RSS Feeds and Genealogy
By Kimberly Brown, Family Historian
The best family history researchers understand the importance of keeping abreast of new technologies and using them to further their genealogical research. No one is too old to learn new technologies and essential computer skills.
One of the greatest things about the internet is the way it connects people to each other and allows contact between people in a much more democratic way. In the early days of the internet, most pages were sponsored by schools, businesses, or government agencies who could hire web developers to put their content on the world wide web. But now anyone who has knowledge to share or information to contribute can easily do it, thanks to the phenomenon of blogging. On blogs you can find everything from sewing tutorials to photos to genealogy.
Some genealogy blogs are specific to certain families. They may have several family members who contribute to share information about their genealogy. If you are related—even distantly—to the family, these kinds of blogs can be helpful to you. Other blogs offer genealogy tutorials and tips. They can tell you how to research your family lines. Some of these blogs are maintained by professionals and some by amateurs, but all have one thing in common: they are a venue for people to share helpful information they know about the field of genealogy.
Reading various blogs can be time-consuming; fortunately, there’s a solution to that. Rather than going to each blog you read and checking for updates, you can just subscribe to each blog’s RSS feed (Really Simple Syndication feed). Then each update from each blog will be sent directly to you.
You can use RSS feeds through an aggregate reader software; if you have a Google or Gmail account, you can find this feature by clicking on the Reader tab. If you maintain a blog yourself, you can subscribe to RSS feeds using the Dashboard on your Blogger account. If you use Firefox as your web browser, you can use a Firefox feature called Live Bookmarks. Other aggregate reader programs include My Yahoo and Bloglines.
Whatever reader software you use, subscribing to RSS feeds is simple. Start by signing into your reader. Then go to the blog you’d like to subscribe to. In the address bar at the far right you’ll see a small orange icon. Click on that icon, and a box will pop up asking you what reader you’d like to use. Select your reader, click subscribe, and you’ve successfully added that blog to your reading list. You can add as many blogs as you want to your reading list. You can also do the same with websites. If you want to keep up on international news, for instance, you can go to CNN.com, click on the World tab, and click on the orange button to subscribe to that page’s RSS feed.
OneGreatFamily offers three RSS feeds to keep you up-to-date on our service. Subscribe to OneGreatFamily’s RSS feeds and receive valuable posts and information to help you with your family history.
• OneGreatFamily Newsletter RSS: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ogfnewsletter
• OneGreatFamily Blog RSS: http://feeds.feedburner.com/onegreatfamily
• OneGreatFamily Pressroom RSS: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ogfpr
Aside from subscribing to the blogs that others post, consider giving back! If you’ve ever benefited from FamilySearch.org, USGenWeb, a genealogy blog, or any other free genealogical information you found online, then you should consider giving back to the genealogical community by sharing some of your own expertise or genealogical information on a blog. As genealogists, we don’t have to work alone. Let’s take advantage of all the great technological resources at our fingertips to start working together.