Monday, December 31, 2012

New Help for Genealogists on Twitter


Corn & Cotton Genealogy, Finding Our Ancestors and 
Ancestral Journeys Will Start Regular Twitter Chats in January, 2013

If you are interested in learning about resources, skills, methodology and techniques to further your family history research, the help you need may have just arrived. Three genealogy professionals: Stephanie Pitcher Fishman, owner of Corn & Cotton Genealogy; Terri O’Connell, owner of Finding Our Ancestors; and Jen Baldwin, owner of Ancestral Journeys; are reaching across state lines using the power of Twitter to answer your questions and create an environment of collaboration.  Beginning January 25, 2013, they will combine their efforts to bring you #genchat, a Twitter Chat focusing on genealogy related topics, skills and questions. The chat will be hosted every two weeks, beginning at 9:00pm CST, and lasting for one hour. The chats will be oriented towards hobbyist genealogists and family historians; all interested are welcome to participate. 

Between them, they bring 43 years of genealogy research experience to the Twitter platform. Individually, they each run a professional genealogy business and their areas of expertise range from the Midwestern United States, to integrating family history into home education, and the Rocky Mountain corridor. Each are also involved in various genealogy related projects, such as the digi-mag, The In-Depth Genealogist, and the upkeep of Conference Keeper, a site dedicated to compiling world-wide resources on educational opportunities for family historian’s.

A detailed schedule of the planned chats for 2013 can be found on the Conference Keeper website.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Genealogy Gems Passes Million Milestone!

I don't usually give shout outs like this on my blog but in this case it is well deserved. Lisa Louise Cooke, producer and host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, has announced it has passed the milestone of a million downloads.

If you haven't listened to this podcast yet, now is the time to start. Lisa provides top quality audio with relevant content and thoughtful discussion on genealogy topics.

Here's a fun infographic that Lisa created in honor of this milestone. Go ahead, give it a listen!

(Click image to enlarge)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Keeping Your Eye on the Prize

As independent professional genealogists, house historians, historical researchers, (insert your job here) ____________ professionals we have to wear many hats in our business. Not only do we have to complete our client work, articles, talks or other deliverables but we also have to do the book keeping, marketing and all other tasks. Sometimes striking a balance can be hard.

It's even harder when trying out a new activity that you think will help your business or let you express yourself in a different way. Sometimes trying out that new thing, whether it's learning social media or figuring out how to build your own website, can be complicated and get you off track.

Lately, I've been investing a lot of time in figuring out podcasting. Podcasting is where you record your message in audio format (or it can be video too) and make it available at regular intervals through a blog or podcatcher (such as iTunes). I guess you could say it's a audio blog.

Have you ever tried to learn something new and found it to be challenging?  Podcasting can be cheap and easy but if you want to do it right and have good sound quality it's more involved. At least, that's what I've discovered. It has also managed to steer me slightly off track. If this happens to you, put on the brakes. FAST!

Some podcasters I've followed have gotten so into podcasting that they left their original professions to become podcast consultants. While that does sound like fun, that's not the direction I want to go in. I want to keep my head and my business firmly rooted in public and personal history.

Keep Your Eye on The Prize

The purpose of podcasting for me is so that I can express myself better on the topic of house histories, genealogy and history in general.  Sometimes I get so wrapped up trying to figure out podcasting that I feel like my goal is to learn podcasting and not to share my experiences with history.

This is a really easy trap for independent professionals to fall into. You want to save money by figuring out x, y, z on your own yet the process is so consuming.

You have to keep your eye on the prize. Remind yourself constantly what the goal is, how this is going to help your business. Re-evaluate it as part of your business plan. Is this going to help your business plan?  If I end up talking about house histories then yes it will. If I get stuck in a whirlpool and never achieve my goal (but learn a whole lot about podcasting) then No it won't.

Staying Focused

If you can manage it, just remind yourself every day what your goal is. Ask yourself, "Am I staying on track?"

If the answer is no perhaps you need to a) abandon what your doing or b) find an alternative way to achieve your goal.

An alternative might be to seek the professional help of a consultant. Another cheaper option would be to find a partner or "buddy" who will push your forward and hold you accountable to finish your task.

