Friday, January 31, 2014

Evidence Explained on Facebook

One of the biggest challenges we all meet is how to report our source(s). We all know now that without presenting our evidence - the source of our evidence to be more precise - our genealogy is nothing more than mythology. It's nothing more than a story, and no matter how nice the story is, there is no way to 'see' or check to ensure the story is accurate ... or that it could be expanded on now, or later, as new records become available.

The leading expert in this area is Elizabeth Shown Mills, and along with her books "Evidence" and "Evidence Explained", Ms. Mills now runs a very useful Facebook site. If you've not dabbled in Facebook, or thought there was nothing there for you, try her site out. It's totally free and you can stay anonymous ... in fact you don't have to do anything but read. Hit her "Like" button to see the entire site, and then just click away, read, and learn. Have a peek

Happy Learning!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Google Earth: recent updates

Hey everyone, try the updated maps at

Thanks Lisa Louise Cooke!

RootsTech 2014 Online FREE Sessions Feb 6-8

RootsTech, the world’s largest family history and technology conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 6-8, 2014, announced today that 15 of its popular sessions will be broadcast live and complimentary over the Internet. The live broadcasts will give those unable to attend in-person worldwide a sample of this year’s conference content. Interested viewers can watch the live presentations at . The fourth-year conference has attracted over 10,000 registered attendees in-person, and leaders expect over 20,000 additional viewers online.

The streamed sessions include a sampling of technology and family history presentations. Following are the broadcasted sessions and speakers. All times are in mountain standard time (MST):

Thursday, February 6

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Top 10 Things I Learned About My Family from My Couch by Tammy Hepps

1 p.m. to 2 p.m., FamilySearch Family Tree: What's New and What's Next by Ron Tanner

2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Intro to DNA for Genealogists by James Rader

4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Genealogy in the Cloud by Randy Hoffman

5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sharing Your Family with Multimedia by Michael LeClerc

Friday, February 7

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Storytelling Super Powers: How to Come Off as Your Family's Genealogy Hero by David Adelman

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Tweets, Links, Pins, and Posts: Break Down Genealogical Brick Walls with Social Media by Lisa Alzo

2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Getting the Most Out of Ancestry.comby Crista Cowen

4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Finding Family and Ancestors Outside the USA with New Technologies by Daniel Horowitz

5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Do It Yourself Photo Restoration by Ancestry Insider

Saturday, February 8

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Become an iPad Power User by Lisa Louise Cooke

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Information Overload: Managing Online Searches and Their Results by Josh Taylor

2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., A Beginner’s Guide to Going Paperless by Randy Whited

4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., How to Interview Yourself for a Personal History by Tom Taylor

5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Five Ways to Do Genealogy in Your Sleep by Deborah Gamble

This morning I discovered we can download the Syllabus entries for all sessions at As always some are more helpful than others, but play away ........... who knows what you will find!! As more info becomes available I'll post it for you.


DNA Not Perfect After All?

This is totally bizarre


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mocavo Fireside Chats

I have written about Mocavo in the past, but never mentioned their Fireside Chats. They're free, with some being live, or in the near future, and most being archived ... meaning you can pull up older ones and listen or watch. Maybe one of them will hold some answers for you? If nothing else they'll be interesting and the price is right! ;-);postID=3233183240179259533


A Former Student writes

I always LOVE to hear from folks I've had contact with, whether students, peers, or those who have attended classes or conference sessions of mine. Yesterday I got a lovely email and asked permission to reprint it here ... and she said "Yes" so here goes, beginning with her response to my request ....

"Sure, as you are my mentor inspiring my solo research in the long northern winter months.

My biographies are brief, 2 to 4 pdf pages, heavy on fact drawn from research, salted with family lore & a pinch of my own perspective. A writing buddy who shares my genealogy interests encouraged me to put a bit of myself in the biographies.

I surely sympathize with getting there, distractions & all.
You are already a good way along in my view; great stories in your blogs & courses & conference presentations.

My biographies are promotional, too in a family fashion. Fleshing out the lives of the women so often missed in family trees. I forward them to my sisters. They are sometimes prompted by their emotions & memories to enhance my data.
The life stories also create common ground in our very different lives.

I am visiting BC family gatherings in April & will take Sarah's biography in hard copy with photos to share with a niece, nephew and great niece, all 21st century teachers like their ancestor. Secretly hoping to eventually entice one of them to pick up my work when they're done working for living & raising families.

Cheers from Ms.Sara,
Great Granddaughter of Mrs. Sarah Ward, nee Shaw."

and now her original note to me from one day ago

"Afternoon Pat from one of your old students who sat at the back of the class.
I was thinking about checking in with you to thank you for your ongoing dedication to research. These days I am reading months of saved messages from you, some germane to my ongoing passion for the stories of my great grandmothers. This winter I'm working on my 3rd biography, Sarah Shaw an English GreatGrandmother who lived her long life in Nottingham, Norfolk & Warwickshire. 1845 to 1927.

