Premium Podcast Episode 139: Chris Cleave, WWII and More

Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast episode 139 features best-selling novelist Chris Cleave, WWII newspaper tips, new Evernote vs. One Note comparisons and more!

composite-book-club-author-cover-photoGenealogy Gems Premium members can dive into the days of World War II in the newly-released Premium episode #139. Novelist Chris Cleave talks about the inspiration for his WWII-era best-selling novel,  Everyone Brave is Forgiven and how he researched the history behind the story. You’ll hear personal reflections on how he sees his home city of London today, after writing so vividly about its bombing.

Lisa Louise Cooke follows that conversation with her own top tips for discovering the daily realities of life and death during the war using the 1940s newspapers, many of which are not freely accessible online for copyright reasons.

Other episode highlights:

  • How a crowd-sourced effort on Facebook sent a family Bible back home;
  • How to save images in Google Books;
  • Thoughts on Evernote vs. One Note, and free vs. premium access to Evernote with creative solutions for making the free version work for you;
  • Follow-up listener tips on the Atlas for Historical County Boundaries;
  • A new novel from a favorite past Genealogy Gems Book Club author; and
  • An exciting story from Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard about analyzing DNA from ancient ponytails–and what this doesn’t mean for your genealogy research.

Genealogy Gems - Family History Podcast and WebsiteReady to take the Genealogy Gems Premium membership plunge? You’ll get on-demand access to this Premium podcast episode and the 138 episodes before it–along with more than 30 how-to video tutorials by Lisa Louise Cooke. Click here to learn more.

Evernote vs. OneNote, Free vs. Paid, What’s a Genealogist to Do?

Is your head swirling with questions such as Evernote vs. OneNote? Or are you wondering about free vs. paid accounts? These are common questions and I have some uncommon, but very effective, solutions for you! Here’s an email I received recently from a Genealogy Gems Premium member on just these questions and the solutions I dished up to answer them.Evernote vs. Onenote Free vs. paid

Sherri’s Dilemma and Questions

I have been a very satisfied premium member for a few years now. Given the recent limitations on the free version of Evernote only to be used on two devices, how does [OneNote] compare to Evernote? I was very disappointed with the new pricing model. I use Evernote on my desktop PC, my laptop, my iPad, and my iPhone. Now, I have to choose which two devices to use it on. Sometimes I use my laptop and sometimes I use my iPad when I am out. Other times, I might be somewhere unexpectedly and only have my iPhone with me. And of course, most of my computing is done at home on my desktop PC so I must have it loaded there. What a dilemma!

Since I am on a limited fixed income, I can’t afford to pay to add devices for my notes. Luckily for me, I have only begun to get “addicted” to using Evernote and only have 224 notes so far. If I need to transfer to another application, it would be much easier to do it now rather than later.

A short while later I received this follow up email from Sherri:

Hi, Lisa. Me again.
I do listen to you, but sometimes I panic and scream for help before calming down and remembering your advice. LOL

I took your advice and searched YouTube for “Onenote vs Evernote.” I found a couple of very good videos by dottotech. His comparison videos are “Evernote vs OneNote – 5 Key Differences” and “Evernote vs OneNote Follow Up Q&A – ADT 28.” I was hoping he would compare the free version of Evernote with the free version of OneNote. He made a big deal out of the searching capabilities of Evernote over OneNote, but the new basic Evernote doesn’t search text in PDFs or in Office docs (per Evernote’s feature comparison). Also, you really have to rely on having really good tags [to find what you are looking for.] The new basic only OCRs text in images. That being the case, it seems the searching on text capabilities are better in OneNote, but the tag feature in Evernote makes it more robust. Too bad OnNote doesn’t have tags or keywords or something to categorize the notes. It does, however, have the ability for more notebooks and sub-notebooks than Evernote does and lets you organize like you would paper. That would be an attractive feature for many.

