Saturday, January 30, 2016

Best of the Best Habits for a Highly Organized Genealogist

Posted by Diane
   Why is organizing genealogy stuff perpetually challenging for so many of us? Maybe because finding new ancestry information is more fun than logging it. And organization isn't a one-way-fits-everyone kind of deal—the system and tools best for you depend on how your brain works.
 But the pros will tell you that organizing is an important part of research. It helps you figure out how the new piece fits into your family tree and form conclusions about your ancestors.
1. Keep the big picture in mind. You can use genealogy charts such as five-generation ancestor charts and family group sheets to help you visualize how your relatives fit together, or try an online family tree builder with an app on your smart phone. (Find free downloadable blank forms on FamilyTreeMagazine.com.) It’s also handy to have a large working family tree chart, where you can see the whole thing at once. 

2. Take charge of paper files.
Set up a filing system for family papers. Many researchers use binders or file folders arranged alphabetically by surname. Each surname folder holds papers from a couple’s marriage to their death, as well as any general notes. Children go in their parents’ folder, then get their own folder when they marry. You also might keep folders for towns or counties, with maps, historical background and local research notes.
3. Go digital. To save space in paper files and create electronic backups, scan photos and paper documents. Organize digital files with the same system as your paper files. Determine a file-naming scheme, write it down and stick to it.

4. Establish an organization routine.
If you regularly take short chunks of time to file stuff, it becomes second nature. Set up an inbox on your desk or computer hard drive for items you need to take action on (scan, label, etc.) and a “to file” folder for documents ready to be put away. Once a week or month, schedule time to empty these boxes.
5. Take advantage of tech tools. You can organize with tons of tech tools and apps, such as Evernote for tracking information and research findings, Calibre to manage e-books, Flickr for photos, Excel spreadsheets for checklists and logs. Find some of our favorite genealogy apps listed here.
6. Designate a workspace. If you’re like many of us, your genealogy workspace may double as a guest bedroom, dining room table or living room floor. Try to have a designated spot for your files, computer and books.

7. Color-code folders and files.
You could use a color for each surname, though you’d probably run out of colors before too long. I'd color code by branch with a different color for each of my grandparents’ lines. Color-code computer files and folders to match: On a Mac, click on a folder or file in the finder window and then click the down arrow next to the gear icon. From the drop-down menu, select Label and the color. PCs don’t have built-in folder color-coding, but you can download a program such as
Folderico.
8. Create a kit for on-site research. Prepare a bag with tools you might need for research at a repository: notebook, pen, pencil, money for the copier, flash drive, a family group sheet, surname variant lists, blank census or passenger list recording forms, etc. Now you won’t have to run around gathering stuff when you leave for the library.
http://blog.familytreemagazine.com/insider/2016/01/19/8HabitsOfHighlyOrganizedGenealogists.aspx?utm_source=source=newsletter&utm_campaign=campaign=sft-dha-nl-160121&utm_content=814249_FTI160121&utm_medium=email

Thursday, January 28, 2016

E-Z Photo Scan announces free scanning at RootsTech

 
The following announcement was written by the folks at E-Z Photo Scan:
Scanning leader sets goal for 100,000 scans at global family history event
Jan. 27, 2016
Altamonte Springs, Fla. – E-Z Photo Scan, the leading marketer of desktop photo-scanning systems, announced RootsTech attendees can have their prints and slides scanned for free during the event, Feb. 3-6, 2016, in Salt Lake City. In 2015, E-Z Photo Scan booth attendees scanned 98,561 prints at RootsTech, and this year, a goal of 100,000 scans has been set.
To participate, RootsTech attendees can bring their photo prints, scrapbook pages and slides to expo booth 1109 during exhibit hours Thursday-Saturday. To make image storage easy and simple, E-Z Photo Scan will use the latest technology to make photos available to attendees after the event. These treasured digital memories can be stored on FamilySearch and other genealogy sites. Also, on Saturday, E-Z Photo Scan is part of the interactive activities of Family Discovery Day.
“To reach our 100,000 free scan goal, we’re bringing our full array of photo scanning equipment, including the Kodak Picture Saver scanner, SlideSnap Lite and Shotbox,” says Richard “Rick” Lippert, president, E-Z Photo Scan. “Simply bring your prints and slides to digitize them for free. It’s fast, easy and fun.”
For information about attending RootsTech, visit www.rootstech.org
ABOUT E-Z PHOTO SCAN
Founded in 1995, E-Z Photo Scan has worked with many community centers, historical societies, museums, and individuals to help them organize and preserve their photos and documents. Their team has long recognized the need for photo organization and management service providers, having seen individuals who find digitizing photographic archives to be a daunting, expensive and time-consuming task. It was awarded Kodak Picture Saver Scanning Systems Global Value-Added Re-Seller Leader of the Year.
ABOUT ROOTSTECH
RootsTech is a global family history event, where people of all ages learn to discover, share, and celebrate their family connections across generations through technology. At RootsTech, there is something for everyone, no matter your experience in family history or your skill level in technology. RootsTech will be held on Feb. 3-6, 2016, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Innovator Summit will be held on Feb. 3, 2016, also at the Salt Palace.
(Eastmans Newsletter 27 Jan 2016)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year 2016




