Saturday, March 16, 2019

We Have a New Portable Recording Microphone!

Our new Yellowtec IXm portable dynamic microphone arrived yesterday. We saw it at Podfest and ordered it from a dealer in Ocala at a discount. We'll be using this for live interviews on-site at conferences and other venues. 

Thanks to our sponsors and Patreon supporters 
for making this possible.

Friday, March 15, 2019

MyHeritage Offers Free Access to Irish Records - March 14–20, 2019

Free Irish Records for St. Patrick’s Day!

Do you have any Irish roots? According to a survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Irish diaspora in the United States alone numbers more than 33 million people — 10.5% of the total U.S. population, and roughly 5 times Ireland’s population of 6.7 million. This isn’t even counting the descendants of Irish immigrants in countries around the world.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we’re offering all MyHeritage users FREE access to all our Irish record collections from March 14–20, 2019.

The Irish people have a history full of many ups and downs, with some instances of extreme “unluckiness,” times of sadness, famine, and war. So why do people often refer to the Irish as particularly lucky? 

Because of Ireland’s tragic past, many Irish left Ireland and immigrated to the U.S. or elsewhere to find better lives. Irish immigrants in the U.S. struggled to succeed, and they worked very hard. They were mistreated by many who believed that the Irish settlers’ good fortune was due only to luck — not hard work and perseverance. Others believe that the expression points to the financial good fortune of the Irish and Irish-Americans as successful miners during the gold and silver rushes in the 1850s.

Perhaps the expression comes from a deeper part of Irish heritage and legacy. “The luck of the Irish” is a tribute to the hard work and determination of the Irish people, who, despite all the challenges that they have faced over the years, still have good luck. Many Irish people have been forced to emigrate from their homeland over the years, and despite battling challenges and pitfalls, they have continued to prosper and survive, generation after generation.

Do you have the luck of the Irish? Search our Irish records for free today to see if you have any Irish ancestry.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

F+W Media, Inc., Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

F+W Media, Inc., publishers of many magazines including Family Tree Magazine and many genealogy books, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and reorganization on Sunday, 10 March 2019. It is unclear as to the impact on its publishing activities, Family Tree University, and other activities in the genealogy arena. The army of authors of books and magazine articles are, of course, concerned about payments and royalties. This include both of The Genealogy Guys.

The article at and at numerous news outlets online summarize the situation at present. We will report more as information becomes available.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Our New Sound Mixer Has Arrived!

Our new sound mixer, the Rode RODECaster Pro Integrated Podcast Production Studio, just arrived today! We saw several and compared them while at the 2019 Podfest Multimedia Expo last weekend, and we were very impressed with this state-of-the-art mixer. It replaces our 10+ year-old economy mixer.

We'll soon be using the new mixer to improve sound quality overall, including equalizing the channels and doing better editing. 

We owe a very special thank you to our fantastic sponsors and our generous Patreon supporters for making the conference and this purchase possible!

Listen up for even better podcasts soon!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Blaine T. Bettinger Discusses New DNA Tools at

Blaine T. Bettinger has created a video discussing the new Ancestry DNA Tools,  He discusses the new DNA Match List beta has clustering and filtering options, and the ThruLines offers new relationship possibilities. Here is a link to his video:

Blaine T. Bettinger Discusses the New MyHeritage DNA Tools

Blaine T. Bettinger has created a video discussing the new MyHeritage DNA Tools,  AutoCluster and the Theory of Family Relativity. Both help you better understand your DNA matches. Here is a link to his video:

Sunday, March 10, 2019

We're Now on Twitter!

The Genealogy Guys are now on Twitter! 

Follow us at @genealogyguys to stay on top of all we have happening!

The 2019 Podfest Multimedia Expo Was Great!

The Guys had a wonderful time at the 2019 Podfest Multimedia Expo in Orlando, Florida, this past Wednesday through Saturday. There were more than 1,000 podcasters and aspiring podcasters there from the U.S., Canada, Australia, the UK, South America, and elsewhere, all wanting to learn more and share ideas with one another. And sharing information they did! The breakout sessions covered hosting services, content structure, sound mixing and music, editing tools, and educational opportunities, among just a few of the topics. The three-hour Pecha Kucha session (Japanese for "chit chat") consisted of 5-minute presentations given by many successful podcasters and experts. Each one was chock-full of information and advice, and we made lots of notes! The Keynote sessions were exciting and filled with tips and techniques for successful podcasting.

