What the U.S. Federal Government Could Learn from Genealogists

Beware: Personal Opinions are coming your way in this article!

In my book The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox I emphasize how to use Google to determine what is already available and free online before investing your limited time and money in offline family history searching.  Smart genealogists allocate their resources wisely, getting the most bang for their buck. And collaboration between individual genealogists allows us to accomplish even more.

Money down the toiletIt looks like the U.S. Federal Government could learn a thing or two from savvy genealogists. The Washington Times is reporting that Congress’s auditor has discovered that our tax payer money given to the federal government isn’t being spent very wisely. (Imagine that!) Agencies fail to collaborate and share information, creating redundancy and overspending.

One example from the article: the Commerce Department “has been charging other government agencies millions of dollars for reports that the other agencies could just as easily have gotten online, for free – often with a Google search.”

This news makes it even harder to swallow the news that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)  is suffering reduced hours of service due to budgetary issues.

The Bottom Line:
Google Twice, Pay Once (and only if you have to!)

 

 

RootsMagic Review: Why I Use It

Recently Gretchen wrote in with this question about RootsMagic family history software:

I’m a huge fan of Genealogy Gems!! I LOVE to listen to the podcasts (I’m a fairly new member) and have all of your books!! I need help in the area of choosing a family tree: Do you prefer Legacy Family Tree or Roots Magic (which you promote on your podcasts) and why?!? I would so appreciate some advice! I love your tips!! I look forward to hearing from you and would greatly appreciate the advice!! Thank you!!!”

Here’s my answer: I use RootsMagic for my genealogy database. I’ve known the owner of RootsMagic for eight years, and am impressed at the company’s continued development of the program and their dedication to provide ongoing free training for their users through their website. They offer free webinars to all their users, including short training videos on specific RootsMagic features.

  • Full-length videos include such topics as:
  • Getting Started, Publishing a Family History with RootsMagic
  • Using FamilySearch with RootsMagic (they have an award-winning interface)
  • Creating and Printing Wallcharts with RootsMagic.

New PDF indexes to their webinars make it easier to find the topics you’re looking for.

In short, every indication to me is that is an excellent long term solution that allows me to retain control of all my data. And that’s why we selected them as a sponsor of The Genealogy Gems Podcast.

I hope this brief RootsMagic review helps you!

Click here to learn more about your options for family history software, and why I still recommend desktop software when you can build your family tree entirely online.

 

Genealogy meets Scrapbooking: Heritage Scrapbooking

Lisa on Scrapbooking podcastAs the host of the Genealogy Gems podcast, Lisa Louise Cooke spends a lot of time on the asking end of the microphone. Recently the tables were turned! Lisa was invited to appear on the The Paperclipping Roundtable, a scrapbooking podcast.

Family history and scrapbooking are sister pursuits. Genealogy is more research-driven. Scrapbooking is a visual art. But they are both rooted in the preservation of stories.

In the podcast, Lisa and other guests chat about the new dimensions each pursuit brings to the other. Lisa has been creating scrapbooks since her children were young, and a fellow guest on this roundtable-style podcast is a scrapbooker who later discovered family history. Both have likely tried different styles of what you might call heritage scrapbooking.

Genealogy “seemed so overwhelming” at first, said the scrapbooker. “But once you start, it’s really a lot of fun.” From the point of view of a genealogist, the same might be said for scrapbooking!

Click the link above to hear Lisa on the free podcast. If you’re a “scrapbooking genealogist” (or a genealogy-loving scrapbooker) who would love to hear more inspiring tips about combining the two, contact us to let us know!

Family History: Genealogy Made Easy PodcastAre you new to genealogy or ready to learn how to do it “right” from the start? Check out our free podcast, Family History Made Easy. In this  series Lisa takes you through the process of tracing your family history step-by-step.

FREE RootsMagic Magic Guides

RootsMagic MagicGuide w logoGreat news for RootsMagic users! The popular family history software company has released the first of its forthcoming “Magic Guides.” These free how-to handouts each cover a single RootsMagic topic, step-by-step, with tips and illustrations.

“Magic Guides are in .pdf format and are viewable and printable with any PDF viewer,” says a RootsMagic announcement. “They may be freely copied and distributed (but not sold), so they can be used as handouts in user group meetings or when teaching RootsMagic classes.”

Click here to download available RootsMagic Magic Guides, which currently include “Backup and Restore a RootsMagic Database” and “Copying a RootsMagic Database to Another Computer.” Forthcoming guides include:

  • Installing RootsMagic from the CD
  • Downloading and Installing RootsMagic for Windows
  • Downloading and Installing RootsMagic for Mac
  • Creating a Shareable CD.

RootsMagic bundleRootsMagic is a longtime sponsor of the free Genealogy Gems podcast. Click here to read WHY Lisa Louise Cooke loves their software so much that she partners with them. We report RootsMagic news now and then on the blog, like its availability on Amazon Prime, RootsMagic’s collaboration with MyHeritage (another partner of ours, too!) and how RootsMagic stacks up alongside other family history software programs we like. Click to read more!

Philippines Genealogy Resources Now Online

Philippines genealogyFamilySearch is creating an enormous–and still growing–collection of free online genealogy records for the Philippines.

In recent weeks, I’ve noticed a lot of new genealogy records for the Philippines going online at FamilySearch. These indexed and/or digitized records include court records, local and national civil registrations, births and baptisms, marriages and parish records. Catholic church records are especially important, as the country is about 90% Catholic.

Highlights from their online Philippines genealogy collections include:

Resources:

Family History: Genealogy Made Easy Podcast FamilySearch has a free Research Outline for the Philippines. If you’re new to family history, consider listening to our free Family History Made Easy podcast. This step-by-step series takes you through the basics of genealogy research from the beginning: listen to every episode in sequence or just choose the ones you need!

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