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Online Genealogy Learning - Podcast 101

Podcasts are picking up momentum in the world of blogging; however, they are also gaining ground in the genealogy world as a great online learning tool.

Podcasts are a series of digital computer files that take the form of either an audio or a video file. Periodically released to the public by their creators, you can listen to them online, or they may be downloaded to your computer, to an MP3 file or burned to a CD. Think of them like a pre-recorded radio show. They do not allow for interaction between the presenter and the audience, however, you are able to stop and start them as is convenient to you.

I think podcasts are becoming a great new way to learn online, and they are particularly attractive, to auditory learners, those who would prefer to learn by listening as opposed to reading.

Today the spotlight is on Genealogy Gems Podcasts, in our continuing series Online Genealogy Learning- Time to Smarten Up!

One of things I like most about Genealogy Gems is that founder Lisa Louise Cooke is “real people.” Lisa speaks to all armchair genealogists. Those of us who got online one day, found genealogy via the internet and are hooked. We are not professionals, do not have a list of letters behind our names and the majority of us will never reach accreditation status. As a voice for armchair genealogists, I believe we have found a great resource that we can relate to in Lisa Louise Cooke at Genealogy Gems.

Many of you may be acquainted with her weekly podcasts series Family History: Genealogy Made Easy. This was certainly my first exposure to her work. However, recently I had the opportunity to take a look at her Premium Podcasts and Premium Videos. Upon entering the sign-up site through , you are given the opportunity to download her dandy little toolbar. At first, I was a little sceptical; do I really need another toolbar? However, if you follow genealogy, as much as I do, it quite quickly became handy. I especially like that I can listen to the podcasts from the toolbar while continuing to search the internet. I also like that when Lisa has some hot off the press news, a pop-up window sends out an alert when something comes across her desk and is shared immediately with her members.

For a membership fee of $29.95 a year, (come on you cannot even take a family of 4 to the movies for that) you will get 2 podcasts a month for an entire year. That works out to about a $1.25 an episode!! The podcasts also come with show notes. You can download the episodes to your hard drive prior to the expiration date for permanent keeping. Yes, they do expire, but you have plenty of time to download or save them to an Mp3 player. If you own an iphone or ipod touch, Lisa has her very own iphone apps for Genealogy Gems Podcasts. This makes her show a streaming podcast; therefore, it will not take up space on your iphone or ipod.

The membership provides access to not only her podcasts but also her video series. Currently I am working my way through the Google Earth series. In the podcast series, I enjoyed her interview with Ewa Benson AG on Irish History. I learned some great tips and became acquainted with some new websites. To be quite honest, I enjoyed it so much it left me wanting more(that's a hint to Lisa).More recently, she did a two part series on Finding Newspapers. Therefore, in case you are concerned the Premium Podcasts are the same as her Family History series, they are not.

Lisa has plenty to offer the family historian and therefore she has multiple sites and links and many pans in the fire, so when I first discovered Genealogy Gems, I admit I was floundering trying to keep it all straight. The toolbar keeps her at my fingertips now.

I realize there is plenty of free online learning, even Lisa’s Family History; Genealogy Made Easy is free or can be downloaded through itunes. Certainly start there, if that is all you can afford. However, once you are ready to push the learning curve then I would suggest the Premium Podcasts. If you are allocating some money to expanding your genealogy learning this year, I encourage you consider the Premium Podcast. I think you need to put into context that $29.95 for the Premium membership is a good value for a year’s worth of learning. I believe her podcasts will especially benefit beginners, and intermediate level genealogy learners. That is not to say a professional genealogist couldn’t find some few new and fresh approaches in her podcasts.

Therefore, at the risk of sounding like an infomercial, (sorry but she does have it all going on) I hope you will try Genealogy Gems, Lisa is offering a 20% discount on an annual membership by using the coupon code SAVE20. I am not an affiliate of Genealogy Gems, this is a personal review.

Related Reading in Online Genealogy Learning - Smarten Up