Mon, 14 April 2014
I’ve been enjoying time at home getting the new house decorated. I have a wonderful sort of wall niche area in the living room that is perfect for a family history display, so the wheels are turning on what I want to do there. I’ve been pinning lots of ideas on Pinterest for that. And of course I’m getting in my time with my grandsons Davy and Joey. Now that Joey is a year and a half and running all over the place, it’s just playtime bedlam at Sha Sha’s house.
I'll be speaking in Round Rock, TX at the Williamson County Genealogical Society
But soon May will be here and that means I’ll be heading to the National Genealogical Society Conference in Richmond Virginia. And we are going to do something very unique at NGS this year. In addition to my three scheduled presentations, we’ve got ourselves some extra booth space this year, and I’ll be giving what we are calling Outside the Box Sessions.
You know how it is, you head to a big conference, and you’re running for one 1 hour session to the next. And they are usually pretty big classrooms. Well, we are going to getting outside of that box, and holding 30 minute sessions in our booth area on the topics you’ve told me you want most.
As presenters we don’t get to have the final say on which of our presentations is selected for the main conference, so it’s really exciting to have this unique way of offering the topics you ask us for. It’s a smaller intimate setting, the sessions will be packed with tips you can start using right away, all participants will get a free ebook of the handouts for those quickie sessions, we’ll have prizes and you’ll even have some treats to nibble on. I am really excited about doing this, and I think you’ll find it refreshing, fun and informative.
I’ll doing four sessions – one each day of the conference
And, I’ve invited two of my dearest friends, Janet Hovorka of Family Chartmasters, and The Photo Detective Maureen Taylor to join me and present some of their most popular topics!
So in all, you’ll have a dozen ½ hour sessions to choose from to reinvigorate your genealogy research. If you want to get outside the box, come hand out with us, get the ebook, nibble on some treats and get away from the huge crowds.
Outside the Box Session Schedule:
10:00 Start Organizing Your Photos Today (Maureen Taylor)
New Videos at the Genealogy Gems YouTube Channel:
A Sneak Peek at What Will be Included in the Future FamilySearch App with Brian Edwards
5 Tools for Paying it Forward in Genealogy With Michael Cassara
A conversation with long time Genealogy Gems listener Michael Cassara who presented a session at RootsTech this year and I thought it was so interesting I asked him to sit down with me to talk more about it. Michael shares one of the ways that he likes to give back to the genealogy community. He buys old inexpensive photographs and does his best to track down family members today and get those ancestors back in to the hands of their families. And he shares some of techniques he uses to do that which you could certainly use in your own family history research.
MJ watched the video and left this comment: “I sooo agree with the karma of sharing our genealogy and our photos. I love the Find a Grave / BillionGrave photo idea. And I know myself about good karma. I found some studio photos of a distant relative, contacted a direct descendant and sent the photos to him. He wrote back and said "my Dad looks just like his grandmother, and never knew it before! And what a gift for my son."
Go to www.Youtube.com/genealogygems and watch the video and leave your comment about your experiences.
Not all Family History is Happy Memories
In what seems to be the exact opposite of the usual obituary you come across as you are searching through newspapers, The Blaze reported that a Reno newspaper has removed an obituary supposedly submitted by children glad their mother was dead.
The obituary was published in the Reno Gazette-Journal last September in acknowledgement of the death of Marianne Theresa-Johnson Reddick. “Marianne Theresa Johnson- Reddick born Jan 4, 1935 and died alone on Sept. 30, 2013. She is survived by her 6 of 8 children whom she spent her lifetime torturing in every way possible. While she neglected and abused her small children, she refused to allow anyone else to care or show compassion towards them. When they became adults she stalked and tortured anyone they dared to love. Everyone she met, adult or child was tortured by her cruelty and exposure to violence, criminal activity, vulgarity, and hatred of the gentle or kind human spirit…”
And just as importantly, that we have the opportunity to discover the gems in our tree, the unsung heroes, people who did do a good job and contributed to society. In the end, we get to pick who we admire, and we get to decide those areas that we will not perpetuate. After all, if our history stays in the dark, it is apt to look and feel even larger and scarier, but it is also apt to repeat itself.
I’d love to hear from you on this subject. You don’t to share specifics. But how has learning more about your family history empowered you. And if you think it has caused harm, I’d like to know more about that too.
Finally, to wrap up this segment before we get to the mailbox, I just want to send out a big thank you to some very nice folks out there in the genealogy community.
Evernote for Genealogists Thanks Yous
A big thank you to:
Thomas MacEntee: Hack Genealogy“You know what I love about these guides on Evernote? They are easy-to-use, the information is laid out in a format that makes it easy to find what you need, and it truly is something you can keep referring to as you work your way through Evernote and its features.”
Randy Seaver, Genea-Musings
Amy Coffin of the We Tree Blog
Renee Zamora of Rene’s Genealogy Blog
Sue Maxwell, The Granite Genealogy Blog
James Tanner, The Genealogy Star Blog“I had been using Evernote extensively for quite some time. But was faced with dilemma when the program began to evolve rapidly. I simply lost touch with all the features being added and did not understand why I ran out of storage space and was shut down when I didn't purchase some upgrade. So, I transferred what I was doing on Evernote and used alternative products.
So, solely because of this handy guide, I now understood the product. I already had the program on all my devices so transitioning back is as simple as clicking. What I needed clarified was how the program functioned vis a vis the difference between the "free" version and the "paid" version. With that out of the way, I am back in the Evernote use realm. Now, I probably could have figured out all the stuff from the Evernote website, but this made it easier for me to get going and actually do something.”
Thanks again to all the bloggers who took the time to give the guides a test run. They are available in our store both for Windows and for Mac.
Genealogy Gems Premium Members can enjoy several Evernote videos as part of Premium Membership:
How the Genealogist can Remember Everything with Evernote (Beginner)
How to Organize Your Research with Evernote (Intermediate)
Making Evernote Effortless (Intermediate) BRAND NEW!
And the “Get Started with Evernote” Mini Series
New RootsMagic Video
Our long time podcast sponsor RootsMagic just published a new video I think you’ll be very interested in. It’s called Importing an Ancestry Family Tree into RootsMagic.
Have you been wondering how to do this? Well, now they have a short video that will show you how. Currently this is limited to trees that you are the owner / manager, since Ancestry doesn't appear to allow downloading a tree belonging to someone else.
You’ll find the video at the RootsMagic YouTube channel
From Jane in Edmonton, Alberta:
“Need your advice (as I am sure do thousands of others!!) First of all, let me take time to let you know how much I am enjoying my subscriptions to your Genealogy Gems and your podcasts. I purchased subscriptions at the Alberta Genealogy Conference in Edmonton last year, and have been thoroughly enjoying them.
You are not along in this genealogical dilemma! It's easy to let the records start to take over and lead you around. One way to combat that is to set a genealogical goal - define what it is you want to know. It might be something very specific about a particular ancestor, or it might just be to fill in the blanks on one particular family. Early in my research focused on one grandparent, and working backwards, I would strive to fill in all the blanks on that person, then their parents, then their siblings. I wouldn't "leave" that family until I felt that I had filled in as much of the family group sheet as possible.
In fact, we have sort of lost track of the "family group sheet" in this technological age. But it is an excellent tool for keeping you on track and focused on the blanks that need to be filled.