He did give me a good idea in his video “Evernote’s New Pricing Good Deal? Bad Deal?.” He suggested we keep the Evernote app on our mobile devices and use Evernote in the browser on our PCs and laptops. That just might work for me, but I don’t like Evernote’s user interface on the browser. I don’t know if I can work with it that way.

My biggest concern with OneNote, however, is that it uses OneDrive for the cloud syncing part. I received an email from Microsoft that on August 10 [2016], my free OneDrive storage will be reduced from 30 GB to 5 GB! I spent a lot of time reducing my used storage to 4.4 GB. The biggest thing I use it for is to store the media files that my RootsMagic file links to so that I will have them available from my laptop or iPad. I also keep my RootsMagic family file in Dropbox so that the RM app will always have the most current data, rather than having to remember to copy it to Dropbox after each use.

Evernote vs. OneNote

I totally feel your pain and understand your dilemma. In the last decade of tech in particular, the “freemium” model has been used by loads of online services (websites and apps) to get folks to try their service, and hopefully love it and be able to pay for richer features. After several years, the pressure is on to pay back investors and sometimes just simply stay afloat. It is then that the right to change the terms gets invoked. You cited two great examples: Evernote and OneDrive.

As a small business owner myself, I can appreciate the need to stay afloat so that you can continue to provide quality services to people who need them. That’s why, with my top favorites in tech, I take the plunge and pay for the upgrade in service if I possibly can. I figure that I’m helping them to keep doing what they are doing and I will reap the benefits. But, we all have our economic limits and sometimes we have to get more creative in order to continue using the services.

In reading your emails, I saw some opportunities for creativity. Since I imagine there are others out there struggling with the same questions, I’m going to lay them out here, as well as on the Genealogy Gems podcast, in hopes that it will help you and other Gems.

Free vs. Paid

If I were a heavy Microsoft Office user like Word and Excel, and if I really wanted those documents to integrate with my note-taking system, then I would go with OneNote. OneNote is built to do just that. Otherwise, I would opt for Evernote, particularly if I already had my notes in Evernote. Note-taking is Evernote’s entire business, which means all of their resources are thrown at it. OneNote is just one small program among the Microsoft giants. Also, I find the tagging/searching features to be truly excellent!

You also touched on something that differentiates Evernote from OneNote. Evernote limits how much you can upload each month (free=60MB, Plus=1GB), but there is unlimited storage. OneNote is connected to OneDrive with a free limit of 5GB total storage. Currently, you can get 50GB for around $2/month. (Of course plans can change, so check their websites for the most current pricing and limits.)  I believe it may also be possible to connect OneNote to another storage service if you so desire. So, the way that you create notes could help you with the decision. A heavy note-taker would probably be better off with Evernote Plus with tons of monthly uploads and no storage limits. However, a lighter note-taker would probably save money with OneNote and the free storage of OneDrive.

If after careful consideration you decide to throw all your notes into the Evernote basket, then there is a decision to make: free vs. paid, and if paid, which plan? I bit the bullet and bought the Plus service which falls price-wise between free and Premium. I want Evernote to stay around and considering how important my genealogy research notes and all the other notes in my life are, $3.99 a month seems like a bargain. I spend that on one Starbucks coffee! With the Plus service, you get unlimited devices and your monthly upload soars from 60 MB to 1 GB. You just bought yourself a lot less stress and a lot more freedom to research genealogy.

If you feel it’s in your best interest to stay with the free version of Evernote, then let’s get creative:

Creative Solution #1: I suggest in my lectures, like dottotech did in the video, that you can use your two allowed devices for those you use most often. For me, that would be my desktop computer and my phone. For you, it may be your phone and your laptop. Remember, you can always use the website app at www.evernote.com in any web browser, both on a computer or mobile device, to access your notes. It does not count toward your device allowance. I prefer the desktop software and app over the website version, but it does do the job.

