Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 245 – Telling Your Family’s Story with Video

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 245 – Telling Your Family’s Story with Video

with Lisa Louise Cooke
September 2020

Don’t just gather genealogical information. Take the time to tell your ancestors’ stories!

Video is the perfect medium for sharing your family’s history. It captures the interest of the eyes and the ears.

In this episode my special guest is Kathy Nielsen. She’s a librarian from California who recently started creating videos. She’s going to walk you through the simple yet effective process she followed. Then I will share additional things to consider and strategies that you can use.

If you’re not interested in creating a video, that’s OK. Today’s episode will make you a better storyteller and will provide you with inspiring story examples by other genealogists.

Elevenses with Lisa Episode 14 – Creating Family History Story Videos

Watch the video and read the full show notes here.

Creating family history story videos

After listening to this episode, watch Elevenses with Lisa episode 16 How to Make a Video with Adobe Spark  to learn how to make videos quickly and easily for free.

Genealogy Gems Premium Members can download the handy PDF show notes for each of these Elevenses with Lisa episodes. Simply log into your membership, and then in the menu under “Video” click “Elevenses with Lisa.” Click the episode and scroll down to the Resources section of the show notes.

Genealogy Gems Premium Members can download the show notes PDF from the Resources section on that page.

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Getting Your Family History Digitized

I use Larsen Digital and have been extremely pleased with the service and results. The folks at Larsen Digital have put together special and exclusive discounts for Genealogy Gems listeners and readers. Click here to learn more and receive exclusive discounts and coupon codes.

Genealogy Gems Podcast App

Don’t miss the Bonus audio for this episode. In the app, tap the gift box icon just under the media player. Get the app here

Sunday, September 27th. “The Irish philosopher and statesman Edmund Burke stated in 1790 that “People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.” For those that do the looking forward, or those just idly curious about in their roots, today is Ancestor Appreciation Day. Census records play an important role in researching individual details, but the law mandates a 72 year wait for access. Annually, though, the Bureau’s American Community Survey compiles statistics for detailed ancestry or ethnic groups or populations in the nation. The largest reported ancestry is German, at over 41-million of our nearly 330-million population. The Irish of Edmund Burke come second, with nearly 31-million, or more than remain in Ireland itself.” Profile America

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Podcast Resources

Download the episode mp3
Download the show notes episode 245

Viewer Voices: Stories of Doll Houses, Risk-Taking, and Women Getting the Vote

Viewer Voices: Stories of Doll Houses, Risk-Taking, and Women Getting the Vote

Elevenses with Lisa Episode 25 Video and Show Notes

Live show air date: September 17, 2020
Join me for Elevenses with Lisa, the online video series where we take a break, visit and learn about genealogy and family history.

Viewer Voices: Celebrating Your Family History!

In this week’s episode we’re celebrating both your unique genealogy path, and the one that we have taken together as a community. The Elevenses with Lisa show has really grown into a vibrant, caring family. Whether it’s something I’m teaching, or a conversation happening in the live chat, there’s always something new to learn!

So, I invite you to sit back and relax with your favorite cup of tea while I share some of your stories, answer some questions, and pretty much talk about whatever tickles our fancy. Click below to watch the video, and follow along here on this show notes page. 

Some Googly Questions & Comments 

Cathy Gallaghers’s question: “I, like so many others, really enjoy listening to your podcasts and Elevenses!! I have learned a lot! I am having trouble with one concept.  I have a “new cousin” that I learned about through DNA. She is a great detective in finding people, places and information.

I want to have our family tree on Google docs so that we can share the family tree and we can start organizing all of our information. What I’m having trouble with is how do you put the tree in google docs? I cannot copy and paste from Ancestry.

I just cannot see HOW to make this large tree in google docs AND have a place to have the documentation…I really want to work with this cousin.”

My Answer: I think having everything in your database and saving the database to Google Drive is the way to go. If you don’t have a software database, I encourage you to get one that synchronizes with Ancestry.

Recommended Viewing: Premium Video How to Take Control of and Preserve Your Family Tree Information. (Click here to learn more about joining us as a Premium Member.) 
I use and recommend BackBlaze cloud backup – learn more here. (Using this link supports this free show – thank you!)

Google Docs are contained in Google Drive, but Google Drive also can have files that you have uploaded from other sources, like videos, and photos. So, there’s really no point in recreating things in Google Docs. Google Drive gives you a place to store everything as well as collaborate.

Cathy’s Comment

As you’ll recall in Episode 22 I showed you ways to use Google Earth to research your ancestors’ neighborhood. Cathy shared how she used what she learned from that episode in her research. She writes,

“BTW – I downloaded Google Earth Pro and have had a blast putting people on the map. My grandfather wrote a book called, “Passeggiata” the story of his life. He talks about a time when he went to New Haven CT and he wrote down each street he turned down and which direction he went in.  I went to google earth and local maps but could NOT find this one street he talked about. When I got the map from David Rumsey and overlayed it – there was the street he talked about – JUST AS HE SAID. I was so excited!”

Speaking of Google Related Things

In episode 23 I gave you an introductory tour of Google Photos, and I shared how Google Photos uses facial recognition to find people in your photos.

Well, Dana experienced this technology first-hand! Google Photos found her in a curved mirror reflection!

Dana found by Google Photos

Dana found by Google Photos!

The First Woman to Vote in Florida

A couple of weeks ago on August 26, 2020 here in the United States we celebrated the 100 year anniversary of women securing the right to vote.

The House of Representatives passed the amendment on May 21, 1919. Two weeks later, the Senate did as well. The amendment was adopted when Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify on August 18, 1920. The 19th Amendment was formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution by proclamation of Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby on August 26, 1920.

It was a long road but finally women had the right to vote, and Elevenses with Lisa viewer Melanie Barton’s grandmother wasted no time doing so in 1920.

Melanie sent me her story, and I asked her to record it so I could turn it into a little video to share with all of you which you will see in this episode. (20:30 mark in the video.)

WC & Fay Bridges Miami

Epilogue: Shortly after voting Fay happily remarried. Here she is with her husband W.C. Bridges in Miami, FL.

House History Follow Up and Stitchery

Pamela Fane left a comment on Elevenses with Lisa Episode 20 on House History Research. She shared two wonderful stories about how the personal touch pays off when it comes to delving into house histories.

“I have land documents citing my ancestor lived on a farm in Bedfordshire, England.  While on a trip to Bedfordshire in the mid 1990s I ventured down a long driveway toward the house.  I saw a man on a farm tractor and asked him if I could take a photo of his house because my ancestor lived there in former times. 

He was not overly friendly and asked me who that might be and when. I told him Thomas Fane lived there in 1761.

Stitchery by Pamela Fane

“Priestly Farm” by Pamela Fane

Oh, well then, he said, warming to his subject; when you finish with the front, go ’round to the back and make sure you get a photo of the wing that juts from the house because he built that and the man turned back to his tractor.  Now there is a man who knows the history of his house. 

One of the pictures I took of the front of the house I turned into a stitchery which sits on my hall table.”

In her second story her husband got in on the act.

“On another trip I was leaning over a fence gawking at another ancestor’s property, also in Bedfordshire, England. 

My husband was encouraging me to knock on the door.  I didn’t want to bother anyone; a photo would be good enough. Well, not good enough for my husband so he knocked on the door. 

We were invited in and shown pages and pages of historical papers about the house.  The owners were very interested in the history of their house and wanted to know about the people who lived there in former times.  I was able to send them all sorts of information covering the 300 years my ancestors lived in the house. 

That knock on the door was a win/win for both of us.”

A Knock on the Door

An Ancestral Home in Miniature

After watch the episodes on house history and Irish research, Anne was keen to share a very special house that once belonged to her Irish ancestors. She emailed me a story she had written for her new blog Annecestreeforest which she started in January 2020. She also included a PowerPoint presentation with photos.

As I reviewed it I could see the video that it should be in my mind. I asked Anne to record a bit of her story and a descriptive tour which she happily did. The next day I put it all together as a video.

