November 24, 2015

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 185 Is Now Available

GGP 185In the newly-published and FREE Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 185, Lisa celebrates family history writing with inspiring stories, her unique spin on the “marketing value” of family history blogs and a chance to win a FREE year of Premium membership!

This month, all of us here at Genealogy Gems are celebrating reaching a milestone 1000 blog posts on our website! In a special segment, several Genealogy Gems listeners and readers share THEIR adventures and successes with family history blogging–and Lisa shares some spot-on “why blog?” comments from a marketing perspective.

blog posts boardContinuing our celebration of family history writing–in all its forms–we welcome George Ella Lyon, the poet laureate of Kentucky, to talk to us about a poetry initiative she started that’s all about family identity. Her “Where I’m From” writing prompt has reached around the world–and now we bring it to you!

Listen to that segment, write your own poem and call in to read it on Lisa’s voicemail ((925) 272-4021) by the end of this year. You could win  a 1-year Genealogy Gems Premium website subscription! Be sure to leave your name, phone number, and email address (your phone and email will be kept private and NOT played on the show). One lucky winner will be randomly selected on December 31, 2015.

Also in the Genealogy Gems podcast episode 185, you’ll find fabulous new online resources–millions of marriage records and some great new materials coming from the U.S. National Archives. Diahan Southard joins the show with a segment on understanding your DNA ethnicity results. So tune in and check us out! You can listen click here to listen from your web browser or mobile device. OR enjoy the perks and convenience of using the exclusive Genealogy Gems app, available for iPhone/iPad and Android.

GGP thanks for sharingWant to encourage a friend or relative to write a “Where I’m From” poem of their own? Want to help a genie buddy or your society members get inspired to blog? Why not share this free podcast with them? Thank you! You are a gem!

How Can I Listen to the Genealogy Gems Podcasts Offline?

listen to Genealogy Gems podcasts offlineHere’s how you can listen to the Genealogy Gems podcasts when you’re not online.

Recently Lorraine sent us this question: “Can your podcasts be downloaded to listen to offline, i.e. on a cruise where internet access isn’t practical?”

Lucky Lorraine, if she’s headed on a cruise! The answer is YES, absolutely, Lorraine (and anyone else) can listen to our podcasts at sea, while out walking or running, on a camping trip, or anywhere else we find ourselves without internet access.

Here are 3 ways to listen to the Genealogy Gems podcasts offline:

1. Genealogy Gems App: If you have a smart phone or tablet, you can get the Genealogy Gems app and easily download episodes to your phone. In the app, go to Settings and turn on the feature to automatically download starred episodes. Then just tap the Star icon for any episode you wish to download to your phone.

2. iTunes: If you don’t have a mobile device, you can use iTunes (free) to download episodes to your laptop computer or iPod/mp3 player. (Click here for more specific instructions on our Frequently Asked Questions page/)

3. Website: If you don’t wish to use iTunes: On your computer or laptop, go to In the menu hover your mouse over Podcasts and choose which free podcast you want to listen to: the Genealogy Gems Podcast or the Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast (a step-by-step show for beginners and back-to-basics). Premium Members of our Genealogy Gems website can sign in and then also hover over Premium and select Premium Podcast.

Follow the links to click the episode number you want which will take you to the show notes page.

direct downloadsOn the show notes page for the episode, you will find the option to download the episode.

For the Genealogy Gems podcast, scroll to the bottom of the page to see the “Direct Download” link.

For Family History: Genealogy Made Easy and Genealogy Gems Premium podcasts, it’s toward the top of the page and just says “Download.”

Click to download the mp3 audio files to your computer. Enjoy on demand–wherever you are!

More Tips for Enjoying the Genealogy Gems Podcasts

enjoy_the_music_1600_clr_90355 Occasions When You Really Do Have Time to Listen to Genealogy Gems Podcasts

Here’s Why You Should Use the Genealogy Gems App

NEW to the Genealogy Gems Podcast: The Genealogy Gems Book Club



Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 184 Is Ready for YOU

GGP 184The FREE Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 184 has been published and is ready for your listening pleasure! 

In this episode of the free Genealogy Gems podcast, you’ll hear about lots of fabulous and FREE online resources–including a way to harness the power of for free.

You’ll also hear advice from two listeners, one on saving your genealogy from theft and another with a tip on digital preservation for photos. I share a genealogist’s poem that made me laugh. Resident DNA expert Diahan Southard joins us to respond to a common lament: when DNA doesn’t seem to be panning out for you.

In this episode we also announce our next Genealogy Gems Book Club, the last featured title of 2015. It’s a meaty new novel by a New York Times best-selling author who has also penned an Oprah Book Club Pick. Come check it out (or click here to read more about it)! Listen in iTunes, through our app (for iPhone/iPad or Android users), on our website and TuneIn (now available for Amazon Echo users).

