May 26, 2016

DNA Testing for Family History: New Premium Video

getting started in genetic genealogy dna testing for family historyReady to start DNA testing for family history? Or maybe you’ve tested but need help getting the most out of your results. Here’s a new video for you: Getting Started in Genetic Genealogy.

If you’re new to DNA testing for family history–or floundering along the way–the new Genealogy Gems Premium video tutorial may be just what you’re looking for. Millions of people have already tested, and savvy genealogists use those test results to better understand their ethnicity and family connections.

Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard, author of a fantastic series of laminated DNA guides, walks you through the answers to three important DNA questions in Getting Started in Genetic Genealogy:

1. Which test should I take?

2. What will I get from the testing?

3. Will it help?

In this video, Diahan reminds us that “genetic genealogy is not about miracles.” In fact, DNA testing for family history works best when paired with good old traditional research. You know, creating a pedigree chart, finding records, and searching dusty courthouse basements. (You didn’t think you were going to get out of that, did you?)

Diahan breaks down the elements of atDNA, mtDNA, and YDNA testing. You will want to hear why she gives a five star rating to YDNA, but only a three star rating to mtDNA! Click the video below to get a quick preview of this exciting class:

DNA testing supplements traditional genealogy research in many ways. For the majority of us, even the basic autosomal DNA test can provide us with a long list of cousin matches. The more family members you have tested, the more matches you will find. Cousin matches are fun, but they are also the tools we need to break down those brick walls. Maybe your DNA results will lead to finding Cousin Susie who just happened to get the family Bible. Wouldn’t you like to have the opportunity to get to know her?

Premium_2016In my own family, our true ethnicity was carefully hidden. Traditional research hinted to our racial identity, but it wasn’t until a DNA test was taken that we were sure. Adoptees and foster children are also finding DNA tests helpful in locating their next of kin.

Genealogy Gems Premium website members have exclusive access to Getting Started in Genetic Genealogy and 30 additional full-length video tutorials on topics ranging from research strategies to technology tools. They also have access to the full audio archive of the Genealogy Gems Premium podcast. Click here to learn more about Premium website membership.

More Gems on DNA Testing for Family History

YDNA3 Reasons to Test  Your DNA for Genealogy

Confused by Your Ancestry DNA Matches? Read This Post

YDNA for Genealogy: 3 Scenarios When YDNA is Useful

8 Features Your Cloud Backup Service Should Have

cloud backup serviceCloud backup service for your computer is a must-have, but not every service is the same. Learn 8 essential features yours should have–and the company I love that offers every one of them for just $5 a month.

These days, we create SO many files we couldn’t bear to lose. Genealogy data files. Photos. Videos. Emails (and all those attachments). Unfortunately, computer crashes, thefts and other physical damage are not rare occurrences. And even though external hard drive backups are better than nothing, they are vulnerable to the same loss.

The video below offers a quick introduction to cloud-based computer backup service for your computer. I’ll tell you:

  • WHY I use cloud-based backup for all my own business and personal files,
  • WHAT kind of features I recommend in a backup service and
  • WHO I use to back up my own computers.

And check out the offer in the video for a great cloud backup service PLUS a free video class!

Here’s a quick recap of the questions to ask when considering a cloud backup system:

1. Does it automatically back up ALL your data (including videos)?
2. Does it back up any external drives attached to my computer by USB?
3. Does it have an unlimited file size limit?
4. Has it got an unthrottled or optimized backup speed?
5. Are there flexible backup options?
6. Does it restore files, folders and all data?
7. Does it offer a feature to locate my computer if it’s lost or stolen?
8. Does it allow me to add additional layers of security, such as a pass-phrase?

backblaze online cloud backup for genealogyI use and recommend Backblaze because I can answer YES to all of the above. In addition to all these features, Backblaze has a rock-solid reputation in the industry for being secure and reliable. And it’s SO affordable–only $5 per month–less than the cost of a single fast-food lunch for unbeatable security and peace of mind for ALL your data.

I encourage everyone to do the research themselves and choose the right cloud backup service for themselves. But I hope you’ll click here to check out Backblaze as a serious option.

How to Listen to a Podcast in Google Play Music

Google Play Music Podcasts how to listen to a podcast in Google Play MusicNow you can listen to a podcast in Google Play Music on your Android device. And by the way, the Genealogy Gems app is FREE on Google Play.

The official Android blog announced recently that Google Play Music users are now able to access podcasts.

