May 2, 2016

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.

Best Genealogy Apps Under the Big Top

best genealogy apps under the big topChoosing genealogy apps can be like watching a three-ring circus, but not when you let me, your ringmaster, direct you to the best genealogy tools for your mobile device.

family tree magazine best genealogy appsIn my brand new article Under the Big Top featured in the March / April 2016 issue of Family Tree Magazine, we’ll skip the side shows and get right to main acts of the best apps for genealogy, like:

The Strong Men – the genealogy apps that pull a lot of weight, giving you constant access to your online tree and or the ability to search for historical records.

custom_app_icon_15153The Lion Tamers – A genealogy database on your computer puts you in control of your tree, but you also want to be able to access that data when you hit the road. These companion apps to two popular desktop programs let you take your master family tree with you.

The Balancing Acts – There’s a lot to juggle when it comes to genealogy: documents, stories, photos, trees, and more. These genealogy apps will help you find the right balance and fly through your research with the greatest of ease.

Send in the Clowns – Clowns bring smiles to our faces, and these apps will bring smiles to your face and the faces of the children in your family – the future genealogists!

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This issue also features an excellent article by our own Sunny Morton. It’s called “Triple Threat,” and Sunny explains how the “big three” genealogy sites (Ancestry, FamilyMyPast, and MyHeritage) measure up to each other—and to your research needs. She compares the sites’ records, search features, and more.mobile genealogy book

For many more on the genealogy apps to use for your family history research, turn to Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research.

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Watch this free video class for more tips from your app ringmaster!

 

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Free Videos: Powerful Google for Genealogy Search Strategies

google for genealogy video classesBoost your Google search skills with these two free video classes on Google for genealogy, presented at RootsTech 2016 by Google expert Lisa Louise Cooke.

“Everyone should be using Google to search for their family history,” is Lisa Louise Cooke’s mantra. And her Google Search for Genealogy Methodology  is the path to follow.

Google search tools are free. They reach deep into so many different kinds of content on the internet. Google search tools help us discover ancestors’ names mentioned online; locate records we need; and discover historical details, images and maps that help us better understand their lives.

How to use Google for GenealogyLisa Louise Cooke taught two Google search classes at RootsTech 2016 that are now available to watch for FREE online. The class content comes from her book, The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox (2nd edition), which sold out at the conference but can still be purchased online here.

She packed a lot into these video classes. Watch them to learn how to use a proven Google search methodology to find your family history–and whatever else you’re looking for–online.

google search video testimonialThe first video below is Lisa’s RootsTech lecture, Proven Methodology for Using Google for Genealogy, which she delivered to a packed audience. Start with that one first! Kim wrote in with praise for Lisa’s lecture saying that the “class was the best one I’ve seen thru the free streaming [RootsTech] provided. You are such a naturally fantastic teacher, and your passion for genealogy shines thru like a real diamond. Thanks for sharing free content with those of us who can’t afford to spend any money on genealogy. I find it a real challenge to continue this pursuit with no money to spare. Kindness like yours is a real blessing.”

Lisa has a second free video to share, also shown below. She delivered it in the Expo Hall and live-streamed it through the Periscope app. (Click here or on the image below.) Check out the comments by those who were watching!

Google power strategies

More Google for Genealogy Gems

Google searching facetsGoogle Searching 101

7 Google Search Features You Should be Using

2 Mysterious Deaths in the Family? Time To Google Them!

 

 

 

How to Use Your Mobile Device for Genealogy: Free Video!

how to use your mobile device for genealogyDo you have a smartphone, iPad or tablet? Watch this free video lecture on how to use your mobile device for genealogy!

Lisa Louise Cooke is a leader in teaching the genealogical community how to get the most out of their mobile devices. Her first book, Turn Your iPad into a Genealogy Powerhouse, actually convinced me to buy an iPad–and then taught me how to use it, both for everyday tasks and specifically for genealogy. (Some of us over a certain age don’t automatically “get” how to use our mobile devices!)

mobile genealogy bookLisa has since expanded her “iPad for genealogy” education to include smart phones and tablets, both Android and Apple. She’s packed all her current tips into a brand new book, Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research.