Anne wrote: “It took my grandfather (Alan R Cassidy) a full year, working every day, to build the replica. During that time, unbeknownst to me, he was diagnosed with cancer, and died shortly after giving me the house.

He was a loving person, a strong believer in family heritage, a proud Canadian, honoured to serve as a Chief Petty Officer in our navy, and as a carpenter thereafter for the government.

The highest praise he could give someone was “he is a good man” and he was definitely that.

William and Jane’s descendants include nurses, pilots, lawyers, carpenters, farmers, and an Order of Canada honoree. Their legacy touches us all and is remembered each time I look at the little house.”


Mirror cups

Let’s wrap up this episode with something really fun that’s not genealogy but is on topic because this show is called Elevenses with Lisa. The name comes from the fact that the traditional morning teatime / break time is 11:00.

Over the last 25 weeks I’ve shared my cups with you, and as you’ll remember Margaret shared her mother’s mix and match collection of teacups that it turned out were traditionally given at bridal showers.

Well, a few days ago Lindell Johnson sent me a little video she found about some exceptionally beautiful and innovative cups and saucers that bring a fresh perspective to driving tea, and art.

Variations of these cups and saucers are available online here:

Like the mirror cups and saucers, I hope that Elevenses with Lisa has brought you a fresh perspective of your genealogy and family history.


Bonus Download exclusively for Premium Members: Download the show notes handout


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Improve Your Online Search Experience and Protect Your Privacy

Improve Your Online Search Experience and Protect Your Privacy

PREMIUM: Elevenses with Lisa Episode 24 Video and Show Notes

Live show air date: September 10, 2020
Elevenses with Lisa is the online video series where we take a break, visit and learn about genealogy and family history.

how to improve your online experience

Your Online Mindset

In this video episode we explore the “Why” behind the tech tools we use. Then we dig into the settings and preferences to create the online experience we want, and the level of security and privacy that we are comfortable with. Follow along here on the show notes page. Premium Members: exclusive show notes PDF download can be found in the Resources section below. 

Tech Tools, Safety & Privacy

Google, YouTube, Ancestry, and all the other tech tools are simply tools. They shouldn’t dictate what we do. Instead, we should decide how we want to use them to accomplish our goals.

There are two sides to every tech tool:

  1. what it can do for you and
  2. what it can do for the company that created it.

Sometimes those are two very different things. That’s why we need to freshen up our online mindset.

Don’t always follow the prompts (for example genealogy hints, suggested Google searches, etc.) provided by the website. You decide how you will use each tool.

Recommended Viewing:
Genealogy Gems Premium Video How to Take Control of Preserving Your Family Tree Information. This important video covers my specific strategies for how to set up and control your genealogical data.

What is Google?

While may look like a search engine, that may not be it’s core business. Google is the largest advertising company in the world. We have to remember that first – even over it being a search engine.

Taking Control with My Google Activity

My Google Activity is a website that functions as your dashboard for controlling your experience with Google. Here you can turn off some of the tracking and delete history for a number of Google tools. It’s important to carefully read the details regarding what will and won’t be done when you change the settings.

The activity that Google tracks and stores helps to customize your experience and provide you with a breadcrumb trail. You can go back and visit your past activity to find things you’ve done in the past. It’s also valuable to them for advertising and other purposes. To a certain extent, you can decide how much of it is collected and retained.

At the top of the page you’ll find three areas where you can see and delete your activity:

  • Your Web and App Activity
  • Your YouTube Activity
  • Your Location Activity

Click each one to explore your options. Move the blue slider to off to “Pause” the feature. Click “Auto-delete” to set the length of time your activity is retained in history.

It’s a good idea to periodically (perhaps every six months) review your settings to ensure that everything is still set the way you want it.

Privacy & Personalization Settings 

There are many layers and locations where you can adjust the settings for the wide variety of Google products. These pages and settings can move over time. If in the future you don’t find things where we are showing them in this episode, simply google to find the current location. For example, google “my Google activity” or “YouTube privacy settings.”

One of the places you will find additional privacy and personalization settings for YouTube is on the YouTube website.