“Starting today on the web and rolling out on Android in the U.S. and Canada, we’ll connect you with podcasts based on what you’re doing, how you’re feeling and what you’re interested in,” they wrote. “Similar to our contextual playlists for music, we want to make it easy to find the right podcast—whether you’re a podcast aficionado or listening for the first time.”

Google Play Music is a free service that anyone with a Google account can use (although you can upgrade to a Premium account for more features).

Here’s how to listen to a podcast in Google Play Music:

1. Go to Google Play Music online on your computer,  or install/pull up your Google Play Music app on your mobile device. (If you’re not sure where the app is on your mobile device, just search for it. On my Samsung tablet I just typed “google play music app” in the Google search box and Google Play Music appeared in the results. Just tap it to open the app.)

2. Click or tap the menu icon in the upper left corner (3 horizontal lines) and select “Podcasts” from the menu.

google play screenshot how to listen to a podcast in Google Play Music3. To search for a specific podcast, enter the title (or part of it) in the “Search music” box at the top (that includes podcasts).

4. Select the podcast you want to listen to.

5. When you find a podcast you love, click Subscribe to download the last several episodes automatically on your device (or choose to be notified every time a new episode comes out).

google play GGP subscribe how to listen to a podcast in Google Play Music

Free PodcastBONUS for Android users (who may sometimes feel like the app universe is stacked against them in favor of iOS users): The Genealogy Gems app is FREE in Google Play! Enhance your listening experience by listening through the app instead of through Google Play. Genealogy Gems app users have access to bonus PDF handouts, audio and video content, extra tips and ideas from the show, the Genealogy Gems Wallpaper and the ability to follow the show on Twitter.

More Podcast-Listening Gems

3 Ways to Listen to the Genealogy Gems Podcast Offline

5 Occasions to Listen to Genealogy Gems Podcasts

Here’s Why You Should Use the Genealogy Gems App

MyHeritage Book Matching: Automated Alerts for Ancestor Names

myheritage book matching iconA new search technology is here: MyHeritage Book Matching automates the process of connecting digital book content to users’ family trees.

It used to be that our only option for finding our relatives mentioned in old family histories, county histories and other books was pretty slow. We’d head to a library, thumb through indexes and skim through likely-looking books, hoping we’d spot a familiar surname.

Google Books, the Internet Archive, FamilySearch’s Digital Books and other major digital archives have reduced the number of books we have to page through manually. Now there’s one more tool out there for digital book searching: MyHeritage Book Matching.

This new technology “automatically finds matches for people in your family tree on MyHeritage in [their] vast collection of 450,000 digitized historical books,” says a MyHeritage press release. That’s 91 million pages—and counting, because they have 50 curators out there aiming to add hundreds of millions of pages of digitized books each year. Right now they just have English-language books but they’re working to expand that.

MyHeritage Book Matching uses what they call “full semantic text analysis” to compare digital book content with the people in your family trees. In everyday terms, it means they’re matching both the names and locations on users’ family trees with book content.

The nice thing about this technology is that it’s automated. Like the main Record Matching and Newspaper Matching features on MyHeritage, the site constantly combs new content and alerts users when possibilities are found. It’s analogous to having Google Alerts for books that are digitized on MyHeritage. (If you don’t know about Google Alerts, the automated Google searching you can set up for your genealogy, click here to learn more.)

So far on my MyHeritage tree, I’ve had 6 matches from Book Matching. All appear relevant, though I haven’t dug into them to confirm. My favorite is one that mentions an ancestor and all her siblings as charter members of the Mt. Vernon Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Missouri:myheritage book matching 2

What a great lead–I could jump on this to look for those church records and see what else they can tell me about the Weedin family. I found a picture of another ancestor in a church biographical collection; a family history book I didn’t have; and another ancestor’s name in a state genealogical magazine.

Do you have to have a paid subscription at MyHeritage to use these? Yes and no. Book Matches are generated automatically for any family tree built on the website or imported into it. But a data subscription, which runs about $10 a month, is required to actually view your Book Matches. Click here to learn more about subscribing to MyHeritage, which is a sponsor of the free Genealogy Gems podcast.

More Gems on Digital Books for Genealogy

Internet Archive homeGoogle Earth + Google Books: A Great Research Combination

2 Mysterious Deaths in the Family: Google Helps Find Answers

Free Video Tutorials for Internet Archive

We Dig These Gems! New Genealogy Records Online

We dig these gems new genealogy records onlineHere’s this week’s collection of new genealogy records online for New Spain, England, Scotland, the U.S. and the Kindgom of Hawaii.

