Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Technology and Family History Converge in Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 104

Image Geo-Tagging has been on my list of topics that I've wanted to cover more in depth on the podcast, and I'm happy to say in Episode 104 I had the opportunity to interview an expert on the topic.  Chris Bair works on the servers at FamilySearch, and is an avid photographer of his 6 beautiful kids!  So when geo-tagging technology came along, he was keen to put it to work documenting where all those family photos were taken.

The exciting news is that geo-coded images can easily be incorporated into our Google Earth maps!  (Learn more about using Google Earth for Genealogy here)  Needless to say, when I heard that I became convinced that it's time to upgrade my old digital camera (not a hard decision since the battery seems to last about 10 minutes!)  Rumor has it my husband Bill has snagged the newest on the market for my upcoming birthday, just in time for our family history journey to England and the Who Do You Think You Are LIVE conference.  Sweet!

Listen to Episode 104 at the website, the free Genealogy Gems Toolbar, or in iTunes.
Items mentioned in this episode:

Chris will be presenting a class on Geo-Tagging at the upcoming Rootstech conference.  Click here for all the details on attending the conference.  I'll be there!

Also in this episode is professional genealogist Kory Meyerink who gives us a behind the scenes look at how he compiles the 50 Most Popular Genealogy Website list that he will reveal at RootsTech.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mesa Expo Event: Handling and Healing the Skeletons in Your Genealogical Closet

Rattling around in our genealogical closets are not just skeletons, but secrets.  And on Friday evening at the Family History Expo in Mesa, AZ, author M. Bridget Cook (Handling and Healing the Skeletons in Your Genealogical Closet) will share how "a lot of healing can take place."

Watch the video below to hear more and the register for this exciting event.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

NEW BOOK: The Genealogist's Google Toolbox

My new book is here and I invite you to take a peek:

(Click in the center to view in Full Screen)

When it comes to tracing your family tree online, you need the right tools to get the job done!  I've spent the last year stuffing The Genealogist's Google Toolbox with all the best free state-of-the-art Internet tools I could find from the folks who dominate the online world: Google.

In addition to the table of contents you'll find a super easy to use "How To" Index in the back.  My goal is that when you need an answer, a search operator, research strategies or just some inspiration you'll reach for this toolbox and be able to grab what you need.   This is one book that won't make it to your bookshelf, but rather is best suited on your desk next to your computer monitor.  You can even add a copy of it to your lap top, iPhone or Nook e-reader because it's also available in digital download pdf format.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed putting it together!  Happy Googling!

Friday, January 7, 2011

RootsTech Early Bird Registration Ends Jan 15

I'll be there will you?  Don't miss the $99 Early Bird Registration for RootsTech 2011.  

·         $99 early bird registration ends January 15, 2011 ($150 afterwards)
·         Only $35 for students!
·         February 10–12, 2011
·         Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah
·         Walking distance from the Family History Library

SALT LAKE CITY—The $99 early bird registration for the RootsTech 2011 Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, ends January 15, 2011. RootsTech is a completely new conference focused on bringing technology creators together with genealogy technology users to learn together and identify solutions to family history research challenges. Genealogists and family historians will discover exciting new research tools while technology creators will learn the latest development techniques from industry leaders and pioneers.

The registration fee includes three full days of conference attendance, conference materials, entry to the Clarke Planetarium dinner event, extended access to the Family History Library, admission to the closing reception event, eligibility for prize drawings, and admission to the Community Zone (exhibition hall).

Advancing technology is becoming an integral part of the future of genealogical research. Whether a person is new to genealogy or is an experienced researcher, RootsTech is the ideal place to discover the latest family history tools. In addition, technology creators will learn the skills needed to deliver innovative applications and systems, and they will have the opportunity to receive instant feedback from peers and users on their ideas and creations.

Keynote speakers at the conference include Shane Robinson, Hewlett Packard chief strategy and technology officer; Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive and digital librarian; Jay L. Verkler, CEO of FamilySearch International; and Curt Witcher, Historical Genealogy Department manager for Allen County Public Library.