Thank you to all the blog readers throughout this year. Here's wishing you the very best for 2016, and I hope you break all those genealogy brick walls down !!

Monday, December 14, 2015

How to Print to PDF

A newsletter reader asked today, “How can I save an image on a web site, such as a census page image, as a PDF file?” I decided to answer here in the newsletter in case someone else has the same question.
The short answer is, “there are several methods of saving images to PDF files.” However, I will expand on that with longer answers below. First, you need to save the image to your computer’s hard drive in almost any format. With most web pages, that means saving it in the same format that is used on the web site. Then you need to convert it to PDF. In many programs, that is called “print as PDF.”

The following is for converting specific images, not for saving entire web pages as PDF files. I will later tell how to save entire web pages as PDF files.

Saving the image

In most web browsers, go to the web page of interest, move the mouse icon over the image you wish to save, right click with the mouse, and select “Save image as…” You will then need to select where to save it and also give the newly-saved file a name. On my Mac computer I keep a folder called Downloads where I place all newly-downloaded files. This is also the default folder for downloads on most Windows computers. Then I can later convert any file in that folder to whatever format I wish and save it to an appropriate folder for long-term storage. Every few weeks or so I delete all the older files in the Downloads folder as I no longer need them. You might want to do something similar just to keep things organized.

Macintosh

Apple includes all the needed PDF software with every Mac. Use Finder to go to the Downloads directory (or wherever you saved the image), double-click on the image and wait for it to display on your screen. Unless you have changed your system settings, the image will be displayed in Preview. Within Preview, select FILE in the upper left corner, then select PRINT. A new pop-up window will appear. Click on PDF, and then select “Save as PDF” from the selection list that appears. Follow the menus, and your new PDF file will be saved wherever you specified.

Windows

Microsoft does not include PDF software in Windows although some companies that manufacture computers that use the Windows operating system have added this capability to their systems. Microsoft created the company’s own version of portable document files, called XPS. However, XPS files never became very popular, and you rarely find XPS files on web pages. In any case, a number of third-party companies have created software to add the capability of creating PDF files on any Windows computer.

Probably the most expensive and full-featured solution for creating PDF files on Windows is to install Adobe Acrobat.

NOTE: You will need the full version of Adobe Acrobat, not the free Adobe Reader that only displays existing PDF files.

Adobe Acrobat sells for $449, or you can opt for a monthly subscription for $19.99 a month. Due to Adobe’s high prices and the available products from Adobe’s competitors, I would never purchase Adobe Acrobat. However, if you are interested, you can learn more at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat.html.

doPDF is a FREE Windows program that will create PDF files. Once installed, it creates a new, “virtual printer driver” in your computer that is called doPDF. You print to this “printer” exactly as you print to a regular printer: with the desired document open on your computer, click on File –> Print and select doPDF from your list of printers. When you then click on Print, the result will be a PDF file, not a printed piece of paper. You can find doPDF at http://www.dopdf.com.

CutePDF Writer is a popular free “print to PDF” product that operates in much the same manner as doPDF. The same company also sells (for $49.95) CutePDF Professional, which adds capabilities such as the ability to create PDF booklets, combine multiple PDF files into one, add watermarks, edit forms, add comments, add headers and footers, rearrange pages, security, digital signature, scan, FTP, and more. I suspect most genealogists will be satisfied with the free version. Details may be found at http://www.cutepdf.com/.