FEATURED COLLECTION: NEW SPAIN/NEW MEXICO. Ancestry.com has posted a new collection of land records for what is now New Mexico when it was part of Spain. These records span 1692-1846, come from the Twitchell compilation of materials from New Mexico’s Spanish Archives, and are only searchable by keyword and date. See the collection description for more details.

ENGLAND – BURIALS. Over half a million records have been added to Findmypast’s collection of Westminster burials. These include names, birthdates, , death and burial dates and where they were buried.

ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND. About 13.5 million new newspaper articles have been added to Findmypast’s British Newspapers collection. New titles cover Cheshire, Essex, Kent, Lancashire, Wiltshire, Yorkshire and Scotland.

ENGLAND – LONDON – MISC. A new online collection at Findmypast.com “details the lives of ordinary and common Londoners” from 1680-1817. The 1.5 million records include criminal registers, apprentice records, coroner inquests, workhouse minutes, clerks’ papers and more.

ENGLAND – SURREY. A new Ancestry.com collection of water rate books for Surrey, England is now available online. According to the collection description, “Rates were collected in each parish for support of the sick and poor, maintenance of roads and church, and other parish expenses.” You can expect to find names along with street names and dates.

GERMANY. Ancestry.com has posted two new databases of Lutheran baptisms, marriages and burials for Hesse, Germany. Over 2.5 million records are in one database for 1661-1875 and another 100,000 or so appear in an overlapping database for 1730-1875.

SCOTLAND. A collection of Dublin Metropolitan Police prisoner’s books are now online at the University College Dublin website. According to the collection abstract, “The Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) Prisoners Books for 1905-1908 and 1911-1918 are amongst the most valuable new documents to come to light on the revolutionary decade. They include important information on social and political life in the capital during the last years of the Union, from the period of widespread anticipation of Home Rule, to the advent of the 1913 Lockout, the outbreak of the First World War, the Easter Rising and its aftermath, including the conscription crisis of 1918. They will also be invaluable to those interested in criminology, genealogy, and family history.”

U.S. – CENSUS. Ancestry.com has updated its 1920 U.S. Census collection. The nature of the updates aren’t described. (About a year ago we mentioned FamilySearch’s re-indexing of parts of the 1910 census in this blog post.)

U.S. – HAWAII. Ancestry.com has posted a new collection of Hawaiian passport records for 1849-1950 and 1874-1900.  These records were under the jurisdiction of the former Kingdom of Hawaii.

sign up newsletterEvery week we post new genealogy records online! Are you getting our free weekly e-newsletter so you can stay up to date? When you subscribe you’ll receive a free e-book on Lisa Louise Cooke’s Google search strategies for genealogists. Enter your email address on this page.

 

 

How to Create Captivating Family History Videos – New Video Series

family history video documentsFamily history videos can captivate the non-genealogists in your family. In this step-by-step video series I’m going to show you how to create them quickly and easily!

If you’ve spent some time researching your family history, your discoveries probably look like this: old documents like census records and death certificates – not exactly exciting stuff to your kids and grand kids. And yet they are the ones you hope to pass your family’s history on to.

animoto family history videosThe truth is that the non-genealogists in your family may not be all that captivated by the same things you are. You can solve the “boring genealogy” problem with a tech tool that will help you create fabulous and captivating family history videos.  It’s called Animoto. It’s super-fast and incredibly easy, and no special skills are required.

(Full disclosure: The links I provide in this article are affiliate links, but if you follow me then you know that I only recommend and provide links for services I use myself and think are “Gems.” Use our exclusive coupon code lisa20 to get 20% off now through 12/31/16)

There are many wonderful opportunities to share videos:

  • Birthdays, Weddings, & Anniversaries
  • Family Reunions
  • Holidays
  • Facebook and other social media
  • Your own genealogy website or blog

Riveting Family History Videos

Creating digital video can be intimidating. In the past I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on video editing software, and then invested hours trying to learn how to use it. When my eldest daughter got married, I offered to create a short (5 minute) video to show prior to the ceremony. My goal was simple: create a heart-warming look back at the bride and groom and how they found each other, including old photos, nice fading transitions, a few home movie video clips, and a favorite song.  That short video took 3 days to create! It’s that kind of financial and time investment that keeps so many of us from attempting family history videos.

Animoto is a game changer! If you can…

  • click
  • copy
  • paste

…you can use Animoto to create family history videos.

I want you to see what Animoto can do to help you share your genealogy research through riveting family history videos. In this first video we’re going to lay the ground work for the story you’re going to tell in your video. In fact, you’ll probably find that this step takes longer than actually creating the video! Click the video below to watch Episode One of my series Creating Captivating Family History Videos. Then click here to head to my Genealogy Gems YouTube channel. Click the SUBSCRIBE button to get all new upcoming free videos.

