Friday, September 13, 2013

Thank you, Thomas MacEntee!

I just finished watching Thomas MacEntee’s FREE Legacy Webinar, "You Use WHAT for Genealogy? Wonderful Uses for Unusual Tools" (free until 19 Sep 2013).  The entire webinar was great and I learned quite a bit but what I had the most fun with was WolframAlpha.  I had never seen this website before.  Thomas has actually written an ebook about how to use WolframAlpha called Guide to WolframAlpha for Genealogy and Family History Research.  How I missed this book I will never know.  Sometimes I think I live under a rock. 

WolframAlpha is some sort of weird mathematical calculator that uses actual information.   The example below is similar to the one that Thomas did in the webinar. How am related to my 3rd cousin twice removed?  I can do the calculation myself on paper but the “relationship properties” at the bottom is more than I am willing to do with a calculator and it is just fascinating.

WAscreenshot from WolframAlpha

I typed in the another question that was also similar to what Thomas did in the webinar, “What was the weather in Hahn, Germany on January 1, 1970?” and here is what it spit out:

WA2screenshot from WolframAlpha

Hahn is where I was born but this isn’t my birthdate (I wish it was!).  There was actually much more info under this but I it was too much to do as a jpg for the blog. 

Anyways, this is another tool for you.  To learn more get Thomas’ book.  After watching the webinar I am also going to give Evernote another look.  I use OneNote but I see a couple of things that I think Evernote will handle better.  You just can’t have enough toys to play with.

One last thing, in the webinar Thomas showed how to use Google Alerts (this I already do).  He showed how he had his own name in there so that if any webpage uses his name it will alert him.  Let’s see how long it takes Thomas to find this post.

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. Where's Waldo? I found this post not through Google Alerts but my Feedly reader because I subscribe to your wonderful blog.

    Thanks Michele for the shout out on the webinar, the book and Wolfram Alpha!

  2. You are so sweet, Thomas :) By the way, it took you less than an hour :)

  3. Michele,
    When I read your post, the name HAHN jumped at me! I married my husband at the chapel on that Air Force base in Germany in the late 1970's after a civil marriage at the townhall of Kirchberg. No, I am not German, but French and have been living in the US after our return from Hahn Air Force Base, which I believe is now closed. The world is sooo small!

  4. There is actually a town called Hahn not just the air base. Here is a little bit about it.,_Rhineland-Palatinate

    I usually say I am from Wiesbaden because it is a lot bigger and people have actually heard of it :)