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# Tuesday, 10 November 2015
5 Tricks for Using Evernote in Your DNA Research
Posted by Diane

This guest post was written by Kerry Scott, blogger at Clue Wagon and author of a new book on the Evernote software and its potential for genealogists, How to Use Evernote for Genealogy.

There are two kinds of genealogists: those who are overwhelmed by their DNA results and those who haven't done DNA testing yet. Seeing that list of hundreds of cousins is exciting, but humbling for even the most skilled family historians. Who are all of these people? How do they fit into your family tree?

Evernote can help you get your arms around all of that data so you can begin to make sense of it. Here are five ways you can start:

  1. Use the Web Clipper to clip trees when you see them. Your cousins matches may make their tree private at some point, so don’t wait if you see something you might need later. Store that information in Evernote, so you can find it again even if it's no longer online. You can clip and save your chromosome browser views as well.

  2. Use tags to track your matches. Whether it's an AncestryDNA username, a GEDmatch kit number, or some other useful tidbit, you can create a tag to make it easier to find it again. It may take months (or years) to figure out how you're connected to a particular cousin, but tags can shorten that process considerably by allowing you to pull together seemingly unrelated clues to find patterns.

  3. Keep your DNA educational materials in Evernote. Any genealogist will tell you that learning how to work with DNA is a marathon, not a sprint. Remember that Evernote is a great place to store the PDFs you have from Family Tree University courses, Family Tree Magazine, blog posts, and other sources. You'll be able to find them easily using Evernote's powerful search feature, so you can re-read sections as they become relevant to your research.

  4. Create a page for each chromosome. The longer you work with your DNA results, the more data you'll gather on which parts of your DNA come from which ancestors. Breaking out your data by chromosome helps you speed this process up. I've learned that a huge chunk of my DNA chromosome 9 comes from one of my Norwegian lines, so when I have new matches on that chromosome, I know where to look first.

  5. Save reports as PDFs, then store them in Evernote. If you've used GEDmatch for any length of time, you know that it's a powerful tool ... except when the site's down and you have a tantalizing clue you can't follow up on. If you run a one-to-many report (the one with the list of your closest matches) once a week or so, you can save it as a PDF. If GEDmatch goes down, you'll still have that report to refer to. Even better, you'll be able to search it in Evernote, which makes it much easier to find a particular kit number, match name, or email address.

The more organized you are, the better you'll be at translating cousin matches into new branches on your family tree. Using Evernote will ensure that you can find what you need—and spot those elusive clues. Learn about more ways Evernote can help your research in How to Use Evernote for Genealogy, available on

Evernote | Genetic Genealogy
Tuesday, 10 November 2015 09:47:15 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, 27 October 2015
5 Everyday Uses for Evernote Tags
Posted by Diane

This guest post was written by Kerry Scott, blogger at Clue Wagon and also author of a new book on the Evernote software and its potential for genealogists, How to Use Evernote for Genealogy.

Stop me if you've heard this one: "Evernote. That's a note-taking app, right?”

Yes, Evernote is technically a note-taking app, but it also has a built-in secret weapon for genealogists: tags. Many people use tags to ensure that they can find stuff again, but they can also help you link things that might not otherwise go together. That allows you to see your data in a new light, which can reveal all kinds of clues. Here are five ways you can use Evernote tags to get more out of your data:

  1. Make research trips easier by tagging notes with the location of related repositories. If you need something at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, add a tag for that. If you've found that you need to pull a probate file in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, tag the related note. When you manage to convince your spouse that Salt Lake City (or Sheboygan) is a great place for a family vacation, you'll be ready to go. Just gather everything with that tag, and your research plan creates itself. You can also tag notes with the Family History Library microfilm number that you need, which makes prioritizing and ordering films much easier.
  2. Find never-before-seen ancestor photos by tagging your notes with the name of the high school or college they went to. Then, set up eBay alerts for yearbooks for those schools. When you get an alert for a particular yearbook, you can click on the tag to see all of the people who attended that school, and decide whether that volume might have a photo of your ancestor. Of course, eBay isn't the only place to find yearbooks;,, and a number of local libraries and historical societies have digitized yearbooks as well.
  3. Find the right county information by tagging it with the names of the other counties that use to be part of it. For example, if you have ancestors who lived in Sandoval County, New Mexico, from 1890-1922, you might have notes on that county. You'll want to tag it with Bernalillo County as well, since Sandoval was carved out of Bernalillo County in 1903. That way, you'll be able to find all of the relevant county records you need, without necessarily remembering the history of each county your ancestors lived in. You can often find old county histories on Google Books.
  4. Build a medical history for your family by scanning death records, then tagging them with the cause of death. You can search for the tag to see all of the people who had diabetes, heart disease, or other illnesses that run in families.
  5. Identify people in those group photos by looking for a house number in the background. Tag all of your other documents with their house numbers as well, and soon, you'll have a powerful tool to nail down who lived where and when. If you have photo, a city directory page, a census, a newspaper mention, a death certificate, and a tax record, you can pull them together with that single tag. By looking at every document that relates to that house, you'll have a much better sense of who lived there and how they might relate to each other.

Genealogists often look for things by surname or location. Using tags to group things in new ways allows us to see patterns that may not have been evident before. That new perspective can really help break down those brick walls.

Learn more about how to use tags in Evernote in How to Use Evernote for Genealogy, available on

Evernote | Tech Advice
Tuesday, 27 October 2015 09:30:10 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 20 October 2015
4 Ways to Record Your Life for Future Researchers on Evernote
Posted by Diane

This guest post was written by Kerry Scott, blogger at Clue Wagon and author of a new book on the Evernote software and its potential for genealogists, How to Use Evernote for Genealogy.

