"...we made a change to the home page of FamilySearch that addresses some of the items you mentioned in your last two posts.
Friday, April 19, 2013
"...we made a change to the home page of FamilySearch that addresses some of the items you mentioned in your last two posts.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
The seminar theme is "Show Me My Roots." This seminar will be geared to beginners but we will be glad to help anyone who feels they need it. There will be two sessions. The morning session is 10 a.m. to 12 noon and the afternoon session will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Attendees are asked to bring whatever information they have on their parents, grandparents, etc. The attendees will be able to receive help filling out their pedigree chart.
The attendees will then be introduced to the three most popular genealogy programs to give them some idea which one they would like to use. We will be demonstrating Family Tree Maker, RootsMagic, and Reunion. We will also have two computers dedicated to going online to show the attendees how to do research on line, concentrating on the free websites they can use.
Between the charts and the computers the attendees can have a short tour of the library to show them where they can find genealogy information and to let them know that they can order books through inter-library loan from any of the county libraries and have them delivered to Bonita.
This is a free seminar. Please contact Virginia Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org, 619-425-7922) to register so that we can plan refreshments, handouts and volunteers. Attendees should provide their own lunch.
For this seminar to be a success, we need members of our society to volunteer to help either with the charts or demonstrating the programs. You can work either session or all day. Contact Virginia Taylor to volunteer.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
I love the Ancestry.com Learning Center, and often refer beginning genealogists to the site, which is free.
Ancestry.com recently changed the format of the Learning Center - but the old links to it still work as of today (http://learn.ancestry.com/Home/HMLND.aspx).
Let's take a look at the new Learning Center. On the Home, Family Trees, Search, Collaborate or Learning Center tabs, clicking on the Learning Center tab leads to this screen:
There are four main sections to this Learning Center (with the light green background in the screen above), and we'll look at each of them in succession:
1) The What's New page:
The "What's New page has five main links:
* New Content - links to selected new historical record collections
* New Features - links to selected features for using the Ancestry.com site
* Our Social Network - join the online community and learn about education opportunities
* Ask Ancestry Anne - Anne Mitchell writes on the Sticky Notes blog, and answers submitted questions
* Livestream Videos - watch Desktop Education videos prepared by family historians
2) The First Steps page:
This page has four sections:
* Getting Started - links to selected articles about starting your research
* Learn More - links to selected articles about using Ancestry.com to grow your family tree
* Links to a video on Why Start a Family Tree?; a pedigree chart at Start with Paper and Pencil?; and the Ancestry.com app at No Matter where you go, your tree can grow.
* Links to videos two First Steps webinars.
3) The Next Steps page:
This page has three sections:
* Census Records - links to three articles about census records
* Immigration Records - links to three articles about immigration records.
* Links to a webinar on Finding the U.S. Military Heroes in Your Family, an article on Vital Records on Ancestry.com, and a link to a page for Free Research Guides. There are 12 links to illustrated articles for specific research areas (e.g., Irish, UK, Sweden, Germany, Canada, Immigrants, Passenger Lists, Census, American Revolution, Civil War, World War II, and black Sheep).
4) The Family History 101 page:
There are three major parts to this page:
* How-To Articles - links to seven selected articles on different topics
* Beyond Family Trees - links to four selected articles about family history topics
* Links to pages about joining the Facebook page, the Livestream Videos, the Sticky Notes blog, the YouTube Channel, the Twitter feed, and the Ancestry.com Blog.
There is also a link to sign up for the free monthly newsletters by email.
5) There are links to all of the Webinars, to the Help - FAQ area, and Family History Wiki in the Learning Center button on the top menu dropdown list, but those links are not on the Learning Center pages.
6) A user can search for articles by topic in the search field at the top of each Learning Center page. Searching for "census records" comes up with 289 matches; for "immigration records" comes up with 261 matches; for "military records" brings up 258 matches. However, not every article that comes up with these searches seems relevant. The first ten matches for "military records" do not mention military records in the titles. Most of the articles do not have publication dates. I tried searching for authors like Michael John Neill and George G. Morgan, and got a lot of matches. Again, none of the first ten articles mentioned them.
All in all, it's a pretty decent makeover. I am concerned that the search doesn't return relevant matches, and that there are no apparent links to the Ancestry Article Archive that I value.
