Category Archives: Learning

The Economical Genealogist: podcasts and streaming videos – your FREE genealogical education!

eggtimer

Multi-task with podcasts to get free genealogy tips!

Many people want to learn more about genealogy, but don’t have the financial resources to attend conferences or to pay for expensive online courses and webinars.  Others (like me!) are short on time and need to combine their learning with other activities.  Here are some great ways to learn genealogy that are FREE and can be combined with other activities.

Podcasts:

There are a variety of wonderful podcasts and radio talk shows available to increase your knowledge and skills.  Here are my favorites:

1) Fieldstone Common:  “a weekly internet radio show (podcast) for anyone who loves exploring the past.  Host Marian Pierre-Louis will introduce you to authors and historians who bring history alive! Topics focus on history and genealogy in the Northeast United States.  Authors, historians, curators, archivists, genealogists and other stewards of history are interviewed about their books or projects.”   This is a must for anyone with colonial American roots!

2) The Forget-Me-Not Hour:  Your Ancestors Want Their Stories to Be Told:  “Catch Jane Wilcox, host of The Forget-Me-Not Hour: Your Ancestors Want Their Stories To Be Told talk radio show from Kingston, N.Y. Interviews with special local, regional and national genealogy guests, a little music, and lots of genealogy tips.”

3)  Genealogy Gems:  With a focus on technology, Lisa Louise Cooke provides plenty of tips to assist newbies and advanced genealogists alike.  A free and premium version is available, which may be downloaded from iTunes or listened to online.  The Premium version also provides users with access to several how-to videos and other content as well.

4)  Genealogy Guys:  Experts and authors George G. Morgan and Drew Smith advertise their podcast as the longest running, regularly produced podcast in the world!  Listen in to hear the latest news in the genealogical world and to get tips and tricks from the Genealogy Guys!

Other FREE online learning opportunities:

FamilySearch Learning Center:  A wonderful and often overlooked resource, FamilySearch has provided great instructional videos for those new to genealogy, or just new to research in a specific area or region.  They’ve also added links to the RootsTech 2014 streamed sessions.  Check back regularly for new content from people like Thomas W. Jones, who authored the must-have book, Mastering Genealogical Proof Standard.  Brand new to genealogy?  No problem – there are short videos for you as well!

Legacy Family Tree Webinars:  Free to listen live and for a short time after broadcasting, these webinars provide excellent information on a variety of topics ranging from organization, technology, research methods and much, much more.

Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree Extension Series:  If you’ve attended Jamboree, you’ll know SCGS is a master at education!  Their live webinars are a wonderful supplement to Jamboree, and a great resource to those who are unable to attend live conferences.  Free to listen live, and members have access to previously recorded sessions.

 

 


If only I woulda…..

This notebook was used to hurriedly scribble down notes when interviewing my grandmother after reviewing old letters and photographs.

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


Getting the ROI on your genealogy subscriptions??

John M. Bursley with his regiment in History of the Fourth Regiment of Minnesota Infantry Volunteers During the Great Rebellion, 1861-1865

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?

Continue reading


Excel, Evernote, RootsMagic, and my research log

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


In which I confess my sins – Family History Library fun!

FHL

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:

My RootsTech 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!


Tech Tuesday: My Super Experience With Scrivener!

Scrivener Cork Board

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.

What Motivates Miss Rancho-Temecula Contestants?

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


Why I love Evernote – Part II

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 Screren Shot

Evernote even searches text from images!

As much as I love Evernote, yesterday I began to question my organizational system.   Continue reading


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