About Thomas MacEntee

What happens when a “tech guy” with a love for history gets laid off during The Great Recession of 2008? You get Thomas MacEntee, a genealogy professional who’s also a blogger, educator, author, social media connector, online community builder and more. Thomas was laid off after a 25-year career in the information technology field, so he started his own genealogy-related business called High Definition Genealogy. He also created an online community of over 3,000 family history bloggers known as GeneaBloggers. His most recent endeavor, Hack Genealogy, is an attempt to “re-purpose today’s technology for tomorrow’s genealogy.” Thomas describes himself as a lifelong learner with a background in a multitude of topics who has finally figured out what he does best: teach, inspire, instigate, and serve as a curator and go-to-guy for concept nurturing and inspiration. Thomas is a big believer in success, and that we all succeed when we help each other find success.

Tuesday’s Tip: Try It! Illinois 2014 and Other State Specific Online Database Services

Did you know that many states, like Illinois, provide their residents at home access to online informational databases like Try It! Illinois?

Do you live in a state that provides its residents with access to various online research databases? Here in Illinois, each October and November, Illinois residents are given FREE trial access to ILLINET through a program called Try It! Illinois.  ILLINET is the Illinois Library and Information Network which is a consortium of over 5,000 libraries in Illinois.

Here is how TryIt! Illinois works, according to their website:

Try-It! Illinois offers the staffs and library users of the more than 5,000 ILLINET member libraries the opportunity to survey and evaluate a wide variety of electronic resources. Thanks to the partnerships between the Illinois State Library and the participating electronic resource vendors, there is no charge for accessing these databases during Try-It! Illinois.

How Do I Sign Up for TryIt! Illinois?

You must be an Illinois resident to be eligible for the at-home trial of TryIt! Illinois. Click the link in the sidebar that reads “Please send me the login and password” and then fill out the form with your name, address, zip code and the name of your Illinois library that you use. Once submitted, you should receive an email with the login and password information.

The idea behind TryIt! Illinois is so you can sample and evaluate the various databases available. After the trial, some of these may be available through your local library either in-person or through an at home login. I know that for me, through my Chicago Public Library card, I can access many databases at home including some ProQuest offerings such as the Chicago Tribune Historical Archive.

What Databases Are Available?

The full list of databases available with TryIt! Illinois 2014 are listed here.  For genealogists, there is a gold mine of items available – many are from the Gale-Cengage Learning series such as 19th Century British Library Newspapers, 19th Century U.S. Newspapers, etc. Also included is Ancestry Library Edition and many EBSCO and Sage Publications databases.

Other States with Similar Online Resources

Several other states offer similar online databases for research such as BadgerLink for Wisconsin residents. Many of these sites require proof of state residents, a library card from a public library within the state, and they also may verify your IP address and check that you are accessing the site from a location within the state.

Also, if you live in a city or town with a university or college, see if they offer access to residents through a library card program. The benefits may include the ability to access research resources online from the comfort of your home or office.

Click here to download the list below in PDF format!

©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Genealogy Blogging Beat – Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Oct 21, 1797. The USS Constitution was launched and christened by Captain James Sever on this date at Boston, MA, making this frigate the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. Congress had commissioned the Constitution and five other ships in 1794. The Constitution earned its nickname, “Old Ironsides,” and place in America’s heart through valiant service in the War of 1812. In a fight with Britain’s HMS Guerriere on Aug 19, 1812, sailors reported a British shot repelled by the side of the ship and declared that its sides were made of iron. No enemy ever boarded the ship in its days of active service. It now rests at Boston Harbor.
Today is Tuesday 14 October 2014, and here is what’s available in terms of Daily Blogging Prompts and other related events in the genealogy blogosphere:

Items of Note

  • Today: Battle of Trafalgar – Anniversary, Information Overload Day, and Old Ironsides Launched – Anniversary.

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Genealogy Blogging Beat – Monday, 20 October 2014

Oct 20, 1973. One of the most iconic and dramatic man-made structures of the 20th century, the Sydney Opera House, was opened by Queen Elizabeth II at Sydney, Australia, on this date. Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the theater is perched on Sydney Harbor and appears to be a ship in full sail. It took 14 years to build, and its roof is covered with more than one million tiles.
Today is Monday 20 October 2014, and here is what’s available in terms of Daily Blogging Prompts and other related events in the genealogy blogosphere:

Items of Note

  • Today: Alaska Day – Alaska (US), National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day and Sydney Opera House Opens – Anniversary.

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