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Showing posts from May, 2016

Pursuing Genealogy on a Shoestring Budget - Association Memberships

Genealogy is expensive!  There's costs for membership to associations and online databases, travel, research supplies, vital records, mailing, and conferences.  When doing our taxes earlier this year the reality of the expenses hit me.  When I received an email recently from a reader who mentioned how the costs were pinching her lifestyle I decided to investigate ways to save.

I'm open to suggestions so please readers, comments are welcome on ways you've found to be frugal! The focus today is on association dues because one of the benefits of belonging to a group is discounts on related items.

Most likely your local and state association's yearly membership dues are reasonable.  I believe it's important to support your local group, if you can afford to do so.  My local group costs $17.00 annually and provides a weekly email of free classes offered and genealogy tips.  If the cost is prohibitive for you, speak with the group about ways you can take part without payi…

"Every Genealogy Record You Need is Online" - I Beg to Differ!

I want to apologize in advance for this long blog.  Possibly, this should be two or three but due to the importance I don’t want to break it up. 
Recently, I've heard and read in a number of places that there has been so many additions of records online that there is no reason to search elsewhere.  I vehemently disagree!  
I wasn't going to blog about this topic because I am so adamant that the statement is wrong I don't even want it out there as a meme but I changed my mind due to the frequency this belief has been expressed lately. Here's where that information popped up just in the past two weeks: A listserv to which I belong Two emails I received from hobbyistsThe 18 May 2016 Legacy Family Tree Webinar by James M. BeidlerA volunteer genealogist at my local Family History CenterMy own experience has shown me that there is nowhere near enough online "that many genealogy scenarios could be taken care of from start to finish using just online sou…

An Update on Submitting the BCG Portfolio

I’m finishing up with my portfolio for submission to the Board for Certification of Genealogists and I have butterflies in my stomach!  Officially, I have until late October but since I selected several papers that I had previously done for clients last fall and winter, I am about finished.

At the National Genealogical Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, I was able to view successful portfolios that were submitted.  I also found it useful to be able to pick the brains of some of the Certified Genealogists (CGs) that attended the "On the Clock" dinner.   So glad I was able to attend and meet several other “On the Clockers” and those on the other side. 

Additionally, the National Genealogical Society conference enabled me to further refine my skills and now I pulled out the Kinship Determination Paper I finished last month and reread it yesterday.  I caught one missing comma and changed one sentence.  I'm satisfied with the content and the numbering so I just need to take anot…

A FREE Research Assistant - Google Keep

Found a new tool that could help you immensely with your research notes, to do lists, and anything else you want to write and remember.  From Google, it's entitled Keep and with just one click, you can save your work and be able to retrieve it from any online device.
Click on the left hand corner of the Keep page where there are three horizontal lines (the main menu bars).  This will open up the main menu where you can view your notes and reminders, once you create them.  Filing is easy, just click the "Create New Label."
If you'd like to share what you created, click on "Settings" and make sure "Enable Sharing" is checked.
You access Keep through your Google account so if you have gmail or Google+ you already have a Google account. If you don't have an account, the page should direct you to how to obtain one but I haven't checked that out since I have an existing account.
Keep works on both IOS and Android so whatever is your preference…

Top Five Conference Lessons Learned

Finally cleaned up the tote bag with all the info I accumulated at the National Genealogical Society Conference held the first week in May in Ft. Lauderdale.  I learned a lot but these five ideas keep circulating around in my head:

Mind Maps - I always encourage my students to use them but I'm negligent in doing so myself.  Elizabeth Shown Mills displayed quite an elaborate spider web map that showed relationships and it was impressive.  I'm adding this to my "to-do" list to incorporate in my practice.Identify Expertise - D. Joshua Taylor mentioned that he always asks antique store owners what their area of expertise is.  Although I chat with store owners it never dawned on me to ask for specific information.  He related a wonderful story about finding a relative's belongings in a shop in New York state by simply asking that question.  Definitely will add this to my genealogical tool box!WorldCat.org - One of the most valuable online resources to find materials I …

Heirlooms and Hand Me Downs – Who Cares?!

I read recently an online article about the glazed over look that family members often get when we genealogists start talking about the past.  The author mentioned that he was frustrated that his family doesn’t seem to care while the actors featured on tv shows are always so excited about their genealogy finds. 
I understand why our family members often don’t get it.  Here’s my top 5 reasons for the disconnect and a way to get around it:
1,  The past is done and it’s not relevant to me.  Geez, I even had that philosophy when I was young.  Think about the 1960’s mantra of not trusting anyone over 30!  It’s rare that young people can connect the dots of how several times great grandpa’s life could be meaningful today.  It's not just young folks.  Some people never out grow this belief so don’t get me wrong and think this view only applies to youth.  The solution is simple – tell or write engaging family stories that are applicable to life today. Write the story as a cliffhanger and I …

Life is Short, Do it Now!

Just back from the National Genealogical Society conference in Ft. Lauderdale and it was awesome.  Wonderful to meet face-to-face with folks I have only interacted with online and some I haven’t seen in person in awhile.  The only downer was that a colleague of mine from my primary job had to cancel at the last minute due to a family emergency.  She is working towards a PhD in creative writing and was looking forward to attending the writing workshops that were offered.  Additionally, she is interested in family history and is the keeper of her family’s records so the conference was a great fit for her. As genealogists, we typically place our family’s first so her disappointment in missing the conference was minimized by her right on priorities.  This got me thinking of the lost opportunities that we often miss with our own family members.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to just have one hour with that brick wall ancestor (and maybe a translator included!)?  Don’t you wish you could ask dear…

News from the National Genealogical Society Conference

Greetings on Star Wars Day!  How appropriate that the start of this year's NGS Conference is on May 4th (Force) be with you.  If you're following me on Twitter you may have seen my tweet this AM.  One of the sound technicians at the conference who was working hard to make the sessions available live told me he is really interested in genealogy and was so excited to learn about family history while he did his primary job.  When he showed me his travel mug - of Darth Vader with the words "I Am Your Father"- I had to take his picture and send it out into the universe.  It was a perfect way to start the day!
I mentioned in my last blog I didn't think I was going to be able to write until the weekend after I return home from the conference but I need to share a few events that have me really excited.
The first was the Board for Certified Genealogists "On the Clock" Dutch Treat Dinner that was held at Bravo Italiano Ristaurante on 17th Street in Ft. Lauderdal…

Why Do We Do Genealogy? Your Input Needed!

I think it’s important to reflect on why we do this thing called genealogy.  Take a moment before reading further and get ideas of what is important to you about our discipline. 
I identified five factors that are relevant to me.  The first thing that comes to my mind is discovery.   Genealogy unlocks events involving real people whose decisions impacted me personally and continue to do so, even today.  Think of your Gateway Ancestors.  Their choice to uproot and start a new life on a new continent directly influenced who you became.  That emigration may have occurred 400+ years ago or much more recently.  Why did they come?  Oh sure, for a better life, duh!  No, I want to discover what was the final event, the straw that broke the camel’s back, that made them say, “Enough already, we’re out of here!”  Discovery leads me to think about another reason why our work is important.  Perhaps it was best said by George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it…