October 13, 2015

Best Websites for Historical Maps: A New Premium Video!

Best websites for finding historical maps Genealogy Gems premium videoLooking for a pre-1700 map of the Americas as the Europeans found it? Yearning to survey the plot of land your ancestors tilled in Cobb County, Georgia? Historic maps can point you in the direction of your ancestors. But navigating your way to an original map can be a costly and time-consuming trek. Before you venture down that road, navigate your way to the treasury of digitized maps available online!

A new video class can help Genealogy Gems Premium members do just that: Best Websites for Finding Historical Maps. Literally hundreds of thousands of historical maps are available for free online in high-resolution digital format that you can download right to your computer without ever leaving home. The websites I show you offer some of the largest map collections available on the Internet today. I demonstrate strategies for searching the best websites for historical maps that will help YOUR research. You’ll see what’s out there, how to find the right maps and how to download and use them.

Historic_Maps_VideoGenealogy Gems Premium members also have access to my popular online video class, 5 Ways to Enhance Your Genealogy Research with Old Maps. Not a Premium member? Get a taste of these classes for free on the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel! Check out this free excerpt: “Using Sanborn Fire Maps for Family History and Genealogy.” 

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!

Evernote users can easily import online research finds–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.

Ultimate Evernote Education abbreviatedReady 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 classes for Premium members include:

Premium members also get access to my “Get Started with Evernote”  mini video series:

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

Click here to find even more resources for using Evernote for genealogy! And thanks for sharing this post with others who would benefit from using Evernote to organize their genealogy research.

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

I recently read Lisa Louise Cooke’s all-new edition of The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, Second Edition. I use Google every day and this book has so many helpful new search tips! But I was skeptical about her chapter on finding your family history on YouTube. So skeptical that I immediately opened YouTube to prove her wrong. Can you guess how this ends?

Following one of her tips, I entered an ancestral hometown and state and the word “history.” The fourth search result made my mouth drop open:

This is a 1937 newsreel showing my husband’s great-grandfather, Andrew O’Hotnicky, driving his fire truck with his dog Chief! Though Andrew’s not named, I can prove it’s him. He was the driver at the Olyphant Hose Co #2 during this time. Photos of him match the driver’s face. I have stories and a newspaper clipping about his dog, Chief. A distant relative watched the newsreel and confirmed his identity–and said a young man riding on the side of the truck was Andrew’s son Bill.

My father-in-law never knew his grandfather Andrew, who died before he was born. Imagine how thrilled he was to watch that newsreel! I was just as thrilled to find it. I’ve spent years researching Andrew’s family (click here to read an article about him).

Genealogists Google Toolbox 2nd edition coverOnly by following Lisa’s suggestions in the new edition of The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, Second Edition did I make my best family history find EVER!

My own tip: search YouTube for relatives you already know something about. That way you will recognize them (from pictures or stories) when you see them. A lot of old footage won’t have names with it. I had to know who I was looking at. Once you find something, tag it with your relative’s name. You never know who will connect with you that way (check out the comments section in the above video)!

What can you learn about YOUR family history on YouTube or anywhere in the Google world? Learn how to search widely, deeply and effectively online in The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox.

6 Tips for Using YouTube for Family History

website in screenI gave a presentation at RootsTech on using YouTube for family history. I got tons of excited feedback from people who didn’t realize a) how much internet users rely on YouTube as a source of information and b) how creatively we can share our family history there.

Katelyn Guderian, a reporter with the Deseret News (Utah), sent me an email afterward: “I genuinely enjoyed your presentation and the suggestions you offered. YouTube can seem overwhelming to users who aren’t familiar with how it works, and I think you did a nice job at making it seem manageable.” Even better, she shared a lot of my comments on using YouTube in this news article. Here are my 6 tips for using YouTube for family history as she shared them in her article:

  1. Identify your target audience: Who are you trying to reach? What do they specifically want to know?
  2. Create usable content: Create videos that answer questions and bring insight to families.
  3. Be authentic: Don’t try to be someone you aren’t. Let your personality guide your posts, and people who like it will keep coming back.
  4. Keep it short: Limit most videos to 3–5 minutes, with the longest posts being around 10. Leave your audience wanting more.
  5. Keep it simple: Make your content direct and easy to understand. Leave your audience with a call to action.
  6. Use proper lighting: If you are filming a new video, make sure to have light on your face to eliminate shadows. Audiences won’t watch something they can’t see. Try not to combine natural light with artificial light while on camera.

