"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press & Thorndale Champion
18 September 2003

Taking the Internet Plunge

Genealogists, young and old, new at this and old hands are amazed at the wealth of information that is now available on the Internet! Learning to surf doesn't require a surfboard or a computer.

If you haven't taken the plunge and learned how to use a computer or the Internet, "Get thee to a computer class."

Where do you find classes? Many libraries offer free classes, senior citizen centers, church groups, community / junior colleges. If you don't know, call the library and ask for help locating classes in your area. Check out a book on using the Internet.

Many libraries have computers you can use free so you won't have to buy a computer until you are comfortable with the equipment. The costs of desk-top computers continue to decline. So this year instead of another bottle of perfume or a housecoat or a tie you'll never wear, tell the family to chip-in and buy you a computer and printer.

Yes, sometimes I too think that computers are like dogs and can smell the fear. But once you've gotten past the learning curve, you have the whole world out there available for your research!

Adding Pizzazz to Websites

When visitors add your website to their list of Favorites or bookmark your website, "What shows up in their lists of sites?" There are two things you can do to make sure your website stands out on everyone's list of Favorites.

First, make sure each page of your website has a good title. When you view your site in Internet Explorer or Netscape, what shows up at the very top of the screen? If it says "Home Page" or, even worse, "Untitled," that is what visitors will see when they include your website in their list of Favorites.

To change the title, edit the page and add a line in the section with a title such as: < title > "Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column < /title > Second, add a favicon file to your website so that next to the title in the List of Favorites your logo appears instead of the ever-present Internet Explorer logo. (In Netscape, your logo will only appear in the address bar. The Netscape bookmark icon will be next to your site name in the bookmark file.)

For a good how-to article about creating your own favicon, go to http://www.webdevelopersjournal.com/articles/favicon.html.

There is software called Irfanview that can easily create the favicon.ico file for you. Download it free (commercial users are asked to send $10) at http://www.irfanview.com/. It is easy to use, and can be used for a variety of graphics functions, in addition to creating your favicon.ico file.

Make your Family Tree website stand out from the others! Yes, I'll playing this weekend creating favicons for my websites!

Web Developer's Journal

So, now you've taken the leap from learning to surf to designing a Family Tree website! Great!

One of the mantras I continually repeat at genealogy seminars is to continue to learn! Learning new techniques, ideas, how to's in genealogy only allows you to expand the depth and wealth of information you can find on your family! It's the same for learning how to design websites.

Yes, I too continue to learn and broaden what I consider my limited web design skills. One of the best resources I recently found is the "Web Developer's Journal" on-line at: http://www.webdevelopersjournal.com.

The "Web Developer's Journal" is easy to use and assists the novice and the advance web designer in making better websites.

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/lks_friday/COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 26 Dec 2003 and was last revised on __________

Copyright 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604