Tue, 15 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
Wed, 8 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.