Thanks for the coverage and the positive comments, Katelyn!

RootsMagic TV: Short Genealogy Tutorials and Webinars on YouTube

RootsMagic-Webinars-Poster-SmallNow you can find short training videos in addition to free full-length webinars on RootsMagic’s new YouTube Channel, RootsMagicTV.

If you’re a RootsMagic user (or may be interested in becoming one), FamilySearch Family Tree or PAF user , you’ll love these helpful tutorials.

And let your voice be heard: They are even taking suggestions for topics to cover in future short videos, too! email them at support@rootsmagic.com.


5 Reasons You Need the New YouTube App for Family History

The Genealogy Gems Channel is in the #1 spot when searching “genealogy” in the YouTube app, along with many other excellent family history channels

There’s a new YouTube App for iPad (also available for iPhone and Android) that is a must have for your favorite mobile device.

It’s been a long time coming but worth the wait. Here’s a list of the features you will enjoy:

  • Improved search – New tools include auto-suggestion and the ability to browse for new videos while you watch
  • Faster Loading of videos – We like faster!
  • More Ways to Share Great Video Finds – Share a video on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, email or text message right from the YouTube app
  • Sleek New Design – YouTube Channel Guide allows you to swipe right to see new videos from all your favorite channels
  • More Videos –  Tens of thousands of videos now unlocked for your phone

Still not convinced as a genealogist that you need the new app? Here are 5 reasons you should be using YouTube in conjunction with your family history search:

#1 Learn More about Your Ancestor’s World
Search for clubs, businesses, events and other items that impacted your ancestors’s lives.

#2 Find Your Ancestors in Action
Ever since the Internet came on the scene, genealogists have been searching online for photos (or for the distant cousins possessing photos) of their family.  Apply this strategy to YouTube and video.  Click here to read about how a Genealogy Gems Podcast listener hit pay dirt by following this advice.

#3 Get Quick Answers to Your Genealogy Questions
Got a pressing question on how to fix your Ancestry tree to how to how to create crafty family history gifts? Videos on YouTube not only supply answers, but show you how. When you find a channel that you like, click the Subscribe button. This will set you up to be notified of new videos from that channel as soon as they are published. (Sign in to YouTube with your free Google account because, yep, Google owns YouTube.)

The Genealogy Gems Channel in the YouTube App

#4 Benefit from Genealogy Conferences from the Comfort of Your Home
Not everyone has the time or money to attend a genealogy conference. Conference organizers understand this and are harnessing the power of online video to bring key content to users where they are.  To get started, check out the videos that feature popular conference speakers and the conference experience from channels like SCGS (Jamboree) by searching SCGSgenealogy in the app and NGS  by searching NGSGenealogy.

#5 Learn New Techniques for Sharing Your Family History
Get crafty and creative with project ideas found on YouTube.  Search for keywords such as photos, shadow boxes, quilting, scrapbooking, etc. I’ve set up a special playlist on the Genealogy Gems Channel called Family History Craft and Display Projects that is chock full of videos to get you started. Search “GenealogyGems” in the YouTube app or go directly to the playlist at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAE920F093159BD02  

These are just a few ideas for using YouTube and the new YouTube app to enhance your family history adventures. Leave a comment and share the finds you have made.

Learn more about YouTube in Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 140



Free FamilySearch Video Class Available on YouTube

Have you ever wondered if you are getting the most out of the Familysearch.org website?  Now you can sit in on a video recording of the Association of PC Users Group Virtual Conference class called Using the FamilySearch.org Website for Genealogy Research

Click here to watch the video

Click here to the APCUG website to download the handout