August 29, 2015

I’m Sha-Sha: What are the Grandparent Nicknames in Your Family?

What are the grandparent nicknames in your family? sha shaHow do they compare to other traditional, trendy and international grandmother and grandfather nicknames?

Recently I got this cute email question from Premium member Kathy from Northridge, CA: “I am curious as to how you got your Grandma name of “Sha-Sha.” In my family both my grandmothers had special names.  My maternal grandmother’s name was Marian. She had a cat named Kitty Mit. According to family lore my grandmother would always say to my oldest cousin, “You’re my little Kitty mitty,” and my cousin ended up calling her “Minnie” because of that. My paternal grandmother had the initials MD (she too was a Marion). Her friends gave her the nickname of Doc so my brother and I called her Grandma Doc.

I only had one grandfather (my paternal grandfather died at 59 when my dad was 17) so he just got the name Grandpa. Now when my nephew was a toddler he started out by identifying my parents as Big Grandma and Little Grandma. He didn’t quite get the gender reference straight. My father was 6-4 feet tall; hence he was “big” and my mom was 5 foot 3 so she was “little.”  Now my nephew is a father himself and my great-nephew calls his grandmas “LaLa (whose name is Linda) and YaYa (whose name is Cathy..and no we are not Greek!). We don’t know how he came up with those names but they are stuck with them! LOL The Grandpas are Papa Ted & Mike.”

Well, since you asked….Davy started calling me Sha Sha as soon as he learned to talk, and like so many grandparent names, it stuck. (I fully admit I was SO anxious for him to call me anything that I took the first name he offered.) Now if anyone tries to refer to me as Grandma he scowls at them and asks why in the world they are calling me some foreign name.

I discussed this on the free Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 118, and on the next Episode #119 I shared lots of wonderful stories from listeners about their terms of endearment. Kathy’s is right up there in being adorable! I LOVE Big Grandma and Little Grandma. Kids know what they see!

Kathy’s question got me Googling, of course. Guess what I found? The Ultimate Guide to Grandparent Names. This free webpage lists out common traditional and trendy nicknames for both grandmothers and grandfathers. You’ll also find a list of grandparent nicknames from other languages, too (I see that “Ya-Ya” is a Greek nickname for grandmother, as Kathy said).

Share this message with your favorite or fellow grandparent!

Don’t Lose Control When You Post Your Family Tree Online

Online tree out of controlWhen you post your family tree online at multiple websites, it’s easy to lose track of changes you make at each one. Maintaining a master family tree on your own computer can help solve that problem.

Recently Gems podcast listener Louis wrote in with a question many of us face. He recently purchased RootsMagic 7 software to keep track of his family tree, but he’s still finding it difficult to corral all his data in one place. Here’s the problem, he says:

“I have my family tree splattered everywhere: FamilySearch, MyHeritage, and Ancestry. I’m afraid of losing control of my tree and would like some advice on keeping things straight. Each of the sites I go on seem to offer different information, so I started posting tree information on different sites. Can you offer any suggestions that I can use to centralize my data across different sites?”

I can fully appreciate Louis’ situation. Here’s a quick summary of how I keep my family tree organized all in one place.

Websites come and go, as we know, so I look at my RootsMagic database on my computer as my MASTER database and tree. This kind of approach lets you post your family tree online but not lose control of it!

When I post GEDCOM files of my family tree on other websites (what’s a GEDCOM?), I do so to try and connect with cousins and gain research leads. With that in mind, I upload only the portion of the tree for which I want to generate those connections and leads. In other words, I don’t put my entire GEDCOM on each site (MyHeritage, Ancestry, etc.) because I don’t want to get bogged down with requests and alerts for far flung branches that I’m not focused on researching right now. To do this I make a copy of my database, edit it to fit my research, and then upload it.

As I find documents and data on these websites, I may “attach” them to the tree on that site, but I always download a copy and retain that on my computer and make note of it in RootsMagic. That way I retain control of my tree and my sources.

backblaze online cloud backup for genealogyAnd of course the final step is to back up my computer so everything is safe and secure. I do that with Backblaze (the official backup of The Genealogy Gems Podcast) and you can click here to learn more about their service for my listeners.

