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.
It 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!)
In Lisa Louise Cooke’s new video interview with Amy Crow, Amy shares 4 of her favorite free local history apps and websites for genealogists.
At RootsTech 2016, Lisa Louise Cooke chatted with Amy Johnson Crow about Amy’s class, “Best Websites and Apps for Finding Local History.” In the video below, Amy shares four of her favorite (and FREE) local history apps and websites, along with tips for using them. Click the video player below to watch, and then below the video, see a summary with links to those sites.
When searching the following FREE local history apps and sites, Amy recommends searching for a place rather than an ancestor’s name.
History Pin. This website is like Pinterest for history, says Amy. It’s especially strong for local history in England, Ireland, Scotland, but also wonderful for the U.S. A lot of organizations have added photos and curated them into collections, like Pinterest boards.
Instagram. It’s not just for the kids and pictures of your food! Follow libraries, archives and historical societies that are in towns where your ancestors lived. They may post historic photos from their collections. Instagram now has a feature where you can share photos with those you follow on Instagram. Use it to share a cool old picture that relates to your family history with a young relative.
The Clio. This website and local history app (available buy malaria medication online through Google Play and on iTunes for iPhone/iPad) shows you historic sites around you when you turn on your location services. The resources, descriptions and bibliographic entries on this site are great to follow up with for your research.
What Was There.At this site (or with the iPhone app) you can view historic photos plotted on a map near your current location. Use it to look around and ask the question, “What happened here?” if you’re on a walk or visiting somewhere. The site is integrated with Google Street View. You can also upload your own old photos if you know where they were taken and do an overlay in Google Maps, in much the same way Lisa teaches about doing in Google Earth.
“We focus so much on the people, and we search for names. I really believe that if we have any hope of understanding the ancestors, we have to understand where they lived…what was impacting their lives.” -Amy Johnson Crow
Looking for more mobile genealogy tips? Turn to Lisa Louise Cooke’s brand new book, Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research. In addition to apps specifically for genealogy, you’ll also find recommendations for free and inexpensive apps for all those related tasks: note-taking, recording interviews, taking pictures, reading, collaborating, traveling, learning and sharing genealogy with loved ones.
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Behind the Scenes at the Antiques Roadshow. And what you should and should not include in your family tree.
Genealogy Gems Podcast listeners who are blogging about their genealogy!
Hear how one man’s passion for geography and history were saved from destruction, and find out what a portable scanner can do for your genealogy research and mobility.
Get ready to get organized! We’re going to talk about how to digitize, organize and archive your family history with Denise Levenick.
Blast from the Past: Episodes 5 and 6. Gems: YouTube, Bring Back Sites from the Dead, Spice Up Your Genealogy Database, Cast a Shadow on Your Ancestors, US GenWeb
Episode 146 In this episode we discuss the latest genealogy news, one listener’s fabulous use of Google Alerts, and Maureen Taylor’s new history film project.
Jump on the sleigh and make the rounds with me to friends of the podcast. We’ll making surprise stops at listener’s homes, drinking hot cocoa with long time friends of the show and genealogy experts, visiting with the newest member to the Genealogy Gems team, and my Grandson Davy will even make a guest starring appearance!
Genealogy Quick Gems: New RootsMagic App, 5 reasons you need the new YouTube app for family history, new digitized records online, sound preservation, Ancestry search tips video, and more.
A Blast from the Past: Episodes 7 and 8. Civil War Research and the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System Website, A Swedish-American genealogy podcast, The Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, and Shake Up Your Family History research strategies!
Episode 150 Lisa celebrates her 50th birthday and the 150th episode with 50 Fabulous Family History Favorites!
Part 2 of 50 Fabulous Family History Favorites.
Highlights from Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2013 in London including an interview with Dr. Turi King who confirmed the identity of the remains of King Richard III through DNA
Enjoy a blast from the past with episode #10 featuring Steve Morse and his One-Step website. Then delight in Darius Gray, a genealogist and storyteller who provides tips on sharing your family history stories with your family, (recorded at #RootsTech 2013.)
Travel back to #RootsTech – You’ll hear 10 Top Tips for How to Bust Through Your Genealogy Brick Wall, and get the scoop on the new partnership between OCLC / WorldCat and FamilySearch.
Catching Up on Everything Genealogy, and WikiTree Update
What to do when technological changes create mayhem in your life. Also, get a sneak peek at new changes coming in Ancestry search, and women in naturalization records.
Episode 157 Blast from the Past: First up is Genealogy Gems Episode #11, first published May 07, 2007, (How to Find Pictures from the Past with Google.com, and a Family History Decoupage Plate Project) and Episode #12 (Top 10 Tips for Finding the Graduation Gems in Your Family History.)
Exclusive interview with Allie Orton, Producer of the U.S. TV series Who Do You Think You Are? Also in this episode: the new Genealogy Gems Windows 8 App, Update on Fold3, OCLC and FamilySearch partnership, and British Research Resources.
Come along as we solve a family history mystery with high-tech and low-tech tools, discuss how to begin African-American research, explore newly available Canadian records, and contemplate the value of work as well as the values we want to pass on to our kids and grandkids.
In this episode you will meet other listeners who are getting the word out about their family history through blogging as well as give you some genealogy blogging pointers,and I will introduce you to my first “Favorite Genealogy Gems.”
Have you ever thought to use passport applications for genealogy–to search for your immigrant or traveling ancestors?
Passports were issued in the U.S. beginning in the late 1700s, but weren’t required except during times of war until 1941. These records can be an excellent place to learn an immigrant’s date of arrival, the arrival ship and date of naturalization (if naturalized).
Two Quick Tips for Researching U.S. Passports for Genealogy
Passports expired every few years, so people reapplied. You may find multiple applications for those who traveled abroad more than once. Subsequent applications will refer back to a prior one.
In earlier years, look for married women and minor children in group passports issued under the name of the head of household.