Geotagging with Blogger in Draft

A post about geotagging enabling was published on Wednesday on the Blogger in Draft blog. I can see this feature being very useful for genea-blogging. For instance, when Apple is transcribing her letters of Sarah Ann Camfield or Granny Pam is featuring the latest postcard from Belle’s Box, they can use the geotagging feature to tag all the locations mentioned in the correspondence. Readers can then find other posts written about the same location.

I’m looking forward to using this feature.

UPDATE 14 Dec 2008: Apple did a great review on this feature. Keep in mind that this is in Beta, which means they are still working out all the kinks and issues and it is a long ways from being perfected. If you use it and have difficulties, be sure to let the Blogger in Draft team know about the problems (nicely, of course). It’s collaborative input like this that improves these types of technology.

Free Genealogy How-To Videos All over the ‘Net

“Frugal Genealogy: or How Not to Spend a Fortune on Your Family Tree” is my most-sought after presentation by area genealogical societies when requesting me as a speaker. Recently, I’ve realized I need to update it; free genealogy how-to videos are showing up all over the Internet faster, it seems, than I can keep track. I’ve provided a round-up of what’s out there, below. In order to watch these, you’ll need speakers or a set of headphones, and most likely, high-speed Internet service (Have dial-up? Plan ahead to spend some time at your local public library or other free or low-cost public center with high-speed Internet service).

Ancestry.com
Ancestry’s Learning Center currently has 20 videos featuring Chief Historian Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak as host of their series of genealogy how-tos on getting started, research challenges, and information sources, to name a few: http://learn.ancestry.com/LearnMore/Videos.aspx

Register now for the latest webinar airing today at 8:00 PM, EST, “Discovering Family Tree Maker 2009”. Or view 14 archived webinars on topics ranging from ethnic roots to using Ancestry’s new search engine: http://learn.ancestry.com/LearnMore/Webinars.aspx

FamilySearch.org
A five-part series on beginning research course for England has recently been released by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah at their FamilySearch.org site. Class outlines and handouts are included: http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/Education/frameset_education.asp?PAGE=education_research_series_online.asp%3FActiveTab=2 (Or go to http://www.familysearch.org, click on Library and choose Education from the drop-down menu. Then choose Research Series Classes Online from the left-hand menu.)

Family Tree Magazine
Right now, there are four videos (Using Google Books Search, Visual Guide to House Styles, etc.) hosted at the magazine website’s video page. These are hosted at YouTube and a link is provided to access all 13 Family Tree Magazine videos on their YouTube channel: http://www.familytreemagazine.com/videos
http://www.youtube.com/familytreemagazine

Genealogy Gems TV
Although Lisa Louise Cooke’s main focus is on podcasting, she offers a large variety of videos on her Genealogy Gems TV site. There’s always something creative going on at GenealogyGems! These videos are also hosted at YouTube:
http://www.genealogygems.tv/Pages/TV/TV.htm
http://www.youtube.com/user/GenealogyGems

RootsTelevision.com
This project created by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak contains the most comprehensive and largest collection of free genealogy videos on the web. It includes interviews of genealogy “celebrities,” tapings of national conferences and seminars, and offers 22 channels of tutorials on topics as diverse as DNA, family reunions, and various ethnic roots. Also available are many of the episodes from the popular PBS Ancestors Television Series (episodes numbered 101 – 109): http://www.rootstelevision.com

Treasure Maps Genealogy Videos
Robert Ragan’s got more than just the two videos linked at his website’s Genealogy Videos page! I found seven at his YouTube channel, GenealogyGuy (not to be confused with the Genealogy Guys, Drew Smith and George Morgan). Robert is one of those great teachers that patiently shows step-by-step directions to help even the less-technologically confident achieve success: http://amberskyline.com/treasuremaps/genealogy-videos.html
http://www.youtube.com/genealogyguy

YouTube
I’ve already mentioned a couple of YouTube genealogy channels, but there is so much more out there! Simply go to YouTube and search for “genealogy” or “family history” to find more! If your favorite genealogy videographer has created a YouTube channel, you can subscribe (for free) to be notified of their newest uploads. Not all videos will be tutorials; many individuals have created their own family history videos, so you never know if perhaps you’ll find a connection to another distant cousin! Some of my favorite YouTube genealogy tutorials are created by Elyse Doerflinger (she’s got 26!) and Mike of Irish Roots Cafe (15 videos on Irish research!).
http://www.youtube.com – search for genealogy , “family tree” or “family history”, etc.
http://www.youtube.com/user/Elyse90505
http://www.youtube.com/user/Mickthebridge

Google Video
While Google owns YouTube, there are some videos out there that aren’t hosted at that particular website. Searching at Google Video, I found diverse topics such as GenSmarts, DNA, African-American genealogy, and even a video about genealogy merit badges narrated by Dr. Steven R. Covey!
http://video.google.com/ – search for genealogy , “family tree” or “family history”, etc.