Link to a brief video before the Keynote sessions.

A view of one aisle in the exhibit hall.
(Click to expand.)
The exhibit hall hosted hosting services, services to help people launch and monetize their podcasts, great hardware options, podcast education companies, self-publishing, a head shot photographer, and so much more. The Guys bought a new state-of-the art audio mixer to replace their 10+ year-old unit, and you'll be hearing better quality, better equalized sound before much longer. We also saw an amazing portable microphone for interviews at conferences and on-site at other venues that is a must-have, and we'll be ordering that this week.

We had a great time and learned a lot to help us make The Genealogy Guys Podcast and the Genealogy Connections podcast better for you, our listeners.

We especially want to thank our Patreon supporters for their help in financing this trip and these new equipment purchases. We couldn't do this without each one of you!

Next year's Podfest will be held on March 6-8 at the Orlando World Center Marriott. We already have our tickets!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

New Episode of The Genealogy Guys Podcast with Blaine T. Bettinger is Available!

Have you listened to this week's episode of The Genealogy Guys Podcast (#358) at yet? Blaine T. Bettinger joins The Guys and will have regular discussions with Drew about all things DNA. There's also a wealth of news and announcements from last week's RootsTech and listener email. 

You don't want to miss it!

We're Off to the 2019 Podfest Multimedia Expo!

Drew and I are heading to the 2019 Podfest Multimedia Expo in Orlando for a few days to learn even more about how to bring the best podcasts possible to the listeners of The Genealogy Guys Podcast and the Genealogy Connection podcast. An international group of attendees and exhibitors will make this one truly great conference! We'll share more after we return.

Learn more about it yourself at

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Blaine T. Bettinger, Ph.D, J.D., Joins The Genealogy Guys Podcast

Blaine T. Bettinger, the internationally recognized expert on genetic DNA, speaker, and prolific author, will be joining The Genealogy Guys Podcast beginning on March 5, 2019. Blaine has been a genetic genealogist for more than a decade, with experience in Y-DNA, mtDNA, and autosomal DNA. He is the author of one of the longest-running blogs devoted to DNA testing, The Genetic Genealogist ( He frequently lectures on genetic genealogy locally, at conferences across the country, on genealogical cruises, and in webinars. He has a subscription website called DNA Central at where he provides top-quality educational materials on the subject of genetic genealogy research.

He holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a J.D. in Intellectual Property Law. He created DNA Central (, the go-to self-educational subscription website with everything you need to understand your DNA. He is the author of two landmark books: The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy (Family Tree Books, 2016) and Genetic Genealogy in Practice co-authored with Debbie Parker Wayne (National Genealogical Society, 2016).

Blaine will join The Genealogy Guys Podcast and will be interviewed by co-host Drew Smith in a regular segment to discuss news, analysis tools, methodologies, and much more. You do not want to miss learning more from Blaine!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Unsung Heroes Award - Young People

The Genealogy Guys Podcast and the Vivid-Pix Unsung Heroes Blog are well aware of the desire of genealogical and historical societies to attract new members, and particularly younger people into their midst. Many approaches are being used to get younger people involved in learning about their ancestry, and the earlier the spark is lit the better.

Many success stories result from family interactions. The sharing of stories, eliciting interest of family photographs, exposure to documents about ancestors and family members into geographical location, time period, and historical and social context help bring those people's into perspective and "bring them back to life."

Some families engage in visiting, researching, and documenting cemeteries. Work on Find A Grave has been under way for decades, resulting in a massive volunteer-based database of cemeteries, burials, memorials, photographs, and a wealth of other data. The more recently created BillionGraves, a web-based counterpart to Find A Grave, has increased accessibility to cemetery information and more.

As our first set of Young People winners for the Unsung Heroes Award, we want to recognize four participants in a county weekly cemetery documentation effort. They come from Alachua County, Florida, and not surprisingly are yet another part of Individual Unsung Hero winner Jim Powell's genealogical passion.

We're offering casual videos of four young volunteers. We hope you enjoy them and will expose other younger people to the fun, challenge, and joy of preservation. (These videos are in MP4 format.)

