August 22, 2014

BillionGraves: Easy Family History for Kids!

BillionGraves

Belle M Graves on BillionGraves!

I’ve been wanting for awhile now to help with BillionGraves’ efforts to photograph the world’s cemeteries. And recently I was looking for a “date” idea with my 9-year old son. Something outdoorsy (for me) and technology-friendly (for him). Well, I realized there’s a perfect app for that combo–BillionGraves!

First we created an account (from the BillionGraves home page). Then, from the Get Started page, we downloaded the app to my iPhone/iPad, watched a quick video about what we were doing (great intro for my son) and then watched another quick video about how to take good gravestone photos.

We were ready to go! But where to go? Which cemeteries near us needed imaging? The BillionGraves app told us!

BG screen shotThe “Cemeteries” section shows, in order of distance from our house, the names and locations of graveyards near us and how many images have already been taken at each. I was surprised to see that of 15 cemeteries within 6 miles of my house, only 2 had been imaged at all (and only partially, by the small number of images mentioned). There was plenty for us to do!

Using the link to Google Maps provided within the app on my iPhone, my son navigated us 1.5 miles to a little village cemetery. We took turns taking pictures on my iPhone. (Next time we’ll bring both the iPhone and iPad and split up, now that I know he can take good pictures.) We stayed only about 25 minutes because it was so hot. But we got nearly 60 images taken and committed to return and image the rest.

During those 25 minutes, my son saw the world in a whole new way. We saw a big tombstone for someone whose last name matched that of a main street near our home–was this an early settler? He commented on how sad it was that so many babies and kids were buried there. We sneaked a peek at two letters placed on a child’s grave, written by kids a few days earlier with their own thoughts on life. And–this last gave us a laugh–on the very first row we imaged for BillionGraves, we photographed the headstone of Belle M. Graves!

To me, this was a perfect introduction to family history for kids. I’d advise it for any kid old enough to take a good picture with a mobile device (just supervise them for quality control).

Are you a BillionGraves volunteer, either in the “field” or as an online transcriptionist? Tell us how that’s been meaningful to you on the Genealogy Gems Facebook page!

Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast Episode 110: New FREE Apps and More

Genealogy Gems Premium MembershipLisa found a few minutes before heading out to play “mother of the bride” to publish Genealogy Gems Premium podcast episode 110

There’s lots of fun stuff on there for you lucky Premium members, like:

  • Lisa talks about great FREE new apps she loves, including Magnifying Glass with Light, which we posted here about;
  • Advice to a listener on finding a home for some orphaned family memorabilia in the Mailbox section of the show notes;
  • An inspiring family history use for Twitter.

Haven’t become a Premium member yet? Did you know you’re missing out on not just podcast episodes like this one (and 109 archived episodes) but a growing online collection of Lisa’s video classes on her most popular topics. She adds a new video class every month! Check out the benefits of Premium membership here.

SCGS Jamboree 2014: Get the Free App

SCGS Jamboree 2014 appAre you going to the SCGS Jamboree 2014 (June 6-9)? The conference app  is now available for download!

The app works on all web-enabled platforms, including iOS (iPad, iPad mini, iTouch, iPhone); Android; BlackBerry; Windows. Laptop and desktop users can also make use of the app.

The app is your personal conference guide. According to conference organizers, here’s what it helps you do:

Plan your weekend at Jamboree.

  • Preview all of the classes by reading the descriptions.
  • Browse day by day, or do a search by topic or experience level.
  • Download the dozens of syllabus articles available through the app and print them for use.
  • Look up your favorite speakers and review the sessions they are teaching.
  • Select your sessions and add them to your own personal schedule to keep organized.
  • Explore the exhibit hall from the comfort of your couch long before the doors open.
  • Do you have questions for speakers or exhibitors? Ask them in advance.

Stay in touch before, during and after Jamboree.

  • Create your profile so others know you’re attending
  • Connect with your friends and send messages.
  • Share your class schedule if you’d like others to know where to find you.
  • Receive breaking news texts from the Jamboree staff about schedule changes, etc.
  • Sync the app across multiple devices.
  • Twitter users, send and read tweets from within the app.
  • Keep up with the Jamboree blog.
  • Provide your feedback on speaker sessions directly from the app.

Download the app today and give it a test run. Can you find Lisa’s classes in the Speaker section and her booth info in the Exhibitor section? It’s worth a look because there are two downloadable pdfs there for you!

FREE FGS Webinars: War of 1812, Using Twitter in Genealogy

FGS logoFor a limited time, you can watch FREE genealogy webinars from the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 2014 Webinar Series. These are top-notch experts in their fields who have a lot to share. These three caught my eye:

“Discovering Local and State Militia Records” by J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA is available only until Sunday, April 27, 2014:

So is “Researching in the Post War Records of 1812″ by Craig Scott, MA, CG:

Interested in social media? Don’t miss this webinar: “Capturing the Community: Using Twitter to Connect, Engage and Educate in Genealogy” by Jen Baldwin:

Check out the full webinar series here.

