Technology can and should be an crucial adjunct to your genealogical efforts. As a matter of fact, I contend that no effort is complete, nor can your genealogy efforts be fully effective, without effective technological support. The support can be as simple as using a word processor or as complex as writing large databases to manage and maintain your data, documents and images.
As I am sure you are aware, today’s technology options are both extensive and cost effective. They can even be free. As a web developer and genealogist, I, personally, rely almost exclusively on OpenSource technologies. To give you a rough example of my software costs, I will enumerate my most significant and vital adjunctive technologies:
- WordPress (the Blog/ Content Management System I use)- Free
- OpenOffice (the PC Office Suite I use for most document creation)- Free
- GRAMPS (the Family Tree software I use to manage genealogies and export to my website)- Free
- The GIMP (the image, photo editing software I employ)- Free
- Geany (the tool I use to write code for my websites)- Free
- php, html, java (the languages used most frequently in my websites)- Free
The list could go on; but you can see from the above list, the costs need not be high. Even the ‘expensive, proprietary tools’ (note my bias!) most people purchase are very cost effective.
Having said this, what do these tools and technologies really do for me and my genealogy efforts? Quite simply, they allow me to perform tasks such as:
- clean up documents
- enhance and/or repair photos
- write family histories
- maintain family trees
But most importantly, they allow me to share my work with both known and unknown family members, complete strangers, and those interested in researching the same areas I do. They make it possible for each of us to create an information explosion out of the tid-bits of information we each hold or have individually, and thereby these technologies enhance our understanding of our families and of our past.