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May 2012-Family Search Indexing and Windows 7 Accessibility Features


Member Diane George learned about a project called FamilySearch.Org. This is a service offered by the LDS genealogy project. Anyone can volunteer to participate in the indexing project, adding records to the database. The 1940 Census has just been released, creating a mountain of new data, much of which will be relevant to people still living. To learn more or to participate, go to familysearch.org and click on the volunteer link. Anyone can join, it’s free and there are no affiliation requirements. You can pick the kind of record (e.g., Birth, Draft, Census) you want to index and the geographical area. The experience can give you a peek at life in another time and place. Speak another language? Your skills are highly prized since records from all over the world are included. What do you get for your participation? The satisfaction of contributing to the project.

Member Jan Fagerholm presented an overview of accessibility features built into Windows 7. Many of these tools, such as Screen Reader and Magnification, can be helpful in everyday operation, especially if you’re using a small screen such as a netbook. It all starts at Control Panel. Then look for the Ease of Access Center. The accessibility features can be divided into categories:

  • Visual supports make things easier to see.
  • Magnifier enlarges the display in the focus area. It might take a bit of practice to learn to locate yourtarget, but text in child windows is not clipped theway it is when you change the screen font size.
  • Narrator reads text on the screen. (ZoomText isa commercial product that offers more features. Forless money, and fewer features, NaturalReader andReadFree offer a free version of their text readers aswell a paid version with more features.)
  • OnScreen Keyboard places a keyboard on the desktop. When might you want that? When using an itty bitty netbook.
  • The Windows 7 built-in speech recognition application works quite well. It is usually necessaryto go into Sound and Boost the microphone for any speech recognition application. (The commercialprogram Dragon Naturally Speaking [Dragon Dictateon the Mac platform] has more features.) Both have options for controlling the computer as well as for text input.


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