Welcome to the new Genes Reunited blog!
- We regularly add blogs covering a variety of topics. You can add your own comments at the bottom.
- The Genes Reunited Team will be writing blogs and keeping you up to date with changes happening on the site.
- In the future we hope to have guest bloggers that will be able to give you tips and advice as to how to trace your family history.
- The blogs will have various privacy settings, so that you can choose who you share your blog with.
If you're a regular user of Genes Reunited, you may already have investigated our Keepsafe feature, which allows you to upload treasured family photographs and documents. It's a great way to ensure your digital legacy – a carefully curated and preserved archive that you can share with your family. But what about all those old photos that you keep meaning to scan in, but just haven't had the chance? Photos, like any archive material, can degrade over the years – have you checked on those shoeboxes and old albums recently?
Last week, I was delighted to discover that I was listed amongst the seventy or so nominees for 'Genealogy Rock Stars' on John D. Reid's American "Anglo-Celtic Connections" website. Other British nominees included Else Churchill, Audrey Collins and Chris Paton. I don't think any of us could ever be genuinely described as "rock stars", but then what is a rock star supposed to be like? I had lunch in the Cavendish Hotel recently with a very famous rock star, who has hired me to trace his family tree, and far from throwing plates about and eating people's pets, he behaved exactly like a very keen, very knowledgeable family historian!
I have been enjoying trying out the newly indexed newspapers on Genes Reunited. Knowing from long experience what a very long, eye-straining and hit-and-miss affair newspaper searching is, it's extraordinary to be able to find material so easily.
As we approach Christmas, my December question and answer session on Genes Reunited is noticeably less busy than other months. Perhaps it is because so many people are out at Christmas parties, or busy with their Christmas cards or - I don't know what they're all up to, but the December session is always quiet.
I've commented before that, although my monthly webcasts are open to anyone, with any question at all, they seem weirdly, to end up following themes. This time, the theme was very much one of technique. Everyone's enjoying having more and more access to records on-line, but many seem unsure how to use them properly.
I had a busy evening this evening. After a full day's work tracing clients' family trees, I was interviewed by Selina MacKenzie on Talk Radio Europe, a station that actually covers the English speaking ex-pat community in Spain and Gibraltar. I was amused that one of the many adverts on the station was about combatting alcoholism. I enthusiastically steered listeners towards Genes Reunited, both to make contact with possible relatives and also to use the many different records now available on the site. Selina commented that she wished she had asked her grandmother more questions while she was alive. I pointed out that although she did not ask questions, some other relatives out there may have done: when I was a teenager, I interviewed all sorts of elderly cousins and wrote down memories that their own children or grandchildren may not have heard. By networking with people across the world via Genes Reunited, Selina may find the equivalent of me in her family.
It is 19 July 2010, and I am using a short lull in my live webcast to start writing my first entry for the Genes Reunited blog. I have been Genes Reunited's 'resident genealogist' since six months after its start, and each month since summer 2003, I have spent an hour a month with these live sessions - getting on for one hundred of them - receiving questions from members all over the world, and doing my best to answer them. Most of the feedback I get from this is positive: just now (I'm checking back to the page every few minutes) someone's written 'I knew you would come up with another angle that I hadn't thought of. Its much appreciated'. I do remember once someone criticised me for being sarcastic. I looked back at the session he was referring to, and saw it had been a very busy night, with masses of questions, so I'd had to type very short answers: they were certainly not intended to sound sarcastic but in hindsight I could see that their very brevity could be misinterpreted that way! Luckily, recent sessions have seen a steady flow of questions, rather than an overwhelming flood, so I have been able to take a bit more time and try to provide a little bit more depth. Trouble is, if I only have one question to answer, I might decide to take five minutes answering it, but it's only when I send it off that I can find out if I have no, one, two or two dozen new questions waiting for me! But that's life.