Monday, August 29, 2016

Organize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every ResearcherOrganize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher by Drew Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I saw this book promoted and decided to find a copy to review for my local genealogical society newsletter. Is there a genealogist that doesn’t want to be more organized? Fortunately, my local Barnes and Noble had a copy for me to assess. I was so impressed by it that I bought a copy. The table of contents is a good way to hone in on where you especially feel you need more help. Drew starts by suggesting ways to organize ourselves. He uses psychology and suggests habit building to make the best use of our time. His different approach to organizing is refreshing. This isn’t the same old “color-coding” filing we often read and hear about. It covers how we use our space at home or office, goals, organizing notes and ideas, files, research processes, communication, online research, research trips, and organizing your learning. I am very impressed to see that it even has a chapter on organizing your volunteering. This has my highest recommendation for a library or for your personal collection. I feel it is worth the extra money for the print copy.

View all my reviews

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Orange Lilies: A Review

The Orange Lilies (The Forensic Genealogist #2.5)The Orange Lilies by Nathan Dylan Goodwin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have reviewed some of Nathan Goodwin’s Forensic Genealogist books. The protagonist, Morton Farrier, is a forensic genealogist who is renowned for solving other people’s family histories, but he knows very little of his own ancestry. It is set at Christmas time. Morton and his girlfriend are staying with his “Aunty Margaret” and uncle for the holiday on the coast of Cornwall. Goodwin’s description of Cornwall in the winter is very good. I won’t write much more on the plot, as if you haven’t read the earlier books, I would be putting in a spoiler. This is Goodwin’s best work for me. It is not a murder mystery, but Morton does solve some family mysteries with an almost Agatha Christie denouement. I recommend it for its genealogical appeal, mystery, and for anyone interested in World War I.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Betsy Ross and the Making of AmericaBetsy Ross and the Making of America by Marla R. Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Miller did this as an academic endeavor. She pointed out that even though Ross was so famous, there were surprisingly few documents in which she is directly mentioned. It points out how difficult it is to research women historically, even though she ran a very successful business. It is a good read and I recommend it.

View all my reviews

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Digging for Ancestors: A Review

Digging for Ancestors: An In-Depth Guide to Land RecordsDigging for Ancestors: An In-Depth Guide to Land Records by Michelle Goodrum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Our local genealogical society newsletter editor saw a reference to Digging for Ancestors: An In-depth Guide to Land Records, by Michelle Roos Goodrum and suggested it as a book to review. I purchased a Nook Book copy and had it is seconds. It is also available in print. Land records are one of the best sources for a genealogist. The book is very strong on examples, which are very valuable to me when I am trying to learn about records. It is a good book for anyone who is trying to understand the basics of land research. My fault with the book is using the term in-depth, as I would call it a very good overview. I highly recommend it for anyone just starting to use land records, it does have some helpful advice for more advanced researchers, too. For those who want a true in-depth book, I recommend Land and Property Research in the United States by Wade Hone.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Packing for RootsTech 2014

In just a week I will be flying to Salt Lake City for RootsTech 2014. Needless to say I am very excited for the conference. I attended in 2012, but had to miss last year. For that conference I created a nice Excel spreadsheet of things I needed to pack. It is interesting that in just two years that many of items are no longer needed on the 2014 list. The first is my once treasured hand scanner. That is being replaced by CamScanner on my android phone. That means one less device and one less charger. The second item to not make this year’s list is my digital camera. Again, the smart phone camera is replacing the need to take the camera. The third item to not make the list is my Nook. At the time I used it as a tablet and device to store my documents. This list is getting longer; I will also not need to bring my digital audio recorder, no extra batteries for the camera and audio recorder, and no charger for the Nook. It will be nice not have to pack or to worry about losing these.

That leaves what still made it on the list. I will bring refrigerator magnets for marking cabinets where I have pulled microfilm at the Family History Center. If you haven’t tried it, it saves a lot of time and helps ensure the microfilm gets back into the right place. I still like to take notes on paper. A neat idea I picked up from another blogger was to print the FamilySearch catalog records for the books and film I will be using. Those sheets will make a great place for taking research notes, plus the citation is already listed. I will still need to bring a charger for the phone and a flash drive to pick up extra files.  I carry a file folder with all of my hotel, air, and conference registrations with me, just in case. I almost forgot, I still need to bring pens and a notebook. Did I forget anything else?