An additional strategy is to have a process for dealing with information that comes your way that is a bit off track. Often we feel like we have to pursue it or we'll lose it. I like to use Evernote (free at evernote.com) to capture data that I'm not ready to deal with right now, but definitely want to pursue later. I create an Evernote "notebook" for that family surname, and a note book called "future research". Drag and drop "Future Research" onto the family surname notebook which will create a "stack." Now you can create notes and drop them into the "Future Research" notebook which is inside the applicable family. Add tags to your note like "newspaper," "death record," etc. and some good searchable keywords so that the note will be easy to find when you need it. Now you can capture the item, file it away, and stay focused on the task at hand.
If you would like to learn more about how to use Evernote for genealogy I have a quick reference guide (PDF) in my store that will work wonders in keeping you organized.
From Mary Jane in KY
“Thank you Lisa, I received your ebook fine, and now have it installed on my desktop. I've been watching a lot of your videos, have watched the ones where you had interviews at Rootstech. Each day I watched on my computer, the selected Rootstech programs as they were presented. Last week our Kentucky Genealogical Society and Kentucky Historical Society had an all day Saturday viewing of 10 of the programs given out there. It was a special program that the Kentucky Historical Society and Kentucky Genealogical Society were chosen to participate in viewing - called a Family History Fair. Your program was one of them - How to Use YouTube for Family History: Setting Up Your Own YouTube Channel. And all those syllabi were available for us to print in advance. We had 135 people to attend. We were very privileged and it was much appreciated by a large crowd of people.
You are such a pretty gal, with a bubbly personality. Kiss those babies for me. I've just become a great grandmother. I really enjoy your Genealogy Gems, have received your newsletters for several years, but I don't use anything but the computer. It's something about the older generation not being able to learn all these other gadgets.”
You can watch free videos from the RootsTech 2014 genealogy conference at https://rootstech.org/about/videos/
From Steve in Cedar Falls, Iowa
This is all your fault :)
Yes, this is your fault! That sounds ominous, but this is a good thing! I say your fault because you are the one who encouraged me, on your blog, to start blogging about family history. I started two blogs- one for the paternal side and one for the maternal side. The paternal blog is schellseekers.blogspot.com and the maternal blog is happekotte.blogspot.com.
My intent was to create a place where family could see the family history that I had found. But something else happened in addition to this intent. A guy in New York came across my maternal blog and emailed me that he had something I might be interested in. It was about my third great grandfather who was born in Germany. Before he came to America, he was a part of a German colony in Guatemala. I knew that, but had no proof of when and where he married or even where in Germany he was from. This gentleman from New York is originally from Guatemala and is connected to my third great grandmother who was also part of this colony. He sent me a copy of an original church record from Guatemala giving the date they were married in Guatemala AND the name of the town in Germany that he was from and his date of birth. It gets better!
Google Translate Tip:
My favorite podcast moments thus far are: listening to your moving challenges as you relocated to Texas (misery loves company : ), the guest who stated that it is 'not advised' to shred original documents after digitizing them, the 'Flip Pal' interview, the daunting task of catching up on technology and the learning curve that comes with that, and your suggestions for all of us to make the family names and dates more interesting, in order to get other family members excited about our family history.
Thank you for all you do for genealogists! I met you once at our local library where you gave your Google class, and hope we cross paths again. In the meantime, be kind to yourself. Get well soon!
I remember you had talked about a family reunion sometime in the past , and I wonder if you had any tips of getting family history information out of my family while there are all at the wedding.”
I would suggest searching family reunion websites for ideas you can convert to a wedding reception. A search of Google and Pinterest.com should help you locate them.
If you have your guests seated at tables, that's a great opportunity to provide an icebreaker that can double as a family history gathering opportunity. You could have a form at each place setting for them to fill out. If you are having a videographer, you could have a short list of questions at each table, and when he comes to their table he records them answering the questions. (What's your earliest child hood memory? Who's the earliest ancestor you have a photograph of? What are three things you remember about Great Grandmother? Etc.)
Tue, 11 March 2014
The Genealogy Gems Podcast
Tue, 18 February 2014
In this episode you'll hear what you've been missing and how to get it from the Ancestry Wiki. Also how to do a very specialized type of Google search you may have never tried, a French-Canadian genealogy resource, and more.
Top 10 Reasons I Moved to Texas:
10. They have something here, it’s called weather
9. I live on an acre now so my neighbors don’t complain that they hear me over here talking to myself
8. There’s a Soft Surroundings store in Southlake! And a Pottery Barn, and a Coach purse store, and…
7. Genealogy Bloggers Amy Coffin and Caroline Pointer. If you know them, you understand
6. Wise County has just launched a new genealogy society and they wanted a speaker who lived less than three hours away
5. It’s been almost 10 years since I filmed a reality TV show out here, so I figure they’ve moved on.
4. My cat Ginger is from Texas and what she meows goes
3. After 18 years in California I finally get to have a pool in my backyard
2. They don’t have chicken fried steak in California
1. My Grandsons - Davy and Joey!
A few years ago while attending a genealogy conference, I decided to conduct some on-the-fly interviews for The Genealogy Gems Podcast. I asked folks to tell me about the most prized family heirloom that they possessed. I heard about everything from the door knob of a woman’s parent’s bridal suite, to the bedazzling flapper dress worn by a great grandmother.
All were interesting, but I was stopped in my tracks when one woman looked at me with pain in her eyes and declared “I have nothing. Not a thing. My cousins destroyed everything.”
It was a difficult concept to digest. As the acknowledged “keeper of the family history flame” in my family, I’ve been fortunate enough to have inherited an abundance of family heirlooms from both sides of my parent’s families. How sad it would be to have nothing concrete to hold in your hand; nothing to help you feel the generations that held the item before.
Since that day I’ve remained inspired to help people find ways to track down information and artifacts that make up their family history. Time and time again, I’ve found that just when you thought there was nothing left to find, an item will resurface. The Galaxy Quest movie quote (surely based on the famous words uttered by Winston Churchill in 1940) is one I cling to when it comes to genealogy: “Never give up! Never surrender!”
This motto has never been so gloriously justified as it was recently when a woman from Indianapolis, Indiana received the surprise of a lifetime this Christmas. The Purple Heart awarded to Pat Davis’ father, (a father she never met) was found recently and returned to her. Watch the compelling video below where the daughter holds the unearthed piece of family history in the palm of her hand.
Kyla wrote: "I had old photos and letters returned to me by a woman who found me on a genealogy message board. Her father had obtained them from my brothers who were throwing them away. It was like a miracle."
RootsTech 2014 may have come to an end, but SCGS Jamboree is just around the corner
I’m pleased to return this year to speak at the 45th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree. This popular conference, hosted by The Southern California Genealogical Society, runs June 6 to 8, 2014 in Burbank, California, USA.
The theme of the 2014 Jamboree is Golden Memories: Discovering Your Family History. It promises to pack tons of fun into a long weekend, as it always does.
My classes on Friday and Saturday include:
Who Needs Google Reader? Flip Out Over Genealogy Content with Flipboard!
Ultimate Google Search Strategies for Genealogists
How to Create an Exciting Interactive Family History Tour with Google Earth.
SCGS Jamboree 2014 welcomes 55 speakers, over 60 exhibitors, 134 class sessions for a variety of experience levels, and special events. Online registration is open on the Jamboree website, and the Marriott’s website is ready to take your reservation. Hope to see you there! Read more about it here.
Genealogy Test Reveals Dad’s DNA Swapped in Artificial Insemination
It’s not uncommon for genetic DNA tests to reveal that you’re not related to people you thought you were. But here’s a twist I’ve never heard before.
