Sunday, February 21, 2016

Evernote, Kindle and George Washington Smith

February 1973 - 75th Birthday party for my grandfather,
George Washington Smith.
Pictured with his three surviving siblings.
I've been doing a fair amount of genealogy-related "stuff" lately, just nothing very blog-post-worthy.

A couple of weeks ago I ordered the new-ish $50 Amazon Kindle Fire. After a negative experience with the top-of-the-line Kindle last summer, which I just didn't feel was worth the money, at least for my purposes, I'm much happier with this model. It does most of what I wanted the other model to do (on a smaller screen) for only $50.

As soon as the Kindle arrived two weeks ago I began channeling my bibliophile father and reading three books at once: "Your Swedish Roots: A Step by Step Handbook" by Kjell Andersson and Per Clemensson, a genealogy thriller by M.K. Jones called "Three Times Removed" and Kerry Scott's "How to Use Evernote for Genealogy."

Although I have been a Premium subscriber to Evernote for months now, I was not entirely convinced that it would become for me the all-important genealogy tool that it is for so many. Kerry Scott's impressive book has changed my mind. If you are considering making Evernote part of your genealogy toolbox, I highly recommend this book.

I just finished the book this week and have only had a chance to put a small fraction of what I've learned into practice but so far it has even inspired me to clean out my email Inbox and to become a paid Feedly user so that I can save posts directly to my Evernote note which I just love. I have saved dozens of posts on Feedly itself, some just because I didn't have a chance to read them in depth at the time and others because they might be useful in my research, but I knew even as I saved them that there was little chance I would find them again when I needed the information, if I even remembered saving them. Now I am reviewing those posts again, and I am able to save them to the appropriate notebook in Evernote and tag them so that I can find them when I want to make use of the information in the post.

I can't wait to put more of Kerry Scott's suggestions into practice and see how else Evernote will help me organize my genealogy and even my personal "stuff".

Champagne chilling in the snow in preparation for my
grandfather's 75th birthday party.
Finally, tomorrow is the anniversary of the birth of my maternal grandfather, George Washington Smith. He was born in Thetford Mines, Quebec on February 22, 1898 to a Canadian mother and American father, George Robert Smith.

The above photo was taken as the preparations were underway for his 75th birthday party in February of 1973. I did not remember that I looked so cold and miserable in this photo, taken in my grandparents' backyard. That is pretty much the face I was making last weekend anytime I had to venture outside!

I'm not sure yet what I will be doing in terms of genealogy this week, but I hope it won't be so long before I post again.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Got British Roots? These two webinars might interest you.

I'm using this time while my coffee is brewing to share about some British Isles "webinars" I came across this week and the book (above) that I finally received yesterday.

Tonight from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. EST, the Ontario Genealogical Society is hosting a free webinar presented by Dr. Janet Few entitled "A to Z of Family History: an alphabetical journey through some less well known sources for British Family History." According to Gail Dever, who's blog post alerted me to the webinar, live attendance is limited to the first 100 registrants. You can register here.

Many Geneabloggers have already posted the schedule of talks that will be streaming from RootsTech. You can find it here. One in particular caught my eye, "My Ancestors are from Britain - What do I do Next?", taking place from 6:30-7:30 p.m. EST tomorrow (4:30-5:30 p.m. MST). I will definitely be glued to my computer for both of these presentations.

And finally, a few weeks ago I stumbled onto the website for Holy Trinity Church in Coleford, England. This is the church where I believe my great-grandfather, Arthur William Matthews, was baptized. A book about the history of the church was advertised on the site. Luckily for me, it was also available on Amazon and it arrived yesterday. It doesn't contain any information about my family specifically, of course, but it is a fantastic resource for understanding the time in which his family lived. I'll share more about that this weekend. In the meantime, my coffee is ready and it's time to get to work.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Searching for Mary Matthews - Family Search Wiki

This is my current approach to finding the marriage record of my 2nd great-grandparents, Mark & Mary Matthews, parents of Arthur William, father of Howard, father of Stephen, father of Yours Truly. Following a suggestion from a fellow-member of the Somerset - Ancestors and Genealogy group on Facebook, I am starting my search for Mary by looking for Mark & Mary's marriage record, hoping I will be able to ascertain that it is THEIR marriage record and that it will contain her maiden name.

There seem to be an overwhelming number of sites to find indexed parish and civil records for England. And I'm still not sure if all of the records I'm looking for have been indexed at all. So, I've come to THE WIKI (cue the big booming voice with echo), the learning center if you will, of Family Search which DearMYRTLE first introduced to me and many other beginner researchers in her Beginning Genealogy Study Group of last year.

I am making my way methodically down the list of sites to search, and in-line with my new practices as a result of the Genealogy Do-Over, I am tracking each result in Evernote, and making notes for myself about where I left off and where to pick up when I sit down again to find Mark & Mary's marriage information.

So far, nothing new. But the search continues...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Genealogy Do-Over - Month 2 Preview

Wow, this year is flying by already! It's February 1st and I'm still adjusting to writing and typing 2016.

This month's topics for the Do-Over are Establishing Base Practices and Setting Research Goals.

Establishing Base Practices

Back in cycle 2, I compiled a list of "Best" Practices which you can find in one of the tabs above as well as in these two posts: Part I and Part II.

Setting Research Goals

I set out some fairly specific research goals for this year, but those goals can be broken down into smaller parts for planning purposes and so that I can have that all-important plan each time I sit down to do research. I'll be working on that this week.  I've been using Thomas MacEntee's time management spreadsheet at work and I really like his system. It's simple and easy to adopt but it works. You can see his presentation here and below is part of my genealogy spreadsheet.

Click for larger image

I've also been reading Kerry Scott's How to Use Evernote for Genealogy. I'm hoping I'll have time to finish it by the end of the long weekend for President's Day and then really get into using it more and deciding how I will use it going forward.

Blog posts are something else I would like to add to my planning, but I haven't made any progress for February so far. So, I'll be back, but I don't know when!