Alfred Custom Searches for Genealogists

Here are some of the Alfred custom searches I’ve set up for genealogy related things. To install these in Alfred, simply click on the links.

Genealogy is the Game

I keep hearing the statement that a game is going to pull a younger generation into genealogy. We don’t need a game. Genealogy is the game. The problem is that nobody has invented the plastic Little Tikes hoop.


In the U.S., basketball is a sport that is wildly popular. The NBA consists of elite players who have mastered the game over a lifetime of practice. Players and coaches have devoted their lives to the study of the game’s strategy and technique.

My kids, ages 1 to 6, love to play basketball. They have fantastic technique in dribbling the ball, in the form of their shots, and in the plays that they run. Our dinner table conversations often revolve around the team trades that they are planning in order to win the next big title. No, my kids aren’t crazy. And no, they don’t do any of the above. Their version of the game only remotely resembles the NBA game.

My kids play “basketball” on a plastic Little Tikes hoop that sits in Zeke’s room. When we play 1 on 1, Zeke rarely dribbles the ball. We foul each other like crazy, and goal-tending is a regular part of the game. Zeke’s best move is a running dunk followed by a quick rebound and another dunk, scoring twice in one possession. We love to pull trick moves such as bouncing the ball off of the wall or stuffing the ball in our shirts in order to sneak it to the hoop.

Imagine that same basketball game between Zeke and I, played on a full-sized NBA court, with their full-sized hoops, and a full-sized ball. The equipment alone would prohibit a meaningful experience. Zeke could not dunk the ball. Neither of us could goal-tend. And Zeke would be lucky to get the ball all the way up to the 10 foot hoop. The ball would be too big to stuff in our shirts, and the game would be no fun.

Let’s take it a step further. Let’s add referees to the game. The game would stop every time Zeke travels, double dribbles, fouls, or throws the ball out of bounds. The game would be so constipated that there would be zero enjoyment in the game. The game would be “boring.”

Genealogy is a great game. But, we will never bring the young kids into the game if we require that they play with full-sized equipment and that they play by “the rules”. We need someone to invent the Little Tikes hoop.

What would the Little Tikes genealogy hoop look like? How would people play differently? Please leave a comment.

Genealogy People to Follow on Twitter

This is my list of genealogy industry people I follow in Twitter:


Do you know of anyone else I should be following? Please comment.

[Update 3-17-2009]

Individuals and companies listed here were discovered largely from browsing “Follow” and “Follower” lists throughout the Twitter network; and by identifying individuals that I have worked for (paulballen), associated with via the FamilySearch Developers Network, or met during various family history conferences. I also subscribe to a #genealogy hash-tag feed to find other individuals that post about genealogy.

Some Twitter profiles were discovered from TamuraJones‘ “Follow List” based on the following tip: