January 25, 2015

RootsTech / FGS 2015: Free Sessions at Our Booth and PRIZES!

OTB_RT_14frontBack by popular demand! After fabulous response last year, Genealogy Gems will once again be sponsoring “Outside the Box Sessions,” a series of FREE mini-presentations at Booths 1240 & 1242 at RootsTech 2015.

Our popular sessions help you think outside the box (and have fun and get free swag while you’re at it). Lisa’s sessions will include:

  • Tech Tips for Newspaper Research (Thursday at 12:00);
  • How to Use Google Earth for Genealogy (Thursday at 4:00);
  • Google for Genealogy: What’s NEW! (Friday at 11:30 and Saturday at 2:00);
  • Google Strategies for Common Surnames (Friday at 12:00);
  • Win Prizes! Google Earth Genealogy Game Show (Friday from 5:30-6:30-perfect “Happy Hour!” activity);
  • iPad Tips and Tricks (Saturday at 10:00);
  • Evernote Tips and Tricks (Saturday at 12:30).

FREE EBOOK: Attend any session and receive our free ebook of handouts for all sessions!

2nd editionClick here for the full schedule and the Grand Prize entry form (which also gets you the FREE Outside the Box e-book with all session handouts). Drop this entry by Booth #1242 and say hello!

Lisa will also be signing copies of her brand new book The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox Second Edition!

We are again partnering with The Photo Detective Maureen Taylor and Janet Hovorka (author of Zap the Grandma Gap), and Family Tree Magazine.

Here’s a look at the fun we had at NGS last year:

By the way, our RootsTech partner Family ChartMasters is celebrating the release of its NEW pocket guide, The Chart Chick Insider’s Guide to Salt Lake City: Everything A Genealogist Needs to Know Outside the Library. Click here to get a FREE pdf travel guide to Salt Lake City and, if you like, order the book for only $9.95 (pre-order for pickup at RootsTech and pay no shipping, or add on $5 to have it sent to you).

Bookmark and Share

Here’s a Cool Way to Export a Web Clipping Note from Evernote

export notes and filesRecently I posted on How to Solve a Pesky Evernote Web Clipper Problem. In that post I explained how to save an Evernote web clipping as an image file.

Genealogy Gem reader Pat wrote in about how she likes to extract notes. She writes:

Hi Lisa,
I just ready your post about getting a note in Evernote out of the program and into another format on your hard drive.  To get a text note out just open up the note and print it, to a pdf printer like Cute PDF.  The only problem I see so far with this, is that CutePDF wants to call (everything)”printed” this way (as) Evernote.pdf, so you have to change the file name to avoid writing over the previous file. And, although I’m not a Word user I think it will allow you to import or open a pdf file and then save it as a doc file.

Thanks for all your information.  I love listening to your podcast during my commute. – Pat

Genealogy Gems Premium Membership and PodcastThis is a great tip. Genealogy Gems Premium Members can hear more about CutePDF in Premium Podcast episode 77. (Not a member yet? Become one here.) I’m also a fan of Primo PDF. Let me show you how the process Pat describes works.

How to Export a Web Clipping Note from Evernote to PDF:

1. Install a free PDF creator program (for example: CutePDF or PrimoPDF.)
2. In Evernote’s menu click File > Print.
3. Select PrimoPDF from the General tab.
4. Click the Print button.

Export Evernote note as PDF

5. In the pop-up window select ebook (select Prepress if you want a higher quality document.)
6. Click the Create PDF button.

Using PrimoPDF to export a note from Evernote as a PDF
7. In the Save As window select where you want to save the file.
8. Rename the file.
9. Click the Save button.

Save an Evernote note as PDF

10. And there you have it, your note as a PDF file!

Newspaper note from Evernote in PDF

Evernote for Genealogy Quick Reference GuideNeed more Evernote help? My Evernote for Genealogists quick reference guide (image right) is available for both Mac and Windows users (pick up the one that goes with your computer’s operating system, not your mobile device).

Click here for digital download pdf guide.
Click here for laminated printed guide.

 

Read next:
Free: How to Save & Open Genealogy eBooks & PDFs to Your Mobile Devices
Premium Content: Premium Podcast episode 74 PDF Pandemonium

Bookmark and Share

MyHeritage to Digitize Danish Genealogy Records

denmark_flag_perspective_anim_300_wht_4774MyHeritage has announced a new arrangement with the Danish National Archive to digitize, index and make available online millions of Danish genealogy records. According to MyHeritage, these include:

  • “Danish national censuses, including approximately 9 million images and 31 million records, covering the years of 1787 through to 1930.  One of the most enlightening sources of historical content, census records provide a glimpse into a family’s past listing information about each household including the names of occupants, information on residence, ages, places of birth and occupations.
  • Church records (3.9 million images) containing approximately 90 million names from 1646 to 1915. The Parish Register provides information regarding anyone who was born, baptized or confirmed (after 1737), married or died in a particular parish. The records include rich information about a person’s family: for example, for baptisms they list the date of birth, date of baptism, name of the child, parent’s names, occupations and residence, and often names of witnesses and godparents.”

