Tue, 24 January 2012
Published Jan 24, 2012
In this episode Genealogist Shirley Gage Hodges will share her genealogical wisdom with you as well as talk about her status as "perennial student."
Marilyn attended my class called Inspiring Ways to Captivate the Non-Genealogist in Your Life and wrote in “I attended your class during the Arizona Family History Expo. I enjoyed it very much!”
Hear Me in Person
go to the Genealogy Gems Website at www.genealogygems.com and Seminars in the menu. That’s what I do to be sure I’m in the right place at the right time!
The 43rd Annual Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree is now officially open for registration
Burbank, CA June 8 through the 10 of 2012.
Everything You Need to Know About How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers is now available for pre-order. And for a limited time I will be signing the pre-order copies of the book.
Here’s what Steve Luxenberg, Washington Post associate editor and author of Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret said about the book: Annie's Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret
"Read it. Study it. Absorb it. But above all, use Lisa Louise Cooke’s new book as the guide and instructional tool that it is meant to be. As a veteran of research and libraries, I found all sorts of nuggets and new resources. Beginners will find an embarrassment of riches, including an impressive appendix with a comprehensive list of online routes to national, international and local newspapers. This is as close as you’ll get to one-stop shopping for learning about historical newspaper research."
And that’s really what I wanted it to be – One stop shopping for everything you need to know about finding your family history in newspapers. There are some incredible stories out there waiting to be found, and this book is going to get you there!
Myron from Iowa writes:
“I have a Genealogical Gem that I think you would like to hear about. I have a recording of my Great Grandma's voice. My father served in the army 1946-1950, sometime while he was in the service his family took a trip from Nebraska to New York City. While visiting the Empire State Building, at the top there was this coin operated machine that would cut your own record, recording your voice, that you could mail to your friends.
My mom has that record. I recorded the record to a wav file and it sounds really bad. I don't understand German so I hope they aren't saying anything bad. Enclosed are some photos of it and the wav files from it.”
Is there anyone out there who speaks German who could translate this recording for Myron? If that’s something you can help with, that would be amazing. Please email the written translation to me. I’ll share the results here on the show.
there was definitely genealogically serendipity involved in this email from Myron because just before receiving it I had come across a video on YouTube that I thought was absolutely wonderful, and right along the same lines.
Video: No More Questions!
GEM: Interview with Genealogist Shirley Gage Hodges, “The Perennial Student”
“Everyone has something to learn.”
You can read Shirley’s articles on genealogy at the Global Gazette
The Immigration Experience
What keeps Shirley motivated:
The lesson Shirley learned after her search for Grandpa Larkin:
“We do have to be so careful! He was a grand old gentleman, and I would have loved to have him as a Grandfather.” Alas it turned out the he was someone else’s Grandpa!
Shirley Has Her Eye on the Future with These Historical Projects:
Learn how to make one for yourself!
Watch all 4 episodes of Family History Christmas Wreath at the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel.
CLOSING: Thanks for the Shout Out
I want to say thank you to some bloggers who have given me a shout out lately:
Posted the blog article Searching for Common Surnames about my recent speaking engagement at the Sacramento Central Public Library.
And Genealogy Blogger and podcast listener Kim Von Aspern invite me to sit down with her a few weeks ago for one on one interview and she is publishing it as a blog series at her Le Maison Duchamp
Check out her articles:
Tue, 10 January 2012
Published Jan 10, 2012
What’s Black, and White and READ all over? Your Ancestors in old newspapers!
In fact, your ancestors could be anywhere! Most likely they were mentioned at some point in their own local paper, but they might also show up in a neighboring towns paper, or in a paper located thousands of miles away.
Nothing is more exciting than finding information in an old newspaper that adds to your family history! And I’ve been working feverishly on a new book that I can finally tell you about that is going to finally give you the answers and resources you need to be successful finding your ancestors in the new. It’s called Everything You Need to Know About Finding Your Family History in Newspapers and that’s exactly what it is. It’s everything you need to know.
This book is going to change all that. I spell out a step-by-step process and give you a worksheet you can copy and use again and again. There are tons of websites, search tips, and 3 very Cool Online tools that probably aren’t using but you should be!
Stay tuned because we’ll be doing an official launch very soon, and I’m going to have a very special opportunity for you to get a signed copy of the book first.
Get Your Kids Involved in Genealogy with the Chart Chick
Polish Genealogy Podcast by Dave Newman
Keynote Workshop at Who Do You Think You Are? Live in London
Sat, 10 December 2011
Published Dec 10, 2011
This Sha Sha has been busily working to finish making Davy’s birthday present since his big birthday number 2 is coming up on Dec. 15. In Genealogy Gems Podcast episode #119 I told how I decided to make Davy a Blues Clues card table playhouse. You remember throwing a blanket over a card table when you were a kid and it became a play house on a rainy day, right? Well this one was a bit challenging because there is no pattern for a Blue’s Clues playhouse so I just made it up as I went along. But thanks to the Internet and my trusty iPad I was able to come up with something that looks pretty close to the real deal.
Here are a few snapshots of the playhouse. And it doesn’t just look like Blue’s house from the outside, but I lined the panels with fabric that looks like the wallpaper in her house, and even sewed some features in felt like the table and telephone and the framed picture of the felt people on the wall.
You know to me what we are doing today with our kids and grand kids and in some cases great grand kids is just as important as researching our family history – in fact it’s more important! Creating memories with our loved ones is creating family history right now. And to me there’s nothing more important than that.
Get your free audio book and over 40,000 audio book titles to choose from at Audible: http://www.audiblepodcast.com/gems
Audiobook tItles mentioned in this episode:
At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
Genealogy Gems Premium Members have been enjoying episodes on the Premium podcast lately covering how to use the iPad and other tablets out there in the marketplace for our family history.
New Ancestry App Updates
Ancestry.com has a popular free app that lets you take your Ancestry.com family tree with you on your iPad. The newest version of the app now includes the shakey Leaf Hints that you also see on their website. Plus there is a simple merge tool that helps you quickly add new relatives and information to your family tree. It also allows you to automatically adds information to photos, allows you to change your tree privacy settings, adds an integrated user feedback support feature, and is faster and more stable than previous versions.
