Saturday, June 30, 2012

Have An Idea? Make a Plan and Act on It!

 I have ideas rattling around in my head, just waiting to get out. Blog ideas, research ideas, scrapbooking ideas, work ideas etc. What is my usual approach to all my ideas? I share them, I talk about them, I start planning around them and I act on a few of them. Yes, I'm an idea sharer first and an idea actor last.

Sharing of ideas is fine, collaboration is great especially if someone else is better suited to act on that idea. I know my limitations, I know my time constraints, I know my strengths and weaknesses. (You have all "SWOTed" yourself, right?) I know the areas I should and should not focus on...most of the time. Sometimes...I'm just lazy. Sometimes...I put way too much thought into it. Sometimes, instead of just acting I want to create a flowchart, identify potential outcomes and compare similarities to what others are doing etc. I am actually SWOTing everything and generally over SWOTing! As a result my actions are fewer than they should be.

I have another blog I want to start on tumblr. I have the title and layout picked out and have begun collecting the content. This idea came to mind five months ago. What's the hang up? Why am I still in the planning stage? To be honest, it's information overload! I follow so many blogs that give advise on how to properly start, manage and maintain a blog. So instead of publishing my new blog I'm trying to read everything I can find on how I should do it. I'm busy searching to make sure nobody else is doing something too similar. I am not acting on an idea, that is very exciting to me because I'm worried about doing it just right. I'm not saying to not plan and prepare. I'm saying by all means, plan, prepare and then do! Don't get stuck in the planning and preparation for longer than needed. At some point, pull the trigger and get on with it.

Are you considering starting a blog? Are you worried if you should or shouldn't post that article? Are you nervous about asking that question in a forum? Are you worried about suggesting to your genealogy society a new way of doing things? Why are you worried? Who cares? That's what ideas are...they are ideas! They don't have to be successful, they don't have to be right, they don't have to be accepted by everyone. Ideas generate conversation and even better ideas. If you have an idea you believe in, don't wait, make a plan and ACT ON IT!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Podcasts To Expand Your Horizons Which Ones

In my post of June 3, 2012 Podcasts To Expand Your Horizons I promised to provide a list of podcasts I listen to and point out some of my favorite episodes.

As I stated in my previous post, I listen to podcasts in various ways and those "podcasts" can be published and accessed using various services. For my purposes, I'm lumping podcasts, Blog Talk Radio shows and Radio shows published on Blog Talk Radio into one bucket...podcasts. If this confuses anyone, I will be glad to explain the differences, just drop me a comment or an email.

Also, I hope I don't disappoint anyone but I'm not going to pick favorites or give a top 10 list. My favorites change depending on the episode. I will however, list a few that have been very beneficial to my research and just plain enjoyable to listen to.

  • Genealogy Gems - Hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke
    • I listen to the free as well as the Premium versions of Lisa's podcast. Lisa has wonderful interviews as well as great how-to tips, or "gems". What I enjoy so much about the GGems podcast is that Lisa is able to explain processes so well that I have no problem following along. That's saying something as I'm not generally an auditory learner, I have to see it. Must listen to episodes: Episodes 89 & 90 with Dr. Robert Leonard.
  • The Genealogy Guys - Hosted by Drew Smith and George Morgan
    • This was the first podcast I had ever listened to. These two guys are so enjoyable and so knowledgeable about genealogy. I particularly like the Listener Email portion of their show. Drew & George do their best to try and help the listener who writes in with a question. In the process they are educating the rest of us along the way.
  • Your Ancestors Stories - Hosted by Jane E. Wilcox
    • I started listening to Jane's show in the last six months and am fast becoming addicted. The Forget Me No hour is generally a one hour interview with a guest which allows for real in-depth questions and conversation. A don't miss episode is with David Rambo, the former producer of the hit TV show CSI. 
  • My Society - Hosted by the Federation of Genealogical Societies
    • This show is addresses issues that Genealogy societies encounter. Actually, it's much more than addressing issues, they are also providing guidance, generating ideas, discussing stumbling blocks and sharing case studies. I am, obviously, not a genealogical society, nor am I a board member of any society. However, the value this program bring goes beyond genealogical societies and can be applied to any type of member society.
In addition to these genealogy related podcasts I listen to several that are productivity related shows. Visit the iTunes podcast section or Blog Talk Radio and perform a search on whatever topic it is that interests you. There is a good chance there is a podcast about it.

I hope you have a chance to listen to the podcasts I've mentioned, I think you will enjoy them. If you have a particular podcast you enjoy, leave a comment. I am always looking to add to my podcast library.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

GHLL Weekly Updates

Genealogy and History Data Updates June 11 - June 17, 2012.

  • Updates to "S" surnames
  • Updated links for Tennessee, Texas, Utah & Vermont
  • Guest post by Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana in Branching Out

Monday, June 4, 2012

Musings On A Munday Too Clever

I thought I was being clever, but maybe I am too clever for my own good?

It bugs me to no end that other researchers take documents from my tree and add it to their own without contacting me. I know it's out there in the public and they are within their rights to add the document to their tree. That's not my issue with this situation. My issue is with the missed opportunity. Genealogy is an extremely time consuming endeavor, I can't afford the opportunity cost of not contacting potential cousins with potential brick wall busters.

I don't put all my documents on my public tree, I pick a few key ancestors and put a document or two out there as bait. My hope is that others will take the document and then contact me. I currently have 7 outstanding emails I've sent after finding documents on other's trees. I'm hoping their replies will be positive, that my family lines expand through the communication and I won't have to duplicate work.

Randy Seaver recently posted about this topic on his blog Geneamusings. I commented on his post, referring to a post I created along a similar vein last year and sharing my latest tactic shown above. This probate document for Samuel Gilpin is FULL of valuable information, including the married names of his daughters and property descriptions. I added the text boxes and the note in hopes of encouraging a potential cousin to contact me. So far, I've not been contacted, but neither has anyone downloaded the image. Ancestry Member Connect shows 10 other researchers with Samuel in their tree.

I could be cutting my nose off to spite my face in this situation. If people do add my documents to their tree, I see that and can contact them. Without the download I don't even have that option. I think I will run a test by putting the un-redacted image up for a week and see if that stimulates any activity. Maybe that will answer the question of if I'm being too clever for my own good.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Podcasts To Expand Your Horizons

I've been listening to podcasts for about five years and I love them. I have a 45 minute commute to and from work each day and I fill it with podcasts on various subjects, the majority of which have been genealogy related. Recently though, I have started to branch out and expand my listening topics. For this post I am using the term "podcasts" to encompass actual podcasts, Blog Talk Radio shows and radio shows that are later published on Blog Talk Radio.

I access the podcasts in one of four ways.
  1. Download from iTunes to my iPod
  2. Listen through a podcast dedicated app
  3. Listen through the Blog Talk Radio App on my phone
  4. Download mp3 directly from the site to my phone (Android)
I have tried using the BeyondPod app, but I didn't have much luck with it. The Blog Talk Radio app doesn't always work the best, but I've learned to accept it's quirks. My iPod is a first generation video iPod with the turn wheel...yeah an antique that is ready to retire. The episodes I download to my phone I delete after listening as to not use up all my memory space.

I do notice a difference in audio quality, depending on the podcast, the method I use to download and how I choose to listen. You will need to experiment to see what method works best for you depending on your equipment. My favorite scenario is downloading the episode to my phone. My car has Sync, so I can use Bluetooth to listen to the podcast, from my phone, over my car speakers. This gives me the best sound quality and volume control.

In a subsequent post I will talk more about the podcasts I listen to and list a few must listen to episodes.