National Archives and Digital Public Library of America

The National Archives announced recently that it will help with the first pilot project of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

According to the National Archives’ press release, “The DPLA is a large-scale, collaborative project across government, research institutions, museums, libraries and archives to build a digital library platform to make America’s cultural and scientific history free and publicly available anytime, anywhere, online through a single access point.

“The DPLA is working with several large digital content providers – including the National Archives and Harvard University – to share digitized content from their online catalogs for the project’s two-year Digital Hubs Pilot Project.  This pilot project is scheduled to launch on April 18-19, 2013 at the Boston Public Library, which will host an array of festivities, including presentations and interactive exhibits showcasing content from the DPLA’s content partners.  The DPLA will include 1.2 million digital copies from the National Archives catalog, including our nation’s founding documents, photos from the Documerica Photography Project of the 1970’s, World War II posters, Mathew Brady Civil War photographs, and documents that define our human and civil rights.”

If you’re like me, you’re wondering what genealogically-interesting documents will have a home on the DPLA. There’s a great blog post on the DPLA site that talks about partnerships with state and regional digital libraries, including the Kentucky Digital Library, which has more than 800,000 pageHitting the Mark!s of newspapers, and over half a million pages of “books,  photographs, archival materials, maps, oral histories and pages of other paginated publications.”

NOW we’re talking! The DPLA will certainly be a resource worth watching!

Tips for Collaborative Genealogy: Evernote for Genealogists

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!

Evernote Quick Ref GuideMy 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:

Tips for Collaborative Genealogy: Research with a Partner

Tips for Collaborative Genealogy: Dropbox for Genealogists

Tips for Collaborative Genealogy: Sharing Genealogy Files Online for Free

Best Genealogy Software: Which Should You Choose and Why

Just about every major genealogy website these days lets you build your family tree from scratch right on their website. But you may wonder what will happen to millions of carefully-constructed trees if the company goes out of business or the site goes down.

Before the days of internet genealogy, researchers organized family history findings on their home computers in specially-designed software. These programs generated .GED files (called GEDCOMs), a universal file type that allowed researchers using different software to share their findings. Software like this still exists. These days it can communicate your research to any genealogy sites you care to share with–by using those same GEDCOM files.

If you do choose to build your family tree online, make sure you can download your tree anytime as a GED file. Keep this file as a backup both on your computer and in a second location (like cloud storage). But my recommendation is to build your tree at home, in your own software. Then you can upload or synch your data to your favorite genealogy websites whenever you want–and you never lose control of your research.

Choosing the Right Software

There are lots of family history programs out there, and all of them will serve your basic needs. But you only need ONE. What’s the best genealogy software? It depends on how much you want to spend and how sophisticated you want your database to be. In many cases, you can order the product or purchase a digital download. I really don’t think you need the physical boxed product. All the help you need is online. All of these products offer a free demo that you can download to try it out before you buy.

FREE AND EASY: Family Tree Builder by MyHeritage helps you stay organized with streamlined screens to work in and doesn’t require a lot of startup time. Family Tree Builder offers lots of family history charts; custom reports; helps you share your data and pictures on a CD or DVD; allows you to back up your files to CD or DVD; and includes genealogy apps for mobile devices. Download the software FREE at the above link.

PC (and NOW MAC) OPTION WITH GREAT REPORTS: If you’re looking for great printed reports that you can share, and loads of free online help videos, then RootsMagic is a great choice. (and we are honored to have RootsMagic as a sponsor of The Genealogy Gems Podcast.) And they now have an iOS app.

Some of the differences you’ll find between these products is the types of reports and charts they produce. So if that’s important to you, you can try the demos and see which you like. But again, I really don’t think you can go wrong with any of these products. They are all well established and supported. (Update: There have been many updates since the post was first published, including a Mac version. Click here for a series of article by date on RootsMagic updates and their app.)

POPULAR PC AND APP PROGRAM: Legacy Family Tree is also an extremely popular program and solid choice. To give it a test run, download the free version. Then check out its strength in regards to source citations: you can now record the quality (original vs derivative, primary vs secondary, etc., direct vs indirect) of each source as you work on proving your conclusions. And they have an app called Families for your mobile device. Learn more about the app here.

