Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Computer Group Summary - 8/15

We had the CVGS Computer Group meeting today, with 15 in attendance. Gary set up the projector on one of the library computers so I could demonstrate sites and searches from the podium, but there was something wrong with that computer - it could search the Internet but not the library databases (including Ancestry Library Edition). All of the other computers could do both - Internet and Ancestry. It never did get straightened out by the library staff.

Therefore, some members spent time searching in Ancestry, and most of the members followed along with my searches. We went to theses web sites:

1) The Rootsweb Mailing List Archive - at

2) The Rootsweb Message Board Search function - at

3) Joe Beine's Death Indexes web page - at

4) Joe Beine's Birth and Marriage Indexes page - at

There are so many mailing list (almost 33 million) and message board (over 17 million on Rootsweb) messages, dating from the late 1990's, that many researchers don't even try to search them for other researchers who might have common ancestors. Part of the problem is that there are so many individual lists or boards that the volume is overwhelming. Searching has become much easier and faster since Rootsweb added the search engines. You can put a name in quotes - such as "isaac seaver" - on the Mailing List Advanced Search box and get good results, but you can't put the name in quotes on the Message Board search - it ignores the quotes.

Many members are stymied in obtaining birth, marriage and death certificates because of state laws restricting access. Others just don't know where to look. Joe Beine's web sites are really helpful - there are many "work-arounds" there in the state listings for specific counties. We looked at death certificates for Ohio, Arizona and Missouri today and some members were pleased to see that images of some vital records can be found online. We also went looking for cemetery records in several counties, and I showed how the Boulder (CO) Genealogical Society has put a lot of genealogical information in their database for Columbia Cemetery in Boulder.

This was a very useful group meeting because it reinforced (again!) that not all genealogy data is on the Internet, and that for the data that IS on the Internet, not ALL of it is on

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