Don't get caught in the whirlpool. Keep moving forward and achieve your goal. Figure out the strategies for moving your personal or business goal forward.

If you've been caught in the whirlpool and have some good strategies to get back on track please feel free to share them here.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Facebook Pages: Are You a Supporter or a Follower?

I learned a whole bunch of new things about Facebook pages this morning. I found it so interesting that I thought I would share it with you.

Did you know that there are two types of people who "like" Facebook page? Yes, there are the supporters and the followers.

The supporters will click "like" on a page to show their support for a page or the page owner even if they have no interest in the page at all.

Followers, on the other hand, consider the page a vital source of news and actually want to receive updates about the page in their NewsFeed.

I admit that I am a bit of both. Currently I have "liked"  280 pages on Facebook. For many of those pages I wanted to show my support. There are, however, around fifty pages that I actually want to keep up with.

What You Need to Know About Pages

The important thing you need to know about pages is that just because you hit "Like" doesn't mean that you will automatically see updates in your News Feed.  In fact, if you see any it will only amount to about 15% of what is posted. (That's an actual statistic from Facebook. You can read about it in item 3 of this article from

So what are you to do if you are a follower and actually want to see the status updates?

I learned about a new feature today that will help with that.

Go to a page that you have liked and want to follow - a page where you want to keep up with their news.

Then hover of the Liked button (presumably you've already liked it).

a "Liked" page (click to enlarge)

Have you ever done this before? Ever notice there is a Get Notifications option?!!

Get Notifications (click to enlarge)

Click on the Get Notifications button and now you will start receiving alerts about new Status Updates. You are now on the road to better controlling what you see.

I can't help but notice that underneath the Get Notifications button is the Show in News Feed option. I think that it's best to have that checked too. The Show in News Feed option will allow you to see those 15% of posts that Facebook will let you see without the page owner having to pay to promote their posts. The Get Notifications button (if the syntax is accurate) will actually give you a notification of a post on the wall.

This is new to me so we will all have to test it out for awhile to see how it really works. The concept however is a good one as it lets us control what we want to see and allows us to continue to be both page supporters and followers.

Happy Facebooking!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's About Time, Facebook!

For the longest time when you hit "like" on Facebook, your connection with the page you want to follow disappears just as quickly into a black hole. If you are lucky you might see random updates in your News Feed. If it's a page that doesn't update very often you'll likely miss everything.

And what about trying to find those pages that you've liked? It's one of the most confounding experiences on Facebook even today. You knew you liked a page once upon a time but darned if you can find the list of all the pages you've liked. Unfortunately, I can't even tell you how to do it. Maybe someone will post the instructions in the comments.

For a month or so I've been thinking about writing a post that explains how to use lists in order to filter and view pages that you've liked. Thankfully Facebook has come around and spared me from having to do this (though it's still a good idea, more on that below).  In the interim, Facebook has created a new link on the left side of your Facebook wall called Pages Feed. I learned about this from the amazing, funny and ever helpful George Takei. It looks like this.

When you click on this link you will see updates from all the pages you have ever liked. Granted, you might not actually want to see updates from half the pages you have liked but now at least, in one click, you have the option. It took a long time but thank you Facebook for finally providing this option.

The most effective way of using Facebook and being able to see updates from people/pages you actually want to see is by using lists. Facebook automatically creates some generic lists  but I don't use those. I prefer to create my own.

Lists are found under the Friends header on the left hand side of your wall.

You can see that I've created ones for my Boston friends, some of my family, History Groups and Publishers.  There are more lists but Facebook doesn't show the entire list.

Click on the word Friends. Now you'll be able to see all your lists and be able to create new lists.

The lists featured at the top of the page are the ones automatically created by Facebook for relationships, work, schools and location based on the information you supplied to Facebook. Like I said I don't use these lists. I create my own.

You simply press the Create List button, give your list a name and add friends or pages to it.

Once your lists are set up you can view status updates from those specific people just by clicking the list name. No longer will you miss updates from your family or close friends.

However, I also use lists in regards to Facebook pages. Yes, I am happy that they have given us the Pages Feed button described above. Unfortunately, as of this date, I have managed to "like" 268 pages on Facebook.  That's just too many to be manageable.

