Thursday, January 28, 2016

Follow-up On Yesterday's Presentation

A great big THANKS! to Lynn for his presentation yesterday on scanning, storing and sharing our photos.  He shared a great deal of information with us.  For those of you who did not get a hand-out (who knew we would have such a fabulous turnout!), you can find a copy of Digital Photo Terminology here.  You can also access a copy of the PDF file from the Resources tab of the blog.

Lynn will be doing a workshop on the photo scanning process on Wednesday, 3 Feb from 7-9 PM in Osprey 2 at the Lake House.  He has offered to help five of the people who volunteered at yesterday's meeting get started (he is limited by equipment and time).  But anyone who would like to come and observe, ask questions and learn about the process by watching how it works, is welcome to join us.

An email will go out early next week as a reminder.

Also, our next regualar meeting (10 Feb) will consist of a very short presentation on what you need to do to prepare for our field trip to the Family History Library on 24 February and the rest of the meeting will be devoted to working on our research.   

How To User Search Like A Pro: 10 Tips and Tricks for Google and Beyond

Searching with regular sentences will only get you so far – if you need to find something a bit tricky turn to these advanced yet simple methods.  There is a link to an article in The Guardian about clever ways to search Goolge (and other search engines).

You can never have too many tools in your toolbox!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Organizing Your Research

Most of you must think Linda and I are broken records.  We keep saying, over and over again, how important it is to keep multiple copes of things, cite your research, use research plans and research logs .... we are sure you are tired of hearing us nag!

But for any of you who are still struggling to figure out how to organize your research, Vanessa Wieland, online editor at Family Tree University, recently posted on four ways to get organized.  It is a good article, comprised of information taken from one of Family Tree University's workshops.

For the sake of simlicity, I have re-posted part of her article below:

There are different ways of organizing your physical files and ephemera, or perhaps, like me, you do a combination of both online and physical records-keeping. Below, excerpted from the workshop, are four (4) approaches to organizing your physical files into folders.
What you'll need:
  • A filing cabinet or file boxes with lids. If you use a box, look for ones with a grooved edge so you can use hanging files.
  • Letter-sized hanging file folders in at least four different colors.
  • Manila folders that fit inside hanging file folders.
  • Electric label maker or fine-tipped pens.
1.    Color-Code by Generation 
  • This method is easiest if you first print off a pedigree chart that covers four to five generations. If you don't use computer software, you can download a free pedigree chart here.
  • Assign a color to each of your grandparents, then use the same color for that grandparent's line. For example, if you assigned yellow to your paternal grandfather, all of the people in his line would also receive yellow.
  • Assign one color for both your father and your mother.
  • Assign one color for yourself.
  • Use a hanging file of the appropriate color to hold each generation, putting them into a box or file cabinet in generation order (self, parents, grandparents, etc).
2.    File by Surname
Assign colors to each surname and create a manila folder for each person, labeling the tab with the name and dates of birth/death, i.e. CONNERS, Matilda 1774-1812.
3.    File by Individual and Record Type
  • Like the Surname organization, assign colors to each surname and create a manila folder for each person, labeling the tab with the name and dates of birth/death, i.e. CONNERS, Matilda 1774-1812.
  • Place the individual folder into the appropriate color hanging file.
  • Place each document type into a separate manila folder and place into the same hanging file as the individual folder, i.e. all military records for the individual in one folder, all vital statistics in another.
  • Alphabetize hanging files by surname.
4.    Organize by Individual Folder
Keep an individual folder for each person stocked with the following items, plus other records you find:
  • a family group sheet
  • a pedigree chart
  • a timeline
  • to-do list
  • your research log
  • official records (vitals, land, census, military, etc)
  • correspondence
  • historical information

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Free "Google Guide for Genealogy" ebook

Who doesn't love something for free - particularly when it is a 350 page book on the most effective ways to use Google for genealogy research.

Following is a sample of some of the Chapters:

Book chapters: “Google Guide for Genealogy” will include the follow chapters:

Chapter 1: Building a Foundation for Successful Google Research
Chapter 2: Genealogy Is a Repeatable Process
Chapter 3: Keep a research log and cite your sources
Chapter 4: Qualify Search Parameters with Boolean Operators
Chapter 5: Wildcard Searches
Chapter 6: Google Search Operators
Chapter 7: Setting Up Advanced Searches
Chapter 8: Understanding the Records You Will Find Online
Chapter 9: Maximizing Website Searches among Database Record Collections
Chapter 10: Search Queries for Finding and Searching Blogs,
Chapter 11: Advance Tips and Tricks for Better Genealogy Search
Chapter 12: Google Specialized Search Engines
Chapter 13: Google Applications for Genealogy
Chapter 14: Simple Google Search Queries for Home, Work, and Play
Chapter 15: Google QuickHelps

Chapter 3 will definitely help you manage your research time better and very few people understand how effective "Wild Card Searches" (explained in Chapter 5) can be.  The book appears to be chock-full of useful information and Barry Ewell has always been a great source of information about genealogy.