About RootsTech
RootsTech is a new conference designed to bring technologists together with genealogists to learn from each other and find solutions to the challenges faced in family history research today. The conference’s activities and offerings are focused on content that will help genealogists and family historians discover exciting new research tools while enabling technology creators to learn the latest development techniques from industry leaders and pioneers

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Memorial Grant to Assist Young Genealogists Attending 2011 SCGS Jamboree

Genealogy Blogger Denise Levenick has her eye on the future.  The future of genealogy research depends on young people being introduced to the joys of family history.  And her new Memorial Grant is a wonderful step toward accomplishing that goal.

When I saw Denise at the Family History Expo in Pleasanton last October she pulled me aside to share the details of her plans.  I was pleasantly surprised to see Denise at the Expo as her dear mother and conference companion had passed just a few months before.  Denise explained that it was on her heart to honor her mom by setting up a memorial grant to assist young genealogists who want to attend one of the biggest genealogy events of the year - the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree held each June in Burbank, CA.  

As a previous guest on my podcast Family History: Genealogy Made Easy (Episode 39) she had made an impression on me with her enthusiasm, sense of humor, and humility.  She's a lovely lady who is putting her heart into action.  Please take a few moments to read the following information and consider how you can help make a difference for a budding genealogist.

January 5, 2011 – Student genealogists interested in attending the 2011 Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree are invited to apply for the 2011 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant established by friends and family to honor Suzanne’s Freeman’s lifetime of service to young people and to assist young genealogists seeking to advance their genealogical education. 

Suzanne Freeman was the mother of blogger and writer Denise Levenick, The Family Curator, and a life- long volunteer who worked with many youth organizations in the capacity of leader, organizer, and administrator. She also developed a strong interest in family history, and enjoyed the growing number of young student genealogists. At the time of her death in Tucson, Arizona August 28, 2010, Suzanne was 
still searching for her elusive Winsor cousins. 

Genealogy bloggers came to know Suzanne the past two years at the SCGS Jamboree where she enthusiastically joined the GeneaBlogger Welcome Bag project, assisting in the assembly and distribution of gifts to attending genealogy bloggers.  

To honor her support of the SCGS Jamboree, the first Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant will be awarded to a student attending the 2011 Jamboree. The grant includes a check for $500 toward conference expenses. 

Applicants need not be a currently registered student, but must have been a enrolled at a college, university, or secondary school within the last twelve months, and be between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five.  

Complete guidelines and application are available online at The Family Curator blog . Deadline for applications is February 15, 2011; the award recipient will be announced March 1, 2011.  

Suzanne Winsor Freeman was born January 5, 1933 in Olathe, Kansas to Arline (Kinsel) and Frank Ammi Brown, and grew up in Orange and Santa Ana after her family moved to California in 1937. She purchased property in Green Valley, Arizona in 1982 and became a full-time Arizona resident in 1997. 

The Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Fund honors her love of service and of family history. The purpose of the fund is to assist young genealogists by offering grants to advance their genealogical education, including funds to attend genealogy conferences and workshops. 

Suzanne enjoyed researching family history online and frequently posted queries that resulted in new family connections. She supplied stories and anecdotes for, the blog written by her daughter Denise Levenick, and also appeared as a guest blogger at   

Donations to the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Fund may be made at any Wells Fargo Bank c/o Wells Fargo Bank, Green Valley, Arizona 520/625-1222. 

For More Information Contact: Denise Levenick,, 626/688-8974. 
Suzanne Winsor Freeman Obituary: and Green Valley News 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are Separated From By Six Degrees?

Last night I finally found time to curl up in front of the fireplace and read the biography of a favorite actor of mine, Claude Rains. (Image left) My daughter Vienna gave me the book, as we regularly get together and watch his old movies recorded on DVR.

As I made my way through the tales of the years of his youth in London, I came across a name that had surfaced during my Cooke family history research a few months ago:  renowned British actor and theater producer Herbert Beerbohm Tree.