In the end, it is my family tree and history. I want to keep ownership of it on my own computer, even when I share parts of it online.

Resources

RootsMagic the Master GenealogistBest Genealogy Software: Which You Should Choose and Why

RootsMagic Update for FamilySearch Compatibility

Free RootsMagic Guides

Family Tree Builder for Mac

Thank you for sharing this post with others who may have the same question! Email it, share it on Facebook, pin it, Tweet it–just use our handy social media icons on this page.

(Full Disclosure: Some of the websites mentioned and links provided in our articles are for sponsors of The Genealogy Gems Podcast. They are sponsors because we think they are terrific and use the products ourselves. We include affiliate links for your convenience and appreciate when you use them because they help keep The Genealogy Gems Podcast available for free. Thank you!) 

Philippines Genealogy Resources Now Online

Philippines genealogyFamilySearch is creating an enormous–and still growing–collection of free online genealogy records for the Philippines.

In recent weeks, I’ve noticed a lot of new genealogy records for the Philippines going online at FamilySearch. These indexed and/or digitized records include court records, local and national civil registrations, births and baptisms, marriages and parish records. Catholic church records are especially important, as the country is about 90% Catholic.

Highlights from their online Philippines genealogy collections include:

Resources:

Family History: Genealogy Made Easy Podcast FamilySearch has a free Research Outline for the Philippines. If you’re new to family history, consider listening to our free Family History Made Easy podcast. This step-by-step series takes you through the basics of genealogy research from the beginning: listen to every episode in sequence or just choose the ones you need!

Family Reunion Ideas: Top 10 Ways to Incorporate Family History

Family Reunion Top 10Family reunions are the perfect place to share your family history with others. The trick is to keep things light and fun!

These top 10 family reunion ideas can sprinkle a healthy–and tasty– dose of heritage into your next family gathering.

1. Family Tree Hopscotch. This life-sized bean bag toss/hopscotch game quizzes family members on the names of ancestors. It’s aimed at kids, but adults enjoy it, too!

2. Table Talk: If you’ll be seated at tables, provide an icebreaker that can double as a family history gathering opportunity. Place a form at each place setting for guests to fill out. (Or a short list of questions for people to answer, if a videographer will make the rounds at each table) Include questions like, What’s your earliest childhood memory?  Who’s the earliest ancestor you have a photograph of? What are three things you remember about great-grandmother? Can you imagine how this Martha Stewart placecard on Pinterest (which I found by searching “family reunion history” at Pinterest, a great place for collecting family reunion ideas) might be adapted this way?

3. Put Ancestors at the Center of Things: Centerpieces or displays that celebrate your heritage will attract curious relatives and may prompt memories and comments. One of our Premium members sent us a description of her conversation-starting centerpiece: click here to read about it. If guests won’t be seated at tables, set up a family history display table next to the refreshments table (where they’re most likely to walk by!). Let them know that this is their gift to you. You could even have some sort of treat or little sticker they can wear that says, “I shared our family history: Have you?”

4. Sweet Memories: Create “Sweet Memories Candy Bars” that feature family history. I write about these in my book Genealogy Gems: Ultimate Research Strategies. They are great conversation starters–and the candy is a definite incentive to get people talking.

5. Heritage Scrapbook: A mini, accordion-style scrapbook craft project makes a fun, meaningful activity for all ages. Relatives can work on these alone or in little groups. It’s the kind of project that would be easy to adapt for any family’s background.

6. Have Yourself a Merry Little Family History: Make a holiday craft that celebrates your heritage. Click here for a free PDF with directions on making a heritage Christmas stocking. Or make a family history-themed wreath, following these instructions I posted on YouTube.

7. Games: Try a heritage twist on the classic wedding or baby shower games. Create a crossword puzzle or word search with family surnames, hometowns, favorites and more. (Here’s a link to one website that creates a puzzle for you for free.) Or invite guests to bring their own baby pictures. Post them for all to see and let your guests guess who each baby is.

