April 30, 2016

Here’s an Exclusive Discount on NEW Mastering RootsMagic Class

Mastering RootsMagic classCheck out this exclusive discount on a new Mastering RootsMagic class. You’ve invested in the choosing the right software–now make the most of your investment.

OK, all you RootsMagic users: Last week I heard that Family Tree University is offering a brand new course on Mastering RootsMagic. That caught my attention. I use RootsMagic software to retain control of my master family tree (click here to see why) and I know many Gems listeners and readers do, too. And of course we want to be masters of the most important tools we use for our genealogy.

The FTU class is NOT on sale to the public: it’s brand new and being offered at full price. I got in touch with Family Tree University and asked them if they would extend a special discount to you since we’ve been talking so much lately about the importance of databases.

They are wonderful over there, and they agreed to a 15% discount just for Gems readers and listeners.

buy now

 

 

So here’s the scoop about the class:

Mastering RootsMagic Class

In this 4-week, no-pressure, self-pace online course, you’ll find ways to make the most of all RootsMagic has to offer. For example, you’ll learn:

  • mastering rootsmagic class coupon codeHow to get started using RootsMagic
  • Step-by-step processes for creating your family tree and uploading a gedcom
  • How to develop your family tree
  • Add source citations, edit information, attach pictures and other media, and more
  • Organization tips and tools, like creating timelines, charts, reports, and research logs
  • Making the most of RootsMagic to create a family website or write your family history

RootsMagic expert and FTU instructor Diana Smith will be available throughout to answer your questions personally.

Use your exclusive discount code GENEALOGYGEMS15  and get 15% off through 4/26/16. Enroll for just $84.99. Click HERE to learn more and enroll today!

More RootsMagic Gems

RootsMagic Review: Why I Use It

RootsMagic 7 Can Now Import Family Tree Maker Files Directly

Better RootsMagic for Mac Options Now Available

You and Albert Einstein May Have This in Common

Albert Einstein cluttered deskIs a cluttered desk a familiar sight to you? Maybe you and Albert Einstein have something in common. Or maybe you’re more like tenacious photographer Ralph Morse, who captured the now-famous image of Einstein’s desk the day he died.

Many a genealogist has written to me over the years, heaping discontent on their own heads because of their lack of organization. They are sure that those piles of papers, sticky notes and backs of napkins mean failure on their part. I always assure them that it is the sign of a prolific researcher. I also do my best to share strategies that can help ease the clutter.

But as you can see from an iconic and rare photo of Albert Einstein’s desk published in this Time article online, you are in great company indeed. This image was snapped just hours after his passing 61 years ago today.

The story of this photo is as important as the message it conveys. It’s a story of tenacity: the willingness of one photographer to think outside the box and ask for what he wanted. Certainly this is a trait worthy of a family historian emulating.

Like many other journalists and reporters, Ralph Morse jumped in his car and headed to Princeton when he heard the news of Einstein’s death. The difference between him and the others, however, was that he came prepared with a case of Scotch he picked up along the drive.

I appreciate this part of the story because it reminds me of a piece of advice that I always give in my class on how to find living relatives: “Never show up empty handed.” If we’re going to stretch our hand out in hopes of receiving advice, copies of documents or access to genealogical information, there ought to be something in that hand for the person assisting us. For example, I keep a stack of hard-cover photo books I had made up on my various family lines, ready and waiting to be given to any newly found cousins I hope to interview. (Hmm, should I bring Scotch instead? But I digress….)

Morse approached the building superintendent at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton (where Einstein’s had his office) with a bottle of Scotch and a request to look inside. He received immediate, and exclusive, access. The result was an entire series of iconic and totally unique photos.

Guilt over a lack of organization has ground many a productive genealogy research afternoon to a screeching halt. And although good organization is certainly worth striving for, it’s not worthy of derailing your passion for family history.

Although a picture speaks a thousand words, I think I’ll give the last word to Einstein himself:

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

Genealogy Organization Gems For You

save time and find your ancestorsHow to Save Time and Actually FIND the Ancestors You’re Looking For

How to Organize Digital Pictures

Cloud Storage and Computer Backup: Why Have Both

 

 

 

How To Pronounce Names: Google Translate and Name Pronunciation Tools

how do you pronounce thatCheck out these 3 free online tools that help with how to pronounce names.

Recently, I heard from a Genealogy Gems listener in The Netherlands, who shared research tips for those starting to trace Dutch ancestors. I wanted to mention his email on my free Genealogy Gems podcast, but I didn’t know how to pronounce his name, Niek.

