These days, genealogists can take all their research “to-go” on their iPad or tablet. Here are some of my favorite genealogy gift ideas that harness the power of portable computing and a Black Friday / Cyber Monday Special you won’t want to miss!
If you aren’t already using an iPad or tablet for genealogy, consider what it can do for you:
keep your family tree and all your sources at your fingertips with tools like the Ancestry and RootsMagic apps;
all kinds of imaging: document and photo scanning, microfilm imaging (right from the reader!) and a built-in regular and video camera for shots of relatives, tombstones, family artifacts and heritage sites;
share cool finds on the spot–when great-grandpa comes up in conversation you can pull up his picture on the gorgeous tablet display;
collaborate with other researchers with great free tools like online file sharing services such as Dropbox.com, and free video calls with Skype; etc.
keep track of travel details, to-do lists and other needs (genealogy or not!) and MORE.
Now here are my gift picks, starting with the obvious: the iPad itself. To shop these items, please click on the links below so your purchases will help support the Genealogy Gems podcast. Thank you!
iPad 4(with retina display, MD510LL/A, 16GB with Wifi, black). 5 MP forward- and rear-facing camera, a just-right-sized screen with gorgeous resolution, an HD video camera, plenty of storage for a portable device (with cloud storage, too, of course) and more. All this weighs in at less than 1.5 pounds, so it tucks easily in your messenger bag, backpack, purse, briefcase or even your laptop case. Click to get:Apple iPad with Retina Display MD510LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi,) at a special discounted price.
The speaker on the iPad is fairly small and sometimes you just need to pump up the volume. Here’s the perfect, simple solution: SoundBender 2.0 Easy-Fit Magnetic Sound Enhancer (for iPad 2, 3 and 4). This wireless sound amplifier is really cool and works great! I originally saw it on the TV show Shark Tank and bought one immediately. It magnetically secures to the side of your iPad and bends sound toward you for your music, videos, games, Facetime and of course your Genealogy Gems podcast episodes! Click to get: SoundBender 2.0 Easy-Fit Magnetic Sound Enhancer for iPad 2 & iPad 3 & iPad 4
iPad Car Headrest/Mount/Holder (for iPad 1, 2, 3 and 4). My Grandsons LOVE this! Extra-long cable included. Turns your iPad into a backseat entertainment system. Perfect for watching movies, looking at pictures, playing games and more. Makes it more fun for non-researchers (adults and children!) to be along for the ride on those genealogy road trips and solves the problem of “who gets to play with the iPad.” Straps onto the headrest of the seat in front; extra-long cable extends 6.5 feet. Doesn’t require tools. Click to get:Ipad Car Headrest Mount Holder for Apple Ipads 1-4 Including Extra Long Cable
iPad Dashboard Car Mount. Use the vacuum base to safely secure your tablet onto the windshield. No messy adhesives! Makes it easier to consult online maps, recipes, weather apps and of course all those genealogy apps when you need to be hands-free. Use it to listen to the Genealogy Gems podcast while you work out, clean, sort files, cook and more! (Just don’t watch it while you’re driving!) Rotatable stand moves 180-degrees for comfortable positioning, Rotating ball joint ensures a perfectly angled display Click to get: SQdeal Universal Dashboard Car Mount Holder Cradle For Apple iPads 1 – 4 /iPad Mini
Learn how to get the most out of your iPad with my book, Turn Your iPad into a Genealogy Powerhouse. Learn how to think like an iPad/tablet user (it’s different than desktop computing). Discover everyday apps to help you with household, travel, business and other tasks. And of course, learn the myriad of ways you can harness the power of mobile computing for your genealogy. (Like all those ways mentioned above – imaging and document scanning and MORE.)
Between Black Friday (11/29/2013) and Cyber Monday (12/2/2013), you can purchase this book along with ALL my other books in special 40% 0ff bundles:
$29.95 for the e-book bundle $49.95 for the print bundle
Family History: Genealogy Made Easy
Welcome to this step-by-step series for beginning genealogists—and more experienced ones who want to brush up or learn something new. I first ran this series in 2008. So many people have asked about it, I’m bringing it back in weekly segments.
Episode 8: Best Genealogy Websites, Part 2
In a follow up to last week’s episode about subscription genealogy records website, in my first segment our guest is Yvette Arts, Director of Content Partnerships at World Vital Records. She tells us about exciting developments at the website that have helped make it a success.
In our second segment we look at five organizations that provide free online access to genealogy records for those with North American roots: FamilySearch, the National Archives of the United States, Ellis Island Foundation, the National Archives of the United Kingdom, and Library and Archives Canada.