8. Cook up some Conversation: When I was looking for family reunion ideas a while back it occurred to me that my family’s love of food was a great angle to tap into. Heritage cookbooks are a time-honored way to share family recipes, and they can double as a reunion fund-raiser if you like. Ask family members to submit recipes. Add recipes from ancestors. Share them with each family or guest who attends. Remember, it’s not hard to create an e-book of recipes that you can’t share by email or on Facebook. An easy version of this idea: Snapfish offers a really cute way to share individual recipes on pre-printed cards. Only one or two recipes required to make this a success!

9. The Amazing Family History Scavenger Hunt: Create a list of questions that will require some scavenger-hunt type searching among your relatives. Questions might include finding someone who has at least 10 grandchildren, was born in California, is about to start kindergarten, likes the Beatles, etc. Research ahead of time so that questions all apply. This activity gets people talking!

10. DNA Day. Purchase a few DNA kits for genealogy. Have them on hand in case family members want or are willing to have their DNA swabs done. This is especially great if older relatives are coming, but might not complete the swabs if you mailed them to them.

BONUS FAMILY REUNION TIP: Did you know you can organize a great family reunion on Facebook–even if not everyone is ON Facebook? Click here to read a post with great tips about using Facebook to keep everyone in the loop and share the good times with those who can’t attend.

sharingBe sure to share this article on family reunion ideas with the family reunion planners you know! It can be so helpful to get a fresh burst of ideas when planning big family gatherings.

 

How to See Your Favorite People First on Facebook

Facebook favorite peopleNow you can choose whose Facebook activity shows up at the top of your news feed. We hope the Genealogy Gems Facebook page is on your See First list!

Facebook now has a new feature to allow you to select which friends and pages you want to see at the top of your news feed. Along with your close friends and relatives, we hope you’ll include the Genealogy Gems Facebook page on your See First list.

Here’s how to do it:

See First facebook cropped1. Go to the Facebook friend or fan page you want to add to your See First list.

2. Look for the “Following” (for friends) or “Liked” (for fan pages) button on that profile picture.

3. Click it, then select “See First.”

It’s that easy! You can choose up to 30 people to see first in your feed.

Why bother? In the past, even if you “Like” a fan page like our Genealogy Gems page, it didn’t necessarily show up in your feed. And it could be easy to miss posts from the people you care most about (especially if they don’t post very often). Now you won’t have to chance missing updates from your “besties,” kids or grandkids, or favorite online groups.

media_icon_like_400_wht_9163Add the Genealogy Gems Facebook page to your Facebook See First list,  and you won’t miss any of our gems. Like our recent scoop about the new Social Security Application index: we’ve heard from SO many of you (on and off Facebook) how helpful this new database is. It just takes a second. Will you try it now?

We Dig These Gems! New Genealogy Records Online

We dig these gemsHere’s our weekly list of new genealogy records online. Do any collections below relate to your family history? Please share with your genealogy buddies or with societies that might be interested!

ITALY CIVIL REGISTRATION. Over a million total indexed Italian civil registrations have been added to FamilySearch for Bario, Caltanissetta, Genova, Mantova, Pesaro e Urbino and Pescara. See and search (for free) all available records here.

MEXICO CHURCH RECORDS. FamilySearch also just updated their Mexican church records by the millions, from Aguascalientes to Zacatecas. The biggest updates are for the Distrito Federal (Mexico City) and Pueblas. Search these here for free.

SOUTH DAKOTA SCHOOL RECORDS. Nearly 3 million indexed names have been added to this free collection at FamilySearch. According to the database description, “School records, including teacher’s term reports, school census and attendance records located at the South Dakota State Historical Society in Pierre. Records are generally arranged by county, year and school district number.” It looks like this is a work-in-progress and more indexed records will be added.

US ALIEN CASE FILES. Nearly half a million In 1940, immigrants in the U.S. who had not naturalized had to register and be finger printed. Case files resulted! Nearly a half million indexed records from all over the U.S. are part of this new FamilySearch collection. (Residents of Guam; Honolulu, Hawaii; Reno, Nevada; and San Francisco, California are not part of this collection.)

