Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31 - New Year's Eve

December 31 - Think how far your family history research has come this year. What did you accomplish? How can you improve next year? Now go out and start your New Year's Eve festivities.
Wow, another year is done. I am amazed that I actually kept up this blog for an entire year. I want to thank everyone who visited and read this blog last year. Don't forget if you genealogy ideas, just revisit this past years blog for ideas.
I want to thank Family Tree Magazine, February 2006 issue for publishing this yearly tips and hints.
I plan on continuing my blog, perhaps it won't be a daily blog, I will definitely, make sure I do something once a week. I plan on recording my daily genealogy research, that is what I originally designed this blog for.
This year has amazed me with over 2600 visits to my blog that ends up being about 7 visits a day.
See you all in the New Year!
P.S. Heading to the Rose Bowl today to cheer on my beloved Wisconsin Badgers. Here's hoping that the third time is the Charm!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

December 30 - Out with the old, in with the new

December 30 - Out with the old, in with the new. Sort papers into Keep, Toss and Undecided piles. File the keepers, delete duplicate computer files, reorganize e-mails and get rid of unwanted messages.
I think this is something I need to schedule every month. Perhaps on the same day I do my backups, I should be doing some organization cleanup. Keeping up this habit all year long with actually make your research easier by keeping your organized, and you will also end up revisiting where you have everything.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

December 29 - Texas

December 29 - Texas became the 28th state today in 1845. Don't be afraid to mess with Texas research using the digitized records of the Texas General Land Office <www.> and the Texas State Library <>.

Friday, December 28, 2012

December 28 - Scrapbooking party

December 28 - Have a scrapbooking party-warm up leftover plum pudding and invite some friends to spend the day preserving precious memories.
Okay, I don't do scrapbooking, I tried but I make too much of a mess and I am not that creative. My hat off to all those that are creative. But if you are not creative, just look at my post from yesterday and create a "scrapbook" via an internet site that will print out a keepsake in the size you want. They have creative pages already laid out for you. You can had words and some embellishments. Okay, real scrapbooks are wonderful, but for the rest of us, this might be our only means.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

December 27 - Snap more pictures

December 27 - Before hitting the post-holiday road home, snap some pictures of your childhood neighborhood.

What is great about digital cameras is that taking more pictures don't cost us anymore. You can choose if you want to print them. I have been finding that I have been saving them to my computer but I rarely print pictures. After special events or holidays, I have been creating picture books from online sites such as Shutterfly. They can be expensive when they get quite huge like my pictures from Peru. I had almost 600 pictures and I put most of the time into a 45 page 12x12 book. The hardbound book with discount cost me $60.00 put since the trip for the three of us cost over $9000.00 and this was basically my only souvenir, I say money well spent.

So take lots of pictures and think about putting them into small books, like my 8x8 book of my cruise trip. That book was only 20 pages and only cost about $20.00.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 26 - Kwanzaa Starts

December 26 - Kwanzaa starts today. Find out the story behind its traditions at <www.>.

This is what I found on Kwanzaa... Kwanzaa, which runs from December 26 to January 1, was created by activist professor Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate African heritage. Karenga has claimed that 28 million people worldwide celebrate the holiday, but only an estimated half-million to 2 million Americans do, according to Keith Mayes, author of Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition. One way to avoid embarrassment this holiday season: save "Happy Kwanzaa" for people who actually celebrate it. I wish everyone "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year". If they get offended, then I just say, well I then wish you a Happy "fill in the blank" to you. May your New Year be filled with lots of happiness and joy!

If anyone wished me the wrong the holiday such as saying Happy Hanukah, I would reply... "No Happy Hanukah to you and Merry Christmas to me and Happy New Year to the both of us!"

Remember, it's the thought that counts, people are just wishing us love and joy the only way they know how!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

December 25 - Visit with family members

December 25 - Visit with family members in person or by phone.

Don't forget about Skype if you can't visit them in person. What a great way to make eye contact with your love ones and you can hold up presents you have received. As the old commercials would say, reach out and touch someone!

Monday, December 24, 2012

December 24 - Record a Christmas Eve tradition

December 24 - Record a Christmas Eve family tradition in your blog or journal.

Many years ago, my local newspaper back in my hometown of Wisconsin asked for Christmas family stories and so I tried my hand at writing what Christmas meant to me. To my pleasant surprise, my story was published.

A family tradition in my family was to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. We would have a wonderful dinner and while the adults were clearing the table and because the kids were anxious, my father would take all the younger children, which included my myself being the youngest of nine and many of my nieces and nephews since I was an aunt at the age of seven, out for a drive to see the Christmas lights.