Rains got his start in early 20th century theater working for Tree at his Her Majesty's Theatre as a page and call boy, and was soon promoted to prompter. At the same time, London actress Roberta E. Munns (born 1876) was a hit on the London stage - specifically Herbert Beerbohm Tree's Her Majesty's Theatre stage.  According to Grandfather Cooke's unpublished autobiography, his Aunt Roberta had become quite famous, most notably starring in the lead in The Eternal City.

Based on these accounts, the Six Degrees of Separation between a film buff (me) and Claude Rains emerges: 

1) I married Bill
2) Bill knew his Grandfather
3) Bill's Grandfather knew Roberta Munns
4) Roberta Munns was prompted on her lines by Claude Rains. 

Actually that may just be Four Degrees.  The Invisible Man appears in the Cooke Family History!

Are there Six Degrees of family history separating you from a famous figure or someone you admire?  Post your comments here!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

RootsTech 2011 Announces Lineup of Keynote Speakers

The upcoming RootsTech conference promises to be an exciting meld of genealogy and technology.  I'll be there reporting as an official RootsTech blogger, and I hope to see you there too!  Here's the latest news on who you can look forward to hearing from at this ground-breaking event.

SALT LAKE CITY—The RootsTech 2011 Conference announced its keynote speakers today. The national speakers reflect the conference’s focus on creating a forum where genealogy technology users can discover exciting new research tools and technology creators can learn the latest development techniques from industry leaders and pioneers. The conference will be held February 10–12, 2011, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Shane Robison, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy 
and Technology Officer for Hewlett-Packard Company. 
Mr. Robison is responsible for shaping HP’s corporate strategy 
and technology agenda and oversees the company’s corporate 
marketing function. He is instrumental in steering the company’s 
multibillion dollar research and development investment and 
leads the company’s merger and acquisition activities. He also 
has responsibility for worldwide corporate marketing activities, 
including brand strategy, internal and external communications, 
digital strategy and, environmental sustainability, social 
innovation, and customer intelligence.

brewsterBrewster Kahle, Founder, The Internet Archive.
A passionate advocate for public Internet access and a successful 
entrepreneur, Brewster Kahle has spent his career intent on a 
singular focus: making information free and accessible through 
digital means. Mr. Kahle created the Internet’s first publishing 
system and has helped revolutionize the electronic publishing 
market. Through the Internet Archive, Mr. Kahle is working to 
create an online catalog of every book ever created. At the same 
time, Mr. Kahle cofounded Alexa Internet, a service that collects 
data on web browsing behavior for future analysis. The services
provided by Alexa Internet are used in more than 80 percent of 
web browsers today.

CBW FGSCurt Witcher, Historical Genealogy Department 
Manager, Allen County Public Library.
Mr. Witcher’s success in community involvement, integration of 
technology in library science, and collaboration with various 
organizations has made him a highly visible individual in the 
genealogical community. His dynamic presentation style has 
made him a highly favored presenter among a wide variety of 
audiences. He is a member of the Genealogy Committee of the 
American Library Association and past president of the National 
Genealogical Society and of the Federation of Genealogical 
Societies. He is coeditor of the 1987 through 2000 editions of 
the Periodical Source Index and was a research consultant for 
both PBS Ancestorsseries.
Jay's business photo
Jay L. Verkler, CEO, FamilySearch International.
Mr. Verkler currently serves as president and CEO of FamilySearch, 
sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
FamilySearch has gathered the largest collection of genealogical 
records in the world. Operations include worldwide image and 
information collection, product and tools delivery, and patron 
services in over 4,600 family history centers around the world. 
Mr. Verkler previously served in various executive positions within 
innovative Silicon Valley companies such as Oracle Corporation, 
inCommon Inc., TIBCO Software, Vitria Technology, and 
Mr. Verkler studied electrical engineering, computer science, and 
chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as 
Japanese and Asian studies at Harvard University.

About RootsTech

RootsTech is a new conference designed to bring technologists together with genealogists so they can learn from each other and find solutions to the challenges faced in family history research today. The conference’s activities and offerings are focused on content that will help genealogists and family historians discover exciting new research tools while enabling technology creators to learn the latest development techniques from industry leaders and pioneers.