Join me for Elevenses with Lisa, the online video series where we take a break, visit and learn. Click to watch below, and scroll down for all the details from Episode 6.
Elevenses with Lisa is about connecting with each other and sharing ideas around family history. Margaret shared a wonderful story revolving around the recent discovery she made about the historical significance of a teacup collection that at first glance just appears to be a mis-matched lot.
Margaret’s “Bridge Tea” Cups
From Margaret in San Jose, CA:
I inherited these 6 teacups from my Mom, who only told me they were “wedding gifts.” I always thought them odd gifts for newlyweds. Why not a toaster?
Nevertheless, I loved dusting them as a kid, because to me there was nothing more thrilling than a matched set of anything, and the cups and saucers are so intricately decorated to complement each other.
I am in a True Tales/Memoir writing group and I recently read one of my stories aloud (virtually of course) about an ancestor honored at two Bridge Teas to celebrate her engagement. A member spoke up about the tradition at Bridge Teas for each attendee to bring a different matching teacup and saucer as an engagement present to the bride. I suddenly realized my Mom’s teacups were not odd wedding presents. They were given to her at a Bridge Tea by her girlfriends! I look at the six teacup sets now and see a circle of friends, each personality as unique as their teacup, symbols of friendship.
Google can’t always find what you’re searching for, and a few days ago they launched a new message that tells you that.
Now, if you run a search and Google can’t find what it determines to be a good match, you will see a prominent message at the top of the search results page that says “no good results available.”
While a message like that can be discouraging at first glance, you shouldn’t stop there. This message doesn’t say that what you are looking for doesn’t exist. It is only saying that Google can’t find it.
There could be several reasons for this, and the search results page will likely contain clues. By following the clues and incorporating the strategies I discuss in my book The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, there is a very good chance that you can indeed find (with Google’s help) what you are in search of.
Here’s the example I showed in this episode. I was searching for the name of the musical group that Bill’s grandpa performed with in the 1940s, the Centennial Syncopators (seen below in the only photograph I have of the group.) The original was a sepia tone photo, but I love this version that I colorized at MyHeritage (image below.)
Centennial Syncopators musical group. (Salem, Oregon, circa 1940) Grandpa Mansfield is in the back row on the far right.
I was typing quickly on my phone, and as you can see in the image below, I have typos in the first word of my search.
Google indicated that “It looks like there aren’t any great matches for your search.” Google offered a few suggestions for alternative ways to search to try and get better results. Generally speaking, these are helpful suggestions. But as is so often the case, they really didn’t help with the very specific, genealogically-driven research that I was doing.
New Google Message: “No good results.”
Correcting the spelling was important to try, but it didn’t yield any better results.
Google Search – fixed spelling, but still not great results.
Instead of following the suggestions, I used the method I describe in my book. In this case I incorporated a simple search operator – quotation marks – and it made all the difference.
improving the search with the quotation marks search operator.
There, in the first two results, was grandpa’s name: Sydney Mansfield.
There is another strategy from my book that I like to use as well. Instead of digging straight into these Web results, I take just a moment to tap Images to see what my results look like visually. Image results give you a quick visual overview that can help you spot gems that might not be obvious from the snippets appearing in the Web view.
Google Image results.
Tapping the first result yielded a wealth of information.
Sidney Mansfield and the Centennial Syncopators named in an old newspaper.
Not only is Sidney Mansfield listed in the preview of the article (image above), but all of his band mates are too!
I’ve been redecorating my family room. this room is really the equivalent of a junk drawer, but MUCH bigger.
Family history and music are central themes in the Cooke household, so I was keen to incorporate both into this room. Below is a photo of my hubby playing the bass in the family room. This was about half way through the project, so things were still a bit jumbled.
The family room “before”
After seeing an episode of Restaurant Impossible where they used an old family photo as artwork in the redesign of a restaurant, I was inspired to do the same.
I started with the 2 ½” x 3 ½” photograph of Bill’s maternal grandpa, Sydney Mansfield, with the Centennial Syncopators of Salem, Oregon (circa 1940). Sid was an accomplished musician, playing the violin and the organ. (Bill was blessed with the musical DNA on both sides of his family. His paternal grandpa started his career playing in a theater orchestra in England at the age of thirteen, was a high school orchestra leader, and music teacher his entire life.)
