August 29, 2014

MyCanvas Finds a New Home: Alexander’s

Alexander’s, the long time MyCanvas printer will be receiving ownership. Ancestry exec Eric Shoup issued this statement today explaining the transition.

“This past June, we announced that we were retiring the MyCanvas website and service in September 2014.

We’ve heard from many people who love MyCanvas and hate the idea of it going away. Well, we have some good news for you: It’s not going away after all. We listened and decided not to retire MyCanvas, but instead transfer the website to Alexander’s.

Founded 35 years ago, Alexander’s is a Utah-based printing production company that has been the long-term printer of MyCanvas products including its genealogy books, calendars, and other printed products. This makes the transition of MyCanvas to Alexander’s a natural fit.

It’s our hope that this agreement will not change the experience for MyCanvas customers. In fact, Alexander’s plans to make some exciting improvements we think you’ll love. Additionally, MyCanvas will continue to be available from the Ancestry.com website as we believe in the importance of sharing family history discoveries and see MyCanvas as a way to deliver this ability to our customers.

The transition of MyCanvas will take about six months. But in the meantime, all MyCanvas projects will remain accessible on Ancestry.com until it moves over to Alexander’s next year. We will continue to communicate details as the transition moves forward.

We want to thank our loyal MyCanvas customers for all the projects you have built and printed with us over the years. We’re excited about this new owner of MyCanvas—and we think you will be too.”

Alexanders According to Alexander’s website “more than 60 team members work full-time from Alexander’s 45,000 square-foot corporate headquarters in Lindon, Utah.”

Genealogy Gems listeners have already started expressing their relief at the Genealogy Gems Facebook page. Katharine says: “Maybe all the comments helped! I’m relieved.”

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Kelsey Grammer on #WDYTYA & Previous Episodes Return

Kelsey Grammer on WDYTYA courtesy TLC

 

It’s another exciting week of family history TV on TLC! Here’s the latest and a video sneak peek:

“TLC’s two time Emmy-nominated series continues, and this week actor Kelsey Grammer explores his family history tomorrow night, August 20 at 9/8c.

Watch the sneak peek video:

In his episode, Kelsey Grammer takes a trip into the past to explore his beloved grandmother’s family. He uncovers the story of a woman haunted by demons, and finds a connection to family who risked everything in one of the greatest migrations in American history.”

Kelsey Grammer with Archivist Layne Sawyer (Courtesy TLC)

Kelsey Grammer with Archivist Layne Sawyer (Courtesy TLC)

 

 

More WDYTYA Good News:

TLC has acquired episodes from previous seasons of the Who Do You Think You Are?  Tomorrow night two earlier episodes will make their debut on the cable channel. Enjoy encores of Reba McEntire’s episode at 8/9c, and Vanessa Williams’ episode at 10/9c. Back when the episode originally aired Vanessa Williams made an appearance on Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast episode 63 which members can listen to as part of the Premium podcast archive which features over 100 exclusive episodes.

Next week Minnie Driver’s episode will air as the season finale on August 27. Next week’s encore episodes will include Tim McGraw and Rita Wilson.

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How to Set Up Google Alerts for Genealogy

google alertHow can you keep up with new online information on your family history that may appear at any moment? You can’t, unless you run constant searches on your web browser, and who’s got time for that? Google does! And it accomplish that incredible search  feat for you through Google Alerts.

Google Alerts is like having your own virtual research assistant! When you key in your favorite searches, Google Alerts will automatically email you when there are new Google results for your search terms.

1. Go to www.google.com/alerts.

2. Sign in to your Google account (or create one).

3. The first time you create an alert, click where it says, “You don’t have any Google Alerts. Try creating one.” Fill in the screen that pops up:

Google Alerts for Genealogy

4. Type in your search query. In the example above, I’ve entered my specific search:
Larson” “Winthrop” Minnesota.

5. Make selections to further refine your search alert:

  • The type of content you’re looking for: news, blogs, videos, discussions, books or everything.
  • How often you want to receive the alerts by email.
  • The type of results you want to get. You may want to receive all results, not just the best results which will give you an opportunity to see how your search does. You can always change settings later.

6. Enter the email address where you want the alert emails to be delivered. Google will alert you to new content when it is posted on the Web.

google toolbox bookLearn more about how to conduct effective Google searches for genealogy research, Google Alerts for genealogy, and more in my book The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox. 

Genealogy VideoGenealogy Gems Premium Members can also watch my full length Google search video classes:

  • Common Surname Search Secrets
  • Ultimate Google Search Strategies
  • Digging Deeper into Web Sites with Google Site Search

See the complete list of Premium video classes here.

Learn more about Genealogy Gems Premium Membership here!

 

 

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TLC’s WDYTYA? New Sneak Peek Video & Honors for the Series

Rachel McAdams WDYTYA

Click Image for video page. Image courtesy of TLC

TLC’s WDYTYA? is about to start its 5th television season here in the U.S. but you can watch a new sneak peek video here. The video was posted yesterday on the Rachel Adams Online website. Rachel will be featured along with her sister in one of the new episodes.

Other celebrities featured this time around are:  This year’s line-up of participants includes Valerie Bertinelli, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Kelsey Grammer, Rachel McAdams and her sister Kayleen McAdams, and Cynthia Nixon.

In other WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? news, it was announced today that the show has just received its second Emmy nomination for Outstanding Structured Reality Program for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards.

“We’re all so thrilled to have WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? recognized with another Emmy nomination. It was our first season on TLC, and every department was truly wonderful to work with. We’re thrilled with every episode we get to shoot, taking someone on a historical trip through their ancestral past, so this is a much appreciated nod to all the people who worked so hard to make it happen. We are thrilled that our audience has found the show and continued to appreciate it in our new collaboration with TLC,” said Executive Producers Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky.

The series is produced for TLC by Shed Media US and Is or Isn’t Entertainment. Executive Producers are Lisa Kudrow, Dan Bucatinsky, Alex Graham, Pam Healey and Al Edgington. For TLC Executive Producers are Howard Lee, Timothy Kuryak and Amy Winter.

The series premieres July 23 at 9/8c on TLC.

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One of the Easiest or Most Complicated Genealogies in the World?

Easy or complicated genealogy for this remote island?

Easy or complicated genealogy for the folks on this remote island? Tristan da Cunha, Wikipedia image.

Small, isolated populations should mean it’s easy to do their genealogy, right? Well, I wonder.

I came across this Wikipedia article on Tristan da Cunha, described as “the most remote inhabited island in the world, lying 1,750 miles from the nearest landfall in South Africa, and 2,088 miles from South America. Its current population of 264 is thought to have descended from 15 ancestors, 8 males and 7 females, who arrived on the island at various times between 1816 and 1908.  The male founders originated from Scotland, England, the Netherlands, United States and Italy and the island’s 80 families share just eight surnames: Glass, Green, Hagan, Lavarello, Patterson, Repetto, Rogers, and Swain.”

Of course, success in doing family history on this island depends a lot on how strong their record-keeping and preservation has been. (Consider what one natural disaster could do to written history) Barriers to migration should certainly mean it’s easy to find ancestors. But what does that family tree look like? How many people will show up in multiple places on the tree?

Have you ever done genealogy research on an isolated or insular group? What are the challenges? What’s easier? Feel free to share on the Genealogy Gems Facebook page. Feel free to share your tales of complicated genealogy!

 

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The Recommended File Formats for Long Term Preservation

You have precious family history files, both physical and digital. Have you ever wondered if they are in the proper form for safe, long term preservation? Consider taking a cue from the United State’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holding more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats.

According to their announcement today the Library of Congress today released “a set of recommended formats for a broad spectrum of creative works, ranging from books to digital music, to inform the Library’s acquisition practices. The format recommendations will help ensure the Library’s collections processes are considering and maximizing the long-term preservation potential of its large and varied collections.”

The recommended formats can be viewed here www.loc.gov/preservation/resources/rfs/ and cover six categories of creative output:

  • Textual Works and Musical Compositions
  • Still Image Works
  • Audio Works
  • Moving Image Works
  • Software and Electronic Gaming and Learning
  • Datasets/Databases

What I like about this recommendations is that they rank the various file formats on the digital side of things in order of preference. So even if you aren’t in the position to change your digital file’s format right now, you will know where it falls in the spectrum of long-term preservation.

For example, here are the recommendations for digital photograph files formats in the order of preference:Family History Photos at www.GenealogyGems.com

Formats, in order of preference

  1. TIFF (uncompressed)
  2. JPEG2000 (lossless (*.jp2)
  3. PNG (*.png)
  4. JPEG/JFIF (*.jpg)
  5. Digital Negative DNG (*.dng)
  6. JPEG2000 (lossy) (*.jp2)
  7. TIFF (compressed)
  8. BMP (*.bmp)
  9. GIF (*.gif)

Download the PDF of recommendations from the Library of Congress here

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New Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode #168

DNA and genealogyGet up to speed on the world of DNA and Genealogy in this episode. We’ll explore in depth the ramifications of Ancestry closing down some of their DNA tests along with other businesses in their portfolio. You’ve had a lot to say on this subject, and I do too!
Your DNA Guide for Genealogy Diahan Southard

Then you’ll meet Your DNA Guide, Diahan Southard. She’s a genealogy gem who will be joining us here on Genealogy Gems on a regular basis to help guide us through the murky waters of DNA research in easy to understand, and FUN terms.

