Thursday, June 2, 2011

Second Life: Inferential Genealogy

First of all, you may be asking:  "Second Life"???  What is THAT?"  Well, Second Life is a virtual world.  And it is a large world... all virtual... out on the Internet... in the "cloud."  There are shops, beaches, nightclubs, parks, museums, libraries, churches, trains, skydiving, ice skating, hang-gliding, you name it.  Just about anything you can find in the real world... someone has built it in Second Life.  The reason I joined:  There are also genealogy groups and genealogy meetings!  There are very experienced genealogists who lead chats in Second Life several times a week.  There are a full range of participants in the chats and meetings... from SL and/or genealogy "newbies" to SL and/or genealogy veterans.

Joining SL is very easy... go to their website, click the join button (Don't worry - it's FREE!), download the program, log in, and you will get your very own avatar (a representation of you - a person) that you can dress in cool clothes, change your hair color as often as you like, and buy SHOES!!!  But I digress...

Once you join, you will need to learn how to walk, talk, sit, and teleport.  Don't worry.  It's not hard.  Once you are "in world," just do a search for one of the following people, and any of us will be glad to help you navigate in SL and get to the genealogy meetings:  Genie Weezles (Tami Osmer Glatz), Clarice Beaumont (DearMYRTLE), or Samantha Spurlock (yours truly). 

Genie Weezles - a redhead
Clarise Beaumont - a svelte blonde
Samantha Spurlock - this particular day she had black hair
Or check out the Genealogists in Second Life Group on Facebook... You can ask questions there.  Also, DearMYRTLE is teaching a webinar on Second Life:  Get the scoop on that here on it's own Facebook page.

Now, on to your probable second question:  What is Inferential Genealogy and how does it go with Second Life?

"Inferential Genealogy" is the name of a FREE online course by Tom Jones, PH.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS at Family Search.  Clarise Beaumont is leading a study group in Second Life to go along with the class.  Our first meeting was this past Tuesday evening.  Here's a picture from the Just Genealogy area in Second Life where chats and meetings are held at the fire pit:

There were 34 people in attendance!  A great turnout!

Inferential Genealogy, in my words, is using several sources, even alternative sources, to "infer" or "deduce" ancestors' identities or different aspects of their lives.  For example, if you do not know who the parents are of one of your ancestors, you may check census records, land records, wills, or family letters.  None of those documents may state implicitly "Jane is the daughter of Jack and Jill Smith," but you can deduce that she is by the apparent relationship reflected in those records. 

The course has four sections:  An Introduction (which was discussed on Tuesday) and three case studies.  We will have meetings on Sundays and Tuesdays to review the cases.  Please see DearMYRTLE's blog post  here to learn more about the class and see the complete Second Life Inferential Genealogy meeting schedule.

Hope to see you "in world"!


  1. I was once addicted to the SIMS. I don't dare try another virtual reality game!!!