Click the add below for the free Ancestry app and to search the entire iTunes App Store. (Thanks for using our links!)
Click the add below for the free Ancestry app and to search the entire iTunes App Store. (Thanks for using our links!)
New Free Podcasts by National Archives Records Administration in iTunes U
World War II in the News video podcast features WWII news reels
New imagery on Google Earth
New high resolution aerial images are available in Google Earth in the U.S.:
FindMyPast.ie has recently announced that they have launched exclusive access to the Irish Prison Registers 1790-1920. The collection is made up of over 3.5 million entries across 130,000 pages.
Provides useful tips and recommend tools to help you discover your documentary heritage and navigate the LAC website.
Lisa’s Book Featured in Onlinne Magazine
The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox was featured in the most recent issue of Shelf Unbound magazine. (p.40) A big thank you to all of you who have bought the book because those purchases I think helped bring it to the attention of a non-genealogy publication!
My Presentation Schedule for 2012
Feb 2 – 4
RootsTech 2012, Salt Lake City, UT
We’ll be celebrating the 5 year anniversary of The Genealogy Gems Podcast!
FamilySearch has just announced that the RootsTech 2012 Developer Challenge contest. RootsTech will reward developers who introduce the most innovative new concepts to family history with $10,000 in cash rewards and increased visibility.
Who Do You Think You Are Live! In London.
Presenting Harness the Power of Google Earth for Your Family History and Google Search Strategies for the Family Historian. And I am very excited to have been invited to be part of a very special panel discussion on using technology for genealogy as well.
Utah Genealogical Assocation Family History Fair in Bountiful, Utah
April 12 – 14
Ohio Genealogical Society Confedrence, Cleveland, OH
Full day seminar at the San Mateo Genealogical Society, San Mateo, CA
San Luis Obispo Genealogical Society, San Luis Obispo, CA
May 9 – 12
National Genealogical Society Conference, Cincinnati, OH
I’ll be there not only debuting some brand new presentations, but you will also find me at my booth in the exhibit hall so be sure and come on by and say hi.
June 1 – 3
Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Kinston, Ontario Canada.
The new version 5 of RootsMagic now offers us a Timeline view. Now we can really put a person’s life in context with events from their own life and from the lives of family members. But the awesomeness doesn’t stop there. They have added even more customer requested features: a research manager which lets you create and track unlimited research logs, the ability to filter the people view, as well as enhancements to multimedia, sources, to-do lists, and much more. There's a little something for everyone!
called "What's New in RootsMagic 5".
A Genealogy Newbies:
It’s amazing to me that the podcast is about to celebrate it’s 5th birthday, and I know many of you have been listening for almost that long. But it’s also so rewarding to know that there are new folks coming on board all the time. Not just to the podcast, but also just discovering the joy of family history. Newbies Eric and David wrote in about their experience.
Eric says “I'm still fairly new to genealogy, only getting started after last New Years and have to say your podcasts have helped a lot (and are always entertaining). Thank you!
Your newest premium member, Eric”
David in Australia writes: “Thank you for making this kind of information available to everyone, it shows a truly kind nature in a person who wants to share their experiences and I have found this the trait of most people I encounter who are into genealogy. You have done a wonderful job and I love it all.”
Dan in North Carolina wrote in to say he is also Enjoying the Show .
Linda in Sweden and Line in Denmark wrote in about a Swedish TV show
Everything for Sweden
Trailer and other clips on the webiste
Line says: “I recently stumbled over one of your Podcasts, and after listening to just a few episodes I was hooked. I listen to them every day at work. Some times even twice. Extra benefit: I´m shaping up my english! While waiting for the next episode, I always listen to older episodes.”
Jennifer in Napa, CA wrote in about the new ordering system at the Family History Center branch libraries.
“As of August 23, the U.S. West and Northwest have been added to the areas already using this system. You can now place an order for films online, instead of having to make a trip to the library just to place an order.”
GEM: Taking Family History to Young and Old in the Community
GEM: Taking Family History to Young and Old in the Community
Interview with Merv Scott, Project Director, Victoria Genealogical Society
Interview with Merv Scott, Project Director, Victoria Genealogical Society
Visit the VGS Programs page at the Victoria Genealogical Society website
Your Life in 5 Minutes (Part 3) with Sunny Morton
Get Sunny's book "Your Life & TImes: A Guided Journal for Collecting Your Stories by clicking this link: My Life & Times
Profile America: Christmas Lights
Sun, 27 November 2011
Published Nov 27, 2011
In this episode you are going to hear from Forensic Genealogist Leslie Lawson.
Return of Who Do You think You Are?
NBC has just announced that the TV series Who Do You Think You Are? will be returning to television screens here in the U.S on Friday, February 3 at 8pm. Since this falls at the same time as the RootsTech conference I wouldn’t be surprised if they plan a group screening for attendees.
The winner of the free RootsTech 2012 registration is Carol Genung.
So I look forward to seeing Carol there and hopefully many of you listening – there’s still plenty of time to register for the conference at rootstech.org. And for those of you unable to attend I’ll have videos that bring the experience to via your computer in the comfort of your own home.
New Records at FamilySearch
They’ve added a wde range of new records from 20 countries, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, England, Dominican Republic, Germany, Italy, Philippines, and the U.S. The U.S. additions include records from California, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
RootsMagic has released a minor update (188.8.131.52) which fixes a few issues.
Read more at the RootsMagic blog
Google Earth has now had more than 1 billion downloads! Read the blog post
Google celebrated it’s 15th birthday in September 2011.
1000Memories Shoebox App
1000Mempories has launched a new free iPhone app called "Shoebox" that they say is like putting a scanner in your pocket.