There have been other times I wished I knew how to pronounce names of ancestors or distant cousins, or other foreign words. Here are 3 free online tools that can help. They’re each a little different. I’m giving you all three so you can run the name through more than one site to be even more confident you’re getting the right pronunciation.

1. Google Translate is a powerful, free tool I use for quick translation look-ups. Google Translate now has an audio tool for some languages that will pronounce the words you enter. Look for the speaker icon in the bottom left corner of the translate box and click it:

Google Translate how to pronounce Niek

Google Translate is an awesome free tool for other reasons, too–click here to read about one of its qualities that actually got a gasp out of the audience when I mentioned it in a lecture.

how to pronounce niek2. Forvo describes itself as “the largest pronunciation guide in the world, the place where you´ll find millions of words pronounced in their original languages.” It’s like a pronunciation wiki. A quick search for “Niek” gave me the result shown here. I clicked on “Pronunciation by MissAppeltaart” to hear how that contributor (who is from The Netherlands) said that name. By the way, you can contribute your own pronunciations by clicking on “Pronounce” to see a list of words that are waiting to be recorded.

niek at pronounce names3. Pronounce Names gives you visual cues for pronouncing a name, which is helpful for those who aren’t sure they heard an audio pronunciation correctly. This is what it looks like when you ask for a name pronunciation for Niek.

More Free Online Tools–These are Gems!

Try These Two Powerful Tools for Finding Genealogy Records OnlineTry These 2 Powerful Online Tools for Finding Genealogy Records

New Online Property Map Tools for U.S. Genealogy Research

Compare Look-Alikes in Your Family with This Facial Recognition Web App

NGS 2016: FREE Lectures at the Genealogy Gems Booth

Picture3 ngs 2016

Back by popular demand: free Genealogy Gems sessions in the NGS 2016 exhibitor hall. Fabulous speakers, prizes and a free e-book to everyone who comes!

After a fabulous response last year, Genealogy Gems will once again host FREE presentations in the exhibitor hall at the National Genealogical Society conference on May 4-6, 2016 in Ft. Lauderdale.

If you’re attending NGS 2016, check out the 30-minute power sessions below, being taught by powerhouse presenters Lisa Louise Cooke, Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard and Family Tree Magazine writers Lisa Alzo and Jim Beidler. You’ve heard them on the Genealogy Gems podcast and the Family Tree Magazine podcast and you’ve read their work in the magazine and on this blog: now come see them in person!

schedule NGS 2016

mobile device for genealogyThese smaller free sessions at our booth (#228) offer a great way to meet these top speakers and hear them teach their most popular topics. Because these sessions have been standing-room-only at recent conferences, this year we have created a brand new Genealogy Gems Theater with MORE room to sit and enjoy each session. When you attend, you can sign up for a free e-book with all the session handouts and enter to win a fabulous grand prize, too.

Click here to check out the full Genealogy Gems Theater schedule, see an exhibit room map and download a schedule and prize entry form.

NGS 2016 official social media badge

How to Add Free Genealogy Gems Sessions to the NGS 2016 app

Featured Image ngs 2016 appThe NGS 2016 app is now available. Here’s how to customize your conference experience by adding the free Genealogy Gems booth sessions to your schedule.

Those attending the National Genealogical Society conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on May 4-7 will find the new NGS 2016 app enormously helpful. With it, you can:

  • keep up-to-the-minute with conference news,
  • connect with other attendees,
  • build a personalized schedule for sessions you want to attend,
  • find exhibitors (we’re in the Genealogy Gems booth #228!),
  • take notes and download handouts and presentations, and
  • comment on the sessions you attend.

Here’s how to set it up.

01 tap exhibitors ngs 2016 app

First, click here to download the NGS 2016 app, which is available for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and web-enabled devices. You don’t need to be registered already for NGS to download and use the app. Here’s the NGS app home screen:

Tap “My Schedule” to add official NGS classes to your custom calendar. For example, you can add my Thursday 4:00 pm session, “How to Follow and Envision Your Ancestor’s Footprints Through Time with Google Earth” or Friday 9:30 am session, “Ultimate Google Search Strategies For Genealogy 2.0.”

You can also add the extra, FREE classes being taught at the Genealogy Gems theater in the Exhibitor Hall, which include my own and those of my NGS 2016 special guests:

schedule ngs 2016 app

You won’t find these listed in the app under “My Schedule,” but you can still add them to your custom calendar. Here’s how.