I always looked forward to the Christmas ritual, we would drive through the park that was always decorated for the seasons. Christmas music would be playing from the bandstand and my dad would stop and roll down the window so we could here. We would travel up and down many of the city streets seeing all the beautiful decorated houses.

We would stop downtown in front of the one of the stores that had a wonderful animated display for Christmas. Dad would park the car and all the kids would hop out and walk to the store window and see the train that ran around and the elf figures that were making toys. It was a wonderful and magical time for me. We were all anxious to get back home, because Santa would visit our house while we were out. I was always jealous of my older siblings because they got to see Santa come and deliver the presents.

When we finally got home which felt like hours of driving around and seeing all the lights, we would run into the living room, where the tree was one end of the room by the window and the presents seem to stretch halfway across the room.

However, before opening presents we had one more tradition to do. That would involve the blessing of the house, the tree and the naivety scene. The youngest member of the family which was me, would take baby Jesus and place him in the manger. I passed this tradition onto the next youngest when the youngest became five or six years old. What a treat it was to be able to place baby Jesus in the manger.

Then the gifts were handed out and the youngest was allowed to open their presents first and we went to the oldest, and in spite of my Mom being the oldest, my Dad was the last to open his gifts. He was always a hoot to watch opening his gifts. He would slowly tear open is gift and then peek inside and his eyes would get real wide. All the little kids would be screaming, what is it, show us.

It was always fun opening my gifts, but I enjoyed the time I spent with my family on Christmas Eve and seeing the joy on their faces as they opened their gifts was the best present anyone could ever receive.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

December 23 - Backup

December 23 - Back up your family tree data and print updated research logs and charts.

Don't forget to get rid of your old research logs and charts. Don't confuse yourself or someone who is looking at this data at a later time. Always choose the option to print the date and time on all your printouts and then there is no confusion of what is what. Place the current printouts in a binder or folder that is clearly labeled as current research logs and charts.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December 22 - Record in your research journal

December 22 - Write in your research journal about the most extreme thing you've done while researching your roots. (Took a pillow to the library to nap in a carrel? Walked a cemetery in a blizzard?)

Okay, this may seem a little extreme to walk a cemetery in a blizzard but I have walked one in a rain storm because I had travelled so far and decided not to waste the trip. I didn't stay long, and I didn't take any pictures, but I confirmed that relatives were buried there and I rescheduled a visit on a nicer day.

Remember if genealogy is not fun then why are we doing it? So you can always review your journal on a tough day and perhaps reading about one of your more extreme things might bring a smile to your face and reenergize you.

Friday, December 21, 2012

December 21 - Find Living cousins

21. Search online telephone directories such as <> and <> for the surnames and places you're researching—you might come up with a cousin.

Keep in mind that sometimes these address are many years old and they might not live at that address any longer, however, any lead is better than no lead.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 20 - Scan your photos

20. Select a few unidentified pictures and make photographic copies (using your scanner or an in-store photo kiosk, not a photocopier) to share with relatives at holiday gatherings.

I have been trying to scan all the photos and documents that I have and create a computer database. I believe in this method so much so that now through my genealogy library that I belong too, I have volunteered to scan research donations. After the society president told me about a 3 box donation of someone's research notes that the LDS library rejected because it wasn't in any special order, I decided to scan the donation. This way I will hopefully be able to reduce the size of this donation down to one large box. The donation contains lots of photos, and I plan on scanning those too. I will get rid of paperwork notes after scanning but will keep the photos, and try to organize them in a manner that is useful. Hopefully someone in that family will inquiry about it and we can then send them the entire box and the copy of the scan items too. I would like the library to keep a copy of scan items so they can be shared to future researchers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December 19 - Surnames

December 19 - Update the list of surnames you're researching and tuck it into your binder. Look them up in online databases whenever you have a few spare moments at the library.

I have my list on the back of my business card that I created. In a past posting, I talked about creating inexpensive business cards for your genealogy research. You will find that many times while visiting a library or courthouse you might run into other researchers. I have been asked for a list and this is a handy way to have it ready. The front of my card is very simple, with my name, my city and state, my email address, my website that I have my family history on and this blog website.

This way if my email changes, most likely my blog won't and I can update my email through my blog or my family website.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 18 - CompletePlanet

December 18 - Investigate the “hidden” Web: Search CompletePlanet <aip.completeplanet. com> on the term genealogy.

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17 - Family History Summary

December 17 - Are you visiting or hosting relatives for the holidays? Prepare a quick family history summary to share.

The secret here is to keep it simple. All our relatives might not have the same love of family history as we do. Therefore keep the family history short and sweet. If you found a new generation, share that information or find something about an ancestor that is new and you haven't shared yet. For example: I came across an article of my half-siblings father who was involved in a bus accident during World War II. I had heard about the accident, but to find the newspaper article that talks about the accident and their father's actual involment was very interesting. In spite of his serious inquiry he managed to pull several people from the bus.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 16 - Hanukkah

December 16 - Commemorate Hanukkah by getting to know your Jewish ancestors. See the getting-started guide, reference books and other resources at Avotaynu <>.

