©2024 Donald R. Snow - Page last updated 2024-03-19
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ABSTRACT:  This is the second class of a series about getting started with free AI (Artificial Intelligence) for text-based applications.  This class will include a short review of what AI is, some of the free AI websites, and additional ideas of how it can be used in family history.  Some of the uses of AI in genealogy are behind the scenes in searching, but others are things we can use ourselves.   The notes for this and earlier classes are on my website and videos of previous classes are on on the UVTAGG YouTube channel.   The notes have active inks for the websites.  The website with my notes is at .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( ) of Provo, Utah.
  2. The notes with active URLs and additional information in other notes and articles are posted at .
  3. Tips:  (1)  To put an icon on your desktop for these notes, or any webpage, just drag the icon from in front of the address (above) in your browser onto your desktop.  (2)  To open a link, but keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.
  4. Problem to discuss:  Short review of what AI is and further discussion of how to use some of the free versions. 

  6. AI is sometimes referred to as "large language models" since it searches large text databases for the search terms or question you enter and brings back and writes a narrative script of the words it finds near your search terms. 
  7. Since it assumes that words near your search terms are related to them, you sometimes get information that is not accurate or is unrelated to what you want.
  8. Some of AI's strong points are that it may help you find things you didn't know or things you have forgotten and help you organize the information.
  9. You usually have to set up an account (free) to use any of these websites.
  10. Many helpful articles about AI are online; here is the link to one in Wikipedia -- .  
  11. RootsTech 2024 had several classes on AI in family history -- go to-- -- and search for AI in the search box.  There were 114 classes that mention it.  James Tanner taught a 3-hour in-person series (so not online now) on AI and his 45-page pdf handout is downloadable from any of these three AI classes for 2024.
  12. Once you get to an AI website, you can ask "how do I use [AI website]?"

  14. Microsoft's Copilot -- ; form a bookmark by dragging the icon from in front of the address to your bookmarks bar or to your desktop (see Item 3 above in these notes); type your query into the box at bottom labelled "Ask Me Anything" and click the icon at end of that line (Submit).
  15. Google's Gemini (was called Bard) --  -- If you have a Gmail address, you already have a Google account and can use Gemini.   
  16. Open AI's ChatGPT --   -- ChatGPT   -- type in your query where it says "Message" and click the up-arrow at the right end (Submit) -- version 3.5 is free, and is from Jan 2022 -- later versions are commercial, i.e. you have to subscribe and pay to use them.     
  17. AI Genealogy Insights -- --Steve Little's website about using AI in Genealogy. 
  18. To find other free AI websites, ask one of the above to list others.  Be sure to check the results before accepting them.

  20. Like all technology, AI can be used for bad purposes, so be careful. 
  21. AI usually tells you where it found the information, so you can check it before you accept it.  
  22. Since it uses online data, be careful of what you put online or even post in AI in questions, so AI can't pick up personal or private information. 
  23. In using AI be specific in what you ask for and, when you see the results, restate your query so the results are closer to what you want.  
  24. Different AI websites give different results, so try your query in more than one.   
  25. You may find it helpful to copy and save the text results in a file so you can review and edit them more later without having to redo the query.     

  27. "how do I get started and use copilot?"
  28. "find information about [Ancestor Name]"
  29. "create a list of websites for digital newspapers in California"
  30. "what should I include in a genealogy class on military records?"  
  31. "generate a PowerPoint with 20 slides for a genealogy class about Wisconsin birth records"    
  32. "find an obituary of [person] from [location]"
  33. "How can I get a copy of my father's military service record?" 

  35. Once you get started using AI, it is easy to work with.
  36. After you get the first results, "sharpen" your query to get information closer to what you want. 
  37. The free AI websites may be enough to help with your questions, but you may get better results from the commercial ones. 

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