The URL for this post is: http://www.geneamusings.com/2012/01/ancestrycom-revamps-their-learning.html
copyright (c), Randall J. Seaver, 2012.
Friday, January 6, 2012
Connie Sheets posted an interesting question on the Transitional Genealogists Forum mailing list yesterday, saying:
"I would like to hear from those experienced in making presentations along the lines of "introduction to genealogy" to community groups (e.g., at a local library), primarily in terms of what can reasonably be covered in one hour."
There have been a number of responses in the thread - I suggest that you read each post in the thread. Perhaps the most interesting one is this summary by Thomas W. Jones:
"If I had just "one shot" to influence beginning genealogists, I would emphasize oral history, DNA, and networking (including society membership). I also would touch on indexing activities (another very useful legacy), and all this before introducing documentary research and what it can yield."
Like many genealogists, I do some speaking to "Beginning Genealogy" audiences. I've developed three presentations for different audiences:
* A 30-minute talk for small groups (fraternal, church, civic groups) - with or without a presentation mode
* A 50-minute presentation suitable for heritage groups (e.g., DAR) and genealogy/historical societies
* A 90-minute presentation suitable for libraries or organizations with more time to use (e.g., OASIS sponsors these talks at local libraries and at their facility)
I gave the 50-minute presentation yesterday to the Linares Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in San Diego to about 40 attendees, including a number who are in San Diego area genealogical societies. I was worried that the talk was too basic for experienced genealogists, but was assured afterwards by many of the experienced attendees that they were informed by the talk and appreciated the two page handout of genealogy resources.
The 50-minute talk has these main segments:
* An introduction of "what is genealogy," "how many ancestors do we have," "who's in my tree (bragging)," and "why do I do it."
* An overview of several of my ancestors, including collected documents and family photographs. For the DAR, I added documents from a Revolutionary War Pension file and a DAR descendants list from the DAR Patriot Index.
* A 12-step program of "how to do genealogy research" that includes some collected documents and photographs as examples, but no screen shots of websites.
* A warning that "not everything is on the Internet" and a reading of "How Green Was My Valley."
For the 90-minute program, I add more document/photograph/screen shot examples to the 12-Step program.
The two-page handout provides a list of my "12 Steps," San Diego area societies and repositories, genealogy software, and a list, by subject area, of traditional repositories and online resources.
Do you have a "Beginning Genealogist" presentation? What do you include in it?
The URL for this post is: http://www.geneamusings.com/2012/01/beginning-genealogy-presentations.html
Copyright (c) Randall J. Seaver, 2012
Thursday, June 16, 2011
www.FamilySearch.org recently added four short Getting Started videos to their website - at https://www.familysearch.org/learn/getting_started:
clicking on the purple "Start Watching" button takes you to the screen with the first video and links to all of the videos:
The four videos cover:
* Step 1: Finding Easy Information (3:07) - Memory, Home, Relatives
* Step 2: Recording and Sharing Your Family History (3:03) - Written History, Record Keeping (Forms, Software, Websites)
* Step 3: Finding Challenging Information (3:44) - Principles, Record Types
* Step 4: Using FamilySearch.org (3:10)
At the bottom of each page, there are summaries, with links, to describe the key points made on each video:
These four videos are short and succinct, are very well done, and impart the basic information needed for persons to get started.
Of course, there are many more, and longer, videos on the Research Courses page - https://www.familysearch.org/learn/researchcourses.
The URL for this post is http://www.geneamusings.com/2011/06/getting-started-videos-on.html
(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website, then they have stolen my work.
Monday, November 22, 2010
I was reading through the Vermont page on the FamilySearch Research Wiki, and noted that there is a link to the BYU Vermont Research Outline, in PDF format, which largely duplicates the Research Wiki pages.
I did not find a list of the different State Research Guides on the BYU website, so you will have to go to each one through the FamilySearch Research Wiki page for the state of interest, or you could edit the URL http://net.lib.byu.edu/fslab/researchoutlines/US/Vermont.pdf and replace "Vermont" with your state of interest.
My guess is that this is how FamilySearch Labs populated the Research Wiki pages for the different states and the research topics in each state.
I checked several other states in the Research Wiki, and there are links for every state to a BYU [State] Research Outline. There may be links for a number of countries also, I didn't check that out.
These are very useful research outlines that a researcher could collect on his/her hard drive and have available wherever their computer and hard drive might be.
