Friday, February 18, 2011

Where I Get My Information

Keeping up with news and information about the genealogical community can be an overwhelming task.  Here's how I get my information so that I stay up-to-date.


There are so many genealogical blogs these days.  It seems nearly impossible to try to keep up with them all.  I only sort of try.  To make it manageable I use Google Reader.  I have organized Google Reader into folders and placed the blogs by subject to make them easier for me to find.  While I have many folders there are only two folders I read regularly.

The first folder I check is my "Gen News Blog" folder.  That contains the blogs Dear Myrtle, EOGN, Genea-musings and Geneabloggers.  I will soon be adding GeneaPress to that folder.

The other folder I read daily is my Top 10 list.  These are the bloggers whose posts I don't want to miss.  I won't post those here because the list changes regularly as I move blogs in and out of that folder.

I get to the rest of the hundreds of blogs I follow when and if time allows.

Otherwise, I rely heavily on "Best of the Week" posts.  Certain bloggers have already taken the time to read the blogs and find the best ones.  They do a good job with this and I generally agree with their judgment.  Here are the best of the best.

Genea-musings - Best of the Genea-blogs - this comes out every Sunday night

Greta's Genealogy Blog - Friday Newsletter and Follow News - every Friday

Long Lost - Friday Follow: Around the Blogosphere - publishes on Friday

Little Bytes of Life - Best Bytes for the Week - every Friday


I also follow genealogical news on Twitter.  Twitter is sort of the CNN of genealogical news.  When you want the most late breaking news you'll find it first on Twitter.  I use TweetDeck.  I've set up a column for #genealogy so I can see all the genealogy related items quickly.  TweetDeck has little flashing notifications that appear in the upper right hand corner of my screen that alert me to new tweets.  This can be helpful so that I don't miss anything but it can also be annoying and interrupt my using other software programs that require pressing something in that same corner.  But for now I haven't turned it off.

TweetDeck is a program that you download onto your computer.  There are other Twitter programs such as HootSuite that are web-based for those who prefer not to run a separate application.  I like the interface of TweetDeck so that's why I use it.


I also get news and links to blog posts from postings by my Facebook friends. This is a bit more random for me.  I have a lot of Facebook friends so I tend to miss items because of the shear volume of activity.  I need to use lists more in Facebook similar to what I do in Google Reader.  Once I get that set up I will miss fewer things.  However, some things go viral and get re-posed by many people so I don't usually miss those items.

Mailing Lists

I *try* to follow three mailing lists: the APG Private List, the APG Public List and the TGF List of Rootsweb.  I've been doing better lately but it goes in phases for me.

The APG Private List is only available through membership in the Association of Professional Genealogists.  The other two lists are available publicly to anyone on the internet.  They are free but you need to subscribe to the lists in order to post comments.  They are a great way to keep up with the genealogical community and also to learn how to become a better genealogist.

That's the bulk of how I get my information.  I'd be curious to hear if you do the same or if you have a different system.  I'm always open to hearing about new sources.


  1. I moved the TweetDeck notifications to the lower right hand side of the screen and it seems less annoying there.

  2. Thanks Linda! I didn't know you could do that. I'm off to check it out.

  3. I use the lists feature in Facebook but i tend to use twitter more. I like that i can clear "read" updates in tweetdeck. For an add-er like me it helps me keep focus. Ive abandoned my google reader because i had too many to choose from. But i like your top ten idea and best of. These are all great ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I use Genealogy News and have it set to come in daily to my email (you can choose weekly or even monthly) It's the top 10 blog posts for that day and contents are filtered so you rarely see repeats. Such as when 7 of us bloggers post the same Press Release!

    I use TweetDeck too but I prefer the actual Twitter interface (hate HooteSuite). In TweetDeck I have the popup window in the bottom right same as Linda

  5. Thanks for the mention and link to With all the new blogs I've added to my Google Reader, it's getting harder and harder to get my "best of" posts out by Friday! Right now I have 524 unread messages in my reader, so some of the good stuff from this week's blogs may not show up on my "best of" list until next week! Anyway - I hate to NOT scan through everything in the reader, because sure enough, I'd miss something good. Randy, Greta and Elizabeth are always sure to catch the ones that slipped past my radar!

  6. I use the Better Facebook plugin for Firefox. It took some getting used to, but it has totally changed my Facebook experience. I find it much easier to keep up and make it work for me.

  7. Thanks for a great explanation of how to use folders to organize your Google Reader. I have folders for top genealogy blogs, other genealogy blogs, quilt blogs, techie blogs (including Life Hacker), and decorating blogs.

    THANKS too, for the shout-out!

  8. Thanks for sharing your top picks and how you organize them as well as all the comments! Love it!

  9. I use Sage RSS add-on for Firefox which opens a sidebar of feeds in my browser. I subscribe to hundreds of blogs, favoring none. I take an hour or so cup of tea there daily and skip around letting internal links guide me where they will. Just like genealogy itself, it's endless surprise. I don't use Google Reader because anything I have to sign in to is out-of-sight/out-of-mind. That goes for most anything else that requires a username and password.

    For Twitter I use Echofon which sits at the bottom of my browser as a small blue button that opens into an ever-updating list of Tweets.

  10. Thanks for the mention and for the explanation of Google Reader folders. I may have to do that, as it's getting harder to keep up. It used to be that the number of new blogs was balanced by the number of blogs getting less active, but that's no longer the case.

  11. A second thank you! I am now beginning to organize my Google Reader with folders - I never realized I could do that before. But there has to be a quicker way to move the folders around than by dragging and dropping. Any hints would be appreciated!

  12. Great tips especially on the Google Reader.

  13. Thanks. Also-- on my Blogger dashboard, any blog I follow on Google Reader seems to have been automatically added there -- so I can just check out blogs I follow from my blog. Thanks for all the great tips

  14. Thanks for sharing some great information and tips. I didn't know you could do folders in Google Reader. I'll definitely check that out.