Note: Here is the video that goes along with this lesson:

Question: Do you have a personal, customized "Starting Page" when you get on the Internet? This would be like a "MyYahoo!" page or a "MyAOL" page.

These custom starting pages are helpful and save a lot of time in general, but there is another reason I want to make sure that you, the online genealogy and family history researcher are using one…

"Genealogy Feeds"

To be exact, genealogy RSS feeds. I have heard two different definitions for RSS feeds: "Really Simple Syndication" and "Rich Site Summary." What you need to know about these feeds is this:

  • Feeds can save you a lot if time by receiving notification about new information or updates added to a web site, or receive genealogy topics. The genealogy goodies come to YOU and show on your start page.
  • Feeds lets the computer do the searching. You do not have to go back to your favorite sites again and again. You will automatically be informed of new information, rather than checking the site to see if new information is available.

FranklinCovey. Experts at 

getting organized.

But what you really need to know that this can be a life-changing thing for you. Honest. And I know that this subject is misunderstood and highly under used in the online genealogy world. But not you…because you are about to see how easy it is.

If you do not use a custom personalized start page already: That's fine. This lesson will be a life saver for you.

If you DO already use a start page like "MyYahoo!" or whatever: That is great! But please do follow along with me because we are going to use "iGoogle" - and for this, you need a free Google account.

And you are going to use your Google account for upcoming lessons in this newsletter. There is so much going on at Google that has wonderful benefits for genealogy researchers.

  • LOOK at the top, right-hand part of your screen where it says "iGoogle" and "Sign in."- CLICK on the "Sign in" link.This is where you would normally sign in to your Google account. Look at the bottom right of your screen where it says:

Don't have a Google Account?
"Create an account now"

  • CLICK on the "Create an account now" link.

What is great about Google is that you can create an account with ANY email address. You DO NOT have to have a "Gmail" address (which is Google's email). I mention this because if you have an a MyYahoo! account, you know that you must have a yahoo .com email address to use that service.

So type in the email address you want to use and pick a password that you can remember. Follow the steps and click on the "I accept, Create my account" button.That's it. You now have a Google account.

  • LOOK at the top right of your screen for the "iGoogle" link and CLICK on it.
  • If you need to, CLICK on the "sign in" link and enter in your email address and password. You should now be looking at your very own iGoogle page. This is a perfect start page for you that you can customize to your heart's content. - LOOK towards the top area of your iGoogle page on the right for these two links: "Select theme" | "Add stuff"
  • Now, CLICK on the "Select theme" link. You can choose whatever theme you like. I like the "Beach" theme because I like the beach, and the beach scene changes depending on the time of day.

Okay, so far so good. Now I want to show you something that is exciting.

Scroll down the page and look in the right column for the section that says:

  "Subscribe to Feed"

In this section you see different "chicklets" (or, buttons). This is where you can find the feed for the Treasure Maps site. Officially, it is at:

Treasure Maps Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/TreasureMapsGenealogy

But with these handy little chicklets, all you have to do is click on the one you want to use to add the Treasure Maps feed to your personal start page.

  • TRY THIS: CLICK on the "Google" chicklet. This will automatically add the Treasure Maps feed to your iGoogle page.

Please do make sure that you see the video (above). It shows you how very simple this is to do.

  • GO BACK to your iGoogle page and CLICK on the "Add stuff" link.
  • Look on the right search box where it says "Search for Gadgets." This searches for both feeds and what Google calls gadgets. TYPE in the word genealogy and CLICK on the "Search" button.

You will see all kinds of genealogy goodies. All you have to do is click on the "Add it now" button under any of these items and it will show up on your iGoogle page.

Note: From your iGoogle page, after you click on the "Add stuff" link, you will see a link on the left side, down bottom, that says: "Add feed or gadget."

This is where you can manually add an RSS feed, and this is also an important to know.
Please follow along with me step-by-step on this, and again, watch the video.

You will agree with me that this sincerely is life-changing for the way you use your computer. What a time saver it is and the genealogy goodies (news, information and tons of other stuff) comes to YOU!

And finally, remember that this RSS feed stuff works for ANY topic that you are interested in.

Have fun with this. It is worth the small amount of time it takes to figure it out and you will thank me again and again when you are happily using your own custom iGoogle start page.