UPDATED 10 p.m.: Reader Darlene commented that "...the entire list of BYU research outlines is at http://lib.byu.edu/sites/familyhistory/research_outlines/. Great tip, thank you, Darlene!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Chula Vista native Randy Seaver, a San Diego area speaker and teacher on genealogy research and family history, will present a two-hour lecture; the details:
Presentation: Genealogy - Be An Ancestry Detective!
Date: Thursday, 18 November 2010
Time: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street, Chula Vista CA 91910) in the Auditorium
Reservations requested: 619-691-5089
The lecture will cover how and where to begin (always with yourself!). One warning should be given to prospective attendees: This is a very addictive hobby—once started, the need to know more grows and grows. Come find out how you can learn how you came to be you.
Fully underwritten by the Friends of the Chula Vista Public Library and San Diego OASIS.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
When you click on the "Getting Started" image or link, you are taken to this page:
This page has three main areas - the "View famous records," "Print your family tree" and "Step-by-Step Videos" (coming soon).
The "View famous records" link leads to a series of web pages for several famous people - the one I picked was Irving Berlin, which looked like this (two screens):
Isn't that interesting? A "Life Sketch" (you can read more by clicking on the "Read more" link) and some record images (a passport application, and 1910, 1920 and 1930 census records).
Is this a glimpse of "Life Sketches" for every person in the soon-to-be-accessible FamilySearch Family Tree? Will registered FamilySearch users (not necessarily LDS church members) be able to edit and contribute to these pages? Or will FamilySearch use Footnote Pages, or something similar, to permit any researcher to contribute events, notes, documents, images and links?
The "Print Your Family Tree" area has six background images for pedigree charts. When you click on one of them, you get a PDF file (3 to 5 mb size) that you can print out and fill in four generations by hand.
The "Step-by-step videos" area says "Coming soon" - perhaps they will tie these videos into a step-by-step genealogy research series.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I knew that I was going to like Buzzy Jackson's book when I read the title, Shaking the Family Tree: Blue Bloods, Black Sheep, and Other Obsessions of an Accidental Genealogist. Then I read the back cover, which noted:
"In Shaking the Family Tree, Jackson dives headfirst into her family gene pool: flying cross-country to locate an ancient family graveyard, embarking on a weeklong genealogy Caribbean cruise, and even submitting her DNA for testing to try to find her Jacksons. And in the process of researching her own family lore (Who was Bullwhip Jackson?) she meets legions of other genealogy buffs who are as interesting as they are driven -- from the boy who saved his allowance so he could order his great-grandfather's death certificate to the woman who spends her free time documenting the cemeteries of Colorado ghost towns."
Buzzy has created a short video to describe her adventure into genealogy research - you can see it below (or by clicking here):
This book should be read by beginning genealogists who want some idea of how to go about starting research and finding family and historical records, and by experienced genealogists for the joy of reading about an excellent genealogical adventure.
In her book, Buzzy (real name Sarah) starts her excellent adventure by taking a genealogy class at a Boulder, Colorado library, joins the local genealogical society, gets lots of advice and help with her research, takes several trips to ancestral family localities, finds distant cousins online who help her out with research and records, takes a genealogy cruise to hear the speakers (right on - that's why I went!), visits the Family History Library, takes a DNA test, and much more. It is the classical genealogical education roots experience, and the reader gets to fly, ride, sail, sit and research right along with her. In about one year. To be fair, she researched only her Jackson surname.
Buzzy tells her stories with humor, enthusiasm and irreverence. The best part of the book - for me - was that she captured the spirit of all of the genealogists she met along the way - from the local society folks, the repository staffs, the family members (Cousin Mooner?), and some of the most respected professionals in genealogy. The helpful, kind, fair-minded, excited, and sentimental attitudes that most genealogists exhibit shines through in all of her chapters.
Her description of the Caribbean cruise in October 2008 was especially intriguing to me, since my wife and I were on this cruise and I experienced some of Buzzy's experiences first-hand (well, not drinking the night away with John Grenham... drat!). She attended the lectures and managed to interview Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, Elizabeth Shown Mills, Cyndi Howells, and David Allen Lambert among others.
The beauty of this book is that it is a real genealogical adventure - it actually happened - the research performed and the family visits are realistic, frustrating and productive. She even found a long-lost cemetery that helped her connect to her 17th century Jackson families and enabled her to fill out a DAR application.