 

Thanks for listening friend, I’ll talk to you soon,
Lisa

Genealogy Gems Podcast and Family History

Lisa Louise Cooke Genealogy Gems Podcast

 

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Using Evernote for Genealogy: You are One of Evernote’s 100 Million Users!

flag_waving_mountain_13781Are you using Evernote for Genealogy? Well then you have helped Evernote reach a new summit!

The company announced recently that over 100 MILLION people now use Evernote to keep track of what they know and how they know it.

“When we launched the Evernote service in 2008,…there were many note takers and productivity tools around at the time but they all felt out of date; they were becoming less and less relevant to people’s lives,” explains a company press release. “We set out to redefine the meaning of productivity for modern busy people. We want Evernote to become your workspace; the place where you do all of the everyday things that keep your life moving forward.”

Evernote has sure taken the genealogy community by storm. I attend conferences around the world and it seems every single one has at least one class devoted to using Evernote for genealogy!

3 reasons why Evernote is Ideal for Genealogy Research:

1. You can store your research information with the source citation and any additional notes you take about the item. It’s easy to transfer online finds into Evernote and easy to copy them into your family history writing projects or websites.

2. You can sort and retrieve data easily: When I search “Burkett” Evernote instantly and thoroughly sifts all of my notes. It locates all 33 of my notes where the surname BURKETT appears in a note, even when the name appears in an image such as this scan of my Grandfather’s Railroad examination certificate from 1936. That is thanks to the fact that Evernote applies Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to all images in your notes!

Evernote for Genealogy

3. Your desktop version syncs with whatever you do through the Evernote app. With Evernote on your mobile device, you have constant access to your genealogy research, photos and more. Think how easy that makes your next trip to an archive or family reunion!

And here’s a tip for all of you iPhone and iPad users:
Stop searching for the Evernote app on your mobile devices desktop. Just press and hold the Home button and tell Siri “Open Evernote App!”

Evernote for Genealogy Quick Reference GuideFree Download:
If you haven’t tried the FREE version of this note-taking and data-organization software yet, download it here.

Then cut your learning curve and start using Evernote effectively RIGHT AWAY by purchasing our Evernote for Genealogists guide! The guide is available as a digital download or laminated print format, for the Mac or PC.

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What Mitochondrial DNA and a King have to do with You

Michael Ibsen, a cabinet maker living in London, was recently awarded the title of “royal descendant” when researchers identified him as a direct maternal descendant of Ann of York. Why did this lucky man have an unsolicited team of researchers filling in 17 generations of his genealogy?DNA and Genealogy

They were trying to identify a body.

A body discovered under a parking lot in Leichester, England.

According to an article in the Mail Online, thanks to the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of Ibsen, that body has been identified as Richard the III. Researchers needed Ibsen because his mtDNA is EXACTLY the same as his 17th great grandmother, Ann of York.   Because mothers pass their mtDNA to all of their children, and only the daughters pass it on to the next generation, Ann had exactly the same mtDNA as her brother, Richard.

With the positive identification in hand, researchers are now prepared to undertake a  £100,000 project to discover the combination of letters in a four-digit code that makes up the genetic book that is (or was) Richard III.  This process is called full genome sequencing. They are also planning to sequence Mr. Ibsen’s genome to see what shared segments may still remain.

What does this project have to do with you?
DNA and genealogy
So what does this project have to do with you the genealogist who doesn’t have a team of researchers hammering out your 17th generation grandparents?

First, it is a win for genetic genealogy as mtDNA was used to unequivocally link past and future generations. Each story like this serves to increase awareness for genetic genealogy, which means more people get tested, which means databases grow larger, which means you will find more matches, which means you will have more genealogical success. Plus, the comparison of the ancient Richard the III genome with the modern genome of Mr. Ibsen will be the first of its kind to try to identify shared segments of DNA after so many generations.

In a recent interview Michael Ibsen said, “I almost hope somewhere along the line they dig up some more people so others can be ancestors and descendants in the same sort of way. It is going to be an extraordinary experience.”

Someone needs to introduce Mr. Ibsen to genetic genealogy as that is EXACTLY what genetic genealogy is all about-but minus the digging up the bones part! Genetic genealogy is all about using the DNA of living people to reconstruct the DNA of your ancestors. It is about making connections among modern day genealogists that can help them answer questions about their relatives.

While a full genome sequence is not a practical genealogical tool for most genealogists, there are other kids of DNA tests that could help you answer  genealogical questions.

You can find more information about a few famous people and their DNA here.Dr. Turi King and Genealogist Lisa Louise Cooke

And learn even more by reading MNT’s article 3D model provides new insight into King Richard III’s spinal condition.

And don’t miss Lisa’s interview with Dr. Turi King who ran the DNA testing on King Richard III. Listen to Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 152 now.

Genealogy Gems Podcast and Family History

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