During the past year, the social settings for everyone have changed so much. Speaking with dozens of family historians as of late has generated the conversation of shifting trends associated with genealogy and history. It appears that many have discontinued their research over the past year, while others have vigorously pursued the past using different techniques and methods. I look at this time as a renewal of fresh new ideas and explorations. As libraries, museums and, state archives remain closed to the public, the visible problem facing the experienced historian is the availability of materials. I can also add to the issue, the communications trending styles have changed as many are resorting back to emails, phone calls, and text messages. In March 2021, Piedmont Trails received a record number of email messages. These actions speak volumes about social trends and how people are communicating with genealogy & history today. I want to share some exciting news with each of you and invite you to several new formats and platforms. Expand your horizon and explore the possibilities.
The first item I want to share is GenealogyWise, a network developed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. I was made aware of this social site several years ago, and now Piedmont Trails has joined the journey. A new Piedmont Trails group page will be arriving on this site later next week. Everyone can join and experience live discussions, links, and research within a group setting. Another thing about GenealogyWise is the availability of free webinar videos. The content of these are fantastic, and everyone can learn directly from the institute’s courses and acquired skills. You can invite your friends, discover new friends, and research together with discussion feeds and live chat. I still find it amazing that so few know of its existence. Visit the Piedmont Trails page on GenealogyWise at this link and submit a friend request today. Stay tuned on the group page arriving soon.
The next item of news pertains to historical documents and materials. HistoryHub is a platform generated by the National Archives. You can communicate directly with the National Archive experts. Several tools are available on this site, such as discussion boards, blogs, and community pages. I am a personal member of HistoryHub, and I encourage you to join. If you do, look me up and click the follow button.
The next bit of information includes several organizations that are quickly beginning to set up their controlled networks on the internet. Kentucky History and Genealogy Network, Inc. is just one of these. County social groups are available through their network. Here you can join and become a member and participate in various discussions and explore new materials. Or you can volunteer with the organization and participate in different projects and more. So many of these organizations have expanded their online presence with private discussion boards, webinars, and much more. I encourage you to search and find these treasures.
Expand your world beyond the realms of standard social media platforms and find these new fascinating discoveries. Piedmont Trails projects, such as the Great Wagon Road Project, generates communications through a team platform, and many of these are available free to use on the internet. Creating specific teams for your family history is a great tool that enables communications and sharing of files, photos, and goals. A few of the free platforms are Trello and Asano that quickly come to mind.
Webinars are trending everywhere. You can find museums, local history, genealogical societies, and other organizations using these video formats regularly. These online meetings have generated a new passion for communicating resources and data directly to a live audience. Piedmont Trails has applied this same technique with the Live Chat events, with one scheduled for Sunday, April 11th, at 8 pm. Have you registered for this event? Webinars and videos are a great resource to link the past from the people who have the materials from a specific time and place. Historian authors are beginning to conduct webinars for their current books in publication. Video conferences are utilized daily with family research. Many librarians offer personal video chats to assist with lookups from reference sources. Piedmont Trails also offers appointments for live video chats. Due to the overwhelming email messages during the past several months, video conferencing has proven to be a positive asset for both parties. It saves time, adjusts to daily schedules quickly, and covers much more material while communicating directly with each other.
I wish you well with your journey today. Take the time to explore some of these platforms and see what marvelous discoveries await you and your family tree.