Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, May 13, 2016

Excogitations About Cloud Computing and Genealogy

As I have noted recently I upgraded my main computer to the latest version of the Apple iMac and also moved from upgrading my MacBook Pro to an iPad Pro. I have been chronicling these changes in the last few posts. It occurs to me that there has been an accumulation of technological advances that have fundamentally changed the way that I interact with computers.

As I began to set up my new computer, I realized that many of the programs I was using on my previous iMac we're no longer necessary. Over the past few months I had moved a significant number of programs from Desktop applications to cloud applications, however, the changes were even more fundamental than merely switching a few programs. The real change was in the workflow. For example, I discovered that by using online storage, I could move documents between my computer and my iPad Pro. This may seem to be an obvious feature to some people but what I realized was that I no longer was"married" to any particular program.

I hesitate to give any particular examples of specific programs because my observations have nothing to do with the value of the programs or their functionality. But it appears that I am about to eliminate almost half or more of the programs that I was previously using. Part of the reason for this change involves the standard incorporated programs included with the Macintosh computers.

How does this directly affect what I do in my genealogical research? My workflow is now almost exclusively digital. I sometime leave myself post it notes, but I am not handling everything from my calendar to my things to do lists online. I have been viewing microfilm on a ScanPro digital scanner and moving digital copies to my flash drive and then immediately incorporating some of them into online programs such as the Family Tree. I find that I can create a blog post on my iPad Pro and incorporate screenshots and images. Adding this highly portable form of viewing online, gives me another, more convenient way to work with people needing genealogical support. I can easily open my instantly on iPad Pro and demo a program or show how to work with an online program.

Of course all this does not make any of my thought processes any faster, so I am still limited by how fast I can type or speak and how fast I can compose my writing. One of the major changes has been the incorporation of online document creation programs such as Google Docs and others into my work flow. Since all of these online documents are available on any of my devices, I can refer to them as needed. On a recent trip to Canada, I was prepared to be cut off from my documents but because where we were staying had a WiFi connection, I was able to maintain a workflow from this remote, to me, location.

Now I essentially move from my desktop computer attached to the Internet to my iPhone to my iPad Pro in a seamless workflow that can follow me around. To some this may seem to be a curse, but when you are as involved in genealogy as I am, it is a great blessing.


  1. The syncing between iPhone, iPad, and Mac book Pro for me has been such a time saver. And as I see web client designing more and more as if it had a mobile width, it makes creating teaching presentations much easier. I use Google Slides and Docs and I can get our web contributors to edit, add to etc. I love Apple stuff.

  2. I would agree that technology can be an advantage but it does have its drawbacks as well, the main one being you are cutting down on the subconscious checking of the records recorded.

    With the older methods each time you opened a file to transcribe, scan or transfer to a different format or application you would read and absorb information from the file. During this process I suggest you would subconsciously compare what you were reading with what you had previously recorded, you may even find yourself going to earlier research to check a detail.

    Cloud storage and streamlining can result in less checking and may as a result allow more errors to be made.


    1. Your comment made me wonder about accuracy and if the technology was contributing a degree of inaccuracy? Looks like something I need to think about. Thanks.