Monday, February 18, 2019

Spreadsheets and Genealogy

In our last episode of The Genealogy Guys Podcast (#356), Laura wanted to know how people use Excel in genealogy. She is looking for a book on the subject as well. Drew directed Laura to Cyndi's List at https://www.cyndislist.com/ where he did a search for “spreadsheet template” where there are many resources listed, including some genealogy templates. We invited listeners to email us their ideas and uses to share with Laura. Longtime listener and Patreon supporter Mike Scozzari rose to the occasion as a researcher in New Jersey. He shared two examples of interest. The New Jersey State Archives Not Found list is a good example of a research log. He uses color coding. "Being from NJ with every single one of my genealogical brands having connections to NJ, I’ve spent a lot of times at the State Archives in Trenton. My log started as a list of records that I wanted to find when I went there, then turned into a running list of what I had found and also records that I searched for, but could not locate. Over the last 10+ years, it’s grown from one sheet to 6 sheets that include the 3 categories I mentioned above, as well as a log for two major cemeteries where I have hundreds of relatives buried. I’m including some screenshots of my file which hopefully show you how helpful this file as become. I keep a running list of things I need from Trenton in my “TO BE SEARCHED” sheet, then after my visit, I move the line to either my “FOUND” or “NOT FOUND” sheet and record relevant data. If I find it, I record the date that I found it and the microfilm reel number and if it’s not found, I add any notes, usually showing what I searched, so I know for future visits.

Provided by Mike Scozzari. (Click on image to enlarge.)

The second example represents his Long Term Searches which works a follows:
  • The years across the top go from “04” to “55”, meaning 1904 to 1955, which is the years that the NJ State Archives have.
  • Years that are grayed out are years that are irrelevant for the person. For example, Annie Barlow was still alive through 1930, so I grayed out everything from 1904-1929, since I will not find a death certificate in those years. When I get to the archives, I’ll then use the other years like a checklist and keep searching until I find her.  It’s a way to keep track of what years I’ve searched and what years I have not, in case my research takes me more than one trip.  Say I get there and search 1930 and don’t find anything, I’d then fill that box in with red so I know that I searched it but did not find anything.
  • For the lines that are “Last Name, All”, those are names that I search for anyone with that last name.  For the Hendrix line, some boxes are green because those are years I’ve already searched.  
Provided by Mike Scozzari. (Click on image to enlarge.)
  • The years across the top go from “04” to “55”, meaning 1904 to 1955, which is the years that the NJ State Archives have.
  • Years that are grayed out are years that are irrelevant for the person… For example, Annie Barlow was still alive through 1930, so I grayed out everything from 1904-1929, since I will not find a death certificate in those years.  When I get to the Archives, I’ll use the other years like a checklist and keep searching until I find her. It’s a way to keep track of what years I’ve searched and what years I have not, in case my research takes me more than one trip.  Say I get there and search 1930 and don’t find anything, I’d then fill that box in with red so I know that I searched it but did not find anything.
  • For the lines that are “Last Name, All”, those are names that I search for anyone with that last name.  For the Hendrix line, some boxes are green because those are years I’ve already searched.  

Spreadsheets provide a great deal of customizable flexibility for your research, as Laura and Mike know. Each geographical location and time period can be unique for your family. As Mike knows, too, the State of New Jersey has laws that limit what years documents are accessible to the public and others restricting certain fields. What that means to us is that the spreadsheets we develop for each state/location, time period, and record type may be unique. When we understand the rules and restraints, we can develop these customizable spreadsheet tools that will help us hit the road running better each time. It also helps to maintain specific notes with each spreadsheet to remind us of laws and regulations that may apply to the same documents in specific areas within the same state or county.

Thanks for a great inquiry, Laura, and for two excellent examples, Mike!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Unsung Heroes Awards Status

We've received some impressive nominations for our first Unsung Heroes Awards. We'll be evaluating these for the first awards to be announced at RootsTech. There were many nominations received and not every one can win the first time out. But remember that all the nominations will retained for the future quarters' awards. And yes, we plan to do these awards each quarter!

And don't feel shy about nominating yourself for digitizing, indexing, and preservation work that you've accomplished. Every scan, every index, and every means of making this data available helps us all!

We'l keep adding more updates in this coming two weeks before RootsTech, And we sincerely hope you will get inspired to help at whatever level you can.



We're Singing Your Praises!

Cruise Time

By now, the world knows that the Norwegian Cruise Line's Epic slammed into a pier at San Juan, Puerto Rico. Yes, that was the ship we sailed but the accident happened this past week and not the week we were aboard.

