Monday, February 25, 2008

What You Missed: The February 2008 Computer Class

"Finding Vital Records and Obituaries Online" was the topic of the computer class held Saturday, February 16, 2008 in the Gates Computer Lab of the downtown branch of the Spokane Public Library. This well-attended class was presented by Miriam Robbins Midkiff, who briefly went over some cautionary information regarding online records and indexes, then encouraged the EWGS members present to explore the websites listed on the syllabus.

Donna Potter Phillips shared her easy tip on finding vital records online. She simply goes to Google and enters "vital records" plus the location she's researching: "spokane county" or arkansas. Jeanne Coe shared a fabulous--yet controversial--resource, the Sound Politics Washington State Voter Database. How does this relate to vital records? Well, if you have relatives who are Washington State voters, their birthdate and last known address will be listed in this database. I filled in some blanks in both my husband's and my own family trees, and gleaned some addresses so that I can write to these relatives to ask for more information. Thanks, Jeanne!

Several members made some great finds on their ancestors during the class. If you think you've explored all the vital records and obituaries databases and websites out there, think again. New data and new websites are being placed online everyday. Some of it requires payment to access, much of it is free. Please e-mail me at kidmiffATgmailDOTcom, substituting appropriate letters for the green words in all capitals, for a copy of a free syllabus.

The next computer class will be presented by Bette Butcher Topp on "European Resources Online" on Saturday, March 15th. If you are interested in signing up, please contact me, Miriam Robbins Midkiff, at the e-mail address listed in the previous paragraph, or see our member directory for my telephone number. Currently, there are some spots available during the 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM and the 1:30 - 2:30 PM sessions. You must be a current EWGS member to attend. If you are interested in joining EWGS, please go to our website here and download the membership application.

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