I'm about to re-read the notes you offered me in an online course a few years ago.

Today's message from you reminds me that there are updates and new learnings all round in my pursuit;, legacy & scotlands people.
I hope to be around for the latest online offering from you. My current challenge is those very common names pre-1850s; figuring who is the ancestor among many William Shaws & James Wards in the same area.

Please know that I am still using the tools from your course (maps websites, etc), even tho' you rarely hear from me.

Cheers from Miss Sara"

Thanks Miss Sara. I truly appreciate you taking the time to write. As I work alone, always in isolation, I often wonder if anyone is reading, or if any of what I do is helping - whether through my blog, my classes, speaking to groups, or at conferences! So when notes like this appear in my mailbox it gives me the strength, courage, and desire to continue. Thanks.

Happy Searching Everyone!!

Using Google Earth

I have heard Lisa give this presentation, and just found [part] of it online at

Give it a try folks. See how you can 'see' your ancestors addresses from all over the world using Google Earth which is totally free!!


Monday, January 27, 2014

Another Danger for FamilySearch Family Tree

I am in the process of writing a new online course to help folks learn the new website. During this process I came across this article today, written by the "Ancestry Insider".It is a very good article and I thought it may help those of you who are beginning to rely on this new section, without knowing 'some' of its pitfalls!!

"Robert Ernest Werner sent this message to FamilySearch on their public feedback forum:

Limit the users ability to delete just any record.
Please change the delete function so that only the patron that added an ancestor can delete it. Recently, someone went in and deleted an entire branch of my pedigree. Their reasoning was that they did not want people changing "their" Family Tree.

I’m afraid there’s bad news for both Robert and bad news for all Family Tree users.

The bad news for Robert is that no tree user is special. This is a community tree and no one gets treated differently than anyone else. There’s no way around that. The tree doesn’t know a competent user from an idiot. Idiot users are adding garbage ancestors to the tree. Do you want competent people to be unable to delete garbage from the tree?

The bad news for all users is a danger that hadn’t occurred to me before: users who delete people from the tree because they don’t want “their” ancestors in the tree.

Some people feel ownership for information about their relatives. They feel they have the right to delete their relatives. But no person in Family Tree is exclusively mine or exclusively yours. You can’t delete a relative of yours without deleting a relative of mine.

Some people feel ownership for the information they contribute. They feel they have the right to delete information that they contributed. But it’s impossible to tell if a contribution is exclusive to one person or another. Other people may have intended to contribute the same information but it was already in the tree.

Some people feel ownership for the results of their own research. Extending a family line is often difficult and expensive. If someone posts the results of your work without your permission, don’t you have the right to delete it?

Some people may feel they have priority in the decision to have a relative’s information in the tree. If I don’t want my deceased mother or wife or daughter in the tree, don’t I have the right to delete them? What right does a more distant relative or even a random person have to place my immediate family member in the tree?

Some people feel that the tree needs to represent some absolute truth, no matter how unsavory. Doesn’t a victim of rape or incest have a right to delete information about their victimization from the tree?

Some people or groups might object to the beliefs and practices of FamilySearch’s sponsor, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or some other group’s participation in the tree. Are there cases where someone has a moral or religious right to delete a family member or associate from the tree?

Some people object to political or social systems of communal ownership. Such a person may disagree with the underlying concept of Family Tree altogether and delete their relatives as a matter of principle.

Is it reasonable for FamilySearch to expect communal behavior in the genealogy community?"

So now you know!

And I have heard from a longtime student of mine whose research skills I trust. This person wrote:
"Good morning Pat,
I have found mistakes in posted family trees for my families. In one case I contacted the cousin that did the tree and told her of the mistakes that I found. I gave her the info and source, however, she never fixed the mistakes. I have never felt it my place to go in and correct or delete her problems. Just a warning to newbies, don't believe everything you see in these family trees." Thanks so much for the comment 'B'. I agree and have found serious errors in my own families details posted by people unknown to me. They were 'serious' because anyone believing those posting will now be following someone else's ancestral lines, not related to them in any way. I also hesitated to make any changes [had the same experience with no changes, no contact, nothing even though the evidence I sent was hard and fast!] Guess it's our Canadian nature? haha

Friday, January 24, 2014

Serendipity - or sometimes there really is a God

The following article was taken from The Ancestry Insider

"Hurricane Katrina was one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States. “At least 1,833 people died in the hurricane and subsequent floods,” according to Wikipedia.

1 “The most significant number of deaths occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana, which flooded as the levee system catastrophically failed, in many cases hours after the storm had moved inland.” The failure of the levee system is considered one of the worst civil engineering disasters in U.S. history. “Eventually 80% of the city and large tracts of neighboring parishes became flooded, and the floodwaters lingered for weeks.” This delayed the return of people to their homes and businesses.