Today is the last day of Hanukkah, but this is still a great time to learn more, even if you don't have any Jewish Ancestor (that you know of yet!).

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 15 - Professional Researchers

December 15 - Visit <> and <> to learn the meanings behind the letters you've seen after professional researchers' names. If you need a pro, use these sites to find one.

Friday, December 14, 2012

December 14 - Alabama Fever

December 14 - “Alabama Fever” increased that area's population 16-fold in the decade before it achieved statehood today in 1819. Read regional histories to learn about such mass migrations, then make an educated guess where your ancestors went.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 13 - Your Ancestral Village

December 13 - You're dying to see your ancestral village, but you can't get there. Post on a local message board—maybe a kind soul will snap some pictures for you. Or search online for ancestral photography services.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 12 - revisit some online databases

December 12 - Pick five online databases you haven't been to in awhile and search again.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 11 - Indiana

December 11 - Indiana (which became a state this day in 1816) hosted only one Civil War battle, but 208,367 of its citizens enlisted. Start researching your blue or gray ancestor at state archives and the American Civil War Home Page <>.

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10 - Cyndi's List

December 10 - Delve into the links on Cyndi's List <> that cover your research interests.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 9 - Family Crest?

December 9 - Debunk heraldry myths—and see if you really have a “family crest”—with the information at <>.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

December 8 - Censuses and Substitutes

December 8 - To find censuses and census substitutes (such as tax lists) for Colonial ancestors, run a keyword search of the FHL catalog on the colony name and the word colonial.

Friday, December 7, 2012

December 7 - State Research Guides

December 7 - Discover ancestral state quirks—such as Delaware's “hundreds”—in a Family Tree Magazine State Research Guide <> or FHL research outline (click Guides on the FamilySearch home page).

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 6 - Last Minute Deductions

December 6 - Cramming in last-minute deductions for your 2012 taxes? Consider a charitable donation to your favorite genealogical library, society or archive.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December 5 - Family Newsletter

December 5 - Plan out the next edition of your family's newsletter.

Remember to keep your family newsletter fun, when it becomes a chore, you might not want to do it. Get other's to help, get members to submit ideas or articles. Pick a theme and ask everyone to submit something for the theme. Get more than you need and save those you don't use for when you might not get enough response on a later newsletter. Try to keep a balance on new happenings and a little of the old by adding a little of your genealogy research into the newsletter. Don't forget to add current events, if someone keeps these newsletters, current events are create perspective of what was going on in the rest of the world.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December 4 - Maps

December 4 - Find historical maps of your ancestors' hometowns using Map History <www.> and the Library of Congress' American Memory Collection <> (click Maps).

Monday, December 3, 2012

December 3 - Illinois research

December 3 - Today in 1818, Illinois became the 21st state. Search Land of Lincoln census, military vital and land records at the state archives
I have found quite a few of my ancestors have moved to or from Illinois before coming to my home state of Wisconsin.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December 2 - fill in the blanks

December 2 - Examine your data for missing citations, then look up the sources and fill in all the blanks.
I remember when I didn't do any citations and then found myself wondering where I found the information that I had. So I started back tracking and creating citations. I had a few published family history books that I obtained a lot of information from, so doing those were a little easier. However, I still come across a name and facts and no citations and wonder where the heck did this come from. I will spend a little time seeing if I can find this information such as through a census record, or perhaps I missed sourcing it from a book. I will look at close family members to the name that is not sourced and see if perhaps it came from the same source as those family members.
What I like most about doing citations, is when I go back to that branch of the family, I can see where I had looked and develop a plan to look else where for new information instead of looking at the same places I already had looked. So now I research smarter not harder.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 1 - Clean up your computer's hard drive

December 1 - Organize the photos, documents and other files on your computer's hard drive. Read the February 2004 Family Tree Magazine for help.

I have to admit, this was the best tip I every decided to do. My computer's hard drive is a very organized and I now I have no problem finding stuff. You need to decided on an organizational method that works for you and then you need to use it. At first it may seem overwhelming as with any organization task. So take baby steps. First decided on the file folders you want to create, remember to place them all under a main folder titled Genealogy. Then move some of the files you may already have on your computer, flash drives, back-up drives and placed them into their proper sub-folder within your Genealogy folder. Next, spend a few minutes before starting any new genealogy research and scan a few documents or pictures and place them into their proper folder. Before your know it, you will have everything scanned and filed. Don't forget to back up your folder once a month or after doing some major work.