AFFORDABLE MAC OPTION: iFamily for Leopard is the most affordable at $29.95.  There’s a free demo you can try before you buy.

TOP-SHELF MAC OPTION: Reunion 11 by Leister Pro is fairly pricey at $99.00. We’ve featured Reunion in the past: listen to Episode 51 of The Genealogy Gems Podcast. In that episode you can listen to a review of Reunion 9 by Ben Sayer, the MacGenealogist. And if you want to compare iFamily against Reunion to see what you’re getting for your money, you can also listen to Ben’s review of iFamily in Genealogy Gems episode 53.

Free Genealogy and DNA Video Presentations Now Available from MyHeritage

The second annual MyHeritage user conference, MyHeritage LIVE 2019, was held in Amsterdam. 

MyHeritage

Below you’ll find a list of lectures from the conference which are now online. These sessions, given by world-renowned experts and valued MyHeritage staff, are now available on MyHeritage Education.

If you missed the conference or the live stream, you can now take watch these video recordings for free, from the comfort of your own home, at any time, and at your own pace.

Pick from this List of MyHeritage Video Classes

Here is a list with a full description of each and links to watch them:

Opening Session: Keynote by MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet

In his keynote address at MyHeritage LIVE, MyHeritage Founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet, talks about recent MyHeritage achievements as well as upcoming features and projects

Watch

What’s New at MyHeritage

with Maya Lerner

Maya Lerner, VP of Product at MyHeritage, gives a summary of MyHeritage’s new features and a look ahead at future plans.

Watch

free genealogy video classes

Introducing the New Educational Resource Center for MyHeritage Users

with Daniel Horowitz

This presentation will give you an inside look at MyHeritage Education, a new online resource center for enhancing your understanding of the MyHeritage platform.

Watch

Hear my interview with Daniel Horowitz in Genealogy Gems Podcast episode #221.

Daniel Horowitz MyHeritage

Searching and Browsing on MyHeritage to Get the Most Out of Your Research

with Cyndi Ingle

With 10 billion historical records, MyHeritage is able to provide the most extensive genealogy searches available on the Internet. Learn how to use them efficiently to find new and relevant information to incorporate into your research.

Watch

Discovering Immigration Stories with MyHeritage

with Lisa Alzo

Every immigrant has a story. Learn how to leverage the immigration records collection at MyHeritage to uncover key clues and make amazing discoveries about your immigrant ancestors from both sides of the pond.

Watch

Lisa Alzo has been a guest blogger here at Genealogy Gems. Her articles include Heritage Receipts – Aunties, Sprinkles and the Santa-in-his-cap cookie cutter and 4 Steps to Getting Started with Scrivener Software for Writing Family History.

Using MyHeritage to Find Ancestors from the Netherlands

with Yvette Hoitink

If you have ancestors from the Netherlands, this talk introduces you to the most important records and shows you what you can find online, even if you don’t know any Dutch. Learn how naming traditions and emigration patterns can help you find your Dutch ancestors.

Watch

PANEL: Researching Dutch Family History Around the World 

These experts give tips and advice on how to research your roots in Surinam and the former Dutch East Indies.

Watch

Evaluating Your Smart Matches™ and Record Matches on MyHeritage

with James Tanner

Smart Matches™ and Record Matches on MyHeritage supercharge your research. Learn how to review and evaluate these automatically generated matches and effectively use them to advance your genealogical research goals.

Watch

An Overview of Western European Record Collections on MyHeritage

with Mike Mansfield of MyHeritage

With over three billion records from thousands of collections of European origin and a vibrant user community, MyHeritage is an incredible resource for European research. This session will provide an overview of these collections and highlight how to best find access and utilize these sources.

Watch

Using Geni and How it is Different from Other Genealogy Platforms

with Mike Stangel

Learn more about the benefits of collaboration in a single-family tree, including adding sources to shared profiles, communicating with public discussions, understanding the revision history of profiles, and working with projects. Learn how Geni and MyHeritage work together to help improve the quality of the World Family Tree and connect you to new relatives.