US CENSUS RECORDS. Updates, corrections and additions to their U.S. federal census collections have been posted recently by both FamilySearch (1790 and 1800) and Ancestry (1880 and 1920 as well as the 1850-1885 mortality schedules). No additional detail was provided about specific changes to the collections. We blogged a few months ago about why FamilySearch was re-indexing part of the 1910 census; read it here.

sign up newsletterSign up for our weekly newsletter, and this weekly round-up of major new record collections will be among the “gems” you find in it! With your sign-up, you’ll receive a free e-book on Google search strategies for genealogy. Simply enter your email address in the box in the upper right-hand corner of this page. Thank you for sharing this post with anyone else who will want to know about these records (and this weekly blog post.)

7 Reasons to Start a Family History Blog

family history blogMore and more people are blogging about their family history. Here’s why!

When it comes right down to it, many of us want to write up our family stories, but we don’t really want to write or publish a 300-page book. Blogging your family history in short snippets is a perfect alternative! Why?

1. Its shorter, flexible format is much less intimidating for many people. You don’t have to lay out a book or fill hundreds of pages. You can write a little bit at a time, as your time and mood permit.

2. A blog is like your own family history message board. Every word you write is searchable by Google–which means others researching the same family lines can find and connect with you.

3. A family history blog can help bust your toughest brick wall. I’ve heard and shared countless stories here at Genealogy Gems from readers and listeners of how just “putting it out there” on a blog led to someone contacting them with a treasure trove of new information about their family tree.

4. Writing a narrative about your research will help you identify gaps in your research. Sometimes errors or bad assumptions you made will jump out at you.

5. Your kids and grandkids are (or will be) online. They will more likely want to read quick and easy stories on the go on their smart phones and tablets. Putting your research out there on a blog provides them with an easy way to digest the family heritage and subscribe to it, since blogs can be delivered to their email inbox or to a blog reader.

6. Because there are no excuses. You can start a blog for free. There are no rules, so you can decide how often and how much you write at once.

7. If you leave the blog online, it will still be there even when you’re not actively blogging. You will continue to share–and you may continue to attract relatives to it.

Resource:

Start a family history blog with this free series from our Family History Made Easy podcast (an online radio show)

Part 1: What to Consider when Starting a Genealogy Blog. The “Footnote Maven,” author of two popular blogs, talks about the process of starting a genealogy blog. She gives great tips for thinking up your own approach, finding a unique niche, commenting on other people’s blogs and more.

Part 2: Insights from Popular Genealogy Bloggers. We hear from two additional popular genealogy bloggers, Denise Levenick (author of The Family Curator and alter ego of “Miss Penny Dreadful” on the Shades of the Departed blog) and  Schelly Tallalay Dardashti (author of the Tracing the Tribe blog).

Part 3: Step by Step on Blogger.com. How to create your own free family history blog on Blogger.com. Learn tricks for designing a simple, useful blog and how NOT to overdo it!

Final tips: Wrap-up and inspiration. In this concluding episode, learn how to add a few more gadgets and details to your blog; pre-plan your blog posts, publish your first article, and how to help your readers subscribe. You’ll also get great tips on how to create genealogy content that others looking for the same ancestors can find easily online.

share notes with evernoteSHARE! Invite someone you know to start a family history blog by sending them this post. They’ll thank you for it later!

WWII Ghost Army Marches into Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 182

GGP 182An incredible tale of deception during World War II. Inspiring research and storytelling techniques. Learn about the Ghost Army–and the creation of its PBS documentary–in the new, free Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 182.

In the summer of 1944, a handpicked group of young GIs landed in France to conduct a secret mission. They were to create an elaborate façade of military might for an audience, the German army. These men had one goal: to fool the enemy into believing they were an American army thousands strong, and draw their attention away from the actual fighting troops.

Ghost Army book clubIn this podcast episode, we celebrate the Twenty-third Headquarters Special Troops–known as the Ghost Army–with my special guest Rick Beyer, author of the book The Ghost Army of World War II: How One Top-Secret Unit Deceived the Enemy with Inflatable Tanks, Sound Effects, and Other Audacious Fakery and director and screenplay author of the acclaimed documentary film Ghost Army, which premiered on PBS.

