Happy New Year! New Resources and Tools!

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to try to post blog entries a little more often.  So here goes – the first entry of the year!
 
First, I wanted to mention two websites:  Albany Hilltowns (www.albanyhilltowns.com) and Andersonville Civil War Prison (http://www.angelfire.com/ga2/Andersonvilleprison/).
 
The first is a new wiki for those with ancestors who lived in the Albany Co., New York "hilltowns", i.e. Berne, Knox, Rensselaerville, and Westerlo.  In addition to adding my Posson ancestors to the site, I am also involved in some of the groups other related projects.  The website already has quite a bit of information posted.  The corresponding Facebook group has over 80 members already, and seems to be growing.
 
The second site is run by my cousin Kevin Frye.  For those who do not know, Andersonville Prison was a particularly infamous and brutal Confederate prison during the Civil War in Georgia.  Many Union soldiers died of disease, abuse, and starvation while imprisoned there.  Kevin does periodic tours and reenactments, and offers free lookups in the existing prison records and cemetery.  He will also take digital photos of headstones for a nominal fee.
 
Secondly, I wanted to mention two tools that I have fallen in love with:  iGoogle and Diigo.
 
For those who still use the basic Google homepage, I would recommend giving iGoogle a try.  You will have to register with Google, but can use an external email address for this (I use my hotmail address).  In addition to the familiar Google searchbox, you can fill this page with "gadgets".  Personally, I use a Google Finance tool to check my portfolio, a "To-Do" list gadget that allows you to set tasks and assign them levels of importance and even deadlines, and I have RSS feeds from about 20 or so genealogy and writing blogs.  iGoogle can display the last 3 posts from the feed.  I also use a Wikipedia search box, a GoogleMaps search box, a local weather gadget, a Google Knols gadget, etc.  Depending on how fast your computer is, it may take a little time to completely load if you have too many gadgets (like I do).  But I am not concerned about the speed.  I just love that so much of what I need can be put on one page.  All in all, a great tool, and one that has been added to my "home tabs" in IE.  www.igoogle.com
 
Diigo is a "social bookmarking" site.  In other words, it’s sort of a "MySpace" of people’s collections of bookmarks.  You can bookmark your sites on a central website, and search other people’s links as well, for sites similar to yours.  You can see who else has bookmarked the same sites, and look at their other interests.  There are "groups" where members all upload links on a certain topic.  But better than this, you can highlight text directly on web pages, and view the highlighted portions from your Diigo dashboard.  I am still learning all of the features of the site, but I thought everyone ought to take a look.  The best part is that registration/membership is free.  www.diigo.com
 
Finally, to anyone interested, my latest article, on slavery-related records for African-American genealogy research, will appear in the Jan/Feb issue of Family Chronicle, available at Borders and other large chainstores or from www.familychronicle.com.
 
Michael

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