The next step was to scan and dramatically enlarge the photo.
My scanner: The Epson Perfection V550 Photo flatbed scanner. (I LOVE this scanner! It can do the high resolution I need for all my projects. If you decide to buy online, I appreciate it when you use my links because we will be compensated at no additional cost to you. This helps support this free show.)
I set the scanner to Professional mode which provides much higher resolution scanning options.
Scanning resolution:1200 dpi.
My goal was a very large piece of artwork: 71” x 51” in a matte canvas, preferably mounted.
Printer:PosterPrintShop.com – After seeing the show, the folks at PosterPrintShop.com emailed me and offered a 10% discount promo code for for Genealogy Gems / Elevenses with Lisa viewers. Use coupon code: courtesy10x2020va
I did a lot of research and it was a challenge to find an online service that could meet my project needs. The most important thing to me was the size, so I decided on PosterPrintShop.com. They were able to produce huge custom sizes in the matte canvas. However, they didn’t offer frame mounting. That was fine though, my hubby is very handy and agreed to build the frame.
Wood frame for family history artwork
I uploaded my digital image, and I was happy to see that the printer immediately confirmed it was excellent quality for the enlargement. This gave me confidence that the finished poster would not be blurry or grainy.
In just three days it was up on my wall, sure to inspire many future evenings of music!
Completed project: family history art.
How to Organize All This Genealogy Stuff!
Save yourself future frustration and disappointment by putting a solid plan in place for all the types of genealogical items that will be coming your way: paper, digital files, data, and notes.
I personally use all of the organizational systems that I am sharing with you in this series on the show. They have proven to be reliable and efficient, and I can honestly say I have never lost a piece of paper. All my archival paper is off my desk, within easy arm’s reach.
But don’t take my word for it. Test drive these methods and feel free to adjust to suit your individual needs. Consistent yet flexible implementation is the key to success. Every family is different (and a bit messy) so it’s understandable that you may implement this system with some minor alterations to suit your particular needs.
The most important piece of the organizational puzzle is in your court. Your system will only succeed if you stick to it!
In this episode we discussed:
Organizing All This Paper! The Physical Items Organization System
We begin our genealogical research by pulling together information that we already have around our home. A lot of that information will be on paper in all shapes and sizes. The sooner you establish a place to store it, the sooner you will become more productive.
Genealogy research is becoming more and more digital, but there will always be paper. Typically, the paper worth keeping will be precious items like original documents, postcards, letters, etc.
When you first acquire an item, you will “process” it, as I like to call it. This entails, reviewing it carefully, extracting all pertinent information and adding that information to a variety of locations (your personal genealogy database on your computer, your online family tree, transcription into another format, etc.)
After completely processing the information, you have a decision to make:
Do you archive this piece of paper? (possibly also digitizing it)
Do you digitize it and toss it?
Do you toss it?
If you determine the paper is precious and worth archiving, you will archive it in my 3 ring notebook system. Be absolutely sure that this paper is worth the precious real estate available on your office shelf.
My Genealogy Notebook System
This system organizes your paper to mirror the organization of your computer files (which we will cover in Elevenses with Lisa episode 7.) It is also based on your pedigree chart, meaning that it concentrates on your direct line of parents and grandparents, etc.
Since we can’t realistically keep every scrap of paper, typically the most important will be paper that relates to those ancestors you directly descend from. Whenever possible, opt to digitize (scan, photograph) paper, file it on your hard drive (backed up of course. I use Backblaze available here – we’ll be talking more about data in Episode 8), and toss the paper. Paper saved should be considered archival worthy. All other paper can ultimately be digitized (if desired) and tossed when you’re done working with it.
There are many advantages to my 3 ring notebook organizational system:
3 ring binders keep paper items secure, clean and protected.
They can be stacked neatly on shelves.
Binders allow you to easily retrieve items for a family.
When you remove a binder from the shelf, it is obvious where it should be returned.
Binders are flexible – allowing you to add and remove items easily without disturbing other items.
I have found that organizational systems that are complicated and completely unique are difficult to stick with. My simple binder system is organized under the same logic as the census. This makes it easier to follow and it dovetails nicely with your digital organization (which I’ll be discussing in Episode 7) and your genealogy research.