According to MyHeritage, “The records, spanning almost 300 years, provide a window to the lives of Danish ancestors during fascinating periods in history including the Napoleonic wars, liberalism and nationalism of the 1800s, the Schleswig Wars and industrialization.

“The records will illuminate the lives and times of noted Danish historical figures such as Kierkegaard and Niels Bohr. Celebrity fans will be able to look into the family history of Danish Americans such as Scarlett Johansson and Viggo Mortensen for clues on their success. Many of the records will be made available on MyHeritage as early as April 2015 and the rest will be added during the year.

MyHeritage is a leader in family history for those with Nordic roots and is “the only major company providing services in Danish, Norwegian, and Finnish. With more than 430,000 users in Denmark and an additional 600,000 registered users in Sweden, 500,000 in Norway, and 280,000 in Finland, MyHeritage has amassed the largest Nordic user base and family tree database in the market.”

MyHeritageJust one more reason we at Genealogy Gems are pleased to have MyHeritage as a sponsor of the Genealogy Gems podcast. Click to learn more about why we’ve chosen to partner with them.

Bookmark and Share

Genealogy Blogging Tips: Dictation App and More

how to start a genealogy blogAre you ready to start a genealogy blog (or improve one you already write)? Here’s a quick Q&A for you, prompted by questions by Genealogy Gems Premium member Kevin:

Q: “I am ready to start writing a blog but my typing is slow. Is there a dictation app (iOS) or software (Windows) that I could use to dictate my first drafts of my blog posts?

A: If you go to www.genealogygems.com and scroll down and enter “Dragon software” into the Amazon box and click “Go” it will pull up a great dictation program that might be just what you are looking for. (Using our Amazon box supports the free podcast – thank you!)

Q: Which blog site do you use and why did you select it?

A: I use Word Press for my website and blog. They have a free version at wordpress.com.  Google also has Blogger which is free. I have a free series of videos on the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel about how to set it up. They are a few years old, but will give you the basic idea.

Q: Do you compose your blog posts directly on your site or do you type them in Word or some other word processing program then cut and paste them into your blog?

A: It’s best to compose them directly into a new post on Word Press or Blogger. Cutting and pasting out of Word will likely carry over unwanted formatting which can cause headaches.

Family History: Genealogy Made Easy PodcastReady to get inspired and tutored on genealogy blogging? Check out my FREE podcast series on how to start a genealogy blog. Click here to reach my Family History Made Easy podcast landing page, then start with episode 38 and continue through episode 42. You’ll learn step-by-step how-tos and you’ll be introduced to some inspiring blogs that WORK. We often hear about success stories from listeners who started a blog after hearing these episodes. (We’d love to hear YOUR success story, too!)

Bookmark and Share

Frustration Using Google Earth for Genealogy is Temporary with this Fix

Manage Genealogy files in Google EarthIf you have experienced frustration managing your genealogy files in Google Earth, you’re not alone. A recent email question from Genealogy Gems Premium Member Linda reminded me what the #1 culprit tends to be: the Temporary Folder. Linda writes:

“I have a question for you about Google Earth. I have been trying to play around with it and when I find a place and want to save it, the “Save to My Places” is grayed out and it won’t let me save. My husband said the same thing happens on his computer. I looked on a Google forum and someone posted a question about it not working recently. Do you happen to have any info about this and does the same thing happen to you?”

While Linda didn’t provide specifics as to what kind of “place” she is trying to save, I’ve been at this long enough to have a pretty good ideathat she found something like a Rumsey Historical Map that she wants to add as a permanent fixture to her geographic genealogy files in Google Earth. Fabulous! Or it may be as simple as someone emailed her a map with a single placemark on it. She has clicked to open it and Google Earth magically opened and displayed it on her screen. Awesome!

In both cases, the important thing to notice, is that the item was sent to the TEMPORARY folder in the PLACES panel. That’s because Google Earth doesn’t assume just because you wanted to look at something means you want to save it in your files forever. And this leads me to the answer to Linda’s question…

The only time “Save to My Places” will not be grayed out is when the item that you are looking to Save to My Places is in the TEMPORARY folder. In other words, it is not yet saved to My Places (as in the cases I mentioned above.)

The Temporary folder is the most overlooked feature of Google Earth, and can play havoc with you unless you understand how it works, particularly in conjunction with the menu functions.

