Monday, November 22, 2010

How Google Earth Could Save Your Life

It starts out so innocent.

You and your spouse decide you want to take the family out for a day of enjoying the great outdoors.  The climb up the local mountain is challenging and exhilarating. Now it's time to head home, back down the mountain.  But as darkness starts to fall the trail becomes dim.  Things aren't looking like they did on the way up.  The kids are cold and tired, and all of a sudden it's not so much fun.

That's exactly what happened to a family that made the trip up  Mount Tzouhalem in British Columbia, Canada recently.  They called for help on their cell phone, and Cowichan Search and Rescue was on the case.  But how would then narrow down where to look for the stranded family?  Pull up Google Earth of course!

According to the article "Search and Rescue Uses Google Earth to Find Missing Family" from the website, searchers reviewed the terrain in Google Earth looking for landmarks, buildings, and fences described by the weary travellers.  They were brought home safe and sound.

Sometimes looking for ancestors can feel a bit like being lost in the wilderness.  Thankfully, you can use the same strategies employed by this innovative search and rescue team to locate the lost.  That's what my DVD series Google Earth for Genealogy is all about!  After I was able to identify the exact location where a 100 year old family photo was taken with Google Earth, I knew the genealogical potential for this free program was limitless

And now through Cyber Monday Nov. 29, 2010 you'll get FREE SHIPPING on any size DVD order!  Demand has been great, so this is the one and only time this year we're running a sale on the DVDs.

Check out these videos to see what you'll learn!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Nominate blogs for Family Tree Magazine's 40 Best Genealogy Blogs

We hit a milestone last week with Episode 100 of the Genealogy Gems Podcast which was pretty cool!  Listener Pat Dalpiaz wrote me today saying "I just listened to your 100th episode with great nostalgia" and said that something distinctly stood out to her as she listened:

"I did notice how many callers mentioned blogging thanks to your encouragement and lessons.  I wonder if that might be an interesting survey--how many people started blogs directly thanks to your influence in Genealogy Gems?  I know I did!"

Well, I'm very happy to say that I've heard from many listeners over the last couple of weeks who specifically mentioned how the podcast and my How to Blog Your Family History - Genealogy Blogging video series at the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel helped them to start blogging about genealogy. There's some very informative and inspiring blogging going on!  If you are blogging are enjoying reading another genealogist's work, here's your chance to get recognition and help other genealogists discover these gems.

Family Tree Magazine is once again recognizing genealogy blogging excellence with the Family Tree 40 Genealogy blog awards. They are accepting nominations of great genealogy blogs today through Tuesday, Nov. 30 so time is of the essence!
Nominators, who can nominate as many blogs as they want, are asked to provide the name of the blog and the URL, select the category it best fits into, and (optionally) say why they’re nominating it. The eight categories are:
  1. Local/regional history and genealogy
  2. Heritage groups
  3. Research Advice and How-to
  4. Cemeteries
  5. My Family History
  6. "Everything” blogs
  7. New Blogs
  8. Technology
Voting on Family Tree 40 finalists will take place from December 13 to 20, 2011. The Family Tree 40 blogs, with five blogs per category, will appear in the July 2011 Family Tree Magazine.

This year I'm honored to have been invited to be a member of the panel of experienced genealogy bloggers who are helping formulate the blog categories and qualifications.  Other panelists include:
(One note: panelist's blogs can't be nominated)
View the descriptions of the nomination categories, blog qualifications and other Family Tree 40 information.
Let the nominating begin!  Good luck! 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans History Project Commemorates First Decade with New Web Feature

From the Library of Congress:
They served. Regardless of their opinions on war, the horrors they witnessed on the front lines, the conditions under which they lived on the home front, their rank, race, religion or gender – they answered the call to duty and they served.

The latest installment of the Veterans History Project’s (VHP) Experiencing War website feature, titled "VHP: The First Ten Years," has launched in time for nationwide Veterans Day observances. The website feature, one of 32 created thus far, highlights the wartime stories of 20 veterans who represent a cross-section of the more than 70,000 collections donated to the project during its first decade of existence. VHP staff members selected these collections from among their favorites and as representative of the diversity and depth of the project. Some of the veterans have been featured in previous installments of Experiencing War, while others will be new to users of the site, .

"Our theme for this commemorative season has been ‘Illuminating the Future by Sharing the Past,’" said VHP Director Robert Patrick. "This latest web feature does just that. It shows the realities of war from 20 diverse and captivating perspectives so that people, generations from now, will be able to hear, see, and learn from these firsthand accounts."