From the home screen, tap “Exhibitors.” On the exhibitor screen you can tap “L” for Lisa or search any part of the name in the search box. Here’s the easiest way to find us: search Gems.

03 search gems ngs 2016 app

Tap our listing to get more details. Tap the star button in the left column (image below) to bookmark us as one of your favorites. (And yes, you’re one of our favorites, too!)04 tap start to bookmark ngs 2016 app

Tap the settings icon (3 horizontal lines) and you can Filter by Bookmarks (image below.)

05 filter by bookmarks ngs 2016 app

 

Now add the free sessions you want to choose. It’s easy to do. From our exhibitor screen, tap the MySchedule icon. (Be sure to do this from our exhibit screen rather than the home screen because it’s going to save you a lot of typing. You’ll thank me!)

06 tap schedule ngs 2016 app

When you tap MySchedule (image above), the screen below will pop up. Perhaps you’d really like to learn how to use Evernote for genealogy. Terrific, because I’ll be teaching that class on Wednesday, May 4 at 1:15 PM in the Genealogy Gems booth in the Exhibitor Hall. Let’s add it to your calendar.07 set event ngs 2016 app

Simply tap TITLE and start typing. The location is conveniently already linked (see, I told you that you would save time using this method!). Tap the date and use the scroll menu to select the exact time and date of the class. Wrap it all up by adding the length: our classes are 30 minutes. You’ve even got a spot to add your own Notes.

08 class ngs 2016 app

 

When you’re all done, tap DONE. And there you go! Beginner Evernote is now on your schedule at 1:15 PM.

Now tap the Plus sign again and add the Advanced Evernote class. (You know you want to!)

09 all classes ngs 2016 app

I’m looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible at NGS 2016! Click here to see all the Genealogy Gems events at NGS 2016–and the free swag you can win. See you there!

NGS 2016 official social media badge

We Dig These Gems: New Genealogy Records Online

We dig these gems new genealogy records onlineHere’s our weekly roundup of new genealogy records online. Which ones mention your ancestors? Think Australian, British, Czech, German, Irish and the U.S. (Illinois, New Jersey and Texas).

AUSTRALIA IMMIGRATION. A new collection of passenger lists for Victoria, Australia (1852-1924) is now browsable for free on FamilySearch.org.

BRITISH MILITARY. Findmypast.com has released over 900,000 Royal Navy and Royal Marine service and pension records (1704-1919). Transcripts and images may divulge personal details along with the particulars of a person’s military service, next of kin, payment and more.

CZECHOSLOVAKIA HOLOCAUST. A new database of selected Holocaust records for Prague, Czechoslovakia (1939-1945) is available at Ancestry.com, as is an update to a companion database of Czech Holocaust records for the same time period, both from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

ENGLAND – SURREY. Ancestry.com has posted various new records collections for Sutton, Surrey, England: Church of England vital records spanning 1538-1812; more Church of England births and baptisms (1813-1915), marriages and banns (1754-1940) and deaths and burials (1813-1985); tax collection rate books (1783-1914) and electoral registers (1931-1970).

GERMANY – HESSE CIVIL REGISTRATIONS. Nearly 300,000 indexed names have been added to a free online collection of civil registrations for Frankfurt, Hesse, Germany (1811-1814, 1833-1928).

IRELAND CHURCH. The initial phase of a fantastic new collection of Irish Quaker church records has been published at Findmypast.com. Over 1.3 million Irish Quaker records are there now, including births, marriages, deaths, school and migration records, many dating back to the mid-1600s.

UK VITAL EVENTS. Ancestry.com has added new collections of UK births, marriages and deaths recorded in far-flung places or unusual settings: at sea (1844-1890); with the Army and Navy (1730-1960); and as registered by British consulates (1810-1968).

US – ILLINOIS BIRTHS. About 160,000 indexed names have been added to a collection of Cook County, Illinois birth certificates (1871-1940). Cook County includes the city of Chicago.

US – NEW JERSEY MARRIAGES. Over 100,000 names are newly-indexed in a free online collection of New Jersey marriage records (dating to 1670!) at FamilySearch.org.

US – TEXAS IMMIGRATION. About 860,000 indexed names have been added to a free existing database of Laredo, Texas passenger arrival manifests (1903-1955) at FamilySearch.org.

share celebrate balloonsThere are literally millions of new genealogy records online every week. It’s hard to keep up, so will you help us spread the word? Thanks for sharing this list on your favorite social media site.

