Thursday, February 28, 2008


The topic for the next CoG(this will be the 43rd) is this:

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

Well, I ask you: is that fodder for a genealogy triad or what?

Three tools for tracing my family: good hardware, good
software, and a good website for research.

good hardware: My sister Cheryl and my brother in law
Peter gave me a HP OfficeJet 5610 All in One Printer/
Scanner/Copier/Fax Machine for Christmas two years ago
and it’s made everything so much easier.

I’ve never owned a scanner before this one and I’ve been
able to start preserving the old family photos(although I am
still woefully behind in that.) It also helped me in doing the
transcriptions of Aunt Dot’s handwritten memoirs. I scanned
the pages, then used what I’ve come to call the “Seaver
Method” (a post by Randy over at Genea-Musings showed
me how to do this) which is a split screen: the image on the
top of the screen and MS Word on the bottom. I read the
pages from the image and typed it into Word. I recently have
found a short memoir by my granduncle Clarence about
his experiences at Aziscohos Dam and plan to use the same
process to post them here.

good software: No contest in this one. It’s Personal Ancestry
File 5. My friend Diana was the person who told me there was
this genealogy software program that I could download for
free from the LDS. I did so and entered all the research Aunt
Dot had sent us years before and I’m still using it today as
my primary genealogy database. While I still don’t have all
the ins and outs of how to format some of the reports, for the
most part it’s easy to use and has the extra benefit of the
ability to click a name and run a search on the FamilySearch
Internet site for it. I’m building family trees on some of the
newer online genealogy sites now but the PAF is my old

and a good website for research: Given my software answer
it’s an easy guess that my website would be the FamilySearch
site and it is! Again, it’s a free website with loads of information,
although not all of it is accurate so further research is wise. I
found my grandfather Floyd E.(arl) West listed five times on
the Pedigree Resource Files as Floyd J. West, for example. I
think of FamilySearch as providing me with hints and clues
that I need to verify. Even so I often recommend PAF and
FamilySearch to customers at the bookstore whenever our
conversation turns to genealogy. They are an easy and
inexpensive way for someone to try out tracing their family

And that’s my genealogy triad!


Jasia said...

Hi Bill,
I got your submission, not sure why you didn't get your receipt. But then, I've had plenty of problems with the BlogCarnival web site delivering email in the past so it doesn't surprise me.

In any event, don't ever hesitate to send me a separate email or make a comment like you did. I'd rather received duplicate information than miss your submission!


Ken Spangler said...


I always enjoy reading your posts. They are always entertaining. I can relate to you on the scanning family photos. I have a huge tub full of photos that I need to scan and I find it hard to get motivated sometimes. It's a chore but will be so worth it when you finally get them done!

I agree with you on the Family Search site. I've used it in the past and had some success but I did find a lot of duplicate and wrong entries. It's a good place to start though, as long as you take it for what it is worth!

Have a great one!


Jewelgirl said...

I thought I was a major
dinosauer using PAF.
I am not sure how to
run it on their site
to search. I would
like to hear your tips.

Bill West said...

Ken, thanks for the kind words.
That wouldn't be a RubberMaid tub like the one all our photos are in,
would it?


Bill West said...

There's a Search tab at the tob of the screen on PAF with a drop down
menu and the last choice is "On FamilySearch Internet". I highlight a name on my PAF pedigree chart, click Search>On FamilySearch
Internet and my browser takes me to the page with that matches for the name at You need to scan the list for a person that matches your ancestor most closely,then click on it for more information.

That's a rather simplified explanation because it's late and
I'm not too technical minded to begin with. But the most important point is to check and double check the information you find because
there are errors on names and dates
because of typoes or mistakes made by those who contributed to the databases there.

Hope that helps!


Janice said...


I have one of those HP All-in-one printers also. Not only do they do "everything" in one place, but the quality of the printing is amazing too.! Great article.

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