Watch a short commercial video
Listen to Lisa’s interview with Michael Katchn of 1000Memories in Episode 119
I had the pleasure of being invited up to Victoria British Columbia in October 2011 to give a full day seminar on using Google for Genealogy at the Victoria Genealogical Society. I had a marvelous time and I’ve had the pleasure of hearing from several who were in attendance that day including this email from Mike who wrote in to say.
“I couldn't make the seminar, sadly, but my better half -- Kate -- went and she came home brimming over with ideas, two books, a couple of DVDs and a ton of excitement! We've been putting some of your ideas to great use, and having some walls get knocked down. Outstanding stuff! I've also started listening to the GenealogyGems podcasts starting with #21, and in the first episode I already found some great hints on how to get US Naval records for my great-grandfather. Where have you been all my life?! Thank you again for everything you do for the Genealogical community. You ARE one of the Genealogy Gems!! “
Feedback on Steve Luxenberg Interview
A topic causing my mailbox to overflow was my interview with Steve Luxenberg and his wonderful book Annie’s Ghost
Maureen posted on my Facebook Wall”
“Genealogy Gems episodes 120 and 121 are, by far, two of the best family history research podcasts that I've ever heard. Steve Luxenberg author of Annie's Ghost was full of great research ideas. These podcasts are keepers!"
"Thanks for the interviews with Steve Luxenberg and the recommendation for Annie's Ghosts. I LOVED the book, and the interviews added a lot to it. Hope he writes another one soon!"
"Annie's Ghost by Steve Luxenberg is excellent. I can't put it down! It's thanks to you Lisa that I discovered the book after listening to your podcasts."
Julie M. emailed:
“I just had to tell you how enjoyable your interview with Steve Luxenberg was! After the first part, I immediately ordered his book for Kindle (through your site, of course) and started it right away. It is compelling reading and I'm hooked on it. What a great story told by a quality story-teller! I find it hard to put it down and look forward to getting back to it as quickly as possible. Perhaps you need to start a "good reads" section in your podcasts or newsletters. Hooked on your podcasts and trying to catch up on all of them.”
I think that’s an excellent idea! Email or leave a voice mail and tell me if you would be interested in a Genealogy Gems Book Club.
Find out more about the book at steveluxenberg.com. Click on "Behind the Book," to view documents not part of the print edition.
More Terms of Endearment for Grandparents:
And there’s another topic that we’ve discussed here on the show that you’ve been continuing to write me about and that is terms of endearment for our Grandparents.
Sharon’s cute quip:
“When my son was born, my father would lean over him and put his hand on his belly and shake him a little bit saying "You little bum, you little bum!". Well guess what my son started calling Grandpa from the moment he could form the word, "Bum!…As always Lisa, thanks for informative and entertaining podcasts!”
What Will Our Descendents Covet?
In this next email, long time listener Pat poses an interesting question:
What do you think our descendants will wish they had of ours 100 years in the future?
What comes to my mind I there is one thing that is becoming more rare today but has been around forever - our own handwriting. Everyone used to write letters and yet today we call, text and email. And yet handwriting is so personal. I think perhaps our descendants will be yearning for those rare handwriting examples.
I’d love to hear from the rest of you listening. Email me or leave a voicemail comment at 925-272-4021.
“If I become a premium member, how do I listen on my iPod? Is that only available on the computer?”
As a Premium Member you can add our custom Premium Membership iTunes feed to your iTunes to subscribe to the premium podcasts. All the instructions are included in the show notes for the Welcome episode. You can also download the mp3 files from the website and manually add them to your iPod if you wish.
Family Health History:
Lisa wrote in recently with some questions around family health histories. She writes:
Lisa I'm so sorry to hear about the diagnosis and I hope that it is early and very treatable.
I think Google Books would be a great place to start as they have all of the Ancestry magazines digitized and online. A quick search of medical history brought up several promising articles. here are some to get you started:
Feedback from Kari on one of her favorite Genealogy Gems episodes:
“I love your podcasts. I have learned so many things from you and your guests.
Episode 119 was one of my favorites. Your story about the barbie clothes and the sewing box brought back memories for me!
Kari asked about possible resources for creating a family calendar. Lisa’s suggestions:
Family Chartmasters (for more custom 1 sheet work) Click image below:
Costco (for more quick and traditional calendars)
Lulu (for good quality, fast service and variety of sizes)
Get your free audio book and over 40,000 audio book titles to choose from at Audible: http://www.audiblepodcast.com/gems
Audiobook tItles mentioned in this episode:
The View from Castle Rock by Alice Munro
Finding Oprah's Roots: Finding Your Own by Henry Louis Gates
GEM: A Forensic Genealogist
Interview with Forensic Genealogist Leslie Lawson. Leslie specializes in missing heirs, and kinship determination.
Visit Leslie's website: Lawson Reserach Services, LLC at http://www.lawsonresearch.net
GEM: Your Life in 5 Minutes with Sunny Morton
Visit Sunny online at http://www.sunnymorton.com
Get Sunny's book "Your Life & TImes: A Guided Journal for Collecting Your Stories by clicking this link: My Life & Times
Lisa’s “iPad for Genealogy” article will appear in Family Tree Magazine
Jan 2012 issue and it starts mailing to subscribers 11/8
Thu, 3 November 2011
Published Nov 3, 2010
In this Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 121 and part 2 of my interview with Washington Post editor Steve Luxenberg, author fo Annie’s Ghosts. From the emails, Tweets and Facebook posts I’ve received from so many of you, it sure looks like you enjoyed part 1 of the interview in episode 120 as much as I enjoyed doing it.
Jenna at the Seeking Surnames blog tweeted “the Annie’s Ghost podcast was great! It’s a close runner up to the Sha Na Na Guy as my favorite!”
Jenna is referring to Dr. Robert Leonard who I interviewed in episode 89 and 90 about the topic of Forensic Linguistics. I have to agree that Dr. Leonard is one of my all time favorite guests, and Steve is certainly up there with him!
And you’ll remember that I introduced Part 1 by reading the email from Jay in New York. Well after listening to episode 121 Jay sent me a follow up email saying, “Awesome interview with Steve Luxenberg about his book "Annie’s Ghosts". It hit the nail right on the head. Thank you!”
