Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Join The Genealogy Guys on a Cruise in February 2019

The Genealogy Guys will be participating in a great genealogy cruise In February and we'd like to invite you along!

The Villages Genealogical Society (VGS) in The Villages, Florida, is hosting their second Caribbean Cruise on February 2nd to 9th, 2019, and they've opened registration to everyone!

We're sailing on the Norwegian Cruise Line's gorgeous Epic, departing from and returning to Port Canaveral, Florida. It will visit the ports of Great Stirrup Cay (Bahamas), Falmouth (Jamaica), George Town (Grand Cayman), and Cozumel (Mexico).

The speakers include: Blaine Bettinger, Ph. D., J.D.; The Genealogy Guys - George G. Morgan and Drew Smith; and C. Ann Staley. Each presenter will give three (3) lectures - a total of TWELVE LECTURES - and they will spend lots of time with the cruisers.

Full details about the ship, the speakers, the program, and more are available at https://vgsfl.org/cpage.php?pt=167.

Make your reservations NOW. There are only 50 cabins available at The Villages' Genealogical Society's group pricing, and there are still a few left. A $500 deposit is required to reserve your cabin, with final payment due on or before October 1, 2018.

The Genealogy Guys, Blaine, Ann, and the VGS are all excited about this wonderful cruise, and you will be too!

Mark your calendar, make your reservations, and join us for a fantastic winter genealogy getaway cruise in the Caribbean!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

What is already known (or believed to be known)

When we start out researching a particular brick wall genealogical question, it is probably a good idea to re-confirm some of the information that leads us to the brick wall.

If my goal is to discover the name of the mother of my great-grandmother, Elizabeth "Bettie" Foshee King, then a good starting place is to first identify everything that I might already know (or think that I know) about Elizabeth herself.  So let's explore that:

The Application for Social Security Account Number (the SS-5) for my maternal grandmother, Elizabeth "Lizzie" King Martin, identifies her parents as Robert King and Elizabeth Foshee.

The Laurens City Cemetery in Laurens, South Carolina, has a stone for Elizabeth Foshee King (identified there as Bettie King, born 1845 and died 1929). An image of the stone appears on Find A Grave. Her stone is next to that of her husband, listed on his stone as R. B. King.

The Spartanburg [S.C.] Herald has an obituary in its December 2, 1928 issue for Mrs. R. B. King, indicating that she was 84 at the time of her death on November 30. This conflicts with the death year on the stone (but the stone might have been placed in early 1929). Based on her age in the obituary, her birth year would be as early as 1844, or even 1843 if she was born after November 30 of that year.

The South Carolina Department of Archives & History has an index entry indicating that Bettie King of Laurens applied for a pension based on Robert B. King's military service in the Civil War. The actual application indicates that Elizabeth was born August 6, 1844, and married her husband on January 27, 1869.

Before we start looking for Elizabeth Foshee before she married Robert B. King, let's look at her in census records with Robert, starting with 1920 and going backwards to 1870.

In 1920, 75-year-old widow Betty King is living in Laurens with her daughter Sue Rickman and son-in-law Fred Rickman. (I personally remember Great-Aunt Sue Rickman quite well.)

In 1910, 64-year-old Lizzie King is living in Laurens with her husband Robert (as well as with the Rickmans).

In 1900, 52-year-old Mrs. S. A. [?] King is living in Laurens with her husband Robert, as well as children Walter B., Lizzie (my grandmother), and Sussie.

In 1880, 26-year-old Bettie King is living in Laurens with her husband Robbert and their 7 oldest children.

In 1870, we hit a snag. No evidence of Robert and Bettie in Laurens. The plot thickens...

Friday, July 27, 2018

Preserving and Labeling Fabric Heirlooms

Some of our family heirlooms and, by extension, genealogical treasures come in the form of textiles. Clothing, quilts, embroidery, tatting, needlework, samplers, and other items are treasures to be passed from generation to generation. It is important to preserve these items for posterity. Wrap them in acid-free tissue paper and store them in acid-free, archival safe boxes. Never store them in ordinary dry cleaner's bags as these can give off harmful gases that can discolor and damage the fabric. (Some dry cleaners provide special archival storage materials.)  

To label these and other items related to your family history, use acid-free paper tags and archival pencils or pens made for the purpose.  Write on the tag and sew it to the fabric item.  Never use pins as these can rust.

Our dear friend Denise May Levenick wrote an excellent book on the subject of preservation. How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia and Genealogy Records (Family Tree Books, 2012). It provides expert advice for caring for all types of materials that we, as family archivists, need to know.

Monday, July 23, 2018


In a previous posting, I talked about how important it is to set genealogical research goals in order to make any real progress. Once you have your goal, it's time to focus on that and to avoid being distracted by the bright shiny objects (BSOs). When the BSO comes along (and it will), you should use a notebook page, a Word document, or an Evernote note to keep track of it. You write it down, and then you don't have to worry about forgetting it, and you can then get back to what you need to focus on.

Focus depends on many factors (other than just avoiding the BSOs). The first is time. You can't focus if all you have to work on your research is a 5-to-15-minute stretch of time. It takes time to get into the flow state, the state where you are working well on your goal. This means you need something closer to 25 to 30 minutes minimum. You can use a tomato-design timer, a special hourglass, or an alarm on your computer, tablet, phone, or smartwatch to alert you to when the 25 to 30 minutes is up. Then take a brief (5 minutes) break where you get up from your computer and move around, and then return to your work. Try for at least 2 or 3 of these focused segments.

