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01 December 2008

Gaye Lenahan's Report on the Got-Genealogy Academy

CGS member and Desk Duty volunteer Gaye Lenahan was the lucky winner of a full-tuition scholarship to the Got Genealogy Academy held November 14 - 15, 2008. Lisa B. Lee donated the prize which was awarded at the volunteer reception Thanksgiving at CGS! in November. Gaye sent this report.

The year is 1883. Did you know that was the year The Ladies Home Journal began publication? And the year that Mussolini was born? The Web has many sites with historical timelines to help you add context and interest to your family histories. This is just one small example of the tricks and treats I picked up at the inaugural session of Lisa Lee' s online genealogy boot camp.

The class began early Friday morning with Search Engines (ever hear of Dogpile or Cuil?) and Search Techniquessoundex versus wild card, for instance. The eight students in attendance were provided a laptop computer, information binder and personal attention. For the computer-challenged (yours truly), there was much to learn. Did you know that Rootsweb has a soundex converter? Very handy!

What a rich world of information Lisa introduced to us! Example: Google Books, where I not only found great references but also mileage to the closest library where the books are located. That's only the beginning of the richness of this site.

Saturday was devoted to exploring Ancestry. Many of you may be aware that there is more to this site than census data. I was ignorant. I can hardly wait to follow through at a CGS computer. For a student seeking military records, vital records, passenger lists, etc., this class pointed the way. We all found new information about our families that we hadn't known before. Lisa put the bits and pieces on a CD for us to take home to our own computers.

Lisa Lee is an experienced teacher who uses her humor and energy to keep the class alert and motivated. If you think you know all about online census sources, I respectfully suggest you probably don't! Lisa's Got Genealogy? is offering a class in Sacramento in April for those who would like to become census-savvy.

Thanks to CGS for giving me the opportunity to improve my online genealogical skills.