This update is a cosmetic one. I made a number of changes to the formatting and output from my database. The highlights:
- Google Maps icon links now appear next to place names. Click them to bring up a map showing the place.
- A new people index: Ancestor Index under the Genealogy Records menu. This is a list of direct ancestors.
- Quick links on the left side of the Genealogy Records section.
- Significant changes to the person entry pages. The timeline table has been replaced with a narrative section. Census listings and residences are now listed in a separate table. There are other minor adjustments to the layouts of these pages.
You will also see a large number of people listed as updated under the What’s New page – these updates are mostly housekeeping and clean-up edits within my database to improve narrative flow and do not contain any new information about these individuals.
If you logged into the site before today, you might have noticed a change in the site’s appearance. I was dissatisfied with the previous design and the obvious split between two sections of the site. Admittedly, the original site was hastily thrown together so I could get the information on the web quickly. With the new design, I made a conscious effort to focus on appearance and usability while easily allowing for future additions. The entire site now has a consistent theme with a simpler menu structure. I have also added some new features.
This is a short summary of the major changes and improvements (there are minor changes not listed here because I am lazy and they are not terribly interesting):
- The site no longer requires you to register before you can view the content. This was a barrier for a number of people, and was really a solution in search of a problem. Registration is still required for posting comments and photos.
- The menus have been improved and reorganized with a few items changed to drop-down menus to allow more direct access to some sub-pages. This removed much of the clutter from the main page.
- What were formerly two visibly separate sections of the site, the blog and tree, are now fully integrated. Aside from a handful of differences in the sidebar links, there is very little distinction between these sections.
- What’s New: this new page gives a list of people whose information was recently changed.
- Most Wanted: this new page contains a list of information that I am currently most interested in finding. It will be periodically updated as old questions are answered and new ones replace them.
- The About and Privacy pages were given a much-needed re-write. I added new pages with the site’s Rules and a Help page.
- An RSS feed (clicky clicky if you don’t know what RSS is and want more info) has been added so you can get new blog posts sent to your browser or mobile device.
- There is a new search function added to the genealogy records.
- The genealogy records pages have been redesigned. The person pages no longer present you with a wall of text.
- There is a link to the Facebook group for the benefit of people that do not arrive at the site through Facebook.
- There are “share” links that will allow you to easily share pages or posts through e-mail and Facebook.
I hope you enjoy the improvements. If you have any suggestions or requests or see anything peculiar, please let me know.
I made a quick update on the blog side today with the addition of a photo gallery plugin. There are only a few photos uploaded right now, but there is more to come. This plugin is also supposed to allow users to upload their own photos, so feel free to post any you might want to share. Just be aware there are some size limitations for uploading: 7 megabytes maximum, and 2800 x 2100 pixels.
Also worth noting: all files uploaded here are automatically reduced in size by the software and optimized for on-screen viewing. If you want a larger copy that is good for printing, consider contacting the person that uploaded the photo.