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Casefile Clues

Casefile Clues

There are a lot of blogs out there, good, bad and indifferent. Some feel they have to write something every day whether they have something to say or not. Some get paid to write. Some blogs have paid sponsors. Some of us just write when we have something we want to share, no schedule.

Casefile Clues
is written by Michael John Neill. He writes one a week about his research. Most of the specific issues, like post Civil War immigration, are totally irrelevant to my research but there is something to learn in watching his process as he moves along. He calls it a casestudy.

He doesn’t have a staff. His day job is math teacher. There are typos and mistakes and the blog may be late but he always catches up. There are no ads, he has no agenda and he is not pushing any company. I find it a refreshing.

I also really like his genealogy tip of the day at You can subscribe to those free by RSS feed in your feed reader. They always give you something to think about, probably something you have not thought about, or at least not in that way.

Neill also leads research trips to Salt Lake City and Ft. Wayne and he speaks at genealogy societies.

iPod Touch as a Genealogy Tool

iPod Touch as a Genealogy Tool

For years I depended on my Palm personal digital assistant [PDA] to keep me organized and keep all my information at my fingertips. My Palm contained my entire database from The Master Genealogist, every single fact.

Software changed. Palm changed. I was left without a PDA and was unsuccessful in my search for an appropriate replacement. I thought my Blackberry Smartphone would do it but it doesn’t.

Recently I bought an iPod Touch. Basically it’s an iPhone without the phone or camera. It has my calendar, my contacts, applications, music and pictures. Podcasts like Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems and genealogy lectures from iTunes U are “other” under music. You could add tv shows and movies although I can’t imagine watching any on the 2 x 3.5″ screen.

One of the first apps I downloaded was Evernote. I don’t know how people live without it. I keep all my genealogy notes in it. On the iPod Touch you can make notes but you need the internet to see your stored notes and to sync. This is also true of Dropbox, another application. If you put a file in your Dropbox you can see it on you iPod Touch when you have wi-fi. The iPod Touch has wi-fi but you need a wi-fi source to use the internet. When you have that the internet is your oyster. More and more places have wi-fi internet these days.

I downloaded several pdf reader apps, found one that works for me called pdf Reader, and uploaded Michael John Neill’s Casefile Clues collection to the iPod Touch. I wouldn’t want to read a book [you can though – in fact there is a Kindle app] but blogs and such work quite well. The pdf files are stored on the iPod Touch – no wi-fi required.

I’m not impressed with the genealogy apps at the moment. Although GEDViewer looks promising it cannot handle more than 2-3,000 names. I’m sure it is just a matter of time until one I like comes along.

You can record voice memos too.

The virtual keyboard takes a bit of getting used to but I have become an accomplished one finger typist. Think of the hours I wasted learning to type correctly!

If it had a camera and continuous internet connection it would be about perfect. Oh wait, that’s an iPhone. I suspect there’s one in my future.