Welcome to my Genealogy Blog.
My roots are from New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, V
Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.
I also have a blog called Seeing New England. Why not visit it, to get a feeling for the area.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Guest Blog Article From Barbara Poole-Backup Methods
An online friend I have from a genealogy class and ongoing group site we share, informed me she had some additional information regarding Back Ups. I asked her if she would like to prepare something that I could post on my blog, which she has agreed to do. Some of you may remember seeing other guest posts from her on Steve's Genealogy Blog. I welcome and thank Barbara Poole as a guest poster to my blog! Please read her article below!"
On Tuesday, January 6, 2009, Msteri wrote an article about Back Up Methods. This is in reply to her column. There were a number of comments about the topic, and I thought some of the readers might be interested in learning that the January 2009 issue of Smart Computing has a rather large section on backing up your data.If you are interested in reading about back ups from this magazine, I suggest you check it out at a newsstand, library or subscribe to it. The link for this magazine is http://www.smartcomputing.com/ Two days ago, when I began this article, the January issue showed, but now it is the February issue. The chapter Did You Really Back Up has the following articles: Backup 101 Prevent A Data Disaster; Backup Media Make Your Data Impervious To Crashes; Backup Software Automatically Archive Your Data; Online Backup Options Services For Safeguarding Important Data; Vista Backup & Restore Center Set It & Forget It and Recovery Software & Services Lost, But Not Gone Forever.I have been subscribing to this publication for about 16 years, back when the title was PC Novice…so glad they changed the title to Smart Computing (nobody wants to be a novice for 16 years!) In my opinion, it is a top notch publication with very little advertising. There are a lot of great glossy pictures, many topics that range from fixing problems, wireless networks, new products & reviews, Q & A, software lessons (Word, Adobe, Excel, Browsers, etc., all with clear instructions), and many more subjects. I think everybody would benefit from at least checking it out, there is something for everybody. They often give genealogy software reviews as well. For the bloggers, there is an article Use Word As A Blog Composer. In addition, there is free computer support, full access to their sister publications and other benefits."Barbara has informed me of this magazine before, and for some reason I had forgotten about it. I will make sure to check into it this time! Thank you so much for sharing this information with us Barbara! I am sure it will be a great help to many genealogists and bloggers, a real benefit to us all!
Ancestor Tree (October 2009)
Now I can check my names anywhere, and don't need a genealogy software program installed on the computer to see what I have.
Well, I can see this isn't a very exciting post. I sure hope I can do better.
Many of us, who own computers probably subscribe to one or two expensive genealogy databases, such as http://www.ancestry.com/ or the New England Historical Genealogical Society at http://www.newenglandancestors.org/. These subscriptions cost $75 and up per year. If you want to drop your subscription, it doesn’t mean it has to be permanent. A short break from one of them could be a nice change for you.
Several ideas on how to scale down are addressed below.Many local libraries offer the two above subscriptions for the public to use. In addition, they may offer other databases such as HeritageQuest and obituary databases. Prior to going to a library, figure out exactly what you need to look up and bring genealogy group sheets or notes with you. You will need to be prepared, as some libraries limit your time on their computers. If you can go when school is in session that would be a plus, but don’t go during school vacation. Perhaps you could even call the library prior to going, and ask the librarian if it is crowded. In addition you could subscribe to a much less expensive genealogy subscription or a society.
Recently, I joined the Ohio Genealogical Society for $32, they have 6,000 members and have a website with several databases I couldn’t find elsewhere. Subscribe to Dick Eastman’s weekly newsletter at http://www.eogn.com/ , it is free (there is a plus+ edition that costs $20 a year). Quite often, he mentions new databases, or activities of different genealogy societies, you could check out those sites, maybe something will interest you. In October, Dick mentioned the genealogy resources at the Rochester, N.Y. Library. After checking it out, and seeing 15 records I wanted (but at $10 per copy, I couldn’t afford), I contacted a researcher who was listed on the Library site and I emailed the necessary information to her. In conclusion, she went to the library the following day, got all 15 newspaper articles (marriage and death notices), as well as three legal documents from the Surrogate’s office, all for $45 (and we couldn’t decide on a price, so I sent her that amount), she would have taken less! Fast service and a great price. I would never have found that information on one of the expensive genealogy subscriptions. So if your subscription ends soon, why not let it and then search out new methods for getting information. You may not need several expensive subscriptions at the same time. And, of course my favorite free methods of research are with http://www.rootsweb.com/, http://www.familysearch.org/ (FHL) and Google. If you haven’t used these sites in a while, you are in for a nice surprise.