When you are logged into your free Google account on YouTube, click your account icon in the top right corner of the page and then click the Manage Your Google Account. Click Privacy and Personalization. Select the Privacy Checkup to be guided through your option. Here you will find YouTube settings where you can control what part of your activity is seen or not seen by other YouTube users.

Slow Down History Tracking with a Different Web Browser

We have been talking so far about websites and how they track your activity and information. Another way that Google tracks your activity is if you use the Chrome browser. For example, if you google for some information, you receive the search results on the Google website. If you click one of the results it will take you to a new website. At this point you have now left the Google website. However, if you are using the Chrome browser, Google can still track and record your activity history. Some people find that convenient and some do not want their history tracked. The important thing is just to know that it is happening and to make an informed decision. Most browsers do some level of tracking and saving of information. Review your browser settings and make adjustments to suit your needs.

Your Email Privacy

Most of us at some point have put our name and even our town or state online. This isn’t necessarily a problem because we share that information in many ways offline as well. It can become a problem though when we combine that information with other personal information, like being away from home.

Many people use an autoresponder on your email service while they are on vacation or away from home. It’s a convenient way to let people who email you know that you won’t be answering right away. However, it’s very important to not state directly that you are “on vacation” or “out of town.” There’s no reason to tell anyone that, and it might leave you open to theft if you do. We often share our email with people we do not know (businesses, etc.) and your name and email are usually all that is needed to find more information about you and your home online. Instead, consider saying “please note that now through (date) I will not be regularly be checking this email box. I will reply to you as soon as possible.” This gets the message across without providing an unnecessary explanation as to why.

Analyzing Google Search Results

Currently, Google is still the top search engine, and that makes it often the best tool for our online genealogical searches. Since we have come to understand that Google is first and foremost and advertising company, that will help us better understand the results we are receiving. Here’s why…

Folks in the advertising business need to know as much about customers as possible in order to be effective. Google has created a wide variety of excellent free tools that are useful to researchers. These free tools also provide an excellent way for Google to collect data. Therefore, it is in the best interest of Google to provide search results in a way that keeps you interacting with their website for as long as possible. In fact, this applies to all websites. Genealogy websites are also interested in collecting data, because data has tremendous value in many different industries. So, it is not a surprise that businesses and other organization want as much user information and data as possible. But we, as the users, need to take this into account as we use their products.

Let’s analyze some of the ways that Google delivers results on their results page.

analyze the google search results page

Elements of the search results page.

We must consider the “Why” behind search results. Ask questions such as:

  • Why are the results being presented in this format?
  • Is the results page giving you the impression that this is the one definitive answer, and that there is no need to click through to the website?
  • Why are these related searches being suggested to me?
  • Could there be more websites and perspectives that are not obvious on this first page of results?
  • Do these related searches have the potential to get me off the track of my research plan?

Here’s another example of how results sometimes appear:

analyze google search results

Analyzing the Google Search Results Page

Notice in both examples, very few specific web page articles are offered.

We are more likely to see these types of results for straight-forward topics and questions. Many of our genealogical searches for records, specific people and other less direct information will likely provide the more traditional list of website results page.

No matter what type of results page you receive, it is imperative that you click through and verify the source of the information. Review several different sources to ensure accuracy. And finally, it’s imperative to cite the source for any information you ultimately use for genealogy.

I cover this important topic in much more depth in my book and videos.

Recommended Viewing and Reading to learn more:
Genealogy Gems Premium video: The Google Search Methodology for Genealogy (Premium membership required)

google search methodology for genealogy
The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox by Lisa Louise Cooke available at the Genealogy Gems store.

Search Bias

In this episode we ran side by side comparisons of searches and found inconsistency in Google’s auto-filling feature. Here are the important takeaways:

  • Don’t assume that the auto-filled text represents the quantity or priority of potential results
  • Don’t assume that the auto-filled text represents what’s trending
  • Assume that there is subjective influence and do your own homework. Run your search, analyze the results, and click through to the sources for comparison and analysis. And of course, ALWAYS cite your sources for information you include in your genealogical research.

If there is subjective bias in politics searches, we would be wise to assume that there can be bias in ANY search result. This doesn’t mean we should stop using search. All records have the potential for bias. However, we do need to question and verify and we do throughout our research.