Here’s how to save an item in the Temporary folder to be a permanent part of your My Places:
  1. Click to select and highlight the item in the Temporary Folder
  2. Go up to the menu click FILE
  3. Select SAVE
  4. Select SAVE TO MY PLACESGoogle Earth Genealogy Temporary Folder

The item will then jump from your Temporary folder into My Places. You may need to open My Places by clicking the small black arrow next to it in order to see it at the bottom of your list.

Google Earth Save My Places

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once an item (such as a place mark) is created, and it appears anywhere in the Places panel other than the Temporary folder (such as in a folder you created, or under My Places,) it is technically already in My Places, and therefore does not need to be Saved to My Places. And that is why that option is grayed out.

Think of “Save to My Places” as “MOVE to My Places”.

Once your item is in My Places, from that point forward you will be saving any changes you make to it by selecting FILE > SAVE > SAVE MY PLACES.

Google Earth Save My Places

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This procedure saves changes made to any and all files in your My Places, including the new file you just added. Anything in your Temporary folder will be lost when you close Google Earth.

Play it Safe!
Be smart and get into the excellent habit of saving My Places every 10 minutes or so, (in case Google Earth, our computer, or internet connection crashes,) and most definitely when you close the program at the end of your work session.

Happy Googling!

Lisa

 

Bookmark and Share

Merry Cemetery Displays ‘Dirty Little Secrets’ of the Dead

The "Merry Cemetery" Sapanta, Romania. Image credit: "Merry Cemetery - Sapanta - Romania 01”, by Adam Jones (Adam63). Wikimedia Commons image at- http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Merry_Cemetery_-_Sapanta_-_Romania_01.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Merry_Cemetery_-_Sapanta_-_Romania_01.jpg.

The “Merry Cemetery” Sapanta, Romania. Image credit: “Merry Cemetery – Sapanta – Romania 01”, by Adam Jones (Adam63). Wikimedia Commons image.

A gravestone creator in a small town in Romania took his mission seriously to memorialize the dead. But he did in, er, “living color,” so to speak. With plenty of colorful images and even dirty little secrets and gossip carved onto tombstones of the local residents at the “Merry Cemetery.”

As reported in the New York Daily News,  the woodcarver responsible for over 1000 gravestones in the “Merry Cemetery” would wander through town, taking notes on people’s quirks and secrets. Some flaws–drinking and carousing among them–are memorialized colorfully on their tombstones. On other stones, you’ll find his sad laments for the untimely passing of a child or the death of an adult by  a sad accident.

“There’s no point in hiding secrets in this small town in Maramures, so people’s lives are captured honestly in their epitaphs,” reports the article.

The woodcarver was Stan Ion Patras, who lived from 1908-1977. Conscious of the legacy he was leaving–and perhaps anxious to tell his own story rather than have someone else do it–Patras carved his own tombstone before he passed away. He trained his replacement, who continues to add to the brightly colored crosses.

Here’s another detail I thought was neat: Patras’ folk art was highly symbolic. According to a New York Times article on the cemetery, “The portrait of the deceased is central, surrounded by geometric designs in symbolic colors: yellow for fertility, red for passion, green for life, black for untimely death. The color scheme is keyed to the subject’s life — if, for example, the deceased had many children, yellow carries the design. Some crosses are crowned with white doves representing the soul; a black bird implies a tragic or suspicious end. The background is always blue, the color of hope and freedom.”

What’s the most fascinating cemetery you’ve ever visited? What’s the most memorable epitaph you’ve ever found? Share it on our Genealogy Gems Facebook page!

Bookmark and Share

Evernote for Family History: Organizing and Tagging Your Data

Evernote for GenealogyRecently Richard wrote in with great questions on using Evernote for family history. “Thank you for ‘reinvigorating’ my interest in my family history,” he says. “I watched [your Legacy Family Tree webinar] on Evernote twice and I am now a Premium user thanks to the video. I’m following many of your suggestions, but have a few questions.”

Here’s our Q & A on using Evernote for family history:

Q: “Creating a set of useful tags assumes that in the future you will want to extract data based upon those tags. Since in many cases you don’t have the data yet, and can’t know what you want to retrieve (kind of a “Back to the Future” scenario), do you have any suggestions on specific tags?  Here are a couple I’m thinking of using and I’d appreciate your opinion:  Census year — Birth year – Death year – Civil Records – Church Records.”

Evernote for Genealogy Quick Reference GuideA: Yes, I provide a list on my Evernote for Genealogists quick reference guide that follows along the lines you are already going (focusing on record types). I recommend keeping tag names simple so there is less clutter in the left hand column of Evernote. i.e. Birth, Census, Death, Immigration, etc.  I also tend to have location tags such as states and/or counties in anticipation of opportunities to do research in those areas. If I’m going to make a trip to Randolph County, it would be convenient to access all related notes regardless of family or time frame with one click of a tag.

