Category Archives: Technology

Tech Tuesday – ToodleDo, Baaaaaby!


I’ve gotten used to the snickers of my coworkers, who are amused by my use of technology.  Hey, my goal is to be efficient, and technology is the  best way to get there.  One of the things I learned long ago is whenever possible, only touch a paper once.  Then either file it, toss it, distribute it….don’t save it for later.  Well, often that’s not possible.  Especially in genealogical research, we need to spend time truly analyzing and “digesting” or mentally “processing” a document.  I find when I’m in the middle of a research project, I don’t have time to finish all that I want to accomplish.  I may have worked on a family line all weekend long, but alas, Monday morning comes and off to work I go.  I don’t want to forget where I’m at in the project, so I’ll “ToodleDo” it – that is, add it to my online, cloud-based task management system, so I can pick back up where I left off on the upcoming weekend.  Other times I find I get bored working on one family line, and just need a break.  However, again, I don’t want to forget about ideas I had for research, or overlook data entry of documents gleaned at repository.

ToodleDo for genealogy!

Last Spring I was working furiously on my Bursley family, preparing for our New England trip.  Well, I was also researching several other lines while at the same repositories, and consequently, brought back a considerable amount of data that needs to be reviewed, analyzed, and where appropriate, entered in my database.  The items above are some of the “to do” items for my Bradstreet and Bursley families.

ToodleDo also allows you to include notes for each item. 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

Technology and Tracing Thomas

Hannah (Higgins) Higgins

Hannah (Higgins) Higgins, niece of my 4th Great Grandmother, Betsy (Wasgatt) Stanwood. Photo courtesy of Holly Green.

My favorite ancestor is Betsy (Wasgatt) Stanwood.  She was one tough lady.   She was five months pregnant when she married my 4th great grandfather, Benjamin Stanwood, in 1808.  Not exactly politically correct in the early 19th century.  When Benjamin died, she managed the family farm, and was listed as head of house on nearly all subsequent censuses.  When her grown children and spouses moved to Minnesota, she went along for the ride, but came back to her home – Eden (now Bar Harbor), Maine.   She apparently made this trip alone, although she was nearly 80 years old at the time.  I love Bar Harbor – I understand why she came home.

I’ve dabbled in my Wasgatt genealogy throughout the years, but was again inspired to pick  it back up when I saw the Wasgatt family Bible in Bar Harbor last summer.  Armed with this info, and starting from scratch, I’ve been going through generation after generation, adding appropriate sources that I either lacked in my beginning days, or were dropped when moving from one genealogy program to the next.

One really cool thing about retracing your steps after so many years is that there are a lot more resources available online to assist.   Continue reading

Maine’s move to digitize deeds – oh yeah!

Hancock Co, ME deed, 22:422: Thomas Wasgatt, Jr. deeds 1/4 share of mills to son Thomas Wasgatt, 3rd

Researching deeds has always felt cumbersome to me.   Unless you live in the area where your ancestors resided (not me), or visit the courthouse in the county where they lived (not feasible to do routinely, if, like me, you live on the opposite coast from your forebears), the easiest way to research deeds is to first order the microfilmed index from the Family History Center, determine the book and page where your ancestor’s deeds are recorded (if any), and then order the corresponding films.

Hancock County Maine Registry of Deeds

Official Website of Hancock County, Maine (with portal to Registry of Deeds)

Well, the State of Maine has made the job of locating your ancestor’s probate records and deeds MUCH easier!  Continue reading

Evernote and everyday genealogy

I hate paper.

Paper requires time to organize.

Drawers to hold it.

Folders to straighten it.

Paper is messy.

Paper cannot be stored in the “cloud.”

Paper is inefficient.

I have a LOT of paper!

Having been active in researching my family history over the last twenty years, I’ve amassed a wealth of paper.  In the “olden days,” a trip to the library typically resulted in paper.  I’d come home and dutifully file photocopies of book pages and research in folders that were created for each couple in my family.  I had one for my grand parents, another for their parents, another for their siblings, etc., etc., etc.   My home office is equipped with two filing cabinets to hold twenty years worth of research.  However,  thanks to Evernote, bit by bit, the papers in those cabinets are slowly decreasing. Continue reading

In the cloud – FINALLY!

My husband claims I’m a techno junkie.  While I banter back with mock shock and surprise and pretend his statements are outlandish, I of course know I’m completely and totally obsessed with almost anything that’s electronic.  Software, laptops, smartphones (iPhone, course!), and any new gadget that comes on the market are eyed by eager me.  When updates to software applications come on the market, I am often lured into purchasing.  Yes, I do get a thrill from technology!  So it is surprising that I have waited until now to join those who are backing up and syncing “in the cloud!”

I have been using Roots Magic for my primary genealogy program about a year now, and one of the really cool things about it is “Roots Magic To Go” – you can save your database, along with a version of the software, on a removable media device.  It’s great for taking your data from one PC to another, or operating on a PC where Roots Magic is not installed. Super cool! However, when I went to sync my desktop with the media device, I made a blunder and lost my most recent data, probably two weeks’ worth of data entry. (User error – not the fault of the software….)  ARGH – while it’s not a ton to recreate, it’s a pain and time consuming – and difficult to remember what I’d done and still needs to be redone.

So…I’ve decided it’s time start syncing my laptop and desktop as well as backing up into the cloud.  After reviewing several sync and back up options, I decided on SugarSync. My laptop is currently uploading files to the server, and then I will begin the process of uploading the contents of my many desk top files. And THEN – syncing the two devices together. It will be great to be able to access files from either computer, as well as from other online PCs, such as my desktop at work. Even better, next month when I get my new iPad, I can access my files from there too.

Yup, I’m definitely a techno junky. (Just don’t tell my hubby I agree!)

New Site, New Stuff!

After only two weeks, the Stanwood Family History site has been remodeled!  The html pages have been replaced with a MySQL database, allowing the posting of a substantial amount of documents, reports and other data.  I am thrilled to have discovered The Next Generation (TNG) genealogy software, which has simplified the process of using a database for sharing of online information.

Genealogy – Old Fashioned Style

Flora Stanwood Simpson with husband Fred Simpson

Flora Stanwood with her husband Fred Simpson and his grandson, Orval Swanson

In my last post I discussed how the use of the internet has expedited some of my research.  However, I’ve also learned that sometimes we can become too reliant on databases, web searches and other online tools.  Sometimes we just need to go back to basics.

Such is the case in my search for a photo of Flora (Stanwood) Simpson.  Aunt Flora was one of those people that stayed put.  Since she was found year after year, census after census, in the same place, I got to “know” Aunt Flora better than many of the other Aunts and Uncles in my family tree.  Flora was married three times.  She was widowed at the age of 25  when her first husband, Morton Howe, died, leaving her with four small children.   Next she married John Miller.  This marriage was brief, as in 1900 she married her third and final husband, Oliver Fred Simpson.

My grandmother, Goldie Simpson, recalled seeing Aunt Flora when she herself was very young.  She remember this “very old woman with wrinkled socks.”  Since my grandmother was only 3 years old at the time, she couldn’t offer many other details.  :-)  However, she did remember many of Flora’s step chlidren, who were my grandmother’s first-cousins.  The relationship is a bit complicated, but the short story is that there were two Stanwood women who married two Simpson brothers. Continue reading


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