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Zoom app allows genealogists to keep researching, even during pandemic

The use of the videoconferencing app Zoom has exploded during the coronavirus pandemic. And, like seemingly everyone else in America, genealogists are utilizing it, too.

Zoom meetings are the latest way many genealogists are connecting with family and friends. The Zoom app is free, so download it now on your phone, tablet and desktop computer. If your computer monitor/screen does not have a camera in it, you need to upgrade. Without it, you can’t see anyone.

Zoom offers a tutorial, so study that. People setting up official meetings often assume everyone has the right equipment and knows what to do. But do your homework ahead of time. It will be a lot easier and more fun if you know what to expect.

You also can prepare your own Zoom location — be sure you have good lighting and can be seen in a good setting. Sit with a nice background view, not in your cluttered storage area. You might need to straighten up your books, hang a backdrop, or sit by the pool. Also, make sure you are dressed appropriately.

Another app you might try for video communication is the Google Duo, which is free. It allows you to chat and look at the person, as I have done lately with my mother, who is in a nursing home. Works great.

Caribbean roots subject of new books

David Dobson, prolific compiler of books on Scotland and Scots who came to the New World, continues his series on genealogy in the Caribbean. “The People of Barbados, 1625-1875” contains an alphabetical listing of people who lived there with sources referenced. “Anglo-Dutch Links, 1560-1860” is an alphabetical listing of people who lived in the Dutch colonies in the West Indies, part of the Dutch West India Company, as well as Dutch people with all kinds of connections to England. Well worth checking out. These books are available from the Genealogical Publishing Company of Baltimore. See genealogical.com to order. Check the complete catalog, or either call 800-296-6687.

Baby Books

I am taking a survey to see who has a baby book in their family that has helped them in their genealogy. We have my mother’s (copyrighted 1915); my sister’s, from 1939; mine, from 1941. Each had a family tree to fill in going back to great-grandparents, and ours were filled in. In most cases, these charts were filled in relying on family members’ memories. Let me know if you have one in your family and if the information contained therein has been useful to you.

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Contact Kenneth H. Thomas, Jr., P. O. Box 901, Decatur, GA 30031 or kenthomasongenealogy.com.