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 190: Missing Person’s Case SOLVED!

GGP 190In the just-published, free Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 190, hear from a genealogist who helped lay to rest a 30-year old missing-person’s case–and so much more.

Don’t you love it when everyday heroes help the experts solve baffling mysteries? I especially love it when that hero is a genealogist who wields research skills with deftness, creativity and bulldog tenacity. Has Lisa Louise Cooke got a story for us!

Scott Fisher, Extreme Genes

Scott Fisher, Extreme Genes

In the new Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 190, Lisa interviews Extreme Genes radio host Scott Fisher about his now-famous role in helping to solve a 30-year old missing persons case. He’s told this story to People, FoxNews and CBS.com, but here Lisa gets Scott to really lay out the details of how he did it for fellow researchers.

There’s more to love in Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 190, such as:

  • Lisa advises a listener on a pesky Gmail problem;
  • A whirlwind world tour of new genealogy records online;
  • Searching out military service details with Google Books;
  • One RootsTech attendee’s Google search success story
  • the new Genealogy Gems Book Club title, a brand-new, much-anticipated second novel by a breakout British novelist.

GGP thanks for sharingClick here to listen to the episode for FREE (no membership or login required).

Not sure what a podcast is or how to listen? Click here to learn more about these “online radio shows” that you can take with you on your mobile device. Listen while you commute, exercise, do your household chores or garden.

4 Great Local History Apps for Genealogists

amy johnson crow interview rootstech local history appsIn Lisa Louise Cooke’s new video interview with Amy Crow, Amy shares 4 of her favorite free local history apps and websites for genealogists.

At RootsTech 2016, Lisa Louise Cooke chatted with Amy Johnson Crow about Amy’s class, “Best Websites and Apps for Finding Local History.” In the video below, Amy shares four of her favorite (and FREE) local history apps and websites, along with tips for using them. Click the video player below to watch, and then below the video, see a summary with links to those sites.

When searching the following FREE local history apps and sites, Amy recommends searching for a place rather than an ancestor’s name.

History Pin. This website is like Pinterest for history, says Amy. It’s especially strong for local history in England, Ireland, Scotland, but also wonderful for the U.S. A lot of organizations have added photos and curated them into collections, like Pinterest boards.

Instagram. It’s not just for the kids and pictures of your food! Follow libraries, archives and historical societies that are in towns where your ancestors lived. They may post historic photos from their collections. Instagram now has a feature where you can share photos with those you follow on Instagram. Use it to share a cool old picture that relates to your family history with a young relative.

The Clio. This website and local history app (available through Google Play and on iTunes for iPhone/iPad) shows you historic sites around you when you turn on your location services. The resources, descriptions and bibliographic entries on this site are great to follow up with for your research.

What Was There. At this site (or with the iPhone app) you can view historic photos plotted on a map near your current location. Use it to look around and ask the question, “What happened here?” if you’re on a walk or visiting somewhere. The site is integrated with Google Street View. You can also upload your own old photos if you know where they were taken and do an overlay in Google Maps, in much the same way Lisa teaches about doing in Google Earth.

amy johnson crow interview rootstech 2

“We focus so much on the people, and we search for names. I really believe that if we have any hope of understanding the ancestors, we have to understand where they lived…what was impacting their lives.”  -Amy Johnson Crow

 

mobile genealogy bookLooking for more mobile genealogy tips? Turn to Lisa Louise Cooke’s brand new book, Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research. In addition to apps specifically for genealogy, you’ll also find recommendations for free and inexpensive apps for all those related tasks: note-taking, recording interviews, taking pictures, reading, collaborating, traveling, learning and sharing genealogy with loved ones.

NGS 2016: Attend Virtually with Streaming Sessions

NGS 2016 offers a virtual streaming package for online attendees this year–and Lisa’s new Google Earth class is part of it!

The National Genealogical Society (U.S.) is colive streaming from ngs 2016unting down to its annual conference on May 4-6 in sunny Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Now you can count down the days, too, even if you can’t attend in person. NGS 2016 is offering registration packages with remote access to 10 live-streaming lectures that you can watch from your own computer or mobile device.