GGP thanks for sharingThe Genealogy Gems podcast is proud to continue its tradition as a FREE, listener-friendly show for all levels of family history researchers (beginners and beyond!). Thanks for sharing this post with your friends and genie buddies. You’re a GEM!

Go Digital! in the New Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 183

GGP 183Digitization tips for old home movies and photos. Online storage and computer backup tips. The Genealogy Gems Book Club interview with Pamela Smith Hill, the editor of the new Laura Ingalls Wilder biography, Pioneer Girl.

These are all highlights of the free Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 183, newly-published and available for your listening pleasure on our website, through iTunes and the Genealogy Gems app.

Kristin HardingA special feature is an exclusive interview with digitization expert Kristin Harding from Larsen Digital. She is passionate about getting old photos and movies safely digitized and into storage we can access in the years to come!

As always, you’ll hear from fellow genealogy lovers who have written in with comments and questions. Diahan Southard returns from her summer break with a great new DNA story that settled an old scandal involving U.S. President William G. Harding.

So tune in and enjoy the free Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 183! Then why not share it with a friend who may like it, too? Thank you!

Genealogy Gems Podcast Nominated! Academy of Podcasters Award

Academy AwardWe’re so pleased we just had to tell you our great news….The Genealogy Gems Podcast has been nominated for the first-ever Academy of Podcasters Awards!

Ten nominees were named in each category by The Academy of Podcasters in an event expected to become annual, according to the Academy website. We were chosen “by a combination of input from the Academy, the board,  and from other podcast rating services.” The Genealogy Gems Podcast was nominated in the “Parenting, Family and Kids” category.

Podcaster and comedian Colt Cabana will host the actual awards show on July 31, 2015 at the Omni Fort Worth in Forth Worth, Texas. It’s not far from home and I hope to stop by to celebrate on my way home from speaking at the BYU Family History Conference!

GGP award finalistIn case you’re not already a listener….The FREE Genealogy Gems Podcast, our flagship “online radio show” with 1.75 million downloads, helps you make the most of your family history research time by providing quick and easy-to-use research techniques. As the producer and host, I do my darndest to bring you the best websites, best practices, and best resources available for genealogy!

Listening has never been easier because now you can easily stream podcasts on your smartphone or tablet in addition to listening online at our website or in iTunes. To listen on your mobile device, just get the Genealogy Gems app for iPhone or iPad and Android. To learn more about the show or read FAQ, click here.

Try our other podcasts, too:

  • Family History: Genealogy Made Easy, a free step-by-step series for new or starting-over genealogists
  • The Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast, a monthly in-depth news and how-to show with MORE great interviews, tips and tricks. This is available as part of our annual subscription package, which also includes a year’s access to a full range of genealogy education videos.

Thank you Academy of Podcasters!


Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 181

1950s family historySock hops. Drive-ins. Juke boxes. Fuzzy dice. Letterman jackets. Poodle skirts, bobby socks and saddle shoes. Do the 1950s come to mind? They will when you listen to the newly-published Genealogy Gems podcast, episode 181!

The 1950s are a great era to research your family history, but it may not seem easy at first. Federal censuses (1950 in the U.S. and 1951 in Canada, the U.K. and Australia) are privacy-restricted, and so are many vital records.

In this episode, I’ll inspire you with several very FUN approaches to learning about your family history during this time period. I’ll also give you some tips and factoids about those blacked-out 1950s censuses–including which census had women up in arms because the government asked them to be more honest about their ages!

There’s plenty of news in this episode, too, from a new Google innovation to two new record collections online that fill in some holes in U.S. documentary history (military and African-American). I’ll read some mail from YOU about the new Ancestry site and family history blogging and share some helpful resources. And we announce the latest Genealogy Gems Book Club pick: listen or click here to learn more about that!

Family History Genealogy Made Easy PodcastClick here to access Genealogy Gems podcast episode 181. Love this and looking for more? Click here to access the FULL archive of FREE Genealogy Gems podcast episodes. If you love the podcast format but are looking for a more step-by-step approach to family history, check out our free Family History Made Easy podcast series.

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 180 is Ready!

podcast logo 180The free Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 180 has been published!  Click here to enjoy an episode about big names, like Ancestry and Google and FamilySearch. And big numbers, like the possible price tag for Ancestry at auction, AND small numbers, like the small price of a new handheld computer.

In this episode, we’re also talking about researching on road trip tips, an important online Civil War database, a leading Canadian digital archive and EXCLUSIVE tips for using FamilySearch’s free digitized book collection, which now tops 200,000 titles. Because we’ve gotten so much demand for it, we’re also sharing tips for backing up your data at Ancestry–not just your tree but your sources and DNA, too.