There is so much out there. Recently, I found out about a book at the FHL and really wanted it. A search on http://www.worldcat.org/ showed that only nine libraries had it. I wrote to four of them to see if they loan out the book, one did, Rutgers University. I filled out an inter-library loan request at my local library and am waiting to hear when the book comes in. I am not sure if there is a fee, but boy, if you really want a book, a small charge is worth it, I think. To get ideas for book titles, go to any library catalog, for example, http://www.dar.org/, http://www.familysearch.org/, http://www.worldcat.org/ or even Google. If you aren’t aware, there are now 26,000 Family History Library books online, they are digitized and you can read the entire book from home.
Thursday, November 16th, 2006
At the September meeting of my local genealogy society, I brought some magazines I had received free from the FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies) Conference held in August, in Boston for 4 days. All 4 magazines were current editions and were familiar to me, but none of which I subscribe to. Some of the club members enjoyed looking through them and even pulling out the inserts to order a subscription. When I got around to reading them recently, I realized how different they were from one another. The magazines were Everton’s Genealogical Helper, Family Tree Magazine, Ancestry and German Life. I thought I would give a little input on how the first three differ from one another.
Everton’s Genealogical Helper, has been around for about 50 years, had over 176 pages of articles, queries and surname index. What I really liked was the large print, a calendar of upcoming genealogy events throughout the world, a Beginner’s Corner section, review of books, and the major topics are on the cover with page number. Their website is http://www.everton.com and you receive 6 issues a year for $27. This is a little less than the cost in 2000. This is an old publication with a new editor and the Heritage Quest magazine has been combined into the Genealogical Helper.
Family Tree Magazine (not affiliated with Family Tree Maker software) also comes out 6 times a year for $24. Their website is http://www.familytreemagazine.com. The two state research guides are nice (for Texas and Rhode Island), but at that rate, it will take years to complete this series, or maybe not, since I don’t know when the series began.
Ancestry Magazine was very impressive, and I will subscribe to it. The glossy pages, nice color pictures, articles (although rather short…maybe to hold your attention), and few advertisements are the pluses. The contributors are well known in the genealogical community. Their web site is http://www.ancestry.com and click on store tab; I had to type magazine in product box. Their price is similar to the others, 6 issues for $24.95. I especially enjoyed the article on the Evolution of Family History, a 10 year history. Some interesting things that began in 1996 were: there were 100,000 websites and 14% of Americans using the internet; Ancestry.com, RootsWeb.com, FamilyTreeMaker.com and Cyndi’s List began. Other milestones during the 10 year span to date were included, now jump to 2006 where there are over 11.5 billion web pages and 77% of Americans are now online.
Recently, I found some old copies of three magazines (1994-2001), they were Everton’s Genealogical Helper, Heritage Quest, and Genealogical Computing. Obviously some of the articles are outdated, but some still pertain today, such as: Source Documentation: Is it Time to Change the Standards (pertaining to the internet); Genealogy Made Inexpensive; State and Federal Census articles. I wish I had seen the 7 page article about Albany, NY area Churches and Synagogue Vital Records many years ago, what a useful source that would have been for me. I also wondered what happened to a Lexington company that in 1994 made Quinsept, a “software that works for generations. The most exciting genealogical research system available.” Sure glad I didn’t buy that!
There are now two new genealogy magazines focusing on using the internet for research. In a past newsletter, I discussed Internet Genealogy magazine http://www.internet-genealogy.com (where you can download a free copy). My fourth issue arrived a few weeks ago. I continue to like this magazine.