Magnify Your Genealogy Research with this App and Your Smartphone

Magnifying reading glassesSometimes when I really need to read something my arms just aren’t long enough and my reading glasses are buried in the bottom of my purse. But one things that is always within reach is my smartphone.

My favorite mobile app that comes to my rescue  is Magnifying Glass with Light by Falcon in Motion for the iOS. I use it on both my iPhone and iPad. (Android users can grab Magnificent Magnifier HD for the same sort of tool.)

Magnifier mobile app for smartphoneMagnifying Glass with Light is a handy free tool that I find myself using quite often. The first time, I was coming home at night, and the porch light was off. Not only was it dark, but I didn’t have my readers handy so I couldn’t have read the number pad on the front door lock if I wanted to (which I did!) I whipped out my iPhone and not only did the light illuminate the situation, the magnifier made reading those little numbered buttons a snap.

Safely inside, I continue to use this handy tool to inspect old family photos, read small print and other genealogical activities.  In this screenshot (right) you can see what the app screen looks like as I inspect the tiny writing at the top of an street car in a old photo of my Great Grandfather (below.) Sweet!

San Francisco Street Car Great Grandpa Burkett Family History

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what’s new in Version 3:Magnifying Glass with Light mobile app iphone

  • LED light level control
  • Image Stabilizer
  • Crystal Clear Mode
  • High Contrast Mode
  • Auto-Focus Lock
  • Save photos to exclusive album

Bottom Line:

Price: Free

Ease of Use: Easy

Relevance to Daily Life: Daily Uses

Download: Yes!

Further Reading:
British newspaper Archive App: Here & Then
Using Evernote on the iPad, Android, Tablet & Smartphones
Turn Your iPad into a Genealogy Powerhouse

 

 

British Newspaper Archive App: Here & Then

The newest kid on the app block is Here & Then, which serves up fascinating historic articles, images and advertisements from The British Newspaper Archive through your iPhone for free.

Here & Then Mobile App for Genealogy

Click to enlarge image

Download Here & Then from Apple’s iTunes store

Download this mobile app and read stories from over 200 years of historical newspapers for free, wherever you are.

  • Learn what happened on this day in history
  • Discover reports reflecting today’s news
  • Enjoy interesting and amusing snippets dating back to the 1700s

Don’t have an iPhone? You can also read daily stories on our Facebook page – ‘like’ The British Newspaper Archive on Facebook

About The British Newspaper Archive
The British Newspaper Archive is a partnership project between the British Library and DC Thomson Family History. From November 2011 to 2021, up to 40 million pages from historical newspapers across the UK and Ireland (spanning the period, 1700 to 1950) will be uploaded to the website. www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk.

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive research collection.

Using Evernote on the iPad, Android Tablet, and Smartphones

evernote on the ipad, evernote heroRecently I heard from Jill, who is learning to use Evernote on the iPad for her genealogy. She asks:

“I am using Evernote only as a “note taking” app.  I am not sure how to use it on my iPad. I  have your “quick guide”…how do you copy items (on a mobile device such as iPad, Android tablet, or smartphone) to be put in Evernote from a website?”

Solution: Using Evernote on Mobile Devices

The Evernote for Genealogists quick reference guide will prove invaluable for the desktop software (Windows or Mac), but it doesn’t apply to the free Evernote app.

Every Evernote account has its own unique email address. In the Desktop software’s menu go to TOOLS > ACCOUNT INFO and you’ll see it there. You can use that email address to email photos, etc. from your iPad to your Evernote account.

Dolphin App for mobile genealogy and EvernoteTo learn about web clipping on the iPad and other mobile devices, watch the video of my class on the RootsTech website “How to Become an iPad Power User” (you’ll find the class towards the bottom of the 2014 video list.) In the video I show you how to use the free browser app called Dolphin to easily accomplish mobile web clipping, plus lots of other tips. You can download the free handout for that class here.  Evernote is built right in to Dolphin, making web clipping of your genealogy finds just as easy on an iPad or other mobile device as it is on your desktop!

Genealogy Gems Premium Membership and PodcastFinally, Genealogy Gems Premium Membership is loaded with Evernote tutorial videos including one I just did as a webinar (that video alone has a retail value of $39.95) Genealogy Gems Premium membership is just $29.95 and includes over a dozen classes and 100+ premium podcast episodes)

Happy (Mobile) Clipping!