A family who had a daughter by artificial insemination of the husband’s sperm eventually decided to do some DNA testing for family history. Imagine the wife’s shock when she discovered that her husband and daughter shared no DNA!
They got a bigger shock when they did a little research. Apparently the biological father worked at the lab that handled the family’s insemination process. The man is dead now, but it appears he may have deliberately swapped in his own sample for the father’s.
Of course lots of questions have come up–including how many other children may have received the DNA of a man who was a convicted kidnapper.
My heart goes out to this family and to others who now fear their genetic fatherhood was hijacked. Read the full story here (it’s popped up in several news outlets now, but I first saw it at KUTV.com). Watch the video at the Genealogy Gems Blog
Newly Remastered and Republished Podcast Episodes
Family History Episode 16 – The Family History Library Catalog
Family History Episode 17 – Using Family History Centers Part I
Family History Episode 18 – Using Family History Centers Part II
What’s New at Evernote
BillionGraves Now Accepting Your Documentation
I’m hearing so much these days about source citation and I love it! Everyone seems to be getting smarter and better at sourcing their research finds. And genealogy websites are making it easier and more collaborative. Here’s just one example, an announcement just made by BillionGraves:
“After months of work in response to hundreds of user requests, BillionGraves has added several new features designed to validate and enhance the headstone records found on BillionGraves. The Supporting Record feature now allows users to upload evidence-based documents that support the BillionGraves records that have been collected through our mobile Apps. This means that users are now able to upload headstones, birth/death, burial, marriage, cremation, and many other types of records without needing a smart phone.
Thousands of records are being uploaded every day and are breaking down genealogy brick walls and making connections that once seemed impossible. While working closely with our users and genealogists we found that there were many headstones and burials that just couldn’t be accounted for with our current systems; including unmarked graves, cremation scatterings, destroyed stones, and so on. Our Supporting Records features eliminate this problem while maintaining the validity and accuracy of the BillionGraves database.”
Answer to A Genealogical Google Search Question
Jo-Anne: “Is there a Google Earth Cd of the 1932 L.A. Olympic Games?”
Lisa’s Answer: I would try the following Google Search as follows...
Quotation Marks around a word or phrase mean that the word or phrase must appear in all results.
Adding .KMZ or .KML tells Google that you want Google Earth files as the highest priority. Put quotation marks around the file designation and you’ve just told Google to ONLY return Google Earth files.
Lisa wants to know: “What type of Google Earth files / maps / tours would you be interested in finding?”
What Would You do?
From a concerned listener: "I have a dilemma I'm not sure how to handle. I have a recent ancestor that I never met, but my parents knew. This ancestor did some remarkable things in his lifetime, but also some terrible things to members of his family, some of whom are still living. I want to write about the good things he did, but I don't want to upset the relatives he hurt. Do you have any suggestions on how to handle recent ancestors with difficult pasts?"
Lisa wants to know: What do you think? Have you faced this situation, on either end?
A Podcast for French-Canadian Research
Thank you to our wonderful sponsor
GEM: The Ancestry Wiki with Crista Cowan
In this gem, Crista Cowan explains how to find the wiki, how to search it, and how to explore it because "we don't know what we don't know."
Producer: Vienna Thomas
Tue, 7 January 2014
Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 163: Get ready to flip out with me over Flipboard. It’s a free app and web tool that you have to see to fully appreciate. In this episode I’ll take you behind the scenes at Flipboard in the Silicon Valley and talk to the folks who create the product that helps you enjoy the online content you love. I’ll also share a little discovery I made about family history when I threw my back out over the holidays (there’s got to be an easier and less painful way to do family history research!) and get you up to date on all the genealogy news.
The back pain in my family history was there all the times but I didn’t recognize it! My Great Grandmother Louise’s “hand on hips” stance in many of the old family photos was more than just a sassy attitude. It reflected a family history of back pain that plagued my grandmother, my uncle, and me.
And what do you suppose folks will think a 100 years from now when the news stories are long gone, and they are reviewing the footage of the sign language guy at Nelson Mandela’s funeral? A reminder that not everything we see in old home movies and photos may necessarily be as it seems?
Happy 4th Birthday Genealogy Gems App! Get the App:
New Episodes of Family History: Genealogy Made Easy Podcast
The fourth annual Rootstech conference, hosted by FamilySearch, will be held February 6-8, 2014 at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition to renowned keynote speakers, the conference features over 200 classes, hundreds of booths in a huge Expo Hall, and evening events.
Keith wrote: “I previously wrote you a few months ago when I launched my own blog, sonofswift.tumblr.com. I am happy to report that tomorrow marks my 150th post. Thank you for reading my first message on your show. I have since had it listed on Geneabloggers and started a weekly picture post, Wordless Wednesday. After spending a considerable amount of time trying to break down brick walls, I'm currently focused on learning about my, and my wife's, great grandparents, which I call "thickening the branch. In the new year I plan on releasing eBooks containing all my research from the past six months with accompanying trees. All of it is thanks to guidance I get from listening to your podcast. Thank you for all that you've done and will continue to do.”
Congratulations on your blog's milestone! Now anytime someone searches Google for one of your ancestors they will find you. I'm so happy to hear that the podcast has been helpful to you in your journey.
From Maryann: “Sitting here addressing Christmas cards and grabbing a bit of lunch when I decided to check my email. Spotted your email and opened it up. Skimmed through it, went back to the top again to check out more of what you wrote about the RootsTech 2014 Flipboard magazine you put together. Looked over at the stack of cards still waiting, but thought I'd grab a few minutes to just get it downloaded. Thanks to your book, I already have and use Flipboard, so it didn't take long to find the magazine and subscribe. It looks FANTASTIC. Can hardly wait to sit down and spend time reading through the articles and watching the videos. Right now, though, that stack of cards is shouting me, so I'd better set aside my iPad (after reading your book, I chose a mini, and am forever grateful for the help your book gave me, especially in setting up my apps) and get back to them.”
And Taunja is also flipping over Flipboard: “I've had Flipboard on my smartphone and didn't know what to do with it! Just subscribed to the Rootstech magazine and it looks wonderful...thanks so much! Looks like a better learn a little bit more about Flipboard.”
GEM: Flipboard Interview
Well, it didn’t take long to track down some great alternatives, and in this gem I want to focus on the one I flipped out over for tracking and enjoying my favorite online media like blogs and videos. It’s called Flipboard, and if you have my book Turn Your iPad into a Genealogy Powerhouse, then you’re probably already familiar with it.
Now wait, don’t turn off this episode because you don’t have an iPad. You don’t need one to use and enjoy Flipboard. It’s a free app for Android and Apple devices – so we’re talking all kinds of smart phones and tablets can use it.
Now while the app allows you to pull together all your favorite RSS feeds together and displays them in a beautiful way, Flipboard also has a Magazine feature. In a recent issue of the free Genealogy Gems eNewsletter – which you can sign up for on our homepage at www.genealogygems.com – I wrote an article all about a magazine I created all by little self using the free Flipboard web tools. These magazines – and I really call them magazine issues, because they are like stand along issues of a magazine – can be viewed on your computer web browser as well as the app, and you can add content from all over the web, and share it with others.
When I saw the magazine feature for the first time my mind just started racing with all the genealogical possibilities. I’ve created several free magazines that you can enjoy, and I’ll tell you more about how to access those at the end of this segment. But first, we’re going to head to the Silicon Valley and meet with the folks at Flipboard to get an up close and personal look at the company, the app, and these awesome magazines.
