In this episode we discuss how great genealogy questions and research plans can help you accomplish your family history goals. Then I’ve got ideas you can start using right away to manage distractions effectively.
On March 26, 2020 I started producing a new weekly YouTube Live show called Elevenses with Lisa. Originally it was in response to the fact that COVID-19 had created a situation where we were all staying home. For me that meant that all of my in-person speaking engagements for the foreseeable future had been cancelled or rescheduled. I saw it as an opportunity to take on a new challenge, which is live video production.
I love doing the live show on YouTube. It’s definitely different than doing a podcast. It’s more interactive which in turn makes me more animated. And obviously it’s a visual medium so it provides an opportunity to show as well as tell.
Of course, sitting down to watch a video is more stagnant than listening to a podcast. When you’re listening to a podcast you can still move about and get things done if you want. So, I’m sure there are some of you who haven’t seen the Elevenses with Lisa show yet. That’s why in this episode I’m bringing you a few highlights of the YouTube Live show in audio form.
In episode 2 of Elevenses with Lisa I talked about the importance of creating research questions and plans. This was the first presentation in a series called How Alice the Genealogist Avoids Falling Down the Rabbit Hole. If you want to stay on track and achieve your genealogy goals, a research plan is really essential.
Then in the third episode I talked about “Bright Shiny Objects”, also known as BSOs, that can distract you from your research plan. I shared the techniques I use to deal with them so that I don’t miss a good thing while still staying on track.
If you watch the show this will be a refresher for you, and if you haven’t gotten around to watching it, I hope it will inspire you to join us in the future, as well as help you improve your genealogy research today.
You will find the complete notes for the topics discussed in this episode (and more) in the show notes web pages for these episodes of Elevenses with Lisa:
Episode 2 – how research questions and plans will improve your genealogy research.
Episode 3 – dealing with Bright Shiny Objects that threaten to get you off track.
Get the Entire “Alice” Video and Handout
If you enjoyed this portion of How Alice the Genealogist Avoids the Rabbit Hole and you’re a Genealogy Gems Premium member, I have the entire presentation edited together in one complete video class for you in the Premium Videos area at genealogygems.com.
Premium Members get the entire video class plus 7 page downloadable handout.
There you can also download the complete handout which is ad-free and 7 pages long. It includes not only research plans and BSO management but also creating supportive research environments both on your computer and mobile devices.
For centuries, the month of June has been the most popular choice for weddings.
All about June Weddings – Genealogy Gems
One of the purported reasons was that some hundreds of years ago, this time was just after May’s annual bath, so the happy couple and the guests were about as clean as could be hoped.
With the ensuing advances in plumbing and overall hygiene, dressy weddings are readily staged year-round, from simple civil ceremonies and backyard or back-to-nature vows, to elaborate church functions. In normal years, there are more than 2.2 million weddings across the nation.
The median age at first marriage for women is now 28 years— up six years since 1980. Men are now an average age of 29.8 when they take their first vows.
Our family’s history comes in many forms, and some of them over time can become obsolete. I shared in this episode my continuing progress on my own project of converting the rest of my old home movies that are in a variety of formats (8mm, mini DV, High 8, and VHS.) I use Larsen Digital and have been extremely pleased with the service and results. The folks at Larsen Digital have put together special and exclusive discounts for Genealogy Gems listeners and readers. Click here to learn more and receive exclusive discounts and coupon codes.
Join me for Elevenses with Lisa, the online video series where we take a break, visit and learn.
Chatsworth is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family. The movie Pride and Prejudice (2005) was filmed there. In my cup: Blueberry Merlot by Tea Forte Herbal Retreat. You can get it here at Amazon(This is an affiliate link, so if you make a purchase we will be compensated at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting this free show!)
How to Get Relatives Interested in Family History
For me Family and faith have always been the answer for life’s challenges and turmoil. In this hour together we will recharge and look at ways to positively influence our family, now and in the future.