The census is organized by households (typically families) with a designated head of household (typically the father.) Of course, this isn’t always the case. There are always exceptions. But we are focused on a big-picture over-arching principle that will guide our organization.
Start with the ancestors closest to you. In my example, I began with my grandparents. Each direct line in your tree gets a 3-ring “surname” binder.
Tabs within the binder are organized by the head of household, just like the census. Again, typically, this is the man of the house.
Items are placed in acid-free sheet protectors and filed behind the appropriate head of household tab, in reverse chronological order, beginning with death records.
This process may take a while depending on how much you have already collected. Don’t worry about organizing everything in one sitting. If you have amassed a lot of paper, there is no need to stop all research until everything you have is organized. It’s just not realistic. All you need to do is get the supplies, set up your first generation of notebooks, and any notebooks for the lines you are currently researching. Use this method and file as you research and come across new paper. Schedule blocks of organization time and use that time to go back and process and file your existing paper. By doing this you can continue the fun of genealogy while continually making progress organizing and archiving your paper backlog.
Organizational success also depends on having the material you need on hand. Below is my shopping list, including what I generally think is the minimum number of items to start with. If you decide to buy online, I appreciate it when you use my links because Genealogy Gems will be compensated at no additional cost to you. This helps support this free show.
(1) set of 3-ring binder tab dividers (Regular or extra-large as you prefer. You can also buy clear tabs for direct line ancestors, and colored for others lines if you wish.)
Setting Up Your First Notebook
Create a cover and spine for your notebook in a simple Word document or other program. Save it as a template so that you can quickly generate covers and spines as needed.
Add the tabbed dividers to the notebook.
Label the first tab as Pending. This is where you will place items for that family line that you have not yet finished processing. Think of this tab as a staging area for paper you acquire throughout your research before they have been entered into your database.
Dividing Tabs: Label the second tab with the head of the family for the generation closest to you. Each generational head of household (Father, Grandfather, etc.) gets a tab. Label the remaining tabs as far back as you can. (Click here to jump to the spot in the episode on YouTube where I show the tabs.)
Generally, I organize the items behind the tabs in chronological order no matter who they pertain to within his family. This creates a sort of timeline. However, for a large volume of documents you could use colored dividing tabs to divide items by each person in his family while that person is in his household. If you do want to break things up a bit, you don’t have to have a colored tab for every family member. You could have one for the wife, and one for all the children. You could even have one for all the kids but break out just your direct ancestor and give him or her their own. Do what works for you, and then stick to it!
How to File Paper in the Notebooks
Filing Records for Women
Documents for female children are filed under their father prior to marriage, and then all documents generated after their marriage are filed under their husband.
A widowed woman has a married name, and her items are filed under her husband’s tab. If she remarries, all her items generated from that point forward are filed under her new husband unless you think you’ll have enough paper to warrant a new book. Otherwise, you can certainly just continue filing paperwork for her and her new husband under that tab. The choice is yours. Feel free to add cross-referencing notes.
Filing Collateral Lines:
Collateral relatives are the ones that descend from the brothers or sisters of your direct ancestors (i.e. nieces, nephews, cousins). File paperwork for collateral relatives under the direct ancestor they are most closely related to, or in a tab at the end of the family binder called Collateral Relatives. (That’s what I do.) Strive to digitize as much as possible. Chances are, you won’t have a lot of paperwork to archive for collateral relatives. If you do, ask yourself if you really need all of it!
Eventually your families will branch out into other surnames, and you will need to start new binders. Use the smaller 1″ 3-ring binder for this purpose.
As your research progresses, you may need to move the family from a 1″ binder to a 3″ binder. But some families, particularly those farther back in your family tree (where there is less original archive-worthy paperwork) will be adequately accommodated by 1″ binders. Save space by not automatically moving families into 3″ binders.
My system includes a Family Heirloom Tracking binder and digital file folder. Each page features one heirloom and includes:
Notebook cover and spine template Word documents (Log In required) Click here to download.
Why Do You Do Genealogy?
I don’t know about you, but I get asked a lot by people who aren’t into genealogy, “Why do you do it?”