So I created two lists to ensure that I won't miss updates for the pages that are important to me. The lists are (you can see them in the image above) HistoryGroups and Publishers.

HistoryGroups is full of museums and historical societies that I follow and want to keep track of. Sometimes I just want to know about their activities and sometimes I want to see how well they are doing using social media. With one click I can check all the status updates to be sure that I don't miss any. I check this several times a day.

Publishers is a list of publishers that I follow to track the new books they are publishing. I am in constant need of guests for my weekly Fieldstone Common radio show and this list helps me stay up to date with publishers who produce books that are likely candidates for my show. I check this list about once a day.

Well, there you have it. I hope you will save time and enjoy using the new Pages Feed on Facebook. And I hope, if you're brave, that you'll consider fine tuning your News Feeds even further by creating useful lists. Let me know if you found this helpful.

Oh, Yeah, Everyone Has an Opinion

Are you a professional genealogist or an officer in a genealogical society or perhaps a family historian who is trying to find distant cousins? All of these people are using social media to connect with other people.

In order to connect with people, you need to engage your audience or your potential audience. There are lots of ways to do this.

Have you ever noticed that everyone has an opinion? One of the simplest ways to engage your audience is to ask them their opinion.

Yankee Magazine, a publication that celebrates New England life, has the most brilliant social media campaign going on right now that demonstrates this point perfectly. On their Facebook page they are asking their followers to decide which Classic Yankee Magazine Thanksgiving covers were the best. Each week they pit two historical covers against each other and ask their audience to choose their favorite one.

Everyone has an opinion! And everyone wants to share their opinion. I couldn't help myself from stopping to write a comment and tell them what I think. Neither could the other 200+ people who have left comments.  Now that's engaging your audience.

Their approach was so simple. They created no new content. They simply dove into their personal historical archives and asked their followers to share their opinions, turning it into a contest.

Now think about your audience - potential clients, society members, distant cousins. How can you ask them for their opinions? Here are a few suggestions to get your started.

Potential  Clients - try comparing two documents side by side that relate to your niche. Ask your followers which is a better source and why. If you are changing your logo, involve your audience in helping you choose the best one.

Society Members - Post two books related to your region and ask your members which they found more helpful. Then change the books each week. If you are a society hosting webinars, feature two potential webinar topics and ask your members to choose.

Distant Cousins - photos work great when trying to attract distant cousins. Post two photos of the same person at different stages of their life and ask the cousins to confirm whether it is indeed the same person. Likewise post an identified photo next to an unidentified photo and get your cousins to figure out if it's the same person or even the same family.

The responses from all these people will be opinions and they will feel happy to give them to you. Opinions don't cost a cent but they certainly do bring a priceless reward. Start thinking about how you can engage your audience by simply asking for their opinions.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Random Thought - What We Don't Leave Behind

I've been listening to recorded oral histories on the Sound and Story website (thanks to Gayle Livecchia for pointing that one out). It's like StoryCorps but just for the Hudson Valley in New York. It's fascinating to listen to people tell their personal stories or to describe how things were done in the past.

Sometimes we get thinking about what wasn't recorded, what wasn't explained and left behind.  Last week I recorded an interview with Kathleen Wall, Foodways Culinarian at Plimoth Plantation. As I asked her questions sometimes she would respond "They just didn't write it down." Some things are lost because they are perhaps too mundane to mention.

Imagine this. You take the time to write down an entire day of your life. In infinite detail you jot down everything you do and perhaps think. But all the same you will leave out details.  It will be incomplete. The people of the future will again say "they didn't write that down."  You will have tried so hard yet to no avail. Some things are so mundane that you don't even realize you are leaving them out.

Such is the way of history.

The exercise is good though. Try to leave the details behind. Even if you can't anticipate the questions of the future you will do a great service by providing them with a great deal of information.

There's no way for us to know what will be forgotten with the past.

Headsets and Genealogy

I know it might seem a little strange to write about headsets but interestingly enough headsets demonstrate the progress (at least technologically) that we've made in genealogy.

I bought my first headset (Lifechat LX 3000) just before participating in my second webinar. That was back in January 2011 when Geoff Rasmussen pulled together a Rountable on virtual presentations for the first RootsTech conference. I was one of the virtual presenters.