PrimoPDF is also a very popular free program to create PDF files with Windows. The company’s web site claims that PrimoPDF has been downloaded more than 27 million times. The company also sells other products to convert PDF files to Word format, to edit existing PDF files, and more. Again, I suspect most genealogists will be satisfied with the free version. Details about PrimoPDF may be found at http://www.primopdf.com/.

You can find quite a few other programs that will create PDF files on a Windows computer. The above list is simply a list of the more popular products and are ones that I know will work well. A quick Google search will undoubtedly find other PDF products as well although I may not be as familiar with each of them.

If you have any of the above products, you can convert almost anything that appears on your screen into a PDF file, including web pages. In fact, the same will usually work for Microsoft Word, Excel, Facebook, and many, many more applications. In most cases, use the web browser (or Word or Excel or whatever application you choose) as normal. To save to a PDF file, select FILE in the upper left corner, then select PRINT and choose “Save as PDF.” (The exact wording might be slightly different, depending upon which print-to-PDF product you have installed. However, the wording should be close to “Save as PDF.”)

Save an entire web page as a PDF file

If you have none of the above products installed but wish to save a web page as a PDF file, you can use the Web2PDF web site to create PDF files for you. This free, cloud-based service will read any publicly-available web page and convert it to a PDF file which you can then save on your own computer. It won’t save password-protected pages, however, as the service has no method of logging onto such pages. You can learn more about this free service at http://www.web2pdfconvert.com/.

The Chrome web browser also has a built-in method of saving web pages to PDF files. You do not have to install any special software in your computer nor any extensions in your browser because Google Chrome itself acts as the PDF writer. Open any web page inside Google Chrome, press Ctrl+P (or Cmd+P if you are on a Mac) to open the Print dialog, and change the destination. The entire web page will be saved to your computer as a PDF file. My experience with creating PDF files from the Chrome browser is that resultant PDF files often are not an exact copy of the original. Formatting tends to be erratic. I would suggest using one of the above programs instead of the Chrome browser whenever possible. I bet you will then be happier with the results.

Summation

The above methods are quick and easy solutions to creating PDF files. However, once created, PDF files can be changed, appended to, converted, extracted, and more. One resource that I use frequently is the PDF Tutorial at http://www.labnol.org/software/adobe-pdf-guide-tutorial/6296/. It has very brief descriptions of things that can be done with PDF files and, in many cases, links to more detailed descriptions of the various tasks.

Have fun with PDF!
(D Eastman)

Monday, November 2, 2015

What Kind of Genealogist Are YOU ?



A great read today from Legacy and Lorine McGinnis Schulze. Do you recognize yourself ? 

My husband and I are very different genealogists. I love research. I love the challenge of the hunt, the mystery waiting to be solved. I'll research anyone's ancestry just to have the thrill of following the clues. I just love solving the puzzle. Of course I also love finding my own ancestors! 

 My husband however dislikes research. He finds it tedious and a lot of work.  He loves finding an ancestor, or better yet, having someone else find that ancestor for him. He's passionate about his ancestry, but avoids the actual research whenever possible. Family lore is enough for him and he feels no need to find sources to verify that lore. If it's important enough to him, he'll force himself to push through the research but he'd rather I did it for him. He always says that if he were rich, he'd hire someone to do all the research for him. 

 I'd hate that, and in fact I often feel bad that I'm doing so much that I'm not leaving my grandchildren the fun of the hunt! 

 It seems to me that there are several types of genealogists -

The Hunter or Detective: This genealogist loves the research. While they want to find their own ancestors, they'll research anyone's ancestry just for the thrill of the hunt. They are easily sidetracked from their own ancestral research by the challenge of solving a stranger's brick wall.

The Gatherer or Ancestor Collector: This genealogist loves to know about their ancestors but doesn't really enjoy the hunt. He/she is happy to have others share what they have found.

The Ancestor Finder: This genealogist loves it all - doing the actual research and finding that elusive ancestor but they only enjoy researching their own family tree, not the ancestry of strangers. 

The Hoarder: This genealogist does lots of research, finds new things about their ancestors but refuses to share any of the information.

The Junkyard Collector: This genealogist gets excited over online Family Trees and merges them with his/her own. He/she never verifies anything or checks their facts. Before long they have a mess of unsourced information, conflicting data and facts that don't make sense. They'll have female ancestors having children at the age of 100, or men born 50 years after their spouse or children born before their parents. 

The Scholar: This genealogist lives and breathes source citations.  Accuracy is everything to this research. You'll often find this person submitting articles to scholarly journals as the New York Genealogial and Biographical Record. Page after page of red edit marks from the editors don't intimidate them. They'll plow through their article drafts, refining and revising and making each more accurate than the last.

The Analyzer: This genealogist finds a new fact, then studies it and analyzes it carefully before moving on to the next bit of research. They use each fact as a stepping stone to more research. They verify every piece of information they find and they view it critically, thinking about what it actually means and what other clues might be gleaned from it. 

The Planner: This genealogist is a faithful keeper of research logs. He/she creates research plans and follows them. They are extremely organized in their research and meticulous about planning before they go on a research trip

The Writer: This is the genealogist who is driven to write the stories of the ancestors. Some publish the books they write and offer them for sale, others write only for their family.


 I'm not judging any specific type as the best or the worst except the junkyard collectors who make me shudder and shake my head in bewilderment. 

 Some of us may fit more than one category. I am definitely a Hunter-Detective and a Writer but I'm also a little bit of a Scholar. I don't live and breathe source citations but I have submitted articles to scholarly journals and I've faced the red editing pen with determination. I'm also an Analyzer.  My husband on the other hand is a Gatherer. He doesn't seem to fit any other categories. 

 Where do you fit in?

Lorine McGinnis Schulze is a Canadian genealogist who has been involved with genealogy and history for more than thirty years. In 1996 Lorine created the Olive Tree Genealogy website and its companion blog. Lorine is the author of many published genealogical and historical articles and books.

 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Coined Traditions



Coins Left on Tombstones

While visiting some cemeteries you may notice that headstones marking certain graves have coins on them, left by previous visitors to the grave.
These coins have distinct meanings when left on the headstones of those who gave their life while serving in America's military, and these meanings vary depending on the denomination of coin.
A coin left on a headstone or at the grave site is meant as a message to the deceased soldier's family that someone else has visited the grave to pay respect. Leaving a penny at the grave means simply that you visited.
A nickel indicates that you and the deceased trained at boot camp together, while a dime means you served with him in some capacity. By leaving a quarter at the grave, you are telling the family that you were with the soldier when he was killed.
According to tradition, the money left at graves in national cemeteries and state veterans cemeteries is eventually collected, and the funds are put toward maintaining the cemetery or paying burial costs for indigent veterans.
In the US, this practice became common during the Vietnam war, due to the political divide in the country over the war; leaving a coin was seen as a more practical way to communicate that you had visited the grave than contacting the soldier's family, which could devolve into an uncomfortable argument over politics relating to the war.
Some Vietnam veterans would leave coins as a "down payment" to buy their fallen comrades a beer or play a hand of cards when they would finally be reunited.
The tradition of leaving coins on the headstones of military men and women can be traced to as far back as the Roman Empire.



While "Cleaning of the Stones" at the National Cemetery in Holly. I noticed a quarter placed on one of the stones. Later I also noticed a nickel placed on another stone. I was so touched with this that I took pictures.I googled about the coins, and found this out. I am very proud to share this.
A coin left on a headstone lets the deceased soldiers family know that somebody stopped by to pay their respect. Leaving a penny means you visited.
A nickel means that you and the deceased soldier trained at boot camp together. If you served with the soldier, you leave a dime. A quarter is very significant because it means that you were there when that soldier died.

