Category Archives: Learning

The new and improved Legacy Family Tree Webinars

New and improved Legacy Family Tree Webinar page

New and improved Legacy Family Tree Webinar page

Legacy Family Tree recently announced major changes to their web page, and the ability to listen to webinars on smartphones and mobile devices.  Whoo hoo!  With a 2 1/2 hour round trip commute daily, I immediately thought of the possibility of playing broadcasts while driving.  This morning I gave it a test run, listening to Warren Bittner’s excellent session titled, “Complex Evidence – What is It? How Does it Work? And Why Does it Matter?”

I was worried that my iPhone would lose connection and that the webinar would be challenging to listen to.  While there were occasional pauses while listening from my phone, they were exceptionally brief and were barely noticeable.  I’m thrilled that this ability is now offered, as I do most of my podcast and gene-learning in the car these days.  It’s now worth having an annual subscription, as previously I found I just didn’t have the time to listen when at home.  (Subscriptions are a great deal at only $49.95 per year, allowing complete access to the entire webinar archive, and yup, I’ve already resubscribed!)

Just as cool, their new website got a huge face-lift and is really user friendly.  It’s easy to find what you want to listen to.  I’m looking forward to a lot more learning!

Maine research: some lesser known places to search – for FREE!

I love Maine research.  The Pine Tree State has made major efforts to digitize their records, increasing the odds of finding your ancestors in both free, online databases and government repositories.  Additionally, I’ve found most town clerks and registrars very helpful and friendly, often willing to communicate via email regarding a research request.

Land Records

The state portal for the Maine Registers of Deeds is found here.


Each county has various levels of digitization underway.  Kennebec County, for example, has indexed all of their deed books, including most historic deeds dating back to the late 1790s.   Continue reading

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


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.


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

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 –, and  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!


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!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 115 other followers