Rick joins us for a riveting conversation. He explains the three divisions of the Ghost Army, and how they fulfilled their duties with courage and creativity. Then he takes us behind the scenes of the book to explore research strategies and in particular, effective interviewing techniques. Finally he talks to us about putting it all together: storytelling, the integration of all the art, photos and documents, and fantastic catchy chapter titles that make you want to read.

This is a must-hear episode whether you love history, mystery, military stories, family history writing advice or just listening in on a great conversation! Thank you for sharing this episode with others who will enjoy it!

Genealogy Gems Book Club Genealogy Family HistoryIf you love author interviews, check out the Genealogy Gems Book Club. We regularly interview writers of best-selling fiction and nonfiction titles that catch the interest of family history lovers.

WDYTYA Archive: What They Didn’t Tell Us In Ginnifer’s Episode

WDYTYA cutting roomNot every juicy finding makes it into each episode of Who Do You Think You Are. Here’s what ended up on the cutting room floor for Ginnifer Goodwin. What else might we learn in the upcoming “Into the Archives” episode?

Did you watch the Ginnifer Goodwin episode of WDYTYA? two weeks ago? Lisa thinks it was one of the best episodes they’ve done to date. Well, the show researchers didn’t tell us everything they learned. There were just so many twists and turns in the plot already!

But TLC gave us one more juicy detail. We just couldn’t share it until after the show aired. Remember the divorce record that was found for Nellie’s unknown first marriage? What the episode doesn’t show is that “Ginnifer discovers that Duff Williams sued Nellie for divorce first, and only married Nellie to avoid jail time for having sex with her outside of matrimony. But the tables were turned when he falsely accused Nellie in court of adultery, and his lies sent him to prison.”

This weekend, WDYTYA offers a special glimpse into its archives. You’ll see highlights from past seasons: triumphs and tragedies, delightful discoveries and sobering moments. According to TLC, “this special episode also unveils outtakes and never-before-seen footage from the series’ vault.” Catch the episode this Sunday, August 16 at 9/8c on TLC.

Be sure to share this post with fellow WDYTYA fans!

When sharing stories from my own family history “vault,” I almost always find I have to leave some things out, too. There isn’t room in every telling for every detail! So in this episode, I’ll be watching closely and thinking about why they left out the things they did.

Family History Genealogy Made Easy PodcastReady to start writing about the juicy stories and unexpected plot twists in your own family history? Blog it! Get started with our free 5-part series on blogging your family history in our Family History Made Easy podcast (episodes 38-42–and check out episode 45 for more inspiration).

 

How to Add Text to a Web Clipping in Evernote

Here’s a simple solution for making additions to an existing web clipping in Evernote.

By CBS Television (eBay item photo front press release) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever clipped something with Evernote and realized after the fact that you would like to copy and paste additional information (such as a genealogical source citation) to the clipping?

Carolyn wrote me recently when she ran into this problem of how to add text to a web clipping in Evernote: “I clipped a wedding document from FamilySearch to Evernote Notebook [and] added URL to dropdown menu. But where can I add the citation that is given on FS document page?

I tried copy/paste but…back at Evernote, nowhere to paste citation.  I like to document everything I use in my family records, so this is important to me…I enjoy using Evernote and following your tutorials that came with my (Genealogy Gems Premium website) membership. I have been using Evernote for just two weeks.”

Carolyn, I’m thrilled to hear that source citation is important to you, because it is the backbone of solid genealogical research! Here’s a simple solution.

How to Add Text to a Web Clipping in Evernote:

1. In Evernote, click once on the web clipping in the existing note

2. Press the right arrow key on your keyboard (you will see that now there is a big flashing cursor to the right of the clipped image)

3. Press the Enter key on your keyboard (just like a Return on a typewriter, your cursor has now moved one line below your clipping.)

4. Type or paste copied source citation as desired.

5. Use the formatting options at the top of the note to change the font size, type, and color, etc.

6. Click the INFO icon to see and add more data as desired (such as the original URL of the webpage where you clipped the item.)

How to add text to a web clipping in Evernote

sharingDid you find How to Add Text to a Web Clipping in Evernote helpful? It’s easy to share it by clicking any of the social media icons at on this post. And we feel all happy inside here at Genealogy Gems when you do – thanks for being a Gem!