Steve is such a riveting writer and speaker, and it’s fascinating to hear how someone who is not a genealogist, but rather a journalist approached his family history search in an effort to find the answers to mysteries in his families.
I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading Annies Ghosts. This book inspired me, gave me concrete ideas for pursuing my own family history research, AND kept me on the edge of my chair. What could be better?
GEM SERIES: My Life & Times with Sunny Morton
(Use the above link to purchase the book at Shop Family Tree and you'll get free shipping and you'll be supporting this free podcast. Thank you!)
Thu, 20 October 2011
Published Oct 20, 2011
Fire up your Kindle! In this episode I'm going to introduce you to the author or a riveting book full of secrets, family history, and discoveries!
GEM: Interview with Steve Luxenberg, author of Annie's Ghosts
We’re going to mix things up a bit in this episode, and I want to start off with an email I received recently from Jay in New York who writes:
“I have been catching up with all of your family history podcasts. Over the years I have collected a wealth of information on the family. Some good, some not-so-good, some out in-the-open, some hidden.
How do you deal with revealing "forgotten" items about family members to other family members? I had an uncle who had a marriage at a very young age, and would like to have forgotten about it. My mother told me about it. I put it on the tree. While showing off the fruits of my labor to his family this "forgotten" marriage was revealed with not happy responses.
The things we find in our tree may not always be "good", How does a person deal with that? and revealing it to others?”
This is a great questions, and it’s sort of a cooincidence that this episode’s publish date coincides with Family history Month and Halloween because we’re going to explore ghosts and skeletons in the closet.
But actually there’s nothing really spooky here, but rather these are things that can be found in many family. Secrets, small and large. Skeletons in the closet that are often closely guarded by others in our family.
It’s a tricky business navigating your way through the shakier branches of the family tree, so I’ve invited a special guest to the show who has done an incredible job of climbing those branches in his own family.
Steve Luxenberg is a Washington Post associate editor and award-winning author. In his 25 years at The Post, he has headed the newspaper’s investigative staff and its Sunday section of commentary and opinion. Steve is going to join me for the full episode to talk about investigating and dealing with family secrets as he did in his book Annie’s Ghost. It’s a riveting tale that kept me feverishly tapping the “Next Page” key on my kindle.
Annie's Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret is about a family secret that Steve stumbled upon in the late 1990s. His mother, who had always claimed to be an only child, had a sister, Annie. And while that was a big surprise all by itself, it was just the beginning of a series of secrets and revelations that Steve unearthed by tapping into his long career as an investigative journalist, and employing newly found genealogy techniques and strategies.
In this interview we talk about being aware of what’s missing in records and stories, rather than just focusing on what is on the page. For those of you who are Premium Members this discussion is a great follow up to Premium Episode #77 where we talked about being more keenly aware during our research.
Steve’s also going to share he thoughts on storytelling, which he truly masters in this book.
And then we get into some of the genealogical techniques he used. How to avoid Tainting Memories in Interviews, and how to balance the give and take as well as win trust with the person you are interviewing. And speaking of trust Steve describes how he was able to be incredibly successful in obtaining sensitive documents and getting cooperation from various government agencies and other repositories.
He’s also going to tell us about a little known legal maneuver that he made that really made the difference for him in obtaining some of the most closely held documents and how you can use it too!
And finally he’ll share his personal feelings about what it was like to get a add a new member to his family, his long lost Aunt Annie.
Dillingham Commission's report on immigration, in digitized form, courtesy of the Stanford U. library. Vol. 4 describes immigration conditions in Europe (much of it focusing on Italy, if I remember correctly), and Vol 37 examines voyage conditions, focusing on steerage.
Quotes from Annie’s Ghosts:
“What I didn’t expect, as the week wore on, was that the family would expand to take in a new member. But that’s what happened. As people dipped in and out of the records, as the debates flew about what we knew and what we didn’t and whether we should be digging around in the past, Annie gradually became a part of the family consciousness. She was no longer just a name on a hospital record. She was no longer just a secret.”
“I stopped thinking like a son and started thinking like a journalist.”
“I offer to send her the letters; it’s an unexpected present for her, and I’m glad to be able to make the offer, because it allows me to give as well as take, something reporters can’t often do. It’s also a good way to win trust.”
“I want to make sure that if she knows about Annie, she tells me before I tell her, so that I capture her spontaneious memory first.”
Stay tune - Episode 121 wil feature part 2 of this interview. App users: check out the Behind the Scenes Steve and Lisa video!
Wed, 5 October 2011
Published Oct 5, 2011
When you were little did you play in card table tents or forts? I sure did. When I was wandering around the house complaining of being bored on a rainy day, my mom would pull out the old folding table used for card games, throw an old blanket over it, pull out some old pots and pans and hand them to me and tell me to go play house. Something magical seemed to happen when I crawled under the fabric walls. My imagination would let loose and I could happily play for hours. So I’ve decided to create a special card table house / fort for my grandson Davy.
Davy loves the old TV show "Blue’s Clues" which was hugely popular here in the U.S. when my kids were little. Nowadays the only place I seem to be able to find it is on Netflix and YouTube. Blue is a dog and she lives in an adorable little yellow house with a red roof with her friend Steve who follows her clues.
Last week I headed to the fabric store with my trusty iPad full of photos I found online of the inside and outside of the Blue’s Clues house, and I spent two hours up and down the aisles looking for the closest matching fabrics I could find.
Each side of the house is double sided – the outside fabric is the bright yellow and the inside is one that looks like the wall paper in blue’s house. And of course it will have the windows and curtains, and flowers and lizards and frogs on the outside and I even found a little unfinished wooden mailbox at the fabric store that will be transformed into the purple mailbox outside Blue’s house. If Davy has half the fun playing in his Blue’s Clues house as I am having making it then it will be a big success!
In addition to creating The “Blue’s Clues fort” for Davy’s birthday which is in December, I also still need to come up with Christmas present for the family. Last year I did calendars for everyone in the Cooke family that sported images for events related to each month.
