Friday, May 6, 2016

FILE FRIDAY - Future Proofing Digital Photos and Documents

Our friends at Lifehacker always come up with great ideas. Be sure to check out Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig's "Future-Proof Your Digital Photos with Better Archiving Techniques". Some of her suggestions have to do with file naming conventions, which may just expedite the careful organization of your digitized photos and documents.

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Friday, April 22, 2016

The fabulous SEARCH option

Facebook groups have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious "SEARCH THIS GROUP" box toward the upper right, on the menu bar.

This saves the new members time when searching for a post on a specific topic. And it helps us long-term members find posts that have scrolled down the list and off the main page of The Organized Genealogist.
  • preservation
  • photos
  • color-code
Try it you'll LOVE it!

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Friday, April 15, 2016

FILE FRIDAY: Archival Photo Storage Kit

Visit your state, regional or national archives and you are likely to find textual records and photos filed in metal edge Hollinger boxes. These "cardboard" boxes are acid free, a necessary component for preventing the premature aging of photos.

For use in my office, I've found these are usually less expensive through than through
IMAGE: Courtesy of

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Friday, April 8, 2016

File Friday: Evernote notebook stacks

If you use EVERNOTE to keep track of your "research in progress" perhaps this article will help:

Source: How to Create Notebook Stacks with Evernote where we read:
"Sometimes, you have notebooks that contain a common theme. Perhaps you’re working on blog posts for the month of January and you want to work closely with your notebook that lists content ideas.

With Evernote, you can group notebooks together so you can access them easily."
What then follows are directions for accomplishing this on a Mac and a PC.

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Friday, March 18, 2016

German Pedigree Chart

KUDOS to The Organized Genealogist Member Kathleen Cahill for posting her German Pedigree Chart in our Facebook Group file library. This is a colorful way to share family history info with the German side of your family.

You'll find the post with her file linked here.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What kind of family tree - Online or off? It Depends


Jessica Jozwiak, a member of The Organized Genealogist [TOG] Facebook Group, writes "What is the best way to keep your tree online? I currently have Ancestry, and I've used FTM [Family Tree Maker] before, but I would like to save my tree and info to my computer."

TOG Co-Administrator Diane Gould Hall writes "I use Legacy. Love it! I also have a couple of trees on Ancestry, but they are not my primary records. I use them for the hints and to share with family. My "real" tree is in Legacy."

Without being snarky, Ol' Myrt here says "It depends."  What are your genealogical goals?
  • organizing your paper and digital files
  • documenting information gathered on living generations in addition to ancestors
  • "cousin bait"
  • researching online record collections
  • a place to "park" online records records until you're sure you've got the correct ancestor?
 Consider these alternatives.
  • Have at least one of several genealogy database programs (for Mac or PC) to keep your "own" copy of your current thinking on family relationships. This includes living generations as well as ancestors. 
  • Check out genealogy programs at Cyndi's List - Software.
  • Placing an online tree at Ancestry, FamilySearch, FindMyPast (basically British records) and MyHeritage (very large outside the US, recognizing 40+ languages) to permit each site's record matching technology point to documents possibly matching your ancestors' profiles.
  • Adding an online tree at WikiTree, in addition to those above, strictly for "cousin bait."
  • Family Tree Maker syncs with Ancestry Member Trees.
  • Family Tree Builder syncs with MyHeritage.
  • RootsMagic can import FTM files directly now, also works with FamilySearch, and points to hints from MyHeritage. Will sync with Ancestry Member Trees by Dec 2016.
  • Create a separate, private online tree at say Ancestry to keep track of note and records on a "suspected" kinship relationship during your research process.
  • RootsMagic can automatically create a website, hosted on their site or yours.
  • AncestryDNA works best when attached to a public tree at It's easy from most any genealogy program to create a GEDCOM file to upload to an Ancestry Member Tree.
  • That same GEDCOM file can be uploaded to FtDNA when you are ready.
  • A website, blog and online presence of public trees can serve you well as "cousin bait."
  • Use (easy) or WordPress (sharper learning curve) as your blogging platform, telling one ancestral anecdote per post. You could include a post with each ancestral photo or document you discover, etc. If you choose, remember it's owned by Google, so within minutes of your post, Google will spider your blog, making every word or phrase "findable" by those distant cousins you haven't yet met.
  • Facebook is a place to connect with the younger generations, so you might set up a private FB Group just for posting family pics and cross-posting your blog. 
  • Avoid heartbreak when your hard drive crashes. You know it will sometime. Keep your offline images, documents and genealogy database backed up to the cloud, using something like Dropbox and BackBlaze. I've set both to sync automatically, so I never have to worry about this. 