Friday, November 30, 2012

November 30 - Back up your data

November 30 - Time to back up your data. Tidy your paper files while you wait.
Always try to stay organized. I used to be real organized when I use to work. My work desk was very well organized and I knew where everything was. Everything had a proper place. Now that I don't work and as I look around my messy computer room, I realize that I need to take a step back and clean up my work area. Especially with the weekend coming up. I always liked when I wrapped up work projects and came back on Monday to a clean and organized desk. I need to start doing that at home!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November 29 - Immigration resources

November 29 - Focus on lesser-known immigration resources on the Internet, such as the Galveston Immigration Database <www.> and the Famine Irish Passenger Record Data File <> (select Irish from the Subject pull-down menu).

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November 28 - New site of the week

November 28 - Try to find a new site each week to research for your genealogy. We get into ruts and sometimes we need to move out of our comfort zone. Spending just a little time each week exploring new resources can be fun and rewarding.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November 27 - Publish your family history

November 27 - Publishing your family history doesn't have to be complicated. Do a Google search for print-on-demand publishers.

This is a great way to offer your book without costing you money out of your pocket. You set the price and share the link and family members can order how many books they want and ship them to themselves. Plus many offer a E-Book option with all the readers that are out there. Please remember, even though might not be in it for the money, still charge for the E-Book option. Perhaps a fraction of what the printed book would cost, but if you are making a small profit on the printed book, then have that profit the cost of the e-book. Genealogy is not a cheap hobby.

Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26 - Mystery Photographs

November 26  -. Pull out a few mystery photographs and examine the clothing with a magnifying glass. Compare them to photos in Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans & Fashion, 1840-1900 by Joan Severa (Kent State University Press).

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November 25 - Holiday Travels

November 25 - Plan to take your genealogy on holiday day travels: Pack your PDA (make sure to sync your files first), an issue or two of Family Tree Magazine, some society journals and your research binder.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

November 24 - Call a genealogical library

November 24 - Call a genealogical library in one of the places your progenitors lived. Ask what long-distance research services the library offers (checking indexes? obituary lookups?) and how much they cost.

Friday, November 23, 2012

November 23 - Black Friday

November 23 - Starting holiday shopping today? You're a brave soul. Put these genealogically beneficial gifts on your list: digital voice recorders, scrapbooks, picture frames, magnifying glasses, software and computer gadgets.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

November 21 - Overseas Internet Sites

November 21 - If you're surfing overseas Internet sites, try Google's language tools <>. You can search for Web pages from a specific country (use the pull-down menu) and translate the text of a foreign-language site (plug in the URL and pick the languages you need).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November 20 - Generate Maps

November 20 - Generate maps of your ancestors' hometowns-and get directions for your upcoming holiday road trip—at MapQuest <> or Google Maps <>.

November 19 - Small Talk

November 19 - Hate making small talk? Discussion starters such as the conversation cards at <> can break the ice and help you learn more about your family at this Thanksgiving's gathering

Sunday, November 18, 2012

November 18 - Ancestral Nicknames

November 18 - Don't let ancestral nicknames-such as Beth, Bess, Betty, Liz or Lizbet for Elizabeth-trip you up. Broaden your online searches to include nicknames or just a first initial.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

November 17 - Research Ellis Island

November 17 - Ellis Island closed this month in 1954, after welcoming more than 17 million immigrants to New York. Look up 1892-to-1924 arrivals at <>.

Friday, November 16, 2012

November 16 - create a wish list

November 16 - Create a genealogical wish list of software, books and subscriptions you've been coveting. Leave it in plain sight of anyone who might give you a holiday gift.
This is a great idea. I did this once and received Family Tree Maker software that included a free year of It was the best gift I ever received!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November 15 - serve a dish from yesteryear

November 15 -  Hunt down a Thanksgiving dish from yesteryear at <>. Plan to serve it at your family's Thanksgiving dinner.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November 14 - share a family history article

November 14 - Photocopy the most helpful family history article you've read recently and share it with a genealogy buddy. Ask her to do the same for you.

November 13 - Get a reference book

November 13 - Get a reference book to tell you when counties formed, which courthouses have which records and more. Ask friends to recommend their favorites-we like The Family Tree Resource Book for Genealogists edited by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack and Erin Nevius (Family Tree Books).

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12 - Historical Census Browser

November 12 - Learn all about your forebears' neighbors. With the Historical Census Browser <>, you can see demographic information-sex, age, religion, slavery, education-of counties from 1790 to 1960.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November 11 - Veteran's Day

November 11 - This Veteran's Day, add your WWII ancestor to the National WWII Memorial Registry <>.

Don't forget to check for their memorials to all veterans.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

November 10 - Search the Archival research catalog

November 10 - Search the Archival Research Catalog to see NARA's photograph, map and record holdings. If you want only matches linked to digital images, be sure to click the box.

