According to Wikipedia, progonoplexia, from the Greek word Προγονοπληξια is roughly translated as "ancestoritis," or a deep obsession with one's ancestry.
Read more of this post at the My Heritage Blog.
Once again I am going to remind you that you sometimes need to get out of your comfort zone and explore the world a bit. There are so many things to find and much of it can be helpful.
Today I stumbled upon a website called EasyFamilyHistory.com which is full of books, software, tips and tools to make a family historians job easier and more productive. I found it by accident and thought some of you might find it useful.
Starting next month I am taking a five-week course on blogging your family history. After much research and thought I have decided that blog-to-book is going to be the vehicle for writing my family history narrative. I won't go into all the reasons for that decision, but when the blog is up and running, you will all be invited to come along for the ride. In the meantime, I am doing a LOT of preparation for the course and building the framework for the blog (our "summer" homework). That means I have been wandering the internet reading blogs and looking for "stuff" that will help me build and populate my own blog. I am curious about how others approached the same type of writing project; what kind of blog they built; what kind of material they wrote about; what kind of visual aids they used. Many of them are very engaging. I want my blog to be engaging, too. How do they do it? How can I do it? I wander around a lot, read a lot, and take a lot of notes. My Evernote inbox is bursting with links to stuff I want to go back to. You may think that is wasted time, but it has had tremendous pay-offs for me. It's how I find a lot of very useful "stuff".
At one time in my life I was a collector of books. I was a voracious reader and made it a point to always buy hard-cover, first-edition books whenever possible. One day, my plan was to retire and run a used bookstore in Paris. I was building an inventory. Some of my best stuff was procured while spending hours wandering around used bookstores, climbing ladders and finding what was hidden behind what was obvious. I have re-tooled those skills and now apply them to the Internet.
You never know what you will stumble upon. There are hidden treasures everywhere - and the more curious you are - the more questions you ask - the more you will find. There is always someone out there who already did what you are trying to do. There is a lot to be learned from them. You never know who or what you will stumble upon.
So don't be afraid to wander around out there! You don't have to get dressed up or even get dressed at all!
No matter how long you have been searching for your ancestors, how many places you have looked, how many websites you have subscribed to and how much $$$$ you have spent, there is always somewhere new to look and someone with a new perspective. There are tools, resources and plans of attack you haven't even dreamed of yet. Every researcher has their "toolbox" and every one of them uses different tools differently.
I am curious by nature and have always had an interest in how someone else does the same thing I am doing. They may know something I don't know, have a different approach to the same problem, use resources I don't know about - in short, they may have a nicer toolbox. And genealogists are always very willing to share their tools.
One way to find new tools (ideas, approaches, websites, apps, software, and gizmos) is the blogosphere. There are more genealogy blogs out there than there are "stars in the heavens". Really. Some of you might think you barely have time to do all the things you already have on your plate - how in the heck are you going to find time to read a couple of dozen blogs each day. Well, it's actually rather easy. I follow 38 different blogs and look at them every day. It takes me about 10 minutes. There are many blog organizers out there - and today I am going to share the one I use.
Feedly (www.feedly.com) is a blog organizer that is free, intuitive, easy to sign up for and use. I have my browser set up so that each time I open it, all my most-used stuff is tabbed across the top.
So my Feedly is always available for me to browse. Once you have a Feedly account, you can add blogs to your list as you find them. Just add the mini Feedly extension to your browser-of-choice. If you have a blog opened in your browser the little Feedly extension shows up in your browser bar.
To add the blog you are reading to your Feedly list, just click on the extension and Feedly adds it to your list. You can organize your list of blogs by topics - I have my Feedly page organized into sections for blogging, Evernote, Genealogy, Writing, Computer Info and Technology.
Any time you have a minute or two, you can click on the tab, and Feedly will present you with a list of snippets of unread blogposts from the blogs you have chosen. You can scan the snips, decide what you want to read and/or save, or which one's you want to ignore and delete.
It is easy to get bogged down trying to keep up with everything the internet can serve up. There is a lot of useless stuff out there mixed in with the good. But there are a lot of truly good genealogy bloggers who can serve up stuff you can use.
Below I have listed some my favorites. Also, websties such as Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, Rootsweb, etc. have their own blogs. If you use/subscribe to one of these and are building your family tree there, it would be a good idea to subscribe to their blog. If you are interested in the DNA aspect of your family history search, there are dozens of those you can pick through. If you would like to take a look at the list of the best 100 genealogy blogs for 2015, click here. Take a peek and start a Feedly list of your own!
