Saturday, August 27, 2011

TechTips at

Julie Monson and Leslie Edmunds presented a fantastic program at SGS today on "What's New at" It was aimed at the intermediate researcher--the level over half our members identify with.
I've spent quite a lot of time trying to keep up with all the changes at, the totally FREE LDS genealogy website. It seems to be changing almost constantly. Lucky for us, most of the changes are definitely for the better!
One new item I hadn't noticed is the new "TechTips" section. At the top of the home page ( ) you'll need to click on the word "Learn" in the navigation bar at the top of the page. On the "Learning Resources" page scroll down to below the pictures and 3 columns, where you'll see:
Discover technologies that will improve your family history research and knowledge. Try TechTips
Click on the blue hyperlinked words (the ones above should work) and you'll go to the entry page for TechTips. It's an amazing collection of useful technology information. The purple nav bar near the top of the page shows 6 categories of links:
1. How To's and Tips
2. Learn About
3. Apps and Tools
4. Learn How to Buy
5. Viewpoint
6. Contribute
There is an incredible wealth of information on this sub-site that should prove useful to both beginners to computer genealogy (Learn About File Formats; Learn How to Buy a Computer) and advanced users (Viewpoint article on whether to digitize photos; web and phone apps). The "Contribute" section provides guidance on how to share information you think might be useful to others.
I'm pretty sure TechTips hasn't been around very long. I'm guessing it's  an outgrowth from the first RootsTech conference this past February. Do take some time to browse what's available. As people add articles and opinions, I think this is going to be a very useful resource for genealogists. And, like all LDS resources, it's FREE!
Thank you to Julie and Leslie for sharing so much great information with us today.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Google+ for Genealogists

Yesterday morning (our time) Legacy Family Tree broadcast a webinar titled "Google+ -- The Next Big Thing." I actually sat here and listened/watched the entire webinar, which ran almost two hours. It was very interesting and well presented. You, too, can watch the webinar, at least for the next week, at   Sometimes Legacy charges for access after the first week, so watch this one now!
The webinar is divided into three distinct sessions with three different presenters. After some introductions, Paul Allen of (no, not OUR Paul Allen!), talks about the Google Plus website and how quickly it has grown.
Then Dan Lynch, Mr. Google Genealogy, demonstrates and talks about how to use Google+, including circles, streams, sparks, and hangouts.
Finally Mark Olsen, also from, demonstrates a "hangout," ie. a video chat room--live!
It was all quite fascinating, even for a relatively confirmed Facebook user like me. I can see that it would be quite helpful to be able to send specific messages and share particular photos with only some of your "friends," instead of having the share everything with all of your Facebook friends. I don't share much genealogy stuff on Facebook because I figure most of my "friends" would dump me pretty quickly. But on Google+ I can create a "circle" of genealogy friends and direct my genealogy comments just to them. Dan also showed how you can join existing circles based on your interests and geographic area. He was in one related to an ancestor's birth province in Italy. Pretty cool, eh?
The only catch is that you can only join Google+ if you're invited by someone already registered. And, of course, you need a gmail address (which is free) to register.
Just out of curiosity, how many of you are already registered users of Google+? What do you think of it?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Daily Inspiration...for Free!

Do you need a little inspiration to jump start your genealogy research?
I certainly do.
Not that I have a lot of time for research these days, but when I do have some time, I often find myself at a loss for what to do.
Lately I've been finding inspiration and ideas for "next steps" in two places: Michael John Neill's "Genealogy Tip of the Day" blog at and Scott Phillips' "Onward to Our Past" blog at
Both tend to give very concrete tips for conducting family history research.
Michael's are short daily "snippets"; Scott's tend to be longer and more detailed "Tip(s) for the *Real World* Genealogist."
Both are available as Facebook feeds--meaning you don't have to visit their blogs every day to find out what they're saying.
Are there other daily genealogy tip sites out there?
If you know of one, please share it by leaving a comment below.