May 26, 2015

Free Video: How to Read a Faded Tombstone Without Damaging the Stone

Tombstone editRecently I heard from listener Tom, who is trying to document Civil War veterans from Washington state. “I am taking pictures of their headstones,” he says. “I currently use just a spray bottle and soft brush to wash away the 100 years plus of dirt so I can better see and photograph the inscriptions. Do you have a better way to clean and photograph or maybe rub the headstones?”

I don’t recommend tombstone rubbings because each time a genealogist does that it wears the headstone down just a little bit more, causing deterioration.

However, I have a better solution for how to read a faded tombstone. I created a free video based on an article I wrote for Family Tree Magazine. It’s called Grave Transformations and you can watch it for free on Family Tree Magazine’s YouTube channel or just watch below. The idea is that instead of touching the headstone at all, you can simply manipulate your photographic images of it instead! Watch the video and you’ll see those faded letters come back into view. It’s pretty cool!

Family History and Genealogy on YouTubeDid you know the Genealogy Gems You Tube Channel has over 70 free videos on a wide variety of genealogical topics? Click to go to our channel’s home page. Be sure to click the SUBSCRIBE button on the channel so that you won’t miss our new videos when they are published!

Link Your Home Movies to Your Family Tree

figure_at_3d_movie_800_13404More old home movies are being digitized and more historical footage is coming online. Do you know how to integrate these with your family tree or blog? Wouldn’t it be great to show that you found great-grandpa in four censuses, the SSDI and a 1937 news reel showing him driving his fire truck? (That really did happen to me. Click here to read about it and see the footage.)

Here a few ways you can share your old family footage online:

1. If you have have a free Google account, then you have a free YouTube channel! You can upload old footage as well as movies YOU make of still images. Then you can use the Share > Embed feature to include the video on your own genealogy blogs. Click here to watch an inspiring video Lisa made about her ancestor, a nurse in training.

2. If you have Legacy Republic digitize your old family movies, you can upload them through your Legacy Republic account into your FamilySearch family tree. (Click here to watch a video about how it works.)

3. Add an online video source citation to your Ancestry tree. Create a new source in an ancestor’s individual profile. The Source Citation section asks for any URL related to this citation. Enter the URL. Then it asks whether you have media items to attach. You will be walked through the process of uploading video from your own computer. If you choose the option to record a video, Ancestry will access your computer’s microphone and camera and record you speaking for up to 12 minutes.

tv_film_icon_400_wht_15178 (1)Wish you knew more about how making or finding family footage? Learn more here:

  • Genealogy Gems Premium members can click here to access a Premium podcast and video on how to create your own family history video (learn more about Premium membership here).
  • Click here to watch Lisa’s free YouTube series about blogging your family history or click here to listen to free Family History Made Easy podcast episodes about genealogy blogging (episodes 38-42).
  • Learn about finding and using old film footage on YouTube and other websites in the updated-for-2015 2nd edition of The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox (there’s an entire, expanded chapter on YouTube that inspired my own find of that 1937 newsreel).

 

Amazing Family History Find in a Basement!

treasure chestA recent email from listener Helen reminds us to search our basements and attics for unique and amazing family history finds. There’s no substitute for being able to tell family members’ stories through their own words and photographs.

genealogy gems podcast mailbox“I just had to tell you about my recent find. My late father-in-law served in the Canadian Navy for 39 years, entering Naval College when he was only 14. Most of my knowledge about his life came from talking with him before he died. Of course, then I did not know the questions to ask.

“About a month ago, I was preparing for a lecture on his life for a local World War I Seminar. I starting looking around in our basement as I knew we had some material from when we cleared out his house when he died, but I had no idea of just what exciting material I would find.

“I found his personal diaries, with the earliest from 1916! The journals give an amazing first-person record of naval service from a person who devoted his life to the service of his country. I was able to weave his actual words into the somewhat dry official record of his long time service [ending with] his being presented with a Commander of the British Empire medal shortly before his retirement.

