The Barber family infographic

Combining my love for genealogy and infographics – yes! it’s a genealogy infographic.

I’d been looking for an excuse to combine my love for infographics (small chunks of information delivered as graphics) with my love for genealogy, and now I’ve achieved it. Here’s my first attempt at combining the two.

Using the data buried in my Reunion10 Mac software (see Reports > Statistics), I’ve managed to pull some key figures from the data I have against my maternal Barber family in a bid to make genealogy that little bit more interesting for those relatives who nod and smile when you start talking about ‘the tree’ and hand them a print out showing names of people they’ve never heard of. Maybe this format will help capture their interest and give them some interesting/quirky facts to remember.

An infographic showing Barber family data
An infographic created using my Barber family data.

I had quite a bit of fun making this, so will probably create some more in due course.

Click the image if you want to see a larger version.

The digital afterlife and the genealogist

What happens to our digital selves after our physical selves have died?

I was driving home when I heard Aleks Krotoski presenting this week’s Digital Human (BBC Radio 4, UK only), which covered the topic of death and how we continue to live on digitally after our physical death.

Digital Human on iPlayer (UK only)

This got me thinking about myself and how might my digital self and my digital assets exist and be of use to others, as a web-friendly genealogist.

Firstly, stop here for a moment and back up your genealogy research. Copy it and save it somewhere where another can find it. Also, think about how you’re filing your research – is it as simple as it can possibly be? What happens to your life’s work of research when you’re not around to explain it? Is it trapped behind a password? Is it stuffed in a filing system that would need Bletchley Park and Stephen Fry to unravel?

I’ve not thought about what happens to my website or this blog after my lifetime, but both are an extension of my research, which also sits in filing cabinets, folders and in my Reunion10 software on my Mac.

Genealogy website LostCousins has for many years, had a ‘My beneficiary’ option in your user account – where you can enter the email address of someone who can take over your research when you are no longer able to.

LostCousins 'My Beneficiary' field
LostCousins ‘My Beneficiary’ field

Should your websites, blogs and profiles be deleted like many people/families have Facebook profiles of the dead deleted? Is that the right thing to do? Some of the interviewees on Digital Human felt that making a Facebook profile a memorial was a heartwarming way to keep someone’s memory alive. Others may be upset about the continuation of seeing the profile, photos etc of a dead relative.

As a genealogist, I would want my research, my website and my social media accounts to stay online – as sites like Facebook are a daily account of my life, interests, interactions with friends.

What do you think?

Join The Family Tree UK on our new look Facebook page

The Family Tree UK is now using the new Facebook Timeline Page style.

Just a quick message to say that the new Facebook Timelime for Pages was launched today and so we’ve promptly re-designed our page to fit this new style.

Family Tree UK Facebook Page (2012)

If you’re on Facebook and yet to ‘Like’ The Family Tree UK, then pop by now and join in!

Tomb-Tree Tuesday

The Mound, originally uploaded by familytreeuk.

This large mound in the city cemetery at Ely, Cambridgeshire is believed to be the mass grave for many people who died during an epidemic. It may have been something like cholera, which swept through the city numerous times through history.

The mound certainly seems to be man-made, and has an almost ‘ceremonially’ placed tree on top.

More about Ely Cemetery

Using Twitter in genealogy

There are loads of articles written about the popular micro-blogging tool Twitter, but I thought that I’d try to share a couple of interesting and handy hints that I have picked up over the last few weeks that has resulted in finding new connections and increasing followers.

1. Connect

The most important thing about Twitter is that it is a social tool. Therefore, you need to socialise to get anything out of it. The more you ‘Tweet’ (the term given to your 140 character or less statement) the more people can find you and the more people will interact with you.

2. Hashtags

You might use good words in your 140 character limit that include things like ‘familytree’ or ‘history’ or ‘Cambridge’ etc but by adding some hashtags to your comment will help you to turn up in searches. You should enter phrases such as #genealogy or #familytree or #census. Don’t put spaces in.

3. Follow

Follow people. Follow people that say things that you’re interested in. 9/10 they will follow you too… and so every time they tweet @you, other people can see it – and therefore find you.

A combination of Follow and hashtags is used each week with Friday’s being recognised as #followfriday – a hashtag to go in your tweet along with a list of your friends (typed like ‘@username’) to encourage your friends to follow some of your other friends – thus building up the social networking idea.

4. Searching

While you can do a general search, you can also do a specific search by doing the following:

Go to the search screen and type your search word – e.g. “cross”. Then type near:CambridgeEngland to tell the search engine to search for Cross from near Ely, England (in this case the Cambridgeshire one). Then, still without having clicked the search, you can even add a distance within:15mi (for miles) or within:15km . So, this gives you a line of text in the search box reading:

“cross” near:CambridgeEngland within:15mi

Click search, and Twitter’s search engine will bring up all posts that contain the word Cross, tweeted from Cambridge and a 15 mile radius.

You may be able to tailor the word, location and distance to your needs. Have a play around with the location field. If I had put just ‘Cambridge’ and not ‘England’ alongside it, it would have defaulted to the USA. You can always check that you’ve got the right location in the search results because a map of the area that you’ve searched is shown on the right of the results screen.

Have fun and let me know if you find any leads!

Andrew