Google Alerts and Reader

Google screenshotWith so much digital information available these days we have to stay organized or we could miss out on some new and worthwhile information. The Google search engine offers Google Alerts, an efficient method of being reminded when a topic, a surname, an article, a keyword of interest becomes available on the Internet. Instead of you taking time once a week or so to check out through a Google search if there is anything new on your family lineage, the Google Alerts does the sorting and then alerts you through an email message.

In their simple Google Alert form you just place the surname, the topic, the hometown, or other key word you want to be notified to when it comes online.  Even a general topic such as genealogy, family history or vital records could also be placed on alert. You get to select which form; such a news article, a blog, a book, a video or a web site. Then you choose how often to be notified. You might want to be notified instantly, once a day or once a week. Provide the email address you want the notification sent to and you are all set.

A suggestion would be to start a new email address just for these messages. A free new gmail account can easily be set up.

Something very similar and just as useful, also from Google, is the Google Reader.  It is a method to have at your fingertips the topics and sources you are most interested in gathering. Simply click the button ‘subscribe’ to let Google Reader know which topic or ‘feeds’ you are interested.  It could be a surname, a town, a topic, a historical event, anything. A selection will appear from which you can narrow in you choices. If a certain web site fits what you are looking for, just click the blue  ‘subscribe’ button to have it added to your list. If nothing is selected, fine, return to the search and rephrase your search. When a feed is subscribed to a list is kept for you to refer back to at any time.

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