You can order Shaking the Family Tree at Buzzy Jackson's website, at your favorite bookstore, or online at Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, etc.
Shaking the Family Tree : blue bloods, black sheep, and other obsessions of an accidental genealogist.
New York, Simon & Schuster, 2010.
Paperback, 256 pages.
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of the book from the publisher in mid-August 2010, and agreed to write an objective review of the book and post it on my blog.
Monday, July 19, 2010
A friend asked me "how can I learn about genealogy records and doing research in England?" I told her that the LDS FamilySearch "Online Classes" site had a number of easy-to-use informational and educational videos available.
They are on http://www.familysearch.org/ - you can get to them by clicking on "Research Helps" and selecting "Online Classes." There is also a "Free Online Classes" link on the http://www.familysearch.org/ home page.
The page looks like this:
There are quite a few video series now available on this site. The five English classes include:
Lesson 1: Research Overview (30 minutes) - Video ; Class outline (pdf)
Lesson 2: Census Records (25 minutes) - Video ; Class outline (pdf)
Lesson 3: Civil Registration (35 minutes) - Video ; Class outline (pdf)
Lesson 4: Church Records (25 minutes) - Video ; Class outline (pdf)
Lesson 5: Find Your Ancestors (35 minutes) - Video ; Class outline (pdf)
There are also class handouts that cover the entire series - see Finding Records of Your Ancestors England (pdf) and England Beginning Research Series Web Sites (pdf)
I found the videos and class outlines to be pretty basic, but that's what is needed for beginning researchers. I found an easy way to watch the videos and see the larger class outline simultaneously - open two windows. This does require changing the slides manually, but it kept me focused:
Or, if you don't want to listen to the speaker, you can just page through the class outline and read the information that she talks about on the slides.
If you are looking for a good beginning course on England, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Russia or US genealogy research, Reading Handwritten Records (in a number of languages), or Research Principles and Tools, these free online classes are pretty good.
They provide an excellent balance between offline research and online research methods and tools.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Recent posts on the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blog (the blog for the Chula Vista Genealogical Society) include:
* Genealogy 101 - A Beginning Genealogy Workshop -- details of a four-session beginners class to be held in May on Tuesday nights with Randy Seaver as instructor.
* New or Updated Online Databases - April 2010 -- list of new or updated databases (mid-March to mid-April) on Ancestry.com, Footnote.com, NewEnglandAncestors.org, FamilySearch.org, WorldVitalRecords.com and GenealogyBank.com.
* CVGS "Getting Started" Seminar Summary -- highlights of the Saturday, 24 April seminar on "Getting Started - How to Find Who You Are."
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Hey - San Diego and Chula Vista genealogy seekers -- here's a FREE seminar for you:
So, who do you think you are? You watched the PBS television program “Faces of America” with Henry Louis Gates, and the NBC television show “Who Do You Think You Are?” – and you saw the inspirational stories of the family histories of a number of celebrities.Are you ready to discover your own family stories?
Let us help you get started with a “Getting Started – Finding WHO You Are” program tailored to new members and beginning researchers.
The seminar will be held on Saturday, 24 April, from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the South Chula Vista Library (389 Orange Avenue in Chula Vista, just east of Fourth Avenue) in the Conference Room (located at the far west end of the library building. You can enter through the door on the south side of the library near Fourth).
This program, presented by CVGS member Susi Pentico, will discuss the easy way to start your genealogy research. She will show you how to start without a library trip or other data being necessary. This method may come as a pleasant surprise to many. Come learn the "down home" way of doing research, starting with a minimum of fuss and have some fun. Genealogy so helps you to learn who you are.
Following Susi’s talk, CVGS President Gary Brock will discuss the ways that the Chula Vista Genealogical Society can help new and experienced members pursue their research.
There will be opportunities to have brief one-on-one consultations with several experienced genealogists after the presentations.
Reservations for this seminar will be appreciated so that CVGS can prepare sufficient handouts – please contact Virginia (email email@example.com, phone 619-425-7922).
Friday, March 12, 2010
The following classes are provided online by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Learn the basic methods and key resources to start your family history:
* England Beginning Research
* Germany Research New!
* Ireland Research New!
* Italy Research
* Principios básicos para la investigación genealógica en Hispanoamérica (México)
* Research Principles and Tools New!
* Russia Research
* U.S. Research New!