I’ve given this a lot of thought over the years, and I’ve come to an important conclusion:
Quote by Lisa Louise Cooke
Please take a moment to share in the comments as to why you do genealogy. I’d love to hear your personal reasons.
Did you like this episode? What resonated with you? What goals are you setting this week? Do you have a questions for me? Please leave your comments and questions below. I can’t wait to hear from you, and I look forward to seeing you next week on Elevenses with Lisa.
Click the image below to set your reminder for the live episode of Elevenses with Lisa (Thursday, May 7, 2020 at 11:00 am Central.) If you’re reading these show notes after that date, click here to get all the episodes and show notes, starting with the most recent.
Click here to set your reminder for Episode 7 of Elevenses with Lisa.
Join me for Elevenses with Lisa, the online video series where we take a break, visit and learn. Click to watch below, and scroll down for all the details from Episode 5.
This week’s tea cup:
Old Country Roses by Royal Albert.
From My Viewers:
From Barbara C.:
When teaching 2nd grade years ago, I read Winnie to my kids after lunch each day. When I began, little did I know it was a story for adults, too. I’ve always remembered this line.
“When late morning rolls around and you’re feeling a bit out of sorts, don’t worry; you’re probably just a little eleven o’clockish.”
It’s 11 o’clockish!
Genealogy News this Week
The National Archives of the UK
The National Archives is making digital records available for free online for as long as Kew is closed to visitors. If you have British ancestry, this is a great time to do some genealogy research from home.
“Registered users will be able to order and download up to 10 items at no cost, to a maximum of 50 items over 30 days. The limits are there to try and help manage the demand for content and ensure the availability of our digital services for everyone.”
MyHeritage is making U.S. Yearbooks available for free and they are in color.
MyHeritage has opened up access their yearbook collection for FREE, through May 23, 2020!
The collection includes 290 million names in 36 million pages, from yearbooks across the U.S. from 1890 until 1979. 10 million photos were colorized in the first 3 months following the launch of MyHeritage In Color™.
MyHeritage In Color™ has been applied to the Yearbook collection.
The goal is to “give people a fun activity to do when they are isolated at home that is genealogical, enjoyable, and free.”
Cristen shared a photo of herself watching the show with her Great Grandmothers hand painted China (which is lovely!)
Here’s her question:
Q: Can you create a new tag in Evernote on mobile?
How to create a new tag in Evernote on mobile:
Tap the Info (“i” in a circle icon) and
Tap Add Tag
Type in the new tag you want to create
Tap the Return key on your keyboard
The tag will appear in green, and will now be included in your list of available tags.
How Alice the Genealogist Avoids Falling Down the Rabbit Hole
Creating a Supportive Computing Environment
The following tools are available for your computer desktop or laptop.
In addition to using Ctrl+Shift+T (Win) or Cmd+Shift+T (Mac) to restore a closed browser tab, you can also right-click on the new tab plus sign and select Reopen closed tab from the pop-up menu. You can do this multiple times and web pages will continue to open in the reverse-order that they were closed.
Turn Multiple Tabs into One and Save Memory with OneTab
Online genealogy research can leave you with a lot of open web browser tabs. While using multiple tabs allows you to jump back and forth between web pages and records, they can take up valuable computer memory.
You can dramatically reduce your memory usage with the OneTab extension available for both the Chrome and Firefox browsers. With one click, OneTab will combine your open tabs into a clickable list in one browser tab. You can even export the list for future reference.
Get OneTab in the Chrome Web Store here.
Get OneTab in the Firefox Web Store here.
Reduce Email Distractions
Gmail now has a Snooze feature which allows you to temporarily file an email until the date and time you select.
Snoozed emails will reappear in your Inbox at the scheduled time.
Retrieve snoozed emails at any time by clicking “Snoozed” in the menu on the left.
Get Back on Track with MyActivity
When you are signed into your Google account, MyActivity tracks the searches you conduct and the websites you visit. By visiting your MyActivity, you can search for and return to any previous activity. You can also turn it off. Go to MyActivity and click Activity Controls from the menu. Switch the slider to the off position.
Save Time by Previewing Your Google Search Results
Rather than clicking on each search result and loading the page (which also takes you away from the rest of your search results), use the Google Results Previewer web extension for Chrome. Once installed you can simply hover your mouse over a result link to reveal a preview of the page. Then you can decide whether to click through or preview additional results.