This year I’m thinking about framing charts. It’s amazing I haven’t gotten around to this already, but I think it’s about time. My friend Janet Hovorka just happens to own the company Family ChartMasters and she’s going to be here in a day or two for the Family History Expo being held in my area (Northern California) this weekend. So I will be picking her brain and spending a good deal of time on their website. She told me that I have there are loads of new styles of charts to choose from.
If you’re looking for Christmas present ideas for the family this year, why not consider a family tree chart? Hopefully you’ve got your genealogy data in a database so you can just export your gedcom and make it gorgeous for a gift they can enjoy for years to come.
If you decide you’d like to check out Family ChartMasters– which of course I highly recommend – I’d really appreciate it if you would click the image above to visit their website because when you do you are also supporting this podcast and making it possible for me to keep the free podcast episodes coming. So thank you very much!
And by the way, many of you have asked what happened to our Amazon links on the website which were another way that you were helping to support the podcast. Well, Amazon dropped their California affiliate producers because of some recent tax law changes. But I just got an email saying they are reversing that. This is awesome news because I just can’t get through all my Christmas shopping without Amazon, and I know that many of you shop online too. So I’m going to get that reinstated asap – keep an eye out for the Amazon links on the homepage at genealogygems.com and I will also return it to the toolbar. (UPDATE: The Genealogy Gems Toolbar has been discontinued) Thanks for being patient and being such incredible supporters of this little old podcast!
Entertainment Weekly website is reporting that Marisa Tomei has just been added to the roster of celebrities who will be featured on the new season of Who Do You Think You Are? here in the US. Joining here are Martin Sheen and actor Blair Underwood.
FamilySearch has added records for
China, Hungary, Mexico and U.S. Records Include Illinois, Maryland, New York and Washington.
Ancestry.com announced the release of the 1930 Mexico National Census and it’s free to the public.
Ancestry.uk also recently added some new records. Two million railway employment records from the UK National Archives are now available on the site.
Convict records available for free online for Australia
The free Convict Records website at http://www.convictrecords.com.au is based around the British convict transportation register compiled by the State Library of Queensland - it includes about three-quarters of the 160,000 convicts transported to Australia between 1787 and 1867.
Database of Virginia Slave Names
The RVA NEWS is reporting that the Virginia Historical Society has launched an online and searchable database called “Unknown No Longer: A Database of Virginia Slave Names.” It’s a free service featuring a sizable portion of the over 8 million records in VHS archives.
RootsMagic just released the long awaited Personal Historian 2. This is their software that helps you write the story of your life and of other individuals. If you’d like to learn more about the new Personal Historian 2 you can watch a recording of their recent free webinar at
For a limited time only, RootsMagic is offering a special introductory offer for Personal Historian 2. Through October 31, 2011, Personal Historian 2 is available for a special introductory price of only $19.95, saving $10 off of the regular price. The discount is available only on the Personal Historian website at http://www.personalhistorian.com or by calling 1-800-766-8762.
RootsTech conference, RootsTech 2012 which will be held February 2 - 4, 2012 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City Utah.
The Convention Center is a very easy walking distance from the Family History Library so you can really make a time of it. I’ll be there again this year, I’ve been booked to give three presentations and I’ll be once again recording some videos as well. It’s going to be a ton of fun,
Take advantage of the early bird special! It’s $129 for the 3 day event instead of the regular $189 so it’s a nice discount, but it ends November 30, 2011.
There is also a $35 student rate (you just have to show a current student ID at admission) and there are Single day passes are available.
New Aussie Genealogy Podcast
There is a new family history podcast focused on Australian Genealogy called Genies Down Under.
A while back Maria Northcote, herself a Genie Down Under, wrote and asked me my thoughts on podcasting and said she was thinking about putting a show together, and I’m very happy to say that she has done it. She has launched a brand new website called Genies Down Under and she wrote me again to tell me all about it and she writes:
“I really must say thanks for you for your inspiration to podcast in general, to blog and to get deeper into family history – one of my big passions in life. I dated the first podcast with a 1 October date as I didn’t expect the launch to become live so soon!”
You can subscribe to Genies Down Under through iTunes.
Visit the Genies Down Under Website
The background music for this segment is called “Bethena” and is available on the fantastic CD by Frederick Hodges called Picnics. Visit http://www.frederickhodges.com
Grandparent Terms of Endearment
I think I struck a chord with so many of you out there when I told you in the last episode who I’m hanging in there waiting for my little grandson Davy to call me Grandma. My email box was over flowing with the most wonderful stories of the terms of endearment you use in your family for grandmothers and grandfathers.
Maria in Australia: In her family theydistinguish between her mother’s parents and her father’s parents by using their married surnames: Grandma Northcote or Grandfather Walters.
Elizabeth in Needham, Massachusetts:
“While we've used Grandmother and Grandfather in my family, my uncle was known as "Grand Sir" to his grandchildren. (My aunt is known as Grandmother.) I really must find out how that name evolved and write down the story.
In my husband's Jewish family, grandparents are Bubbie (for grandmother) and Pop-pop or Zaydee (for grandfather), though when Bubbie's mother was still living, she was Bub-bub to her great-grandchildren, to differentiate her from Bubbie.”
Suzanne in Panama City, FL:
“…my husband(‘s family) was much more creative. Two of his grandmothers were named after what kind of road they lived on: one was "Bumpy Road Granny" the other was "Smooth Road Granny". He had another grandmother called "Chicken Granny" because she had chickens running around her yard. And a fourth grandmother was called "Big Ole Granny". She was called that not because of her size but because she was actually the Great-grand mother.
Liz posted on my Facebook page:
“When my daughter was learning to talk, she called my mother Daygar, my sister Elaine was E.T. and then became Aunty and my father was Pa. She had her own language! She called marshmallows yesyellows, O'Henry Bars were YoHomy Bars and gingerbread men were Bundermen. She was very inventive!”