Do you know of any other websites for free genealogy tutorials? Leave links and comments below.

Frugal Genealogy

Jasia of Creative Gene has written a thoughtful and interesting five-part series called “What is Your Genealogy Worth to You?” (click here to go to the first post in the series). She starts off with “Have you ever thought about how much your genealogy addiction costs you? What price have you paid to collect all those names on your family tree? If you had known what the cost would be when you began, would you still have started down this road?”

I’ve been gathering information and organizing it since early 1987. In 1990 and again in 1999, I helped to organize a Midkiff Family Reunion. In 1995, I made my first forays into research by requesting the marriage record of my paternal grandmother’s biological parents, and not long after, visited a Family History Center for the first time. I haven’t looked back since! Back then, I didn’t keep track of my expenditures, but I never had a lot to work with and would just make do with about $5 or $10 a month in ordering microfilm from the FHC. Since purchasing Quicken software three-and-a-half years ago, I’ve kept pretty good records on all my expenditures, and ran a report to see how much I’ve spent. Since May 2004, I have spent a total of $823.65 on paying society fees, ordering vital records and microfilms, paying for subscriptions to genealogy websites like Ancestry, making photocopies of documents and forms, buying office supplies specifically for my genealogy files, and purchasing genealogy books, CDs, and magazine subscriptions. I’ve been able to offset these costs: my sister-in-law reimburses me half of my online subscription costs since I help her research her family tree; I also get paid for teaching Online Genealogy at my local community college district’s community ed and for doing presentations at area genealogical societies. When I consider the after-tax income and reimbursement I’ve received in comparison to the expenditures listed above, I actually have a credit of -$52.81.

There are several other costs, however. While I don’t figure in the cost of gas in going to genealogical society meetings or going to my local Family History Center, it does cost to park when I attend society meetings and computer classes at the public library, and my three-and-a-half year cost for that has been exactly $127.00. I gladly would park in a free parking area at the bottom of the hill half-a-mile away; however, since I’m the Ways and Means Committee Chair, I usually have many boxes of books and bags of supplies to haul in, and even with my cart, that’s simply not practical. The parking garage I normally use is the cheapest in the downtown area: 50 cents per half hour.

Another cost would be printer ink (which I haven’t bothered to account for here, since I list it under Consumable Household Goods). I am very frugal with it, and only print when I have to, using the “quick print” and black-and-white settings. Still, it does cost, but I recycle my cartridges or trade them in for reams of paper or photo printing.

Because I use my computer and Internet service almost exclusively for genealogy in one form or another, I have to consider those costs. The first computer I had used Windows 3.1 and was found by my brother-in-law at a garage sale. I paid $100 for it, along with some software and a decent (for that time) printer in 1999. I used Juno’s free Internet dial-up service, then later tried a free dial-up service which was accessed through my local public library. For several years, I used AOL free trial dial-up service. It was good for two months; I’d call them up at the end of the trial service and “cancel” and they’d “persuade” me to try it again for two more months. It was great! However, when we had a friend build us a new computer (with the Edsel-like Windows ME operating system!), AOL wouldn’t work well with it. We went to Juno’s pay dial-up service of just under $10 a month. That computer cost us about $600 and included everything–monitor, speakers, software, keyboard, mouse, etc.–except the printer. We later bought a quality printer/scanner/copier/fax machine at Costco for about $300, which I still use. Since my husband works for a company that produces heavy-duty laptops for the military, police and fire departments, and service repairmen, he’s been able to pick the brains of engineers and tech geeks that he works with, educating himself along the way. Armed with this advice and knowledge, two years ago, he built a complete new computer with Windows XP ourselves, with a little help from his nephew. This one has a high-resolution flat-screen monitor, a cordless keyboard and mouse, and all kinds of bells and whistles, and set us back only about $1100. We also obtained an older laptop, which has come in so handy with four computer users in this household. Along the way, we switched to DSL broadband Internet service through a small local company that contracts with the local phone company, costing us a discounted $45 a month. Offsetting this expense, we have chosen not to get cable television (I have always been one to willingly live without a television!), nor do we use long-distance telephone service (using an inexpensive 10-10 code for our infrequent long-distance calls). For us, the Internet is our main entertainment and long-distance communication resource.

