Sunday, May 01, 2011


Although I've been pretty active in the geneablogging community I have yet to
attend a meeting og a genealogy society or been to a genealogy conference.
Work and finances haven't permitted me that luxury yet, and even when my
job comes to an end in a few weeks end, the prospect of me being able to
get to, say,  the Southern California Jamboree are exactly the same as for me
going to Mars: slim to none.

But while I haven't physically met any of my geneablogging colleagues, I have
met them "virtually". This began with me sitting in on Miriam Robbins Midkiff's
Scanfest chat room over at her Ancestories blog. While the stated purpose is
for us to get together and scan our troves of family photographs, the chat can
cover just about any aspect of genealogical research. Scanfest is held in the
afternoon of the last Sunday of the month.

Next came Thomas MacEntee's GeneaBloggers Radio over at BlogTalk
Radio.This is an actual radio show broadcast on the internet which began as
weekly Friday broadcasts following the genealogy television show "Who Do
You Think You Are?" which included guests whose own research areas had
something to do with the areas the tv show covered that week. But it has since
evolved in a weekly themed show, with programs on subjects like Irish, Latino,
and African American genealogy, Civil War research, or Mayfl er ancestry.
As Thomas does his excellent job interviewing the guests, the chatroom buzzes
with conversations and comments. It's fast-moving and fun stream of conversation.

My third and most recently added method of meeting other geneabloggers online
is the Genealogy in Second Life group. Second Life is an online virtual reality
world with various communities: there are buildings to enter and meet in and you
have an avatar. The Just Genealogy meetings are held in a Family History Center
and range from  the Monday "Meet and Greet" to a discussion of the upcoming
release of the 1940 Federal Census. This past week there was a "scavenger hunt"
on the American Heritage website hosted by Clarisse Beaumont (aka DearMyrtle)
that was fun and educational. Another presentation earlier this year by Alice Kane
on Boston repositories was extremely useful to me.

Here are some screen shots:
Upstairs at the FHC building. Each one of those laptops link to a specific sites, like the NARA Military Records.

The exterior of the FHC. Meetings are sometimes held on the front terrace..

The fire pit is another chat site. The screen is a whiteboard to display graphics.
There is a Genealogists on Second Life Group page on Facebook which has the list
of discussions for the upcoming week. If you decide to check it out, take a little time
to learn how to maneuver your avatar around so you won't be as much of a klutz at it
as I am!

So while my face to face encounters with other genealogists haven't happened quite
yet, thanks to computer technology I have had the pleasure of "meeting" many and
I've learned about new and useful genealogy tools to boot!


Kathy Reed said...

The "idea" of Second Life has always intrigued me, but I've never tried it out. Maybe this will be the push I need. Can you just check in and watch until you get comfortable?

Claudia's Genealogy Blog said...

I have often wondered a lot of people seem to be able to take the time off and go to these meetings.

First was getting the time off from work, but now I have retired and I will have the time.

The second was the expense. I have been able to go to some local meetings where I only have to pay for the conference and parking.

I am enjoying the few meeting that I have attended locally

Sherry - Family Tree Writer said...

Interesting post! That sounds cool! A virtual genealogy meeting. I may have to check it out, or at least peep into the Facebook page!

hummer said...

Excellent methods for becoming acquainted with a much larger circle of friends. I have enjoyed your blog and second your feelings on virtual is sometimes the best way in the economic times we are experiencing.

findingkline said...

I had no idea there was a genealogic presence on SL! What a neat way for people to connect.

Miriam said...

Just getting around to catching up on my blog reading and found this post, Bill. Thanks for the shout out about Scanfest. Our next one will be May 22nd, due to the last Sunday in May being on a holiday (Memorial Day) weekend.