Originally I created notebooks for each major surname in my tree, but I recommend tags now. I reserve notebooks for high level topics and projects—particularly projects I anticipate wanting to work with others on. It’s very convenient to simply share a notebook. There are five Evernote videos that are part of Premium membership that go in to all the details. You’ll find the list here.

Q: “Do you tag individual surnames in your notes?  What about generations, i.e., Grandparents — Great-Grandparents — Great-Great-Grandparents, etc.”

A: I have laid out my organizational strategy in the Genealogy Gems Premium Membership videos “Hard Drive Organization” and have since elaborated on how I apply that method to Evernote in several Premium podcast episodes.

Q: “I noted in your video you do not clip most of your family photos. Do you clip full census sheets?

A: Yes. Anything to do with my research!

Q: I use Family Tree Maker, and subscribe to Ancestry.com. Once you have compiled all these notes, what and how do you include them into your tree?”

A: I cover this in Premium episode 96.

Genealogy Gems Premium Membership and PodcastAs you can see, though I cover a lot of Evernote questions on my free Genealogy Gems website, a lot of his more detailed questions are addressed in members-only Premium content. Learn more about Genealogy Gems Premium membership here: all the great online videos and Premium podcast episodes you’ll be able to access for a full YEAR for less than the price of attending a single day at a genealogy conference!

Bookmark and Share

What are the Politics of Your Family Tree?

stick_figure_ballot_box_400_wht_9471Here’s a fun online tool that points toward the political leanings of current U.S. residents with your surnames: What’s in a Name?

For example, when I enter my maternal grandfather’s surname, Felix, I find that this surname overwhelming votes Democrat (77%). My father’s surname, McClellan, is evenly split. There’s a cool (but slightly confusing) map that breaks down results by state. Of course I looked at the state breakdowns where my family lives now and in their ancestral home states!

Do  political leanings really run in a family? Here’s an interesting article about familial voting patterns (again for the U.S.). Based on your surname results and what you know about your family, would this be a FUN family history conversation to introduce at your next family reunion would it open a can of worms?

Just remember, this isn’t a historical picture of your surname but predicted figures for the next big election. Not everyone with your surname is a relative, and that you likely have lot of relatives from that same surname line who wouldn’t be included because their surnames have changed. There’s also no explanation on this page of where they get their raw numbers or how they calculate their answers. You’d want to check the supporting organizations for party or other bias. So this is JUST for fun! But think about it–what resources would you use to research the politics of your family tree? Obituaries? Newspapers? Interviews with older relatives? Even naming patterns? My husband’s grandfather is named Franklin Delano–I wonder who his parents voted for….

 

 

Bookmark and Share

WWI-Era Orphaned Heirloom Looking for Its Family

looking_though_binoculars_pc_400_wht_2823

A U.K. news site recently reported a story about an orphaned heirloom World War I medal that is trying to get back home–with help from a retired postal worker.

Terry Lane is a member of a group that searches people’s properties for old artifacts (they get permission!). He discovered the medal in a trash bin in the woods. He cleaned it up enough to tell that it’s a WWI British silver medal with an inscription: “PTE A J Stedman ASC” and a notation that meant he was a supply specialist for Kitchener’s New Army.

Lane contacted an expert researcher who has worked on Who Do You Think You Are? for help. They have determined that the man was likely an Albert J Stedman, who lived in that locale. Lane hopes to track down a descendant to whom he can return the medal.

Do you have any stories of orphaned heirlooms, lost or found? Let us know!

If you like this post….

  • Check out this post with advice on how to track down a family to return something.
  • Interested in genealogy volunteerism? Click here to read a post on what has replaced that classic do-gooder organization, Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness.
Bookmark and Share

The Google Search Operator That Got Away

One of my favorite Google Search Operators is the Tilde (`) which is Google lingo means Synonym. In the past you could add~genealogy to your searches and Google would look for ‘genealogy’, ‘family history’, ‘ancestry’ etc. Unfortunately, it is no more.

Google Search Operator Tilde synonym

Google explained the decision to do away with synonym search this way: “Why? Because too few people were using it to make it worth the time, money, and energy to maintain…Maintaining ALL of the synonyms takes real time and costs us real money. Supporting this operator also increases the complexity of the code base.”

So now, more than ever, it’s important to choose your keywords wisely and think like the person who may be posting information you are looking for. You may think train history, but experts on the subject may be using railroad or locomotive as they write on their website. The good news is you can include all the options in your search query.

Recommended Viewing:
Genealogy Gems Premium Video: Ultimate Google Search Strategies

Recommended Reading:
Things may change online, 
but Genealogy Gems will never change: 
We’re here to help!
logo with text
Bookmark and Share