Family History Episode 21 – RootsMagic and Irish Genealogy Research

Family History: Genealogy Made Easy PodcastOriginally published 2009. Republished March 4, 2014

Download the Show Notes for this Episode

Welcome to this step-by-step series for beginning genealogists—and more experienced ones who want to brush up or learn something new. I first ran this series in 2008-2009. So many people have asked about it, I’m bringing it back in weekly segments.

Episode 21: RootsMagic and Irish Genealogy

Lacey Cooke guest-hosts this double-feature episode on two big topics in family history: RootsMagic genealogy software and how to get started in Irish research.

In the first segment you’ll from Bruce Buzbee, president and founder of RootsMagic Genealogy Software. He talks about his industry-leading software, RootsMagic, which you can try in basic form for free (RootsMagic Essentials) or purchase with all the bells and whistles (totally worth it!) for $29.95.

And in our second segment you’ll hear from Judith Wight. This is a very timely conversation since we are soon to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and Judith is a professional genealogist whose specialty (and personal passion) is Irish research.  This is your chance to learn from a master about how to find those elusive Irish ancestors! Listen for her tips on finding Church of Ireland records, civil registrations, estate records and how history helps us understand gaps in the records.

More Irish Research Links!

Irish Genealogy

RootsIreland

 

 

 

Just How Many (and Who) are Subscribing to Podcasts?

Lisa Louise Cooke Studio FinalAccording to Apple, iTunes crossed a huge milestone this year: 1 Billion Podcast Subscriptions! An incredible number considering that podcasting did not exist before 2005.

Podcasts continue to grow in popularity, and we have certainly seen that growth here at Genealogy Gems. The Genealogy Gems Podcast is fast approaching 1.5 million episode downloads. Here are more stats you might find interesting:

While most Genealogy Gems Podcast listeners live in the U.S., this map shows that genealogists around the world are tuning in:

 

podcast map

Here are regions broken down by those  downloading the most episodes:

access

region

 

Most of you are listening via iTunes (both online and loaded on to your favorite mobile device) and through the Genealogy Gems Podcast Mobile app:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a fun infographic we put together that you can share with your friends and on your blog:

 

 

 

 

The Cool New Technology that Just Got Better with Genealogy

Flipboard CoverFlipboard
Originally designed specifically for the iPad in 2010, the free Flipboard app has moved onto all the major mobile platforms. And this cool new technology has just gotten better with a big dose of genealogy!

I invite you to explore the newly released free Flipboard magazine RootsTech 2014: Where Genealogy and Technology Converge. (Image right: cover)

Genealogy Gems has  published the magazine in conjunction with the RootsTech program team in a continuing effort to help family historians embrace new technologies and present RootsTech attendees with the possibilities.

Consider what’s been happening in the mobile space this last year:

  • Smartphone usage in the U.S. increased by 50 percent (Kleiner Perkins)
  • The number of emails being opened on mobile increased by 330 percent (Litmus)
  • Tablet usage doubled in the U.S. (Pew Research Center)

The bottom line: More than ever folks are accessing websites, videos, podcasts, blogs and other online information on their mobile devices. That’s where the free Flipboard app comes in.

RootsTech Flipboard magazine pageThe free Flipboard app is a social-network and online aggregator of web content and RSS channels for Android, Blackberry 10, iOS, Windows 8, and Windows Phone 8. Content is presented in a captivating magazine format allowing users to “flip” through it with a simple swipe of the finger.

As a genealogy new media content creator and publisher, we’re excited to introduce a creative use of this emerging technology to the genealogy industry. RootsTech 2014: Where Genealogy and Technology Converge is a free magazine available at http://tinyurl.com/RootsTech2014. The magazine pulls together great web content from RootsTech speakers, exhibitors, and official bloggers in one beautiful and convenient place.

This magazine has presented an opportunity to crowd-source the know-how and talent of all of those who work to make RootsTech a success. The magazine offers an exciting look at the RootsTech experience the innovative technologies emerging in the genealogy industry, and a new vehicle for everyone in the RootsTech community to converge! The pages go beyond text and images by also delivering video and audio!

How to Access the Magazine in Flipboard:

  1. Get the free Flipboard app at flipboard.com, in iTunes or Google Play.
  2. Set up for your free account
  3. In the search box at the top of the homepage, search for ROOTSTECH
  4. Tap “RootsTech 2014″ by Lisa Louise Cooke (you’ll see a magazine icon next to it.)
  5. When the magazine loads, tap the SUBSCRIBE icon at the top of the page
  6. Starting at the right hand side of the page, swipe your finger from right to left over each page to “flip!”

Looking for more great genealogy themed Flipboard magazines? Check out two more new issues from Lisa Louise Cooke:

Stay tuned to the Genealogy Gems Blog and Podcast for Lisa’s upcoming exclusive interview with the folks at Flipboard!