Saturday, July 3, 2010

Genealogy 101 - Fueling Your Passion with Podcasts

Last week, I wrote about ideas for creating your own genealogy conference right at home. I'd like to expand on that theme with some suggestions for the auditory learners.

Make iTunes your friend. This free software is available from Apple, and no doubt any iPod users already know about this. What I love about iTunes is the ability to subscribe to podcasts. These are informational and educational "radio shows" that can be downloaded (usually free) into your iTunes library. You can listen on your computer or transfer them to your portable device, mp3 players, etc. It seems like I spend a lot of time in my car, so rather than listen to the sports and weather reports on my radio, I can turn my car into a temple of learning!

Here are some genealogy podcasts to get you started:

These are just a few of the genealogy podcasts that are available. To find more, visit the iTunes store (located in the iTunes software) and enter "genealogy" as your search term. You can then narrow the search down to "podcasts" and find those podcasts of interest to you. Right now, I have more than four days (24/7) of genealogy podcasts downloaded for future listening. I can listen to one of the shows while at my computer, or I can download several episodes to my mp3 player to listen to in the car or while walking.

My next recommendation is a commercial site,, which is now an company. I've subscribed to this service for several years. It seems like I don't have that much time to sit down and read a real book anymore, so I've opted for the audio version instead. Over the past month, I've spent a lot of time traveling and have "read" five audio books. Audible has a huge selection of history books, as well as any other topic that might interest you. As with iTunes, Audible has a free software download so you can listen to your books from a computer file, transfer the books to your portable device or even listen to live streaming of the books from your online library at Audible.

Now for an even better option - a FREE resource for downloadable audio books is your local library. For example, the Lincoln, Nebraska city libraries offers a huge variety of audiobooks available for download to your mp3 player. You can reserve the audio book, just as with a real book, and when your turn comes, you can check it out for download or listen to it on your computer during the checkout period. As with iTunes and Audible, there is software you need to download to be able to listen to your books. To find out if your library offers this service, check out the web site.

If you just can't get enough of your genealogy and history fix, add audio to your day. It's especially great for those long waits at doctor's offices!

If you have a favorite genealogy podcast or audio resource to share, please leave a comment below.


  1. Thanks so much for the shout out Susan! For easy listening of all three of my podcasts may I suggest the free Genealogy Gems Podcast Toolbar at It has a nifty little media player so that you can listen no matter where you are surfing on the Net.

  2. You're welcome, Lisa! I do have the Toolbar and failed to mention it. It's a great option.