscribers, 11 million family trees and 1.1 billion profiles, and 22 million uploaded photos. They are the parent company behind free sites like Rootsweb, MyFamily, and Genealogy.com. The records are indexed, searchable, and the databases are always growing. Ancestry is a subscription site that allows you limited access to information at no charge. Familysearch.org is working toward the digitization of 2.5 million reels of microfilm, the largest collection in the world. The indexers for this project are volunteers from around the world. Started in January 2006 with a few thousand volunteers, the project has over 100,000 volunteers who have transcribed 250 million records as of April 2009. Their scale may not be as large but the Library and Archives of Canada is another leader in providing free access to digitized records. They are currently working the Nation Archives in Ireland on the digitization of the 1901 and 1911 Ireland censuses. New images are being revealed online regularly because of the work they are doing. The

Re-think your concept of a makeover

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hat comes to mind when you hear the term ‘makeover’? For me, it’s the major under-taking of a personal, physical makeover: new hairstyle, new wardrobe, new make-up, nail polish (who, me?), an exercise regimen and more. After

that, I think of a makeover of my living space, renovating or redecorating. All that could indeed be useful and fun. However, there are other areas of our lives that could use a bit of a makeover. Shake things up a bit. Here are some suggestions.

Canadian census from 1891 to 1911 and passenger ship lists are part of their larger digitized collection of online records. These leading websites are not the only places for great discoveries. As you surf the World Wide Web for new insight into your ancestors, be wary of sites that make grand promise of providing information after you pay grand fees. When it comes to spending your money to access a website, use your own discretion. The Internet is always changing and evolving in the ways in which the information is present and made available for researchers. Tammy Vallee is a Genealogical Speaker & Educator, and a Certified Saskatchewan and Aboriginal Researcher. She can be reached at tamw25@shaw.ca

Upcoming Event Saskatoon Branch Open House & Genealogy Fair, Thursday, March 18, 7pm to 9pm at the Albert Community Centre, 3rd Floor Loft, 610 Clarence Avenue (an elevator is available). Bring your friends and come visit with other Saskatoon genealogists, ask questions and check out our library!

by Margaret Bremner

Make over your psyche Give your spirits a boost. De-stress. Relaaax. Pray. Meditate. Walk. Doodle. Stare out the window. Visit the conservatory at the Mendel Art Gallery. No, not a quick walk-through. Take time to look closely at the flowers and other plants. Listen to the water. Sit for a bit and breathe in the fresh, moist air. In our dry, dry climate this can be very refreshing for your sinuses and nasal passages too. Make over your brain Try doing things with your non-dominant hand. Start with something simple like turning a light switch on and off or stirring the soup. Can you unlock a door using your other hand? Try putting the computer mouse on the opposite side. See how you do brushing your teeth. Read, or listen to, something that lets you really think. Ponder a deep issue. For this, you gotta love CBC. On TV, take in “The Passionate Eye”, “The Fifth Estate”, or “The Nature of Things”. You can find schedules – and even watch some programs - at www. cbc.ca/documentaries. On the radio, listen to “The Current” in the morning or “Ideas” in the evening. Michael Sandel is a philosophy professor at Harvard University. His course, Justice, is one of the most popular courses in Harvard’s history. I’ve been listening to a 12-part series

of his lectures on the internet. This consists of hour-long programs, each with two 30-minutes lectures. He presents difficult moral dilemmas, then asks us to examine our answers in the light of new scenarios. Check it out at: http://justiceharvard.org/. Elevate conversations Initiate a discussion about something profound rather than the weather or last night’s reality show. Make over your leisure time This might start by ensuring that you HAVE true leisure time, not just ‘time when I’m not at work’. You may have noticed that ‘time when I’m not at work’ ends up being doing the laundry and other chores. My husband’s former boss used to say, “Plan your play.” That’s good advice. If you don’t plan leisure activities, you may end up plunked in front of the TV yet again, eating chips. Abandon the computer and play a board game with the family. Some games we have enjoyed recently are Ticket to Ride, Carcasonne, Boggle, Settlers of Catan, and good ole’ Scrabble. If you have a hobby you probably already plan time to devote to it. Good for you! If there’s something you love to do and you don’t plan time for it, that’s your makeover project; now, go. Consider doing something different just for the sake of doing something different.

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Section A • Saskatoon • w w w . t h e n e i g h b o u r h o o d e x p r e s s . c o m

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