Click on the links above to see the available videos.
These look like excellent tools to help beginning researchers with their genealogy research.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Who Do You Think You Are? The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History, by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak and published by Viking/Penguin Group, was released today to the public, and is available on Amazon Books in hard-cover book and Kindle format, and in major bookstores.
The book is a companion guide to the NBC Television series Who Do You Think You Are? that starts on March 5 and runs through 23 April (8 p.m. EST/PST, 7 PM CST/MST) in seven episodes. The episodes feature celebrities Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Susan Sarandon, Lisa Kudrow, Spike Lee, Brooke Shields and Emmitt Smith.
For genealogists, the profiles of the celebrities is interesting and fine examples of genealogy research. However, the celebrities are not the major part of this book. Each one has two or three pages that summarizes their heritage and their ancestral search. All of that will be covered in the television series, of course.
The real purpose of this book is to provide a basic introduction to genealogy research for readers/viewers who are interested enough in their own ancestry to buy or borrow the book. The book contents include:
* Preparing for your ancestral hunt - start with what you know, go on a treasure hunt, talk to the folks, organize and chart your findings, don't believe everything you hear, and all about names.
* What resources are online? - a brief review of Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, CyndisList.com, USGenWeb and rootsweb, Footnote.com, GenealogyBank.com, EllisIsland.org and CastleGarden.org, government records, Google, libraries, archives, societies, ethnic, magazines, RootsTelevision.com, ISOGG.org, SteveMorse.org, FindAGrave.com, DeathIndexes.com, DeadFred.com, RAOGK.org, genea-bloggers (7 of them, not Genea-Musings), and several social networks.
* Chapters about the Census Records, Military Records, Vital Records, Military Records, Immigration and Naturalization Records, other records (brief summaries for church, newspapers, court, cemetery records), and DNA testing.
The "Sleuthing in Action" chapter describes Megan's research on President Obama's Irish roots and finding the "real Annie Moore" as success stories.
The last chapter is "Passing it On" - advice to ancestry-seekers on how to protect, preserve and share the results of their sleuthing.
* There is no index in this 204 page book, but it is laid out very clearly and probably doesn't need one.
Throughout the chapters, Megan uses illustrations of records for famous people (arts, politics, and her own family) to demonstrate the record types and their value. These are really interesting, and made the book intriguing for me - I could hardly wait for the next illustration! Online resources are mentioned in every chapter, but the reader is advised that many records are not yet online.
In summary, this is a very readable genealogy tutorial book which beginning genealogists can use to get them started in their research. Intermediate genealogists will find it useful for the up-to-date treatment of repository and online records. Advanced and experienced researchers will not find anything to help them with specific research problems or new methodologies. The book is intended to be a "getting started" or "get going again" tutorial and succeeds.
It would be excellent as the first genealogy book on the shelf of a new researcher trying to learn the methodology and record types involved in genealogy research. It should be on every library's genealogy book shelf and on their circulation shelf too! It would be very helpful as a guide book for a beginning genealogy class sponsored by a library or a genealogy society.
Wouldn't a DVD with the book set be great as a birthday or Christmas gift for a grandparent or adult child to try to get them interested in family history?
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in the mail earlier this week, through Megan Smolenyak's good efforts. I have received no money or other remuneration (not even a mention in the book) for writing this review. I really liked this book (could you tell?), and hope that it educates many new genealogists!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Popularity of the Show in Britain -- The idea for “Who Do You Think You Are?” originated from a phenomenally successful UK show, which has traced the roots of some 50 individuals in the last 6 years. During the last season, more than 5 million viewers tuned in to watch the UK show. Nearly 12,000 Brits attended the Who Do You Think You Are? Live conference in February 2009. Of those, 84 percent say they started researching their family history since 2004. The show has generated a surge of family history interest in the UK – and the U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are? could net the same reaction.
Potential Impact in the United States -- The U.S. version uses the same format as the UK show – each hour-long episode taking one celebrity on a journey of family history discovery, focusing on the stories discovered in their family trees. The celebrity appeal and the family storytelling nature makes Who Do You Think You Are? perfectly poised to appeal to the masses. Naturally, the show will inspire viewers to begin thinking about and asking questions around their own family history.
Of course, the show’s format also means that the episodes do not necessarily delve in to research processes or methodology or the challenges one can face when researching. On the other hand, Who Do You Think You Are? is a fantastic opportunity to educate people about what family history is and how to successfully research their heritage.