Friday, November 9, 2012

November 9 - Googles Downloads

November 9 - Google offers more than just its well-known search engine: Try Google Earth to explore an ancestral neighborhood, or Picasa to organize the pictures on your PC. Get both these Windows freeware programs from <>.

Things have changed since 2006 and so has google. To find the download for Google Earth try and for Picasa try

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November 8 - Family Newsletter

November 8 - Write up and mail out your family newsletter today.

I wonder how many family newsletters really exist these days, with blogs, family websites through and such. Plus if they do exist, are they still mailed or is everything done via email?

So however you communicate with your distant and not so distant relatives, do something today for it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November 7 - voting records

November 7 - After casting your vote yesterday, search out your ancestors' voting records. Contact the county election commission to ask where old records are — probably in a public library.

November 6 - American Indian Heritage

November 6 - Chase down those family stories about an American Indian great-great-grandmother. See the April 2004 Family Tree Magazine and

I remember growing up, my half-siblings telling me that they descend from an Indian Princess. Well, as I grew up, I learned that family stories sometimes have a little bit of truth in them. They do descend from Indian Blood, and it was through the War Chief's daughter. So it was assumed that she was a Indian Princess. However, there are many different types of Chiefs in a tribe and they as a group decide how to proceed with the tribe.

Later I found that I one of my ancestors, through my mother was an Mohawk Indian Women from the turtle clan. I haven't done any more research to find out what that exactly means or how the family historian even knows this. I guess now is better than never.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November 4 - Daylight Savings Time Ends

November 4 - Daylight Savings Time ends —“fall back” and get an extra hour to search an online database you haven't tried. See <> for suggestions.
FamilytreeMagazine has many 101 sites, to visit the latest, check out this website

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November 3 - Looking 4 Kin

November 3 - Maybe someone in Looking 4 Kin's <> friendly genealogy chat rooms can help you solve a brick-wall problem.

November 2 - Dakota Territory

November 2 - Today in 1889, Congress admitted North and South Dakota (originally part of the Dakota Territory) to the Union. Changing state borders affect where records are, so learn your ancestral states' histories from Wikipedia <>.

November 1 - Behind the name

November 1 -  Roman Catholics celebrate All Saints Day today. Many Catholic parents named children for saints—for first-name information, see Behind the Name <>.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 31 - Visit a cemtery

October 31 - This Halloween, do some ghost busting and visit a cemetery. Banish skeletons from your past with the Skeletons in our Closet Newsletter <>.
Even though this link doesn't work anymore, you can still do some ghost busting and visit a cemetery. Soon in many parts of the country (if not already), it will be too cold to be visiting a cemetery. I love going this time of year, the leaves are beautiful, and the ground is not soft like in the spring.
Don't forget to take your camera and snap pictures of the gravestones. You can always add them to if its not already on their website.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October 30 - Cram in a research session

October 30 - Before you're too busy with holiday errands, get yourself to the library for a hot-and-heavy research session.
Yep the holidays are coming faster and faster every year. Once Novemeber arrives, my head starts to spin. I need to get the house clean for Thanksgiving and ready for Christmas Decorations, which I usually start the Friday after Thanksgiving. I have already have some presents purchased, so I will find time to start wrapping those. Its easier to keep up with the wrapping and not letting it wait to the last minute. (Will not do that ever again).
Need a break from all the Holdiay hustle and bustle, then schedule little short boost of genealogy tasks. Instead of starting new projects, think about wrapping up any outstanding projects you started this year. Such as redoing your files, or just making sure everything is filed back where it belongs. Make inventory of your books, and perhaps write a wish list of books you want to have. I give these to family members who always ask what I want for Christmas.
By wrapping up all your projects, you will be ready for the new year and be organized too! Because we all know when the new year arrives, we will be thinking about tax day until April. Then summer vacation, then school starts and then we are right back to the holidays.
P.S. Happy Birthday to my eldest son, Robert who turns 27 today.

Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29 - go beyond your family tree software

October 29 - Look beyond standard family tree software to add-ons that locate defunct towns and create pretty charts. Try Progeny Software and The Gold Bug <>.
Software packages have come along way since this tip was written in 2006. Also, I like using more than one software package, because perhaps I like the reports of one, but like inputting information via another. No problem, just pick one software package as your main package and do all your editing of data in this package. Then export via GEDCOM file to another program and run whatever you like from that application. As long as you are always inputting via your main package, you won't have any problems.
P.S. Happy Anniversary to my hubby who 29 years ago, married me on the 29th. This would have been my parents, 52nd anniversary had they both still been living. My Love to both of the them who are never far from my heart or thoughts.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 28 - Honoring Our Ancestors

October 28 - Apply for an Honoring Our Ancestors grant <> to help fund your society's transcription project or workshop.

