Improving Your Searches With Collections

Are you effectively using collections at Ancestry and FamilySearch? Understanding how to use collections can save time and return more relevant results. One of the best ways to save time when researching is to narrow down results by collection. In this post, I’ll show you how to use collections at Ancestry and FamilySearch, but similar techniques can be used at almost any website with genealogy databases. Read More »

Gifts for Genealogists

Christmas is quickly approaching, and adults on my list are always the hardest to buy for. Not only do most adults simply buy things for themselves if they need them, most of them are trying to declutter after years of accumulating stuff. That leaves me trying to think of clutter-free yet useful gifts on a budget, and — as you know — that is HARD. The big caveat to this difficult task is buying for people interested in family history. Read More »

“I Took a DNA Test. Now What?”

With Cru advertising his recent experience with 23andMe and Family Tree DNA putting all of their tests on sale earlier this month, there are a lot of people who thought that 2017 would be a good time to take a DNA test. After weeks of waiting, the email finally arrives saying that the results are ready. The most frequent question that comes next is, “Now what?” Read More »

MyHeritage Acquires the Legacy Family Tree Software and Webinar Platform

The entry of MyHeritage into the DNA market in November of 2016 makes them a relative newcomer, but one that is quickly gaining a following. The company was founded in 2003 and in addition to genealogical DNA testing, they offer a large library of historical records and online family trees for members. They are again in the headlines, this time for acquiring Millennia Corporation, known for producing Legacy Family Tree Software and the popular Legacy webinars which feature some of the most highly regarded names in genealogy education. Read More »

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 »

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