“I am so grateful that the family saved these invaluable documents through the myriad of moves that a naval officer’s career entails. In a different box, I found his photographs from the same era—some even earlier than the journals. I am now seriously considering publishing the journals along with the photographs, as they deserved to be shared.”

how to start a genealogy blogGot a living relative whose story you want to capture? Click here to read our blog post about the free StoryCorps app that can help you!

Genealogy Gems Premium members can click here to access Premium podcast episode 116 to hear a discussion between two authors of books on life-story writing, and here to access a Premium podcast AND video on how to make a family history video.

Jellybean Video: How We Spend Our Time

Jellybean videoA friend sent me a link to this short, thought-provoking video demonstrating how we use our time. In this video, 28,835 jellybeans represent the days of an average life. The narrator adds up how we spend those, from caring for others to commuting to working to watching television.

I’d happily recover some of those television or commuting jellybeans! I’d spend them on family play time or time pursuing family stories that enrich my sense of who I am. Specifically, I think I’m ready to invest more time in organizing my family history research. That will allow me to spend my genealogy jellybeans more wisely in the future. On actual research instead of reminding myself what I already know. On writing and sharing instead of chasing down data I can’t lay my hands on. (Ok, time to watch the Evernote video series!)

What jellybeans do YOU want to move from one pile to another? Watch the “jellybean video” and think about your answers!

Video: Italian Genealogy Research Tips with Mary Tedesco

There’s a new video interview on the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel! Mary Tedesco of Genealogy Roadshow (on PBS in the US) talks about doing the show and her tips for doing Italian genealogy research.

Mary recently published Tracing Your Italian Ancestors, an 84-page guide to researching. There’s a section on using U.S. records to learn essentials about your family, and then a section on researching in Italian records. In this interview, she talks about traveling to Italy to research for others and the importance of using Italian church records in local parish churches or diocesan archives.

Learn more about Mary at her website, Origins Italy, or visit the Genealogy Roadshow website to learn about her involvement on that show. Also, Mary joined us as a guest on the FREE Genealogy Gems podcast, episode 175. Click here to listen!

If you watch genealogy TV shows like Genealogy Roadshow or Who Do You Think You Are? or Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr, go to our home page and search on the category “Genealogy TV.” See what we’ve blogged about!

Free Scandinavian Genealogy Webinar

MyHeritage scandinavian-facebook-enMyHeritage is a leading resource for Scandinavian genealogy research. Now they are offering a free webinar for those researching Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic ancestry.

On Wednesday, April 15,  Mike Mansfield, MyHeritage Director of Content and Jason Oler, MyHeritage Senior Program Manager, will host a program packed with research tips and  strategies for navigating the millions of Scandinavian genealogy records now on MyHeritage. Click here to register.

Genealogy Gems Premium Membership and PodcastReady to learn about Scandinavian genealogy NOW? Genealogy Gems Premium members can access Premium Podcast Episode #15, in which Lisa interviews Scandinavian research expert Ruth Mannis at the Family History Library. Ruth simplifies and clarifies the process and reassures us that everyone can have success finding their Scandinavian roots. If you’re not a Premium member yet, you’re missing out on gems like Ruth Mannis’ interview–and more than 100 more premium podcasts like these and dozens of genealogy video tutorials. Get a year’s access to all of this for one low price. Click here to learn more.

NEW Evernote for Genealogy Video Series

Evernote for genealogy YouTubeUsing Evernote for genealogy yet?  I hear from people all over the world who are harnessing this free software to finally organize their family history research for good. They can easily import research finds online, along with the URL and other important source information. Many people are bringing their family history papers (original documents and paper-based research) into Evernote, too. All their research materials together, keyword and OCR-searchable, in one space, accessible from and fully-synched across all your devices. Sigh! It’s wonderful!

There’s so much demand in the genealogy community for learning to use Evernote for genealogy that I’ve started a YouTube series: Evernote for Genealogy. Two videos are posted so far:

These videos are absolutely free to watch, and they’ll get anyone started using Evernote for genealogy. And of course all the Evernote applications are free too! Who do you know who would benefit from getting organized? I hope you’ll share these videos with your friends and relatives! How about the students in your life? Or your co-workers? We may be using genealogy, but note-taking and organization are important to everyone.