Create a digital calendar, say with Cozi (desktop, iOS and Droid tablets and phones) or Google Calendar (all platforms) to send you reminders like these:
  • 1st of the month - check backup services for current subscriptions.
  • Every Tuesday - write an ancestral blog post.
  • Every Thursday - confirm that your online trees are matched to your "best thinking" genealogy database on your Mac or PC. This includes recently proved kinship determinations with proof arguments and accompanying photos and source documents.
  • Reminders of upcoming genealogy webinars and conferences.
  • Every year on your birthday - change the batteries in your smoke detectors.
  • An occasional reminder to cook dinner and do the laundry.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Organizing for a lineage society application

From Florence Jeffery via Facebook "After years of research I have finally realized how disorganized I am, now I want to apply to the Daughter of the Confederacy and see I have to organize first, but I start one tree and jump to another. Does anyone have this problem and any suggestions?
Dear Florence,
Contact your local United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) chapter. The registrar will have the application form.

Make a photocopy.

Then as you put in a name and date of birth for yourself, gather a copy of your birth certificate. Follow suit with your parents and grandparents including birth, marriage certificates and death certificates as you go.

Include whenever possible US federal census records for 1940, 1930, 1920, 1910, 1900, 1880, 1870, 1860, and 1850 that may indicate family groups.

Where no public vital records exist, use church christening, baptism, marriage and burial records where info about parent-child relationships are indicated.

Newspapers may point to original records in courthouses and archives. Wills and probate packets on microfilm or in paper format may provide evidence of family relationships.

As to proof of service in a unit of the Confederate army or navy, you will need to find some sort of compiled military service record on microfilm and also at Consider the impact of Confederate Amnesty Papers. 
See also the National Park Service's Civil War Soldiers and Sailors database at  You will find information on individual servicemen, military units, prisoners and battles. The information there is derived from original records that you'll need to locate.
Several southern states paid pensions to Confederate servicemen. The National Archives (US) provides a page with the following preface: "The agencies listed below are repositories for Confederate pension records. The veteran was eligible to apply for a pension to the State in which he lived, even if he served in a unit from a different State. Generally, an applicant was eligible for a pension only if he was indigent or disabled. In your letter to the repository, state the Confederate veteran's name, his widow's name, the unit(s) in which he served, and the counties in which he and his widow lived after the Civil War. Some repositories also have records of Confederate Homes (for veterans, widows, etc.), muster rolls of State Confederate militia, and other records related to the Among these are Florida Confederate Veterans and Widows Pension Applications, 1885-1955 and Missouri Confederate Pension Applications and Soldiers Home Applications (at For other states see:
Your ancestor's gravestone may indicate the unit in which he served. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) "furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a government headstone or marker for the grave of any deceased eligible veteran - including Confederate Civil War soldiers - in any cemetery around the world." See:
Your task will be to prove each generation's link to the previous, and prove your ancestor's distinct identity, particularly when there was another by the same name in his community.

I undertook this process for my Daughters of Union Veterans application and supplemental. 
God bless you in this endeavor. Our ancestors saw battlefield conditions we can only imagine. We need to honor their courage.

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Friday, January 8, 2016

FILE FRIDAY - Documenting a workflow process

FINALLY Get Organized! Checklist - How did you do this first week? DearMYRTLE's 1st week's checklist is found here: FINALLY Get Organized! Jan 3rd-9th 2016 Checklist

 This is the link to Cousin Russ' ingenious The Organized Genealogist File Listing Directory

Mark Stahl writes "This is a workflow process using specific software including Evidentia, Adobe Lightroom, Clooz, OneNote and RootsMagic. It can be adapted for other uses. This is specific for my workflow and may not work for others. Use as you see fit."  You'll find his file in The Organized Genealogist Facebook Group File Library here.
IMAGE: Zoomed out screen capture of Mark's workflow chart.


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