How to Create a Coloring Book for Family History

create a coloring bookColoring books are all the rage for adults and kids. Let this project and these free online tools inspire you to create a coloring book to celebrate your heritage.

Last Christmas, my mom Cheryl McClellan created a coloring book for our extended family out of family artwork. She requested copies of line drawings from every willing relative, especially her grandchildren (ages 3-20). Then she added her own childhood artwork, some of mine, and some of her mother’s, so four generations are represented.

create a coloring book

The flowers on the left, originally painted by my grandma, wasn’t as easily colored because of all the dark areas. My mom’s childhood drawing and my son’s, on the right, both made very “colorable” images.

Then she simply photocopied each page to make it into a coloring page. She experimented with the black-and-white settings until she got the best quality reproductions for coloring.

The grandchildren’s artwork came out the best because they created images meant to be colored (with lots of lines and spaces and no shading). The older artwork reproduced with varying degrees of success. But all were fun to include. She chose not to bind the completed book, so the pages would be easier to color, but instead put each person’s collection of coloring pages in large envelopes.

More tools and ideas: Create a coloring book

To create your own family coloring book, gather family photos (or artwork) from your family archive that would be interesting to color. Consider pictures of relatives, homes, heirlooms, or other objects of significance to your current family life or your family history. The best images will have plenty of contrast in them (lights and darks).

Choose your favorite free online photo editing tool, if you have one. Examples include Pixlr.com and Snapstouch.com. I chose Snapstouch because it’s super easy. Here are the instructions on Snapstouch:

1. From the home page, select which final visual effect you prefer: I chose Sketch. (Depending on the photo and the desired effect, you might also choose Drawing or Outline.)

2. Choose your image file from your computer.

3. Select additional options, as shown here. (In Sketch mode, you can choose a darker pencil sketch and faces to be refined).

4. Click UPLOAD. Wait for the file to upload to the site.

5. After the upload is complete, you’ll see the option to click SKETCH. Click and wait for a moment.

6. If the final image is not to your liking, play with the options (you don’t need to re-upload the photo to do this). OR switch to a different visual effect and experiment.

7. Click DOWNLOAD when you’ve got the image you want.

Another Awesome Option: Use our link to get a digital download of the the current issue of Family Tree Magazine and in it you will find an article by Lisa Alzo called “Attention Grabbers.” (Be sure to use our exclusive coupon code GENEALOGYGEMS15 and you’ll get 15% off through 12/31/16!) One of her projects is a family coloring book. Included in the article is a full page of instructions for converting images to coloring pages in PaintShop Pro, Photoshop Elements or other photo editing software.

 

Convert Files for Free with This Online Tool I Use

online file converter featured image convert filesNeed to convert files to another file format? Whether images, sound files or even video, you may be able to do this for free online.

These days, it’s common to preserve digital copies of your most important genealogy files: oral history interviews, photographs, documents, even digitized family history books. But sometimes we’re given a file our computer won’t read, or we want to share a file on a website that doesn’t like the format we have. Also, at some point, file formats change, so we need to convert them so they’ll still be readable in future years.

Here’s a gem of a website that can help: Online-Convert.com. They make it simple and free to convert your files to new and different formats. For example, you can turn a sound file recorded by your computer or recording device into the popular MP3 format, which is so much easier to share because it is universal and a smaller file than uncompressed files such as .WAV files. You can turn your word-processing document into the nearly-universally readable PDF format, or even into an e-book format readable on Kindle or other e-readers!

Simply go to the site and select the type of file conversion you want to do:

online file converter screen shot convert files

convert files audio screenshotOnce you’ve chosen a file format, you’ll see a list of the different file formats to which you can convert. Click to learn more about them. And see the area with an X over it in the image shown here? That’s an ad. Don’t click on it. Just scroll down to the list of options available on this site.

The site will either recommend tools you can download to convert files yourself, or they will do them for you. Basic use of the site is free; you can subscribe to premium features for a fee.

The site’s blog has some great information, too, such as a post on how to capture audio material from a video. Then consult this post on what kinds of audio files you can insert into a PowerPoint presentation–and you’ll be able to insert a voice-over from Grandma’s video interview into your new PowerPoint slide show.

More Tech Tools You’ll Love

Is This Website Down or Is It Just Me?

Compare Look-Alikes in Your Family with This Free Facial Recognition Tool

VIDEO: 10 Tech Tools You Can’t Live Without (Premium website subscription required)

 

How to Organize Notes in Evernote Notebooks

how to organize notes in Evernote notebooksUse these step-by-step instructions to organize notes in Evernote notebooks.