Taylor Griffith - Taylor has helped with the documentation of almost every cemetery in Alachua County. She took the lead position and showed her talents and determination to get the job done. She has been cleaning and recording gravestone markers for preservation and for publication at the online site

Elora Powell - Elora wasn't always into the cemetery stone documentation process. While working on a particularly hard to read, much less photographable stone, she may have been sort of whining about the bad stone. Her father knelt down and said something about the fact that the stone will only get worse and the information that she can recover from the marker would be preserved. From that point forward, Elora became a dedicated grave marker preservationist. Many of these images are on the online site

Rianna Griffith - Rianna has helped with most of the cemeteries in Alachua County, and she was eager to go and help. She cleans and photographs grave markers to preserve information for the future. She has become an expert photographer of gravestones and has proved invaluable in her work. Her work also appears on

Camara (Mara) Casson -  is a Phillip Farner Scholar at Florida Tech and headed to Oxford this summer. She is slow and technical, always looking for perfection. She was always ready to go and spend hours in the heat or rain or cold to help with this project and  participate with almost all the cemeteries in Alachua County. She cleaned and photographed many grave markers for preservation of the information and for the online site at

All of these young people form a tight team that has built something much bigger than themselves for their county.

We Sing Your Praises!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Pictures from RootsTech: Award of the Unsung Heroes Award - Library Category

Here are two photographs from RootsTech 2019, and from the presentation of the Unsung Heroes Award in the Library Category to the DAR Library. (Click on images to enlarge.)

Photograph courtesy of Mary Tedesco.
Rick Voight, CEO of Vivid-Pix, (left) and Drew Smith, Co-host of The Genealogy Guys Podcast (right), were honored by the presence of DAR Library Interim Director Elizabeth J. Ernst (center) when honor the Daughters of the American Revolution Library received the Unsung Heroes Award in the Library category. The DAR Library has been in operation since 1896, and has preserved, digitized, indexed, and made available a true wealth of American history to the world!

The display board with the names of all of this first group of winners of the Unsung Heroes Awards is on at the Vivid-Pix booth at RootsTech.

Photography courtesy of Mary Tedesco.

The Young People Unsung Heroes Awards will be presented on Saturday morning, 2 March 2019 at the Vivid-Pix Booth #1538 at RootsTech in Salt Lake City.

We Sing The DAR Library's Praises!

Unsung Heroes Award - Daughters of the American Revolution LIbrary

There are many libraries and archives deserving recognition for their dedicated work in digitizing, indexing, transcribing, and making available the rich historical and genealogical materials that survive. The Unsung Heroes Award received many such nominations from public, academic, and archival institutions for our first quarterly awards, and these exciting projects will be considered for recognition in the future quarterly set of awards.

We believe, however, that the first award in the Libraries and Archives Category deserves to be bestowed on the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Library. The library was nominated by the Anasazi Chapter of the NSDAR, located in Glendale, Arizona. 

The DAR Library states at its website at that "Since its founding in 1896, the DAR Library has grown into a specialized collection of American genealogical and historical manuscripts and publications, as well as powerful on-site databases. The DAR Library collection contains over 225,000 books, 10,000 research files, thousands of manuscript items, and special collections of African American, Native American, and women’s history, genealogy and culture. Nearly 40,000 family histories and genealogies comprise a major portion of the book collection, many of which are unique or available in only a few libraries in the country. The DAR Library is free and open to the public."

While helping descendants of Revolutionary American War patriots document their lineage, their collections have preserved and protected original documents and members' applications in many cases by digitizing images and indexing documents. The Genealogical Research Committee have indexed 20% of the books and have entered more than 20 million names.

The DAR Genealogical Research System (GRS) is a free resource provided by the National
GRS Search from NSDAR website.
(Click image to enlarge.)
Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) to aid general genealogical research and to assist with the DAR membership process. The GRS is a collection of databases that provide access to the many materials amassed by the DAR since its founding in 1890.

The Ancestor Database was created by and is maintained by the staff of the DAR's Office of the Registrar General. With few exceptions, the data is taken from verified membership applications and supplemental applications. New records and information are added on a daily basis.