Lisa gave a 30-minute class in the RootsTech Exhibitor Hall with several tips from her new book. She streamed the class live through Periscope, a free app available in the App Store or Google Play! Later she heard from Suzi: “Just wanted to say thank you and how much I enjoyed seeing you via Periscope during Roots Tech. I really enjoyed watching your presentations. You are always so up to date on the tech side of genealogy. It was so cool. I would hear a little whistle (a notification from the app that someone you follow is broadcasting live), click on my iPad and there you were! I am a long time listener to your podcasts and you always inspire me to keep searching. Thank you!!!”

Click on the image below to watch this video. And click here to download the free accompanying handout.

Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems PodcastMore Gems on Using Your Mobile Device for Genealogy

Genealogy Gems mobile friendly website3 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Mobile Device

5 Free Family History Apps You Should Have

The Genealogy Gems Website is Mobile-Friendly: What That Means for You

Why Google Bought YouTube–And Why That’s Good for Genealogy!

why google bought youtube for genealogyUsing YouTube for genealogy can be so effective partly because of who owns YouTube: Google!

In 2006, Google acquired YouTube, a video-sharing website, not long after it was launched. Ten years later, YouTube claims the attention of a billion people around the world: a third of all internet users. At last count,  more than 300 hours of video footage are uploaded every minute to the site.

Why should genealogists care? For the same reason Susan Wojcicki wanted to buy YouTube. She was supervising Google Video acquisitions  at the time of the purchase and is now the CEO of YouTube. According to this article, she watched the video shown below of teenage boys lip-syncing to a famous boy band. She doesn’t admit whether she enjoyed their groove, but she did say, “That was the video that made me realize that ‘Wow, people all over the world can create content, and they don’t need to be in a studio.'” Check it out–then keep reading.

Yes, YouTube makes it possible for anyone to share videos of all kinds, including genealogy-friendly content like:

  • Original footage of events all the way back to the invention of the movie camera.
  • Family history documentaries created by users that may include your family.
  • Instructional videos that will help you become a better researcher, create a family heirloom, or learn the latest genealogy software.
  • Video tours of archives, libraries, and other repositories that will help you prepare for and get the most out of your visit.
  • Interviews with genealogy experts and vendors.
  • Entertaining videos that add enjoyment to one of the world’s most popular hobbies.
  • Your family in other family’s home movies.

Andrew OHotnicky on the fire truck compressedEVEN BETTER, Google’s acquisition of YouTube means you can use the same powerful search methodologies you use for Google searches to find YouTube content you want.

Gems Contributing Editor Sunny Morton didn’t really believe me when she read the YouTube chapter in my book, The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox. Then she tried it. She discovered a 1937  film news reel showing her husband’s great-grandfather driving his fire engine! (Click here to read about her discovery and about how she’ll never doubt me again, ha ha!)

Why not take five minutes now to see what YOU can find on YouTube for genealogy?

1. Look again at the list above or click here to read more details about family history content on YouTube. Choose a family line, location, brick wall, display or craft idea to search for.

2. Genealogists Google Toolbox 2nd edition coverGo to YouTube’s home page. Enter a few Google search terms on the topic you hope to find.

3. Browse results. If you don’t find anything useful, widen your search or come at it from a different angle.

4. Try additional topics. Certainly DON’T give up after one search! Sunny’s discovery was made on her second topic–less than five minutes after trying a first topic and realizing she didn’t know enough about that family to recognize their lives in the cool footage she was finding. Instead, she searched YouTube for a man she knew a lot about-enough to recognize him in a video that didn’t name him.

To learn more in-depth how to use YouTube for genealogy, I invite you to read my book, The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox. The YouTube chapter helped Sunny find amazing family footage in less than five minutes–see what it can do for you!

More YouTube for genealogy gems

My Most Amazing Find EVER: Family History on YouTube (No Kidding!)

YouTube Video: How to Use a Microfilm or Microfiche Reader

10 Top Tips for Busting Through Your Genealogy Brick Wall: Live Interview

New Videos Can Help You Find African-American Family History in Freedmen’s Bureau Records

FamilySearch has posted a series of new videos aimed at helping people trace their African-American family history with Freedmen’s Bureau records.