Wrap Up Checklist for Online Privacy, Security and Research:

  • Review your My Google Activity settings
  • Review additional privacy & personalization settings
  • Take the privacy check up
  • Be careful with vacation auto-responders
  • Consider another browser such as Firefox, Opera
  • Understand and take into account the “why”
  • Carefully analyze search results
  • Always review and cite online sources


Premium Members: Download the show notes handout

Live Chat Q&A with Lisa

The Show
Lisa, when you are able to be out in public traveling will we continue to be seeing you on Thursdays this is family time? This is my cup of tea time.
Lisa: Yes, as long as there’s interest I will continue producing Elevenses with Lisa. (Leave a Comment: I invite readers to leave a comment below and let me know if you want to keep seeing the show, what you enjoy about it, and what you would like hear about in future episodes.)

YouTube Restricted Mode
I had restricted mode set on my YouTube for my granddaughter and it would not lode Elevenses until I turned it off.
Lisa: YouTube has strict guidelines for identifying if a show is geared to children (and potentially promoting products to children). If it is, there are more requirements. Only shows identified as “for kids” can be viewed in restricted mode. Therefore, not being available through restricted mode does not imply that the show is inappropriate. Elevenses with Lisa is appropriate for general audiences. Grandkids welcome!

​Can you set your activity to get rid of the ads?
Lisa: Unfortunately, no. 

YouTube History
If you “pause” history on You Tube and you save a video on You Tube will it still be in my library?
Lisa: Yes, it will be in your library but you will not find it in your “My Activity” history. 

Google App vs Desktop
K M:
How is the Google App on IOS different than Chrome?
Lisa: I’ve noticed that when a new feature is rolled out it likely shows up on one before the other. For instance, the tools menu appeared on desktop first. I’ve also noticed that some search operators don’t appear to work on mobile. Google doesn’t provide definitive information on this. I would guess that’s because both on desktop (in any browser) and the Google app are constantly evolving. If I’m using the app and not getting the desired results I will often run a comparison search on desktop.

​If you don’t want to see ads, in your google do you turn that off or leave it on to control what you see or how many ads you get?
Lisa: You can’t prevent ads. Leaving it “on” in your settings provides ads more targeted to your specific interests. 

Search Frequency
Is there another place we can look for search frequencies on key words in Google?
Lisa: Run a Google search for keyword research. There a variety of different tools available. 

Browser Cookies
​What are the benefits of internet cookies? Should I delete cookies?
Lisa: Cookies are used to do things like save your log in credentials and customize your web browsing experience. Generally speaking, this is convenient. If you’ve ever cleared your cookies you’ve probably found yourself having to re-enter your credentials into every website you use. I typically only delete mine when a website (perhaps trying to checkout of an online store) gets “hung up” and won’t process correctly. In those situations I’ll go ahead and delete cookies and clear my browser cache which often fixes the problem. 

Browser Cookies
​So many web sites ask us to accept cookies. Should we do this? Is this how they follow us.
Lisa: See my answer to Gayle above. If I anticipate wanting to revisit a website, I will go ahead and “accept.” If it’s a one-time visit, I usually ignore it. 

Changing Your Search Experience
What if our search engines are refining our searches so much that we are missing new places we might want to go.  In other words they’re just directing us to “same old same old?” when we’re doing our genealogy searches.
Lisa: What you’re describing is an extension of we’re talking about in this episode. It is indeed possible to start to feel like your online experience becomes an echo chamber of information that websites think you want. Facebook is a prime example of this phenomenon. If you’re ever concerned and want a fresh experience, use Incognito mode in your web browser. In Chrome, click the three stacked dots in the upper right corner and select New Incognito Window

Our Elevenses Community 

I hope you enjoy our weekly get-togethers as much as I do. Do you enjoy the show? You can support it by sharing it with your friends, library and genealogy society. We also appreciate if you when you shop for genealogy products you check out our Genealogy Bargains page and use our links. And finally, please keep the conversation going by leaving a comment or question below. Thanks for joining me!

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