The Descendants database is an index of the names found on the lineage page of DAR applications and supplementals. The purpose of the Descendants Database is to help those looking for a DAR Patriot or lineage to determine how much of their lineage has already been proven and to identify the best possible Record Copy to order. Once a connection has been found using the information in this database, copies may be ordered online or by mail. This database contains lineage from most original applications starting with National Number 1 through 889,069. Also included are the lineages from most supplemental applications in Add Volumes 1 through 1004. This database is possible thanks to the efforts of over 3,000 volunteers.
  • Genealogical Records Committee Reports (GRC) began in 1913. The DAR Genealogical Records Committee Reports comprise one of the most unique parts of the DAR Library’s holdings. This 20,000+ volume set includes a wide variety of content including transcriptions of local probate, court and land records; Bible records; cemetery transcriptions; family genealogies and lineages; Revolutionary War service; and other  genealogically significant types of records.
The GRC Index that is included in the GRS is an every‐name index to the complete GRC
Collection. Names in this index are spelled exactly as they appear in the GRC Report.
Search results include the name of the individual, the title of the specific GRC Report in
which the name appears, and the page number on which the name appears. When
searching the index, the state refers to the state from which the report was submitted
and may not have anything to do with where the ancestor sought may have lived.
  • Bible Records and Transcriptions Index: The DAR Library collection includes a large number of family Bible records—whether copies of original pages or transcriptions in published or unpublished works. The GRS includes a searchable index to a portion of these family Bible Records with more records to be added in the future. The first set of records added to this searchable index are identified as a subset of the GRC Collection so there is some overlap between the Bible Records and Transcriptions Index and the GRC Index.
  • Patriot’s Record Project Index (PRP) The DAR Library is actively identifying, obtaining, digitizing and indexing records related to the Revolutionary War that might serve as proof of Revolutionary War service for a particular ancestor. This is an ongoing effort and additional records are being added to the index on a regular basis.
What impact will making these materials available have on the research
communities? The DAR Library databases make available to researchers everything from transcriptions of local probate, court and land records; Bible records; cemetery transcriptions; family genealogies and lineages; Revolutionary War service; and other genealogically significant types of records. 

From novices to professionals, the DAR Library offers a wealth of unique materials for
Bible Record Search and Transcription page.
(Click to expand.)
researchers of all levels. Since its founding, the DAR Library has grown into a specialized collection of American genealogical and historical manuscripts and publications, as well as powerful onsite databases. The collection contains more than 225,000 books, 10,000 research files, thousands of manuscript items, and special collections of African American, Native American, and women’s history, genealogy and culture. Nearly 40,000 family histories and genealogies comprise a major portion of the book collection, many of which are unique or available in only a few libraries in the country. Research at the Library is free to the public.

The DAR library also provides “Search Services” for researchers that need assistance searching various resources including, but not limited to documenting lineage gaps in NSDAR, NSSAR, and NSCAR. applications, searching for Family Bibles in the DAR Collections, conducting research related to Mayflower Descendants and searching the resources of the Huguenot Society that are currently included in the DAR Library Collection.

We believe that the NSDAR has performed an invaluable service to genealogy and historical research, and it continues to provide exemplary service to preservation, education, and research.

We Sing Your Praises!

Unsung Heroes Award - Genealogical Society of Linn County Iowa - Voter Registration Records

Boxes of voter registration records
(Click to enlarge.)
The Genealogical Society of Linn County Iowa has been working aggressively on digitizing county voter registration records and making them accessible online. When the county needed space they turned to the genealogical society, with whom they had a strong relationship, and donated the large boxes of records.

We often tell people not to overlook voter records because they may contain a great deal of genealogically and historically significant data that can lead you to other sources. Birth date, place of birth, naturalization information, name and address changes, and more.

Because the boxes are quite large and because not every card is in the correct alphabetical order, only a handful of people took advantage of this resource. Each record will contain the following for each registrant:
  • address
  • birth date
  • birth place
Additionally, some cards will also contain the following information:
  • Place and date of naturalization
  • Date of Death if the voter card was cancelled due to death of the voter
  • Where the voter moved to if the voter card was cancelled because the voter left the area
  • Name Changes; particularly for female voters once they could vote. (I have seen one card which showed 5 name changes.)
  • Random comments from the voter. For example, I have seen a card where the registrant stated that they were a U.S. citizen but that their family had been out of the country doing missionary work for the past 12 years.
Eljos Abramovich voter registration card.
(Click to expand image.)

