Today most genealogists consider a computer to be their most valuable research tool. Granted that on the list of important high-tech electronics it should be near the top. But what high-tech gadget would you list as #2? This is one of the questions posed by Jasia for the 43rd Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy.
Since my printer also acts as a copy machine and scanner, I'd have to say that is the technology that I rely on most for genealogy and family history research. It allows me to share hundreds of cherished photographs with my family and to develop a page of text into an amazing story. This machine also saves me hours of hand-copying entire book pages and documents. If you are a youngster perhaps you don't realize how high-tech a copy machine really is. For the “oldsters” among my readers, who perhaps struggled with a mimeograph machine, and before that transcribed hundreds of pages, followed by recopying them using manual typewriters, you know exactly what I mean.
My most-frequently used software (other than the internet browser) that I depend on in compiling my genealogy are various word processing programs. Since that is a typical expectation, I will mention another computer software program that I rely on frequently. A nifty program called Snag-It lets me “snag” or save anything I can see on my computer screen to a graphic file. Its editing feature also allows me to place a watermark on photographs I will be posting on the internet (and that I do not want to be reused without my permission).
One web site or blog (besides my own) that is indispensable to me is Google. Well yes, I understand technically it is a search engine, but it also has a web site. I use the regular Google site many times a day–from finding the telephone number of a library, to directions to a court house. Besides the search engine, I also use other Google products such as Google Book Search (that contains a superb collection of family and town histories), Google Analytics (that helps me track visitors to my genealogy blog and web sites), Google Reader (that allows me to quickly review many blogs and web sites for new content), and Google Docs (lets me be creative, even if I'm on a loaner computer with lame software!)
P.S. There is still time for you to participate in this Carnival of Genealogy, but don't delay.