In this interview I travel to Flipboard's offices in Palo Alto, the home of a few names you might recognize, such as Facebook, and meet up with Todd Lapin. He is on Flipboard’s editorial team and runs their new blog focused on discovering of great content http://magazines.flipboard.com and he also runs their MagMakers twitter handle: https://twitter.com/FlipboardMag
RootsTech 2014: Where Genealogy and Technology Converge is a free magazine available in the free app https://flipboard.com/ and on the web at http://tinyurl.com/RootsTech2014. The magazine pulls together great web content from RootsTech speakers, exhibitors, and official bloggers in one beautiful and convenient place.
Looking for more great genealogy themed Flipboard magazines? Check out two more new issues from Lisa Louise Cooke:
Genealogy Gems Premium Members can hear for about using Flipboard for Genealogy in the upcoming Premium Episode #106 later this month. The episode will also include additional notes and instructions. Click here to become a Genealogy Gems Premium Member today.
Wed, 4 December 2013
Wondering how to get your kids and grandkids engaged in family history? Looking for worthwhile activities for the kids over the Christmas break? In this episode author Janet Hovorka provides answers. Our children are the future of our families, and there's no better time to help them engage, explore and enjoy their family history! App Users: Be sure to check out the audio Bonus Content in the Genealogy Gems App!
Where You Can Find Over a Million British Church Records that are Now Indexed!
From Gary: “There was a recent episode of the Las Vegas Based “CSI” show in which a genealogist was used to help solve a crime and the head CSI guy (Ted Dansen) and the Genealogist debated about Genealogy being a science. Only took them 1 hr (and 30 commercials) to do what takes us a live time –Hummmmmm!!!”
Premium member Roger in Utah: “Thanks for another great podcast – this time on MY ancestral homeland of Norway. I have spent many hours using the digitalarchivet.no website. While you can use the English version, parts of it are only in Norwegian.
Norway, like most Scandinavian countries, has put nearly all of their parish records online. It is a wonderful resource. You have to learn what some of words are, such as birth, Christening, confirmation, marriage, death, etc. But even just these can help a lot. If you learn a few more Norwegian words, you can more fully access the vast amount on information available on that site.
In that podcast you also talked about taking a risk and contacting someone about possible family information. Through some of my Norwegian research I found a man who lives in a little town about an hour north of Oslo.
He is the leader of a group called the Hadelandlag Society. Hadeland is a region of Norway. I got an email address for this man, Ole, and contacted him. He has been wonderful to me. He went to a local repository and looked up information on my family from the information I gave him. Of course, I thanked him profusely for helping someone he did not even know. We have now emailed several times. Certainly the “risk” paid off.
I have also found some US chapters of the Hadelandlag Society and have become a member. And I found some distant cousins as a result, one in Canada, and one in Minnesota. We email somewhat regularly. See what taking the “risk” can do.”
Matt Has a Mystery and is Looking for Extra Sets of Eyes: “Thank you for your podcasts! … even listening to the older podcasts can provide needed perspective on how to break through your brick walls. Speaking of brick walls, mine may be crumbling. I've been trying to trace the parents/ancestors of my great-grandmother. Up until this past summer, I had no information whatsoever. On May 30, 2013, I found an 1855 New York State Census entry that may tell me who her family is. I wrote up a blog entry about the current status of the search and I'd be interested in your thoughts.” Matt's Blog
From Alan in Minneapolis, MN: “I started listening to the podcast about a year ago, and it's been a great reminder of things that I had forgotten how to use Google for. Thanks to your hints, I've found descendants for 2 of my wife's great-great uncles who moved away from the farm in Illinois and we lost track of. The Google tips from early on in the series have even helped in projects at work- my colleagues think I'm spending hours searching for things that I'm finding in a couple minutes with some of the tricks.
Also after hearing about blogging your family history for at least the last 3 pod casts, I've finally decided to take the leap and start publishing my discoveries on a blog (groundhoggenealogist.blogspot.com) so I can post there rather than send emails and miss some of the cousins or send Facebook messages and miss the others. I've only written two posts (one's up one set to publish Sunday morning), but I hope this is something I can keep up. Just a note to say thanks.”
Janice in Montreal started a genealogy blog: “I attended several of your presentations at the BIFHSGO conference a few weeks ago and really enjoyed them. Partly as a result of hearing your advice, I have started a blog on which I'm posting the short family history articles I've been writing, as well as comments on the research process. The story called "An Economic Emigrant" explains why I'm a Canadian rather than an American. Please take a quick look when you get a chance.” writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca.
Ethan is looking for some Fold3 help: “I recently went to look for the graves of my great-grandparents and learned in doing so that their son, my grandpa's brother, died in WWII. Since he has a very common name, George L. Allen, I have been unsuccessful in trying to look up his records on fold3.com or other search engines. Any hints on how to narrow my search? This is the information I was able to obtain just from his headstone: Private First Class, 63rd armored infantry battalion, 11th armored division. He died Jan 6, 1945, just as the war was dying down. Other than that, I don't know if he was in the Pacific or in Europe. My fold3.com search yields thousands of results. Any help would be appreciated!”
Lisa’s Answer: Fold3.com does have some educational videos on YouTube. In particular: How to Search on Fold3. If you don't get the full answer you are looking for, leave a comment on the video to ask a more specific question or ask how to contact them with your question. YouTube is interactive when it comes to comments and I would anticipate they would respond.
Family Tree Magazine Webinar Recording: Making the Most of Fold
GEM: Helping Your Kids and Grandkids Engage in Family History with Janet Hovorka
Janet is the author of the book Zap the Grandma Gap
Above: Janet Hovorka, Owner of FamilyChartmasters
Visit the free Website for more Zap the Grandma Gap
Sign up for the FREE Genealogy Gems Newsletter at www.GenealogyGems.com
Explore Lisa's brand new Pinterest Board: Best U.S. Libraries for Genealogy
Thu, 14 November 2013
I was so impresssed with Yngve Nedrebø, the Chief archivist at Riksarkivet (National Archives of Norway) who I recently interviewed for the Family Tree Magazine podcast that I'm publishing an extended version of that interview here on the Genealgoy Gems Podcast. This is a "must hear" for those with Norwegian heritage. In this episode you'll also hear from a fellow listener and get a chance to see his family history tour that he created in Google Earth using the techniques I teach in the Google Earth for Genealogy video CD series. And we'll get a taste of the history of coffee.
Linda from Ventura Seminar writes in about her recent success:
“I just loved your presentation Saturday at the Ventura Genealogy Seminar. I learned so much and feel very enthused to really get to work on all this. In fact I was so encouraged I got brave and called a telephone number that I had found for a possible 1st cousin, once removed. And surprise, it was him and we had a lovely 30-minute conversation and I’m going to send him information and he and his wife invited me to Florida to visit!! How about that. It was so exciting, still haven’t gotten over it.”
Linda said that she was encouraged enough to get brave and make that telephone call. That can be a pretty scary thing. We all have things that we need a bit of bravery to do.
And that brings me to an important question that I posed in the most recent edition of the free Genealogy Gems Newsletter.
Having you taken a technological RISK lately?