Catherine M. Adams voter registration card.
(Click to expand image.)

Adolph Adolphe voter registration card.
(Click to expand image.)
Now that the index is available on their own library database for use by patrons, the voter card can be easily pulled up on the computer. However, since their database is not currently accessible on the Internet, they have worked with the administrator of the Linn County IAGenweb page in order to make it available to everyone with an Internet connection (

It has also been added to a local library web page at http://marion.advantage-

This project continues to add more voter registration cards online.

We Sing Your Praises!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Unsung Heroes Award - Individual - Jim Powell (Alachua County, Florida)

There are tens of thousands of of people digitizing, indexing, and preserving images of the past, whether they be document images, photographs, postcards, newspapers, and so many diverse records. New materials are literally discovered everyday. It takes the efforts of countless unsung heroes to organize and prepare these historical and genealogical treasures for preservation, and then to generate the highest quality digital images possible. The images then need to be indexed for ease of location, and transcriptions to fulfill placing them in context.

Jim Powell, Jr.
Our first individual winner in the Unsung Heroes Award is Jim Powell, Jr., of Waldo, Alachua County Florida. Jim is an employee of the Alachua County Clerk of Court, J.K. "Jess" Irby, Esq.  Alachua County was carved from Duval and Saint John's Counties and was organized on 29 February 1824 and Gainesville is its county seat. Needless to say, courthouse space required the establishment of dedicated off-site storage. This building south of downtown Gainesville is referred to as Ancient Records.

Jim Powell counts himself lucky to have landed the job of Ancient Records Coordinator, responsible for nearly 200 years of records. It was his love of history and his experience in programming and photography that began his journey into digitizing the ancient records, and developing a huge multi-state group of dedicated volunteer who help clean up digital images, index them, and every-word transcribe their contents. He even constructed a book scanner and has written computer programs to accelerate sheet feeding scanning and file name assignment. Not only does digitizing, indexing, and transcribing make access from the courthouse convenient for county business, but it also provides free online searchable access for genealogists and historians. The only documents not freely every-word searchable and accessible are the probate files, although will book indexes are available. 

At present, the Alachua County official records date from the 1820s through the 1970s including marriage records, deeds, mortgages, commissioners minutes (through 1992), will book indexes, Soldiers and Sailor Books, and more. Nearly 500,000 images have been digitized and are every-word searchable, and over 35,000 pages have been transcribed. The availability of these records allows anyone in the world easy access to Alachua County ancestors and to ancestors who lived in the jurisdiction of Alachua County prior to other counties being split off from Alachua. Visit the Ancient Records website at

Jim Powell, Jr., is the epitome of one person who turned his vision and a passion into a brilliant community records resource for the rest of the world. 

We Sing Your Praises!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Donates 2 Million Dollars to the International African American Museum Center for Family History

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Donates 2 Million Dollars to the International African American Museum Center for Family History

Gift will enable greater family history discoveries for African Americans at the site where nearly half of all enslaved Africans arrived in the United States
Artist rendoring of the International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina.Salt Lake City, Utah (27 February 2019), At the 9th annual RootsTech family history and technology conference held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, Elder David A. Bednar of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presented Michael Boulware Moore, president and CEO of the International African American Museum (IAAM), with a donation of 2 million dollars to support the creation of the IAAM Center for Family History.

Elder David A. Bednar said, “We want to support the museum and the Center for Family History because we both value the strength that comes from learning about our families. The museum will not only educate its patrons on the important contributions of Africans who came through Gadsden’s Wharf and Charleston, it also will help all who visit to discover and connect with ancestors whose stories previously may not have been known.”

In thanking the Church, Joseph P. Riley, lifetime board member of IAAM and the former mayor of Charleston for 40 years, remarked, “One of the crown jewels of the experience at the museum will be the Center for Family History. Because of this generous donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the center will catapult into a level of excellence that simply would not be achievable.” Also speaking at the presentation in Salt Lake City was Martin Luther King III, son of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King spoke about the tremendous impact the museum will have on the African American community and individual families. He noted this partnership between the Church and the IAAM is a reflection of the “beloved community” his father envisioned.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, through FamilySearch International, has long been a supporter of working with various partners to facilitate more records for those with African Heritage in the United States, such as the Freedmen's Bureau Project in 2016. In addition to these efforts related to family history, the Church's growing relationships in the African American community have included a warm relationship with the leadership for the NAACP with whom we are working on community efforts to further education and employment opportunities.