This is a great way for promoting our love of genealogy.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October 27 - Family Tree Quilt

October 27 - Start a family tree quilt, wall hanging or other keepsake project.
This is one thing that I have always wanted to do, but always seem to put it off. I think I will put this project on my calendar, and I will do this after the first of the year, since, I know I won't find time untl then. Just remember, if you have a project you want to do, put an appointment on your calendar. If you don't make time, you won't find time to do your important things.

Friday, October 26, 2012

October 26 - Deciphering old hand writing

October 26 - Get help deciphering old hand writing. See <> and check out Kip Sperry's Reading Early American Handwriting (Genealogical Publishing Co.).

I have to admit this is my hard task. Some hand writing is very difficult to read. Now that alot of old documents are available online, I come across old hand writing even more. My tip: Transcribe old documents and leave the transcribition with the document, this way you won't have to struggle with the old hand writing more than once per document.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 25 - Learn how to presever your heirlooms

October 25 - Don't let the past slip away—spend a half-hour learning techniques to preserve your heirlooms. Two excellent sources: <> and Caring for Your Family Treasures by Jane S. Long and Richard W. Long (Heritage Preservation).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 24 - UnsolvedAncestry

October 24 - Go to UnsolvedAncestry <> and offer a reward to whoever can smash your brick wall—or earn a few bucks solving someone else's problem.

Since 2006 - this website is not longer available. However to find other similiar alternatives check out the following website which explains the alternatives. Keep in mind some of those might be gone too.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October 23 - Share your GEDCOM

October 23 - Generate a GEDCOM with your genealogy software and post it to a pedigree database such as Ancestry World Tree <> or Gen Circles Global Tree <>.

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22 - Favorite Ancestor Profile

Otober 22 - Type up a one-page profile about a favorite ancestor. Add photos, print it on nice paper, frame it and you've got a great present. Refer to the December 2005 Family Tree Magazine for more heritage-themed gift ideas.

October 21 - Sweetest Day

October 21 - Celebrate Sweetest Day by writing about a sweet moment in your life, such as your first kiss, best prom date or the day you met your spouse.

October 20 - Family Recipe Book

Otober 20 - Ask relatives for their favorite recipes, as well as photos or stories of times the foods were served. Put together a family cookbook or recipe box. Consult Kathy Steligo's Meals and Memories: How To Create Keepsake Cookbooks (Carlo Press) for guidance.

October 19 - American Memory Project

Ocotber 19 -  Search the Library of Congress' vast online American Memory Project <> for digitized historical maps, photographs, documents, newspapers and oral histories.

October 18 - Scrapbook or collage

October 18 - Design a scrapbook layout or collage with family cemetery souvenirs. Include tombstone rubbings, photographs, obituaries, graveyard history and a map.

October 17 - Family Medical Tree

October 17 - Start a family health history tree using medical records and the free My Family Health Portrait software <>. It may save your life—or a loved one's.

October 16 - An Online family communication center

October 16 - Set up an online family communication center. In about three minutes, you can create a password-protected Web site at <> for about $29.95 per year.

That might have been your only choice back in 2006, but there are more choices today. Such as

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15 - Visit a FHC

October 15 - Trek to a local FHC to read microfilm and use online databases for free.

I have only been to my local FHC once. Every time a read a tip on visiting my local FHC, I realize that I am lucky to have such a resource and that I need to visit mine.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

October 14 - Wearable Scrapbook

October 14 - Create a “wearable scrapbook” with photo jewelry from Memory Maker <>.

This sounds interesting. I had a heart that I could put a picture in, but the picture was hidden. They have a beautiful bracelets that have personal photos on. I would love one with my children when they were younger along with my granddaughter's picture.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

October 13 - Interview a relative

October 13 - Stop by the StoryCorps project's Web site <> and make an appointment to interview a relative at a MobileBooth. Or download a do-it-yourself guide to recording an interview.

This tip is probably the most important and the most difficult to do. Especially for relatives you are not that familiar with. I remembering interview a few relatives and they were more scared of what I was going to ask then I was scared of asking them. When you do record a relative, keep it short, they can tire quickly. Have your questions prepared ahead of time. I find I start off with real easy ones, like confirming their birth date and place. Perhaps their marriage date and place. I might as who their in-laws were. Simple questions, then I will ask about their grandparents. I like them to share one of their favorite memories of their grandparents. That usually gets them talking and relax.

Friday, October 12, 2012

October 12 - Family History CD or DVD

October 12 - Retrieve that plan you sketched out and create your family history CD or DVD. Get step-by-step help from <>.