Recently Donna watched one of my Evernote for genealogy webinars. She wrote in afterward to give the webinar a thumbs-up and ask this question about how to organize notes in Evernote notebooks:

“I…have been happily using Evernote for a while now so I already have lots of notes, notebooks and stacks. Got web clipper, made my Genealogy and Personal notebooks, added tags you suggested, and discovered Evernote Clearly is no longer available. But you’re right, I’ve lost some of the notes in the myriad. What is the best way to begin putting notes into the new Genealogy & Personal notebooks?  Is there another video on that? Thanks for being there for us, Lisa, All our stuff can become overwhelming if it can’t be organized.”

shortcut through time organize notes in EvernoteI’m so glad that Donna found the video helpful!

The thing about getting organized is that sometimes it can gobble up all your research time. So one approach I often recommend is just to move Evernote notes as you use them. That way you can keep researching, while getting more organized each day. As you create new notes you’ll be putting them directly where they belong, and as you use existing notes, you can tidy them up as you go.

If you feel more comfortable getting everything moved in one fell swoop, that’s good too. One way to save time is with a simple trick: decide what you have more of (Genealogy or Personal) and then move ALL your notes into that notebook. So if you have more Genealogy notes, all your notes will be in that notebook. Now you only have less than 1/2 of your notes that need to be moved to Personal.

You can move the rest to the other notebook by selecting multiple notes at once. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown:

1. Click the Genealogy notebook in the left column.
2. In the center column are all of your notes. Click the first note in your list to be moved.
3. Hold down the Control key on your keyboard.
4. Now click to select each additional note you want to move to the Personal notebook. (Use the wheel on your mouse to scroll down as you need to.) Your notes will be collecting in the right-hand window pane, and a dialog box will appear.
5. In that dialog box, click the Move to Notebook button and click to select the desired notebook from your list (ex. Personal).
6. For good measure, click the Sync button to manually synchronize all of your notes.

I heard back from Donna with this comment:

Thank you Lisa! Within a matter of minutes I was able to move my notes and notebooks into the two stacks.  Now that Personal and Genealogy are separated, I’ll follow your suggestion to tidy up the notes as I go and add all my tags (which I hadn’t realized the importance of before the video). Ahhhh!  It feels so good to have it clearly organized! You rock, Lisa!”

Ultimate Evernote Education abbreviatedThis website is packed with resources for using Evernote for genealogy! Click here to find free tips and videos to get started. To REALLY make Evernote work for your family history, become a Genealogy Gems Premium website member. Members have a full year’s access to my Ultimate Evernote Education for Genealogists instructional video series with their membership.

Great Canadian Genealogy Summit: Mark Your Calendars

CANGen Great Canadian Genealogy SummitAn inaugural event: The Great Canadian Genealogy Summit (CANGEN), to be held October 21-23, 2016, at the Courtyard by Marriott, Brampton, Ontario.

The first-ever Great Canadian Genealogy Summit (CANGEN) will be held October 21-23, 2016. The conference even includes time at a regional archive–with a workshop held on how to research there.

“The Summit showcases Canadian genealogists who have an expertise in the record sets relating to the early settlers of Canada,” says an event press release. “On October 21, we have arranged a day at the Ontario Archives. And better still, for those with United Empire Loyalist ancestors who are mind boggled with the documentation required for your UEL application, former Dominion Genealogist Kathryn Lake Hogan will be offering a workshop with the at the Archives. She will share her expertise on what documentation is required and how to access the documents at the Archives.”

The opening event features a social time that will be kicked off by Jennifer Debruin, a writer and genealogist who will tell stories about Canadian ancestors. Saturday’s program offers five ethnic tracks: Irish, English, French Canadian, Canadian and Scottish ancestors. Sunday features methodology with Louise St. Denis (who is providing each registrant with a certificate for a FREE course at the NIGS). Lynn Palermo wraps things up with a session on writing up family history.

Registration for the full weekend is just $159 Canadian ($125 USD). Registration for Saturday-only is $119 ($93 USD). All registrations include breakfast and lunch on Saturday, free access to Findmypast and admission to the exhibition hall. Click here to register.

COMING UP IN JUNE 2016: Ontario Genealogical Society with Lisa Louise Cooke

More Canadian Genealogy Gems

Canadian genealogy passenger listsSearch Canadian Passenger Lists for FREE at Library Archives Canada

Canadiana Digital Archive

Google Earth for Canada and Genealogy

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