Wednesday, February 22, 2012

They Want YOU!

the1940census.comOn April 2, 2012 the 1940 U.S. Census will be released and made available as free, digital images.  Sounds awesome, right? Actually, it's more than awesome and I am very excited to find where my Mary/Martha is hiding!

In order to make the search experience easier and more enjoyable the U.S. Census Community Project has an initiative to get out the vote!!! No, wait that's something else. :)  The U.S. Census project is asking for volunteers to help index the images. You see, when the images are initially released there will not be an index, you will have to browse through the images, which could be very time consuming!

In order to help get the word out to INDEX, the U.S. Census Community Project sent out a call to action to the genealogy blogging community. I heard the call and I answered, I am an official 1940 Blog Ambassador! Shortly after I hit publish on this post, I will also become a 1940 Indexer!

Please visit the census project page to learn more about the 1940 census release and how you can get involved with this historic event.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Adding Outside Content to Your Tree

Crista Cowan and Anne Mitchell gave a presentation during RootsTech titled "5 New Things to Try at". Link to the session is here. As it turns out there are a lot more than 5 things I need to try. You think you know all Ancestry has to offer? I thought so too...I was wrong.

I had never noticed nor heard anyone mention the ability to link outside information to my online tree. I like this option and can see how it could give credibility to my tree as well as to others I look at. The video below is an informative overview on how to add links to various outside sources.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Musings On A Munday #evernote

On Twitter hashtags are used (#genealogy, #rootstech, #scrapbook, #evernote, etc.) in conjunction with a post. Why should we use hashtags and what do they do for us? Hashtags help to categorize a tweet as well as allowing us to "follow" a hashtag. For those of you less familiar with hashtags and how best to use them there are several online discussions on the topic as well as this overview from Twitter.

When I have a blog post (like this one) auto post to Twitter I have the hashtag #genealogy attached. That way no matter what the title of the post, my followers will know the subject is genealogy. If I were to manually tweet this blog post I may also add additional hashtags (if I have enough of my 140 characters left) such as #hashtags and #evernote (cause see, this post is really about Evernote and hashtags, stay with me).

Another example of using hashtags is to follow a topic. If you see #genealogy or #scrapbook on Twitter just click on it and you will see all tweets by all Twitter users (not just those you follow) on that subject. You can then add a column (I use Tweetdeck and Hootsuite) to follow that subject. See the image below, I have a column to follow #RootsTech, #Scrapbook and #Evernote.

So that is how hashtags work for us, but there is an additional benefit...a huge one. Not only can we track topics, the topics can track themselves. What??? If the hashtag is #RootsTech, you can bet somebody on the RootsTech event committee is monitoring that hashtag looking for interest, volume, problems and questions. I had a problem on one of my Delta flights and I tweeted about it with #delta at the end.  Five minutes later a Delta Customer Service Representative tweeted me back asking for my phone number so they could call me and discuss the issue. And yes I do love Delta now! :)

I know you are wondering, how does this blog post have anything to do with Evernote. I can guarantee you 250% that Evernote (and outside developers) have multiple people monitoring every variation of the #evernote hashtag. I would bet they have it automated and fed to some fancy shmancy algorithm to track trends, demographics, AND related hashtags. If Evernote gets a report showing that 75% of the tweets containing #evernote also contain #genealogy...well first of all we know there is an error in their calculations and they need to revisit it! :) But you see where I'm going with this. I want Evernote, the company, to know that their product is being used for genealogy...a lot!

I know many genealogists who are using Evernote and would like to use it more in conjunction with their genealogy research. If you look in the Evernote Trunk there are multiple apps created to work specifically with Evernote created by outside developers. There is nothing stopping someone for creating an app that speaks directly to genealogy (like this one). They need to know their is a need, a desire and a customer base out there that would use it.

My post is actually a plea to everyone, please anytime you tweet about Evernote use the #evernote hashtag. I really, really want to use this program to its fullest as related to genealogy and the Evernote programmers and outside developers are the people who can make that possible.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Features at the GHLL

Have you visited the Genealogy and History Links Library site lately? In addition to a wealth of genealogical and historical information we have a couple of new features.  Our Blogger of the Month initiative for 2012 is underway. To date I have secured 11 bloggers for this feature.  We are also soliciting help for our newsletter editor, Charles, with guest authors for the monthly Branching Out publication and I have received a very positive response from that call to action as well.
For the month of February our Blogger of the Month as well as our guest newsletter author is Jennifer Holik-Urban! Please read Jennifer's article on WWII Military Records for Branching Out and visit her blog at Generations.