It's funny to think that just that short time ago webinars were fairly new, not many presenters were giving them and the audience was still trying to figure out what they were. Over the next year to year and a half using headsets became standard protocol for presenters.

I would never have bought a headset if it hadn't been for the need to present webinars. I didn't use a headset in any capacity for work- or pleasure-related computer use. I didn't have a smart phone at that time so I didn't have any need to listen to anything from that source.

I'm sure some less backward people than I were using headsets but somehow it really didn't come up in conversation.

Now fast forward to November 2012 and we can see a real transformation in headset use. Not only are webinar presenters using headsets but so is the webinar audience.  Geoff Rasmussen often asks his Legacy Webinar audiences to check in before the start of the presentation. Members of the audience come on for a minute, provide their name and location and chat for a bit with Geoff. It's a fun way to put a face (or at least a voice) to an otherwise invisible audience.

Dear Myrtle is taking audience participation even further. In October of this year Dear Myrtle started a weekly series called Mondays with Myrt (you can see the calendar of upcoming shows or listen to archived copies of Mondays with Myrt). The program is run every Monday at 12 noon EST (9am PST).  Dear Myrtle is looking for more from her audience that just a quick check in. She is seeking active voice participation from her audience.  At any point during the show she could ask for live feedback from the audience.

Why Use a Headset?

Headsets allow users communicate by voice in a very clear sounding way. The headset microphone provides much better quality than the normal built-in microphone on your computer. This is essential for communicating by voice across the internet.

This is the wave of the future! This is also driving more genealogists beyond presenters to buy headsets.  The Lifechat headset mentioned above costs just $25. That's a a fairly affordable price point for most people.  But it still doesn't account for nerves. Some people still might be too shy to talk online in front of an audience. More and more people, however, seem to be becoming comfortable with it.

Genealogists are also using headsets to have Skype conversations (both audio and video) to conduct family history interviews, to work on joint research or to contact people back in the old country.

And what about me? Not only am I using my headset for webinars but I am also listening to podcasts and watching videos. The world has opened up for me and I am now embracing these new forms of media. Not a day goes by where I don't put the headset on to listen to something on the internet.

I even have two pairs of headsets now.  The Lifechat LX 3000 which has two ear pieces I now use mostly for pleasure listening. I've bought the Lifechat LX 4000 which has just a single ear piece for doing webinars and the Fieldstone Common radio show. That way I can hear myself talk.

What about you? Where do you stand in the headset spectrum? Do you own a headset? Do you use it for Skype, listening to webinars or participating in webinars? Or do you have a completely different use for it that I don't know about yet?  I would love to hear what you think of the headset evolution in genealogy.

Friday, November 2, 2012

New!! Digital Imaging Essentials

I'm very pleased to be able to share this press release with everyone. For those of you who have watched Geoff Rasmussen's webinars on photo organization you know how extremely helpful they have been. This is one area where I need an intervention! I'm going to be reading this book and hope that I will be inspired to finally get my act together. I know you'll enjoy it too.

