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Friday, April 29, 2016

Fun at OGS

This weekend I am speaking, and hanging out, at the Ohio Genealogical Society annual conference.
 It is being held at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio which, let's face it, genealogy and swimsuits are an interesting combination.  At least no one has attended (that I know of) a lecture in their swimsuit.

Yesterday I gave a workshop about preparing your papers for a lineage society application. My take away, wow... I can talk for 2 hours straight.  Oh, and that audience participation, while scary for the presenter, makes long lectures more entertaining. It is something that I will have to do again.

On Saturday, I will be talking about one of my favorite places to research, The Library of Virginia.  Such a great place, with so many wonderful resources.

If you are at the conference make sure to say hi!  I am at The In-Depth Genealogist booth and would be happy to see you.

Love, loss and self curating

This week my latest post on America's Footprints went live.  It is titled "Don't Leave it For The Kids: The Art of Self-Curating."  I am going to be honest with you.  The post was a hard one to write.  However, it was necessary.

You see, my mother passed away unexpectedly a few months ago.  Maybe you have noticed the last
few months of odd posting and near radio silence on my business social media.  Sorry, it may be a while before I am back up and running at 100%.
Me and my mother on
my wedding day

The week after my mother's death we started the process of cleaning, pitching, organizing and moving my father in with us.  As I did that, with the wonderful assistance of my husband and mother in law, all I could think of was a conversation I had several years ago over lunch with Denise Levenick, whose is also known as The Family Curator.

We were having lunch talk about something, what I cannot remember, but she told me that she self -curates.  I have to admit I must have gasped and looked at her funny.  Then I distinctly remember her telling me that she was serious, 'cause there were just somethings that her kids just didn't need to know or see.

I mulled that over, mostly because too many of my ancestors were the type that burned everything "not useful" after someone died.  to be fair, I am also a collector and it hurts me to throw something sentimental away. Now though, I totally see her point of view.

In the near future, I may begin to self-curate a few items myself.  It may hurt me, but in the long run, it will be well worth it.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Coming Evidentia Deal!

Have you ever considered trying Evedentia Software?  As a long time user, beta tester, and affiliate (look for the logo on the left hand menu bar on this blog) for the company I wanted to let you know that this is a great time to try it if you don't already use the program.

Why?  Good question!  From May 1-10 Evedentia Software will offer free shipping in honor of the NGS Conference.  I mean really, conference attendees don't have to pay shipping why should you?!

In addition, Evidentia will offer a 16% coupon off everything in our store on those same dates, May 1-10.  This coupon code is only available from me as an affiliate!!!  I will post this code later on in the weekend. Bleep your eyes open for it.

I hope you are excited about the deep discounts offered usually only to conference attendees but now online. Check back here over the next few days to get the coupon code and learn more about this great product!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

My Heritage New Community Q&A hub

MyHeritage Launches New Community-Powered Q&A Hub

MyHeritage Community allows users to post requests for assistance with their family history research and receive help from the global 81-million-strong MyHeritage user community

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah, April 19, 2016 — MyHeritage, the fastest-growing destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history, announced today the launch of MyHeritage Community, a new online Q&A hub that fosters family history research collaboration. MyHeritage Community is built as an image-oriented forum integrated into the website for users to help one another solve genealogical challenges, such as translating documents, deciphering handwritten letters, identifying unknown people in photos and searching for elusive ancestors.

With more than 81 million users around the world registered on MyHeritage and 42 languages supported, MyHeritage Community is uniquely positioned to serve as a meeting place for people trying to solve genealogical mysteries, and other people willing to help them. Users looking for assistance can post requests in the MyHeritage Community to get expert genealogy advice or benefit from native language expertise and local geographic familiarity. For example: a user in the United States with roots in Germany can post an image of an ancestor’s handwritten letter written in Kurrent — old German handwriting — and ask for help deciphering it. Another user from Germany can then translate it and add first-hand information on the town from which the letter was posted.

Volunteerism is an important value in the world of genealogy. Since the recent release of the MyHeritage Community, inspiring cases of users helping other users continue to surface. Examples include a user who posted a request for information on her relatives from a specific region in Italy and received pinpointed advice down to the address of the relevant office to contact; a user who asked for a translation of a church certificate from Portuguese to English and received a full translation and in-depth explanation of the purpose and origin of the document; plus many more.

“My definition of a genealogist is someone who — after consuming most research directions for his/her own family — helps other people research their family tree, just because he/she loves it so much,” said MyHeritage founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet. “Many genealogists are generous with their time and knowledge, and eager to help others explore their family history. The new MyHeritage Community allows people to help each other, making our service even more useful and effective.”