Jennifer, all the volunteer contributors at the GHLL thank you for your support!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Musings On A Munday Advocating Genealogy

"Advocating Genealogy and Growing the Market: Issues of the New Genealogist" was a RootsTech session presented by Janet Hovorka of Family ChartMasters. Going into this session I wasn't sure what to expect, I had read the short session description but hadn't looked at the syllabus. I'm glad I went because the presentation was interesting and so very timely!

Janet used the "Genealogical Maturity Model" by the Ancestry Insider as a guide to defining the progression from an entry to a stellar genealogist. I had missed this in it's original posting, which I provided the link to. I found the model to be right on the money! Janet then went on to discuss the convergence of the new and seasoned genealogist.

The best part of the presentation, to me, is when Janet lays out her vision for a healthy community. I saw on a post or tweet somewhere that this should be used as a keynote next year and I agree. Why? Because it's this very subject that has generated so much brew-ha-ha in the geneablogging world in the last year. Obviously it is a topic that we as beginning and professional genealogists take very our community is defined.

At the time of this posting Janet's syllabus is available here. If you didn't attend this session at RootsTech, please look over the syllabus, I think you will find she has her thumb on the pulse of this community. I found Janet to be a wonderfully engaging speaker and I thoroughly enjoyed her presentation.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rootstech the Hits and the Misses

Over 4200 attendees at a geneatech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Just that sentence alone is enough to inspire ooooooooo's and ahhhhhhhh's from genealogy professionals and non-professionals. Getting that many like-minded people under one roof has to generate some energy, right? It did (and it created some serious heat as well).

I think for the most part attendees enjoyed the experience of RootsTech.Sessions were full, exhibit hall was full, lots of action all three days. Logistics-wise everything seemed to run smoothly and on time which is very nice. Overall I enjoyed the conference but can't help but being a little disappointed in some areas. Maybe there was too much hype going into the conference? Or maybe I was just on too many cold meds to be in my usual frame of mind that "all" things genealogy are cool! Here is my run down of my overall impressions.

  • 4200+ attendees for a genealogy related event...they hit it outta the park!
  • Salt Lake City, UT! Such a beautiful, beautiful place. It's a "little" big city.
  • Family History Library within walking distance of hotel.
  • Geneabloggers! So sorry I didn't see them all! (I think some were plotting world dominance)
  • Making new friends...after they asked "what are the beads for?"
  • Opportunity to talk one-on-one with experts in their related fields.
  • Educational opportunity in sessions as well as out.
  • Vendors answering questions and showing new tricks about their product. It doesn't get any better than hands on training.
  • New product launches, competition is good for everyone and the energy new products generate is exciting.

  • Rooms were crowded...very crowded. (if you want to know which topics will be SRO, ask me because I sure can pick em!)
  • Rooms were hot...very hot. (I'm usually the last one complaining about the heat)
  • Presentations...many were high level overviews, even when labeled as intermediate. (too much time spent on background and intro before the meat of the presentation)
  • Presentations....a void of advanced level sessions, big void.
  • Vendor hall...where was all the tech? Where we're the gadgets? I saw software, more software and oh look more software.

In my list of hits, meeting and catching up with the other Geneabloggers was, without a doubt, the highlight of the conference. Some of these people are very busy and have some amazing things going on! I feel inspired, awed and intimidated by them all at the same time!

As far as the misses go the biggest for me was the vendor hall. I know what you are thinking, I'm too close to that because of my job but hear me out this isn't about how they exhibited its about who exhibited or who didn't! This was RootsTECH, so where was the tech in the vendor hall? There was software, subscription database services/online trees and a couple of apps (one very cool app by the way called About One). That hardly covers technology. Call me silly but I fully expected to walk into the exhibit hall and see tablet computers, phones demonstrating genealogy apps, cameras with GPS for photographing at cemeteries, and a bunch of other cool stuff that I've never heard or thought of. I didn't see any of that. Maybe that will catch on in future years?

If you haven't attended RootsTech and you have an opportunity to attend next year I think you should. There is value to be found in most genealogy conferences, some more than others. Also every person that attends has different objectives for being there. What may not be a successful conference for me may be very successful for someone else. Try it and see if it is a hit for you.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Musings on a Munday The Rootstech Experience


For those that didn't attend RootsTech in person or virtually, be sure to check RootsTech Live. Currently their are daily recap videos available and they will be adding more this week.

VIDEO REMOVED DUE TO ANNOYING AUTO-PLAY! Visit the RootsTech site to view.

The RootsTech event planners have done a very good job in expanding and extending the conference experience with these videos.

p.s. Sorry, sorry, sorry for the auto start on the video! I changed the code to "false" but it's still auto starting!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

GHLL's Branching Out has a Guest - Jennifer Holik-Urban

Be sure to visit the newsletter section of the GHLL website to read the February edition of Branching Out. This newsletter is the first in a series of newsletters authored by a guest, Jennifer from Generations.