This post was written by guest blogger Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana.

I attended the DuPage County Genealogical Society’s October Meeting last night, along with Jennifer Holik-Urban and Terri O’Connell. Jen suggested I go because Thomas MacEntee was providing the program, and since I was born and raised in Elmhurst, I thought it’d be a good idea to check out the group. The meeting was held in the Wheaton Public Library; it’s a large and lovely building and the meeting space was equally large and comfortable (don’t know what brand of chairs they used, but boy, were they cushy!) They provided coffee and some great home-made cookies and such…very yummy!

Being relatively new to the Genealogy community, I really didn’t know about Thomas MacEntee, other than the fact he is the creator of the GeneaBloggers website, and I follow him on Twitter. Thomas presented: Social Networking: New Horizons for Genealogists “the basics of blogging, Twitter, Facebook, wikis and more in an easy-to-follow session that cuts through all the hype and the lingo.”

Wow. Having worked with technology in the past, I know how confounding it can be. Thomas has a way of breaking it down and clearly and concisely explaining how it works and the benefits it can create for both amateur and Professional Genealogists. He provided simple definitions of the key terms in utilizing Social Media/Social Networking; broke down how to use each of the major platforms of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, defined and explained blogging and even covered wikis and how the information there can benefit genealogical researchers.

The audience, of about 25, was definitely engaged with Thomas and I believe that his open style provided a level of comfort often missing in programs run by technology people. Our little group, augmented by Pat Biallas and her husband, helped Thomas with examples of tweets and blogs, as well as commenting on what he was presenting.  The audience asked cogent questions and Thomas’s ability to quickly answer with informed material made the presentation complete.

If you have not been on the Geneablogger site, I highly recommend it. Thomas has put together a laundry list of tools to use to leverage both social media and your genealogical research. Also, don’t forget to check out the DuPage County Genealogical Society’s meetings; we felt very welcome and I’m looking forward to becoming a member of the group.

You can find out more about Thomas McEntee and the programs he’s presenting at his website, High Definition Genealogy (http://hidefgen.com/). You can find the latest information on Thomas’s upcoming presentations, including the one he’s doing for the Chicago Genealogical Society on November 5, 2011 at the Newberry Library at 1:30 p.m. You can do a little research AND hear a great presentation!!  What a great way to spend a day.

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