This notebook was used to hurriedly scribble down notes when interviewing my grandmother after reviewing old letters and photographs.
Spending the last few weeks working on a family history book has brought a few things to light. (Actually, it’s validated some of the mistakes I made along my genealogical journey.) I hope my public confessions will help a newbie or two avoid some of my errors. Here is my list of top things I wish I woulda done differently:
1. Followed Russ Worthington’s system of digital file organization.
I fear my digital files are a lost cause. Really. Continue reading
John M. Bursley with his regiment in History of the Fourth Regiment of Minnesota Infantry Volunteers During the Great Rebellion, 1861-1865, located with Mocavo.com.
If you’re like me, your email in-box is often crammed with offerings for the latest and greatest – books, websites, webinars, etc. It usually takes a few endorsements before I jump on the bandwagon and subscribe to a new website, but I’ve recently added three subscription-based sites to my list – HistoryGeo.com, Mocavo.com and MyHeritage.com. Am I getting my money’s worth from these new subscriptions? What’s the return on investment?
Excel spreadsheet for New Hampshire – a combined planning tool and research log
After my first day at the Family History Library, I realized I need a major over-haul of my research log. For quite a while now, I’ve used Excel to plan what materials to research at a repository and updated the spreadsheet with what I’d located. However, I didn’t have a really good way of incorporating that into a research log.
However, I think I’ve come up with a system that will work and is relatively simple to use. Continue reading
The Family History Library
I feel like a kid that ditched church to go fishing.
I was bad.
I was VERY bad!
Here I am in Salt Lake City, registered for the RootsTech conference, but spent 80% of my time at…..DRUM ROLL please….THE FAMILY HISTORY LIBRARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The library has been a place I’ve sought to visit for the last 25 years. After checking in to my hotel on Wednesday, I made a beeline for the library and oriented myself to the various floors and holdings. Thankfully, it’s very user friendly and organized well. I made quite a few finds, but most importantly, found a book, written in 1991, on the Westcoat/Wescoat/Westcott/Wescott/Wasgatt family. There wasn’t a ton of new info on my own line, but I did get a few new hints to follow up on. In addition, I was able to review dozens of rolls of microfilm and books, and have completely overhauled how I’m handling my research log. (See my post about Excel, Evernote and Roots Magic here.)
Back to RootsTech…the sessions I did go to were very good. I will leave the details to the official bloggers who’ve done a phenomenal job covering the event. The energy and amount of interest in genealogy was awesome. Oh yes…also had to make my purchases in the Exhibit Hall.
Here’s my loot:
Books on researching, books on writing, and webinars by Thomas MacEntee, Marian Pierre-Louis, and Karen Clifford
I’m hoping to listen to Karen Clifford’s webinar, “Organizing For Success” at the airport on my way home tomorrow. While I may not have had as much time as I’d planned at the conference, my time here in SLC was certainly well spent!
Screenshot of the Scrivener “cork board” which allows you to organize your writing
Growing up I always had pen and paper in hand. I’d sketch out newspaper templates, and would write amusing articles for my family’s enjoyment. As I grew older, the pen was replaced by a typewriter. In my Sophomore year at Elsinore Union High School, I was given the opportunity to write for The Rancho News, where I’d cover the happenings at our local high school for the community newspaper.
One of my first newspaper articles, published in The Rancho News
By 15, I was taken on as a paid, freelance reporter. Toting my 35mm camera, I’d cover stories such as the design of the Riverside County Emergency Medical Services (the predecessor of 911), area floods, and how the gas crisis of 1979 was affecting Temecula residents. My first paycheck was a whopping $18.37, but I was in heaven – getting paid for something I LOVED! Continue reading
A few weeks ago I wrote about my love affair with Evernote, a free application that I use both at work and at home. Evernote and Roots Magic, my primary genealogical software, provide my main source of organizing my genealogical research and documents. I love both.
Evernote even searches text from images!
As much as I love Evernote, yesterday I began to question my organizational system. Continue reading
The Southern California Genealogical Society holds their annual Jamboree each June, and is the highlight of my year. The event brings the best of the best to Southern California, and each year I expand my knowledge by listening to superb lecturers who are experts in their specialties. This past year I attended two sessions by Lisa Louise Cooke on using Google Earth to research and to show your family history to others. I made a mental note of her Genealogy Gems podcasts, but became distracted with our New England research trip, and well, life… Continue reading
It’s hard to believe that last year this time I was just putting together a sketch of my Uphouse family in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Using the censuses, I came up with some hypotheses on relationships – and most have proved correct! When Henry Uphouse died, his kids seemed to be spread abroad throughout Somerset and Westmoreland counties, and while I was reasonably certain these kids were my aunts and uncles, I had no initial proof. One invaluable web site to assist in my endeavor is www.pa-roots.com. Last night I found a newly-posted, extracted obituary for William H. Uphouse on there. Actually, they had two of them. A quick email and by mid-morning today I had scanned copies of both! Continue reading