However, I love Digital Genealogist, a magazine that just came out. Digital Genealogist will be in PDF format, so you print what you want. They are offering a free issue, and it prints out at 42 pages. Go to http://www.digitalgenealogist.com and check it out. I loved the first issue of Digital Genealogist for a few reasons. First, it is very easy to read; is colorful and second, it is nice to know some of the writers personally. So now you can download free issues of two different genealogy publications, or print just the pages that interest you.
Barb Poole has written another article for today’s Blog. Someday Barb and I will have to actually meet each other! Here’s Barb’s GuestBlog: (Note: Steve and I have met twice.)
I wrote a piece about a new genealogy magazine in Steve’s blog of May 20th, in which I wrote, “A new genealogy magazine has arrived on the scene; it is Internet Genealogy and can be ordered as a hard copy or downloaded from the internet (different prices for each). To order go to http://www.internet-genealogy.com/ and you can see the specifics as well as download a preview issue.” This is an update, which may be beneficial to some, whether you subscribe or not. The editor/publisher of that magazine asked for suggestions from the subscribers as to what they wanted in the magazine.
One suggestion was to have all the websites listed in that issue of the magazine to be on one page, so you could go to that page and see all the links listed, and not look all around for them. However, the magazine went one step further and now has on their website all the links that were mentioned in that particular issue. If you go to the site listed above, you will see a section listing the links for each magazine (both past and current issues) and the link will take you to that webpage. No more typing out the addresses. And, these sites give you an idea of what the magazine has covered thus far. In addition, if the links change, the company will change them as well on their homepage. So far, there is a pretty impressive list of genealogy sites.
My second recent find is a site called WorldCat, which I got from a message board, out of Canada. It is the first I have heard of it, but is a site I will use many times over. This is what I received, ” Google is easily accessed, but WorldCat’s locations of 1.3 billion items in 10,000 libraries around the world previously have been available only through institutional access. It’s become available to the public here and now. It’s FREE and simple to use. Just type in a book name or author and it shows which library holds that book. Just go to: http://www.worldcat.org/ .”
On a personal note, I put in titles of three books and not only did they appear, but it gave the name of the library and the distance from where I live (Massachusetts). For an example, I put in the book title New England Marriages prior to 1700 and there were 381 hits. The closest library that has the book is the library in Lexington, 13 miles away, and the furthest is Alaska, all of 3,349 miles away from me! With this information, you can either go to or contact that library or see if you can get it through the inter-library loan process.
Today, I’m pleased that Barb Poole has written another GuestBlog for this site! Thanks again for your contribution Barb!
Podcasts, what are they?
Ok, let’s get the definition of Podcast out of the way first. According to my question to www.ask.com, I wrote “What does Podcast mean?” They reply was short and to the point. Podcast means A sound file distributed by a podcasting server. I don’t think we need to worry about the server, but a sound file I do understand. Just be sure to have your sound turned on!
Googling the words Podcast + genealogy, generated 400,000 hits on June 24, 2006. I suspect that list will grow as time goes on. This does not mean there are 400,000 separate podcasts; some of the more popular sites are mentioned in different blogs or web pages, so the same podcast could be mentioned several times. To find a more specific site, you can add more words in your search engine, subjects such as Italian, Canadian, organizing, filing, or Polish (the words podcast + genealogy + Polish will give you Steve Danko’s blog.
I am only going to discuss two of the well known genealogy podcasts. The first one listed below has been around for quite a long time, and the second much more recent. Each is uniquely different. One has just the sound of the speakers; the other has visuals to go along with the lecture. There are many other podcasts out there; you should be able to find some which meet your needs.
A very popular podcast is http://www.genealogyguys.com/ in which George G. Morgan and Drew Smith discuss news items, have interviews and answer listener’s mail. There is also a short advertisement from their sponsor. The two interact well with one another, and a discussion outline is provided as well. Their voices are soothing to listen to, and it is a joy to listen to them while doing something else, either at the computer or away from the computer.