Laurie in Calif. writes:
“(This photo) was taken on the front porch of my great grandparents' home in Reeseville, Wisconsin c. 1928. The names were written right on the bottom of the picture, thankfully, and the writer referred to Lena (my great aunt) first as "Bammy" before crossing it out. I always appreciate it when someone writes names on photos, but this one is more appreciated as it reveals the quirky nickname "Bammy" for Grandma. Gotta love it.
I just received my "Ultimate Google for Genealogists" Collection from Family Tree Magazine. I can't wait to delve into it & get my "Lisa fix" between podcasts! When my maternal grandparents were alive, they affectionately called each other "Pappy" for some reason. Apparently when I was a toddler, I heard that as "Happy" & that's what my sisters & I called my grandmother for the rest of her life. It was a well-fitting name, too, because she always was happy!
Teri in Iowa writes:
My oldest daughter called her grandmothers "Little Grandma" and "Big Grandma" because my mother lived with her mother so that she could remain in her own home! Memories!
“I have 3 grandchildren, girl twins, Ryan and Riley who are my son's children and a 2 year old boy, my daughter's son. When the twins were about 16 or 17 months old, Ryan couldn't say the "grr" sound of "Grandma and Grandpa" so she came up with the name "Mo-ma" and when I pointed to my husband and asked "What is his name?". She quickly replied "Mo-pa". Her twin Riley, quickly picked up the name and started to call us "Mo-ma" and "Mo-pa". 3 years later when my grandson arrived he fell into step with his cousins, Ryan and Riley, and has started to call us "Mo-ma" and "Mo-pa". These grandchildren have 3 sets of grandparents: me and my husband; my ex-husband and his wife and my daughter in law's mother and father, who are called "Nanny" and "Pop Pop".
“My parents were named Bumpa and Nini. Bumpa started with the first born grandchild being unable to pronounce Grandpa and somehow it came out as Bumpa and stuck. Nini because my mom didn't want to be called grandma :) They ultimately had 17 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren before their passings in 2007. I'm Noni to my 7 grandchildren but dad is just plain ol' grandpa. Thanks for all the informative podcasts-love listening to them on my walks with my two Jack Russells, Leroy and Mabel!”
And then there was this terrific message from JT:
“When our son Miles was just starting to talk, he had trouble with the usual consonants so "Grandma" just wouldn't come out no matter how hard he tried. One day when my mother-in-law stopped by he was so excited to see her he just stood in the center of the room, his arms held out as he tried to call her.
You could see in his face how hard he was trying. He rose up on his toes, his hands opened wide and he almost began shaking as the word traveled up his body and burst our his mouth.... "HEM-MIE!"
Not even close to "Grandma", but it seemed to work for him - seemingly satisfied, that's what he called her from that day on. Little sister Lily has adopted it as well and my mother-in-law couldn't be happier that she has what must be a completely unique name from her grandkids.
I enjoy your podcasts and always learn something new - thanks so much!”
But I have to say, I think my favorite email came from Tim in San Jose CA who writes:
“I recently listened to your podcast which included your discussion of names given to grandparents. I thought I would share some of the names we used for our grandparents growing up.
When I was born, I had 4 living grandparents, and 5 great-grandparents, who were all direct ancestors -- not from second marriages. During my growing-up years, they all lived within 5 miles of my family and we saw them often. So, it was a challenge to uniquely identify each grandparent.
There were the usual names, such as Grandma and Grandpa McBride for one set of grandparents, and Grandma and Grandpa LaMonte for a set of great-grandparents. Another set of great grandparents were Granny and Louie. Why we called him by his first name, I don't know -- all of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren called him my his first name. I guess "granny" comes from my Ozark heritage.
But there were also a couple unusual names. If someone was just listening to my sister, cousins and me talk, they would hear something like Grandma In-da-green, or Grandma and Grandpa In-da-ellow. When my older sister was quite young (she was the oldest of all the cousins on that side of the family), she identified one of our great-grandmothers as Grandma In The Green House (which, over time, was shortened to Grandma In The Green) and one set of grandparents as Grandma and Grandpa In The Yellow House (which became Grandma and Grandpa In The Yellow).
I have not previously included these names in my genealogy data base. But, I have now added these names and stories behind them since I know we used these terms in family letters. It would be good to have notes how these names came about for when future generations are reading these letters so they know who we are talking about.
Thanks for the podcast. I enjoy listening to each one as soon as it come out!”
I think that is priceless! Tim really got the message I was hoping to send in bringing this topic up. This is part of your heritage. Take a few moments and get these wonderful terms of endearment and their origins into your family history records and database. You’ll be glad you did!
I’m sending out a 1 year premium membership to JT for recording his terrific story, and also to Tim for his Green House and Yellow House Grandparent story. Simply wonderful!
And thanks to all of you who took the time to write in. Thanks for being part of this podcast episode. It’s most fun when it truly is a conversation!
Genealogy Gems Premium Membership
Clíona from Ireland wrote in with a questions about Premium Membership
She writes: “I’ve been listening to some of your podcasts and I’m interested in signing up to see the Premium Videos. Would my subscription give me access to previous Premium Videos such as those mentioned in your podcasts, or just the future ones? Thanks and well done on some very good podcasts.”
Well Cliona, thank so much, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the free podcast! When you become a Premium Member, you get:
. The 6 most recent Premium Podcast episodes
. The Google Earth for Genealogy video series (7 videos)
. The Google: A Goldmine of Genealogy Gems video series (13 videos)
. The 2 part Hard Drive Organization video series
As each new premium podcast episode is released the oldest drops off. For now, all of the videos listed above remain - when I'm going to change some out I provide advance warning. So as you can see there's lot of video content waiting
for you :-)
Interview with Michael Katchen, Director of Business Development at http://1000memories.com/
Here’s one more email from a listener. Kate in Ann Arbor Michigan took the time to write in and just make my day. She says:
“Thanks for the updates to your podcast. Your app is wonderful. Each day I find new ways to enjoy your presentations. Now I can share your podcast by text. I can now easily share your podcast with my tech challenged friends. Your discussion with "ole Myrt about quilting will be sent to my sister-in-law who is part of a large quilt group inLancaster Virginia. You inspire me with both genealogical info and your tech info. Last week I was at an Apple store. The young geek saw my ipod touch and asked me my favorite app. Of course your app was the first mentioned. I think he was impressed. We shared info on "DropBox". I learned about that from you.”