Press Release

A new book by Geoff Rasmussen | 150 pages | Paperback pre-order ($19.95) or PDF ($14.95)
B_DIGIMGGenealogists use digital imaging technology every day. But what they do not know about it can harm their digital treasures. They have needed a comprehensive, easy-to-read guide, full of illustrated step-by-step instructions to learn how to digitize, organize, preserve, share, and backup their digital collections.
Your wait is over. You now have Digital Imaging Essentials: Techniques and Tips for Genealogists and Family Historians at your fingertips.
Pre-order the paperback from Legacy by November 16 for $19.95 and get the PDF (electronic version) FREE! (Expected delivery date: end of November 2012.)
Buy the PDF for $14.95 from Legacy
From the very first page you will notice that this book is much more than a boring instructional manual - it is full of real-life examples that not only teach you the right buttons to push, but it thoroughly explains how to get the most of your digital imaging experience. AND this book is written specifically for genealogists!
  • The do-it-right-the-first-time techniques of scanning old documents, andsnapping pictures with your digital camera.
  • How to finally get organized so that you can locate any digital image in under a minute.
  • Which file formats and file saving techniques to use to properly preserve your digital images.
  • How to use Adobe's Photoshop Elements and Google's Picasa with illustrated, step-by-step instructions and learn about other software choices.
  • How to privately or publicly share your images and videos via printing, emailing, Dropbox, CDs, DVDs, or online via cloud technology.
  • How to access your digital media from any Internet-connected device including your smart phone or tablet.
  • How to develop a backup strategy to protect your collections from digital disaster. 
Click here to preview the Table of Contents, the complete index, and a few selections from the book (31 pages).
About the Author
Geoffmug3Geoffrey D. Rasmussen is the father of four budding genealogists. He graduated with a degree in Genealogy and Family History from Brigham Young University and has served as director and vice-president of the Utah Genealogical Association. He is a dynamic genealogy speaker on all forms of genealogy technology, and as host of the Legacy Family Tree webinar series, has spoken virtually to nearly 100 different countries. He recently received the Distinguished Presenter Award at the prestigious RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City. He has authored books, videos, articles, and websites, and develops the Legacy Family Tree software program. On a personal note, Geoff enjoys playing the piano, organ, cello and basketball. His favorite places are cemeteries, the ocean, and hanging out with other genealogists. He met and proposed to his wife in a Family History Center.
Pre-order the paperback from Legacy by November 16 for $19.95 and get the PDF (electronic version) FREE! (Expected delivery date: end of November 2012.)
Buy the PDF for $14.95 from Legacy 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Any Sailors in the Family?

Daguerreotype of a young sailor  from the Library of Congress collection
Daguerreotype of a young sailor
from the Library of Congress collection
I've been reading a book called When America First Met China by Eric Jay Dolin. You can imagine that the trade between the United States and China originated via merchants and shipping (and most of it probably continues this way today). This book has introduced me to many of the varied activities that sailors and merchant marines participated in.

When you think about the sailors in your family were they naval (military) sailors or commercial venture sailors?

The commercial venture sailors could have been involved in many different activities. They could have been on the merchant trade ships sailing to various parts of the world, selling their product and purchasing items to bring back home.  Sometimes they would make intermediary stops to purchase items, such as sandalwood, which was of more interest to certain markets (such as China) than American goods. Of course, merchants were also tied up in the triangular trade of slavery.

Or they could have been on the ships that sought out raw materials or products to sell to near and distant markets. The sailors could have been involved in sea otter hunting in the northwest, seal hunting in the Pacific or whaling.

I'm quite astounded at the variety of activities a ship and its crew could be involved in, not to mention the dangers and diplomacy required on their missions.

Early African Americans were also among the ranks of sailors. On ships they often found more equality and career opportunities than they found at home on land.

Perhaps your ancestors were pirates.  While we have romanticized the historical nature of piracy, this was a very real and active community for a number of centuries. Or perhaps your ancestor was a privateer, a euphemistic word for a state-sponsored pirate.

I can't also help but wonder that not so many of us have sailors in our family trees. The sailors weren't settled, traveling great distances on long journeys. Their career and lifestyle did not lend itself to starting a family.  And the dangers of their jobs cut short many of their lives before they had the chance to retire to land and settle down.

Perhaps that 3rd great uncle without "issue" in your family tree that you didn't bother researching might just turn out to be a sailor or a pirate!

Have any of you researched sailor ancestors? If so, what did you learn about them? Do you know where they sailed or what their role was onboard? I am so curious to learn more!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

To Webinar or Not to Webinar

Would you like to see more webinars or less?

Recently I received a pamphlet in the mail from a local hospital. They were offering a parenting class on dealing with teenagers. "Hmmm," I thought, "I could really use that information."  The talk was at 7pm at the hospital which was a 30 minute drive away.  The timing for this Mom of one teen and two pre-teens was right in the middle of homework and wind down for bedtime. I decided to pass.

This really got me thinking, however. I really wanted the information they had to offer but I didn't like the parameters they set for me to obtain it. Is there a better way?

This made me wish that everyone was providing webinars as a service.  Could you imagine what a loyal patron I could be if they would provide webinars through my computer?  I would love to have the information they are offering with terms that were convenient to me.  I would love it if I could tune in through my computer and learn how to be a better parent.