Now for some updates on these sites and MORE since the show first aired:
FamilySearch.org is still free and growing exponentially. It captures records from all over the world, not just North America and the U.K. It is now home to over 3.5 billion names in searchable databases, with over 35 million new records added every month. In addition, they’ve added over 60,000 digital books to the site. The layout of the website has changed dramatically since I described it in the original show. Click on Search to get to their databases, then enter an ancestor’s name and, if you can, a life event (birth, marriage, residence or death). A significant portion of new online records are browsable but not yet indexed. So now, after you search for individuals in their databases, scroll down to the Browse section below the search fields. There you’ll be able to see what records you can browse for a locale (choose the international region, then you can choose more specific locations). You can still order microfilmed records at the Family History Library to a satellite FamilySearch library near you. From the Search screen, choose Catalog, and you can search for and order available records by location.
The National Archives (U.S.), also known as the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) also offers more on its website now. The portal for genealogists looks a little different now but still helps you see how to search and use the site for genealogy. There’s a direct link to the 1940 census, with images, maps and descriptions. Remember that Footnote, the subscription site I mentioned that’s digitizing military records, is now Fold3, which we talked about in Episode 7.
EllisIsland.org still offers free access to the passenger records of those who landed at Ellis Island. In addition, you can still look at ship information (click on Ships from the home page). The Immigrant Experience and timeline I mention can be found by clicking on the Ellis Island tab.
The National Archives (U.K.) links from the home page to resources for ordering birth, marriage and death certificates for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Read about updating order information, including costs, at these sites. There is still a portal for genealogists from which you can learn all about the various record groups I mention in the podcast and more.
Library and Archives Canada continues to add more valuable genealogical data to its site, including census data! Start from its Genealogy and Family History page. In addition to the features I mention in the show, they’ve improved their online indexes: scroll down on the above page and you’ll find the Ancestors Search (Databases) link to a main search engine and individual databases for vital records, censuses, immigration, land, military and several directories.
Women of President Taft’s New Official Family at Washington, New York Tribune, March 7, 1909. Cover, illustrated supplement. Library of Congress image, posted at Flickr. Click to visit webpage.
The Library of Congress has a Flickr album that’s front page news–literally! It’s a New York Tribune archive with newspaper covers dating back more than a century.
“This set of cover pages from the New York Tribune illustrated supplements begins with the year 1909,” explains the album. “The pages are derived from the Chronicling America newspaper resource at the Library of Congress. To read the small text letters, just click the persistent URL to reach a zoomable version of the page.”
“Daily newspapers began to feature pictorial sections in the late 1800s when they competed for readers by offering more investigative exposés, illustrations, and cartoons. In the 1890s, William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer tapped into new photoengraving techniques to publish halftone photographs, and other newspapers soon adopted the practice. The heavily illustrated supplement sections became the most widely read sections of the papers and provided a great opportunity to attract new customers. The daily life, art, entertainment, politics, and world events displayed in their pages captured the imagination of a curious public.”
Available at http://genealogygems.com
We don’t often find our ancestors splashed across front-page news. But we can read over their shoulders, as it were, to see what was going on in their world and what others around them thought about these events. Newspaper articles and ads reveal fashions and fads, prices on everyday items, attitudes about social issues and more. Read all about using old newspapers for family history in How to Find Your Family History in Newspapersby Lisa Louise Cooke.
You’ve taken your DNA test for genealogy and anxiously waited for your results. When they arrive, you dive into the ethnicity pie chart. Then matches start rolling in and it can become a little overwhelming to make sense of it all and the benefit it can provide...
In this installment of the Collaborative Genealogy blog post mini-series I’m going to share one of my favorite ways to organize and share family history data and source material: Evernote.
Evernote is a free software, website and app that can hold both research content and the source citation information that goes with it. You can pull data from websites and Evernote will often automatically capture information about the site you got it from. You can upload images, scanned documents and other multimedia content. And of course you can use it to keep track of non-electronic sources, too.
Research teams using Dropbox put themselves on the same page–literally. It’s easier to be sure you’re looking at the same sources. It’s easy to add notes like data you’ve abstracted from the source (or that seems to be missing from the source). It’s easy to tag data: every source that cites an ancestor can be tagged with her name. That way, when you are ready to analyze or write up someone’s life story, every piece is there. No more hunting for sources you knew you had somewhere!
My recent post provides two tips for using Evernote and introduces my Evernote for Windows for Genealogists Quick Reference Guide “cheat sheet” (click here for U.S. and here for international shipping). It’s been so popular since its release that we sold out for a while, but it’s back in stock. This 4-page laminated guide offers at-a-glance training and reminders so you can be up to speed quickly using Evernote for genealogy.
Want to learn more about using Evernote? Click here for tips and complete resources on getting started in Evernote, like a complete video mini-series that walks you through the process of signing up for your free Evernote account, downloading the desktop app, getting and using the web clipper….There’s so much you can do with Evernote and I show you how!
For more on collaborative research (including more on Evernote for genealogists), check out the December 2013 issue of Family Tree Magazine. It’s got an article I’ve co-written with Genealogy Gems Contributing Editor Sunny Morton.
Check out my other blog posts in this series on collaboration: