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
Most 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.
A 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.
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.
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
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.
A census record offers you a moment in time when your ancestor was, say, five years old. That gives you a potential birth date range of 365 days, plus a possible Leap Day. If you use multiple records, however, you can use the overlaps to whittle down that range, getting closer to the real date. Doing this math in your head, unfortunately, presents a headaches. But I have a solution for you: the Date Narrowing Calculator [revised as of 1/6/2017]. A gift for my fellow GEGs.
Make transcribing historical manuscripts easier and more valuable using a desktop tool you already have. PDF software can let you zoom in on the manuscript, while transcribing the text as comments. You have not only transcribed; you have made the document searchable without separating it from the scanned image.
You need to capture a single face out of that family reunion scan. Or perhaps you want to clip one newspaper article out of an entire page online. Maybe your clip needs to be an odd shape, or you want to draw a circle around one element. We find treasures online constantly and need to save what matters. The Windows Snipping Tool offers a simple, efficient way to do this. And it’s free.
I am starting my family tree over. If I want to do it right this time, I must have the right tools. What genealogy desktop software can best support decades of intricate research and documentation? RootsMagic™? Family Tree Maker®? Legacy® Family Tree? I will begin to examine the “Big Three” products, feature by feature, until the best path becomes clear. And I encourage group participation.