The ebook is due to be releasaed the week of 15 February.  If you would like to register for a free copy (really, it is FREE), please go to Barry Ewell's blog, Genealogy by Barry, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and fill out the registration form. 

Easy peasy - and I think I may have mentioned, FREE!


L.O.C.K.S.S. stands for Lots Of  Copies Keeps Stuff Safe.  Very clever - but very important.  I cannot emphasize enough the importance of keeping multiple copies of all your genealogy information in more than one place.  This applies to those you are keeping paper files, too.

I am a strong advocate of multiple redundancy when it comes to preserving our heritage.  Dick Eastman recently posted on his blog, "Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter" a piece entitled, The Easy Way to Store Backups on Multiple Online Services with cloudHQ.  If you are like me and are a fairly paperless person, this article will show you a way to save your digital files automatically.  If you are a paper person, you will come away with a better understanding of the importance of multiple copies.

Protect your valuable research, documents and photos.  Don't let all that hard work go to waste.

Meeting Reminder

Just a reminder that we are meeting this coming Wednesday, 27 January 2016 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm in Osprey 2 at the Lake House. This week, Lynn Baker will talk to us about preserving, scanning and sharing photos. 

Don't forget - it's not too late to pay your dues for this year. 

If you need a gate pass, please let us know.  We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday!

Linda and Denise

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Family Tree Webinars

As most of you know, I am a HUGE fan of education.  There is a lot to learn and a lot of places on the internet to educate ourselves.  And there are a LOT of genealogists who are willing to share their tips and tools with the rest of us - some for free, and some at a modest cost. is offering a a large selection of it's template collections at almost 70% off. I have always found their regular prices to be a bit outrageous - but I watch for their sales, and have picked up some great bargains. If you are looking for organizational material or tools for making your genealogy research easier, you might want to take a look at this limited offer.

The Genealogy File Folder Cover Sheet Templates and the The Genealogist's Research Binder-At-A-Glance Template are both very reasonably priced (under $5) and might be just the tools you need to get started or re-organized!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Professional Genealogists

As promised, I have added a section to the "Resources" tab on this blog that contains a list of professional genealogists.

Before you jump in - I would like to suggest you read the first item on the list, Hiring a Professional Genealogist Resource Guide. This document was put together by FamilySearch and is a very good guideline for determining if you need to hire a professional and how to go about finding one if you do.
Also, this list is by no means comprehensive.  If you Google "professional genealogy services" you will get approximately 300,000 results. I culled a hand-full from the top of the list, but there are many, many more.

I will put one copy of the research services page of each of these sites in the binder. Please do not take the copy provided - it is for information only. You will get more useful and detailed information by using the link on this blog to go directly to their websites.

Also, we are not endorsing, recommending, or in any way suggesting that these are the people or services you should use. At the end of the day, you have to do your own research and make your own decisions.

I will remind you, again, that I have had very good luck hiring "outside the box". I have gotten recommendations from the clerks at numerous state and local archives in Europe and the researchers they found for me were excellent - although a touch scary at first.  I have also found the research librarians at various libraries to be extraordinarily helpful. Although they often cannot do extensive research for any one individual during work hours, they are often willing to take on a research job on their time off for a reasonable fee. They can also direct you to others in their communities who would love to earn a few extra $$$ doing some research for you - many of those folks work in the very offices that contain the records you are looking for.

Remember, you don't need a professional researcher to slog through the records of a small courthouse, library, or town clerk's office - you just need someone who knows how to find what you need - often for a much lower fee than a professional, certified genealogist.

One more note - if you are getting in touch with a resource to inquire whether they can locate some information, document, etc. that you need - ask up front what the fee for this service is.  Letting them know, at the onset, that you realize this is not a free service and you are willing to pay a reasonable fee, goes a long way in getting a speedy reply from your source.