Ready to take your Evernote learning a little further? Become a Genealogy Gems Premium member. Members have a full-year’s access to the ultimate Evernote education: my in-depth video series!

Full-length video classes for Premium members:

“Get Started with Evernote”  Mini Series for Premium members:

Episode 1 – Signing Up for Your Free Evernote Account & Downloading the Desktop App
Episode 2 – Getting the Web Clipper
Episode 3 – How to Clip Using Evernote’s Desktop Clipper
Episode 4 – How to Clip Content Using Evernote’s Browser Web Clipper
Episode 5 – How to Use Evernote’s Web Clipper for Chrome

There are lots more benefits to Premium membership, including more video classes. Click here to learn more.

BillionGraves for Genealogy: YouTube Video Interview

billiongraves for genealogy appUsing BillionGraves for genealogy research has never been easier. 

BillionGraves aims to document and preserve the world’s cemeteries. They provide a platform for volunteers around the world (and their smartphones!) to capture headstone images and their GPS locations. The images are transcribed and the index is searchable on the BillionGraves website and other leading genealogy sites.

Learn more on using BillionGraves for genealogy, what it offers now and its hopes for the future in this video interview by Lisa Louise Cooke with Hudson Gunn. Then keep reading below to learn a few more tips from us here at Genealogy Gems on using Billiongraves for genealogy.

Ready to learn more about using BillionGraves for genealogy?

We’ve blogged about it before:

Click here to learn how to request a cemetery headstone image from a BillionGraves volunteer.

Click here to read about how BillionGraves is now accepting source documentation uploads for tombstone records.

Click here to read my experience (together with my young son) in taking photos for BillionGraves.

 

 

Feb 26 Free Event: Children of Holocaust Survivors Share their Stories

Stories of RegenerationA live event airing online on Thursday, February 26, at 7:00 pm Eastern Time (US) will feature the memories of children of Holocaust survivors.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage will be live streaming a special program, Stories of Regeneration from the Second Generation. This storytelling event, produced to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, features notable 2Gs (children of survivors) and their extraordinary stories about growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust,” says a press release. “Through the live stream, the Museum of Jewish Heritage is delighted to enable limitless community participation in this incredibly moving, one-of-a-kind event.”

Can’t watch it live? The program will be archived on the Museum of Jewish Heritage’s YouTube channel.

This announcement came to us by way of JewishGen, an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Click here to visit JewishGen and learn more about searching for your Jewish family history.

 

Here’s How You Can Add Video to Evernote

tv_film_icon_400_wht_15178 (1)Do you have old home movies, footage of oral history interviews or any other type of family history video to keep track of? I recently heard from Ricky with this question:

Q: How do I add video to Evernote?

A: Thankfully, it’s easy on your computer:

  1. Open Evernote.
  2. Click New Note button.
  3. Open Windows Explorer and resize so you can see both the window and Evernote.
  4. Locate the desired video on your hard drive.
  5. click on the video and drag and drop it on to the new note.

That’s it!

From your mobile device when you have the Evernote app installed:

  1. Locate the video (ex. on the iPhone open Video app).
  2. Tap Share icon.
  3. Select Email.
  4. Start to type “ever” and your unique Evernote email address associated with your Evernote account should auto-fill.
  5. Send.

This will send the video to Evernote as a new note.

Keep in mind that video files are very large so take up a lot of your monthly upload limit. If you are a Premium Member, that’s not so much of a problem.

Evernote for Genealogy Quick Reference GuideNeed some more Evernote help? My Evernote for Genealogists quick reference guide is available for both Mac and Windows users (purchase the one that goes with your computer’s operating system, not your mobile device). Click to download it!

Genealogy Gems Premium members can also access exclusive full-length videos on how to use Evernote for family history, like:

Not a Premium member yet? The Evernote video series alone makes Premium membership worth the low annual fee, but you get SO much more! Learn more here.