December 20, 2014

Frustration Using Google Earth for Genealogy is Temporary with this Fix

Manage Genealogy files in Google EarthIf you have experienced frustration managing your genealogy files in Google Earth, you’re not alone. A recent email question from Genealogy Gems Premium Member Linda reminded me what the #1 culprit tends to be: the Temporary Folder. Linda writes:

“I have a question for you about Google Earth. I have been trying to play around with it and when I find a place and want to save it, the “Save to My Places” is grayed out and it won’t let me save. My husband said the same thing happens on his computer. I looked on a Google forum and someone posted a question about it not working recently. Do you happen to have any info about this and does the same thing happen to you?”

While Linda didn’t provide specifics as to what kind of “place” she is trying to save, I’ve been at this long enough to have a pretty good ideathat she found something like a Rumsey Historical Map that she wants to add as a permanent fixture to her geographic genealogy files in Google Earth. Fabulous! Or it may be as simple as someone emailed her a map with a single placemark on it. She has clicked to open it and Google Earth magically opened and displayed it on her screen. Awesome!

In both cases, the important thing to notice, is that the item was sent to the TEMPORARY folder in the PLACES panel. That’s because Google Earth doesn’t assume just because you wanted to look at something means you want to save it in your files forever. And this leads me to the answer to Linda’s question…

The only time “Save to My Places” will not be grayed out is when the item that you are looking to Save to My Places is in the TEMPORARY folder. In other words, it is not yet saved to My Places (as in the cases I mentioned above.)

The Temporary folder is the most overlooked feature of Google Earth, and can play havoc with you unless you understand how it works, particularly in conjunction with the menu functions.

Here’s how to save an item in the Temporary folder to be a permanent part of your My Places:
  1. Click to select and highlight the item in the Temporary Folder
  2. Go up to the menu click FILE
  3. Select SAVE
  4. Select SAVE TO MY PLACESGoogle Earth Genealogy Temporary Folder

The item will then jump from your Temporary folder into My Places. You may need to open My Places by clicking the small black arrow next to it in order to see it at the bottom of your list.

Google Earth Save My Places

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once an item (such as a place mark) is created, and it appears anywhere in the Places panel other than the Temporary folder (such as in a folder you created, or under My Places,) it is technically already in My Places, and therefore does not need to be Saved to My Places. And that is why that option is grayed out.

Think of “Save to My Places” as “MOVE to My Places”.

Once your item is in My Places, from that point forward you will be saving any changes you make to it by selecting FILE > SAVE > SAVE MY PLACES.

Google Earth Save My Places

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This procedure saves changes made to any and all files in your My Places, including the new file you just added. Anything in your Temporary folder will be lost when you close Google Earth.

Play it Safe!
Be smart and get into the excellent habit of saving My Places every 10 minutes or so, (in case Google Earth, our computer, or internet connection crashes,) and most definitely when you close the program at the end of your work session.

Happy Googling!

Lisa

 

Breaking News: WDYTYA 2015 Season Announced

WDYTYA logo Digital Spy and TV By the Numbers have announced that Who Do You Think You Are? (US) will return in February 2015 with a new round of stories and celebrities.

According to the reports, eight new episodes are lined up for WDYTYA 2015. Only four have been announced:

  • Bill Paxton, who visits a Revolutionary War battle site to walk in his ancestors’ steps;
  • Julie Chen travels to China to learn more about her grandfather;
  • Angie Harmon turns back the clock to explore an ancestor connected with George Washington;
  • Sean Hayes jets to Ireland to celebrate his Irish roots (click here to catch his antics on his return flight).

The season premieres on February 24th on TLC; check your local listings.

What’s your favorite all-time episode of WDYTYA? Tell us on Facebook!

Lunar Mission One: You Can Put Your DNA on the Moon

moon hairA new project backed by top British scientists is crowd-sourcing space exploration by offering donors the chance to put their DNA on the moon. Their first Kickstarter campaign successfully ends today: over  £600,000 has been raised in less than a month!

Lunar Mission One hopes to put a research craft on the “South Pole” end of the moon within ten years. The vessel will drill deep into the rock in an effort to learn more about the moon’s origin and history.