Preparing Your Relatives Now
Focus on ways to make the results of your research understandable by non-genealogists and create those items now. Make it a priority to share your findings in creative and simple ways as you go to help relatives understand the value of your research to you and them. You will have much more success down the road if you help build understanding today.
Christmas Wreath and Crazy Quilt Christmas Stocking
Click here for the Genealogy Gems playlist that includes the 4 part instructional series on making these family history wreaths.
See all your options by Googling genealogy wall charts.
Embellished Picture Frames
Decorate an old picture frame with items reflecting the life of your ancestor featured in the photo.
Embellish an old photo frame with vintage items that help tell the story of your ancestor.
Family History Wall Art
Make wall art like the matte canvas photo I made in episode 6 of Elevenses with Lisa. The show notes for that episode includes details.
Posters from Family Photos
Get posters made of significant photos from the past. I ordered mine from Vista Print. If you sign up for a service’s newsletter you’ll likely get notification of sales and discount coupons. Poster frames can be ordered online through Amazon and stores like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.
Celebrate the history of your family members!
Tabletop Family Story Displays
I took an old locker and filled it with items reflecting my husband’s story. You could also use a small cabinet, crate, basket, etc.
Create short books that tell a single family history story.
Google Earth “Family History Tour”
Back in 2009 I pioneered a use for the free Google Earth program called “Family History Tours”. These tours take a little time but are fairly easy to create, and they make a big impact. You can download Google Earth Pro for free here. Then, watch my video below for a closer look at family history tours in Google Earth.
Resources for learning how to create family history tours:
Google Earth for Genealogy step-by-step tutorial video series by Lisa Louise Cooke. Now for a limited time get 25% off with coupon code EARTH11.
Turn Family History Photos into Eye-Catching Memes
I use the Retype app. (About $2.99)
Other free alternatives include apps like Adobe Spark Post or Over.
Add text to photos, customize the font and text color, and save. An easy way to access old family photos on your smartphone or tablet is to save copies of the photos to a free cloud service on your computer. Then open that app on your phone. Select a photo and save it to your device. Once the photo is in your Photos app, you can then open Retype and import that photo. Add text, font, color and more.
Apps can turn family history photos into social media image that generate conversation.
Create a Video that Tells a Story
It’s easier than ever to create videos, and no special skills are required. Video is the #1 type of content on the Web and with the next generation. Get instructions and ideas here at Genealogy Gems.
I trust all of my old home movies (8mm, VHS, mini DV, High-8, etc.) conversion and digitization to Larsen Digital. They do spectacular work! Click here for exclusive special discounts for Elevenses with Lisa fans!
The video below features one of my grandmother’s old home movies that Larsen Digital converted for me. And boy oh boy was I excited by what I discovered!
Elevenses with Lisa viewer Jillian T. shared how she is bringing family history into her home office:
“I have tried to tune in each week to your Genealogy Gems ‘Elevenses’ (which is 5 pm here in Ireland and therefore a perfect end to my workday). A few weeks ago, you shared how you found the photo of your husbands ancestors and through newspapers found out more about the musical troupe. You organized to have the photo printed on canvas and the finished project was wonderful.
I have always wishing to do a ‘family tree’ on the wall of my office but was afraid it would end up looking like an arts and crafts project. You gave me the kick I needed and decided, if not now, when?
So, I measured up the wall, researched and trawled through my vast collection of photos. I was very conscious that I have better historic photos on my ‘dads’ side with thanks to a wonderful elderly cousin who shares my passion. But as a genealogist, I wished to ensure I had balance and so decided only three photos from each ‘side’. I found a decal that was a good price (about $20) and the perfect size for my wall. I organised for the photos to be printed and mounted on canvas (more expensive but knew if the project didn’t work, I could find another use for the mounted photos).
It took a few weeks for everything to arrive, as you will see in the attached, I did the base of the tree first – we called it the haunted tree as we had to wait another week for the photos to arrive. Then we took time deciding on the placing of the photos and then added the leaves.
I am writing to say a huge thank you. I will have this lovely project to remind me of this time, and as I sit here and type, it is lovely to know my family ‘has my back’.
Thank you for your initiative of the weekly meet up. Your energy and enthusiasm are infectious. I met you at RootsTech in 2016 and have continued to follow you since. Thank you for all you do and to you and your family, let me share an old Irish blessing “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
Warmest wishes, Stay smart, Jillian”
Jillian’s ancestors “have her bacK” in her office!
Gayle P. shares some of the ways she protects her family history from destruction.
“I have organized many things into books. My living room is my grandma’s family history room and some of my grandchildren love to look through things. However, when I ask if they would be interested in having certain books, they ask me, “Grama, why don’t you scan it and give me a flash drive or CD.” I decided to give memory flash drives for Christmas presents. I feel relieved that I have several backups.
For example, while my son was serving a two-year mission in Germany, 1990-1992, he wrote faithfully every week. 30 years later, he is now working for the Air Force in Germany close to where he served his mission.
I scanned his letters and pictures he sent to me, organized them in books and sent them to him. His children enjoy the scanned version of his memoirs. He plans on revisiting many of the areas where he served 30 years ago. He wrote four simple words that brought many tears: “Mom, thank you forever.”
Another example is I have scanned and organized my pictures by years and share many of these years with my family. Over Memorial Day, my daughter-in-law was in a panic because she could not retrieve her 2012 pictures. She called and asked if I could share my 2012 pictures. Within a short time, I was able to scan about 5000 pictures I had for that year and share with her. I had many, many pictures of her daughter and her family. Another “thank you forever” brought tears to my eyes.
I currently have over 500,000 pictures/documents scanned and have three personal backups. I am still have a lot to scan and probably will not get everything scanned before I die, but I am sharing what I have now so I know that some of my family will have a copy of my most treasured work and memories.
Scanning and sharing a ton in Idaho, Gayle”
Now there’s a woman who doesn’t need a “round tuit”, and who is definitely a positive influence on her family!
Cathy G wrote a comment to ask about the templates I use for my notebook covers and spines.
“Wonderful shows – really enjoying the elevenses. Such good information always. Especially enjoyed the ones on organizing paper and hard drive database. More please. One quick question: you mentioned printing your own binder covers and spines – can’t find a template in my Word program. Can you direct us to the one you use? Thanks.”
I’m happy to share my simple yet effective templates for the covers and spines on my notebooks. Genealogy Gems Premium members can now download these from the Resources section of the Elevenses with Lisaepisode 6 show notes.
Gayle has been hard at work creating family history notebooks.
Watch My Free Presentation
Watch my free Facebook Live presentation of Fabulous Photo Discoveries at MyHeritage.
I hope you enjoyed the ideas presented in this episode, and that you take action on at least one of them. It may be just what your relatives need to see the family history clearer.
That being said, even if no one else in your family cares right now or wants your genealogy, It’s ok. We’ve done all we can and the rest is out of our control.
If genealogy has brought You joy, sharpened your mind, given you countless hours of amusement, connection, and satisfaction, then it’s all been worth it! No one can take that away from you.
And the way I look at it, when we get to heaven we’ll know a lot more people!
Next Episode of Elevenses with Lisa
Episode 12 will air Live on June 18, 2020 at the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel. After the live show, the episode will be available as a video. Show notes will be published on June 19.
Click the video above to Set your reminder for episode 12, or click here. Please be sure to click our channel’s Subscribe button while you’re there. Then click the Notifications bell to so you’ll know when we post new videos and episodes.
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Stay smart and stay brave! Thanks so much for watching friend. I’ll talk to you soon.
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With so many new records coming online, I’m going to focus today on collections that are new, or have had a substantial update. These records are from around the world, and offer excellent opportunities to expand your genealogical research.
Keep reading here at Genealogy Gems for all the latest new records.
New Record Collections at FamilySearch
New indexed record collections offer new hope for genealogists yearning to bust a brick wall in their family tree. FamilySearch has recently launched several noteworthy newgenealogical record collections. Some have substantial amounts of new records and some are just getting started. As always, they are free to access with an account. Here’s the latest:
This release constitutes the first substantial set of Greek record collections available on MyHeritage. All three collections have been indexed by MyHeritage and for the first time are now searchable in English, as well as in Greek. The total size of MyHeritage’s historical record database is now 12.2 billion records. This release positions MyHeritage as an invaluable genealogy resource for family history enthusiasts who have Greek roots.
“As the cradle of western civilization and a crossroads of continents and cultures, Greece is becoming a gem among MyHeritage’s historical record collections. The records in these collections are rich in detail and have pan-European, Balkan, and Mediterranean significance. The communities documented were shaped by Greek, Italian, French, and Russian influences, have been home to significant Catholic and Jewish communities, and represent some of the world’s most progressive systems of governance. These collections will prove valuable both to novice researchers and experienced genealogists,” said Russ Wilding, Chief Content Officer of MyHeritage.
The publication of these collections furthers MyHeritage’s commitment to providing new avenues for Greek family history research. In one of the company’s pro bono initiatives, MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet personally traced the descendants of a Jewish family that was hidden during World War II on the small island of Erikoussa, north of Corfu. The entire population of the island collectively gave refuge to the family, and saved it from death. His genealogical detective work, combined with MyHeritage’s extensive global database of historical records, culminated in recognition for the courageous people of Erikoussa, who were presented with the House of Life award by the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation. This was depicted in the books ‘When the Cypress Whispers’ and ‘Something Beautiful Happened’ by Yvette Manessis Corporon, whose grandmother was among those who saved the Jewish family on Erikoussa.
Japhet utilized his hands-on experience in Greek research to develop the enhanced method by which MyHeritage now handles Greek surnames in the new collections. In Greece, a woman’s last name is the genitive form of her father’s surname, or when she marries, of her husband’s surname. The new Greek collections on MyHeritage have been made gender-agnostic so that searches and matches will work to the fullest extent. For example, a search for the Jewish surname “Velleli” in the new collections on MyHeritage will also locate people named “Vellelis”. It is also possible to find these surnames by searching for “Belleli”, because the Greek letter beta is pronounced like the English letter V, but in some countries this distinction has been lost and Greek surnames are sometimes pronounced with the letter B, the way they are written in modern English. MyHeritage’s Global Name Translation Technology further ensures that when searching on MyHeritage in other languages, such as Hebrew and Russian, the results will also include names in the new Greek collections. No other major genealogy company has these Greek record collections, nor such sophisticated algorithms customized for Greek genealogy research.
The Greece Electoral Rolls (1863–1924) consist of 1,006,594 records and provide nationwide coverage of males ages 21 and up who were eligible to vote. They list the voter’s given name, surname, father’s name, age, and occupation. Each record includes the individual’s name in Greek, and a Latinized transliteration of the name that follows the standard adopted by the Greek government. MyHeritage translated many of the occupations from Greek to English and expanded many given names, which are often abbreviated in the original records. This new collection includes scans of the original documents and is the most extensive index of Greek electoral rolls currently available anywhere.
The Corfu Vital Records (1841–1932) consist of 646,807 birth, marriage, and death records. The records were collected by the civil authorities in Corfu and document the life events of all residents of the island regardless of their ethnicity or religion. Birth records from this collection may contain the child’s given name and surname, birthdate and place of birth, name and age of both parents, and the given names of the child’s grandfathers. A marriage record from this collection may include the date of marriage, groom’s given name and surname, age, place of birth, residence, and his father’s name. Similar information is recorded about the bride and her father. Death records in this collection may include the name of the deceased, date of death, age at death, place of birth, residence, and parents’ names. The indexed collection of Corfu Vital Records includes scans of the original documents and is available exclusively on MyHeritage.
The Sparta Marriages collection (1835–1935) consists of 179,411 records which include images of the couple’s marriage license and their listing in the marriage register.The records in this collection list the full names of the bride and groom, the date of marriage, their fathers’ names, the birthplace of the bride and groom, and occasionally the names of witnesses to the marriage. The images in this collection were photographed, digitized, and indexed by MyHeritage from the original paper documents, in cooperation with the Metropolis of Monemvasia and Sparta.
The new collections are available on SuperSearch™, MyHeritage’s search engine. Searching the Greek record collections is free. A subscription is required to view the full records and to access Record Matches. Click here to start a 14-day free trial at MyHeritage.
Alabama, Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, Church Records, 1837-1970 From Ancestry: “This collection includes baptism, marriage, and burial records from the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama between the years of 1837 and 1970. Established in 1830, the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama is comprised of 92 congregations and covers all of Alabama, with the exception of the very southern portion of the state.” Click here to search this collection.
Oregon, State Marriages, 1906-1966 The original data comes from the Oregon State Archives. Oregon, Marriage Records, 1906-1910, 1946-1966. Salem, Oregon. Click here to search this collection
Oregon, State Births, 1842-1917 These birth certificates will typically include the following information:
U.S., Pennsylvania, Grand Army of the Republic Membership Records, 1865-1936 These records are made available through a partnership with FamilySearch. The describe the collection as follows: “Index and images of membership records of the Pennsylvania Department Grand Army of the Republic that cover from the years 1865-1936. An organization of Union army and navy veterans of the Civil War. The collection consists of registers, lists, minute, account and descriptive books of local post (chapters) The descriptive books include town of residence, military unit, date of enlistment,date of discharge, age and birthplace. The collection was acquired from the Pennsylvania State Archives.” Click here to search the collection.
WEB: Washington, Various County Census Records, 1850-1914 The original data for this collection comes from the Washington State Archives – Digital Archives. Census Records. Cheney, Washington, United States: Washington State Archives – Digital Archives. Click here to search the collection.
Finland, WWII Military Casualties, 1939-1945 In this collection you will find details on Finnish soldiers killed during World War II. From Ancestry: “From the start of the war until 1944, Finland was involved in battles with the Soviet Union and from 1944-1945, Nazi Germany. Altogether, nearly 95,000 Finnish soldiers were killed or declared missing in action.” The National Archives of Finland created these indexes. They are in Finnish, reflecting the original source material. Click here to search this collection
Germany, Military Killed in Action, 1939-1948 Notes about this collection from Ancestry: “This collection is searchable using the search form, which among other things allows you to search by Last Name, First Name, Birth Date, Birthplace, Date of Death and Place of Death. Under “Browse this collection,” you can select the Box Number Range and Box Number of the cards desired.” Click here to search the collection.
German Concentration Camp Records, 1946-1958 These records include copies of German records including camp records, transport lists, and medical data cards. The camp records include inmate cards, death lists, and strength reports. Click here to search this collection
New York, Executive Orders for Commutations, Pardons, Restorations, Clemency and Respites, 1845-1931
39,246 new records have been added to this collection of executive clemency application ledgers and correspondence.
According to Ancestry: “Each record includes the felon’s name, crime, date and county of conviction, sentence, and prison. Signatures on the records can include the governor, secretary of state, and/or deputy secretary of state.” Click here to search the collection.
North Dakota, Select County Marriage Records, 1872-2017
30,266 new records were added for the following counties in Washington State: Adams, Cavalier, Hettinger, McIntosh, Nelson, and Pierce.
Search Tips from Ancestry:
This collection includes images of indexes as well as the actual marriage records. If you’re having trouble finding your ancestor through the search, try browsing the index for the county in which they lived and use that information to locate them in the actual records.
Don’t overlook the possibility that your ancestor may have been married in a nearby county that was more convenient to them, or where other family members lived.
Tennessee, Death Records, 1908-1965
This is a significant update with 1,019,533 new records added covering 1959-1965. Be aware that, according to Ancestry, the forms used for reporting deaths 1908-1912 contain far less information than those used from 1914 forward. “No death records were recorded by the State of Tennessee in 1913 due to a change in the state law requiring vital records registration.”
Join me for Elevenses with Lisa, the online video series where we take a break, visit and learn. In the episode below I share viewers’ family history displays, answer your questions about my genealogy organization method, and show you how I file my genealogy digital files. Click here for the episode show notes.
Join me for Elevenses with Lisa, the online video series where we take a break, visit and learn.
In this episode I share viewers’ family history displays, answer your questions about my genealogy organization method, and show you how I file my genealogy digital files. (This series on genealogy organization began with Elevenses with Lisaepisode 6.) Scroll down for all the show notes for this episode.
As you’ll remember I launched this show after the first week of the stay at home recommendation in March. Back then my first “PSA” was to resist the temptation to cut your own bangs. Well it turns out that if you have scotch tape, then you’re good to go!
From the Newspapers: Cutting your bangs with scotch tape!
Betty’s Family Tree Wall
“I feel like we are besties even though we really don’t know each other like our friends and neighbors so much. You are so open about your family and life. Thank you!
Here’s what I have done in my basement with the family pictures that have fallen into my lap over my 67 years. It is a dream come true and being out of the light, the pictures won’t fade as some have done in the past. I had to restore a few on the computer in Paint.
Thank you for showing us how to do things like Google Earth for Genealogy in simplified ways. It’s actually incredible how you do that.”
Thank you for sharing this inspirational photo display with all of us!
Betty’s family tree photo wall
Maria’s Wall of Photos
From Maria: “I’ve been an avid listener of your podcast, and have thoroughly enjoyed watching Elevenses every Thursday. It’s something I look forward to each week as we’re going through the stay-at-home order here in NYC.
After seeing the great photos on the wall behind you in your videos and the picture you enlarged to hang in your music room, I was inspired to do some family decor of my own.
I’ve been scanning family photos bit by bit as I was passed down albums from my great-grandparent’s and have been going through and labeling them with my grandparents, and decided to get some copies printed so I could enjoy them while keeping the originals safe in archival photo sleeves.”
Here is Maria’s gallery of photos on the wall by her desk providing motivation for continued genealogy research:
Maria’s family history photo wall
She says “They include ancestors from all sides of my family tree, with the earliest photo here dating to 1915. Thank you again for all that you do.”
Thank you for sharing, Maria!
Q: Do you still plan on attending the FGS conference, in Kansas City this fall?
A: Yes, as of now it’s still a go. I will be there with bells on unless I hear otherwise.
Answers to Your Genealogy Paper Organization Questions
Q: My question from last week is I wonder why you start with death of each ancestor in your notebooks.
A: Because we do genealogy backwards. Remember, our goal is NOT to have a piece of paper for every event in a person’s life. Our goal is to have a safe place to keep the most precious paper that we want to archive in person’s life. Everything else is digital on our computer and backed up.
Our goal is to go as paperless as possible
Q: So if you start with a man’s birth, does he not ever show up in his father’s book?
A: As a reminder, the father would be a new tab, not a new notebook. If you decide to start from birth while using my system, birth to marriage would still be under his father.
Q: What are you really keeping paper copies of?
A: I keep things like original documents, postcards, letters…I even have a doily in one of my books!
Debby commented to Kelli in the chat that she leaves a page in his father’s binder indicating which binder to look in for his complete story. In my system, not every “father” gets a binder, and the notebooks are not the complete story. They are simply the paper archive for the story. The full story is in your master genealogy database software.
If you’re struggling with tossing some of your paper, it can help to ask yourself, do my descendants REALLY want a piece of paper for every single thing I found even if it was just a print-out of a digitized (non-original) document?
The answer is, NO!
In fact, the more paper you store, the more in jeopardy you put your family history research. Future generations may feel burdened by it, and likely won’t have room for it all. If it is an overwhelming amount it is less desirable for your descendants to try to hang on to it. Also, printer ink is expensive.
Q: Do you 3-hole punch items that really don’t need a sheet protector? Like a census or something easily retrieved or printed again?
A: Occasionally, but usually only if it’s a Pending item. Otherwise I don’t print it out in the first place.
Q: If you’re going to archive a digital file, would it be as effective to save it in your master software vs. a separate digital archive on your computer? Is there a benefit to having duplicate files?
A: I don’t attach files to my database. It’s not because it’s not a good idea. But because I started back when you couldn’t do that. And that made me very reliant on having an excellent digital filing system. If I see a marriage in my database which is sourced, I know exactly where to go on my computer to find the source document.
Q: But if I am organizing my archive for donation to a library, should not I have an index? The library won’t have a copy of my software.
A: When donating, ask about their requirements and provided the needed documentation. Options include providing a printed index, a copy of your gedcom file, or other reference material.
From C Davis:
Q: You have to turn on your computer before you use a binder? Your computer boots fast? My RootsMagicdoes not start in a minute.
A: I leave my computer on all the time. It just goes to sleep. And in fact, turning your computer on and off a couple of time a day can actually shorten it’s life span.
Typically I leave RootsMagic up in the background while I’m doing research. But even if you don’t have it open and you were just looking at your online family tree, you typically know:
1) which surname and therefore which binder
2) which generation based on the age of the person (and therefore which tab to look under.)
Again, notebooks and paper are archival only. Most times I’m turning to my digital files for the backup documents.
I also received great questions about cloud backup. As I mentioned in the show, I use and trust Backblaze. Please use this link to get the best deal at Backblaze. Using this link helps support this free show. If you make a purchase we will be financially compensated for referring you at no additional charge to you.
Q: Can you back up multiple computers on Backblaze?
A: You need one account for each computer. However, you can plug an external hard drive into your computer and the subscription for that computer will also cover that hard drive. This is very handy if for example you keep your scanned photos on a separate hard drive so that they don’t use up precious space on your computer.
Q: I use a laptop and move it around the house and outside the home, and (use the) battery, so will a system like Backblaze work?
A: Yes. All you need is an internet connection. If you are temporarily not connected to the internet, Backblaze just picks back up on backing up when you reconnect.
From C Davis:
Q: Backblaze works with old computers?
A: According to the company, they support back to Windows 7. Click here for the complete list for both Windows and Mac. Please use this link if you would like to get Backblaze for your computer.
Carbonite now backs up video. I just activated it. It may come automatically now but just check if you start a new subscription.
A: I should clarify that it backed up video back when I used it but ONLY if you manually selected the video to be backed up. I discovered that many of my files were not backed up. According to their website: “**Video files are backed up automatically with the Plus and Prime plans. They can be added to your backup manually on any other plan.”
How to Organize All This Digital Genealogy Stuff!
My system is based on two foundational genealogical record types: the census and pedigree charts (just like my paper system). The folders are organized by head of household, typically the male head of household (just like the census.)
Overarching Folder Logic:
Families are divided by head of household.
Children (direct ancestors) are filed under their head of the family (Father) until married.
After marriage, men (direct ancestors) become a head of household and women are filed under husband (if they are direct ancestors or if there is enough paper to warrant it.)
Create a new folder on your hard drive called Genealogy.
Within the Genealogy folder, create general topic subfolders such as but not limited to:
Charts (family tree charts)
Countries (general history)
Database (genealogy software files)
History (for background material pertinent to your research)
Research Trips (maps, planning worksheets, and to-do lists)
Surnames(this folder is very important)
Heirlooms (can also be included under Surnames if you prefer*)
Photos(can also be included under Surnames if you prefer*)
Templates (ex. forms you use routinely)
*I find when working with photos it is easier not to dig into each surname, but rather to have all photos in front of me and then dig in deeper from there. The Surnames folder is heavily focused on documents.
In the Surnames folder create a folder for the surnames you research most. Don’t worry about adding a folder for every surname right now—you can add more as you research. I started with my closest lines, organized as I researched, and then scheduled organizing time to catch up on the rest.
Inside the first surname folder, create folders for the various types of genealogical records such as (but not limited to):
Locations (includes land records, postcards of towns and streets, maps, etc.)
Letters and Cards
Wills and Estates
Keep a “template” set of these folders. Copy and paste these record folders into surname folders as needed. File your existing record files into the appropriate Surname > (Record Type) folder. Feel free to add an additional layer of folders by heads of households if you want, particularly for families with a lot of digital records. I do this within the records folder.
How to File Genealogy Documents
Record websites typically provide the option to save the record to your computer. Click the Save button and navigate your way to the appropriate folder on your hard drive:
Genealogy > Surnames > Jones > Census. Name the file and click OK.
How to Name Your Computer Files
Name files with the year, head of household, and location.
For example, the 1920 U.S. Federal Census for the Robert M. Moore family file name would be:
This method allows you to quickly spot the census record within the Surnames > Moore > Census folder.
Since you are filing the record by surname and by record type, you don’t need to include those in the file name. By placing the year first, your files will automatically appear in chronological order in the folder.
I files the Photos folder under the Genealogy folder, not the Surnames folder. The reason for this is that typically when we are working with photos (perhaps for a book project or presentation) we want and need access to all of them. We don’t want to hunt around in our genealogy files for them.
There are several full length video classes with downloadable handouts in my Genealogy Gems Premium membership that will help you take your organization even further. In fact membership includes over 50 video classes (including 6 on all aspects of using Evernote for genealogy), and an exclusive podcast just for members. Learn more here.
A while back I received an email from Tim. He writes:
“I’m getting back into genealogy in a meaningful way now that my dissertation is done and I realized that I don’t know what to do with all the ‘stuff’ I’ve taken photos of, picked up at yard sales, etc., that could be of genealogical value to someone but not me. I’ve got yearbooks, pictures of the genealogy information inside family bibles, etc. I used to be able to scan and submit to Mocavo for the world to use but that’s gone. With the Rootsweb mailing lists shutting down, do you have recommendations for where I can submit these things so they benefit others?”
As a matter of I do have a few recommendations for you!
These days a free blog is your own genealogy bulletin board with much greater reach than Rootsweb had. It’s a great way to get the word out about items that you have that you would like to reunite with their families.
Blogger.com (Google’s free blogging platform) is a good choice.
In addition to a photo, include as much text as you can that describes the item.
Tag the items with surnames, record types, and locations.
Encourage people to email you or leave a comment to get in touch.
Interview with Carly Kidd-Osborn
If you have an item that you picked up along your genealogical travels that belongs to someone else’s family history, the Shrubs to Trees – A Pay-It-Forward Genealogy Facebook Group can help. Caryl Kidd-Osborn is the Administrator, and in this episode she explains how the group has helped return over 1500 items to families and how you can enlist their help.
From Caryl: “We are almost 2 years old and in that time we have returned over 1500 “lost” memorabilia items to living family. We’ve given back photos, bronze baby shoes, sheet music that was written by someone’s family member, a marriage license and even someone’s cremains. We aren’t a very big group but we have some wonderful folks who just jump right in with researching the items. It’s a private group since we are dealing with living people. It’s very much a collaboration. Our members are genealogists who, like me, just can’t leave an antique store without taking someone else’s family home with them!”
Here are just a few examples of the precious items that the group has managed to return to grateful families:
Reunited: Little Renee’s baby shoes
Reunited: A photo of Frances Payne. “Our cutest return,” says Caryl.
Reunited: Andrew Johney and Maggie Bosley marriage license. This was found at a dump.
Sarah Fooks Tutherly – photo went to the Historical Society in Laurel, DE. The Fooks family was a prominent family in that town, she was a DAR member.
Reunited: The Vandermaas family. The parents had died before the children were of that age so this is a composite of the whole family.
GEM: Top 10 Strategies for Finding School Records for Genealogy
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