One of the first podcasts I listened to was through the New England Historical Genealogical Society (NEHGS) web site: http://www.newenglandancestors.org/. The lecture was called Who Was Your Mother’s Mother’s Mother’s Mother? by Julie Helen Otto, a genealogist at the Society. This is a free lecture, and technically is a Macromedia presentation, not a podcast. Listening to this was like being in a lecture hall, as there were slides & graphics, as well as an outline and the length of time shown for each topic (you always knew how much time was left). In addition, It is very easy to press replay or skip a topic. On another note, I know Julie personally and was very impressed with her lecture, I must tell her that. If the icon for this lecture is not on the home page (it will probably be removed when the next new lecture is posted), just go to the Education Center tab and you will see archived lectures, including several for Getting Started in Genealogy.
I am thinking that this might be the future for some genealogy seminars at conferences. Instead of purchasing the lecture on a tape cassette, you would pay for the lecture when you download it. The last large conference I attended, I ordered a set of 9 cassettes (you normally can’t attend each lecture you want to hear as there are too many being held at the same time), and so buying them was the next best thing. The worst thing was having to wait around after the lecture for the cassettes to be copied. Then you had to carry them home in an already stuffed suitcase!
It should be noted that Podcasts are not just for genealogists, people in other professions use them too, but of course we like to think they were developed just for us, as were blogs, emails, message boards, chats and computers!
Barbara Poole, who has contributed several articles to this blog in the past, presents today’s article. She offers her experience in publishing family trees on the internet. Thanks, Barbara!
Should you publish your genealogical information on the internet for others to see? I pondered that question many times before I submitted my GEDCOM to http://www.familysearch.org/ about five years ago. Since that time, I have received a number of inquires via snail mail, as I had given my address (I don’t think email addresses were used then). Even now, I receive letters with a question or two, and am amazed that these people took the time to write. One even tracked me down using my address in a Google search and found out my phone number and called. But I didn’t mind, as I know what it is like to really want to contact somebody immediately. These people are kind and I’ve never had a problem.
Because of an article in the NEHGS eNews of January 3, 2007, called "Drawing Attention to Your Book or Article" by Helen Schatvet Ullmann, CG, FASG, I went a step further by submitting my tree to RootsWeb. I listen to Helen, as I’ve known her about 10 years and know she wouldn’t say something she didn’t mean. In her article, she mentioned that she submitted to RootsWeb a GEDCOM with a lot of members of her Peter Mills line (she had just published a book on this family). Because she submitted this GEDCOM to RootsWeb, her book sold out.
After all the years of doing my genealogy, I wanted to share my information with a wider group of people and with people who could contact me immediately via email. Submitting a tree is rather simple; and, if you prefer to remain anonymous, you can use a pseudonym as a contact name. I used my real name. Why use a pseudonym like Smith, if I want to touch base with a Poole? In my case, I use a separate email account just for the RootsWeb site, so mail about my genealogical information on RootsWeb is sent to a separate email account, not to my primary email account.
With RootsWeb, you can choose whether or not to allow others to directly download your information into a reader’s file, but I decided not. If someone wants my information they’ll need to enter it into their file manually. Also, I didn’t include information on living relatives, and I didn’t include notes. You can remove your tree or update whenever you want, and I do so weekly. Very little effort is involved in updating my information, and I know my tree is pretty much up to date. Not only will the information you upload to RootsWeb be incorporated into Ancestry’s WorldConnect database, but others can find your information on Google.
In the past, I found information published by other people; now it was time to give back and share what I have. Many people are unwilling to share their information. Sometimes, I wonder why they are even doing it if they are unwilling to share.
I’ve recently had several, unresolved problems with Family Tree Maker (FTM), and so I decided I also wanted my information available to me. Now, when I’m at another computer or location, it is easy to access the information I’ve uploaded. Photos included in my file did not upload, but all the data transferred beautifully. Because of my RootsWeb site, I have been contacted by at least 1-2 persons a week. All have either asked for a little information or shared some really valuable information I didn’t have. Most people want to share accurate data about the lines they are researching, and this has all worked in my favor. The positive outweighs the negative. Actually, I can’t think of a negative and that is probably why RootsWeb is so popular. Granted, you have to sift through the databases to find what you are looking for, but heck, the information is free, and is even more valuable if the submitter included sources.