Nathan Goodwin logoThis month we also feature a meaty excerpt from our interview with Nathan Dylan Goodwin, author of The Lost Ancestor (The Forensic Genealogist). (Premium subscribers can catch the full interview in Premium episode 124, to be published soon.) He tells us how he got started. We talk about the plot and characters and the challenges of creating genealogical mysteries with dangerous consequences for the present and more!

Mixed in with all this news and how-tos is an assorted cast of listeners-with-questions and an inspiring story about long-lost siblings reunited by radio. Enjoy!


Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 179 Now Available

Genealogy Gems Podcast and Family HistoryEpisode 179 of the free Genealogy Gems podcast is now available for your listening pleasure! In this episode, Lisa shares:

  • stories of TWO inspiring family history discoveries: a stash of photos and documents AND a long-lost birth mother;
  • highlights from meeting many of YOU at recent conferences across the U.S., from New England to Texas to Alaska and then to NGS in Missouri;
  • tips on creating an Evernote genealogy library;
  • more on Genealogy Gems Book Club selection The Lost Ancestor (The Forensic Genealogist) by Nathan Dylan Goodwin;
  • and Lisa’s thoughts from recent “Tornado Central” Texas on backing up your computer data.

evernote_libraryThe Evernote tip is easy and SO useful: Lisa gives you a quick idea for creating a list of all the genealogy books on your bookshelf. No, you’re not creating a tedious bibliography–all you do is snap a few pictures and let Evernote do the work. Just click on the episode link at the beginning of this post and listen (or read the shownotes!).

As always, Lisa takes all that genealogy buzz and technology noise out there and distills it down into the best, most usable genealogy gems. That’s what the free Genealogy Gems podcast is all about. If you love it and wish you had MORE podcast episodes to listen to, consider becoming a Genealogy Gems Premium member. You’ll get a full-year’s access to monthly Premium podcast episodes with MORE in-depth news, conversations and inspiring stories–and access to ALL the archived episodes from the past! Premium membership gives you access to an entire series of full-length videos, too. Click here to learn more.

CeCe Moore: DNA for Genealogy and Adoption and MORE on Free Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 178

Genealogy Gems Podcast and Family HistoryThe latest episode of the free Genealogy Gems podcast (Episode 178) has been released and it’s PACKED with gems you can use now to inspire your family history!

CeCe Moore Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 178First, nationally-renowned genetic genealogist CeCe Moore joins me on the show to talk about using DNA for genealogy research, adoption, and the Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. TV show.

I love CeCe’s analogy of using different DNA test providers to “fish in different ponds.” She talks about using different types of genetic tests (autosomal, y-DNA or mDNA) to chase answers to specific genealogy research questions, and the importance of using test results together, not in isolation. Because autosomal DNA is coming onto so many people’s radar, I ask her to explain that in more depth–its uses and its limitations. CeCe shares her favorite tips for people who are getting started and gives us lots of great examples, including a helpful example for African-Americans who are trying to identify a genetic ancestor (who may also have had a slaveholder relationships with the family).

Also in this episode, we announce the newest featured title in the Genealogy Gems Book Club: The Lost Ancestor (The Forensic Genealogist) by British author Nathan Dylan Goodwin. Listen to the episode to hear what this mystery novel is about and why we chose it.

Finally, I share some fantastic new record sets that are online now and ready for you to explore, and a Genealogy Gems listener shares an important update on adoption records in Ohio.

Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems PodcastClick here to listen to the free Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 178. Click here to learn more about this free podcast and see an archive of past episodes. We recently celebrated more than 1.5 million downloads of our podcasts!

Here’s Why You Should Use the Genealogy Gems App

get the app genealogy gems appThe Genealogy Gems App  lets you listen to the Genealogy Gems podcast on your mobile device which is great. But there are more specific reasons to use the app over just listening online or using iTunes.

Recently I heard from podcast listener Kay, who wondered about listening to the podcast on her phone without using data in places where she doesn’t have wifi (like the gym).

My answer to her: use the app! By default, it streams the episodes via an Internet connection. However, if you tap the star for an episode, you will download the episode. Then you can listen to it offline.

The Genealogy Gems app turns 5 years old this month and continues to offer even more great perks like:

  • Stream episodes from anywhere
  • Receive updates with the latest episodes and an archived back catalog
  • Playback resume (when interrupted by a call or other distraction)
  • Access exclusive extras like PDFs, Wallpapers, and Bonus Content
  • Quickly access all the contact methods for the show
  • With the iOS version (compatible for iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone, you can follow the show on Twitter
  • On iPhone, there’s a call-in audio comment feature (We LOVE when listeners leave comments and questions!)

Click here to get the Genealogy Gems app for Apple, Android and Windows devices.