Eric shares his Google Earth Family History Tour:
After viewing it I couldn't help but wonder if there was video out there. And sure enough I found a few. I'm sure there are more with potential:
YouTube video update: If you’ve had trouble embedding videos recently in your own family history tours, or genealogy blog, it's actually YouTube that is causing the problem. If you look closely at the YouTube embed code they are (for some unknown reason) leaving off the "http:" and so the code doesn't work. Copy and paste the embed code into a Google Earth placemark and then correct the URL so it is complete and it will work for you. (Do note though that the person who uploaded the video can opt not to allow it to be embedded. If that's the case, there will be a statement on the video page)
Cameron is Looking for Death Certificates
From Lisa: I ran a quick Google search and found the following on the Emanuel County, Georgia records site:
I would also recommend contacting local historical and genealogical societies. They often have the inside scoop on what's available and how to access it locally. A quick Google search should help you make contact. Run the search in Google Earth and it will plot them out for you on the map!
GEM: Norwegian Genealogy and the National Archives of Norway
One of the shining stars on the Internet that offer rays of research hope for those with Norwegian heritage is the National Archives of Norway’s Digital Archive. Lisa’s special guest: Yngve Nedrebø, Chief archivist at Riksarkivet. http://www.arkivverket.no/eng/Digitalarkivet
GEM: Wartime Coffee Bean Counting
Wed, 9 October 2013
In this episode you will meet other listeners who are getting the word out about their family history through blogging as well as give you some genealogy blogging pointers,and I will introduce you to one of my first “Favorite Genealogy Gems”
Look who I ran into in Detroit: Steve Luxenberg, author of "Annie's Ghosts"
You’ll have around 40 topics to choose from, held mostly in the evening so there will be loads of time to explore the landscape.
My understanding is that this cruise is filling up very quickly so if you’re interested be sure and click the links above for more details.
Evernote is certainly the fastest-growing note-taking technology out there, so it is no wonder that it is incredibly popular with genealogists. But there is so much packed in to it that I notice that many genealogists aren’t taking full advantage. Keep this handy cheat sheet close at hand and you’ll have everything you need.
This four page laminated guide includes:
$8.95 plus shipping. Also available for UK, Canada or Australia shipping
ANCESTRY.COM and FamilySearch recently announced that they have made an agreement to jointly make a billion global records available online over the next five years by digitizing, indexing and publishing the records from the FamilySearch vault. Ancestry.com expects to invest more than $60 million alongside thousands of hours of volunteer efforts facilitated by FamilySearch.
The companies also announced in early 2013 an additional project where they plan to publish 140 million U.S. Wills & Probate images and indexes over the next three years—creating a national database of wills and other probate documents spanning 1800-1930 online for the very first time.
Daughter Receives WWII Soldier Father's Letter Decades Later - Read the article
Watch the Video:
In this episode we celebrate listeners who are sharing their family history through blogging:
New Blogger Keith is a Son of a Swift
I have run a personal family history site for the past five years and now, based on your advice, launched my own genealogy blog. I already had a tumblr account, so I started sonofswift.tumblr.com (Son of Swift is a translation of my name from the original Gaelic, O'Seibhleain). Thanks for the great idea and I will continue to listen as I conduct my research into the future.”
Chris is Now Blogging
Follow up from Chris:
“After getting my feet wet, I decided to join GENEABLOGGERS network at www.geneabloggers.com . Wow. My first goal was realized just after that. I found another blogger who is a "double cousin" through two different branches of my family. Thanks so much for your advice.”
Margaret is on a Family Album Journey
Wayne Uses Blogging to Discover Genealogy
Premium Member Sandy is Digging into her Family Roots
Steve is Poking Around the Past
From Gloria who describes herself as “A Die Hard Fan”
Lisa’s Blogging Tips
Give your readers an easy way to subscribe by email
Instructions for Subscribing to a blog via email: (feel free to add these to your blog)
Let your readers know that the service is available to them by adding a Text Widget to the side bar of your blog with the above instructions and a link to Blogtrottr.
Try assigning themes to your blogging days. It can help you get a jump start on writing, as well as help you determine which areas are your favorites that you may want to focus on my more in the future as your “niche.”
Check out Geneabloggers at www.Genealogybloggers.com for genealogy blogging support and theme ideas.
Break up long posts into several posts. They are easier for you to publish, and easier for your readers to consume.
Collect blogging ideas in Evernote. Set up a notebook called “Blogging Ideas” and tags for your various subject areas such as:
Learn everything you need to know about using Evernote for genealogy by becoming a Genealogy Gems Premium Member. In addition to over 100 exclusive Premium episodes, membership includes my one hour Evernote class video, and the Evernote instructional mini-series.
Get the Evernote for Windows for Genealogists Quick Reference Guide in the Genealogy Gems Store
GEM: Lisa’s Favorite Genealogy Gems (Just in time for Christmas!): Espy Frames by Jen Garrett
As I get older, I find myself tiring of the same old gift giving every year. You know how it is – we all have too much stuff, and what we become more and more interested in is that which will last, and have a lasting impression on our family and those we love.
So as I travel throughout the year I keep my eyes peeled for things that really stand out – items that are truly Genealogy Gems. Wonderful products that I want for my own home and family, and ones I think that you will appreciate and enjoy as well. So I’ve decided that Lisa is going to have her Favorite Genealogy Gems. And the first one that I want to introduce you to today are Espy Frames by Jen Garrett.
I will never forget taking my annual walk through the Ohio Genealogical Society Conference exhibit hall this last year. I really didn’t expect to see anything earth shattering or new. But when I reached the end of the first row and turned the corner I was instantly mesmerized by what I saw.
Laid out across a long table, and hanging on the walls behind it were the more glorious and spectacular frames I had ever seen. Most were large thick frames around mirrors, but a few encompassed vintage photos. But they had three very important things in common. They all were dripping with vintage gems, jewels, charms, buttons and antiques. They were all one-of-a-kind pieces of art, and each one told a very unique story. Oh, and they had one more important thing in common. They were all created by Jen Garrett.
In this gem segment of the podcast I want to introduce you to Jen. She is a very special lady, which an incredible talent for story telling through these incredible art frames. I hope you come away with is that there are new and creative ways to help tell you ancestors story.
(image above: Jen's barn workshop)
I have a very special hand tinted photo from the 1930s of my beloved Grandma Alfreda Burkett in her nursing cap, taken the day she graduated from nursing school. She looks so young, and beautiful and full of excitement for her new career, which would last for over 50 years. I’ve waited to hang that photo in my home because I knew it deserved a special frame, and I’ve just never found one that did it justice. The frame that I bought that day, absolutely does it justice. It’s covered in vintage items from that era, all with a medical theme.
Exclusive Collection Hand Selected by Lisa
Jen’s frames are an investment well worth making. And if you would like to acquire one of these very special frames you will find an exclusive collection now in the Genealogy Gems website store, just in time for the holidays.
I have personally selected these frames and they are all truly incredible works of art!
Even if you aren’t interested in purchasing a frame, may I encourage you to just go and window shop. You’ll be inspired. And once a frame I this collection has been purchased it’s gone forever, because they really are one-of-a-kind.
Be sure to click on them to see the enlarged view. The photos don’t do the frames justice, but the larger images will give you a taste of all of the incredible and intricate details in them. On a PC you can hold the Control key and plus the plus key (+) to zoom in even further. Enjoy!
Join Today: Genealogy Gems Premium Membership
Sign up for the Free Newsletter on the www.GenealogyGems.com homepage and get the free ebook 5 Fabulous Google Search Strategies for the Family Historian as a thank you gift!
Wed, 4 September 2013
Come along as we solve a family history mystery with high-tech and low-tech tools, discuss who to begin African-American research, explore newly available Canadian records, and contemplate the value of work as well as the values we want to pass on to our kids and grandkids.