Around 6700 individual pledges were made in this first phase of funding. Those who pledged at a certain amount will receive space in a “digital memory box” that will be sent into space with the research craft, a sort of 21st-century time capsule and digital archive on the moon.

“People will be able to upload whatever they want to their memory box – including personal messages, photos, audio and video,” promises the Lunar Mission One website. “There will also be the option to submit a strand of hair for those who wish to store their DNA for inclusion in the time capsule.”

“The price of the digital memory boxes will be determined by capacity – starting from as little as a few dollars. Most digital information-only purchases are expected to be $10+. Customers who want to combine digital information with a strand of hair, will pay $100+. We are also developing prestige packages ($1,000+) and a lottery option from $1.”

What do you think? It’s not too late to join the fun! According to the Lunar Mission One website, “Following the Kickstarter fundraising, and for the next four years, people will still be able to reserve space in the private archive, through an online portal. This could be for themselves or as a gift. Individuals will be able to get involved in other ways, such as through membership of our Supporters Club.” Learn more at the Lunar Mission One website.

 

 

 

Merry Cemetery Displays ‘Dirty Little Secrets’ of the Dead

The "Merry Cemetery" Sapanta, Romania. Image credit: "Merry Cemetery - Sapanta - Romania 01”, by Adam Jones (Adam63). Wikimedia Commons image at- http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Merry_Cemetery_-_Sapanta_-_Romania_01.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Merry_Cemetery_-_Sapanta_-_Romania_01.jpg.

The “Merry Cemetery” Sapanta, Romania. Image credit: “Merry Cemetery – Sapanta – Romania 01”, by Adam Jones (Adam63). Wikimedia Commons image.

A gravestone creator in a small town in Romania took his mission seriously to memorialize the dead. But he did in, er, “living color,” so to speak. With plenty of colorful images and even dirty little secrets and gossip carved onto tombstones of the local residents at the “Merry Cemetery.”

As reported in the New York Daily News,  the woodcarver responsible for over 1000 gravestones in the “Merry Cemetery” would wander through town, taking notes on people’s quirks and secrets. Some flaws–drinking and carousing among them–are memorialized colorfully on their tombstones. On other stones, you’ll find his sad laments for the untimely passing of a child or the death of an adult by  a sad accident.

“There’s no point in hiding secrets in this small town in Maramures, so people’s lives are captured honestly in their epitaphs,” reports the article.

The woodcarver was Stan Ion Patras, who lived from 1908-1977. Conscious of the legacy he was leaving–and perhaps anxious to tell his own story rather than have someone else do it–Patras carved his own tombstone before he passed away. He trained his replacement, who continues to add to the brightly colored crosses.

Here’s another detail I thought was neat: Patras’ folk art was highly symbolic. According to a New York Times article on the cemetery, “The portrait of the deceased is central, surrounded by geometric designs in symbolic colors: yellow for fertility, red for passion, green for life, black for untimely death. The color scheme is keyed to the subject’s life — if, for example, the deceased had many children, yellow carries the design. Some crosses are crowned with white doves representing the soul; a black bird implies a tragic or suspicious end. The background is always blue, the color of hope and freedom.”

What’s the most fascinating cemetery you’ve ever visited? What’s the most memorable epitaph you’ve ever found? Share it on our Genealogy Gems Facebook page!

Genealogy Roadshow Season 2: Pirates, Holocaust Heroes and More

Genealogy Roadshow season 2

PBS’ Genealogy Roadshow Season 2 (USA) serves up pirate stories, heroes of the Holocaust and more–all in the context of tracking down everyday people’s family history! The season premieres Tuesday, January 13, 2015, at 8:00 p.m. ET and airs every Tuesday through February 24 (check local listings).

“Part detective story, part emotional journey, Genealogy Roadshow combines history and science to uncover fascinating stories of diverse Americans in and around St. Louis, Philadelphia and New Orleans,” says a PBS press release. “Each individual’s story links to a larger community (and in some cases, national) history, to become part of America’s rich cultural tapestry.”

The show’s new host is Mary Tedesco, a professional Italian genealogist whom you’ll get to meet in the upcoming January episode of The Genealogy Gems Podcast! Tune in here for more with Mary Tedesco and Genealogy Roadshow.

