Monday, May 20, 2013

The Organized Genealogist - My New Blog and a Discussion Group

Note: This is a duplicate post from my new blog, The Organized Genealogist.

It has been quite a week at The Organized Genealogist! What started out as "just another blog" and Facebook group has created a life of its own.

In addition to this blog, I've created a Facebook Group, also called The Organized Genealogist. I posted about it on my Facebook timeline and invited a few friends to join in the discussion. On Saturday my friend, Judy Shutts from Voices in Time, posted about the group in Facebook's Ancestorville community. Ancestorville has more than 30,000 participants and they began flocking to The Organized Genealogist like crazy.

Other Facebook friends and blogs started mentioning the group and as of this morning, we are approaching 1,000 group members! One of them commented this morning, "you've created a monster!" I feel like it. I immediately had to get by with a little help from my friends and fellow bloggers Becky Jamison (Grace and Glory), Deb Ruth (Adventures in Genealogy) and Linda McAuley (Documenting the Details) stepped up to help me administer the group and stay on top of membership approvals. I could not have made it through the past two days without them!

In addition to the tips offered and advice sought, I am LOVING all of the photographs that people are posting of our genealogy spaces. Some have commented that the group name should have been The DIS-organized Genealogist or Hoarders: Genealogy Edition. What's fun about this is that we can post the photographs of our mess and clutter, and then in a few weeks be able to display, with pride, our transformation.

We had some good natured fun with Drew Smith of The Genealogy Guys. He posted a photo of his bare naked desk, nothing on the bulletin board, nothing on the white board, no papers to be seen anywhere. After we voiced our amazement, Drew then posted the photo of the OTHER side of the room. Relief! He's just like the rest of us, but his piles and boxes look a bit more organized.

So, we are having a great time and the support of the membership is already providing inspiration and motivation to those who need a little extra push in getting their genealogy under control.

Where to find The Organized Genealogist:


Facebook Discussion Group:

Facebook Page (notifications from the blog):

The link to this post is:

Monday, May 6, 2013

What I learned at the NSGS state conference

The Nebraska State Genealogical Society (NSGS) had yet another exceptional speaker at last weekend's annual conference with Beth Foulk. Beth is a volunteer instructor at the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, Missouri.

Beth is my kind of conference speaker with her enthusiasm, passion and knowledge. All of her sessions were great and my favorite focused on using timelines to help with your genealogy research. I've used the timeline feature on on several of my direct ancestors. Not just listing events that are associated with a document, I would add the births and deaths of family members, so I could put together a bigger story of my ancestor's life.

Beth showed many examples of timelines she has created in Microsoft Excel. I love Excel for data management and her samples gave me a lot of new ideas on organizing timelines outside of Ancestry and my genealogy software. I can hardly wait to get started on these!

I especially liked how she had a column to reference the sources for data items. I envision having a separate tab in Excel with complete source citations that is linked from the data field in the main timeline. She also demonstrated how a person could color code specific events, such as property transactions, as a visual method of identifying what information needs to be gathered. I also plan to use a timeline in Excel to track the migration patterns of family members through each year's census.

One of the other gems that Beth discussed was the Hathi Trust digital book site. This site provides a search of digital books available online, or an entry showing where to find the book in a library. This will become another item in my toolbox for finding books, alongside Google books and World Cat.

I always leave genealogy conferences with a wealth of new ideas, excited about trying new things. This year's conference was no exception.