I can hear lots of you saying already that isolating people is not the answer. We need social interaction. I agree but not in all situations.  Here's the divide:


I believe that groups that strengthen their membership through relationship-building and continued interaction of its members over time should be limiting the use of webinars. If these groups share information more often over the internet they will erode their base and the members will no longer find benefit in the organization. Local and county genealogical societies are examples of this.

Conquering Geography

When a group grows from face to face interaction but is spread across a far flung geographic area, intermittent use of webinars can help bond the group together and help some members stay in touch when they otherwise wouldn't be able to because of travel.  Larger regional and national genealogical societies like the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) are good examples.

Information Please!

When you have a situation where strictly education or information is the goal, then there is little need for the members to interact.  Information needs to be shared and the relationship being built is really between the provider and the viewer. In a case like this I would say that webinars are absolutely the way to go. Legacy Family Tree and other commercial entities are just perfect for this.

Broadening it across all facets of life

I would love the information that the hospital has to offer. I do not, however, feel the need to bond with any of the other people who also need that information. So in this case I would much prefer a webinar. Make it convenient for me to get the information and start building a relationship between me and the organization providing the information.

I wish more organizations and businesses would starting thinking this way.  Do you want to build a relationship with me or do you need to drag me out in the cold, dark of night to see something live with a bunch of people I will never see again? I promise you, as a busy Mom and career woman I will likely opt to stay home.

What do the rest of you think? More webinars across all topics (not just genealogy), less webinars or selective webinars?

Monday, October 29, 2012

And the Winner of Contest #2 is......

Everyone did a terrific job of finding the information from the US Obituary Collection! It was a little tricky considering there was no name listed!

I hope everyone also got a chance to learn more about the variety of death records that are available for genealogical research on

In order to select the winner I followed this procedure. Every correct entry was assigned a number, starting with the number 1, based on when the entry was received. I then went to and generated a random number.  The correct entry associated with the number won the prize of a 3-month WORLD for themselves and a friend of their choice.

And the winner is.....

Fran Bumann

Congratulations, Fran, on your win! (I will contact you via email) And thanks to everyone for participating in the contest.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Let's Do It Again - New Contest

I had so much fun doing the membership giveaway contest last week.  While I was very excited for the winner, Diane Meyer, I was disappointed for all the folks who lost out.

So let's do it one more time.  We will do the same type of contest where the winner will win two WORLD subscriptions - one for yourself and one for a friend. The more friends you have enter the contest, the greater your chance of winning!

Here's what you need to do to win:

1) Go to

2) Click on the "Find out more" link as you see in the image above.

3) Click through the sample images until you find the United State Obituary Collection example. There is no name associated with this example but the first line at the top say "Age at death: 94." (Don't forget to enjoy and view all the other death records along the way!)

4) Then email me TWO pieces of information: the death date (month and year are fine as the day is partially hidden) and the obituary date. You must include BOTH pieces of information.  Send your emails to before Friday, October 26, 2012 at 12 noon EST. Be sure to include your first and last name.

5) Then email, Facebook, Tweet, Google+ or however you prefer to share the link to this post ( to increase your chance to win. Remember, this is for 2 subscriptions - one for you and one for a friend. So be sure to let your friends know to increase your chances of winning.

The winner will be selected randomly from entries received.


Friday, October 19, 2012

And the Winnier Is....

12 noon EST marked the end of the Marian's Roots and Rambles WORLD membership giveaway contest.

Everyone did a terrific job of locating Elvis Presley's social security number! I hope everyone also got a chance to learn more about the variety of death records that are available for genealogical research on

In order to select the winner I followed this procedure. Every correct entry was assigned a number, starting with the number 1, based on when the entry was received. I then went to and generated a random number.  The correct entry associated with the number won the prize of a 3-month WORLD for themselves and a friend of their choice.

And the winner is.....

Diane Meyer

Congratulations, Diane, on your win! (I will contact you via email) And thanks to everyone for participating in the contest.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Book Mentioned During Webinar

Yesterday I presented a webinar called "10 Brick Wall Tips for Intermediate Researchers" for Legacy Family Tree Webinars. During the webinar I mentioned a book that I felt everyone should read (at least American Researchers).

I realized too late that the photo and the author name where not visible enough on the screen.