Here’s more from PBS on what Season 2 has in store: “Genealogy Roadshow stars genealogists Kenyatta D. Berry, Joshua Taylor and Mary Tedesco  and features participants with unique claims and storylines, including a woman seeking to find out if she is descended from the infamous pirate Blackbeard; a pair of sisters exploring connections to a survivor of the legendary Donner party; a man hoping to recover essential family history that washed away in Hurricane Katrina; and a man learns that the event that drove his family to the City of Brotherly Love changed the course of history.

Over the course of the series, Berry, Taylor and Tedesco work with participants’ anecdotal clues, documents and family heirlooms to unite them with histories and people they never knew existed, as well as to reveal surprising turns and incredible histories….St. Louis, Philadelphia and New Orleans were chosen as representative of America’s fascinating crossroads of culture, diversity, industry and history, as well as for their deep pools of riveting stories. Genealogy Roadshow’s hosts and experts add color and context to the investigations, ensuring every artifact and every name becomes part of solving the mystery.”

Below are descriptions for all six episodes:

New Orleans – January 13, 2015 at 8:00 p.m.

A team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family stories at the famous Cabildo, home of the Louisiana State Museum. A couple whose ancestors hail from the same small Italian town explore the chance they may be related; a woman is desperate to find out who committed a gruesome murder in her ancestor’s past; a home held by one family for more than a century renders a fascinating story; and a woman discovers the difficult journey her ancestor took on the path to freedom from slavery.

St. Louis – January 20, 2015 at 8:00 p.m.

At Saint Louis’ historic central library, a team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family stories from Missouri’s famous gateway city. A mystery writer discovers her mother has hidden a life-changing secret; a woman finds out if she is descended from the infamous pirate Blackbeard; a mother and daughter seek connections to a famous author; and a young man seeks connection to the Mali tribe in Africa.

Philadelphia – January 27, 2015 at 8:00 p.m.

At Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute, a team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family histories. A man learns that the event that drove his family to the City of Brotherly Love changed the course of history; a man may be a Viking descendant; another’s family could have part of one of history’s biggest scams; a young man hopes to confirm his relation to a signer of the Declaration of Independence; and two sisters learn their ancestors were part of the great Irish migration.

New Orleans – February 3, 2015 at 8:00 p.m.

A team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family stories at the New Orleans Board of Trade. A local man seeks to recover essential history washed away in Hurricane Katrina; a woman discovers she has links to both sides of the Civil War; another unravels the mystery behind her grandfather’s adoption; and one man explores a link to the famous New Orleans Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau.

St. Louis – February 10, 2015 at 8:00 p.m.

At St. Louis’ historic Union Station, a team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family stories from Missouri. A musician hopes to find connections to a famous St. Louis jazz composer; two sisters explore links to a survivor of the legendary Donner party; an Italian-American woman finds out if she is related to Italian royalty; and a schoolteacher who has all the answers for her students has very few about her own past.

Philadelphia – February 17, 2015 at 8:00 p.m.

A team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family histories at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. One woman’s ancestor may have sparked historic labor laws; a pastor may have an outlaw in her family tree; a woman learns about slave genealogy and, with the help of DNA testing, gets the answer she has waited for; and another woman learns her ancestor may have helped others escape the Holocaust.

Tell us what you think of the episodes on our Facebook page!

Evernote for Family History: OCR Handwriting and Uploading Data

evernoteSo many of you are harnessing the organizing and storage power of Evernote for family history research (and probably everything else you know!). Every time I teach on Evernote, a round of excited follow-up questions follows. Here are two great questions from Karen:

Q: The handwriting app on my phone is way cool, yet Evernote doesn’t seem to recognize any of the words. I thought it would apply OCR to the handwriting. Is that just a premium feature?

A: The key to handwriting OCR is to print clearly. OCR can not read cursive. Also, if you created your handwritten note and then immediately tried to search for a keyword, (and the note was printed clearly) it may not have found it because you searched before it had a chance to sync through the cloud and apply OCR. If you’re in a hurry, click the SYNC button in Evernote. Also, Premium accounts sync and apply OCR faster than free ones.

