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# 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]
# Wednesday, 21 October 2015
23andMe Relaunches Health-Related DNA Testing
Posted by Diane

Genetic testing company 23andMe is again offering health-related DNA testing in addition to its ancestry services.

In 2013, the FDA ordered 23andMe to stop offering the health analysis, which informed test-takers about their risks for getting 254 diseases and conditions, such as Alzheimer's, diabetes and breast cancer. The company hadn't proven its tests were " analytically or clinically validated," the FDA said.

The new service, launched after negotiations with the FDA, reports on "carrier status" (whether a person carries genes and could pass them on to children) for 36 diseases such as sickle cell anemia and hearing loss. It also includes wellness reports on whether a test-taker could develop traits such as lactose intolerance.

Test-takers also can opt to have their DNA anonymously be part of medical research studies. Ancestry DNA has followed suit with its "Ancestry Human Diversity Project" (which test-takers can—but don't have to—consent to be part of) and AncestryHealth website.

23andMe's ancestry analysis, which is included along with the health results, is unchanged. The price for the company's test has doubled, though, from $99 to $199.

Read more about 23andMe's relaunched health testing on CNN Money and Vox.

Genetic Genealogy
Wednesday, 21 October 2015 14:08:35 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 20 October 2015
Somebody Stop Me! Finding New York Family History in Newspapers
Posted by Diane

New York was on my mind today because of our upcoming Best New York Genealogy Research Strategies webinar this Thursday, Oct. 22, with New York genealogy expert Jane Wilcox. I added it to my calendar because my husband's dad's family is from the Lockport, NY, area, and Greg has been prodding me to work on his family a little.

Then on Facebook, someone shared a 2013 article about the homegrown website Old Fulton NY Postcards and the man who runs it, Tom Tryniski. The site, which started with old postcards, now has more than 33 million digitized newspaper pages from New York (and even some other states) you can search for free.

This site has been a repeater on our list of 75 Best State Websites for genealogy, but I hadn't tried it until today, when the universe seemed to want me to.

I'm not finished going through all 798 search results (and the unique last name means it's likely a lot of them are relevant), but among my finds were obituaries for Greg's grandfather, great-grandfather and great-uncle; news of the parade when the grandfather returned from serving in World War I; property transfers; so-and-so visiting so-and-so; and more.

Here's the Sept. 22, 1923, obituary for the above-mentioned great-grandfather, Anthony Solly:

This July 9, 1954, Niagara Falls Gazette article reports on an auto accident Greg says his dad used to tell stories about (the other car was the one that ran the stop sign):

If you're researching New York ancestors, our Best New York Genealogy Research Strategies will show you techniques and resources (like the one where I struck gold) you need to know about. The webinar happens Thursday, Oct. 22, at  7 p.m. Eastern (that's 6 Central, 5 Mountain, 4 Pacific). All registrants receive a PDF of the presentation slides and access to view the webinar again (and again).

Visit today to learn more!

Free Databases | Newspapers | Research Tips | Webinars
Tuesday, 20 October 2015 16:06:36 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
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]
# Monday, 19 October 2015
"Finding Your Roots" Season 3 to Premiere Jan. 5 on PBS
Posted by Diane

There's finally a premiere date for the third season of PBS' "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.": Jan. 5, 2016. The show has been on hiatus after an internal review concluded that actor Ben Affleck had "improper influence" over producers' decision to omit a reference to Affleck's slaveowning ancestor in the episode featuring his family history.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the show added an additional researcher/fact-checker, another genealogist and an expert in genetic genealogy. Producers also instituted a more-rigorous process of obtaining releases from the celebrity guests whose ancestries are featured.

The lineup will include television producer Shonda Rhimes (whose shows include "Grey's Anatomy") and actors Neil Patrick Harris (of "How I Met Your Mother") and Juliana Margulies (of "The Good Wife").

The Hollywood Reporter also states "Genealogy Roadshow" will return May 17. Read the full article here.

Celebrity Roots | Genealogy TV
Monday, 19 October 2015 14:33:17 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Wednesday, 14 October 2015
Navigating the New How to Browse Records From the Image Viewer
Posted by Diane

One of the frustrations with technology is that just when you have something figured out, it changes. Such was the case for many members when the “new” became the

In our Fall 2015 Virtual Conference last month, participants and chat moderator Amy Johnson Crow shared tricks in our User-to-User Tips chat.

“The biggest change I've seen in the latest version of Ancestry is how to access browsing a collection from the image viewer,” she typed. You might want to browse from the image viewer if you want to check another county or township for your family without having to find the main page for the collection.

It used to be, a “breadcrumb trail” of the location would be at the top of the view, and you’d click the place you want to browse to see records from that place.

Now, browsing from the image viewer is a little more concealed. Here’s how you’d do it:

1. If you don’t already see a menu on the right with information about the record, click this little icon and it'll appear:

2. Then in that menu, click the tab on the right that says Source.

3. Use the place dropdown menus to choose a different state, county, enumeration district, etc. Options will vary based on the type of records you’re using (this is the wills and probate collection).

To flip pages to the right or left, just use the arrows at the bottom of the image viewer. Or if you want to jump a bunch of pages, type a number into the box between the arrows.

Learn how to navigate the new—including the new family tree features—like a pro in our Master the New webinar, happening Thursday, Oct. 22, at 7 pm Eastern. All who register get a copy of the webinar slides and access to view the webinar again as often as you like. Visit for more details. | Webinars
Wednesday, 14 October 2015 08:34:01 (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]
# Monday, 12 October 2015
Sundays in October: Free Select Database on
Posted by Diane

To celebrate Family History Month in October, the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is offering a free database on its website each Sunday. On Oct. 18, you can search the Great Migration Begins, documenting immigrants to New England between 1620 and 1633; and on Oct. 25, search Early Families of New England, summarizing 17th-century New England families.

You must start a free guest registration on to take advantage of these free database offers.

In addition, on Fridays in October, visit NEHGS on Facebook for giveaways, and if you're in Boston, the NEHGS research library is offering free admission every Wednesday this month.

See more details and NEHGS' Family History Month schedule here.

Free Databases | Genealogy societies
Monday, 12 October 2015 09:17:31 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 06 October 2015
7 Ways to Celebrate Family History Month in October 2015
Posted by Diane

Cake made by me at Virtual Cake Decorator

In 2001, Congress first passed a resolution to make that October Family History Month in the United States. Since then, although there haven't been official resolutions, genealogy businesses and organizations have continued to observe Family History Month in October.

We love a reason to celebrate! Break out the party supplies and do something genealogical, such as:
  • Pick your favorite ancestor or ancestral family and write about him/her/them, drawing on your genealogical research (here are some tips to get started). This could be a few paragraphs, an essay or an all-out book.
  • Use copies of old photos and records, along with genealogical information you've gathered, for one of these crafty family history projects. Time and skill requirements range from quick and easy to more involved.
  • Have your kids and grandkids help you with a genealogy project, such as going to a cemetery, visiting old family homes, organizing photos, or making a slideshow to share. Little kids might like an activity book such as one of the Zap the Grandma Gap books.

It's a great month for genealogy. Enjoy!

saving and sharing family history
Tuesday, 06 October 2015 11:43:09 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [0]