9    Aug 20161 comment

Why It’s Important to Visit a Library in Your Ancestral Location

This is a guest post by George G. Morgan, President of Aha! Seminars, Inc., and an internationally-recognized genealogy lecturer. He is the prolific award-winning author of hundreds of articles for magazines, journals, newsletters, in genealogical publications, and at online sites internationally. His 12th book, the fourth edition of "How to Do Everything: Genealogy," was released in 2015. He is also co-host of "The Genealogy Guys" podcast, the longest running genealogical podcast, with thousands of listeners around the globe.

Gone are the days of librarians with their hair in a bun, wearing pince-nez, and shushing patrons. Libraries are now exciting hubs of information and activity in their communities. They provide computer equipment, databases of interest to their local populations, educational programs, and a wide variety of activities for every age group, as well as books, periodicals, microfilm, and more.

Hal Kohn Memorial Library, Newberry, South Carolina.

Many family historians attempt to conduct genealogical research exclusively from home using their computers. While there is certainly a vast, growing body of resources being made available online, we are a long journey away from having everything available electronically. On-site research will always be an essential part of our strategy. Continue reading "Why It’s Important to Visit a Library in Your Ancestral Location" »

22    Jun 20169 comments

The 3 Cs: Organizing Research Inherited from a Relative

This is a guest post by Kate Eakman, staff genealogist at Legacy Tree Genealogists, MyHeritage’s recommended research partner. Kate has a master's degree in history and loves to help people see into the lives of their ancestors. Her ability to “think outside the box” helps her to find treasured details about a person's heritage.

You’ve just been handed the family research of your grandmother, or great-uncle, or perhaps some even more distant relative who heard that you “do genealogy” – and now you are wondering what to do with it.

Here are three easy steps to integrate it into your own research.

1. Classify Continue reading "The 3 Cs: Organizing Research Inherited from a Relative" »

19    May 201619 comments

Enhance Your Research: Understand Worldwide Naming Patterns

This is a guest post by genealogist James L. Tanner, a retired trial attorney from Arizona now living in Utah. He is the author of two popular genealogy blogs, Genealogy's Star and Rejoice, and be exceeding glad. With over 30 years of genealogy experience, he currently volunteers at the Brigham Young University Family History Library in Provo, Utah.

Not too long ago, MyHeritage.com opened a major genealogical door for many researchers with its new Global Name Translation Technology. Quoting from the product announcement, “The technology automatically translates the names found in historical records and family trees from one language into another, at very high accuracy, generating all plausible translations, to facilitate matches between names in different languages.” See, New Feature: Global Name Translation™ Technology. This technology is highly beneficial because many given names and surnames have equivalents in various languages. But even with this valuable help from MyHeritage.com, it is still important to understand the basic naming patterns in the country or countries where your ancestors lived. Continue reading "Enhance Your Research: Understand Worldwide Naming Patterns" »

22    Mar 20166 comments

Guest Post: Sprucing Up Your Family’s History

This is a guest post by Leslie Albrecht Huber, a genealogy writer, and speaker. She has written over 100 articles published in a variety of history and family history outlets. She loves speaking to groups on genealogy topics, particularly those focused on German genealogy, tracing immigrant ancestors, social history, and writing family histories. Leslie has spoken in over 20 U.S. states, on "Good Morning America" and on NPR (National Public Radio). Her book, "The Journey Takers," was published in 2010.

We’ve all read family histories that begin something like this: “My great-grandmother, Mary Smith, was born on June 3, 1890, in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. She was the daughter of Sarah Smith and John Smith. She had two older brothers and three younger sisters.”

With nothing story-like to them, these histories are little more than lists of details strung together in paragraph format. They may be packed full of well-researched information, but many readers will struggle to get beyond the first few pages before they find their mind wandering or their eyes drifting closed. Continue reading "Guest Post: Sprucing Up Your Family’s History" »

31    Dec 20154 comments

5 New Year’s Resolutions Every Genealogist Should Set

This is a guest post by Lorine McGinnis Schulze of Olive Tree Genealogy. Lorine is a Canadian genealogist who has been involved in genealogy and history for over 30 years. Find her on Twitter (@LorineMS), Pinterest (lorinems), and at her Olive Tree Genealogy YouTube channel. She is also the author of many published genealogical and historical articles and books here.

New Year's always seems like a good time to make resolutions for doing better in our personal or business lives, or for accomplishing goals in the year ahead. But how many resolutions should we make? How many are we going to realistically keep?

Enthusiasm for change runs high in January. We are full of renewed energy. It’s a new year with the opportunity for new beginnings, and it is easy to become caught up in the fervor. But February and March often bring different emotions and our enthusiasm for the work that lies ahead can wane or drop off completely.

