Category Archives: Organizing for optimal efficiency

High-powered hit-and-run data grabbing technique

You’ve invested a day off and a tank of gas to have a precious four hours at an ancestral county courthouse, state archive, or local library. You want to make the mostof every minute. Here’s my high-powered hit-and-run data grabbing technique to get home with maximum ancestral data in minimum time. Continue reading High-powered hit-and-run data grabbing technique

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Descendants of slaveholders, we have a job to do

Some of you started long ago. I started six months ago. Perhaps some of you will start today. When it comes to the very difficult and incredibly rewarding challenge of documenting America’s enslaved populations, we who descend from slaveholders are the logical ones to do the work.  It makes sense at so many levels. Welcome, GEGs, to the Beyond Kin Project. Continue reading Descendants of slaveholders, we have a job to do

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Research To-Do List in Zotero

Zotero Research To-Do ListMost genealogy software tools offer an embedded to-do list feature–useful, as far as they go. But for me, they don’t go far enough. Most are not accessible away from your own computer. If you have to move  or restore your data via GEDCOM, you will usually lose your  to-do items. The tools aren’t designed to let you apply a single to-do item to multiple people. Zotero, on the other hand, provides the ideal research to-do list. It fully integrates with research notes, and it’s free.

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IGHR 2017: Seats going fast. It’s that good.

IGHR 2017 Registration OpenThe GEG in me emerged in the summer of 2015, when I finally committed a week of my life to the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. I returned in 2016 to an even better experience. This year I’m registered for Course 3, and we’re relocating to the University of Georgia. Join me in Athens July 23—28 for IGHR 2017 — the best value your genealogical education dollar can buy. Continue reading IGHR 2017: Seats going fast. It’s that good.

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What’s in a name? Conflicting practicalities.

In genealogy,  a rose by any other name may not smell sweet. A feud broils over what is acceptable, when it comes to naming conventions. Do you use question marks for unknown portions of a name? Do you write helpful information in the suffix field? Congratulations, we’ll call you a Montague! Do you get annoyed when you see people doing the above, fearing trashy data transfers — a messed-up GEDCOM? You, friend, we’ll call a Capulet. In determining how to use the name fields in our software, we find ourselves having to choose the house of Montague or Capulet — expedient practicality or clean data sharing. Some want both, and we call ourselves GEGs. Starry-eyed GEG I may be, but with the right tools and rules, I think Romeo and Juliet can have a future together.

Continue reading What’s in a name? Conflicting practicalities.

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Goodbye research log — hello Zotero

Zotero for Research LogA research log made perfect sense once. In fact, I felt great pride in my mammoth binder with neat notations, hand-crafted tabs, and cross-referenced numbers. My notebook even had a flap with a Velcro latch to secure it. I protected this treasure, when paper ruled. But paper stopped ruling a long time ago. Once I weaned myself from the inconvenience and limitations of paper, OneNote became my research log of choice — also with limitations. But then came Zotero, which made me ask the million-dollar question: Why do I need a day-by-day research log at all? And guess what? I don’t. 

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The helps and hazards of speculative Ancestry tree climbing

Speculative Tree Climbing in Genealogy -- A Kitten Up a Tree

Remember when we  Golden Egg Genealogists (GEGs) were innocent kittens? We could extend a family line back to the Mayflower over a weekend, thanks to those oh-so-helpful “Ancestry Member Trees” on Ancestry.com. Many of us built our early trees on those shaky branches. Here and there we might have speculated on possible family connections, adding them to the tree in an effort to chip away at a brick wall. Helpful! Then we grew into GEGs and started doing genealogy right, swearing we’d go back eventually and clean up that old mess. One day, though, we realized that a new batch of kittens were copying our oh-so-helpful and oh-so-public “Ancestry Member Trees.”  Uh-oh. Continue reading The helps and hazards of speculative Ancestry tree climbing

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Syncing your genealogy software with online trees

Syncing genealogy software with online trees_ Summary imageFor optimal effectiveness in ancestry research, our desktop genealogy software needs to share data (“sync”) with our online family trees. So, how well do the “Big Three” software packages sync? In this next installment of the Desktop Dilemma Series, we continue our side-by-side analysis of the Big Three — Family Tree Maker®, Legacy Family Tree®, and RootsMagic™.

 

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Multi-great style or the great-great-great tongue-twister

Multi-great style_Great-great-great_Summary ImageWhat label do I attach to a great-great-great-grandmother in speech and in writing? Because, let’s face it, “great-great-great-grandmother” is just a ridiculous mouthful. Do I say “3-times-great-grandmother”? “Third-great-grandmother”? Or, more concisely in writing, “3rd-great-grandmother”? Do I need the hyphens? Does the genealogy field have a standard?

Continue reading Multi-great style or the great-great-great tongue-twister

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Zotero for genealogy: getting your ducks in a row

Genealogy requires us to capture and organize mounds of information. We can do it the hard way, or we can use Zotero. This robust, free tool simplifies the capture, organization, and use of citations and research notes. You can cite sources with a single click. Attach images, documents, spreadsheets, and PDFs. Sync to free cloud storage and get your notes anywhere there’s Internet access! It got me through graduate school, and now it’s revolutionizing my genealogy. It’s a GEG’s best friend. In Part 1 of my Zotero series, I tell you why you should bother. Don’t miss out! Continue reading Zotero for genealogy: getting your ducks in a row

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