.

Childless siblings & empty silhouettes

Childless Siblings & Empty SilhouettesSome of us will never be ancestors. We have no descendants. We died too young, or we married too old. We stayed single and took care of our parents or stayed single just because. Or married and couldn’t or married and didn’t. For any number of reasons or none, we died childless. So, who will tell our story?

Continue reading Childless siblings & empty silhouettes

The avocational genealogist’s code of ethics

The Ethics of Genealogy_Summary ImageI’ve heard it again and again from my fellow GEGs. “I’m not a professional genealogist, but I want to be as good as one.” Perhaps we should begin by adopting their moral compass. The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) requires its members to agree to a Code of Ethics. If avocational genealogists adapted the code to their own work, how might it look? Continue reading The avocational genealogist’s code of ethics

Pre-1850 census drama: a free tool for your sanity

We love the censuses, don’t we?  We need them. Right back to 1850, they’re our bedrock. Earlier than that, however, we dread them. Fear them, maybe. Avoid them, to our peril. While limited in value individually, however, the pre-1850 censuses become gold when compared to each other. But comparing them is a hassle, right? Not any more. I have designed an Excel tool that makes pre-1850 tally-matching a game you actually want to play. Let the Pre-1850 Census Analysis Tool* restore your sanity.

Continue reading Pre-1850 census drama: a free tool for your sanity

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

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™.

 

Continue reading Syncing your genealogy software with online trees

FamilySearch Indexing Volunteers

You know you’re GEG-bound when you want to give back. Finding time to do volunteer work in genealogy can be a challenge, though. What if I told you I volunteer from the comfort of my home, in my pajamas, in the middle of the night? I volunteer for 15 minutes at a time, if that’s what I have. Better yet, I volunteer to read fascinating historical documents that few people have ever seen. FamilySearch Indexing offers me that opportunity to pay it forward . . . one document at a time. And you can share this privilege.
Continue reading FamilySearch Indexing Volunteers

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

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

Getting help from genealogy software: rating the “Big Three”

Documentation -- Desktop Dilemma

Genealogy’s “Big Three” — Family Tree Maker®, Legacy Family Tree®, and RootsMagic™ — offer many  tools for our research. How well, though, does each guide you in figuring out how to use the product? Do they help you get started? Describe the screens and fields you see? Guide you to deeper uses of the software? Do they help  you? In this next installment of the Desktop Dilemma Series, we continue our analysis of the Big Three side by side, looking at genealogical software online help.

Continue reading Getting help from genealogy software: rating the “Big Three”

Enter at the side door: the Ancestry Card Catalog

Ancestry.com card catalog at the side doorLike many, my early days using Ancestry.com were all about chasing fluttering green leaves. I found sources because my ancestor’s name matched the index of a record collection. I wish I’d known much earlier the wealth of information available in the Ancestry Card Catalog, entered through the side door. It holds sources that are indexed — but not indexed. Bear with me, and I’ll explain. (Newest entry in the Wish I’d Known Series.)

Continue reading Enter at the side door: the Ancestry Card Catalog