May 30, 2016

How to Create Captivating Family History Videos – New Video Series

family history video documentsFamily history videos can captivate the non-genealogists in your family. In this step-by-step video series I’m going to show you how to create them quickly and easily!

If you’ve spent some time researching your family history, your discoveries probably look like this: old documents like census records and death certificates – not exactly exciting stuff to your kids and grand kids. And yet they are the ones you hope to pass your family’s history on to.

animoto family history videosThe truth is that the non-genealogists in your family may not be all that captivated by the same things you are. You can solve the “boring genealogy” problem with a tech tool that will help you create fabulous and captivating family history videos.  It’s called Animoto. It’s super-fast and incredibly easy, and no special skills are required.

(Full disclosure: The links I provide in this article are affiliate links, but if you follow me then you know that I only recommend and provide links for services I use myself and think are “Gems.” Use our exclusive coupon code lisa20 to get 20% off now through 12/31/16)

There are many wonderful opportunities to share videos:

  • Birthdays, Weddings, & Anniversaries
  • Family Reunions
  • Holidays
  • Facebook and other social media
  • Your own genealogy website or blog

Riveting Family History Videos

Creating digital video can be intimidating. In the past I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on video editing software, and then invested hours trying to learn how to use it. When my eldest daughter got married, I offered to create a short (5 minute) video to show prior to the ceremony. My goal was simple: create a heart-warming look back at the bride and groom and how they found each other, including old photos, nice fading transitions, a few home movie video clips, and a favorite song.  That short video took 3 days to create! It’s that kind of financial and time investment that keeps so many of us from attempting family history videos.

Animoto is a game changer! If you can…

  • click
  • copy
  • paste

…you can use Animoto to create family history videos.

I want you to see what Animoto can do to help you share your genealogy research through riveting family history videos. In this first video we’re going to lay the ground work for the story you’re going to tell in your video. In fact, you’ll probably find that this step takes longer than actually creating the video! Click the video below to watch Episode One of my series Creating Captivating Family History Videos. Then click here to head to my Genealogy Gems YouTube channel. Click the SUBSCRIBE button to get all new upcoming free videos.

FREE NGS 2016 Live Streaming Sessions Have Begun

If you’re NOT at NGS 2016, you don’t have to miss out on everything! Join these free NGS 2016 live streaming sessions from Lisa Louise Cooke and Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard. Starting TODAY.

My Facebook feed has recently been full of sad-face posts from my genealogy friends who aren’t attending NGS 2016. If you’re among those NOT in Fort Lauderdale, Florida this week at the National Genealogical Society conference, you can STILL tune in to free live streaming lectures from Lisa Louise Cooke and her partners in the exhibit hall.

Below is the lineup of ALL the free classes being taught in the exhibit hall by Lisa, Diahan Southard, Jim Beidler and Lisa Alzo. The ones with the little Periscope icon (the blue and red marker) are the ones being streamed. So, today is DNA with Diahan at 9:45 and 10:15 am, and an Evernote series from Lisa at 1:15 and 1:45 pm. Tomorrow, tune in at 12:45 for Lisa’s newspaper research tips, and at 1:45 for Diahan on FTDNA. Friday: Lisa will talk Google Earth map overlays at 1:15. Saturday Diahan will tackle genetic genealogy and health at 12:15 and Lisa will close out the conference streaming sessions with computer cloud backup tips at 1:45. These times are EST, so make adjustments for your own time zone! ngs 2016 live streaming sessions Periscope streaming sessions live

Just as she did for RootsTech 2016, Lisa will stream again through the free Periscope app. Get the Periscope app in Apple’s App Store or Google Play, sign up for a free account, and follow Lisa Louise Cooke to tune in. Sign up for notifications in Periscope, and your phone will “ping” when she starts streaming. If you join in a little after the lecture, that’s okay: each broadcast stays in the Periscope feed for 24 hours. So this morning’s DNA lectures are both still available on Periscope, as of the time of this post.

Want to catch any live-streamed RootsTech classes you missed? Here are two of them below.

YouTube for Family History: Documentaries You’ll Love

family history documentaryAre you using YouTube for family history to watch documentaries about your ancestors’ lives and times? It’s instant family history movie time. Just add popcorn!

After learning last year that my great-grandfather survived the horrific Johnstown flood of 1889, I wanted to learn all I could about it. The flood claimed the lives of thousands of people within hours. It was considered the worst man-made disaster to date in the U.S.

My first stop was YouTube. In her book, The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, Lisa taught me to use YouTube to find historical footage that might include my ancestors (click here to watch my first amazing find). So why not look for a documentary there?

As it turns out, leading biographer David McCullough narrated an award-winning documentary on the Johnstown flood. It’s an older film, based on his book The Johnstown Flood (which I also read). And yes, it’s on YouTube. I watched the whole thing.

True, I didn’t find my 16-year old great-grandfather’s name or face popping up on the screen. But I learned more than words could ever convey–and more than words ever DID convey in my family. Apparently, my relatives who survived it would never talk about the flood. Now I know why.

You can find free documentaries on YouTube for all kinds of family history-related topics:

Looking for something different? Enter search terms in your YouTube browser like “documentary” and the name of a place, ethnic group or immigrant group.

Of course, YouTube isn’t the only place to find documentaries. The ones below are made by nonprofit organizations like public television stations. Click to order them or ask your local library if they can order them through inter-library loan.

More YouTube for Family History Gems

website in screenMy Most Amazing Family History Find Ever–and It’s On YouTube (No Kidding!)

Find Your Family History in the 1950s (Historical Film Footage Tips)

6 Tips for Using YouTube for Family History

 

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!

Get the digital download issue
Get the print issue

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.

Save 10% with Coupon code web10

buy now paypal

 

 

 

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

 

Shop Family Tree

 

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.

 

MENU