December 9, 2017

FTM’s 101 Best Genealogy Websites: Here’s the Latest List!

Family Tree Magazine has released its newest list of 101 best genealogy websites–and we’re on the list! This year’s list is all about the best free genealogy websites–for US.research, military records, tech tools and more. 

Each year, Family Tree Magazine publishes its list of the 101 best genealogy websites. They love sharing their favorite sites with readers and honoring those who create these sites. We just heard that the new list is out–and we’re on it!

This year, the list focuses on websites that provide genealogy information and records for free. Categories include:

  • Big genealogy websites
  • Online vital and grave records
  • Military genealogy websites
  • Genealogy immigration websites
  • Genealogy map websites
  • Old newspaper genealogy websites
  • Genealogy library websites
  • US genealogy websites
  • Websites for sharing your genealogy
  • Online genealogy technology tools
  • UK & Irish genealogy websites
  • International genealogy websites
  • Genealogy social history websites
  • Online genealogy tips and help

Genealogy Gems appears in that final category. Here’s what Family Tree Magazine has to say about us:

More than 200 free podcast episodes with research experts make Lisa Louise Cooke’s “genealogy radio” website a must, along with how-to videos, a genealogy book club and a helpful news blog.

We share this category with only five other honorees, including RootsTech and YouTube! Click here for the full list of 101 Best Websites.

Family Tree University Fall Virtual Conference 2017Don’t miss Family Tree University’s Fall Virtual Genealogy Conference, coming up September 15-17, 2017. I’m giving the live keynote address, “The Big Picture in Little Details,” because even the smallest details may reveal the bigger picture of an ancestor’s life. I’m giving some of the 15 lectures you can watch on your own schedule throughout the event, and Genealogy Gems Editor Sunny Morton is also giving one. Click here to read more about it and get a promocode for $30 off your registration.

Best Genealogy Websites for 2016 Includes Genealogy Gems

Wow! We can’t thank you enough for your overwhelming support of The Genealogy Gems Podcast, website, blog, and our YouTube Channel. Family Tree Magazine listed Genealogy Gems among their 101 best genealogy websites for 2016!Family Tree magazine 110 Best websites for family genealogy

Genealogy Gems Named One of the Best for 2016

Family Tree magazine writer David A. Fryxell wrote the post last week listing the 101 Best Websites for 2016. He said they were searching for “new frontiers in online genealogy [and] sites not afraid to innovate at warp speed.” As you know, we really enjoy sharing new and innovative ways to use technology around here and we are delighted they noticed!

To organize the list of 101 best genealogy websites, Family Tree Magazine broke it down into several categories. Some of the categories included, Best Websites for Exploring Your Ancestors’ Lives, Best Genetic Genealogy Websites, and Best Sites for Sharing Your Genealogy. Genealogy Gems fell into the Best Genealogy News and Help Websites of 2016 and it is because of you, our readers and listeners. Thank you!

Another Milestone: 2 Million Downloads!

2 million downloads

   Above: Podcast Stats Screenshot

As if we weren’t elated enough, The Genealogy Gems Podcast hit 2 million downloads earlier this month! We could never have accomplished this goal without your enthusiasm and support. Thank you for listening, for sharing, and for keeping us engaged in bringing you the best in genealogy and family history research tools.

Genealogy Gems - Family History Podcast and WebsiteDid you know there are two versions of The Genealogy Gems Podcast? Anyone can listen to our free podcasts (nearly 200 to date) and Premium Members can currently listen to an additional 137 exclusive Premium Episodes.

If you enjoy our free podcast, you’re going to love the Premium Episodes. Click here to peruse our vast archive, rich with family history innovation and inspiration. Premium episodes go more in depth and are commercial free!

Also included in Premium Membership is over thirty of Lisa’s most popular genealogy classes on video, complete with downloadable handouts.

What’s New for Genealogy Gems

No time to sit on our laurels because we have loads of gems in the works for the coming year. Would you like to feel more focused and organized? You’ll be hearing detailed strategies for streamlining your family history efforts and reducing overload and disorganization.

Have you seen Lisa’s Tech Tips video series? She launched it this summer to rave reviews and she’s got more incredible strategies on the way to help you save time and get better research results.

Youtube genealogy tech tip videos reviews

Start watching and learning today here at our Genealogy Gems YouTube channel. And to keep in the loop, click the Subscribe button while you’re there!

Best Genealogy Apps Under the Big Top

best genealogy apps under the big topChoosing genealogy apps can be like watching a three-ring circus, but not when you let me, your ringmaster, direct you to the best genealogy tools for your mobile device.

family tree magazine best genealogy appsIn my brand new article Under the Big Top featured in the March / April 2016 issue of Family Tree Magazine, we’ll skip the side shows and get right to main acts of the best apps for genealogy, like:

The Strong Men – the genealogy apps that pull a lot of weight, giving you constant access to your online tree and or the ability to search for historical records.

custom_app_icon_15153The Lion Tamers – A genealogy database on your computer puts you in control of your tree, but you also want to be able to access that data when you hit the road. These companion apps to two popular desktop programs let you take your master family tree with you.