“More than ten days after what will probably become the greatest natural disaster in the United States… archivists have NOT BEEN ALLOWED into their collections — not for a day, an afternoon, even an hour,” wrote Shelly Henley Kelly, then immediate past president of the Society of Southwest Archivists.

2 Archivists were beginning to panic. In one attempt to access their collections, archivists were turned away by Federal troops.

Two-hundred and fifty years of birth, marriage, death, and other records dating back to 1769 were in storage in the second lower level of the New Orleans Public Library.3 The library was thought to be inundated, the basement flooded. When the hurricane hit, FamilySearch (Genealogical Society of Utah) camera operator, Charles Banz, had been in the middle of an extensive project to photograph these irreplaceable records. For almost three weeks he waited to see what had happened to them.

“He studied aerial photos of the building, talked to state archivists, and stayed glued to the television,” said one account. “All indications suggested utter destruction of…the records. Finally, he received word from New Orleans archivists that they had been allowed into the building, checked his project and found most of the library, including the second lower level, to be dry and sound. Building engineers said the waters rose to within about 2 inches of entering the library. Other archivists could hardly believe it. Some even called it a miracle.”

We call it “Serendipity in Genealogy.”

Vaccination & Epidemic Histories

Regina Saskatchewan Canada is experiencing some cases of 'red measles' ... which I had when I was about 8 or 9, so later 1950's. What I remember most, along with being very sick, is that my Mom would walk down to the grocery store in our little town and buy a brick of ice cream [remember bricks?] and a small bottle of ginger ale... bring them home and mix them together. It was all I could swallow, and tasted really really good. We only had a small freezer box in our house so I suppose she made this trip often. Vaccinate your children folks! I wonder if adults are being vaccinated, or if it's necessary?

Anyway, there is an interesting timeline, with some explanations of various diseases and vaccinations, at

I have the death registration of my paternal great grandfather who died in Scotland 1903. Cause of death was 'laryngitis after 4 days'. I have learned now that it was probably diphtheria. That was a major surprise to me! And after reading about this disease I feel very sorry for the horrible suffering he, and others, must have endured.

Stay well everyone.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Scottish Achievements

Links to the best of the best of Scottish achievements.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Wellcome Images - now free

Anyone writing presentations, or even a family history book, may be interested in accessing and using historical photos now out of copyright. Or even just for personal interest ...

Cheers from +80F,

Monday, January 20, 2014

USA History - wars, boundary disputes etc.

anyone with US interests may find some useful links here

Happy Searching!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

National Archives - United Kingdom - FREE webinars

A 'webinar' is an online seminar. Each webinar will consist of an introduction to the records or research technique, with the opportunity to ask questions and get answers from the presenter and your webinar host. Your host will be a specialist in the research topic covered.

These webinars are usually VERY good, with knowledgeable presenters. AND the price is right!! haha

Enjoy yourselves at

Happy 'Webinaring' (not sure that's a word ... yet)

Mocavo FREE for weekend Jan. 18 & 19, 2014

Those of you who follow this blog know that I've mentioned the genealogy website Mocavo previously. Even though I've not yet purchased their Gold version, I have had some incredible luck through them. This weekend they are offering all searches for FREE!! Their databases are always free, BUT you have to search them individually [unless you purchase the Gold membership]. This weekend you are Gold so go for it!! Read about it and begin your searches from

Happy Searching!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lost Cousins

This is a worthwhile site that sends out a newsletter every month. Mostly for British Isles folks, but you never know what you might find, and it's FREE!! Have a peek at I've been following this for a few years and usually learn something new, or am reminded of something worth checking out. Enjoy!!

76F or 23C here today ... perfect weather for me. Went to see the 2nd installment of The Hobbit today. Soooooooooo bloody disappointed with Peter Jackson!! His Trilogy was sooooooooooooo perfect it was the best I've ever seen. Not sure what happened between then and the Hobitt, but [in my opinion] the first Hobitt show was just OK, the second [which we saw today] was ................. yuck .... not sure I'll even leave my dollars out there for him to profit from when his final installment comes out. I totally am a fan of the books, and have read those books at least a dozen times each ... but this show was sooooooooooooooooo far from the perfectly written book I could hardly follow it. Sad!!

Anyway, happy searching everyone!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Irish Soldier Wills - online and free

The National Archives of Ireland has made available a free database, with images, of Irish Soldiers Wills, mostly from WW1 at

Happy Searching!!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014

RootsTech Live Streaming FREE sessions

This is an awesome opportunity to catch some free genealogy sessions from the huge conference ... 6-8 Feb. 2014. Read about it and link to whatever interests you from


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Writing Your Family History

If you've ever thought of writing your family history, and who hasn't, here is a great site to help

It's free and is set up to get you going, and keep you going!! Some people I know used it last year and loved it. Seems a shame to do all the work we do and not get it into an interesting and readable format. Let me know if you try, and what you think please?

Cheers from a lovely warm Lake Havasu. Hope it's warming up wherever you are!!