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Rick Prentice

Sheffield UK Family History Centre

Sheffield Family History Centre Wheel Lane, Grenoside, Sheffield
Director Don Bradbury

I am a research helper and computer specialist for the Sheffield centre. I am not a church member, but I received so much support from the church resources in doing my own research that I felt I should put something back. I currently work one morning a week.

I have 30 years experience as a senior IT manager and now have my own software development company. I now specialise in developing solutions and resolving performance problems in Microsoft Access, SQL Server and NT. I trained originally as an electronics engineer and have developed hardware, networking and communications skills which makes me a complete IT all rounder.

I have developed my own genealogy software, although I have not marketed it because I was particularly interested in the dynamic design and display of trees showing siblings. I am also interested in the use of the computer as a research aid rather than a simple storage and retrieval tool. I have about 4000 names linked in 4 families.

We have 6 film readers and about 10 fiche readers, a film printer and a fiche printer.

Computing Resources:
IBM 300MHz / 32MB / 27GB running Windows 98
DEC 486 66MHz / 4MB / 500MB running DOS 6.22
HP Laser Printer

The computers are networked at 10Mbit with a simple reversed cable and no hub. The DEC runs DOS client and the IBM uses Windows networking. Protocol is NETBEUI.

IGI (UK Only), Addendum Disks 4-7 & 17, Scottish Records, FH Library, are stored on the IBM hard disk and accessed from both machines. All other parts of the IGI require the use of the CDs. In practice this is less than once per week. 99% demand is serviced by the hard disks.

1881 Census and 1851 Census are also stored on the hard disk but need Windows and so only run on the IBM.

The printer is networked to both machines via the IBM.

Fallback facilities are installed to enable both machines to work exclusively from CDs in the event of problems.

I installed and maintain the environment.