NERGC 2013 New England Regional Genealogical Conference – Tech Day

NERGC 2013 kicked off today at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Manchester, New Hampshire.  If my count at lunch was correct, about 150 people turned out for this new offering at NERGC.  It seems that it was a success!

First to talk today was Stephen P. Morse, best known for his invention of the 8086 processor. Morse gave a talk called “Deep Linking and Deeper Linking: How to get the most out of existing Search Applications.”  The purpose of this talk, according to the handout, was “to expose you to the techniques that were used on the One-Step website and give you a better appreciation for what there is and how to use it.”  Morse talked about URL editing, using search forms, man in the middle, and complete takeover.  He shared how to block deep linking and defeating the deep-linking block.  Notes that contain the information from this presentation can be found online at www.stevemorse.org under publications.

The next speaker was Laura Prescott, who presented “Publish Your Genealogy Online.”  As always, Prescott was an informative and engaging speaker.  She reviewed available genealogy software and gave an introduction to options for building a genealogy website.  Genealogy software can be used to make webpages to be uploaded to the internet.  Alternately, the webpages can be made online.  Ancestry.com offers a solution to put your information online to share if you choose.  TNG, The Next Generation of Genealogy sitebuilding builds pages for online sharing by using GEDCOMs that can be created using any genealogy software.  Some items to consider when building a website include cost, domain name, publishing options, layout, sharing and control options, and alternatives to viewing online.

Lunch was sponsored by Bright Solid.  D. Joshua Taylor, their North American representative, gave a short talk after lunch.  He spoke of the innovations of the company and the records available on Find My Past.  Bright Solid is a technology company so they can innovate from within.  The coolest thing I saw all day was their new website called Family House.  The site is free and targeted at children.  Kids love video games and we love kids to be interested in family history.  Hence, a game that encourages children to take care of their “family” and see real live genealogical documents in the process.  Better than sliced bread!

After lunch Stephen Morse presented a talk called “Phonetic Matching: An Alternative to Soundex with Fewer False Hits.”  As if inventing the 8086 processor and the One-Step Website were not huge enough accomplishments, Dr. Morse saw the gap in the Soundex code system and, along with Alexander Beider, filled that gap.  In 2008 they invented a system called the Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching System, known as BMPM.  This system incorporates rules for determining the language based on the spelling of the name and pronunciation rules for common languages.  This helps to eliminate false matches, but also helps to eliminate false negatives.  As with his earlier talk, notes for this talk can be found online at www.stevemorse.org under publications.

The final speaker of the day was D. Joshua Taylor, who presented “Sharing Genealogy in the 21st Century: Wikis, Blogs, Twitter, and More.”  Taylor reviewed best practices.  He encouraged attendees not to “be scared” of technology like Twitter, Facebook, or Youtube.  He explained the importance of cloud computing, and shared funny anecdotes about sharing information with his grandma and her sister, Aunt Gladys.  Some of the websites that Josh encouraged the audience to take a look at include:

  • Google Drive
  • Family Tree Portal
  • Wiki Tree
  • Mashups
  • YouTube
  • Dropbox
  • SugarSync
  • Box.net
  • Memopal

Registration was quite busy when the session let out.  I jumped in to help out, since I had signed up as a volunteer.  Shortly after, the Librarian & Teacher’s Day session finished and another big crowed lined up to get their registration packets, CDs, and conference bags.

After a nice dinner at JDs with a table of great genealogists, it’s back to my room to get ready for the busy day ahead tomorrow.

© 2013, Jennifer Zinck. All rights reserved.

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