Never try to do four things at once. When I wrote the post entitled "Researching the Internet Archive", I copied an incorrect link into the text. If you go back to the original post, the problem has been corrected and you now should have access to the PDF you are looking for. Or, you can click here to get there quicker!
This past week, one of my favorite genealogists, Thomas MacEntee, offered a couple of free ebooks to his Geneablogger subscribers. Amazon messed it up - and Thomas felt bad about it. As a result, he has offered a free copy of the syllabus from his "Researching The Internet Archive" course. I decided to share it with all of you.
Click here to get some very useful tips on using the Internet Archive for your family history research.
This is a GREAT idea from the "Genealogy Tip Of The Day" blog.
When information is inconsistent or you are trying to sort out individuals, consider making a chart or table to summarize the information that is conflicting or does not make sense. Sometimes just the process of thinking about how to organize what you have and then organizing it will help you to notice things that you did not notice before.
Jacqi Stevens writes a genealogy blog entitled "A Family Tapestry". It is one of the many genealogy blogs I follow regularly. If you attended D.I.R.T.'s 12 Aug meeting, you got to see my list and how I manage to, at least, skim each of them every day. Again, if you are serious about your genealogy research then I highly recommend you find some of these blogs and read them. They are full of useful information for people just like us from people just like us.
Anyway - Jacqi had a recent post entitled When Life Teaches You Genealogywhich I felt was worth sharing. Using he accepted definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results) as it applies to the hunt for our ancestors and the documentation we need to turn our finds into facts - she tackles a hotel shower dilemma.
Enjoy the story and keep on looking for the same things over and over again until you get the results you need!
Recently it seems I have been spending a lot of time on the phone or computer because of scamming or phishing. Between my home and mobile phone I have been receiving at least one call a day from "Microsoft" or "Windows" trying to convince me to give them access to my computer. The two calls from the "IRS" were particularly entertaining. I have received two emails this week that appeared VERY authentic from GoDaddy.com and Ancestry.com with links they wanted me to click so they could download malware to my computer.
I am pretty good at spotting the "bad guys" but even I almost got fooled by an email I thought was from GoDaddy.com that was a phishing scam. Good thing I called them to check. Only took a minute and saved me a lot of trouble.
Kim Komando's recent column in the Post & Courier did a nice job of covering the phishing/scamming topic. Click here to read the article. Please be diligent. Don't open ANYTHING or click on anything that looks even the slightest bit suspicious. If in doubt, make a phone call.
Paying exorbitant subscription fees for Norton or some other anti-virus program won't' help. If you open a bad email or click on a bad link, the anti-virus program will not project you. In fact, most of the anti-virus programs that charge $75-$100 per year don't protect you from much. The worst things that get into your computer and reek havoc are the things you let in yourself.
I get regular emails from Tyler Moss. He's the online editor of Family Tree University. He recently sent out an email advertising a new course entitled, Source Citations for Regular People. It is a four week course that costs $99 and runs from 10 August through 4 Sept. If you are interested in taking the course, you can get more information here.
In the body of the email he sent out to the world, Tyler did outline the five key elements of a successful source citation. Since I got it in a mass mailing email, and I am giving him credit for the information, I am going to repost some of his email below.
While there are suggested ways you should do a source citation there is not a true wrong way or right way. Elizabeth Shown Mills says "citation is an art, not a science" and she is correct. It comes down to adhering to the components of a citation listed below. Once you know these you will be comfortable enough to ad lib as needed when you run into an out of the ordinary record.
There are 5 key elements to a successful source citation. If you have these in your citation you will be good to go, with only a few exceptions. Most should be pretty simple to understand but let's go through them one by one.
These elements are:
Who created the information (author, editor, transcriber, etc.) What is the title of the source When the record was created or published Where in the record the information is located (volume, page, etc.) Whereis the source physically located (archive, library, etc.)
Let's break this down a bit and further define each component.
"Who" specifically refers to the author or creator of the source. It may be a person(s) or it could be an organization. There are two reasons you wouldn't list a "who." If it is unknown, like the writer of a historic newspaper article which typically did not list writer's names. If it is the same entity that published the item and the "who" is also the title of the work.
"What" refers to the source's title. Underlining, italics, and capitalization rules for publications apply here. If the item does not have a title we create a description for it. The description lets others know exactly what the material is. For example "Letter written by John Doe to his wife Jane." If you think the title doesn't make it clear what type of a source it is you can add descriptive words after it such as database, transcript, image, and etc.