MyHeritage Community is free, and is accessible at

About MyHeritage

MyHeritage is the world's fastest-growing destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history. As technology thought leaders, MyHeritage is transforming family history into an activity that’s accessible and instantly rewarding. Its global user community enjoys access to a massive library of historical records, the most internationally diverse collection of family trees and ground­breaking search and matching technologies. Trusted by millions of families, MyHeritage provides an easy way to share family stories, past and present, and treasure them for generations to come. MyHeritage is available in 42 languages.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Press Release: New Irish Record Sets Released from FMP

Online publication of significant record set reveals the stories behind the Easter Rising
and Ireland under Martial Law

17 April: Findmypast launches online today the most complete collection of British War Office records  relating to the Easter Rising and Irish War of Independence from 1916-1921. The collection, digitised from original records held by The National Archives in Kew, reveals the struggles of life under Martial Law in Ireland, and demonstrates how events under the occupying military served to galvanise support for the rebels.   

Totalling more than 75,000 records, the collection will be free to access for ten days at from today, 17 April, in advance of the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising on    24 April 2016.

More than 3,000 people were injured or killed in a conflict which saw three civilians killed for every one rebel. The records reveal the impact that the conflict had on men, women and children across Ireland. There are eye-witness accounts, interviews with civilians and reports of the trials of the leaders of the Rising and their sentences of execution.

The once classified records shine new light on the subsequent period of Martial Law in Ireland which was declared by the Lord Lieutenant in 1916, including the War of Independence, when the British military assumed control of the executive, judiciary and legislative arms of the entire country.. The contents of the collection provide a picture of what life was like for ordinary citizens in Ireland during this turbulent time.

The 25,000 search and raid records show the efforts of the military and police to discover arms, ammunition and seditious material through thousands of raids as well as their search for individuals associated with Sinn Féin, Irish Citizen Army, Irish Volunteers and the Irish Republican Army. Members of the public accessing the records on Findmypast will find the names of the thousands of people who were detained and interned in prisons in Ireland, England and Wales and tried by courts martial, including the names of prominent nationalists and elected officials.

Military correspondence between the barracks in Dublin and the War Office in London grants new perspectives on the motivations and fears of the British Army leadership. The movements and actions of several key nationalist figures are also documented, including those of James Connolly, Eamon De Valera, Thomas Ashe, Joseph MacDonagh, Arthur Griffith, Padraig Pearse and Francis and Hannah Sheehy Skeffington and Countess Markievicz.

Key items from the collection include:
·         Daily situation reports sent by the British Army from Dublin to London between 24 April and 12 May 1916 documenting events during the uprising

·         A report from the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief confirming the execution of iconic Irish socialist and rebel James Connolly, who owing to injuries sustained in the conflict had to be strapped to a chair before being shot

·         Court martial reports sentencing prominent nationalist, politician and suffragette Countess Markievicz to two years in prison for “assisting and promoting crime and murder”

·         Witness statements from civilians caught up in the Rising

·         Documents authored by Michael Collins seized from a safehouse used by the nationalist figurehead

·         Details on raids of pubs such as the Brazen Head, hotels, nationalist club houses such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians and thousands of homes

·         An urgent and secret warning from Sir C Spring Rice, British Ambassador in America, of gun running in Ireland

·         A telegram to the Prime Minister to report the expected surrender of the rebels from the Lieutenant General John Marshall

·         Internment files including the personal letters from prisoners or their relatives testifying to their innocence

·         Details on the hunger strikes of interned prisoners

·         Secret documents that reveal the British Military’s own concern with some of the behaviour of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC)

The collection was digitised in partnership with The National Archives in London and contains documents from their WO35 series, War Office: Army of Ireland: Administration and Easter Rising Records. Totalling more than 110 million records, Findmypast has the largest Irish family history collection available online.

Brian Donovan, Head of Irish Records at Findmypast, comments:

“These records constitute an extraordinary resource which will transform the search for answers about our ancestors' activities during 1916 and the years that followed. While those who fought were small in number, the war impacted on the lives of ordinary people in many ways. We’re extremely fortunate to have these records to help us make some sense of it.”

Neil Cobbett, Irish records expert at The National Archives, said:

"This represents a major contribution and potentially a vast step forward for public understanding of these events from all points of view.  It will really help to throw light on the actions of participants and the whys and wherefores of what happened.  Whether you are a researcher seeking answers to some of the bigger questions, or a family historian or biographer, this collection will help you in your historical research, or in finding out about your forebear's or other participant's involvement."

About Findmypast
Findmypast (previously DC Thomson Family History) is a British-owned world leader in online family history. It has an unrivalled record of online innovation in the field and 18 million registered users across its family of online brands, which includes Lives of the First World War, The British Newspaper Archive and Genes Reunited, amongst others.

Its lead brand, also called Findmypast, is a searchable online archive of over eight billion family history records, ranging from parish records and censuses to migration records, military collections, historical newspapers and lots more. For members around the world, the site is a crucial resource for building family trees and conducting detailed historical research.