We genealogists often get carried away with our resolutions. There are so many ancestors to find, and so many sources to cite! We need to find great-grandma’s maiden name. We need to organize our files. We desperately want to find the names of 2nd great-grandpa’s parents. And where or who did 3rd great-grandpa marry? The list of wants is endless. Continue reading "5 New Year’s Resolutions Every Genealogist Should Set" »

20    Dec 20156 comments

Family Mysteries: Revealed through holiday cards and letters

This is a guest post by genealogist James L. Tanner, a retired trial attorney from Arizona now living in Utah. He is the author of two popular genealogy blogs, Genealogy's Star and Rejoice, and be exceeding glad. With over 30 years of genealogy experience, he currently volunteers at the Brigham Young University Family History Library in Provo, Utah.

Many countries around the world have a tradition of sending greeting cards to friends and relatives during the holiday seasons. In the United States, there is also a strong tradition of sending family letters at the end of the year reviewing important events. In the last 100 years or so, these holiday cards and letters  have also contained photos and valuable information about family members. Sometimes the information contained in a card or on a photo may be priceless and could resolve long-standing family mysteries. A card from a distant relative may identify someone whose relationship you never knew about or even suspected.

"Burns Mont. Ayr Postcard 1899" (Credit: Tony Corsini at en.wikipedia. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons)

Continue reading "Family Mysteries: Revealed through holiday cards and letters" »

29    Nov 201522 comments

The Power of Story: Yours, Mine and Ours

This is a guest post by genealogy professional Thomas MacEntee. He specializes in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogical research and as a means of interacting with others in the family history community. His latest endeavor is Genealogy Bargains, a way to save money on genealogy and family history products and services.

“Mommy? Where are you?”

At age four, I almost drowned in a lake at my father’s hunting camp in upstate New York. It is one of my earliest memories that remain with me to this day. I remember looking up from the water and seeing my mother reach down for me. I could see her, almost clearly, yet she could not see me. And time stood still.

My mother saved me that day after I had wandered away from the rest of the family and slipped on the wet grass along the bank of the lake. Luckily, it was only a few seconds after I fell in that she realized something had happened. While on her hands and knees at the water’s edge, she frantically reached around the murky bottom until she was able to grab the waist of my pants and pull me out.

I was saved that day. It was one of several times when this gentle yet strong woman would agitate the waters of my life, to save me and then soothe me to make those waters calm. Continue reading "The Power of Story: Yours, Mine and Ours" »

14    Oct 20157 comments

Lisa Louise Cooke: Using Google tools for genealogy

This is a guest post by Lisa Louise Cooke, founder of Genealogy Gems, a genealogy and family history multi-media company. She is producer and host of "Genealogy Gems Podcast," the popular online genealogy audio show, as well as the "Family History: Genealogy Made Easy" podcast. Her podcast episodes bring genealogy news, research strategies, expert interviews and inspiration to genealogists. She is also the author of a variety of multi-media materials, including "The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox." She is also a doting wife to Bill, the proud mom of three daughters, and a grandmother to boot.

We recently spoke with Lisa about how Google's online tools have changed the face of genealogy research and using them to help you search, translate, message, and span the globe.

1. Can you highlight some of the main ways Google tools have changed the face of genealogy research? Continue reading "Lisa Louise Cooke: Using Google tools for genealogy" »

10    Sep 20157 comments

Names: How do you say that?

Contributing author Schelly Talalay Dardashti is the US Genealogy Advisor for MyHeritage.com

If your family name is Smith or Green, you won't relate to this post. However, if your family name is something more exotic - welcome to the club!

They look at your name, stammer and ask "how do you say that?" What do you do? Do you patiently spell it several times? Will you, as I often do, spell it out as in "D as in David, A as in Apple, R as in Robert" .... Do you break the name down into syllables for the other person? Do you give up and say, "Call me by my first name!" Continue reading "Names: How do you say that?" »

7    Sep 201533 comments

Privacy Issues for Family Historians

This article is a guest post by Dick Eastman, one of the most recognized names in the genealogy world. A pioneer geneablogger, he uses technology to improve your family history experience.

Genealogists often face conflicting requirements. We want to publish our own family information online in hopes that others will see it and recognize connections to their own family. Those other genealogists then can contact us, and we can collaborate to expand the known family trees of each of us. The problem is that today's news is full of alarming articles about identity theft, fraud, and similar illegal acts. While some of the news articles describe real threats, others are published as "scare tactics" that magnify smaller issues to sound as if there are imminent dangers for all of us. Alarmist articles often strike unnecessary fear into the hearts of those who do not understand the difference between major and minor threats.

Fears of identity theft from public genealogical information often are irrational. Identity thieves obtain personal information about living people and rarely, if ever, get that information from ancestral data published online. The most common way thieves lift your personal information is by stealing your wallet, not from a website. (Reference: The Most Common Causes of Identity Theft and How to Protect Yourself.) Continue reading "Privacy Issues for Family Historians" »

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