Use Evernote for Genealogy Computer fileCreative Solution #2: If you have a tablet and a phone you may be tempted to make them your two free devices and then use the web version of Evernote on your home computer. However, while you may carry your tablet with you much of the time, you probably always carry your phone with you. With a two device limit, in my mind, having both of your mobile devices be the primary devices using the app is pretty redundant and unnecessary. Instead, consider having your phone (which you always carry,) and your home computer or laptop (which you likely use a lot) be your primary devices.

If you don’t want to use your browser on your tablet, I have a solution for you straight out of my book Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Smartphone and Tablet for Family History Research. You can use the free Chrome Remote Access app and service which allows you to access and use your computer from your tablet and smartphone. Get it here for Android, and here for Apple devices.

Start on the PC that you are going to access remotely and open the Chrome browser. Then, head to the Google Play store and download the Chrome Remote Access extension.

After setting it up, fire up the Chrome Remote Access app on your tablet and use the Evernote desktop software on your computer remotely. You’ll be able to do everything you want to do on the Evernote software from your tablet. You will also be able to access all of those notes later on your phone or through your tablet’s browser with evernote.com.

This handy solution is going to solve your challenge with the size of RootsMagic genealogy database files. Since you can now access your computer remotely with your tablet, there’s no reason to keep the file on OneDrive! (But please do be sure that your computer is backed up! I recommend and use Backblaze. Click here for more info on that.) You can now work directly on your RootsMagic software even from your tablet or smartphone. Isn’t technology fabulous?

I hope these ideas help you make the decision that is right for you and right for your family history. My personal goal, and our goal here at Genealogy Gems, is to help you succeed in the pursuit of your family history!

Resources

mobile genealogy bookBook: Mobile Genealogy by Lisa Louise Cooke

Video: Evernote for Genealogy: What It Is, & Why You Would Use It at the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel.

Premium Videos:

All of these videos are available to Genealogy Gems Premium Members. Sign up and gain access here.Genealogy Gems - Family History Podcast and Website

Evernote for Windows Upgrade Offers a Major Face-lift

Evernote_Upgrade_Image

The Evernote for Windows upgrade has received a major face-lift. It is getting some great reviews online. Here’s what to love about it.

If you’re a Windows user and you’re still not using Evernote to organize your genealogy and the rest of your life, perhaps it’s time to take a look and see if it’s right for you and your research.

If you’re already a user, a new Evernote for Windows upgrade will make your experience all the better.

Evernote for Windows Upgrade New Look and Functionality

The Evernote blog explained that their goal “is to provide an experience that feels natural and familiar for Windows users. Our latest version is designed for all types of Evernote Windows users in mind, whether you have just a handful of notes or thousands of them.” They continue to say, “We began by paring down the left sidebar for a more streamlined workflow, so you can find and manage your content even faster.”

Here’s a run-down of the improvements they’re touting:

Evernote for Windows streamlined workflow

  • A new higher-resolution display looks crisp and clean, even on high-resolution screens.
  • The left sidebar is pared down for a more streamlined workflow. This makes it easier to find and manage content. For example, you can select Notebooks to pull up all notes in the Note list, and expand the Notebooks section to see all the notebook stacks and notebooks. You can drag and drop notebooks between stacks. The trash is now its own section.
  • A new quick navigation feature lets you hover over the Notebooks section and jump quickly to a specific notebook or create a new one. This also works for tags.
  • The search is smarter and more powerful, even for those with complex tags and tons of notes. It also feels more like web browser searching. You can widen or narrow your search to specific notebooks. The search system will rummage through your Evernote Trash now, too.

Image by Evernote.

Images by Evernote

  • There’s a new color-coding system to let you mark important notes. So far, this is pretty popular with dedicated Evernote users.
  • And finally, if you use Evernote Business, you’ll find a new separation between business and personal content.

It’s worth noting that the upgrade takes a while to complete and while it’s happening, you won’t be able to use Evernote. And at least for now, the saved searches of previous versions have disappeared. Evernote says that’s temporary.