Marriage records created by the Freedmens' Bureau. Wikimedia Commons image; click to view.

Marriage records created by the Freedmens’ Bureau. Wikimedia Commons image; click to view.

FamilySearch’s YouTube channel has published several new videos to help researchers better understand how to trace African-American ancestors with the Freedmen’s Bureau records. As we explain more fully in this article, the Freedmen’s Bureau was organized after the Civil War to aid newly-freed slaves in 15 states and Washington, DC. For several years it gathered “handwritten, personal information on freed men, women and children, including marriage and family information, military service, banking, school, hospital and property records,” according to FamilySearch.

Freedmen’s Bureau records are finally being fully indexed and posted online for free at FamilySearch and at DiscoverFreedmen.org. (Read the article we refer to above to see how you can help.) Now it’s time to teach everyone how to USE these records and to begin to share success stories. That’s the purpose behind these videos:

Telling a Story with the Freedmen’s Bureau with the Reverend Dr. Cecil L. Murray:

Research the Records of African-American Ancestors with the Freedmen’s Bureau with Kimberly Freeman:


Uncover Information about your African American Heritage wih the Freedmen’s Bureau with Judy Matthews:

Discover Stories from Your Ancestry with Insights from the Freedmen’s Bureau Project with John Huffman:

Use Freedmen’s Bureau Records to Demystify Your Family History with George O. Davis

Enrich Your Family History with Information from the Freedmen’s Bureau with Ambassador Diane Watson

Additional Resources

Free Database on Civil War Soldiers and Sailors  (African-American sailors)

Missing Birth Record? Here’s How to Track It Down (Special tip for African-American births)

DNA Helps Scientists Identify Homeland of Caribbean Slaves

New! Map for Freedmen’s Bureau Resources

thank you for sharingWho do you know that will want to learn more about the Freedmen’s Bureau and African-American family history resources? Thank you for sharing this article with them.

How to Share Family History with the Non-Genealogists in Your Family

How can you share family history stories and memories without boring your relatives? Catch this free video preview of a new Premium video class that inspires YOU on how to inspire THEM!

Inspiring Ways to Captivate the Non-Genealogist; how to share family history

If you are researching your family tree but haven’t shared it with your family in a way that sparks their interest, then you are only experiencing half of the joy of genealogy! And if your descendants don’t grasp the importance of their heritage, your hard work may tragically find it’s way to the city dump when you are gone.

military heritage displayDon’t just collect your family history and store it away in binders and files! In her newest Genealogy Gems Premium video, Lisa Louise Cooke shares several projects–displays, multimedia shows, crafts–even a sweet treat to eat! The World War II display shown here is just one of her ideas. She’ll inspire YOU on how best to inspire your family’s interest in your heritage.

Watch the free preview below on how to share family history with the non-genealogists in your life. ( Genealogy Gems Premium website members can watch the whole thing here (along with more than 2 dozen videos) as a perk of their membership. Premium website members also have access to our monthly Premium podcast and all archived episodes. Click here to learn more! And keep scrolling down to click on more blog posts with great ideas for sharing your heritage.

Additional Resources

Message in a Bottle: Why Not Make Your Own?

Top 10 Ways to Incorporate Family History into Your Family Reunion

My Name is Jane: Heritage Scrapbook Celebrates Family Tradition

thank you for sharingThanks for sharing this post with others who will want a little more inspiration on how to share family history with loved ones. Just email the URL or post this article on your favorite social media channel.

 

Need a Genealogy Speaker? Here’s the Affordable Solution

Genealogy Gems for societies around tableDoes your genealogy society or library group struggle to keep finding engaging, expert speakers and fresh newsletter content? Genealogy Gems for Societies offers an affordable solution!

Genealogy Gems for Societies is a subscription service that lets small societies show any or all of our Premium video presentations during meetings. Lisa Louise Cooke is a nationally-ranked genealogy speaker who teaches these same classes to standing-room-only crowds at top conferences. Her inspiring videos pair traditional research skills and record sets–like newspapers, maps and more–with empowering technology tools, like Google, Google Earth, Evernote, Dropbox and more.

Member societies also have permission to reprint their favorite Genealogy Gems website articles in their newsletters. Our site is packed with over 1000 articles on research tips, record types, inspiring ideas for sharing family history, technology tools, genealogy industry news and more. What a boon for newsletter editors, who often go begging for someone to please write something to fill their newsletter pages!

Every year, we spend hundreds of hours generating all these videos and online articles. Now small societies can purchase the rights to use them for only $199 (US) for a full year!

Genealogy Gems is a Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) partner and societies that are members of FGS qualify for an additional discount.

“FGS is excited to be partnering with Genealogy Gems,” said D. Joshua Taylor, FGS President. “The opportunity to provide educational benefits for our member societies enriches the entire genealogical community as societies adapt and grow to meet the needs of today’s members. This partnership offers FGS members access to a wide range of resources for their members and we look forward to working with Lisa Louise Cooke.”

FGS members can sign in to the FGS website here to obtain a member discount coupon code.

Additional perks include:

  • downloadable and re-printable handouts
  • discounts on Lisa’s books for the entire society

Click here to learn more about Genealogy Gems for Societies. 

Genealogy Gems for Societies Video ClassesShare the great news! Do you know a genealogical society, officer or member who would LOVE to know about Genealogy Gems for Societies? Please share this post with them through your favorite social media channel. Your society board will be glad you did!

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WDYTYA 2015: Summer Episodes Begin July 26

JK Rowling WDYTYAOn Sunday, July 26, 2015 at 9pm EST, Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA 2015) returns to TLC in the United States for more great episodes:

  • TLC will air the U.S. premiere of J.K. Rowling’s episode, where the best-selling author sets off to uncover her maternal French roots. She finds that a family war story might not be what she thought when military records reveal a surprising twist.
  • Tom Bergeron, who is aware of his French Canadian roots on his paternal side, but wants to know what brought his ancestors to North America. He goes as far back as his 10x great grandmother to find the answer.
  • Bryan Cranston, who comes to discover an unfortunate pattern amongst the men in his family.
  • Ginnifer Goodwin, who sets out to learn about her mysterious paternal great grandparents, whom her father, regretfully, does not know much about either.
  • Alfre Woodard, who strives to find out more about the paternal side of her family, and explores how her surname came to be.

While you’re waiting for Who Do You Think You Are Summer 2015 to kick off, enjoy this unseen footage from the J.K. Rowling episode on the old WhoDoYouThinkYouAre website and these fun interviews with genealogy television industry leaders:

Using Evernote for Genealogy: The New Web Clipper

Evernote web clipper for Safari and Chrome new and improvedDo you use Evernote for Genealogy? Genealogists everywhere are singing its praises and it’s a regular feature here on Genealogy Gems. Well, Evernote just got a little better today.

Evernote has just released a new web clipper and it oozes with awesomeness. It works with Safari, and may be the catalyst for reluctant Windows users to finally say goodbye to Internet Explorer and make the commitment to Google’s Chrome web browser.

My favorite feature (so far) of Evernote’s new web clipper is easy to spot.  The Screenshot clipper that was once only available using the desktop app is now built right into the browser web clipper. You gotta love it!

 

evernote for genealogy web clipper screen shot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But it doesn’t stop there. Once you have clipped the desired web content, there are a load of new annotations you can add to highlight what’s important to you.

Watch the video to see it in action:

Here are some key features:

  • The Evernote Web Clipper has been updated on Chrome, Opera, and Safari. You’ll need to restart your browser once it’s updated.
  • Clipping from Gmail, LinkedIn, YouTube and Amazon has been customized to allow you to clip only the parts of the page you want. It saves as a clean and clutter-free note. With Gmail, Web Clipper includes any email attachments.
  • You can share clips right from the new Web Clipper. You can even embellish clips with text and visual callouts.
  • You can assign clips to notebooks and tags right from the clip screen. The more clips you save, the better Evernote gets at predicting where you want it saved.

Click here to get the Web Clipper.
Ultimate Evernote Education abbreviated

Resources

How to Get Started in Evernote, and the Ultimate Evernote Education

How to Add Text to a Web Clipping in Evernote

Should Evernote be my Digital Archive?

www.geneaogygems.comWho do YOU know who wants to learn more about using Evernote for genealogy? Please share this post with them by email or through your favorite social media channels.

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