Jan Alpert, president of the National Genealogical Society (NGS), hopes that Who Do You Think You Are? encourages people to take advantage of resources at court houses, libraries, archives and genealogy societies. She adds, “Many people are interested in knowing more about their heritage, but have no idea how to begin.”
A Suggested Discussion -- Taking this into consideration, we’d like to pose a question to the family history community and encourage discussion among bloggers and blog readers – How can family historians take advantage of the show’s popularity?
* In what ways could genealogists reach out to those who are newly interested in family history because of the show?
* How can family historians teach proper research skills and methodology to those just beginning their journey?
* What’s the best way to help beginners get started in family history?
* What ways can genealogy societies, libraries and similar organizations benefit from the show as well as reach out to those just starting?
* How can commercial websites, such as Ancestry.com, help educate people about family history?
* What lessons from the popularity of Roots in the late 1970s could help genealogists prepare for the potential impact of Who Do You Think You Are?
Some readers will recall that genea-bloggers asked similar questions about one year ago when WDYTYA was first announced as a summer replacement show. In response to the questions, many of us said "societies need to get their Beginning Genealogy classes ready for the onslaught of interested people," "adult education classes at libraries should be planned and held" and "society members should be trained to help new researchers one-on-one."
Two of my local societies, and myself, are pretty well prepared. San Diego Genealogical Society offers four 90 minute beginners sessions on their regular monthly meeting day twice a year. These have been very well attended in the past two years, and resulted in a flurry of new members. In addition, SDGS just started their Wednesday education classes at the SDGS Library - with monthly sessions on Genealogy Methods, Computer Use, National/Ethnic Topics, and brickwall problem discussions. There are classes four times each month.
Chula Vista Genealogical Society is planning an all-day seminar for beginners as part of Family History Month in October. CVGS will probably offer a four-session eight-hours Beginning Genealogy class starting in the summer, based on my OASIS class.
My own response has been to develop the four-session eight-hour "Beginning Computer Genealogy" class at the San Diego OASIS senior adult education center in San Diego, and to speak at local libraries giving my 90-minute "Genealogy - Be An Ancestor Detective" talk. I've also developed a 45-minute version of the latter for local social, business, church, etc. groups.
What other ideas do researchers and program organizers have? Please share them so we can all benefit from them!
Thank you to Anastasia for jump starting this discussion.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Along with the debut of the Who Do You Think You Are? television show in early March, there is also a comp[anion book titled: Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History. It was written by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
In this last class, several students said "I'm totally lost - where can I get help to add data, add notes, add sources?" I showed them the Help menu in Legacy and RootsMagic and how they can use the Search tab to find information, and directions, for their questions. The response was "I didn't know that Help link was there." It seems like some beginners are reluctant (terrified?) of clicking on a menu item for fear of "doing something wrong."
Since some of my society colleagues, and blog readers, have also migrated their databases to RootsMagic 4, I thought that I would highlight how to get help in RootsMagic 4 (I'll do the same with Legacy and Family Tree Maker 2010 in later posts).
From within RootsMagic 4, clicking on the "Help" menu item (top row) and the "Contents" item in the dropdown list takes you to the Help page:
On the Help page, the user can choose an article from the "Contents" list, or click on the tabs for "Index," "Search," or "Favorites" (where the user has saved a help subject previously).
My experience is that putting keywords into the "Search" tab usually brings up an article that answers my questions.
There are several online Help sites also. You can access them from within RootsMagic 4 by clicking on the "Help" menu item and selecting "Technical Support" from the dropdown list. When you do this, the program opens your browser and takes you to the RootsMagic Support Portal:
There are links on the Support Portal for the "Knowledge Base," "News," "Submit a Ticket," "View Tickets" (that you've submitted), and "Message Boards."
Here is the Knowledge Base page:
On this page, there are sections for the different RootsMagic products - Family Atlas, Family Reunion Organizer, Personal Historian and RootsMagic. The user can submit keywords to the Search field at the top of the page to see if there are answers to their questions in the Knowledge Base.
The "Submit a Ticket" link on the Support Portal opens:
On the "Submit a Ticket" form, the user can ask a question that they have not found an adequate answer for on the other support sites.