Recently, I discovered another place to keep my information - Personal Family Trees on Ancestry.com. I uploaded the same GEDCOM to Ancestry.com that I had previously uploaded to RootsWeb. The features of Ancestry’s Personal Family Trees are really nice, and you can either keep this tree to yourself or share it with others. For now, I restrict access to my Ancestry Personal Family Tree to myself. The ability to upload a Personal Family Tree on Ancestry is a free feature for subscribers, and I was able to upload all 30,000 names in my database. The Personal Family Tree feature is being updated, as it has only been available since July 2006. According to Ancestry, “1,000,000 members started a tree (March 2007).” I love the automatic timeline feature in Personal Family Trees that automatically calculates the age of a person at the time of each life event entered. Researchers can also upload photos to Ancestry’s Personal Family Trees, but not to RootsWeb. Notes uploaded to Ancestry Personal Family Trees may only be viewed by the submitter. As with RootsWeb, you can view your tree from another location or computer by logging on to your Ancestry.com account and then clicking on the My Ancestry tab. Your information is right there, no need to open up FTM, if you didn’t want to.
If you have ever worried about a hurricane, major storm, flood, or other disaster which could wipe out your genealogy data, storing your data on RootsWeb or Ancestry.com could be a life saver. Granted, many of us backup to CD’s, but often they are near the computer and could be destroyed along with the computer in a natural disaster. At least the information on RootsWeb and Ancestry.com is stored on servers many miles from me.
The other day, I was merging information into my file and I was quite confident in what I was doing. While merging, I noticed that the parents of one of the people in my file were missing. I thought I really messed up the merge process and inadvertently deleted some data. I quickly went to the tree I had uploaded to Ancestry.com, pulled up the records for that individual, and sure enough, I never had his parents in the first place! Fortunately, I only had to worry about 2 minutes before I knew I was OK and the merge was fine. If I hadn’t submitted my tree, I would still be trying to figure out who James Mead’s parents were.
Today’s article is written by Barbara Poole, who kindly offered to write about her experiences at the FGS Conference, and then surprised me with the report that my Blog was featured in one of the lectures at the conference!
I, myself, will be attending the Annual Meeting of the Polish Genealogical Society of America later this week, so I’ll be taking a few days off from writing this blog to get ready for that conference. Enjoy Barbara’s report!
As a favor to Steve Danko, the owner of this site, I am giving him a break for a day or two by writing about the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference held in Boston last week. This is my 3rd guest blog on this site and the FGS Conference was the 3rd large genealogy conference I’ve attended. I know from personal emails that Steve has been anxiously waiting for this report and I know he will be surprised at some of the things I am sharing here.
The annual FGS Conference was held in Boston beginning August 30, 2006 and lasted four days. Because this conference was held close to where I live (over an hour commute), I wanted to take advantage of attending many lectures and volunteering as much as possible. On Tuesday, Aug. 29 (the day before conference), I spent much of the day at the convention center spending assembling conference materials and inserting them into the black canvas briefcases for the attendees. These briefcases were strong enough to hold the syllabus, a four-volume set of about 1200 pages - a volume for each day. My bag, books & printed materials weighed 8 lbs., so I built up some muscles during the convention.
There was a nice group of volunteers, some of whom I already knew through the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) or through genealogy clubs. Meeting new people through volunteering is a bonus. Two volunteers were from California, and they spent time helping out when they could have been doing something fun in Boston. At 3 p.m. on Tuesday, early registration began, and attendees could pick up their registration packets and bags. There were so many people who wanted to get their hands on the goodies immediately. Fortunately, I was able to get mine early - a benefit of volunteering!!!
The conference began on the following day. Now, this was not a small conference, it was huge! It was hard to pick one lecture to attend when the choices could be as many as 19 selections for one particular hour! A total of 379 lectures were offered for the four day period!! What did I enjoy? The lectures of course, but I also enjoyed seeing people I knew, not only from my area, but from other places, as well. I saw two people I knew from Washington, DC, one of whom is a genealogist who worked at the DAR when I did, and who got me started on the hobby (I didn’t even know she was going to be there). You never know whom you will see at a conference. While on the registration desk, several people came up to me and inquired if somebody was either registered or had checked in.