Click here to get the Google Results Previewer web extension for Chrome.
Resources for Further Learning
Genealogy Gems Premium Video: Organize Your Online Life More tech tips for getting and staying organized, saving time, and getting more results!
Premium Video: Full length class by Lisa Louise Cooke.
Genealogy Gems Premium Membership includes 50 video classes including 6 on using Evernote, and 2 on mobile genealogy topics. Click here to learn more or become a member. For a limited time new members can save 25% off Premium membership. Use Coupon codeALICE25 now through May 15, 2020.
Genealogy Gems Premium Video: Using Evernote to Create a Research Plan.
The key to a successful family history research plan is having a set process for gathering and analyzing data. I will show you how to set up your plan in Evernote.
Premium Membership also includes the video class: Using Evernote to Create a Research Plan by Lisa Louise CookeEvernote Quick Reference Guide, by Lisa Louise Cooke. Available at Genealogy Gems Store.
Join me for Elevenses with Lisa, the new online video series where we take a break, visit and learn. Click to watch below, and scroll down for all the details from Episode 4:
Questions and Answers
Bill in Athens, TX is looking forward to having his wife bake a batch of the Sour Cream Drop Cookies recipe that I shared in episode 2 of Elevenses with Lisa. (Click here to get the recipe and hear the story of genealogical serendipity that led to its discovery.)
Recipes from long ago often don’t include all the details we’ve come to expect in today’s recipes. Here are Bill’s questions and my answers:
Q: What oven temperature have you found works best?
A: 375 degrees.
Q: About how many cookies does this recipe make?
A: Using a teaspoon to drop the rounded cookies on the sheet yielded about 2 dozen. I froze half the batch, and they defrosted nicely.
Consensus on the Show’s Name
Many, many viewers chimed in on whether or not to keep or change the name Elevenses with Lisa. The overwhelming consensus was to keep the name. And now I can tell you, that’s what I wanted to do. Thank you to everyone who sent messages!
Caryl was one of many who encouraged me to keep the name.
Part 3 of How Alice the Genealogist Avoids Falling Down the Rabbit Hole
Here’s a quick recap of what we covered in Episode 3:
1. Use a Cloud-Notetaking Service
Get a free Cloud note-taking tool and use it consistently. (Examples include Evernote, OneNote, and Google Keep.)
Use the website, software, and/or app to capture unexpected finds while researching. Both Evernote and OneNote work on all platforms.
Your notes in your account will synchronize between your devices (depending on the program and plan you choose.) You can add to your notes or work with them anytime, anywhere.
2. Schedule BSO Time
I use Google Calendar to stay organized and schedule my BSO time. Create a BSO calendar, and then schedule BSO time on your calendar. These will help you remember to follow up. Knowing you have set aside time in the future to explore the BSO helps you mentally let them go and stay on track with your research plan.
This week we covered:
3. Mobile BSO Organization
Success comes from pairing your research plan and process with a great supportive research environment. We have a variety of “environments” we work within such as:
On paper at our desk
On our mobile devices
On our computer
Does your mobile computing environment feel like this? Keep reading for organization ideas.
Let’s look at how we can set up a workflow for BSOs while mobile computing.
My two favorite methods for capturing BSOs on a smartphone or tablet are 1) Cloud Notetaking, and 2) Home Screen “Bookmark Apps”.
Option 1: Cloud Notetaking
I’ll be using Evernote on an iPhone as an example. (You may see slight variations in the instructions depending on the service you use and your device.)
Evernote is a great choice if you want to easily sync and use your notes on all devices including your desktop computer and / or laptop computer.
Before you begin, you’ll need a free Evernote account at evernote.com. You’ll also need to download the free Evernote app from your device’s app store, and log into your account.
When you come across a BSO while researching online in a web browser (such as the Chrome or Safari app), here’s how to capture it:
Tap the Share icon on the web page.
Select Evernote from the menu. If you don’t see it tap More for the complete menu of available apps.
Tap More to find the Evernote app
If you still don’t see it, make sure you have downloaded the app.
The app will open and should open a new note. Edit the note as desired.