I just love this idea about sharing your family history via a CD or DVD. Start working on them now and you could have all your Christmas presents done before Thanksgiving. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 11 - Family Photo Calendar

October 11 - Design a family photo calendar using a free template from one of the Internet sites at <>, or get help from a copy shop or photo processing center.

There are so many sites that let you create photo calendars. You could even use a site like and create many different items, not just photo calendars. Think outside the box, instead of sending Christmas cards with your family photo, how about an ancestors photo?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 10 - Share your excitment

October 10 - Share your excitement with a relative who doesn't “get” your genealogy passion by framing an old record about one of his or her ancestors.

This tip makes me laugh because I have many relatives who do not get my genealogy passion. Many years ago, I printed special histories for my six half siblings with their father's ancestry. I knew they didn't have a passion, but I wanted to share my findings with them. Their father died when they were quite young, in fact, one of brothers wasn't even born yet, my mother was pregnant with him and he is born on their wedding anniversary.

Any way you can think of sharing your genealogy passion with your relatives is a good one. They might not get your genealogy passion but what if another relative sees it and they do get your passion. One thing leads to another and before you know it, you have a partner in crime. :-)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 9 - Italian Americans

October 9 - Italian-Americans traditionally celebrate their heritage on Columbus Day. See the June 2005 Family Tree Magazine and use the resources at <>.

Well, Columbus day was yesterday and it was Canadian Thanksgiving too. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 8 - Genealogy Classes

October 8 - The genealogy class you're eyeing doesn't fit your schedule? Sign up for a free online course at <>, Barnes & Noble University <> or other Web sites.

Check out webinars. They offer free ones and if you can't join them, you can listen after the fact. Most free webinars are offered for free for a week. Some are quite interesting. I like getting other researchers views on topics.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October 7 - Family History Workshop

October 7 - Reach out to your local community by organizing a family history workshop at a senior citizens center, Rotary club, library or historical society.

This month I hope to teach a couple of genealogy classes at my local community college. On Wednesday the 3rd, I did a free talk about genealogy to spark interest. My two classes, a beginning class is scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday, October 16 and 18th and my online genealogy research class is scheduled for Monday and Wednesday Oct 22 and 24th. So I need all the positive thinking I can get so that my classes get enough enrollment so I can teach.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

October 6 - Start a genealogy spark

October 6 - Interest a youngster in family history with old photos and a family tree chart. Tell a story about an ancestor's life or your own. 

It is difficult to get youngster's interested in family history, but not impossible. I remember when my daughter was reading the Little House on the Prairie books, I looked up the Ingalls family in the census records. I showed my daughter how Laura's little brother was born between census years and if it wasn't for her writing about her brother, we might have never known he ever lived. I started a little spark that day and she seems to be the only one of my children, slightly interested in genealogy.

Friday, October 5, 2012

October 5 - Christmas anyone?

October 5 - Believe it or not, the holidays are right around the corner. Create heirloom photo ornaments as gifts. For instructions, see <>.

I believe it because Christmas decorations are out. I even heard Christmas music coming from the Christmas department because someone turned on one of the displays. Even though I think stores are putting out Christmas stuff way too early, if you are making your presents, its not too early to think about it. It takes time to make presents. I remember when my mother crochet afghans for her children. She had 6 out of the house and three of us were still at home. When October rolled around and she still had three to make, I was asked to help her make a couple. It was fun making the afghans, and I can't even remember which ones I made. ;-)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October 4 - Inflation

October 4 - What did your ancestors earn in today's dollars? Let the Inflation Calculator <> tell you.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October 3 - Canadian roots

October 3 - Visit the Ontario Virtual Reference Library <> for resources on your Canadian roots (start with the Genealogy category).

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 2 - Jewish Roots

October 2 - Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, is today. Access Yizkor books, cemetery information, databases and more at Jewish Gen <>.

Well that was back in 2006 and Yom Kippur was Wednesday, September 25. For future reference, 2013: September 13, 2014: October 3 and 2015: September 22. Youm Kippur observances begin at sundown on the first secular date and conclude the following day at nightfall.

Inspite of us missing Yom Kippur, please check out Jewish Genealogy.

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1 - Family History Month

October 1 -  Set the stage for Family History Month by listening to inspiring tunes such as Neil Diamond's “America” or “Lady Liberty” by Orleans. Steve Lanza's Ancestral Songs album is another good one.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

September 30 - Evaluate your progress

September 30 - Evaluate your progress. Still stumped on a family line? See the 2006 Genealogy Guidebook, a special issue of Family Tree Magazine,for a dose of brick-wall busting advice.
From the February 2006 issue of Family Tree Magazine

Remember you can always order back issues from Family Tree Magazine and I have all the issues from their very first issue through last year on CD. I use to have every paper issue too, but had to decide to free up the physical space and thus purchased the CD. When the new CD comes out, I buy it and then I share my old issues with someone who is just starting out with their Genealogy. What a great way to promote this hobby or passion or obsession.  What you call it all depends on your level of commitment

Saturday, September 29, 2012

September 29 - Do you have your flu shot?