What others are saying

TechTimes says the new Evernote for Windows has “a slew of improvements bound to enhance the overall experience.” Engadget.com calls the upgrade “a streamlined, cleaner approach with refinements addressing the sidebar’s design and functionality.”

How to get organized with Evernote!

organize genealogy with EvernoteClick here to learn about how to get started with Evernote, and more about using Evernote to organize your genealogy life.

What do you think about the new upgrade? Feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.

Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast Episode 135 Now Available

Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast episode 135The Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast episode 135 is packed with super tech tools for family history and flavored with powerful research tips.

The Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast episode 135 is now available to Genealogy Gems Premium website members.

Host and producer Lisa Louise Cooke has packed this episode with new and fabulous technology tools for genealogists. The head-turning Evernote for Windows update may just win you over to Evernote at last (if you’re not already using it). She invites listeners to check out two new tech products that have come across her desk, and shares why she’s finally on-board with Inbox for Gmail (even though it’s been out for a while).

Lisa Louise Cooke Studio Final genealogy gems premium podcast episode 135Other episode highlights:

  • Why all genealogists should take a lunch break with PERSI now and then (it’s a Findmypast database, not a person);
  • What genealogy TV shows and films are making news right now;
  • Spotlight on emigration records: would your ancestor appear in these?
  • DNA questions for Diahan from a listener;
  • How to Google your way to more recent records than are on Ancestry.com;
  • Diahan Southard talks about the DAR’s move to accept DNA evidence; and
  • A somber moment in U.S. history: The Johnstown Flood.

Genealogy Gems Premium MembershipNot a Premium member yet? You’re missing out! Each month, Lisa shares in-depth news, innovative strategies, insightful commentary and inspiring stories in the Premium podcast. Premium members also have access to 30 (and counting!) on-demand instructional videos on the SAME topics that family historians flock to at major conferences. A Premium membership is like having Lisa host your own personal genealogy conference, all year long, any time. Check out Premium membership here.

How to Organize Notes in Evernote Notebooks

how to organize notes in Evernote notebooksUse these step-by-step instructions to organize notes in Evernote notebooks.

Recently Donna watched one of my Evernote for genealogy webinars. She wrote in afterward to give the webinar a thumbs-up and ask this question about how to organize notes in Evernote notebooks:

“I…have been happily using Evernote for a while now so I already have lots of notes, notebooks and stacks. Got web clipper, made my Genealogy and Personal notebooks, added tags you suggested, and discovered Evernote Clearly is no longer available. But you’re right, I’ve lost some of the notes in the myriad. What is the best way to begin putting notes into the new Genealogy & Personal notebooks?  Is there another video on that? Thanks for being there for us, Lisa, All our stuff can become overwhelming if it can’t be organized.”

shortcut through time organize notes in EvernoteI’m so glad that Donna found the video helpful!

The thing about getting organized is that sometimes it can gobble up all your research time. So one approach I often recommend is just to move Evernote notes as you use them. That way you can keep researching, while getting more organized each day. As you create new notes you’ll be putting them directly where they belong, and as you use existing notes, you can tidy them up as you go.

If you feel more comfortable getting everything moved in one fell swoop, that’s good too. One way to save time is with a simple trick: decide what you have more of (Genealogy or Personal) and then move ALL your notes into that notebook. So if you have more Genealogy notes, all your notes will be in that notebook. Now you only have less than 1/2 of your notes that need to be moved to Personal.

You can move the rest to the other notebook by selecting multiple notes at once. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown:

1. Click the Genealogy notebook in the left column.
2. In the center column are all of your notes. Click the first note in your list to be moved.
3. Hold down the Control key on your keyboard.
4. Now click to select each additional note you want to move to the Personal notebook. (Use the wheel on your mouse to scroll down as you need to.) Your notes will be collecting in the right-hand window pane, and a dialog box will appear.
5. In that dialog box, click the Move to Notebook button and click to select the desired notebook from your list (ex. Personal).
6. For good measure, click the Sync button to manually synchronize all of your notes.

