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

Monday, March 18, 2019

Discovering Genealogical Videos has a somewhat checkered reputation for frivolity and in some cases objectionable videos. But among the millions of videos offered on this huge website are series of instructional videos that often answer specific questions. I have used YouTube videos for everything from replacing a battery in my car to learning complex software application such as Adobe Premiere Pro. For genealogists, there is a treasure trove of information and commentary from thousands of genealogically related videos just waiting for review. Of course, I have spent a lot of time contributing to that immense number, but there are other sets of videos that need mentioning.

First, you need to understand that YouTube is actually organized. It is not just a huge pile of video files. The main organization is by "Channels." Each regular contributor to YouTube can have their own Channel. Illustrated in the screenshot above is the Brigham Young University Family History Library YouTube Channel. The Channels are further organized as follows by subpages listed in a clickable menu near the top of the pages:

  • The Home page sometimes with a scroll down subject listing of videoes on the Channel 
  • A Videos page with a chronological list of all of the videos or a list sorted by popularity
  • Any playlists that have been created by the Channel operator
  • Community links if there is a community
  • Other Channels operated by the main Channel operator
  • An About page that gives the owner of the Channel and some statistics
You may also notice that specific YouTube users can create their own "Playlists" usually of videos that they personally like. People have created Playlists of genealogy videos with dozens of automatically playing videos. Playlists are nice if you want to listen to the same topic or a longer period of time. 

I have to admit that I listen to long playlists of music videos. I can choose exactly the type of music I like to hear and listen with only short interruptions for commercials. You can pay for a commercial free environment on YouTube, but having listened to commercial radio most of my life, I do not mind a few commercials. You can sometimes click through a really long commercial after a few seconds. 

How do you find genealogy videos? Well, there is a search field on every YouTube page marked by a small magnifying glass icon. Here is a screenshot with an arrow showing the search field:

If you do a search for "genealogy," you will get an almost unending long scroll list of videos. 

If you look carefully, you will see that there is a way to filter the responses. Here is a screenshot of the filter categories.

There are other online venues where genealogical videos are posted. One of the most popular is However, Vimeo is aimed at more commercially made or professional videos and is mainly aimed at those who pay for those who wish to limit the distribution of their videos to members of an association or interest group who have paid to join. Currently, the big rage on Vimeo is drone made videos. Generally, if I see a video on Vimeo it is because some organization has sent me to the website. 

Back to YouTube. One feature of YouTube is that you can subscribe to different Channels and when you sign in to the website, you will see a list of your subscription channels and possibly a number if there are new videos you haven't watched. To see the list, you may have to increase the size of your window. If you click on an item in your list, you will go right to the channel. 

You will see that some videos on YouTube have millions of views. There are now celebrities, performers, and producers that have made a fortune putting up YouTube videos for free. Some of these people have made a career out of YouTube videos. 

Of course, you can always search for a very specific topic and will likely find a video made on that topic. I sometimes use YouTube videos to evaluate programs or other items before purchasing them. 

Now, what about genealogy video channels? Here is a list of links to some of them. 

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