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Journey to RootsTech 2012

Day 2 - 2February 2012

The day started off with an excellent breakfast at eh Radisson. The other good news was that I didn't have to change rooms. I headed over to hear the RootsTech keynote speaker for the morning, Jay Verkler, the past head of Family Search. I was very impressed and excited with what he told us. There are great collaboration plans in the near future. He also talked about developing the community framework timeline. That opens up some excellent research possibilities. Another momentous announcement was that they now estimate that it will only take ten years to digitize the current microfilm holdings for the Family History Library. I can can hardly wait! And it's wonderful to hear there are 4,200 genealogists here. That rocks. Google had an intriguing announcement about Google Chrome. Using Historical-Data.org, Schema.org, and an extension they will now be able to deeper search sites that were ignored in earlier Google searches. Family Search, Ancestry, and others will be included. BrightSolid is evidently going to become part of the American genealogist's vocabulary. They are a UK company that is well-known there that is coming across the pond. That could open up some interesting competition.

After the keynote thousands of genealogists headed to the Exhibitors Hall. I was aiming to get a free tee shirt by getting my card stamped from various vendors. I succeeded and am now the proud owner of a RootsTech tee. It was rather crowded to actually visit with vendors, but I decided to do more in-depth chats with them later.

My first session was Steve Morse. He has some great free helps that I would call widgets but probably aren't. They help you find things like the birth date from a gravestone that gives the death date and the age in year, month, and day. He also has some great aides for the 1940 census! He's at SteveMorse.org, not com. More to come.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Journey to RootsTech 2012

1 February 2012

Planning paid off! I made a list of everything I needed to pack days before I was to leave. It would be too easy to forget a charger or some other vital tech piece. Last night I checked that list twice just like Santa-- I don't think I forgot anything.

I deliberately took the mid-day flight and am really glad I did. It was an easy morning getting out of the house. My flight wasn't until 12:45, but I wanted to get tot he airport an hour and a half early just in case there were any problems. It was an easy drive to Omaha and the easiest airport check-in I have had. There was no one waiting to check baggage, the security check was barely busy, and I was to my gate by 11:15-- wow.

One of the things besides the kitchen sink I didn't bring was a lunch or snack. I brought a small package of Lay's potato chips and a cup of coffee. I could refill it and take it on the plane. That worked well, but next time I will take along a sandwich or something. It was great having the new Delta card, as it got me zone 2 seating which is pretty sweet. The flight was on time leaving and arriving at Salt Lake. The last time I was st the SLC airport I was stranded with my daughter for a day. This time it went well. Their shuttle system takes getting used to but was only $8.00.

My hotel reservation was in two parts. They couldn't guarantee I would have the same room the second night. They did upgrade my room though. I hurriedly set up in my room and then headed towards the Family History Library. On the way I realized I was very hungry and stopped at the J B's across from the Salt Palace. It was great getting that 55+ lunch price. I had looked before I got toe SLC to figure out how to get to the FHL. Of course I got the distance off a bit and had to call Mike to get better directions. The FHL ended up being just a hundred feet away.

My friend Marcia and I had planned to meet for dinner tonight, and I knew she was going to the FHL when she got to SLC. I looked around the FHL a bit and found her checking out the US book shelves. I had forgotten just how impressive the FHL is. I was mesmerized walking down any bookshelf-- it was incredible what they have. I checked out a few books I had printed out the records for before I left.

Marcia and I headed over to the Salt Palace to get our registrations. The Salt Palace is huge. The registration process went well. From there we went to a very nice Japanese restaurant across from the Palace. We ate light,but each added a glass of wine. After dinner we headed back to the FHL. This time I decided to work on the Saratoga land records. I had ordered the grantee index earlier in Lincoln and had the volumes and page numbers I needed. It was tedious, but I am starting to put a picture together of that family. Thank you to the person who suggested bringing magnets to mark the microfilm cabinets. After a couple of hours or more we headed back to our hotels. After relaxing for a bit and checking out the conference schedule again I decided to go down to the bar to write up my notes while enjoying an excellent glass of Cabernet!