One of Lisa Louise Cooke’s NGS lectures, “How to Follow and Envision Your Ancestor’s Footprints Through Time with Google Earth,” is among the classes being streamed.  Here’s a quick run-down of the two days:

Day 1: Land Records, Maps and Google Earth:

  • Mapping Apps for Genealogists, Rick Sayre, CGSM, CGLSM, FUGA.
  • Private Land Claims, Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA (on foreign land grants and subsequent records that proved legal ownership in territorial areas prior to U.S. acquisition)
  • Are You Lost: Maps and Gazetteers for English and Welsh Research, Paul Milner
  • Deed Books: More Than Just Land Records, Vic Dunn, CG
  • How to Follow and Envision Your Ancestor’s Footprints Through Time with Google Earth, Lisa Louise Cooke

Day 2: Problem Solving with Proper Methodology, Historical Context and DNA

  • Reasonably Exhaustive Research: The First Criteria for Genealogical Proof, Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA
  • Sharing With Others: How to Convey Evidence, Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG
  • Systematically Using Autosomal DNA Test Results to Help Break Through Genealogical Brick Walls, Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA
  • Helen F. M. Leary Distinguished Lecture, Ethics in Genealogy— Professional and Personal, David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA
  • Doughnut Holes and Family Skeletons: Meeting the GPS through Negative and Indirect Evidence, Stefani Evans, CG

NGS 2016 official social media badgeThere are Live Streaming access registrations options for each day (5 lectures each for $65/$80) or a bundle for both days ($110/$145). (Prices are for NGS members/non-members.) It’s a fabulous price to access classes that were hand-picked from among the top-notch instruction provided at NGS. The lectures will air as they happen on May 5-6, but virtual attendees will have access to the classes for a full 3 months (through August 7, 2016).

For NGS members who purchase access all 10 classes, they’re paying just $11 per class! Click here for more info and to register. And watch the calendar–registration for NGS 2016 Live Streaming access ends April 22, 2016 at midnight.

Picture3Come see us at NGS 2016! After a fabulous response last year, Genealogy Gems will once again host FREE presentations in the Exhibitor Hall. Join us in our brand new Genealogy Gems theater. Our popular sessions help you think outside the box for greater genealogy success (and have fun and get free swag while you’re at it). Click here to check out the full Genealogy Gems Theater schedule.

This Family Tree Quilt Stitches 2600 Relatives Together

White family tree quilt center compressedA giant family tree quilt documents 9 generations and just over 2600 family names. Here’s how the quilter completed this beautiful family heirloom.

Not long ago, I came across this article from a local news outlet about the White family celebrating its 104th reunion. That’s quite an accomplishment, but what really caught my eye was the heirloom on display: a family tree quilt so large it couldn’t easily fit in a single photograph.

I tracked down the designer and creator of the family tree quilt. She’s a busy young mom named Jennifer Reiter. “Before we had our 100th reunion, I was reading a book with my girls about pioneer days,” she says. “A little girl was traveling. When they arrived at their destination, they made a quilt with all the memories from their favorite dress material. I got a crazy idea to do something like that for our family’s 100th-anniversary reunion: a quilt with everyone’s names on it.”

White family tree quilt sketch center block compressedIt wasn’t an easy undertaking. Jennifer took the names from a family history book her mother-in-law had. The founding couple from the 1700s had four children. Jennifer designed the quilt such that each quadrant of the quilt would represent one branch of the family. She sketched out her design across 46 pages from a notebook. Then she copied everyone’s names onto quilt block templates that were sent each out to volunteers in the family to help hand-stitch.

White family tree quilt showing family separation compressedAll the descendants’ names are on the quilt, Jennifer reports. “Each family unit appeared on one square. If a child got married and had a family, they got another square of their own. Each generation was a different color thread. My color is orange, so I can easily see who else is from the same generation I am. I tried to keep the colors of the fabric about the same, family-wise, too.”

“It took a year,” Jennifer says. “I didn’t get quite as much help as I white family tree quilt key for color generation compressedthought I would.” The final quilt documents 9 generations with 2601 names in it on a quilt that’s larger than king-sized. There are 256 quilt blocks, each of them 6″ square.

The quilt made its debut appearance at the 100th White family reunion, and a few years since then. It also took an honorable mention in the county fair. But she learned a lesson about letting it out of her sight too often: “There were a few years it was missing after it got left at the reunion. Someone went to the camp and they were looking for it again. The secretary had it. Now I have it my possession permanently.”

What an amazing accomplishment–and what an heirloom for the White family! Thanks for sharing it with us, Jennifer.

More Inspiring Family Quilts from Genealogy Gems

wedding quilt dressA New Heritage Quilt from Old Family Fabrics (with an entire wedding dress sewn into it!)

A Photo Quilt Stitches Together Childhood Memories

A Quilt that Brought My Family Together (story in free Genealogy Gems podcast)

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