"When" refers to the date the media was published. Years are used for books. Months, quarters, or seasons are added for journals and magazines. Full dates are used for newspapers, downloads of online information, and unpublished sources if applicable. If the item is undated we can state that by using the letters ND for "no date." However, if we can estimate a publication date then we should try to do so. This can be done by simply showing the estimated date range or writing "likely the 1880s."
"Wherein" refers to the specific place in the source where the information is located. The place is a page number, volume number, chapter title, or etc. If the record is an unbound source, or has no page numbers, you can identify the information on the page you are citing by describing it. For instance "birth dates chronologically listed on loose page in file."
"Where is" refers to the specific physical location of the source. Did you find it online, in a library, at an archive, or is it held privately? This can get very complicated but remember, you want to work from small to large. Start with the collection name (the smallest where) and work your way up to the state or country (the largest where) listing all the information about the location of the source as you go.
Thanks to Tyler Moss for sharing some very using information about source citations. Hope y'all find it useful!
I know ... hard to believe. Ancestry.com is not known for giving away anything for free. And even the stuff they do claim is "free" often comes with restrictions. They are not high on my list of favorite genealogy sites at the moment. BUT, they really and truly are giving away something for free and I immediately goggled it up and saved it.
For those of you who would like access to my personal research list, you can click here. Once the document opens, you can print it out, or save it to your own computer. I will also add it to the Resources list on the blog.
I took out a few of the very specific sites I use that are in French and German. And I also omitted any site on my list that was not longer accessible - who knows why.
Thomas MacEntee is one of my favorite sources for all things genealogy. His daily blog Geneabloggers is a collection of blogposts he shares with his readers. I have learned countless new things from the blogs he recommends. Thomas also does a lot of other cool stuff related to genealogy and if you aren't following his blogs, attending his webinars or reading his ebooks, you are missing out on a great resource.
He recently posted a piece entitled, Using Amazon For Genealogy. As an avid Amazon user and a Prime member myself, I had to read this to find out how Thomas could possibly be using Amazon as a genealogy resource.
Well, as it turns out, I think he has unearthed a new treasure for us to add to our research toolbox. Who knew? I hope you will read Thomas's post and see for yourself how you can use Amazon to unearth some treasures of your own.
For those of you who didn't know, Geneaolgists.com is the largest genealogy research firm in the world. When you can no longer figure out how to get around a brick wall - these folks can usually find what you are looking for. As someone who has used professional family history researchers, albeit not this one, I can tell you, it is a good value.
They recently did a blog post entitled, 7 Reasons Why You Can't Find Your Ancestors Online which is well worth the read. I am not advocating that professional help is the answer to all your brick wall problems. I have learned a great deal about family history research by struggling on my own to find what I need, using the resources available in the genealogy blogosphere and the zillion other resources available on and off line. I know what I know now because I know how to look for ways to find what I need to know. That may sound like gobbly-gook, until you think about it a bit. I have spent endless hours just researching my research - looking for resources, guides, databases, etc. that offer new ways to find what I am looking for.
But I also know that there is only so much you can do on your own, and hiring professional help is often cheaper and more efficient than other alternatives. There are only so many hours in the day and how many of them one chooses to devote to this process often drives decisions on how best to reach one's goals. That said, I hope you will read the 7 Reasons Why blog post and bookmark the home page of Genealogists.com for future reference.
One of the best ways to make sure you actually accomplish your family history goals it to have an organized workspace. Believe it or not, you don't need a LOT of space. You just need to use whatever space you have to its best advantage.
Last month, Jenny Tonks, MA, AG posted in her blog, The Disciplined Genealogist, about how she has carved out a small space in her 100+ year-old, unrenovated home, for her genealogy work. Her post entitled, How I Organize My Genealogy Desk will show you an example of how to get a lot from a little and still stay organized.
Organization is the key to any successful venture. For those of you just starting on this journey, you might as well start out on the right foot. For those of you who are already deep into your research, it never hurts to re-evaluate what you accumulate from time to time and make sure you know what you have and where it is.
So take a look at Jenny's post and website and organize your workspace!
August is a crazy month for me. For the last nine years, it is the month our oldest granddaughter spends with us. To say the least, she keeps us busy - which means I don't always have the time to keep up with my blog posts.
This morning I added a new "Quips and Quotes" and the link to another helpful "Tips & Tools". Hope you will take a minute to check it out.
This month, I will write when I can, but most of my posts will be information I pass on from the genealogy blogosphere. Hope you find it fun and interesting!