Edit the BSO note
Tag the note with the “BSO” tag, as well as any other tags you find helpful.
Tag with the BSO tag
The note is now saved to Evernote. If you are on WiFi, Evernote will synchronize so that the note will be available from any device signed into your Evernote account.
The BSO tagged note
Option 2: Home Screen “Bookmark Apps”
Keep in mind that these aren’t the same as “Bookmarks” found in your web browser apps. I call them “Bookmark Apps” because they do save a particular web page, and they look just like apps. In the menu this feature is called “add to home screen.”
Bookmark Apps are best for when you plan to do your BSO follow up on the same mobile device.
How to capture a BSO as a Bookmark App:
In your browser app, when you come across a BSO web page, tap the share icon.
Tap Add to Home Screen.
Tap Add to Home Screen
Edit the title so it will be easy to remember why you wanted to follow up on it.
Tap Add (iOS – this may be different on Android, or different browsers)
The web page “bookmark app” is now on your home screen.
Once you have created at least two BSO bookmark apps, you can then create a folder.
How to create a folder:
Move the bookmark app by pressing and holding it until it shakes.
Keep your finger on it and drag it onto the other BSO bookmark. This will create a folder.
Name the folder “BSO”.
Press the home button to save.
Bookmark apps in the BSO folder
Now whenever you have some spare time you can tap the BSO folder and get back to one of those items that previously caught your eye.
Resources for Further Learning
Genealogy Gems Premium Membership includes 50 video classes including 6 on using Evernote, and 2 on mobile genealogy topics. Click here to learn more or become a member. For a limited time new members can save 25% off Premium membership. Use Coupon code:ALICE25
One of the 50 video classes included in Genealogy Gems Premium Membership.
Coming in the next episode:
In Episode 5 of Elevenses with Lisa we will cover the final part of How Alice the Genealogist Avoids Falling Down the Rabbit Hole. This section will cover tips for staying organized while researching on your computer. Click here to set your reminder to watch the live show.
I want to hear from you
Please leave your comments and questions below. Thanks for joining me for Elevenses with Lisa!
What’s even better than listening to a genealogy podcast? Watching and listening to a genealogy online show! Elevenses with Lisa is the new online video series by author, international genealogy speaker, and host of The Genealogy Gems Podcast, Lisa Louise Cooke. Tune in live or watch on your own schedule. Click to watch below, and scroll down for all the details from Episode 3:
Staying Connect with the Grandkids and Friends
During this time of staying at home, we all miss our loved ones and friends. This week I shared an app with you that is great for playing virtually. Here’s what I did with my grandkids.
Set up a computer, phone or tablet for calling on FaceTime. (You could also use Skype, Zoom or any other number of free services.)
Download the Draw Something app to a second device – phone or tablet. Since this is a drawing game, a tablet gives you a bit more room to work.
Friend your grandkids through the app.
Video call your grandkids on the first device, and then take turns drawing and guessing pictures on the second device.
How Alice the Genealogist Avoids the Rabbit Hole Part 2
Don’t let unexpected genealogical finds send you down a rabbit hole any longer. In this episode I cover concrete strategies for staying focused on what matters most, while not losing track of opportunities that present themselves. You’ll also learn about free tech tools that you can put in place to give you peace of mind, take back those lost hours, and help you be more productive.
Identify BSOs (Bright Shiny Objects)
You can’t avoid danger (to your current research plan) if you don’t know what it looks like! My test will help you determine if what has caught your eye while researching online is a BSO.
How Alice identifies a BSO
Take the BSO Test:
Does this get me closer to answering my research question?
On a scale of 1 – 10 how potentially critical is this to my research?
Am I willing to give up finding the answer to my research question to pursue this?
Once you’ve identified BSOs, it’s time to implement a process for dealing with them so you can stay focused on our research question, as well as return to the BSO to explore its potential.
5 Ways to Capture & Return to BSOs
1. Use a Cloud Note-taking Service
Get yourself a free Cloud note-taking tool (Evernote, OneNote, Google Docs, etc.) and use it consistently. Use the website, software, and/or app to capture unexpected finds while researching.
I happen to use Evernote. If you’re new to Evernote, here’s a quick video that will help explain it to you.
Here’s an example of how I use Evernote to capture BSOs:
Create a tag in Evernote called BSO.