So there you have some of my tangible costs of genealogy, although as Becky at kinexxions wrote, genealogy is priceless. The family I’ve found, the friends I’ve made, the discoveries I’ve happened across, the life-long learning process…all are invaluable! And yes, I’d do it all over again, in a heartbeat!

Coincidentally, I’ll be giving a one-hour presentation to the Kootenai County (Idaho) Genealogical Society this week, Thursday, October 18th at 7:00 PM, entitled “Frugal Genealogy (or How Not to Spend a Fortune on Your Family Tree!).” We will be meeting at the Hayden Family History Center at 2293 West Hanley (west of off Ramsey) in Hayden, Idaho. This is not the normal meeting place, as the Hayden Lake Library is being remodeled. I hope that if you live in the area, you will join us (meetings are free to the public). I had the opportunity to meet some of the fine folks of the KCGS at the Bonner County (Idaho) Genealogical Society’s June conference, and look forward to meeting more of their members. I’ll also be giving this presentation to the Northeast Washington Genealogical Society in Colville in July 2008, if you wish to catch it then. If you are not able to attend, you can e-mail me to request a copy of my syllabus (see “View my complete profile” in the right-hand sidebar to obtain my e-mail address).

Frugal Genealogy

Jasia of Creative Gene has written a thoughtful and interesting five-part series called “What is Your Genealogy Worth to You?” (click here to go to the first post in the series). She starts off with “Have you ever thought about how much your genealogy addiction costs you? What price have you paid to collect all those names on your family tree? If you had known what the cost would be when you began, would you still have started down this road?”

I’ve been gathering information and organizing it since early 1987. In 1990 and again in 1999, I helped to organize a Midkiff Family Reunion. In 1995, I made my first forays into research by requesting the marriage record of my paternal grandmother’s biological parents, and not long after, visited a Family History Center for the first time. I haven’t looked back since! Back then, I didn’t keep track of my expenditures, but I never had a lot to work with and would just make do with about $5 or $10 a month in ordering microfilm from the FHC. Since purchasing Quicken software three-and-a-half years ago, I’ve kept pretty good records on all my expenditures, and ran a report to see how much I’ve spent. Since May 2004, I have spent a total of $823.65 on paying society fees, ordering vital records and microfilms, paying for subscriptions to genealogy websites like Ancestry, making photocopies of documents and forms, buying office supplies specifically for my genealogy files, and purchasing genealogy books, CDs, and magazine subscriptions. I’ve been able to offset these costs: my sister-in-law reimburses me half of my online subscription costs since I help her research her family tree; I also get paid for teaching Online Genealogy at my local community college district’s community ed and for doing presentations at area genealogical societies. When I consider the after-tax income and reimbursement I’ve received in comparison to the expenditures listed above, I actually have a credit of -$52.81.

There are several other costs, however. While I don’t figure in the cost of gas in going to genealogical society meetings or going to my local Family History Center, it does cost to park when I attend society meetings and computer classes at the public library, and my three-and-a-half year cost for that has been exactly $127.00. I gladly would park in a free parking area at the bottom of the hill half-a-mile away; however, since I’m the Ways and Means Committee Chair, I usually have many boxes of books and bags of supplies to haul in, and even with my cart, that’s simply not practical. The parking garage I normally use is the cheapest in the downtown area: 50 cents per half hour.

Another cost would be printer ink (which I haven’t bothered to account for here, since I list it under Consumable Household Goods). I am very frugal with it, and only print when I have to, using the “quick print” and black-and-white settings. Still, it does cost, but I recycle my cartridges or trade them in for reams of paper or photo printing.

Because I use my computer and Internet service almost exclusively for genealogy in one form or another, I have to consider those costs. The first computer I had used Windows 3.1 and was found by my brother-in-law at a garage sale. I paid $100 for it, along with some software and a decent (for that time) printer in 1999. I used Juno’s free Internet dial-up service, then later tried a free dial-up service which was accessed through my local public library. For several years, I used AOL free trial dial-up service. It was good for two months; I’d call them up at the end of the trial service and “cancel” and they’d “persuade” me to try it again for two more months. It was great! However, when we had a friend build us a new computer (with the Edsel-like Windows ME operating system!), AOL wouldn’t work well with it. We went to Juno’s pay dial-up service of just under $10 a month. That computer cost us about $600 and included everything–monitor, speakers, software, keyboard, mouse, etc.–except the printer. We later bought a quality printer/scanner/copier/fax machine at Costco for about $300, which I still use. Since my husband works for a company that produces heavy-duty laptops for the military, police and fire departments, and service repairmen, he’s been able to pick the brains of engineers and tech geeks that he works with, educating himself along the way. Armed with this advice and knowledge, two years ago, he built a complete new computer with Windows XP ourselves, with a little help from his nephew. This one has a high-resolution flat-screen monitor, a cordless keyboard and mouse, and all kinds of bells and whistles, and set us back only about $1100. We also obtained an older laptop, which has come in so handy with four computer users in this household. Along the way, we switched to DSL broadband Internet service through a small local company that contracts with the local phone company, costing us a discounted $45 a month. Offsetting this expense, we have chosen not to get cable television (I have always been one to willingly live without a television!), nor do we use long-distance telephone service (using an inexpensive 10-10 code for our infrequent long-distance calls). For us, the Internet is our main entertainment and long-distance communication resource.