The Balancing Acts – There’s a lot to juggle when it comes to genealogy: documents, stories, photos, trees, and more. These genealogy apps will help you find the right balance and fly through your research with the greatest of ease.

Send in the Clowns – Clowns bring smiles to our faces, and these apps will bring smiles to your face and the faces of the children in your family – the future genealogists!

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This issue also features an excellent article by our own Sunny Morton. It’s called “Triple Threat,” and Sunny explains how the “big three” genealogy sites (Ancestry, FamilyMyPast, and MyHeritage) measure up to each other—and to your research needs. She compares the sites’ records, search features, and more.mobile genealogy book

For many more on the genealogy apps to use for your family history research, turn to Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research.

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Watch this free video class for more tips from your app ringmaster!

 

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3 Genetic Genealogy Experts Talk Shop in Free FTM Podcast

FTM podcast logoThe newest episode of the Family Tree Magazine podcast is now online for your listening pleasure! Catch the latest news and a special spotlight on DNA with chats with THREE leading voices in genetic genealogy.

The latest and greatest in genetic genealogy!

It is so exciting to watch this industry move forward–so quickly and with such fantastic consequences for genealogists.

  • Catch Lisa’s exclusive interview with genetic genealogist CeCe Moore, who talks about what it’s like to research for the PBS show “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.”
  • Lisa also gets a behind-the-scenes look at leading genetic genealogy company Family Tree DNA with founder Bennett Greenspan.
  • Finally, Family Tree University’s resident DNA expert and instructor Blaine Bettinger talks about common misconceptions in using DNA for genealogy–and advice on using genetics to bust your brick walls.

News you can use and more

Of course, as usual in the Family Tree Magazine podcast, you’ll hear “News from the Blogosphere” with Editor Diane Haddad, and Lisa stops by the Publisher’s Desk to chat with Allison Dolan, who shares some perspective on the evolution of DNA testing for genealogists.

Evernote Web Clipper and Much More in Family Tree Magazine (September 2014)

Family Tree MagazineThe new issue of Family Tree Magazine is out, and I really appreciate the shout-outs to us here at Genealogy Gems–and more great tools to help you find your family history.

Directory of genealogy groups on Facebook:
A letter to the editor referred to the article “Teaming Up,” co-written by myself and Genealogy Gems/Family Tree Magazine Contributing Editor Sunny Morton in the December 2013 issue.

Katherine R. Wilson writes, “Since last summer, I’ve been compiling a list of genealogical and hisorical links (almost 3900 of them) found on Facebook, including genealogical and historical societies from around the world, surname lists, Native American genealogy links, African-American genealogy links, Jewish genealogy links, DNA lists, cemetery lists, etc. his list is frequently updated and available to download at no charge from my website.”

(Do you want to collaborate on your family history? Check out our four-part blog post series with tips and tools for researching with a buddy.)

Evernote web clipper article:
Flip to the Toolkit section, pages 66-67, to find my tutorial on using the Evernote web clipper. Because let’s face it, we need a better way to save content from and links to genealogy content we find online. Bookmarks get unwieldly (what did you name that site?) and don’t save content from pages that might disappear.

Evernote for Genealogy Quick Reference GuideEvernote offers precise screen clipping for a PC or a Mac. You can import, store, organize, tag, backup, share and retrieve notes with lightning speed in Evernote. (You can even do full-text keyword searches of those screenshots! How cool is that?) Check out that article!
Learn even more with my Evernote for Genealogists quick guides for both Windows and the Mac, available in pdf format or (in the U.S.) as a printed, laminated guide. (right)
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Best website awards!
The Genealogy Gems website was named in this issue as one of Family Tree Magazine’s 101 Best Websites in the “In the Know” category. Author David Fryxell actually referred to me as the “podcast queen!” He highlighted the site’s 160 free shows plus the videos and extra content our Premium members can access for $29.95 a year.

The Genealogy Gems YouTube channel was also mentioned as an example of genealogy content you’ll find on YouTube. (Watch something there! It’s free!)

The issue is packed with much more, from a great article on creating a timeline of your ancestor’s life to how to create a genealogy disaster plan. Check it out here!

Insider Tips for Using Ancestry.com: Family Tree Magazine Podcast – July 2014

FTM podcast logoEvery month I host the Family Tree Magazine Podcast, where I check in with the editors and experts at Family Tree Magazine for a dose of genealogy fun and education.

I thought you would especially enjoy the July 2014 episode: it’s all about tips for using Ancestry.com! Highlights of what you’ll hear:


See what new tricks YOU can learn from this free podcast for maximizing your time on Ancestry.com!

Genealogy Conferences: Live v. Virtual – Which is For You?

genealogy conferencesGenealogy conferences offer fabulous education for family historians in a fun, social setting. But some people can’t travel or even clear a full day’s schedule to attend a live conference. Did you know there are virtual options?

Check out this video interview from RootsTech 2014 with Allison Dolan, publisher of Family Tree Magazine. We talk about the advantages of attending live events (interacting with expert speakers! social time with others who love genealogy! industry buzz!) versus the attend-in-your-pajamas vibe of Family Tree University’s semi-annual Virtual Conference (click to learn about upcoming events.

 

Solve Your Genealogy Brick Walls: 3 Tips for Breaking Through!

genealogy cold caseWe’ve all got genealogy brick walls in our research: family mysteries we have so far found unsolvable. In the new issue of Family Tree Magazine (May/June 2014), Lisa’s got a great article packed with 14 strategies for SOLVING those perplexing questions.

The article is “Warming Up a Cold Case,” and it’s got a fun criminal investigator theme. I won’t give all 14 of her tips away, but some of my favorites include re-examining old evidence, finding new witnesses and going on a genealogical stakeout. And one that made me laugh out loud: “Post wanted posters.” And then I just had to put my ancestor’s face on a wanted poster (right).

How do you really create a wanted poster for your ancestor? Lisa shares these ideas in the article:

1. Post their names on genealogy online message boards (like at Ancestry.com). But fill in those “wanted” details. Instead of height, weight and hair color, add what you know about their births, marriages, deaths, family relationships and residences.

2. Post your family tree online at any number of sites for free. Sites organize their trees in one of two ways. Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com and others offer the individual tree model. You upload (or build on the site) and maintain your own tree. FamilySearch.org, WikiTree, Geni.com and WeRelate.org are community tree sites. You may work from a view of your own tree, but the site is merging your tree with others behind the scenes to create a single world family tree (each does this a slightly different way).

3. Start your own family history blog. Write keyword-rich blog posts that make it easy for Google searchers to find your ancestors there. Check out Lisa’s free four-part series on how to create a genealogy blog at the Genealogy Gems YouTube Channel. This link will take you to the 4 part video playlist.

FTM Cover June 2014Find the entire article in the May/June issue Family Tree Magazine. Even better: Genealogy Gems Premium Members can also watch Lisa’s one hour video class Brick Walls: Cold Case Investigative Techniques. Not a Premium Member yet? You’re missing out on 24/7 access for a year to some of her most popular classes on Google, Google Earth, organization, Evernote, newspaper research and more. Learn more about Genealogy Gems Premium Membership here.

Organize Your Genealogy: Sneak a Peek Inside Lisa’s Office

FTM Cover June 2014“Organize Your Genealogy: 35 Workspace  Ideas!”

It’s the cover story for the new issue of Family Tree Magazine (May/June 2014). For those 35 inspired ideas, author Denise Levenick interviewed six people who work in the genealogy industry, including both Lisa and myself. Keep reading to learn how sharing your own organizing tips on our Facebook page can score you an organized prize!

Lisa’s organizational strategies and home office (below) are featured on page 27. It’s a gorgeous workspace that she keeps free of clutter, which helps her stay focused. But it’s also decorated with family photographs and mementos that inspire her. Notice the quilt displayed behind Lisa? There’s a story behind it–check out her blog post about it.

organize your genealogy

I love Lisa’s tips on going paperless, using color-coded Google calendar entries for home and work and cloud computing. Think how much cleaner an office can be–and how much less paper you have to lug around–when all your research lives online.

My own office is definitely packed with paper. I consider myself a “hybrid” when it comes to going digital. Anything I get in digital form remains that way. But I haven’t been ready to invest the time in digitizing all my old binders, which still line my shelves (see page 22 of the same article).

What’s YOUR organizational style? Are you brave enough to share a photo of your office? Upload an image or tell us your best tip to organize your genealogy on the Genealogy Gems Facebook page. We’ll choose one of you to receive a FREE CD with all the 2013 issues of Family Tree Magazine. (If you’re already a subscriber, share it with a friend!) Post your photo or tip by May 15, 2014! Genealogy Gems Premium Membership

Doing some spring cleaning? Don’t forget the hard drive! Genealogy Gems Premium Members head to the Premium Videos section of the website to watch Lisa’s two-part video class on Hard Drive Organization. (Not a Premium Member yet? Learn more here).

We have a WINNER! Family Tree Magazine Giveaway

three_way_hand_shake_PA_300_wht_3193Congratulations to Amanda, the winner of our Family Tree Magazine Digital Subscription Giveaway!

We did the giveaway to celebrate my article in the December 2013 issue of Family Tree Magazine, co-written with Genealogy Gems Contributing Editor Sunny Morton. The article is all about collaborating on our genealogy research.

Genealogy BlogsI think it’s cool that Amanda’s big on collaboration herself. She blogs about her research at ABT-UNK. (Yes, that’s the name of her blog: it combines two common genealogy abbreviations for “about” and “unknown.”) Amanda points us to a recent post, “a really good example of collaboration via my blog.  The two photos in the post were provided by two cousins of different degrees who found me via my blog, and five different people (so far) have been involved in identifying the people in the “Christmas Cousins” picture.  I’ve connected with lots of other kin who found me via my blog (including a distant cousin in Lithuania, who helped me break through a brick wall there), and they have provided a wealth of information and wonderful photographs!”

Congratulations, Amanda, both on winning our giveaway and on your excellent research and blog. Keep it up! And thanks to Family Tree Magazine Editor Diane Haddad for donating the subscription.