If you've ever wondered what genealogists do in the evenings on board, here's the scoop! We take over a quiet area such as the ship's library and we revel in discussing genealogy. That includes methodologies, important news, DNA, the topics presented that day, and brick walls. Our group on The Villages Genealogy Society Cruise started on the first cruise they did in 2015 did this and again last week. For many of us, it was the highlight of each day.

Photograph by Jim Lannin.
We made some very good new friends and reinforced long-standing friendships. Most important, we shared lots of great ideas!

And here are our speakers: George G. Morgan, C. Ann Staley, Blaine T. Bettinger, and Drew Smith.
Photograph by Jim Lannin.
THANK YOU TO ALL OUR WONDERFUL VILLAGES GENEALOGY SOCIETY ORGANIZERS FOR A GREAT TRIP!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Announcing MyHeritage LIVE 2019



MH LIVE 2019

Following the resounding success of our first-ever user conference, MyHeritage LIVE, three months ago in Oslo, we have decided to host it again in 2019! MyHeritage LIVE 2019 will take place September 6–8 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. We cordially invite you to join hundreds of family history enthusiasts from around the world for a weekend of illuminating genealogy and DNA lecture tracks and hands-on workshops. Register now to reserve your spot.
Learn more and register »

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Create A Treasured Card or Gift - In Minutes - FOR FREE

We just received this great idea on 5 February 2019 from Vivix-Pix as a way to create a unique and treasured card for Valentine's Day or for any special occasion!


Photo's from 30 years ago
Or 60 years ago
Make great cards or gifts.

CLICK HERE and follow our easy-to-make recipe - FOR FREE



News from MyHeritage Concerning Activities at RootsTech

We received the following from Daniel Horowitz at MyHeritage.com dated 6 February 2019 and wanted to share it with you. We are personally thrilled to learn about the introduction of webinars in other languages!



Since February has arrived, I would like to share with you about the series of special activities we are planning for those attending RootsTech between February 27 and March 2. We will have lectures about MyHeritage features and new products during those days, including a luncheon on Friday March 01 at noon, and many demo sessions in a great booth at the main exhibit hall during all the conference dates. If you are attending RootsTech, please stop by to say hi, and if not follow our social media channels to get the latest insides about we will be revealing.
We have an exclusive breakfast for our Friends group, on Friday, March 1st, where you will have the opportunity to mingle with all the MyHeritage team and hear the inside scoop of what we will be releasing next. If you have not yet RSVPed, please do so here.
Some other updates from MyHeritage: 
I'm happy to invite you to our next webinar "Using MyHeritage Tools to Improve Your Family Tree Data" on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at 2:00pm Eastern time. This is one more webinar from the MyHeritage Webinar series on Legacy Family Tree Webinars. We are also happy to announce a series of webinars in different languages. The first one will be in Spanish, titled "Cómo explicar los grados de relación familiar" by a guest speaker Gonzalo A. Luengo O. Feel free to share this with all your contacts.To register for any of them or view the full list of upcoming webinars, visit Legacy Family tree Webinars.
Being the presenting partner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019, we are happy to officially kick off our exciting content related to the competition. Over the coming months, we’ll bring you fascinating family history information about some of Eurovision’s biggest stars. Please feel free to read about it here and to stay tuned for more exciting content on our blog. Feel free to share this with all your friends and followers.

Looking forward to seeing you soon.
Daniel Horowitz
Genealogy Expert
MyHeritage Ltd., 3 Ariel Sharon St., Or Yehuda 60250, Israel

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Back from the Caribbean

The Genealogy Guys joined our good friends C. Ann Staley and Blaine Bettinger (and both of his boys) for The Villages Genealogical Society Cruise. Wonderful friends from The Villages and other friends joined in for a great time. We even had a Norwegian couple who came along.

We sailed on the Norwegian Cruise Line Epic and it truly is one of the biggest (and longest ships) I've ever sailed. WOW! I had to take breaks walking to absorb the atmosphere, the people, and he experience.

Each of the four speakers presented three top-notch lectures and we all learned at lot. In the evenings, lots of us gathered in the ship's library to chat about genealogy topics, brick walls, and other things. We became a closer group that way!

Lots of cruisers took advantage of the ports and the many shore excursions.


Above, we were approaching Grand Cayman. Unfortunately I do not have any off-shore funds to visit. BUT ... Blaine Bettinger and his sons have ancestors from the Caymans. They were met by a cousin and chauffeured around the island. The boys even got to swim with the big turtles.

People poured off the ship at Cozumel (below) for great shopping, food, some spirits, and more.

Highlights of my trip? I got stoned twice! No, not that way. I went to the on-ship spa for hot stone massages. They were heavenly!

Watch Facebook for pictures and videos from Ann, Blaine, Drew and me. We had a blast and made lots of friends. Gained a few pounds too but ....

Now we're all back home and ready for our next genealogy adventures!