Canadian Genealogical Records Now Available
The 1921 census counted 8.8 million people in thousands of communities across Canada. According to the Library and Archives Canada Blog, the population questionnaire had 35 questions. The census also collected data on “agriculture; animals, animal products, fruits not on farms; manufacturing and trading establishments; and [a] supplemental questionnaire for persons who were blind and deaf. This represents a total of 565 questions.” The census was released this past June 1 from the national Statistics office to the Library and Archives. That office is processing and scanning the nearly 200,000 images for public use. It hopes to have them posted soon.
You can start looking for your Canadian ancestors in the Library and Archives Canada’s popular Census Indexes at which include that 1825 census and a new version of the 1891 census, too.
If your family arrived in Canada after the 1921 census, check out the website for The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, where a million immigrants landed between 1928-1971.
The much-anticipated (but little-publicized) 1921 Canadian census is now online and available for browsing at http://www.ancestry.ca/census They anticipate releasing an index later this year.
When you click on the first link above, you’ll see that Ancestry.ca’s collection of Canadian census data goes back to 1851. Check out my post above to learn about online data back to 1825. It’s getting easier all the time to find your Canadian ancestors online!
Genealogy Roadshow on PBS: More Genealogy TV
Death Certificate Confusion Scott writes: “I wanted to send this death certificate to you and maybe you could talk about it on your podcast. It's a reminder we can't take what we see at face value even from a primary source created at the time of the event. On one line it says he died Jan 17, 1937 and another it says the attending doctor saw him alive on February 17 of the same year. But then he was buried on Jan 20th. It's really not all that clear whether the events took place in January or February from just this document.”
Lisa’s Reply: What is really fascinating about this document is how the slight variation in handwriting gives away the problem. The doctor was very detailed with the variety of dates he entered as Feb. when events took place. His “3” generally stands up or even tips forward a bit. But the Registrar, Mr. Popeland, distinctly tilts his “3” and “7” back a bit. And his hand is also heavier. Very quickly you see that Dr. Brallier completed his portion of the form and then, I would guess later, Mr. Popeland completed the remainder of the form and filed it. The big question is who made the mistake: was Mr. Popeland correct that it was January, or was Dr. Brallier correct that is was February?
I searched Ancestry and MyHeritage because I was anxious to know the answer. After an initial search neither Dempsey nor his wife Ruby Lee appeared, which is rather curious. After trying all types of name variations, I finally went to our old friend, www.Google.com .
I search on his wife "Ruby Lee Danner" in quotation marks and up popped one result - a court case.
Searching “Dempsey Danner” in quotation marks resulted in 7 hits, 3 of which were him, including an obituary at the Arizona Obituary Archive.
Dr. Braillier has been vindicated. Perhaps Mr. Popeland had filed one too many certificates that day, or had his mind on something else as he entered January in the remaining blanks. And once again, the case is made that the person who was there at the time of the event in person got it right, and the one recording the event later did not.
Kate shares some old time photo resources: “…Old Time DC on Facebook. It's brilliant. It's a collection of DC photos from the past. It's not owned by anyone and anyone can post. https://www.facebook.com/OldTimeDc I love looking at old photos trying to figure out what the world was like before…It would be so wonderful if people in various cities starting compiling things like this Old TIme DC Facebook page. Many families have shared interest in various places and streets but most people didn't think to take photos of those things.”
Lisa’s Tip: Try searching for names of towns and keywords like “photos” and “history” to see if there are similar groups on Facebook that can benefit your research. My example: I found a similar Facebook page for Margate Kent https://www.facebook.com/MargateHistory. It's a terrific use of social media!
GEM: Interview with Dr. Deborah Abbott
Genealogy Gems contributor Sunny Morton interviews Dr. Deborah Abbott, Ph.D., an adjunct faculty member at the Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and currently serves as a Trustee on the Board of the Ohio Genealogical Society (OGS).
Dr. Abbott specializes in African American genealogy, slavery, court records as well as methodology. Her genealogical research project about an African American Family from Kentucky entitled "From Slavery to Freedom to Antioch" was highlighted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Ohio) Newspaper under the title "Six-Volumes to Amplify a Family History" in 2008.
In this Gem Dr. Abbott shares her strategies for Starting the Search for African American Roots:
Debbie's Favorite Resources:
Ancestry.com and Familysearch.org. Opened at the same time! Go back and forth between the two. Think of Ancestry as “the index” and FamilySearch as the “images.” Example: Ohio Death Index 1908-2007
“Once we get into the slave era African-America are no longer people, they are property.”
You are looking for people as you would other property like land. You must look at the people making the transactions, all the way through their death.
Ohio had laws that governed the movements of African-Americans in the early years. Understand the history and the laws in the location and timeframe you are researching. In Ohio –African-Americans had to register.
Free Family History Festival
Detroit Public Library – Main Branch
Debbie will be teaching on techniques for tracing African-American Roots
Lisa will be teaching on Ultimate Google Search Strategies and Tips and Get the Scoop on Your Ancestors with Newspapers.
Lisa’s Personal Thoughts on the Value of Work, Looking to Ancestors for Values, and Passing on our Family’s Values to our Kids and Grandkids.
Sun, 28 July 2013
Genealogy Gems Podcast
August 2, 2013
Attention Gmail Users:Google has revised the Gmail dashboard to now include tabs, separating your emails based on the type of content. Overall, I really like it, but I wanted to bring to your attention to the fact that your Genealogy Gems email newsletters will probably land in the Promotions tab, rather than your Primary tab. The problem with this is that we are used to focusing on what is in the in box in front of us, and I know I’m having a little difficulty retraining myself to check the other tabs.
To ensure that you get your Genealogy Gems newsletter emails instantly, move the newsletter to your Primary tab. Click on the email to grab, drag and drop it on the Primary tab. From that point forward your newsletter emails should show up in your Primary tab, and you won’t miss a thing!
The Genealogy Gems Podcast App is now available for Windows 8 phone, tablets and desktop! Our app provides you the ability to stream or download free Genealogy Gems Podcast content, and even share your favorite episodes. Here's what you need to know:
Phone / Tablet:
First, download the Genealogy Gems phone app for $2.99 from the Windows Phone Store.
Once installed, a live tile will be available on the start menu. Opening the app will provide you a list of episodes available for the show. You can swipe left or right to move through favorites, downloaded episodes, and recently played episodes. Selected episodes will be highlighted with a check mark in the corner. Tapping on an episode you wish to listen to will open an in app player. Clicking on the three dots in the lower right hand corner will open up the menu shortcuts, giving easy access to marking episodes as favorites, downloading the episodes for offline listening, or sharing the episodes out with your friends.
Download the Genealogy Gems desktop app ($2.99 from the Windows Desktop App Store.)
Opening the app will provide you a list of episodes available for the show on the right with a player on the left and utilizes all the standards of the Windows 8 navigation. Selected episodes will be highlighted with a check mark in the corner.
An episode can be bookmarked by marking it as a ‘favorite’, and episodes can be downloaded so that they are available offline.
When downloading a file, the status of the download will appear. Once an episode is favorited or downloaded, you can set the app to show only those favorite episodes or those downloaded files. You can also view a list of what episodes were recently played.
The Genealogy Gems Podcast app is the one and only family history podcast app available, and was named a Must Have Apps for Hobbies by App Advice.
Fold3 and Ancestry Trees
Now when you discover an ancestor's record on Fold3.com, you can save it to your online tree at Ancestry.com.
According to Fold3.com's press release: "Whenever you see a green 'Save to Ancestry' button above a document or on a Fold3 memorial page, you can link that document or page directly to
someone’s profile on Ancestry."