Each time you come across something that tempts you to deviate from your current focus, clip it and tag it with the BSO tag. This will allow you to move on with your research plan with confidence, knowing that it will be easy to locate and pursue the BSO later.
Add additional tags if desired to help you remember what it was about or why it interested you, such as a surname tag.
Evernote notes can have multiple tags, so use them.
Annotate the note to provide additional information as to why the BSO caught your eye, and what you plan to follow up on later.
Evernote will attach a link to the page where you clipped the item to the note. This means with one click you can return to the original source.
Notes tagged in Evernote
The benefit of using a Cloud-based note-taking tool is that your notes will be available to you on all your devices (depending on whether you have a free or subscription plan.) You can add additional information to your notes, and work with them anytime, anywhere.
2. Schedule BSO Time
One of the main reasons we get side-tracked by BSOs while working online is that we are afraid if we don’t look at it right now we’ll lost it or never go back to it. By scheduling time specifically for working on tagged BSOs, you will feel more confident about letting them go while you are working on a research plan.
I schedule my time in the free Google calendar. You can have several different calendars (i.e. categories of types of things you schedule.) Create a “BSO” calendar and color code it so it’s easy to spot. Schedule BSO time and follow up items as future events on your calendar. Set Notifications and Email Reminders for each item.
Scheduling BSO times means you can mentally let them go for now!
Create a “BSO” calendar
Coming in the next episode:
In Episode 4 of Elevenses with Lisa we will cover Mobile Organization. We spend a lot of time on our phones and tablets. Get ready for the best tips and tricks that will help you stay on task. Click here to set your reminder to watch.
Mobile Genealogy Organization
Hold an “Elevenses with Lisa” Watch Party
Here’s a fun idea for introducing your friends or local genealogy society to Elevenses with Lisa. Consider scheduling a Watch Party on Facebook where you can watch the video replay together at a specified meeting time and have your own live chat.
Under the video on Facebook you will find a “Watch Party” button.
Click the video’s Start button
If you don’t see it, click the three vertical dots in the upper right corner to find the “Watch Party” option. (Note: you may have to click “See more options” in the menu to see “Start Watch Party.”)
Click the 3 dots icon, and then Start Watch Party.
Set up is very self-explanatory. Simply search for the name of your group or society. You can also create a new Facebook group of genealogy friends and then select that group:
Setting up a watch party.
Genealogy Gems for Societies – Update
Genealogy Gems for Societies is a premium subscription service just for genealogical societies and groups (such as libraries). It’s is a cost-effective way for groups to provide high quality family history video presentations at your regular meetings. (Click here to see the current archive)
COVID-19 Update: The package provides a license to show video recordings of my most popular genealogy classes. Normally, the license is for a group presentation (such as a monthly society meeting) at a single location. However, during this difficult time of social-distancing, many societies are struggling to meet the needs of their members. I want to help by making the Genealogy Gems Society Package more flexible during the federal stay-at-home recommendation. That’s why we are waiving the “single location” license requirement. Society Package holders may show the videos via webinar in a virtual meeting to their society members. Genealogy Gems truly wants to be your partner in your effort to create and sustain a thriving local genealogy society.
What’s even better than listening to a genealogy podcast? Watching and listening to a genealogy online show! Elevenses with Lisa is the new online video series by author and international genealogy speaker and host of The Genealogy Gems Podcast, Lisa Louise Cooke. Tune in live or watch on your own schedule. Click to watch below, and scroll down for all the details from Episode 2:
In Elevenses with Lisa I get a chance to talk about many of my favorite things including genealogy. Below you’ll find items you may want to try yourself, as well as the notes from our genealogy learn-at-home session.
The Live Show is Moving to the Genealogy Gems YouTube Channel
Join me for the live show Elevenses with Lisa at the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel starting April 16, 2020. (Episodes 1-3 were held on Facebook Live.)
Then click the bell icon to receive notifications. (This is important because it will alert you by email that a new show has been scheduled or published.)
After “Subscribing” click the bell icon.
Look for the next scheduled live episode at the top of the list of videos and click “Set Reminder”
Click here to learn more about how to tune in the live show.