So there you have some of my tangible costs of genealogy, although as Becky at kinexxions wrote, genealogy is priceless. The family I’ve found, the friends I’ve made, the discoveries I’ve happened across, the life-long learning process…all are invaluable! And yes, I’d do it all over again, in a heartbeat!

Coincidentally, I’ll be giving a one-hour presentation to the Kootenai County (Idaho) Genealogical Society this week, Thursday, October 18th at 7:00 PM, entitled “Frugal Genealogy (or How Not to Spend a Fortune on Your Family Tree!).” We will be meeting at the Hayden Family History Center at 2293 West Hanley (west of off Ramsey) in Hayden, Idaho. This is not the normal meeting place, as the Hayden Lake Library is being remodeled. I hope that if you live in the area, you will join us (meetings are free to the public). I had the opportunity to meet some of the fine folks of the KCGS at the Bonner County (Idaho) Genealogical Society’s June conference, and look forward to meeting more of their members. I’ll also be giving this presentation to the Northeast Washington Genealogical Society in Colville in July 2008, if you wish to catch it then. If you are not able to attend, you can e-mail me to request a copy of my syllabus (see “View my complete profile” in the right-hand sidebar to obtain my e-mail address).

Podcasts: A New Category at Cyndi’s List

I’ve been a member of Cyndi’s List mailing list for about six months now (go here to subscribe yourself). Every other day or so, Cyndi sends out e-mails in several formats. “What’s New On Cyndi’s List” features the latest uncategorized website links that have been recommended to her to be included on her famous site. As she categorizes these, she sends out a “Cyndi’s List Update” with category summaries of new, updated, or removed links. Today she sent out an e-mail notifying us of a “New Category: Podcasts for Genealogy.” According to Cyndi, right now, “it is small, but gives you a few ideas of what some people are thinking to do with them.”

As I’ve seen my husband and teenage daughter enjoy theirs, an MP3 player is definitely on my Christmas wish list for new technology toys. Only in addition to listening to audio books or music as they do, I would add genealogy podcasts to my list of audio choices. If you’re unfamiliar with a podcast, think of it as a modern version of a radio talk show, available online, which can be downloaded into an iPod or MP3 player to listen to later at your convenience. In genealogy podcasts, the hosts often discuss strategies for overcoming genealogical brickwalls, highlight new websites and databases, and discuss upcoming conferences, among many topics. You don’t need an iPod or MP3 player to listen to a podcast, however. You can listen on your desktop or laptop, as long as you have speakers and audio software. I try to remember that if I have a time-consuming chore such as mending, filing, or labeling photographs, to turn on a podcast to help time go by and enjoy learning something new.

Podcasts: A New Category at Cyndi’s List

I’ve been a member of Cyndi’s List mailing list for about six months now (go here to subscribe yourself). Every other day or so, Cyndi sends out e-mails in several formats. “What’s New On Cyndi’s List” features the latest uncategorized website links that have been recommended to her to be included on her famous site. As she categorizes these, she sends out a “Cyndi’s List Update” with category summaries of new, updated, or removed links. Today she sent out an e-mail notifying us of a “New Category: Podcasts for Genealogy.” According to Cyndi, right now, “it is small, but gives you a few ideas of what some people are thinking to do with them.”

As I’ve seen my husband and teenage daughter enjoy theirs, an MP3 player is definitely on my Christmas wish list for new technology toys. Only in addition to listening to audio books or music as they do, I would add genealogy podcasts to my list of audio choices. If you’re unfamiliar with a podcast, think of it as a modern version of a radio talk show, available online, which can be downloaded into an iPod or MP3 player to listen to later at your convenience. In genealogy podcasts, the hosts often discuss strategies for overcoming genealogical brickwalls, highlight new websites and databases, and discuss upcoming conferences, among many topics. You don’t need an iPod or MP3 player to listen to a podcast, however. You can listen on your desktop or laptop, as long as you have speakers and audio software. I try to remember that if I have a time-consuming chore such as mending, filing, or labeling photographs, to turn on a podcast to help time go by and enjoy learning something new.