Having enough focused time is only part of the problem.  You have to avoid anything that might interrupt or distract you.  If you don't live alone, you may have to close a door.  Turn off as many computer/phone notifications as possible. If it helps, hide your browser's bookmark bar so that you won't be tempted to check email or visit social media (or create a bookmark folder called "Not Research" and put all the non-genealogy resource bookmarks in it). Keep everything off your research desk other than the papers you will need for the research goal. Aim for a minimalist desk style. The fewer the items on your desk, the less chance that looking at something will trigger a thought unrelated to your research goal.

Once you have your research goal and are able to focus on it, it's then time to see where you are and see what needs to be done next. But that's for another blog post.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy Hosts New Laura G. Prescott Scholarship

The following is a press release from the Utah Genealogical Association:


New Laura G. Prescott SLIG Scholarship Announced

SLIG is honored to have been selected to host the new scholarship fund in honor of this amazing woman!

"In recognition of the professional accomplishments of our friend and colleague, Laura G. Prescott, and her contributions to the area of education in genealogy, a scholarship for tuition to the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) has been established," writes Polly FitzGerald Kimmitt, co-coordinator of the efforts to start this new scholarship. The scholarship will be funded through tax-deductible donations to the Utah Genealogical Association.

Laura is known throughout the genealogical community for her passion for genealogical education in the areas of teaching, writing, research, and more. She worked for the New England Historic Genealogical Society for seven years before starting her own research business, was a lecturer at conferences, seminars, and workshops at all levels, and has written articles on a wide range of genealogical topics for the field’s journals. She served as president of the Association of Professional Genealogists and was director of Ancestry Academy, Ancestry’s collection of educational webinars presented by leading genealogical educators.

The Laura G. Prescott SLIG Scholarship will be open to amateur, transitional, and professional genealogists who exhibit a passion for genealogy and appreciate the importance of education in our field. Desirable candidates will be those seeking to maintain high standards in genealogy, while also giving back to the community through volunteerism within the genealogical community (serving on society boards, conference committees, family associations) or through promoting genealogy in the world at large (through pro bono projects in cemeteries, adoption research, unclaimed persons, e.g.). Applicants will be asked to explain their reason for taking a particular SLIG course, and also to list education and experience, both paid and volunteer. 

A committee will evaluate scholarship applications and choose one winner annually to receive full tuition to his or her choice of course at the traditional Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in Salt Lake City, Utah, or to one of its alternative programs during the year. Details about applying for the scholarship for attendance at SLIG in January 2020 will be forthcoming.

The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, facilitated by the Utah Genealogical Association, is a five-day program of instruction and practical exercises featuring in-depth study of specific aspects of genealogical research. It occurs each January in Salt Lake City and the courses are coordinated and taught by leaders in the field. SLIG also offers the SLIG Academy for Professionals onsite in January, and several virtual learning programs.

Those wishing to donate to the Laura G. Prescott SLIG Scholarship may do so in one of these ways:
  • Via PayPal, to info@ugagenealogy.org with "Laura G. Prescott SLIG Scholarship” on the line labeled, “Add a note.”

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Interview and Collaborate With Your Cousins

Cousins can be invaluable sources of information - and evidence. Just because you are from the same generation as your cousins, that doesn't mean that you know the same things they do. Their family and your family will have had different experiences and relationships with other family members. Cousins from other generations, such as second and third cousins and cousins removed, can be even more valuable.

DNA testing and the resulting matches can identify cousins you never knew about. Connecting with them can possibly extend your family research well beyond what you have discovered on your own. You may even find living cousins on social media such as Facebook and begin communicating and collaborating.

Making contact with and interviewing your cousins is an important task. You may exchange  new information that helps you both break through brick walls. Your cousins may have family stories their families told them that you have never heard. They also may be in possession of Bibles, books, letters, pictures and other materials that could help in your research. Try to enlist their help in the family history project and encourage their collaboration in the process. In the meantime, you are reestablishing family connections that may have been lost.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Evidentia Portability

[A guest post from one of our sponsors, Evidentia Software]

Evidentia Software is the software program that makes it easy to collect information, analyze evidence, highlight missed connections and feel confident with your conclusions. It is also a proud sponsor of the podcast.

A frequent question that Ed Thompson, the designer behind Evidentiagets in the Evidentia support forums is “Where is my file?

This is usually submitted by someone who needs to move their data from one device to another. The assumption is that there is a single database file that has all their Evidentia data. While some genealogy software is designed that way, in Evidentia the data is stored in one or more hidden files. The reason is simple: that’s the way the software that Evidentia is built on works.

However, that doesn’t answer the user's real question, which is “how do I move my Evidentia data from device A to device B?

For that, there is a simple process - Backup/Restore.  

1.   Navigate to the Database screen at Settings>Database.
2.   Make sure the database you want to copy is selected.
3.   Select Backup and note the location you choose to save the file.

At this point you have a portable file. This file can be transferred to another device and then the reverse process can be used to restore it.

1.   Navigate to the Database screen on the new device.
2.   Select an existing database or create a new one.
3.   Select Restore and browse to the file you previously created.

You can also restore the backup to a new database on the same device. You might want to do this to share citations, or to experiment with reorganizing your data.

"What if I want to use a laptop and a desktop and keep the data in sync?"

For this Ed recommends using a Dropbox account. You can get one for free, and the process of using Evidentia and Dropbox together is documented in the help guide here. Just open the guide and search for Dropbox.

Ed Thompson is the designer behind EvidentiaHe loves researching ancestors, spending time with his two boys and his wife of 30+ years.  He especially likes spending time with his new grandson. Feel free to drop Ed a line on the Evidentia website