Sat, 17 September 2011
Published Sept 17, 2011
Everyone has a special name for grandparents in their family. In ours we have Nanna, Grandma, and even Pat-Pat. I look forward to the day my grandson Davy calls me Grandma. While I wait, tell me the unusual terms of endearment used in your family for grandparents. Email or leave a voice mail and be included on the show: (925) 272-4021
Listen to the episode:
Here's my Grandson Davy checking out tractors at the state fair with his Bumpa (AKA Superman / Indiana Jones)
FamilySearch has added millions of new records of both Confederate and Union soldiers who served in the American Civil War. Also now available for viewing are newly added notarial records from Canada, church records and civil registrations from Mexico, and records from England. www.familysearch.org
From the UK National Archives
The UK National Archives announced that findmypast.co.uk has just released 1 million Merchant Navy seamen records, dating from 1918 to 1941.
Useful guides at the UK National Archives website to help with your research into merchant seamen.
My Ancestor was a Merchant Seaman is available from their bookshop.
To learn more about apprenticeship records, check out the TNA Research Guide to Apprenticeship Records
Australian military records
You can now access the records of Australian soldiers who fought in the Great War free at the National Archives of Australia website.
If your relative was an Australian soldier, the Office of Australian War Graves at the Australian Government Department of Veteran’s Affairs website offers free photographs of Australian solder’s graves.
Our wonderful sponsor RootsMagic is offering 2 new webinars absolutely free.
What's New in Personal Historian 2
Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 6pm Mountain time, 90 minutes
Creating a Shareable CD with RootsMagic
Tuesday, October 4, 2011, 5pm MDT, 60 minutes.
If the webinars don’t fit your schedule they will be posting a recording of the class on their website at www.rootsmagic.com/webinar that you can watch at your convenience absolutely free! And it stays free – it doesn’t disappear in a month. I love that about the RootsMagic webinars!
Lisa’s Upcoming Speaking Engagements
9/25/11 - Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento, CA
10/7 & 8/11 - Northern California Family History Expo, San Mateo, CA
10/21/11 - Waterloo Iowa Public Library Webinar
10/22/11 - Webinar for the Hayden Idaho Family History Center Fall Family History Seminar
10/29/11 - Victoria Genealogical Society Seminar, Victoria, British Columbia
11/11 & 12/11 - Georgia Family History Expo, Duluth, GA
Feb 2 – 4, 2012 – RootsTech, Salt Lake City, UT
As you’ll remember I had an interesting conversation with DearMYRTLE in Episode 117 about the abbreviation FL that showed up in podcast listener Dot’s family history research. She was wondering what it stood for, and DearMYRTLE was intrigued as well so she did a bit of investigation on it which we discussed in the show. Well several of you wrote in with your thoughts on the subject:
“My first thought was that the abbreviation would stand for "found living" and it sort of makes sense based on the discussion. Finding this abbreviation in research could provide an important clue to narrow down when and where a person lived.”
And Dot chimed in with:
“Rob and I do however think there is a time when it is handy for genealogists to use it. If you don’t have birth and death dates, we think that instead of having nothing, fl. gives you dates as a rough guide as to when the ancestor lived and you can always extend the dates once more information is found.”
Dave wrote in with a different take:
“It does refer to someone’s “productive” time, but typically it refers the time that someone is known to have practiced their profession. Usually, it is used when no biographical information exists…In genealogy, it is less likely that this kind of sourcing is useful, since the person is tied, biologically, to a time and place. We know the age ranges for life events, so we can guess better. That said, it is very useful to be able to interpret information of this kind.”
It’s always nice to hear when the gems I talk about here on the show sparkle in your own research. Tina wrote in recently to share not one but two examples:
“I just wanted to thank you for putting the idea into my head that Paula Sassi might be able to contribute something to my knowledge about a relative… I gave her a bit of background to the handwriting I submitted and she came back with insights and suggestions in areas that I hadn't mentioned, but nonetheless knew or suspected - all astonishingly accurate. I am just so grateful to her - and to you!”
“And can I give you another thank you? This is an old one, but still the most useful tip I think I have ever had: go back and look at original documents again, and again, and again. Each time I do so, I seem to notice something I had missed the first few times, or now meant more because I had more information. Invaluable. Thank you!”
Thomas On Facebook asked about using children’s sidewalk chalk as a mediaum to read gravestones better.
Lisa says: Tombstone rubbing is a touchy subject and there is no concensus on the matter. Some people are against rubbing any substance on a tombstone because each one reduces the clarity of the stone. Certainly the chalk wouldn't harm it, but the application could. Be careful to check with the local authorities at the cemetery to get permission if you decide to go forward. My preference is to take multiple photograph and manipulate them with an editing program to alter the light, contrast and sharpeness which can often reveal what can't be seen with the naked eye.
Being the Genealogy Google Guru has some challenges. It seems like as soon as I tell you about something Google is doing, or publish a tutorial video or article Google goes and changes everything. Like the Google News Timeline which bit the dust recently. Well all iGoogle hasn’t been immune to that constant change and after some serious hair pulling Pam wrote in asking for help. She says:
“My iGoogle page has changed in the last week. The whole left side is different but I can't remember what was there before.”
The only significant change I see is that "add stuff" link has been removed and now is an "add gadgets" button on the left above the tab names. If you don't see your tabs it's because the are now retractable. There is a little arrow that hides and reveals the tabs column.
GEM: PERSI with Allison Stacy of Family Tree Magazine
As you know in addition to the Genealogy Gems Podcast I also produce and host the monthly Family Tree Magazine Podcast for my friends at Family Tree Magazine. In the September 2011 episode I recorded a segment with Allison Stacy the publisher of Family Tree Magazine about PERSI at Heritage Quest Online.
