Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I often mention Michael Lacopo and his blog, Hoosier Daddy? during our meetings.  Michael did a brilliant job of finding his biological grandfather using DNA, a great deal of research and some tried and true organizational techniques.

Michael was recently interviewed about his research by Ancestry.com and they have posted this interview and other information about Michael Lacopo online.

It's a five-minute video, with a link to Michael's blog.  The next time you are feeling overwhelmed by your genealogy research, I recommend you visit Michael's blog and start reading (from the beginning) his story.

I promise you will be inspired!

Technology and Genealogy

The topic of technology often comes up during our meetings - whether it's how to use what we have or what we should buy to make our lives easier.  I believe that all of us have a computer of some sort - either iOS or Windows - desktop, laptop or tablet. We need a way to get on the Internet these days if we really want to do a thorough job of researching our family history.

Nobody loves computers and technology more than I do - and I have a pretty spiffy Windows laptop that I love. It's got a nice, big screen and a full-size keyboard with keypad and it allows me to hook up just about anything with a USB or HDMI connection. But it's big and cumbersome and on the heavy side. I got tired of lugging it to meetings, the library, on vacation, around the house ... you get the picture. I don't like tablets because they don't suit the way I do things. I like having a keyboard that doesn't rely on a Bluetooth connection.

So after much research, I purchased a Chromebook earlier this year. Mine has a 12" screen, a very functional (if not quite full-size) keyboard, two USB ports, an HDMI port and, best of all, a micro SD card slot that allowed me to add 128GB of storage to a device that doesn't come with internal storage. All that for $165.  Chromebooks do not allow you to install software (such as Family Tree Maker, PhotoShop, Smilebox, or Scrivener). If you need a good word processing, spreadsheet, note taker, presentation package - Google Drive has you covered and best of all, it's free.

Chromebooks are small, light-weight, have 10 hours of battery life, recharge in a New-York-minute, don't get viruses, don't require any housekeeping, and since it stores all your files on the cloud (or your micro SD card) you don't have to worry about losing your data if the device decides to die or take a swim.

And, according to Dick Eastman's latest blog post on Chromebooks it looks like later this year, Chromebooks will be able to run Android apps. This is HUGE - it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for the humble Chromebook.  Many of the apps we use for genealogy may be available to Chrombook users in the near future.

So if you have been considering a second computer to compliment what you already have, I suggest you take a look at a Chromebook.  

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sharing Files in Dropbox

Any of you who attended the last meeting might remember that we touched briefly on better ways to share files.  Email providers often limit the size of a file they allow you to send as an attachment. But sharing a file through a system such as Dropbox makes it easy.

Lisa Louise Cooke recently posted instructions on sharing files with Dropbox that you might want to take a look at.

Dropbox is a free, cloud-based file storage service.  Their free package gives you 2GB of storage - and there are ways to increase that for free by referring other people and signing up for things such as Gmail integration.  If you want 1TB for personal use, the cost is $8.25/month ($100/year). 

I have been using Dropbox since it launched and have been very happy with it. Please bear in mind that it is a cloud-based service, and is very secure, but not a place to store or share sensitive information. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Dog Days of Summer

Those lazy, hazy days of summer are here.  Everyone is busy with something else besides their genealogy research.  So we are ratcheting down our meetings and, in line with the summer heat, going "casual".  We will still meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays, from 1:30-3:30 at the Lake House in June, July, and August, but will not be working with any formal agenda.

If you want to join us, bring along your laptops or tablets and any questions you have or items you would like to address.  That includes tech issues you might be dealing with, like how to build and/or use a research log, or any other computer-related item you need help with.   Sometimes these casual meetings evolve into a discussion of resources and individual stories and experiences.  It's a great opportunity to find out what your fellow Diggers are up to.

We look forward to seeing you through the summer!

Denise, Linda and Lynn

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Chosen

One of the members of my family history writer's group shared this with us yesterday.  I thought it was very inspirational!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Pinterest and Genealogy Research

This morning I was trying to find a word. I was writing a blog post for my new family history blog, and I needed something catchy that had to do with genealogy.  So I wandered over to Pinterest and searched for "Genealogy".  Wow!  I was rewarded with a gold mine of genealogy information, research resources, forms, templates, and a mass of genealogy miscellany.

You just never know where you will find something you need.  Nope - I didn't find that magic word I was looking for - but I found this instead.  Check it out and be amazed!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

What's New At Ancestry Academy?

There has been a bit of a hiatus in my posting.  I have been playing innkeeper, tour guide, cook, laundress, chauffeur, social director and IT troubleshooter to a house full of guests for the past 10 days.  It was stressful. But it was also wonderful to have so many family members together in one place for my husband's birthday celebration.

This post is to remind you - or if you are not already aware, make you aware - of Ancestry Academy.  In a recent blog post, Ancestry.com talks about what's available in their education resource.  If you use Ancestry.com for your research and haven't visited their "academy", I suggest you check it out by clicking on this link or you can access it from the "Extras" tab on the Ancestry.com home page.

There is lots to learn about family history research, and many, many resources available.  The more you learn, the better researcher you will become.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Using Maps In Your Reseach

Amy Johnson Crow, a very reputable and well-known genealogist, recently posted about using maps for your family history research.  For those of you who have never explored how maps can broaden your research and teach you more about your ancestors, I recommend you read her recent post.

There are a vast amount of resources out there to tap! You often find the best and/or most interesting things where you least expect.