The name of the book is The Family Tree Problem Solver by Marsha Hoffman Rising.  I feel it's one of the critical books you must read to leanr how to help solve brick walls.

Sorry for not making it easier to read during the webinar.

The webinar is available for viewing for free until October 29, 2012.

You can also purchase the CD or purchase the brick wall bundle of four webinar CDs  You can use the coupon code: brick2 through Monday, October 22, 2012 to save 10%.

Thanks to everyone who tuned in yesterday. I hoped you enjoyed the presentation!

And don't forget to submit an entry to win a free World membership!

The Shoe Repair Shop

Shoe Repair by HolyCowboy
This morning while at the bus stop getting the kids off to school my neighbor and I started talking about shoe repair shops.  I don't remember how it started but she said, "Have you ever noticed how it's hard to find a shoe repair shop these days?" And indeed it is! I couldn't tell you where one is without doing an internet search.

Funny enough, the tv show The Mentalist recently featured the main character going into a shoe repair shop for the annual fix of his one pair of shoes. He took his shoes off and then waited. He ended up having to get a loaner pair of sneakers for the rest of the show.

I remember growing up in Connecticut and having a shoe repair shop in my town. The proprietor was an Italian immigrant and he operated from a little hole in the wall shop. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the shop anymore. Though I do remember my mother going there on many occasions to get her heels repaired. Nowadays people would be more likely to throw their shoes away rather than get them fixed.

It got me thinking - this is an example of the intersection of the present and history within our own lifetime. Something that starts out as a normal, active part of our daily lives quietly recedes in the past to be forgotten. We don't even notice it slipping away. Until one day, if we're lucky, we realize that thing is gone from our lives.

Hopefully, at that moment we realize history in the making and strive to capture it by gathering photos or stories or ephemera before all connection is lost. 

Have you ever given a thought to history in the making? Have you ever realized that you'd better capture something, whether in photos or a recording, before it's gone?

Do you know of any shoe repair shops still open near you? What else has disappeared from your life?

Food for thought on this Thursday morning!

Just a reminder that the contest is still running for another 24 hours to win an World membership for you and a friend. See details here.

Photo credit: photo by holycowboy and used under the creative commons license.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

FREE Ancestry World Subscription for You and a Friend

Earlier today I wrote about's new Death Record Challenge. It's an opportunity for you to learn how to use death records in genealogical research and to win almost daily prizes from

In addition to the Ancestry prizes, I'll be giving away some prizes from the Marian's Roots & Rambles blog.  You and a friend can both win a 3-month WORLD subscription.

Here's what you need to do to win:

1) Go to

2) Click on the "Find out more" link as you see in the image above.

3) Click through the sample images until you find the social security death index record for Elvis Presley. (Don't forget to enjoy and view all the other death records along the way!)

4) Then email Elvis' social security number to before Friday, October 19, 2012 at 12noon EST. Be sure to include your first and last name.

5) Then email, Facebook, Tweet, Google+ or however you prefer to share the link to this post ( to increase your chance to win. Remember, this is for 2 subscriptions - one for you and one for a friend. So be sure to let your friends know to increase your chances of winning.

The winner will be selected randomly from entries received.


Bring Out Your Dead Death Record Challenge. Win and iPad!
You remember the scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail?

The characters are collecting the dead victims of the plague. They're about to collect another but the body says "I'm not dead!" and "I feel fine!"  I still burst into stitches just thinking of that movie. is asking you to bring out your dead as well. But in this case they want you to find death records not dead bodies. is featuring its death records during the month of October in the hopes that you'll be able to find more records about your ancestors.  Better yet, by doing what you love, searching for your ancestors, you'll even have the chance to win an iPad.

Head over to and see what all the fuss is about. Learn something new about death records or check out the prizes they will be giving away nearly every day until October 31.

I'll be going on the journey along with you. I hope I'll find new records for some of my ancestors. And stay tuned because has given me some 3-month WORLD (yes, I said WORLD!) memberships to give out. You'll be able to win a membership for yourself and a friend. Check back tomorrow for the details on the Roots & Rambles Ancestry giveaway.

The Roots & Rambles contest has started. See details of the contest here.

Disclosure: is sponsoring Marian's Roots & Rambles for this promotion.