In April 2003, Findmypast was the first online genealogy site to provide access to the complete birth, marriage, and death indexes for England & Wales, winning the Queen’s Award for Innovation. Since that time, the company has digitised records from across the globe, including the 1911 Census and the recently released 1939 Register which they digitised in association with The National Archives.

The National Archives is one of the world’s most valuable resources for research and an independent research organisation in its own right. As the official archive and publisher for the UK government, and England and Wales they are the guardians of some of the UK's most iconic national documents, dating back over 1,000 years. Their role is to collect and secure the future of the government record, both digital and physical, to preserve it for generations to come, and to make it as accessible and available as possible. The National Archives brings together the skills and specialisms needed to conserve some of the oldest historic documents as well as leading digital archive practices to manage and preserve government information past, present and future. /

Friday, April 15, 2016

3 Things to know about the NGS Conference

NGS is only 3 weeks away, are you ready?  I know I am not!  However, even if you are attending
from the comfort of your own home you should still prep for it.  So, here are three things you should know about.

Are you a student, or know a student, who wants to attend the conference?  Make sure they know about the Student Rate!  The reduced rate of $60 is open to all college and graduate students attending the conference.  Make sure to check out the link for the full details.

The NGS Mobile App is up and running!  Available on multiple platforms, and with multi-device sync, this is what all high tech genealogists attending the conference need to have on hand.  Of course, with the social media coverage on the app those who are staying at home can see what, and who, is being talked about from conference attendees.

If you are still learning about the area, the speakers, or the conference make sure to keep up with the Conference Blog.  It is a great place to get the information you need about all aspects of the conference.  Be the first to know!

This will be my first trip to Ft. Lauderdale.  As such I will be posting next week on local advice I have gathered from a few of my friends.  Nothing like local advice to keep you safe, happy, and entertained! 

The Importance of Continuing Your Education

“What are you doing mom?”
“What?!  You aren’t in school.  It’s just a book, you are just reading.”
“No honey, I am always learning…”

This conversation happened many years ago when I first started learning the craft of genealogy research.  My son was in elementary school and he couldn’t understand that if I wasn’t in a “real” school how could I be “learning.”  I am not sure he ever really came around to the concept that you can learn your whole life, in or out of school.

I know I talk about this frequently, but I still get asked for advice on this topic all the time.  Which means, people are still looking for answers.  Genealogists young and old, novice or experienced, must embrace continuing education if they want to be truly successful.  Even experienced researchers can learn new tricks, tips, or techniques to make their family search more successful.  Figuring out how to find the education you need can be the challenge for many people. 

Those who have researched for many years cannot find educational opportunities advanced enough.  On the other hand, many beginners get overwhelmed by the choices they have or the concepts presented.  To be honest, I get overwhelmed with the choices between webinars, conferences, and courses.  The key is to have a strategy to how you want to learn with an understanding of why you are going to a class or take a course online.  Below are a list of items you should think about when you are considering taking your genealogical education to the next level.

Know How You Learn Best
Are you a visual learning or an auditory learning?  Do you need to talk thing through or can you read it and pick it up quickly?  Knowing how you learn will help you decide what educational platform will work best for you. 

Learn Something Everyday

Make education a habit in your life and reap the rewards.  If you take the time to read, study, learn something new every day your research will always progress.  It really is that simple.  Take a few minutes to read a magazine article, a chapter in a book, a blog post, or even talk with a friend about an item of interest.  Once you embrace education in your life you will never be able to let it go.

Push Yourself
To learn and grow as a researcher you need to push the boundaries of your comfort zone.  A student only grows if they try something new or learn a concept that is a new facet to a subject you already know.  By choosing courses that make you push the boundaries of your knowledge, and your comfort zone, you are sure to become more confident in your abilities.

Every Opportunity Should Be Taken
Read books, watch TV shows, listen to podcasts, attend society meetings, and look for any opportunity to learn something new.  A lifelong student understands that there are educational possibilities around us every minute, we just need to take long enough to recognize them for what they are.  In the genealogy field we are lucky to have many opportunities for free or low cost education.  If you are not taking advantage of those opportunities you are hindering your education.

Teach to Learn
Study groups, whether formal or informal, are excellent ways to share and disseminate information.  You can choose topics to discuss on a regular basis or meet for coffee with friends every so often.  Many people find they learn better when they can discuss thoughts, ideas, or conclusions with a group of people.  Also, teaching someone else what you know helps you learn where your holes are and cements the information in your mind better.  If you are one of these people starting a study group, online or in person, is a great way to get the interaction you need for your learning style. 

Create a Must Have Bibliography
Being well read is crucial to keeping up to date with any advances in your field.  Having a list of books which are considered key reference materials on hand is an excellent idea.  You may not be able to have them on your shelf for a variety of reasons but that is not a reason to keep an up to date list which also includes where you can find the resources either online at Google Books for example or in a physical repository such as your local library.  In addition to books you should also take note of blogs, magazine articles, and websites which provide information on the subject(s) you are interested in.