The Cookie Recipe
Many of you asked for the yummy cookie recipe I mention in this episode. Isn’t it incredible that a woman in California who was attending my genealogy presentation had a sister with a cookbook from the little town in Minnesota of my mother-in-laws ancestors from 80 years ago that contained the exact family recipe I was in search of? Talk about genealogical serendipity!
Here’s the recipe (I set my oven to 375 degrees):
Sour Cream Drop Cookie Recipe from the 1940s.
TV Viewing Recommendation
I also shared with you that my favorite television series is Good Neighbors (The Good Life in the UK). It stars the amazing ensemble cast of Richard Briers, Felicity Kendall, Penelope Keith and Paul Eddington. Sometimes you can catch the series on Amazon Prime, or PBS, but the DVDs are well worth having. (If you decide to order them, we appreciate you using our affiliate link below. We are compensated when you make a purchase, at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting this free Elevenses with Lisa show.)
Colorize Your Family Photos
We got some happy news during this time of self-quarantine. MyHeritage is granting free access to MyHeritage In Color™ through April 23, 2020. Click the image below to read my article about colorizing your old family photos at MyHeritage.
Click to read more about colorizing your old family photos at MyHeritage.
How Alice the Genealogist Avoids the Rabbit Hole Part 1
Don’t let unexpected genealogical finds send you down a rabbit hole any longer. We’ll cover concrete strategies for staying focused on what matters most, while not losing track of opportunities that present themselves. You’ll also learn about free tech tools that you can put in place to give you peace of mind, take back those lost hours, and help you be more productive.
Follow along with me to learn how Alice the Genealogist avoids falling down the online rabbit hole!
Vulnerability to Rabbit Holes
In order to improve in anything, you have to know your vulnerabilities. When it comes to falling down a genealogical rabbit hole I’ve identified 5 of the most common vulnerabilities:
Not having a crystal-clear research question
Not having your next steps mapped out
Not having a specific method for dealing with BSOs (bright shiny objects)
Not implementing that method consistently
No muscle to stick with your plan
We’re going to tackle 1, 2, and 3 above. With these in place I believe you’ll feel confident and take care of 4 & 5!
1. Write a Research Question
Before beginning your research, take a moment to write out your research question or statement. It will help guide you and keep you on task.
Think about what you want to specifically accomplish. State your goal in specific terms:
“Identify the village in Germany where Louise Nikolowski and her family were from so I can locate church records.”
Effective Research Questions (according to the Board of Certification of Genealogists)
Genealogy Standards #10:
“Questions underlying research plans concern aspects of identity, relationship, events, and situations. The questions are sufficiently broad to be answerable with evidence from relevant places and times. They are sufficiently focused to yield answers that may be tested and shown to meet or not meet the Genealogical Proof Standard.”
clearly describe a unique person, group, or event as the focus of the question
clearly state what kind of information that you’re hoping to discover, such as an identity, relationship, event, or biographical detail.
Keep this research question in front of you by:
printing it out and setting it in front of your monitor
putting it on a “sticky” note on your computer’s desktop (virtually or physically!)
writing it at the top of your physical or virtual notebook.
2. Map Your Next Moves
Break your primary research question down into smaller, individual research questions.
According to Elizabeth Shown Mills, after analyzing the existing data:
“we prepare a research plan that defines:
the resources to be explored
the strategies to be applied
the individuals who are to be included in that search
any special circumstances that will affect the project.”
Where is the birthplace of Gustav Sporowski (father of Alfreda) who resided in Gillespie, Illinois in 1910-1918?
Here are examples of questions to be answered that support the research question:
Question 1 – Did he apply for citizenship? If so, what is listed?
Question 2 – Find passenger list: what place of origin is listed?
Question 3 – What was listed for other passengers accompanying him? (If any)
Question 4 – Where are other Sporowskis from that are listed in passenger lists?
For each question above, make a list of the resources (records) you need to find to answer these questions, and where you plan to look for them. Track the outcome.
“we prepare a research plan that defines:
the resources to be explored
the strategies to be applied
the individuals who are to be included in that search
any special circumstances that will affect the project.”
Coming next in the next episode:
#3 Dealing with BSOs – We’ll discuss an incredibly easy and effective method for handling Bright Shiny Objects that distract you from your research plan!