Q: My husband has a single note file that he has been putting all his daily notes in for years – currently about 14mb. Once he has uploaded that file, then when he makes additional notes to it each day, will he be “charged” for the entire file being saved again or just the incremental portion?

A: No he won’t be using 14 mb of upload each time he saves it. The key here is “upload.” You are charged uploading for the first time you upload the item to Evernote. I believe that if he adds a paragraph that is 1kb of text to the note the next day, he will only have 1kb deducted from his monthly upload.

One word of caution, if he has a desire to some day publish a book or some other project with his daily notes, I wouldn’t recommend Evernote. As you saw, the export file types are limited, and it does not export directly to Word or .txt. However, if he just wants it for his one record keeping, I think Evernote is a great solution.

Evernote for Genealogy Quick Reference GuideNeed some more Evernote help? My Evernote for Genealogists quick reference guide is available for both Mac and Windows users (purchase the one that goes with your computer’s operating system, not your mobile device). Click to download it!

Genealogy Gems Premium members can also access exclusive full-length videos on how to use Evernote for family history, like:

Not a Premium member yet? The Evernote video series alone makes Premium membership worth the low annual fee, but you get SO much more! Learn more here.

Here’s How to Solve a Pesky Evernote Web Clipper Problem

rnote clipper family history genealogyRecently Karen wrote in to say, “I’m taking the Evernote challenge!” (Good for you!) She has this question about using the web clipper when using Evernote for family history:

Q: How do I get a clip out of Evernote and into my regular file system on my hard drive? I’ve tried the export feature, but it it only gives me a choice of exporting as a .enex or .mht or .html file. I don’t see a way of saving it as a pdf, docx, rtf, xls or jpg.

A: There are multiple options for saving a web clipping. I’m giving you an image for each, so scroll down to see:

1. Right-click on the clipping in your search results list (the center column) and select “Save Attachment.” Select the folder on your hard drive where you want to save it and click OK. The clipping will be saved as a .PNG image file. (.PNG is a “lossless” image file which means it’s not compressed the way a .JPG is. It will be a higher quality and larger image file than a .JPG but still commonly supported by most software programs and photo editors.

evernote right click

 

2. Pull up an individual note in the right hand pane of your dashboard, and right-click on it. Select “SAVE AS” and save the .PNG file to your hard drive.

evernote SAVE AS

3. For non-image (clippings, photos, etc) notes such as text notes, you would have to export as XML and then convert that to .docx which is not the simplest transaction. If it was just a single note, the simplest solution is to highlight the text, copy and paste into Word.

evernote export box

organize genealogy with Evernote

Genealogy Gems Premium Members also have access to an exclusive series of Evernote videos. There’s a video mini-series just on using the web clipper (on your desktop, with the Evernote browser and in Chrome)! Full length Evernote classes include:

Genealogy Gems Premium MembershipNot a Premium member yet? The Evernote video series alone makes Premium membership worth the low annual fee, but you get SO much more! Learn more here.

 

RootsMagic + MyHeritage = Heritage Magic!

MyHeritage RootsMagic magicIf you’re a MyHeritage user, you know how powerful their search and record matching technologies are–and how many records and trees they have. If you use RootsMagic, you know how adeptly this family history software helps you build and maintain your master family tree. Now you can work more heritage magic by combining these powerful family history tools!

MyHeritage’s Smart Matching™ and Record Matching technologies have been integrated into newly-released RootsMagic 7 in a feature called WebHints. Whenever new records become available that match people in your RootsMagic tree, MyHeritage will send you a clickable alert. It’s kind of like having Google Alerts for MyHeritage embedded right within MyHeritage! Some records will be free to view; others will require a MyHeritage subscription. Either way, don’t you want to know what’s out there that you might be missing? (Bonus: WebHints also include hints from FamilySearch.org!)

Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems PodcastPersonally, I’m so pleased to see this collaboration. RootsMagic is a longtime sponsor of the free Genealogy Gems Podcast. MyHeritage also sponsors our podcast now, too. These companies offer products I love to share with readers and listeners because they are truly “genealogy gems.”

