Saturday, April 7, 2012

Upcoming Event : Getting the Most Out of Ancestry, April 21

Bloomingdale Branch Library is sponsoring "Getting the Most Out of Ancestry", Saturday, April 21, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. at their library in Bloomingdale.  The lecture, presented by Toni Benson (yours truly), Local History Librarian for the Van Buren District Library, is designed to teach the Ancestry user to dig deeper into the hidden layers of Ancestry.com.  

Unquestionably in the last several years the genealogical industry leader has become Ancestry.com.  In October 2011, they reported over 1,700,000 subscribers, a 24 percent increase over the same period in 2010.  The word has definitely gotten out...

Family historians of the past (such as myself) may have been somewhat reluctant to make the transition from traditional hands-on research to online research, but face it, the last few years has seen the dawn of the "genealogy internet babies" generation.  More and more of us are relying heavily, if not solely, upon online resources.  Ancestry, like any successful business, continually & creatively advertises and promotes their product, and no grass grows under their feet...new things are being added all of the time.

With any new device, the first thing we want to do is get it out of the box, rip off the packaging, connect the power and start using it.  Seldom do we take the time to actually read the instruction manual that comes with it, unless something doesn't work correctly.  Then we're looking through the Troubleshooting page for quick answers.  One good example is my cell phone...the manual is about 1/2 inch thick, but I've never cracked the pages of the manual.  Consequently, I don't know the half of what my cell can really do.

Ancestry users - Have you been plugging names into the search boxes and not getting the results you expect?  Did you know that you are missing key information because there are alternative search methods that you have yet to learn?  Unquestionably there are tools within Ancestry that would be useful if you only knew about them.

Ancestry user wannabees - Have you been seeing endless commercials on TV and been catching some of the episodes of "How Do You Think You Are?" on NBC, thinking 'someday' I should give this Ancestry thing a try, but I don't want to spend so much money...or...I'm computer illiterate so I'm afraid I won't know how to use it?  Since the VBDL subscribes to Ancestry Library Edition (ALE), anyone using a library computer can have access to a multitude of Ancestry databases & tools. 

In either case, this lecture is for you.  The presentation will include live demonstrations of search strategies, an overview of hidden tools, and handouts including online search inventory forms.  There will be a brief discussion regarding the differences between Ancestry & ALE, as well as a question & answer period.

Pre-registration is required as there is limited space.  Call the library at (269)521-7601 to reserve your seat, or contact us with any questions.

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