The "Message Boards" link on the Support Portal takes the user to the "Forums" section, where the user can submit a forum post and receive answers from RootsMagic employees or other users:
These Help sites can be useful to bewildered users of RootsMagic, especially beginning researchers.
Even though RootsMagic claims that their software is easy to use - and they offer basic information and instruction on using the program on their website, a video tutorial on "Getting Started," and a book Getting the Most Out of RootsMagic by Bruce Buzbee - my experience with beginning software users is that they need explicit directions on how to access these helps and to use the software satisfactorily.
Societies should consider having software user groups to teach the basics, demonstrate program features, and answer questions that beginners have. In the San Diego area, both the San Diego Genealogical Society and the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego offer user groups for RootsMagic.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
This presentation is oriented toward inquiring or curious persons and beginning genealogists, but the lessons can be used by intermediate researchers also. This talk was advertised in the OASIS San Diego catalog.
The syllabus is great, too, for any researcher!
If you read this post and are attending, please come greet me after the presentation and tel me that you read it on my blog.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
They published their post today Starting Your Family Tree: Advice from the Pros with words of wisdom and experience from Dick Eastman, Debra Fleming and myself.
In retrospect, I should have added another sentence in the last paragraph to make the point that most genealogy resources, especially those that prove relationships like land and probate records, are still found in repositories in paper or microform. Oh well, I thought mine was too long as it was. Turns out it was comparable length to the other two.
What else would you have said? What advice would you give beginning genealogists, in one to three paragraphs? Tell me in Comments to the Genoom blog post, in Comments to this post, or in your own blog post.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Here are my Favorite FREE Genealogy Resources, based on my own research needs:
1) San Diego Family History Center computer center. This local FHC has FREE access to Ancestry.com, Footnote.com, WorldVitalRecords.com, HeritageQuestOnline.com, Godfrey Library, Genline.com, and several other commercial databases. A genealogy researcher in San Diego can capture record images from all of these sites on their flash drive and use them in their research - all for FREE (except for the costs of getting down to the FHC in Mission Valley).
2) Carlsbad (CA) Georgina Cole Library. This public library has a wonderful collection of printed books and periodicals, plus the free access to Ancestry, Footnote, WorldVitalRecords, New England Ancestors, Heritage Quest Online, NewspaperARCHIVE, and several other commercial databases. This library is 43 miles away for me, so the travel cost is higher for me.
3) http://www.familysearch.org/. The FREE LDS FamilySearch site has their legacy databases - International Genealogical Index, Ancestral File, Pedigree Resource File, 1880 US Census, 1881 UK and Canada censuses, plus the Genealogy Research Guides, Family History Library Catalog, and more; the Record Search Pilot has all of the released Family Search Indexing projects, all for free access at home. More indexed and digitized databases are on the way over many years. The BYU Family History Archive is part of the FamilySearch "family" too. Family Search Labs is developing other FREE resources, including the Research Wiki.
4) http://www.rootsweb.com/. This FREE site has some online record databases, including Death Indexes for Social Security, California, Kentucky, Maine and Texas. The WorldConnect family tree database is valuable, and has the same data as the Ancestry World Tree. Other valuable resources on Rootsweb are the Mailing List Archives and the Rootsweb/Ancestry Message Boards. Ancestry.com hosts the Rootsweb sites without cost.
5) http://www.usgenweb.org/. There is a separate web page for each state, and for each county in each state, all with transcribed and indexed information pertaining to the specific location. There are several different projects (e.g., USGenWeb Archives, Tombstone Transcription Project), all created and maintained by volunteers.
6) www.FamilyTreeLegends.com/records/. This site has some records in vital records, military, land, court and probate, biography and history, geography and reference categories.
7) http://www.cyndislist.com/. Cyndi's List has the best organized collection of genealogy links on many subjects.
8) http://www.findagrave.com/ and http://www.interment.net/. These volunteer cemetery transcription and photograph websites are very useful.
9) http://www.olivetreegenealogy.com/. Lorine Schulze has a fine collection of small databases and links to other free and commercial databases, concentrating on immigration, Canada and northeastern US states.
10) http://www.deathindexes.com/. Joe Beine has collected links for free and commercial online death indexes. He also has pages for online Birth and Marriage indexes, Military Indexes, Emigration and Immigration List Indexes, Naturalization Indexes, German resources, and several more.
That's my Top Ten - what's yours? What "really great one" did I not list?