I heard back from Donna with this comment:

Thank you Lisa! Within a matter of minutes I was able to move my notes and notebooks into the two stacks.  Now that Personal and Genealogy are separated, I’ll follow your suggestion to tidy up the notes as I go and add all my tags (which I hadn’t realized the importance of before the video). Ahhhh!  It feels so good to have it clearly organized! You rock, Lisa!”

Ultimate Evernote Education abbreviatedThis website is packed with resources for using Evernote for genealogy! Click here to find free tips and videos to get started. To REALLY make Evernote work for your family history, become a Genealogy Gems Premium website member. Members have a full year’s access to my Ultimate Evernote Education for Genealogists instructional video series with their membership.

Evernote for Genealogy Tip: Create Your Own Genealogy Library

evernote for genealogy evernote libraryHere’s an innovative way to use Evernote for genealogy: create your own genealogy library for easy on-the-go reference.

Have you ever come face to face with a riveting book at a genealogy conference or bookstore and wondered, “Gosh, do I already have this at home?” Worse yet, have you bought multiple copies of the same genealogy book? It happens to the best of us. I cringe to think how many times I’ve checked out a book from the library only to find that I already own it!

It struck me a few years ago as I was creating the first of my many Premium videos on using Evernote for Genealogy that this handy free software and app could solve the problem. One of Evernote’s greatest strengths is that it applies Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to all of your notes. This means that the text in your photos and web clippings become word-searchable. Let’s use that to our advantage!

Here are 7 steps to create a reference library you can carry around in your pocket:

1. In the free Evernote app on your smartphone or tablet, tap Photos. (Tap OK to allow Evernote access to your device’s camera.)

2. Take a photo of the cover of one of the books in your personal collection. (With the new Auto capture feature in Evernote all you have to do is point your camera at the cover.)

3. Tap to select the new note you have created.

4. Tap the “i” icon and add the tag library. (You will need to set this up the first time, and then just select it thereafter.)

5. Evernote will automatically apply optical character recognition (OCR) to each image while it is synchronizing your notes (with an Internet connection). Once OCR is applied, your photo becomes keyword searchable.

6. Continue snapping photos of your book covers and tagging them.

7. Now you can use Evernote’s search feature to see if you already have a book. Just search an applicable keyword, such as the author’s name or a word from the title. (Do be aware there are limitations: OCR won’t catch cursive, Gothic or other fancy or hard to read scripts.)

SEARCH TIP: I use the Evernote app on my iPhone and iPad, and as of this writing, you can’t access all the notes associated with a tag with one tap the way you can see all notes in a Notebook. Here’s a way to target your tags. In the search box type tag:library and all of the notes with that tag will be listed. Take it a step further by searching within that tag with this search query tag:library German. The results will be all notes tagged with library that have the word German in the image, title or description.

I shared this tip in the free Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 179 and then heard from Janelle in New South Wales:

“I love the idea of saving the photos of our genealogy books to Evernote. I saved them to my phone ready for a conference earlier this year, but saving them to Evernote is taking it just that one step further.

As you said, Evernote’s OCR doesn’t handle cursive script very well, but in cases where the title is in a font that the OCR would struggle with, the photographer could snap the title page instead, which will have all the relevant information but in a more standard script. That way the OCR will be happy, and the information will end up correct in our Evernote Library.”

That’s a great tip! Title pages can be even easier for OCR to read than book covers.

Ultimate Evernote Education abbreviatedLisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems is home to the Ultimate Evernote Education for Genealogists! Click here to learn more using Evernote for genealogy. We have free and Premium how-tos; articles, podcast and video tutorials; and instruction for beginners clear through advanced Evernote users.

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