Once built, the IAAM will be a world-class museum, memorial and site of conscience presenting the history, sacrifices and contributions of Americans of African descent. It will be built on the former Gadsden’s Wharf in Charleston, South Carolina. Nearly half of all enslaved Africans forced to North America arrived through Charleston, and the majority disembarked at Gadsden’s Wharf, taking their first steps into this country at the future site of the IAAM. The museum will contribute to a more complete and honest articulation of American history that will resonate with both national and international visitors.

The IAAM Center for Family History will be one of the world’s preeminent centers for African American genealogy. The Center for Family History will help guests reconnect with their personal family histories, both in the United States and beyond. The transformational experience will restore family connections and a sense of place for African Americans throughout the world. IAAM plans to begin construction in mid-2019 and to open its doors in 2021.

For more information about the International African American Museum and the Center for Family History, visit


Nearly half of all enslaved Africans forced to America through the Transatlantic Slave Trade arrived in Charleston, South Carolina and the vast majority disembarked at Gadsden’s Wharf, the future home of the International African American Museum (IAAM) and one of the most significant and sacred sites of the African American experience in the Western hemisphere. The IAAM, a museum, memorial and site of conscience, will present unvarnished history and culture, commemorate and celebrate the foundational role that Africans and their descendants played in the making of America, and highlight their diasporic connections around the world. It will include immersive, interactive exhibits engaging to all ages and feature the Center for Family History, a leading genealogy archive that will help visitors identify their individual threads in the complex tapestry of history. 

Dr. Elijah Heyward III
International African American Museum
(843) 824-4606

About FamilySearch
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Drew is heading to RootsTech

I'm excited to be attending yet another RootsTech in Salt Lake City, and I already have quite the busy schedule there!  If you find yourself there, you can see me present (twice) a brand-new hands-on workshop about advanced features of Evernote...although the workshops are an extra charge (and I don't know if there remain any openings).  I'll also be making two of my favorite presentations, one that's an introduction to DNA testing (I'm also giving that one twice) and one about using the FAN club principle to break through brick walls.

In addition to all those regularly scheduled presentations, I'll be giving a brief booth talk on the topic of newspaper research at the MyHeritage booth on Thursday morning. I'm looking forward to a dinner with some of my fellow members from the Guild of One-Name Studies.  And speaking of meals, I'm also attending a number of breakfast, lunch, and dinner events sponsored by major genealogy organizations.  (I will have to get serious about dieting when I get home!)

But perhaps more important than anything else, I'll be at the Vivid-Pix booth at the same time each morning of RootsTech, to be part of the announcements of the winners of the Unsung Heroes Award. 

In addition to seeing lots of friends, I plan to bring along my digital voice recorder and grab a few quick interviews with people I haven't spoken with lately.  These will likely turn up in some of the next episodes of The Genealogy Guys Podcast.

For me, the travel starts early Tuesday morning.  RootsTech 2019 Salt Lake City, here I come!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Unsung Heroes Awards - Coming to RootsTech!

The Genealogy Guys Podcast and Vivid-Pix have selected the first quarterly winners of our new Unsung Heroes Awards, and those winners will be announced at the Vivid-Pix Booth #1538 at RootsTech in Salt Lake City next week.

The Unsung Heroes Awards recognize and celebrate the work of great people who volunteer to digitize, index, transcribe, and otherwise preserve historical and genealogical materials, making them available to other researchers. 

We are so tremendously excited! We received a host of fabulous award nominations and had a very difficult time choosing the first winners. This is a quarterly program, and we have more nominations for future quarters. However, we'll be announcing the next quarterly nominations due date soon, and we encourage you to nominate yourself as well as other individuals, genealogical and historical societies, libraries and archives, and young people! We'll also be adding some new categories so stay tuned.

Read more about the Unsung Heroes Awards and join the excitement of what is being accomplished!


We're Singing Your Praises!

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 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.

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 »