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Did you hear a whooping big cheer? It was a roar of delight from the throats of thousands of genealogists across the world, celebrating the recent drop in prices of digital cameras. "Digital cameras?" you ask, no doubt bewildered by my stunning foresight. "Genealogists are yelling about digital cameras? Not a new census release? Not a new source for immigration records? Not a new resource for combating burned courthouses, but a digital camera?"

Yes, a digital camera, the latest in what I surmise will be a long list of high-tech tools for genealogists. Digital cameras can be used just as you would a regular camera, but they do not take standard film, recording the images instead on a memory chip inside the camera. Once photos are taken, the images are transferred to a computer where you may:

  • Enhance them.
  • Print them (assuming you have a color printer).
  • Include them in your genealogy projects.
  • Attach them to e-mails to send to fellow researchers.
  • Put them up on web pages.
  • Store them in online photo galleries, and much more.

Everyone has heard the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words." Genealogists know just how true this is; which would you rather have, a photo of an ancestral home, or a written description? One of my ancestors, Christopher Henry Benner, served in the Revolutionary War. Although there is a written description of him on his pension papers--dark eyes, dark hair, five foot five--I have to call upon my (admittedly fertile) imagination to translate that into an image in my mind's eye.

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