"You’ll be asked to log into your Ancestry.com account, and then you’ll see a drop-down list of your trees. Locate the tree you wish to save the document to, begin typing the name of the person to whom the record should be attached, choose the correct name from the list that appears, and then press save."
Watch this tutorial video to learn more and see how it's done:
OCLC and FamilySearch Partnership
FamilySearch is planning to load their catalog records into WorldCat by the end of the year. In the case of our very larger records, these may be abbreviated. Patrons discovering their catalog records on WorldCat will be able to click through from WorldCat to the FamilySearch Catalog to view the complete record. WorldCat will eventually show holdings in selected regional family history centers as well.
There are currently no plans to change circulation policy. Films can be ordered to FamilySearch Centers as before. Other materials are not circulated. However, they are scanning their books and have over 80,000 of them on line. There are links to them in the catalog. They can also be searched on Familysearch.org by selecting “Books”.
If you've been doing family history research for a while, you probably have heard of (and maybe used) PAF: Personal Ancestral File software. Well, it's been hard at work for a long time--as a true pioneer in genealogy computing--and now it's retiring.
It's not that your PAF software suddenly doesn't work. But as of today, July 15, 2013, you won't be able to get downloads, supports or upgrades from FamilySearch, which has made the software available since 1984.
What does that mean for PAF users? The current version of PAF supports exports to GEDCOM files, still a universal file type for genealogy software. So while GEDCOMs still remain supported on other software and online family tree hosts, you'll be able to transfer the data from your tree. Those who want to continue to use FamilySearch products (like Family Tree) are advised by FamilySearch to switch to software that partners with FamilySearch: Ancestral Quest, Legacy Family Tree or RootsMagic. Learn more about the PAF discontinuation, what it means to you and supported software options at FamilySearch.
And just to put in a plug for RootsMagic, a Genealogy Gems Podcast sponsor, RootsMagic 6 is the only software that is "share+ certified" by FamilySearch for use with Family Tree: the only software, as RootsMagic says, "certified to collaborate and share data and sources with FamilySearch Family Tree." If you're already using RootsMagic 4 or 5, you'll need to upgrade. Purchase RootsMagic 6 or order your upgrade here: http://rootsmagic.com/Store/RootsMagic/
And speaking of RootsMagic:
Now you can find short training videos in addition to free full-length webinars on RootsMagic's new YouTube Channel, RootsMagicTV at http://www.youtube.com/user/RootsMagicTV/videos
If you're a RootsMagic user (or may be interested in becoming one), FamilySearch Family Tree or PAF user, you'll love these helpful tutorials.
And let your voice be heard: They are even taking suggestions for topics to cover in future short videos, too! email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The London Metropolitan Archives says that half the inquiries they receive are from family historians. This is likely due to their rich resources, click here to peruse the collection: http://preview.tinyurl.com/k75c59e
Because there is such a strong genealogy interest in the LMA, they are making a huge effort to reach out to genealogists. They're all about educating us and sharing what's at LMA through their website, hands-on classes, remote research services and partnerships with data sites like Ancestry and FindMyPast. All this from a city archive!
Check out this video they've made for family history researchers:
Were Your Ancestors "Vicious" or in "Chronic Want"?London Poverty Maps Map It Out!
There is a fantastic blog posting on Mad About Genealogy about the Booth Poverty Maps, which look like a riveting way to understand your ancestor's 1880s London neighborhood. http://www.madaboutgenealogy.com/booth-poverty-maps/
According to blogger Linda Elliott, "Booth employed a team of social investigators who walked around the London streets often in the company of the local policeman and recorded what they saw and heard. The notebooks that they filled out can be viewed online and make for fascinating reading with amongst other findings they record what the policeman thought of each street and sometime each building and its inhabitants."
The Charles Booth Online Archive Linda describes each category in greater detail in her blog post, along with everything a genealogist needs to know to use the maps
Response to the update on Ancestry from Allen:
First, and I think you may have mentioned this specifically, it would be nice if there were a way to exclude certain records from a search, either automatically or by selection. In particular, I am thinking that if I have a 1920 Census record attached to a person, there should be some way to exclude 1920 Census results from a search. Clearly that is not a record I need if that person already has one attached. Secondly, and related to the first, it would be nice if there were some "level of confidence" or other rating one could apply to a record match. That way I could attach a record to a person with no confidence but still have it reference a certain person, or with a moderate confidence or high confidence.
This might also apply to relationships as well. I think this would go a long way toward solving the problem of people posting incorrect information on their tree and others copying it. The truth is, there is all kinds of information that we associate with our trees that we're not completely sure about but still feel reasonably confident about, but if there were some way to make that know, both to ourselves and others, it would help the situation. Ancestry.com could then incorporate these into my first search suggestion, so that records with a high confidence would trigger a filter to remove other similar records that would not apply. In any case, I love the show. Keep it up.”
From Debbie Cook:
UPDATE: Genealogy Gems Toolbar has been discontinued.
Sarah wrote in to say:
“I want to learn how to use Roots Magic 6 that goes to Trees”
Lisa’s Answer: You can watch the free RootsMagic class on "Using FamilySearch Family Tree with RootsMagic" on their website at http://rootsmagic.com/webinars/
From Sherry, a Premium Member from British Columbia:
Well, you've also inspired me to use my new iPad, which my husband gave me for Christmas, as a tool for my research, and now for blogging. Recently, my sister and I took our long-awaited "Family History Road Trip" to New England, and I took my iPad along to blog from the road! I also brought along a keyboard, and would blog in the morning, using the Blogger app, while my sister and niece were still asleep. It was fun to share our experiences almost as they were happening, as well as the crisp and clear photos I was taking with my iPad.
As my sister was more interested in the stories from our mutual family tree and less in the research, we tried to plan our trip to include destinations which would interest us both. As I have discovered that we are Mayflower descendants, one of the places we visited was the Plymouth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts. As you may know, it includes a near authentic replica of the village of Plymouth circa 1627, and has actors portraying the roles of the people living there that year. They are well-versed in the stories of the pilgrims they are portraying, and stay in character while they are conversing with you. I was hoping I might run into an actor playing one of our ancestors, but I couldn't believe our luck! Of the handful of actors we met, two were portraying our ancestors, Hester Cooke and Richard Warren! Who actually gets to talk to their long departed ancestors on a family history road trip?
Leigh has a new genealogy blog!
I love your podcasts, and once I'm caught up, I'm planning to become a Premium member. Thanks for pushing me out of my comfort zone!"
Winnie the Pooh Quote: “You can't stay in your corner of the forest, waiting for others to come to you; you have to go to them sometimes.”
Thank you to our sponsor RootsMagic.com
GEM: Behind the Scenes of the TV series Who Do You Think You Are?
It was a sad day when NBC cancelled Who Do You Think You Are? here in the U.S., but genealogists are now drying their eyes and grabbing their popcorn because it’s returning to TV this month. The TLC channel has picked up Who Do You Think You? and the first episode featuring singer Kelly Clarkson premieres on July 23, 2013.
Here to tell us all about it is Producer and Research Manager for the series Allie Orton. She’s a graduate of the University of Southern California, and began work as a researcher on the first U.S. season of "Who Do You Think You Are?" back in 2008. In her current role she oversees research development, coordinates communication between Ancestry.com and the research staff, and shepherds these compelling stories to completion!
