Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Deep Internet - Learn how to make use of Database Searches

Genealogy Research in the Deep Internet

Join me in Omaha on July 18 when I show you how to find hidden treasures online in the "Deep Internet." Did you know that at least 80 per cent of genealogy information online cannot be found using a standard search engine such as Google? Are you missing out on 80 per cent of information you can find out about your family online?

If you've been frustrated with the results of your searches on Ancestry, find out how you can improve the way you search by using some adjustments to the way you think about search strategies!

This presentation is Free and open to the public. But you need to preregister here:

July 18, 2015
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
W. Dale Clark Library
215 S. 15th St
Omaha, Nebraska

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

My Nebraska - by Patricia Landon Kelly Petersen

Today I came across a long lost poem written by my mother, Patricia Landon Kelly Petersen, in 1968. This poem was also very special to me and it was read at her memorial service in 1983.

My Nebraska

Oh, you'll never know Nebraska
'Til you've seen her in the Spring,
Awakened by a gentle rain
And hear the robins sing.

Every green and growing petal
Has its face washed, oh, so clean.
If you've been here in Springtime,
You'll remember what I mean.

Oh, you'll never know Nebraska
'Til some summers you have spent
To hike, to swim, to fish, to sail
Or just be quiet and content.

If you've never heard the wind blow
Through those cottonwoods so tall,
You don't know what you're missing,
That's my favorite sound of all.

Oh, you'll never know Nebraska
'Til you've felt her winter cold,
Shared one of her White Christmases,
It's a splendor to behold.

And to see the little children
Bundled up from head to toe.
They ignore my shoveled pathway
To wade the deepest snow.

Oh, you'll never know Nebraska,
Come see her in the fall.
Then she really shows her colors
With the kindest touch of all.

I can taste that first ripe apple.
I can smell that bonfire now.
If I could ever be more blessed
I wish you'd tell me how.

And did you ever go away?
Get so homesick you could cry?
If I tell you that I haven't
Then I'm telling you a lie.

I wonder if you've played this game
When you're returning home,
To see who can be the first to spy
That long familiar dome.

copyright 1968 Patricia Landon Kelly Petersen

Friday, May 29, 2015

Ancestry and Family Tree Maker - Why I Am Bass Akwards

Once again, the rumors have surfaced that is up for sale. As happens with such rumors and announcements, the genealogy community is all aflutter, scared silly that everything they have added to their family tree on Ancestry is about to disappear.

Maybe I have more confidence in online sites than others. From participation in many online genealogy forums, I've arrived at the conclusion that I use my software and Ancestry web site differently than most. at the conference of the
National Genealogical Society
St. Charles, MO 2015

I've gathered that people using Family Tree Maker (FTM) software enter all of their data within the software and perhaps sync it with their tree(s) on Ancestry. I do just the opposite. I enter all of my discoveries directly on the Ancestry site. Every few weeks (or months, if I get behind), I download the GEDCOM from Ancestry into my FTM software. I consider the FTM GEDCOM download as a backup of my research.

Am I lazy? Do I like living life (and my research) on the edge? I don't know. All I know is that this is what works for me.

I'm pretty much a digital kind of gal. And I know that may subject me to some dangers. I have my scanned images of documents and my personal digital photo archive all on my laptop with a backup to the cloud via Dropbox and my Amazon photo cloud. Have I thrown away or discarded any of my original documents, photographs, scrapbooks, slides or negatives? Not on your life! It's just easier for me to manage all of the data in a digital archive.

I think that we all like what we are used to. That is why I prefer OneNote to Evernote (although I use both). I prefer Family Tree Maker to Roots Magic and Legacy. Why? Because it's what I'm used to. In my working life, I always used the analogy: the only person who likes change is a wet baby! The same is true with genealogy and our software.

The advantage of being able to download a GEDCOM from Ancestry is that I can import it into whatever software application I'm using. Each of the major software packages provides different options for reports, printouts, books, etc. Having been 100% digital for several years, I'm just beginning to recreate hard copies of my research using the various software applications. Each one allows me to have different options, printouts, etc.

Am I concerned about an impending sale of Ancestry? Not so much. Do I fear that all of my research will be lost? No. Why? Because I have my GEDCOMS, my scans, my notes, my boxes and boxes of documents and photographs. And everything is backed up - on my laptop, Dropbox, Amazon, as well as on external hard drives.

For now, Ancestry remains my online tree of choice. The online family trees on Ancestry are excluded from my routine searches. I think we all know how unreliable so many of them can be. But I know they are there if I need a few hints. FamilySearch provides me with additional resources, but there is NO WAY I'm going to get into a discussion of sources or "who's right and who's wrong" in entering data or citing sources. The best I can do is to make my research available for future researchers, with source citations. I'm not going to get this all done in my lifetime, but I can leave some bread crumbs for those who choose to follow my research in the future.

