Genealogy – Goin’ Green

going green

[This post was written as part of Blog Action Day 2009 with the theme being Climate Change.]

While most genealogy bloggers are putting up posts about how climate change has affected their ancestors, as part of Blog Action Day 2009, here are some ways in which you pursue your genealogy research and activities can affect climate change.

Ways Genealogists Can Go Green

  • Print Less Paper.  Go paperless if you can but for many genealogists this is a challenge.  One option is to try and print two-sided documents (check your printer settings).  Another option is to reuse draft copies you would normally discard – print more drafts on the other side.
  • Do More Online Research.  Before automatically heading down to your local genealogy archive, library or society, consider if that same research can be done online either with free resources or your paid genealogy database subscriptions.  We’re not discouraging folks from visiting their favorite genealogy hang outs, but save the visits for research which can’t be performed online.  Consolidating the research into one trip rather than many small trips will save gas as well as wear and tear on the car.
  • Seek Out Online Educational Opportunities.  If you are looking for classes or ways to expand your genealogy knowledge, don’t forget online options.  Check out the ProGen Study Group, GenClass and others who provide similar services to the genealogy community.
  • Use Social Networking Tools To Connect.  Take advantage of blogs, Facebook and Twitter to connect with other genealogists.  Easily locate others who research similar geographic or ethnic lines.
  • Volunteer for Indexing Projects.  Genealogical societies and even genealogy vendors have plenty of opportunities available for those who want to lend a hand in indexing data.  Such efforts mean that online databases are made available to other genealogists and can help reduce research trips.
  • Ask Genealogical Societies and Genealogy Vendors To Go Green.  These organizations won’t have an incentive to change the way in which they offer their services if they don’t hear from their members and consumers.  Send an e-mail and offer suggestions on ways in which they can go green and still provide great services to the genealogy community.

Ways Genealogical Societies Can Go Green

  • Provide E-Newsletter and E-Periodicals.  Produce your monthly or quarterly newsletter electronically and eliminating a paper version.  If this isn’t feasible, provide an “electronic only” option when members sign up for communications from the society.  This will help reduce paper and postage costs.  See CGS Is Going Green (via California Genealogical Society and Library blog) for their recent experiences.
  • Produce the Conference Syllabus on CD. While more and more genealogy conferences are providing their syllabi on CD to participants, more can be done in this area.  Point out to attendees that they can easily search for information in the CD.  Another great incentive is to offer the CD version for free and charge for a print version.
  • Hold More Virtual Meetings.  Instead of or in addition to monthly meetings, consider holding on-line chats or webinars to keep members connected and still provide essential services.
  • Take Advantage of Social Networking.  Expand your society’s marketing capability by understanding and leveraging tools such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter to connect with members.
  • Offer a Green Membership.  A membership which does not involve paper communication and perhaps does not even allow someone to attend meetings could be offered at a lower cost and appear more attractive to potential new members.  Many genealogists belong to on-line only genealogical societies in order to access research databases and periodicals.

How Genealogy Vendors Can Go Green

  • Produce Genealogy Magazines and Periodicals in E-book Formats. Many genealogists would be willing to receive these items via email or a link via email even at the same cost as the print version (although a discount for goin’ green is a great incentive).
  • Reduce Product Packaging.  Offer a download-only version of software or other items instead of incurring packaging and shipping costs.
  • Take Advantage of Social Networking.  Expand your company’s marketing capability by understanding and leveraging tools such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter to connect with your customer base and potential customers.

© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee

NEHGS Announces New Online Journals Site

nehgs logo

The New England Historic Genealogical Society announces the creation of a new web page on their site entitled Genealogical Journal Online: A National Collection:

“. . . connecting members to a number of the country’s premier scholarly journals, giving them access to some of the most important research conducted during the past 150 years. The new Web page, “Genealogical Journals Online: A National Collection” represents one of the premier collections of scholarly research available anywhere in the field of genealogy.

In addition to the widely respected NEHGS journal, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, published quarterly since 1847, NEHGS has recently added other journals as searchable online databases. When completed later in 2010, these additional journals will include almost 200 volumes of research in a wide variety of geographic areas covering the entire country. New journals now available online include:

  • The Connecticut Nutmegger: Published since 1968, the Nutmegger is the ‘journal of record’ for the Connecticut Society of Genealogists, and includes vital records, probate records, bible records, headstone records, memorials and other useful research for families with Connecticut ties.
  • New Netherland Connections: Published since 1996 by Dorothy A. Koenig, this journal focuses on the Dutch colonial period (1624-1664) in New York and New Jersey. Each issue has feature articles, replies to queries, and items of Dutch colonial interest. Particular attention is paid to identifying the European origins of New Netherland settlers.
  • The American Genealogist (TAG): Published since 1923, TAG represents an important body of scholarly research covering the breadth of the United States, with an early preference for New England.
  • The Virginia Genealogist: Published from 1957 to 2006, this journal includes compiled genealogies, personal property tax lists, court orders, deeds, wills, marriage registers, and other county sources from Virginia.

D. Brenton Simons, NEHGS President and CEO, said, “We’re thrilled to provide our members with electronic access to these incredibly important journals together in one place. They truly represent research of the highest quality, and offer essential data and family information that cannot be found anywhere else.” Simons added, “We also want people throughout the national genealogical community to know that NEHGS is broadening its scope far beyond New England.”

NEHGS is planning to release about five new volumes for each journal periodically throughout 2009 and 2010. In most cases, the database search facility is very similar to that of The Register and allows searches by last and/or first name, or by subject keywords. Images of the original pages may be seen from the search results page. It is also possible to browse the pages by entering a Year (or volume number) and a page number.

For more information, visit the NEHGS Website,

© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee

Free Online Access to SAGE Journals

sage journals online

Once again, SAGE Journals Online allowing free access to their journals until October 31st.  One of my favorites is The Journal of Family History.

While some of the journals deal with very arcane subjects and on the surface there appears to be little related to genealogy, I do think a genalogist or family history author could use the SAGE site to:

  • do a surname search – you never know who might be mentioned or even an author of an article!
  • use the journals to get background information on customs, history and other aspects of how your ancestors lived
  • search for terms such as genealogy, family history, etc.

I also did a search using the keywords Dutch + Colonial and found many articles about the social customs and living conditions that my ancestors in colonial New York would have encountered.

So get creative on your searches! (Tip: use the Advanced Search function to limit your search results to articles from 1999 forward.)

You will need to create an account at SAGE (no charge to do that) and remember that this offer ends October 31, 2009 so make sure you grab the articles you need soon!

© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee