Family Tree Maker 2017: Color Coding

After a long wait and lots of hard work by Jack Minsky and the team at MacKiev, Family Tree Maker 2017 for Windows and Mac has been released. One of the features I was most excited about is the color coding that is available in both versions. Read More »

Time Management

In my last post I talked about Locality Guides, our second assignment for ProGen32. The next assignment, which I have been slow to post due to a busy summer, was a plan for time management. In addition to genealogy, I publish a large homeschool website which is an important consideration for how I manage my time. Read More »

Locality Guides for Genealogy

From the hours, locations, collections, and rules of repositories to listings of extant historical newspapers, a locality guide can put oft-referenced information in one place for easy access. You can purchase general locality guides for states and some cities; some of my favorite guides are the NGS state guides, Val Greenwood's "The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy," and Ancestry's "Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources." At the local level, genealogists benefit from keeping more their own locality guides geared toward their specific research. Read More »

My Genealogical Education Plan

I'm participating in ProGen32, a peer study group "to encourage professional and aspiring genealogists to put into practice the principles found in Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians, edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills." Our first assignment was to prepare an education plan, and I thought I would post mine here. As a longtime amateur genealogist, I have only begun within the past 2-3 years to learn and implement professional standards in my research. Although I am not sure whether I want to pursue certification, I do want my research to be at the professional level whether it is for me personally or for hire. Read More »

France Genealogy Research

Much like state archives in the US, France's departments have governmental archives. Lucky for those of us who can't visit in person, these records are online with free access to view and download. There are restrictions on publishing (in other words, don't upload the records to your online tree), but the interface allows downloads of all of the online records for your personal use.

This free access to the departmental archives is a great way to further your research on your French ancestors. Read More »

WorldCat for Genealogy: A Secret Weapon

I love finding tools that make my workflow easier, and WorldCat is one of the "secret weapons" that makes my research easier and more effective.

As you might guess, WorldCat is the world's largest library catalog and is available online. Instead of searching the card catalog of individual libraries, WorldCat allows you to obtain results from all of their member libraries, which include public, university, and state libraries in addition to sites like HathiTrust. While visitors can search without registering, what I love about WorldCat is the functionality available to registered users. Registering is free and gives users three great tools: favorite libraries, lists, and tags. Read More »

The World Is Not Ending... or, Ancestry Is Discontinuing FTM

The genealogy world was rocked yesterday by's announcement that they are discontinuing Family Tree Maker. First and foremost, understand that your version of Family Tree Maker is not going to turn into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. What are the implications of Ancestry's announcement, and what should FTM users (and Ancestry users who don't use desktop software) do now? Read More »

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FAN Club: Friends, Associates, Neighbors

Have you actually hit a brick wall or have you just not checked the right places? There are times when all of us think we have hit a brick wall, but in many cases we just haven't exhausted our resources. I have at least 2 lines where I have hit what appears to be a dead end, but in reality there are records that I have not checked. Sometimes this involves in-person research to use resources not available online, but often we can further our knowledge using online resources before we have to visit a repository. Read More »

FREE Online Genealogy Workshops

As amateur genealogists, we often don't know what we don't know. Terms like GPS, conflicting evidence, exhaustive research, citation, triangulation, and others can leave the new genealogist overwhelmed and ready to head back to our favorite online service for the low-hanging fruit. If we are going to do this research thing, we need to education ourselves. You never know when it will pay off in a completely unexpected way, and no one wants a family tree with someone else's relatives in it because they just didn't know any better. Read More »

Family Tree Pumpkin Template

In looking for a pumpkin template featuring a family tree, I found nothing so I thought it would be fun to upload one.

The detail in the template makes the use of the thin blades necessary. You can find a pumpkin carving kit that includes knives with thin serrated blades at just about any grocery or big box store this time of year. Read More »