A few more good-to-know facts:

  • RootsMagic assures users that “information sent by RootsMagic to MyHeritage for matching is never collected or shared, and is deleted after matching to ensure the complete privacy of RootsMagic users and their data.
  • You do have the option to turn off WebHints if you need to for whatever reason. In the software, go to Tools, File Options, and then uncheck WebHints.
  • MyHeritage matching technologies are also being integrated by Dutch genealogy software Aldfaer and the online genealogy services of Coret Genealogie in the Netherlands.

Is it time for you to try a free trial of RootsMagic and MyHeritage? Test drive them both with their freebie versions (still powerful and totally compatible with the paid upgrades). Click here to learn about RootsMagic 7 (and the free version, RootsMagic Essentials) and here to learn about free and paid subscription options at MyHeritage.com.

What are you finding in your WebAlerts on MyHeritage (or by searching the site yourself)? I’d love to hear from you! Post your discoveries on the Genealogy Gems Facebook page!

The Genealogy Industry: $2 Billion–and Growing!

cfl_light_with_plant_growing_out_800_wht_13136Recently, Forbes magazine called family history a “2-plus billion dollar industry that is expected to grow to nearly 3 billion by 2018 (ifla.org). Any investor will tell you that any market described with the word ‘billion’ is a market well worth pursuing.”

The article goes on to describe how FamilySearch International has been quietly spurring growth in the genealogy industry. The nonprofit genealogical organization has made its API (application program interface) available to other developers at little to no cost, allowing for partnerships and app development. FamilySearch’s big annual conference, RootsTech, hosts an Innovator Summit that “offers developers, business leaders, and entrepreneurs access to the latest content and resources that provide insight on family history data, services and inspiration for current and future projects.”

“FamilySearch is no longer being quiet,” they conclude. “They are ready to start knocking doors on a massive scale. In fact, at the industry’s biggest world-wide conference, RootsTech 2015, FamilySearch will be holding a Shark Tank-like competition in front of a 3,000 person live audience.”

“The RootsTech Innovator Challenge is the first of its kind with $25k in prize money and judging by seasoned investors, family history industry leaders, and live audience(s),” explains a statement from FamilySearch sent to Genealogy Gems. “Family history is attracting big partnerships while providing lucrative opportunities for smaller developers to solve complex problems and appeal to the consumer masses.”

like buttonDo you have a great business idea that serves the genealogy market–or do you know someone who does? Share this blog post  with them! More brilliant and creative products and services for genealogists is GOOD for US!

Genealogy Gems Book Club: MORE Great Books Recommended

genealogy book club genealogy gemsLooking for something fun to read this holiday season? Whether you need reading material for holiday travels or just want to curl up under a blanket at home, here are two great titles I love. I shared these with Lisa in the December episode of the Genealogy Gems podcast–click here to hear our discussion and excerpts!

5 finger discountFive-Finger Discount: A Crooked Family History
by Helene Stapinski is one of my favorite published family histories. The author recounts her family’s upbringing in the context of the notoriously corrupt culture of Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.A. It’s a page-turner, from the jaw-dropping opening sentence to the author’s final musings about how her own life reflects hand-me-down criminal tendencies. Some of the stories are snickeringly funny and some are sad, and the author keeps just the right distance from the drama. She’s close enough to sympathize with people who are trying to make their way within a culture that rewards dishonesty, greed and violence, yet can laugh at ironies like trying to learn about her grandfather’s petty thefts–when he’s stolen the very newspaper pages about his misdeeds from the library.

homemade biographyHomemade Biography: How to Collect, Record, and Tell the Life Story of Someone You Love
This is more than “just” a how-to book for family historians—it’s a story of its own. I re-read it every time I want to be freshly inspired to pursue the stories of my family. New York Times best-selling author and journalist Tom Zoellner weaves stories of his own into fabulous, hard-won advice on interviewing people. He shares insider tips on how to get the best stories out of those we talk to. There’s even a helpful chapter on how to work with the memories of those who have Alzheimer’s!

Tune in next month to learn our next featured book for the first quarter of 2015. Learn more about other books we’ve recommended at the Genealogy Gems Book Club page.