Genealogists are always focused on finding their ancestors, but what about preserving our own family history? Many of us mean to get to that—someday. It's important that we try to be the ancestors we'd like to find ourselves, but finding the time and resources to do that can be a challenge. Evernote is a great tool to make this process faster and easier because we can incorporate it into our everyday lives. That way, the records make themselves. Here are four ways you can use Evernote to preserve your own family history:

  1. Holiday planning: It's that time of year, and many of us are already scrambling to buy gifts, plan meals, and make travel arrangements. Tracking all of that in Evernote makes life so much easier because you'll have all of the information you need, whenever and wherever you need it. That means if you're standing at a store and find something that might make a great gift, you can easily pull up your Gift List note and see how much you've spent on that person or whether you've already bought her something similar a few years ago.

    Tracking meal planning is particularly helpful, because you can ensure you don't make too much or too little of each thing. How many pounds of mashed potatoes did you need to feed 16 people last year? Did people really like that maple-glazed carrot dish? Your notes can answer these questions. Even better, you're saving exactly the kind of small details that most of us would love to have about our own ancestors. Who wouldn't want to know exactly what was served at the family Thanksgiving feast in 1887?

  2. Kids’ stuff: If you have young kids (or grandkids), you know how the stuff piles up. They're constantly drawing you charming pictures and making you adorable cards, and you feel bad throwing them out. You can't store it all, but Evernote can. Use your camera or smartphone to take a photo, and then store the photo in Evernote. You'll have an easy-to-maintain archive that is dust-free, and your closets will have plenty of room for clothes. You can even use Evernote's Presentation Mode to make a slideshow of the kids' work (learn more here).

  3. Garden planning: Our first house was built in the early 1920s, and we often had people visit who had lived there at various points in time. We once found one woman lurking in the front yard and dabbing her eyes, and we asked if she was okay. She said that her late mother had planted the peonies in the yard, and that she was amazed to find that they were still there. Gardens can be part of our family history, and sometimes they even outlive us. As a practical matter, gardening also often involves lots of trial and error, so tracking what worked and what didn't can be very useful. Keep this information in Evernote, and you'll have it at your fingertips.

  4. Family recipes: Most of us have inherited index cards or scribbled notes with treasured family recipes. Those recipes cards are often in constant peril, dodging the liquids and mess of our kitchens and subject to being lost in the shuffle of getting food on the table. Storing those recipes in Evernote allows us to keep them safe. It also means we can add photos of the ancestor they belonged too, plus stories that might relate. Was this recipe served at every family reunion? Where did Grandma learn to make that fudge? Recording those details are as important as keeping the recipe itself.

Learn more about the many uses of Evernote in How to Use Evernote for Genealogy, available on

Evernote | saving and sharing family history
Tuesday, 20 October 2015 13:27:33 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 13 October 2015
Expert Tips for Organizing Your Life in Evernote
Posted by Diane

Need a new way to organize your research life (or your life in general)? In this guest post, Kerry Scott, blogger at Clue Wagon and author of the new book How to Use Evernote for Genealogy, shares her Evernote organization scheme.

The first time I tried Evernote, I hated it.

I'd heard all the hype, and I thought I must be missing something. When I opened it, it looked like a plain word processor. Why would I want that?

It wasn't until I started using Evernote for absolutely everything that I began to appreciate its power. Once I began focusing on keeping everything in this one place, I understood how much easier that centralization made my life. Knowing that pretty much anything I could be looking for is in this one place made all the difference for me. I never have to remember where I filed something. Whatever the question, the answer is always, "Check Evernote." It's there, and my life is much simpler. That means I have more time for my dead people (and even a bit for my living ones as well).

Of course, keeping everything in Evernote means you need some kind of organizational strategy. Although Evernote's robust search feature means that you'll likely find what you need regardless, most of us still appreciate having some sort of organizational strategy to keep things neat. Here's how I organize my Evernote files:

  • Stack One—Genealogy. This is where I keep anything related to my own family tree. Within this stack, I have notebooks for my my DNA, courses I've taken, genealogy magazines and journals, and maps I use frequently. This is also where I store notes I take when I do research, screenshots of things I find online, and photos of original documents like marriage certificates. I have my online genealogy newsletters automatically forwarded via email to a designated reading notebook in this stack, so that I can easily find them again.

  • Stack Two—Clients. This is where stuff related to other peoples' genealogy goes (whether they're paying clients or not). Keeping them separate helps me ensure that I don't confuse someone else's Nelsons with my own. I often share a note or notebook with the client in question, so she can see what I've found, add her own notes, and track progress (often in real time, because Evernote is always syncing and updating). Shared notes and notebooks are great for collaborating, and they help keep my email inbox in check by putting the information exactly where it needs to be.

  • Stack Three—Business. All of my notes related to income-producing activities go here. If I attend a genealogy conference, I take photos of my receipts with my smartphone, and store them in this stack for tax time (no more lost receipts!). Information related to my blog, my Family Tree University courses, and my non-genealogy clients are all in this stack.

  • Stack Four—Personal. My entire household runs on this stack. This is where I keep our grocery list, our owners manuals, a list of home improvements we've made, and much more. Many of these notebooks are shared with my husband, so if I'm hit by a bus, he'll still know everything he needs to know to keep everything running smoothly.

I've found that the more I use Evernote, the more useful it is. It's so much more than just a genealogy tool, and using it for other things helped shorten my learning curve dramatically. If you're still thinking of Evernote as just a note-taking tool for your research, you're missing out.

Learn more about ways to use Evernote in your research in How to Use Evernote for Genealogy, available on

Evernote | Research Tips | Tech Advice
Tuesday, 13 October 2015 10:15:23 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]