Watch

Top Technology Tips for MyHeritage Users & Introduction to Family Tree Webinars

with Geoff Rasmussen

Watch

Developing Your Own Research Plan on MyHeritage

with James Tanner

MyHeritage provides an extremely valuable platform for conducting systematic and source-based research. A formal research plan can help you organize all the information presented in a coherent, useful way, and keep you moving towards your genealogical goals.

Watch

Using Census, Immigration, Newspaper, and Yearbook Records at MyHeritage to Explore the LIves of Your Ancestors

with Lisa Alzo

In genealogy, cluster and collateral research is a key strategy for solving complex brick wall problems. Learn how to use census, immigration, newspaper, and yearbook records at MyHeritage to explore the lives of your ancestors and their inner circles.

Watch

 

free genetic genealogy DNA video classes

Science for the Non-Scientist: How Does MyHeritage Produce their DNA Results?

with Diahan Southard

DNA test results are a companion to our other research methods. A better understanding of how it all works will lead to better use of the tools for your family history research.

Watch

Diahan has been a regular contributor here at Genealogy Gems. Read her article Adoption DNA Match Strategy: Combine DNA Test Types.

Click the video player below to watch my conversation with Diahan about common genetic genealogy misconceptions:

What Exactly is a Centimorgan? An Introduction to the Science of DNA Testing

with Ran Snir

Whether you have already taken a DNA test or this is the first time you’re hearing about it, in this session we will start from the very beginning. We’ll go over the basic terms of DNA testing and learn how DNA is passed down through generations, how and why individuals have shared DNA segments and how we’re able to estimate one’s ethnicity origins.

Watch

Ran Snir was featured in Genealogy Gems Podcast episode #227. Click here to hear my interview with him on the Theory of Family Relativity™.

Mapping Your DNA Matches on MyHeritage

with Blaine Bettinger

Learn about useful tools to organize your list of DNA Matches, how to differentiate between them, and how to better utilize each tool.

Watch

Using the Theory of Family Relativity™ to Research Your DNA Matches

with Ran Snir

Learn about the revolutionary technology that saves you dozens of hours of research by synthesizing billions of data points to craft multiple theories about how you and your DNA Matches might be related.

Watch

PANEL: The Future of DNA Testing

Roberta Estes, Blaine Bettinger, Yaniv Erlich

This panel of DNA experts discusses the current state of DNA testing and what the future will bring.

Watch

Formulating a DNA Testing Plan

with Blaine Bettinger

DNA testing can be expensive, but DNA evidence is a component of exhaustive research when it is available. Identify some of the ways you can minimize costs while maximizing results by formulating a DNA testing plan early in your research.

Watch

Why You Should Complement Your DNA Data with Genealogy Research

with Diahan Southard

Building a family tree is free and adds a lot of value to your DNA test. Learn how it can help improve the accuracy of relationship estimates, trace common ancestors to uncover how exactly you are related, increase the chances DNA Matches will contact you, help you identify the family members whose DNA results would contribute the most value to your research, and more.

Watch

The World Wide DNA Web

with Alon Diament Carmel

Alon Diament Carmel, Ph.D., researcher for the MyHeritage science team, explains what we can learn from the vast web billions of DNA Matches about genetic groups and identity.

Watch

 Introducing the MyHeritage DNA Health+Ancestry Test

with Yaniv Erlich

Discover how your genes affect your health and explore the valuable insights you can gain from this latest addition to our DNA product line. The MyHeritage DNA Health+Ancestry test gives you dozens of personalized health reports that explain your genetic risk for developing certain conditions, and tell you whether you’re a carrier for hereditary conditions that can potentially be passed on to your children.

Watch

PANEL: DNA Testing for Health

with Yaniv Erlich, Diahan Southard, Roberta Estes

This panel of DNA experts discusses the advantages of taking a Health DNA test to learn more about how your genes may affect your health and empower you for the future. 

Watch

 

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