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    What’s New in August

    It’s been a busy month! I wish I had a kewl prize to offer if you make it through the whole thing. 🙂

    Google Newspaper Archive: As you might know, Monica makes extensive use of the Google Newspaper Archive to index the death notices in the old newspapers for us. A few weeks ago, she started having problems with it and it’s become pretty much unusable at this point. There’s a discussion thread about it in the Google forums — and it’s not just her having issues. While it doesn’t appear anyone with any clout from Google is weighing-in, we hope you will. Interesting that the comments indicate it’s genealogy researchers who are using that archive, eh?

    Facebook Changes: Facebook recently made a change that no longer allows for automatic posting of blog posts to the Facebook page. It’s still possible to add the posts to Facebook, it’s just not automatic anymore. An alternative, if you’re following this blog, is to subscribe to the RSS feed. If you’re using Thunderbird for email, it’s a simple process.

    Pettis County Cemeteries: Learned from Justin Watkins that the cemeteries for Pettis County were messed up by an update at some point. They should all be fixed now. George C. Willick, one of the previous Pettis MOGenWeb County Coordinators, did a TON of work on those cemeteries, and I think those notes and surveys are more accessible now. I had a page of his notes for missing and destroyed cemeteries listed as a separate page, but those cemeteries now have their own pages and hopefully we’ll be able to get more information on them at some point.

    Many MANY thanks to Justin for the head’s up!

    Connections: There’s a new section for each county called “Connections.” If you have a website that relates to any of those counties and would like it included there, just email the link. Facebook pages are okay, but keep in mind that not everyone wants to use Facebook, and a lot of people have decided to eliminate it altogether.

    Queries: Having a section for “Queries” is one of the requirements for a USGenWeb related county site. What’s happened, though, is that most of those were directed to, and have been posted on, the Rootsweb, GenForum and message boards — so most people don’t make use of that option. While there were hundreds of submissions in the late 1990s, I’ve only received a handful since I started doing counties in 2009.

    Now, though, owns all of those options. If you’re unhappy with the mess they’ve made of Rootsweb, you can submit your queries to to be posted on the county sites. And if you had your name listed for a query or on one of the Surnames lists, you should check to see if your email address is current.

    All of the county coordinators had their own ways of handling the formatting of the queries, and in my early days I, frankly, was overwhelmed trying to manipulate that. With better tools, it’s now much easier to edit hundreds of entries, so the old queries are being added to the county sites. You don’t need to tell me the contact email addresses are bad — I already know that, but have no way to update them unless the submitter makes contact with me. They’ve probably forgotten all about those old messages or have found the info they were looking for. There’s still a lot of good stuff there, though.

    Category Reorganization: There were way too many categories. I often got stuck trying to figure out which one was appropriate, so I spent the better part of a week reorganizing those. If you’ve bookmarked any category links, you’ll need to update them. If you can’t find the new link, let me know what you’re looking for and I’ll try to find it for you.

    Google Maps: Google maps have been disabled in the family tree section of the site. They announced awhile ago that there would be changes, and I’ve been waiting for the roll-out to hit my sites, which it has. The latitude and longitude are still displayed, though, so if you want to see where something is, just do a search for those in your browser to pull up a map.

    Site Search: Did a lot of tweaking to the search capability and it totally rocks now. Added a search box to the top of each page for the county sites which should make it a lot easier to find stuff. The images are now being indexed, too.

    The Brain Trust at Evernote pulled another fast one — requiring an “update” to a version that made a mess of my workflow under the guise of a ‘security update.” I spent a lot of time trying to figure out a replacement, and have settled, for now, on Zotero. Zotero is free and its intended purpose is as a citation manager, but I’m finding it totally rocks as a research log. I’ll be writing more about this as I get things figured out, and as time permits, so you know what that means. There’s never enough time, is there? At this point, the only thing I’ll be using Evernote for is to move my notes to Zotero, as I don’t really trust a mass import-export. The last hurdle was the web clipper, and Zotero has one — and it’s BETTER! — so good-bye Evernote! Don’t let the door . . .

    Have also, reluctantly, made the switch from Apache Open Office to LibreOffice. This one’s difficult, as I was involved in the development of Open Office in its early days. But I have to finally admit that it’s on life support — it’s been almost a year since the last release.

    Recently discovered reddit’s Genealogy sub-reddit and have been following that via RSS. If you don’t want to be tied to Facebook or Ancestry forums for discussions about this hobby, this is a fun, informative group.

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