On Thursday morning, while waiting for the exhibit hall to open, I saw Cindy Rowzee, an instructor for a number of online classes through MyFamily.com. Both Steve and I took several of her classes, and that is how he and I met. Cindy and I went into the exhibit hall together, heading to Ancestry.com’s exhibit, and later I ran into her two more times, now like old friends.
The exhibit hall is the place where attendees have the opportunity to meet the vendors and find out about new products and services. I learned that ProQuest will be adding 6,000 new books to their book section of HeritageQuest next month. The Ancestry.com booth had new books, and the authors were there signing them. Another instructor Steve and I know from the MyFamily.com classes, George Morgan, was there signing his book, so I said “Hi!” for Steve and me. I chatted with the author of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter, Dick Eastman, whom I’ve met a few times in the past. Dick was interested in seeing this blog, so I promised to send him the address this week. I also met the publisher and editor of Internet Genealogy magazine Mr. Halvor Moorshead. Since Mr. Moorshead wasn’t too busy, I told him that I loved his magazine and how I had mentioned it in my previous guest columns on Steve’s blog. Well, he checked out my articles, and was impressed. He wrote down the URL, so who knows what will happen!
It really is fun seeing what is being offered to genealogists. FamilySearch.org was there as were many other vendors, too many to name all. Some vendors were offering door prizes and attendees received 30 coupons to fill out and then decide where to place them. Among the prizes were a $50 gift certificate for Barnes & Noble, a seven-night stay in Salt Lake City, many specific books and other things. Most of the exhibiters gave away pamphlets, brochures, candy, pens, and staple removers. I was lucky enough to pick up free issues of three recently printed magazines and a free CD with a 30-day trial of The Master Genealogist software.
On Wednesday, I attended a lecture about blogs entitled Dear Genealogy Diary: Today I Made a Great Discovery by Drew Smith. As Drew was setting up his presentation, I saw that he had Steve’s blog on the screen! Steve had asked me to say “Hi!” to Drew, and with Steve’s blog on the screen, it made it very easy for me to introduce myself. As it turned out, a good part of the lecture was on Steve’s site.
If you’re interested in reading more about the FGS conference, I know Dick Eastman will have something on his newsletter at http://blog.eogn.com, and George Morgan and Drew Smith will be talking about the conference on the Genealogy Guys Podcast at http://www.genealogyguys.com.
Even if you couldn’t attend the conference, you can still listen to many of the talks for just $1.99 per lecture by going to http://stores.lulu.com/fgs2006. What a great deal! In the past, I had to buy cassettes, and the cost was much higher than this.
I hope in the future many of you can get to a conference. Every year, there are several large conferences presented by different organizations. Next year, the National Genealogical Society (NGS) at will hold their conference in Richmond, Virginia, and FGS will hold their conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana. But, you don’t have to go to a large conference, since there are many smaller conferences being held all the time, all around the country. Often, the same speakers will present the same lecture at both a large national conference and a small local conference. As a case in point, Diana Smith presented a talk on Why Use Those Blankety-Blank Forms? at FGS, and will present the same talk on October 7, 2006 at the Fairfax Genealogical Society’s 3rd Annual Genealogy Fair. Since most lectures take a lot of time to prepare, the same talks are often presented at multiple events and in multiple locations.
Even though this FGS conference lasted four days, an attendee could register for just a single day or for the entire conference. Many, or I really think most, of the attendees went by themselves. Almost everybody I knew went alone. Very few people knew one another in the lecture halls; so in essence, everybody was doing their own thing alone. Dress was very casual, I began the first day wearing low flats, the next day it was sandals and the other days I was in sneakers. There was so much walking, and I have blisters to show for it. These lectures are for all levels, beginner and advanced, with a wide range of topics.
Last notes, my husband went with me on Saturday to check out the exhibit hall. The hall was free for the public, and I saw many people there, learning about genealogy. So in closing, the FGS conference was a wonderful experience, and I truly hope you will all be able to attend a genealogy conference soon.