In this interview Allie shares:
Exclusive for Premium Members: Allie’s Advice for Genealogists in Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast Episode 100
STAY IN TOUCH:
And if you like this podcast you’re going to love being a Genealogy Gems Premium Member – you can do that at the website as well. Just $29.95 get you access to hundreds of exclusive Premium episodes and videos of my most popular genealogy classes for a whole year. That’s the best deal in genealogy and one that will keep you up to date, motivated and inspired to make incredible strides growing your family tree.
And here’s a thought to ponder until we meet here again: People don't care what you know until they know that you care
Thu, 11 July 2013
In this Blast from the Past episode we are turning the time machine back to May of 2007. First up is Genealogy Gems Episode #11, first published May 07, 2007, which includes two great gems for you: How to Find Pictures from the Past with Google.com, adn a Family History Decoupage Plate Project. This is easy even for you non-crafters out there and the result is an heirloom quality decorative plate that tells an ancestors story.
Then in this double header, Genealogy Gems episode # 12, which was originally published on May 13, 2007 features ancestor educational records and my Top 10 Tips for finding the Graduation Gems in your family history.
Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode: #11
GEM #1 – Discover Pictures from the Past with Google
One of the easiest ways to find photos on the web is with Google.com. The ability to focus your search on images is often overlooked. Let’s go over the basics:
To find photos of specific people try putting their first and last names within quotes (i.e. "laura ingalls wilder"). If you've got a bit more time or a really unusual surname, then you could just enter the name and that should get you started.
You can also find photos of old items and places from your ancestor’s life such as tombstones, buildings, their hometown, the kind of old car they drove.
GEM #2 – Mother’s Day Project – Decoupage plate
In my book it’s not enough to find wonderful photos on the internet that help tell the story of your family’s past, or have a boxful of old family photos. It’s sort of like the old riddle “If a tree falls in a forest with no one to hear it, then does it make a sound?” If a photo is tucked away in a shoe box, is it adding to the value of your research? Not in my book.
Family History is meant to be shared. However, I believe wholeheartedly that we, the family historian are not the primary “customer” if you will. I constantly challenge myself to see my family today as my “customer”. I want the family’s history to be meaningful to them and ignite in them a pride, loyalty and reverence for our family. So I’m always trying to come up with new ways to share what I’ve found that they will enjoy.
Decoupage Photo Plate:
Decoupage was a hot craft for women in the early part of the century, and it's definitely gone through resurgence in the last decade.
As I mentioned in a previous episode of the podcast, my mom recently brought me a truckload of family heirlooms. She and my stepdad have taken the plunge to sell their home and travel in a motor home full time.
When I was preparing for this episode, I went looking for the decoupage plate that I made her a couple of years ago for Mother’s Day. I assumed it was in one of the boxes that she brought me, but I couldn’t find it. When I asked her about it, she said to me, “I gave you your great grandmother’s tea set, your grandmother’s china, and pretty much everything else I had. But I didn’t give you the plate. I’m keeping THAT!” Hearing her say that meant as much to me as the plate probably means to her. So may I just say, if you pour some love and time into creating this plate, I guarantee it will be treasured.
Here’s the plate I made for my mom:
Wasn’t she a cutie patootie?! I started by selecting photos that told the story of her childhood…at the top is a photo of the house her parents built the year she was born. Going clockwise, the next photo is her as baby, then as a toddler in her crib with her favorite teddy bear, then as a preschooler in the coat & hat her mother made for her. In the center is my favorite childhood photo of her, probably just before entering kindergarten. I love that it’s a close up, her BIG brown eyes, and the dainty bows in her hair. The design in simple, and very focused on its subject matter – my mom!
The photos are glued from behind so they show through the glass plate. I painted the back black, which seemed appropriate for the black and white photos, but it could be gold, or any color you want.
Let’s get started making this modern family heirloom.
The supplies you need are simple and inexpensive:
A clear glass plate with a smooth finish. You can usually buy these at craft stores, or discount stores very cheap. Maybe a dollar each. I got mine at a kitchenware factory outlet. Make sure you’ve cleaned it very well before you begin, and that’s completely dry.
Experiment with laying out your design to fit the plate. Keep in mind that the plate likely has some slight curvature to it, so you don’t want to just turn it upside down and draw a circle around it, because your design won’t end up quite big enough. Cut your copies a bit larger than the area they are going to cover.
Also, if you want to add any words, now is the time. You can draw directly on the copy or print out something and cut it to fit. In my case, felt like a picture was worth a thousand words!
When applying the cutouts, you'll be working in reverse: the first images placed on the plate will be in the foreground of the design when viewed from the front of the plate. Start by applying the prominent images to the decoupage medium. Glue the edges firmly to the glass. Turn the plate over to check the placement of images
Put a nice even coat of glue on the photo, on the side you want to see. Don't worry about brush strokes, but be careful not to go over it too many times, you don’t want the ink to run.
Place the image face down on the back of the plate and spread the glue over the back of the photo.
Turn the plate around so you can see the image from the front and work out the air bubbles from behind. (you can try placing a piece of wax paper over the photo and use a roller over the wax paper to go over it and smooth it out and get the air bubbles out.
Turn the plate over and check the results.
Continue place the images until the entire plate is covered.
Let it dry (24 hours should do it)
Use painters tape to tape off the edges before you apply the acrylic paint to the back of the plate. Let dry. Apply a second coat, or sponge on a second color if you want to. Let dry
If you want a glossy finish on the back, apply an acrylic varnish. Let dry
TODAY’S GEM – Top 10 Tips for Finding the Graduation Gems in Your Family History
1. Establish the Timeline:
Check your genealogy database to figure out when your ancestor would have attended school. I’m going to be focusing on high school, but this could just as easily apply to researching the college years.
2. Family Papers & Books
We always start our research at home, so go through old family papers & books looking for Senior Calling Cards, High School Autograph Books, Journals & Diaries, Senior Portraits, & Yearbooks
3. Newspapers – Search for announcements, honor rolls & other articles about end of the year activities.
It’s easy to say search newspapers, but it’s not always that easy to find them. So here are some ideas of where to look for historical newspapers…
- Ancestry.com ($)
- The Local Public Library Website in the town where your ancestor attended school. Check their online card catalogue, or send them an email to find out if they have the years you are interested in, and to see if they will cooperate with interlibrary loan with your local library.
- The Library of Congress <http://www.loc.gov/rr/news/>
- Family History Center in Salt Lake City. Search the Family History Library Catalog online for your ancestor's location to find what newspapers they may have.
- Historical and genealogical societies.
- U.S. state archives and libraries
4. The State Library – Wisconsin Dept of Education website list of state libraries: <http://dpi.state.wi.us/pld/statelib.html >
5. State Historical Societies – in addition to newspapers as I mentioned before, state historical societies might have old yearbooks & photos.
6. Rootsweb.com - Check the Message Board for the county & state you’re looking for, as well post a message asking if anyone has access to yearbooks or other school info.
7. Websites focused on Yearbooks – Yearbook Genealogy.com website: http://www.yearbookgenealogy.com/ & The National Yearbook Project <http://www.rootsweb.com/~usyrbook/ >
9. Call the School – if they don’t have old yearbooks, they may be able to put you in touch with a local librarian or historian who does. Go to www.whowhere.com and type in the school name in “Business Name”. Call around 4:00 pm, when the kids are gone but the school office is still open.
EBAY: Do a search on the school or town you’re looking for to see if anyone out there is selling a yearbook that you need. Be sure and also search for old photographs or postcards of the school. Here’s my extra trick: From the results page do a “Completed Listings” search & email potential sellers to inquire about the books you are looking for. You might get lucky like I did!