My guess is that you’ve heard of PERSI but maybe it’s been a long time since you checked it out or maybe you’ve never gotten around to searching this incredible database. It’s been ages for me, so I really enjoy chatting with Allison about it and it really reminded me what a goldmine it is.
GEM: Another Free Transcription Software Program
A big hat tip to podcast listener Phil Rowly who wrote in to share a gem he spotted recently. Phil writes:
“I keep a regular eye on some of the best sites covering freeware and I've recently noticed another piece of transcription software - with the advantage of being free - which is specifically aimed at transcribing data in tabular - rather then free-form - layout. The resulting data is then saved as a csv file, which can be imported into a wide range of standard programs for further analysis &c - eg Excel, Word, databases, etc.”
Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast, it was episode #39
GenScriber is a desktop application, designed for transcribing genealogy documents from images of census registers, church/parish records etc. and was designed to be easy to use.
Tue, 6 September 2011
Published Sept 6, 2011
Are you having a Picnic? Problem In Chair Not In Computer!
Google self-driving car crash was caused by human error - says Google
They had a recent failure but Google says it wasn’t the car it was a PICNIC!
See the photos at Jalopnik
Kiera posted on my Facebook wall after the webinar saying
“I listened to your Webinar on Google Tools today. I wanted to hit myself over the head for not having those tips sooner. I've put them to use today, and already, they're helping me immensely! A million thanks!!!!!!!!”
Book Lisa to Speak
If your genealogy society doesn’t have the budget to fly out speakers in person, webinars are a fantastic alternative. Find out more about how to book for to speak to your group.
AppList for Hobbies has finally been released!
We also had some exciting news around here recently. Appadvice.com published their AppList for Hobbies and named the Genealogy Gems Podcast app as a must have for family history.
In other genealogy news, Ancestry made an interesting move recently. They decided to put out a press release about the fact that the images and indexes to the 1940 U.S. Federal Census will be made free to search in the United States when it becomes available in mid-April 2012.
Interestingly it was just before Archives.com made their big announcement that they are going to be addint the entire US Federal Census to their website. I blogged about this at length in an article on my website called Archives.com Makes their Big Move.
It really is going to be interesting to see Archives approach to challenging the Big Fish, and Ancestry’s response to being challenged.
Footnote.com has decided to focus primarily on military records, and they have a new name for it that reflects that. Footenote.com will now be known as Fold3 which comes from the third fold in a traditional military flag folding ceremony.
Ancestry has also explanded their U.S. School Yearbook Collection
I caught by surprise the other day when Ruth replied back to that email and she said: “I owe you a Thank You! I have learned so much about Google in just the first 50 pages! Wow! Do to time constraints, most of my genealogical research is conducted online and Google is certainly my favorite search engine. You book is a fantastic guide to the Google universe! P. S. I've been listening to The Genealogy Gems Podcast for a long time. Also a great help to my research!”
Aisha wrote: “I grew up away from my extended family and my grandparents died before I got to know them. So, genealogy is helping me to connect and learn about my relatives. Thanks for the tips and gems.”
To learn more about vital records check out my Family History: Genealogy Made Easy Podcast series. Episode 3 focuses on the search process and specifically death records.
Maria asked “What should my next research step be? I've been googling his name, as well as searching on Ancestry.com. My MIL may have half-siblings, and a biological father who could still be alive somewhere! I would love to further my research...Any suggestions would be appreciated! I love your podcast!”
In addition to standard genealogical searching methods, focus on unique identifiers about the man. A name of one of the boyfriends siblings? His father's occupation? One of their neighbors? How far he lived from her? Something that can be used to narrow down the right man in the census. When things look the same on the surface, we need to find what is unique about them and follow that lead. Good luck Maria!
Randy in Nebraska wrote in with a question just about everyone faces at some point. He says: "My questiion is: how do you cite information from someone else's work while they have great citations themselves? How much should a person retrace sources when the information is 'published' on the internet or in family histories?”
Published family histories are wonderful finds, and yet they can have errors or omissions. First I would spot check a number of the sources to see if they are verifiable and accurately recorded. Ideally you would verify all of them, but realistically that is difficult to do with lengthy published works. Also published and properly cited family histories are in a different category than a family tree published online, which can be notoriously inaccurate and not properly sourced. It's very easy for errors to get picked up and added to an online family tree.
I would recommend that you read the article Using Published Family Histories from the Mar-Apr 2002 issue of Ancestry magazine, page 46 free on Google Books.
And as for proper citations, the go-to book is Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
Ericson in California wrote to tell me that he’s been bit – hard! He writes: “Thank you for all the guidance and inspiration you have given me. In a matter of six months, I've caught-up listening to your Family History podcast, Family Tree Magazine podcast and the Genealogy Gems premium podcast. To date, I have cataloged 265 individual relatives. My parents think I've gone off the deep-end with this bug!
Is there an easier way to understand and remember the degree/removal terminology, such as "first cousin twice removed"? When I reach-out and introduce myself to new relatives, they give me a blank look when I say these terminologies. It's gotten to the point where I would just say "distant relative" or "cousin", which seems overly simplified.”
Check out the Genealogy Relationship Chart
But in reality "distant cousin" makes the point and can be less aggravating for all concerned!
GEM: Should Your Genealogy Research Flourish?
Myrt also gives us the scoop on the Genea-Quilters 1812 Preserve the Pensions Quilt.
Sat, 20 August 2011
Published August 20, 2011
This special episode of the Genealogy Gems Podcast was recorded in front of a live audience at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree held in June 2011 in Burbank, CA. My special guests are Allison Stacy, publisher of Family Tree Magazine, and Paula Sassi, Certified Graphologist.
(left to right: Allison Stacy, Lisa Louise Cooke, Paula Sassi)
Paula analyzed the handwriting of Allison's ancestor Amelia Essel.
She also interpreted the handwriting of Jhe ancestor of our contest winner Heather Wilkinson Rojo. , t