Happy Hunting!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Membership and Dues

Just a reminder to those of you who have not yet paid your dues ($15) for the membership year Nov 2015 to Nov 2016, you can still pay at any of the upcoming meetings.  For those of you who have not paid your dues, membership has its benefits:

We look forward to seeing y'all at the next meeting.  Stay tuned to the blog, Tidelines and your email inbox for more information.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Five Things That Will Disappear In Five Years

From TechCrunch - a list of things that are soon to become obsolete.

  1. Cash, checkbooks, credit cards and ATMs
  2. USB sticks
  3. Passwords
  4. The remote control
  5. Static document/paper agreements
If you want to read more, click on the TechCrunch link above and prepare for the future!

Family Memory Jar

My Heritage blog recently posted a creative piece on creating a family memory jar for 2016. Kind of a take-off on the time capsule idea - but a clever one nonetheless.

This would be a wonderful holiday project when you have all the family together in one place - an occurrence that is becoming rarer as we all scatter to the four corners of the planet. But it is a very cool idea that you can do yourself!

I don't know about you, but I would be over-the-moon with joy if I encountered a time-capsule-memory-jar from one of my ancestors.

So whether you do it now, for yourself, or save the idea for your next family get-together, think about that family genealogist, forty or fifty years from now, who would love to stumble across this treasure.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

New Year Clean-Up

We've all see this photo before. It happens to the best of us - despite our best efforts, stuff gets out of control. One of the best things you can do at the beginning of a new year is clean up and get organized. Whether you are dealing with a messy workspace or a messy computer - or a combination of both - this is a great time to clean up the mess and start the year with everything in its place.

Getting there will be a different process for all of us - but at a minimum, I suggest:


  • Take everything off your desktop and move it to another space nearby
  • Go through everything - one thing at a time - and either
    • Throw it away
    • File it in its appropriate place
    • Create a file (or binder, or other receptacle) for it
  • If you are not sure if you will need it again, create a ?????? folder, date the item, and hold it there for a while. If you don't need it in a week (month, year) - throw it away

  • Clean up your email account
    • Go through your inbox and delete anything you don't need to keep
    • Create files (folders) in your email account to save those things you do want to keep
    • Empty your spam folder
    • Empty your trash folder
  • Go through your file manager and take a look at the folders you have set up and what is in them
    • If the folder is redundant or unnecessary - delete it
    • Same holds for the files in those folders
  • Get yourself a thumb drive - label it something appropriate - such as, unsure, save for later, etc. and file everything you are not sure about onto that thumb drive (just in case).
  • Become familiar with tools such as:
    • Boomerang for Gmail - a Gmail tool that allows you to send an email back to yourself at a future date - getting it out of your inbox 
    • Todoist - wonderfully intuitive list tool with reminders, notifications, etc.
    • Trello - project management tool for organizing just about any project
  • Clean out your photos (you should do this on your smartphone as well). Save a few of the photos you want to have handy and delete or off-load those you no longer need. Get another thumb drive, set up a series of folders there, and move the rest of your photos to the drive, organizing them by date, name, occasion, etc. - whatever works for you. Get them off our computer, your phone, your tablet, and/or your laptop. 
  • Most of us go through our snail mail every day and handle each thing that shows up in our mailbox appropriately. I am also sure that most of us empty the kitchen trash at least every day or so. Yet we allow our email accounts to become overwhelmed with spam, trash and unnecessary stuff.  If you clean up this stuff every day or so, you will be surprised how easy it is to keep your technology organized. My trick for keeping my email inbox clean and organized is to never have more than twelve emails in my inbox at any time.
Get into the habit of taking a minute or two every time you sit down at your desk or open your computer (phone, tablet, laptop) to do a bit of housekeeping. You will be amazed at the results.

Once you have cleaned up your literal and digital workspace - you can start organizing your genealogy stuff.

More on that next time ....

2016 - Genealogy Do-Over

Once again, Thomas MacEntee is launching another genealogy do-over.  He recently posted Month-One (January 2016) giving explanations and instructions on how to do the "do-over". The process he describes works well for anyone who is deep into their research and has months or years of "stuff" to deal with. It also is a very good process to follow if you are just beginning. If you start off on the right foot, you might not need a do-over down the road.

If you are interested in reading about Thomas's process and taking part, go to Genealogy Do-Over - Month 1 - January 2016 to get started.  Thomas will get you started cleaning up what you have or beginning your research in the right way.  

As the Do-Over progresses, I will post links on the blog. Start off the new year with an organized genealogy research plan and a neat desk (literal or virtual)!