Seriously, who really knows if Ancestry will be around in 100 years? I sure don't. FamilySearch-LDS - definitely a good chance of survival. Who know if the Internet will even look the same in 100 years? All I know is that I will continue to do my data entry on Ancestry, with my back-ups to FTM.

At this point in my life and research, my objective is to produce as much as possible into "hard copy" that can be printed/published and donated to local societies and libraries for those family members and historians who come after me.

Join Me in Searching the Deep Internet!

I've cut back on my speaking engagements this year while I pursue some education, classes and genealogy conferences for my own personal growth and development. However, I remain committed to the Omaha Public Library's (OPL) summer sessions and I'm always thrilled to be invited back! This summer marks my fifth speaking engagement at OPL as part of the genealogy series in the summer reading program.

On July 18, I'll be speaking about the "Deep Internet" and the various web sites you need to be searching to find information about your ancestors. Google doesn't do it all and there are other web sites where genealogy information can be found. You can think of this as a Scavenger Hunt - or "Nebraska Jones" on a vast treasure hunt for family history information!

I'm still in the process of creating this presentation and I'm excited about the adventures we will share together!

July 18, 2015
W. Dale Clark Library
215 S. 15th St
Omaha, NE
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Register here

It's Free! So reserve your space today!

Why I Love

I subscribe to three paid newspaper subscription sites:, Genealogybank and As a journalism major in college, I had always been something of a news junkie until recent years when all of the "bad news" in the media made me cancel my newspaper subscriptions and stop watching TV news. You know the saying, "If it bleeds it leads." But I still feel as though printer's ink runs in my veins and I absolutely love Love LOVE old newspapers for my genealogy research.

The team from at the recent conference
 of the National Genealogical Society in St. Charles, MO.
I HAD to stop at their booth to tell them how much I LOVE the site!

Comparing the Big Three

Over the past thirty or so years of genealogy research, I've had on-again off-again periods of being active. In one of my off-again periods, I subscribed to NewspaperArchive and I was searching non-genealogy topics. It became a valuable resource for me once I returned to family history research. That is, until they discontinued carrying images from some of my favorite newspapers because of the end of some licensing contracts. Even with their increase in fees (close to $200/year now, billed every six months), I've maintained my subscription because I continue to find articles about long lost relatives within their pages. Compared to the other sites, I believe their pricing is too high, but I've found enough information there to justify the expense.

GenealogyBank is also a favorite newspaper subscription site and it also includes more contemporary obituaries which has moved my research forward considerably by examining the lists of survivors. The annual cost for new subscribers is about $70. Monthly subscriptions are available. You can also get a 30-day trial for under $10.

Whenever anyone asks about which paid site is the best, my answer is always "Whichever one has the most newspapers in the area where your ancestors lived." That being said, I maintain my paid subscriptions to all three sites and will continue to do so as long as I can afford to.

The annual subscription to is $79.95, but with my subscription to Fold3, I get it for $39.95. I call that a bargain! Monthly subscriptions are available for $7.95.

Why I Love the Most

That brings me around to, an Ancestry company, which has become my newspaper subscription site of choice. Of the three big players in paid subscription sites, I find the easiest to navigate and search. I can search by my ancestor's name or keywords. I can also search within specific newspapers. I have to say that it was a little weird when I found articles about myself or that I had written in those pages! But it was amazing when I discovered several Letters to the Editor written by my grandfather, William Kelly (writing as W. L. Kelly). It was so nice to know where I inherited my spunk and tongue-in-cheek delivery style. makes it very easy to clip an article. You have the option of keeping your clippings private (which I do most of the time) or make them public. If you want to share the clipping using social media, you need to make the clipping public.

As of this morning, the site has more than 102 million page images available to search!

Let me take you through a few screen clippings to show you the ease of using

This is a screen shot of some of my clippings on

As you are saving your clippings, make sure you click on "Edit" and add a description of the clipping, using your ancestor's name and keywords. Think of this as writing a headline for the article. Otherwise, you will not be able to search for clippings about a specific ancestor. Yes, I learned this one the hard way, and I'm still back-tracking, adding those names and keywords to my clippings.

See how easy it is to save to Ancestry!

You just select which tree and person
to whom you are saving the clipping!

Share With Others!

This may be one of my favorite perks of the site. It makes it very easy to share the clipping with other researchers. I'm a relatively new fan of Pinterest, even though I've had an account since it first came on the scene. I have a Pinterest board, Ancestor News, where I can share clippings with other researchers. I also set up a Facebook group for other Pecht family researchers and I can share clippings with those cousins. Just remember, the clipping must be made Public if you want to share it.

It is still up to you to explore each of the paid sites and determine which has the most bang for your buck for the geographic areas where your people lived.

Screen captures are from and are used here for educational purposes. No violation of copyright of the images is intended.