September 29 - Time to get your flu shot-and investigate how the influenza pandemic of 1918 affected your ancestors. See <> and search historical newspapers for lists of those who died.

I remembering talking to my dad as I was going through a cemetery with him and commenting on how many people died in 1918. He reminded me that was the Spanish Flu and many died, especially the ones you would have thought were young and healthy. I found out later, it was because they were the ones helping the sick and became sick themselves. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

September 28 - Work in pairs

September 28 -  Share a research problem with a genealogy buddy—sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can see a solution invisible to you.

This is always a good idea. Don't have a genealogy buddy, then join a genealogy society or visit a genealogy library or research center. The volunteer's are there to help, ask them if you can just share your problem with them and perhaps they will have a solution or suggestion on what to do next.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

September 27 - Be a Genealogy Journalist

September 27 -  Thought about writing an article on your genealogical search? It's a great way to find out who else is climbing your tree. Order Be a Genealogy Journalist by Carole Osborne Cole .

Since these tips are from 2006, this book is probably out of print. So you might have to do an internet search to see if you can purchase it anywhere. There might even be new books out on the subject matter and you can always try to search for those too.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

September 26 - Pick an Ancestor to research

September 26 - Select someone in your family tree you haven't researched. See how much you can find on him or her using just the Internet — you may be surprised.

I like doing this with my brick wall ancestors. I try to pick one day a year for each brick wall ancestor and try searching for stuff on the internet. I have broken through several brick walls because others who are researching the same person might have finally posted something on the internet for me to find. Or new records are updated or added to sites that have my ancestor in them. 

Never give up on your brick walls, but taking a break from them is very useful.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 25 - Monthly Genealogy Maintenance

September 25 - Continue your monthly genealogy maintenance: File papers, revisit message boards and repeat online database searches. Remember to check for spelling variations of your ancestors' names.

I find that genealogy involves a lot of revisiting what we already have. First of all, you might know more today than the first day you collected the information. I have re-read obituaries, and discovered more family or was able to identify which female sibling is Mrs Robert Jones. Therefore based on whether they were preceded in death or survived by, I am able to limit Mrs Robert Jones death date.

It's also a good day to set aside and clean up some more of your files, by filing them into the proper place, or sourcing them into your computer program. Perhaps you only have a few days a month to do genealogy, don't skip the maintenance in order to do more research. Some times you need to take one step back to more three steps forward!

Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24 - Transcribe your audiotapes

September 24 - Dust off those audiotapes of oral history interviews or your now-grown toddler singing nursery rhymes. Transcribe them or convert them to digital files with a utility such as Digital Media Converter <>.

It's always good to update or modernize your research. I had stuff on old zip tapes that I am unable to access. Every few years I do a little more research to see if I can get my new computer equipment to talk to my old computer equipment. We need to make sure they don't become obsolete and lose valuable research or sources.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September 23 - Germany Ancestors?

September 23 - If your ancestors departed from ports Lu such as Antwerp, Belgium, or Bremen and Hamburg, Germany, you may be able to find their departure records.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

September 22 - Enjoy the nice autumn weather

September 22 - The autumn weather's nice, so think outdoor genealogy: cemetery visits, walking tours of ancestral hometowns and similar excursions.

This time of year is perfect for traveling. It's not too hot, so you won't melt in the car. Most of the bugs are gone because it has cooled down a little. A lot of the foliage is dying off, so finding hidden cemeteries is easier, in the spring the ground can be so soggy. Plus kids are back in school, so parks are less crowded, I usually plan a picnic lunch in one of my ancestral hometowns. I can even talk my husband into visiting ancestral hometowns and walking the old neighborhoods, visiting the some antique shops, and going to the park for lunch is always a hit with him.

If you don't want to pack a bag lunch or you are on vacation, take your fast food order to go and eat in the park. Don't forget to leave the area cleaner than you found it.

Friday, September 21, 2012

September 21 - Public Television Shows

September 21 - Check your newspaper or <> for the public television shows “History Detectives” and “AntiquesRoadshow”—then catch an episode.

I love the "Antique Roadshow". I don't mind watching repeats, because it is so darn interesting. I love the ending where they show people with their treasures that are not really treasures. So it is not just me who has been told big fibs about family heirlooms. 

I also enjoy watching History Detectives because it reminds me of a genealogy search of sorts. Notice how often they use the FAN club (Friends, Associates and Neighbors) to track down the history of items.