Friday, June 20, 2008 --- free and great!

Whether you are a beginner in genealogy or have been researching for a while, there is a web site that is free and designed to assist you in building your family tree.  You can also share your research with family members, including those who are not into genealogy.  By entering your data and building your family tree, you are not sharing it with the world.  Only people that you invite can access it.  

There's more than building a family tree at  You can share family photographs, create profiles and timelines and celebrate special events.  It is as easy also as importing a GEDCOM file into ... no retyping of information.   You can also export a GEDCOM file from the data you have created.  

One of the most interesting features of is the ability to map your ancestors.  You can customize the maps for locations of your ancestors, where they lived or where they were born.  

As you network with friends and family, you can send messages and share news.  You decide who is in your group.  While you are using you can also search for your surnames not only within your tree but in other trees.  You will not be able to view all of the information in the family trees of other submitters unless you are invited.  

There are over 20 million profiles on  Yours can be there as simply as registering and logging in.  In the near future they will be adding family video sharing.  It is such a great site that TIME magazine named as one of the top 50 websites of 2008.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Life of a Genealogist

Is there any other life?  It's the best!  However, genealogy can consume every minute of my day and into the night.  Such has been the last seventeen days.  I have been scanning hundreds and hundreds of documents and photographs.  Sorting them into appropriate categories, sharing originals with my sister-in-law, I have barely come up for air.  

This afternoon I finished my project.  There are photographs left and a few documents, but basically it is over.  Those can wait, maybe a week or two or perhaps a couple months ... definitely not tomorrow.  

It is amazing what happens when you are scanning.  I am behind in reading genealogy blogs of others.  I noticed that my daughter found time to blog at Growing up Genealogy.  Good for her.  She's not scanning.  I have had no time to check all the new newspapers that have been added to's subscription service.  There's no hurry as I have a subscription.  Maybe tomorrow! 

Because I have been living in the digital world, I decided to check out some of the places I have ignored.  These include HBLL Online Collections where you can search the holdings of BYU, Utah newspapers and many more, all with one click.  It's a great place to look for manuscripts and books, then download them in PDF format.  It is really growing.

I have also discovered the digitals at Illinois Harvest, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.   Particularly if you have ancestry in that part of Illinois, this is something you will want to search.  I found many news articles and obituaries for relatives.  And now that I have finished with my scanning (for the moment) I don't feel guilty about searching all day and night. 

The University of Missouri Digital Library will also keep me busy for a few days.  They have both text and image collections.  With so many Missouri ancestors, I will undoubtedly find a lot of good things.  

Each time I find a Utah ancestor, I have to check out the Historical Photographs from the Harold B. Lee Library.  There are seven collections to search individually or all at once.  The photographs are of excellent quality. 

Have you checked FindAGrave lately?  The site keeps getting bigger and bigger with photographs of tombstones and also individuals or family on it.  It's a great place to find missing information along with the photographs.  

If my genealogy mind doesn't switch me back to scanning, I need to check out the web site, 250+Killer Digital Libraries and Archives.  Just think of that ... over 250 places to look for digital images.  My mind is swimming already with ideas.  

It's great fun to be a genealogist today and tomorrow and the next day ... never been better! 

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Joy of Scanning

A few days ago I rearranged my genealogy/computer room.  This also entailed rearranging the office supply closet.  With my scanner located very close to my desk, I began scanning documents and photographs.  This has been an on-going project for several years, but now close to the end, it becomes challenging and interesting. 

Having documents scanned, along with proper citations, certainly helps in trying to locate them and share them.  I have also located a number of photographs that needed scanning.  At some point in time my mother-in-law made photocopies of old photographs and shared those with me.  The quality is not good, but it's better than nothing.  My sister-in-law and I now wonder what happened to the originals.  Our next quest will be to locate them.  We hope they did not meet the fate that many old photographs do ... the dumpster. 

The joy of scanning documents is that my memory is refreshed about various lineages and this leads to more research.  I am not becoming distracted though, so the scanning will continue.  Another joy to this project is that it keeps me at home and saves on gas in the car!  

How safe are your documents?  Now is a great time to start scanning them.  I also recommend backing them up to CDs, DVDs or better yet an external hard drive.