Origins:   Humans have been leaving mementos on and within the final resting places of loved ones almost from the beginning of the species. Excavations of even the earliest graves uncover goods meant to serve the deceased in the next world, such as pottery, weapons and beads.
The earliest known coins date to the late seventh century B.C. As societies began embracing monetary systems, coins began being left in the graves of its citizens merely as yet another way of equipping the dear departed in the afterlife.
Mythologies within certain cultures added specific purpose for coins being left with the dead. In Greek mythology, Charon, the ferryman of Hades, required payment for his services. A coin was therefore placed in the mouth of the dear departed to ensure he would ferry the deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron and into the world of the dead rather than leave him to wander the shore for a hundred years. In England and the U.S., pennies were routinely placed on the closed eyes of the dead, yet the purpose for that practice was not clear — some say it was to keep the eyes of the corpse from flying open,
yet the eyes, once shut by the person laying out the body, do not reopen.
In these more modern days, coins and other small items are sometimes discovered on grave markers, be they plaques resting atop the sod or tombstones erected at the head of the burial plot. These small tokens are left by visitors for no greater purpose than to indicate that someone has visited that particular grave. It has long been a tradition among Jews, for example, to leave a small stone or pebble atop a headstone just to show that someone who cared had stopped by. Coins (especially pennies) are favored by others who wish to demonstrate that the deceased has not been forgotten and that instead his loved ones still visit him.
Sometimes these small remembrances convey meaning specific to the person buried in that plot. For more than twenty years, every month someone has been leaving one Campbell's tomato soup can and a pocketful of change on the plain black granite tombstone that marks the grave of Andy Warhol. The soup can is easy to explain, given Warhol's iconic use of that commodity in his art, but the handful of change remains a bit of a mystery. In similar vein, visitors often leave pebbles, coins and maple leaf pins at the grave of Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, the man who replaced Canada's Red Ensign with the Maple Leaf flag.
Regarding the 'tradition' of soldiers leaving on the headstones of fallen comrades varying denominations of coins to denote their relationship with the deceased, the earliest reference to this practice we've found so far dates only to June 2009, when it appeared as a web site post. The version now commonly circulated in e-mail appears to have been drawn from it, albeit some changes have slipped in, such as "A buddy who served in the same outfit, or was with the deceased when he died, might leave a quarter" becoming "By leaving a quarter at the grave, you are telling the family that you were with the soldier when he was killed."
Despite the claim of this tradition's dating back to the days of the Roman Empire, there's no reason to suppose that it does. A coin might be placed in the mouth of a fallen
Roman soldier (to get him across the River Styx), but his comrades wouldn't be leaving their money on his grave, but rather expending it on a funeral banquet in his honor.
Given the lack of evidence that anyone anywhere is following this 'tradition,' it is perhaps best regarded not as an actual practice, but instead as someone's idea of what should be.
Yet military folk do sometimes leave very special remembrances at the graves of deceased servicemen: challenge coins. These tokens identify their bearers as members of particular units and are prized and cherished by those to whom they have been given; thus any challenge coins found
at gravesites were almost certainly left there by comrades-in-arms of the deceased.
It needs be mentioned that not only coins, medallions, and stones have been found on military headstones. In July 2013, a wife of a deceased serviceman discovered another woman's name on her husband's marker in place of her own. Edna Fielden, widow of Air Force Master Sergeant Billy Fielden (buried at Fort Logan Cemetery in Denver 25 years earlier) was shocked to discover the headstone bore the inscription "Dolores" over the legend "His Wife" when she brought her grandchildren to visit the grave.
http://www.snopes.com/military/coins.asp

Friday, October 16, 2015

46 Million Swedish Household Records Now Available



an excerpt from My Heritage Blog

We are happy to announce that we've added over 46 million Swedish records to MyHeritage SuperSearch. The high quality parish register records, spanning 1880 to 1920, are now available, indexed and searchable online for the first time. These records include information about births, deaths, marriages, addresses and changes in household composition. They provide a unique view into the lives of Swedish people living at that time, making this collection a fantastic family history resource for anyone with Swedish heritage.

Swedish Household Examination Books are the primary source for researching the lives of individuals and families throughout the Parishes of Sweden, from the late 1600s to modern times. The books were created and kept by the Swedish Lutheran Church, which was tasked with keeping the official records of the Swedish population until 1991.

Each book or series of books represents a 3-10 year period of time within a parish. Every year, until 1894, the parish priest would visit each home and test each individual’s knowledge of the catechism. They would also collect information about births, marriages, deaths, where people had moved to or from, etc. Each year the priest would return to update the previously recorded information, noting changes within the population of the home. Because the books were updated annually, families can be traced from year to year, and often from location to location throughout the country.

After 1894, the examinations were replaced by Församlingsbok, records of the Church of Sweden which were used to officially enumerate the population from year to year. The focus on examining doctrinal knowledge of the catechism was removed and instead the records were more focused on enumerating the Swedish population.

Additional article at: http://blog.myheritage.com/2015/10/46-million-swedish-household-records-now-available/