Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Tools You're Probably Not Using....and Maybe Should Be

Today is Two for Tuesday. Okay that's what it was for me growing up, on the radio they would play two songs by the same artist ALL day in a row.
So Tuesday's Tip: Tools You're Probably Not Using....and Maybe Should Be. These are tools you probably already have, either on your computer or on a web site. Now by computer, I mean the PC/IBM version; you Mac people are on your own.

1. Snipping Tool: These application comes standard on Windows 7 (Vista and 8 also). I hear it's under Accessories; okay I checked it is there. Mine is in my top 10 applications I use so I don't have to find it there. This will take a screen shot and save it to your computer. I first used it for gaming. Now I have found it's also useful for genealogy. Don't want the whole census page? Open Snipping Tool, make a box around the part you want and save to your computer. Will save some paper too.

2. Sticky Notes: Also an application that comes with Windows under Accessories. Tired of writing things on sticky notes and sticking them to your desk or screen? Yep this is the app for that.

3. To Do List on Ancestry.com: I use this instead of the Sticky Note app. Ancestry.com has a To-Do List on the home page. Did you get to researching late at night, and want to note where you left off? Use Ancestry's To-Do List to note which family lines you need to continue working on. Currently mine has about 20 tasks to do on it; I hear you're supposed to delete these (cross them off) when you're done. I don't get to do that very often, if I ever have.

4. Virtual Cemeteries on Findagrave.com: Do you have a hard time remembering where your 3 times great-grandparents are buried? Wouldn't it be great if you could organize them by families? YOU CAN! You can make virtual cemeteries on Findagrave.com so you can save ANYONE'S memorial to your surname group, or your war group or whatever group you want to make. These can also be private or public.

5. Password saver on your browser: As genealogists we probably have hundreds of log-ins. We can't remember all those, but your computer can! Any time I log in with a password to a web site, Google Chrome asks me if I want to save it. If it's a web site I go to daily or weekly, I usually say "no" because I know those. If I go to the site less frequently, I say "yes" because I'm not going to remember it. Better than sticky notes on your screen, in your drawer or a book of passwords. Back when I had a PRN/substitute job, I could NEVER remember my work password, so I wrote it down on a sticky note each time I changed it and stuck it to the back of my ID badge. My badge always went home with me each time so it wasn't the securest form, but I didn't leave it out for anyone to copy either.

I think that's all I can think of now. Next would be applications that are helpful such as Dropbox and Evernote, but maybe that will have to be for NEXT Tuesday. Can you think of any tools? Comment below. I'd be glad to hear them. That's how we learn, by sharing.