Each veteran in "VHP: The First Ten Years" describes the wartime veteran experience in ways that are thoughtful, touching, and often riveting. Spotlighted in the feature is Vietnam Army nurse Elizabeth Allen, an African-American woman who discusses her experiences, unique due to both race and gender. Frank Buckles, the last surviving World War I veteran, shares his experiences in the feature as an Army ambulance driver. Marine Corps veteran Paul Steppe served during the Korean War and conveys his tale of survival after being wounded and then having his medical transport plane lose its landing gear upon takeoff. Eric Rosen was a Merchant Marine during World War II who spent 23 days in a lifeboat at sea after his ship was hit by a torpedo. Persian Gulf War Medical Officer Rhonda Cornum, on a mission to rescue a downed pilot, was captured by the Iraqis and held for seven harrowing days.

The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, is the world's preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at  and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at .

Congress created The Veterans History Project in 2000 as a national documentation program of the American Folklife Center ( to record, preserve and make accessible the first-hand remembrances of American wartime veterans from World War I through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. The project relies on volunteers to record veterans’ remembrances using guidelines accessible at Volunteer interviewers may pledge to record a veteran’s story at the site, or they may request more information at or the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848. Subscribe to the VHP RSS to receive periodic updates of VHP news at

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Lulu of a Deal - Save 40% on Genealogy Gems

Looking for more Genealogy Gems?  I've just added new bundles of Genealogy Gems Premium Archived Episodes to the my Lulu store.

 To celebrate we're offering 40% off everything.  A lulu of a deal!!

From now until Sunday Nov. 14, 2010
(just 5 days!)
you can save 40% on:

My book: Genealogy Gems: Ultimate Research Strategies (paperback and ebook)
Genealogy Gems Premium Bundle: Episodes 2 - 10
Genealogy Gems Premium Bundle: Episodes 11 - 20
Genealogy Gems Premium Bundle: Episodes 21 - 30
Genealogy Gems Premium Bundle: Episodes 31 - 40
How to Find Your Living Relatives (Webinar recording and handouts)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Attn Mac Users: unveils new Family Tree Maker for Mac

If you're a Mac user there's a new option in town. Here's the press release from Ancestry:
Family Tree Maker for Mac  If you decide to buy - click this image to do so through Amazon and you'll also be supporting the free Genealogy Gems Podcast - thank you!)

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., November 4, 2010 – Family Tree Maker for Mac provides an easy way to save and organize your family tree conveniently on your Mac computer and has a variety of tools that can help you share your discoveries with family and friends.

“Family Tree Maker for Mac has been a long-requested feature from our customers. We are committed to delivering the same powerful experience on the Mac that millions of Family Tree Maker customers have been enjoying for the past 20 years,” said Eric Shoup, Senior Vice President of Product for “We couldn’t be happier to provide yet another way for our members to interact with and discover, preserve and share their family history.”

Family Tree Maker for Mac combines intuitive tools with robust features and flexible options, making it ideal for family history novices and experts alike. A dynamic user interface and integration with makes it simple to create family trees, record memories, and organize photos, videos and audio clips, plus share ancestors’ stories. It’s even possible to explore family migration paths by viewing timelines and interactive maps that highlight events and places in ancestors' lives.

The first step is to start a family tree by entering and organizing family history information. From there, a myriad of features help you bring your family history to life:

· Grow your family tree – Search directly from Family Tree Maker and seamlessly merge historical records and important information you find into your tree. Family Tree Maker for Mac comes with either a free trial or subscription to

· Organize photos and documents in one location – Add photos, documents, audio, video and other media files to the people in your tree to help make their stories even more fascinating.

· Create family books, charts and reports – Publish beautiful keepsakes and books to share with friends and family.

· Craft slideshows – Create slideshows from photos in your tree.

· Cite the right information – Standard source templates make it easy.

· Explore family migration paths – View timelines and interactive maps, highlighting events and places in your ancestors' lives.

· Track information – Powerful sourcing tools let you document and rate each citation.

System requirements for Family Tree Maker for Mac include:

· Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later

· Intel-based Mac

· Hard Disk Space: 500MB for installation

· Internet access is required for all Web integration

Family Tree Maker for Mac is built on the functionality of Family Tree Maker 2010, the PC-version of the software, and is constructed from the bottom up to take full advantage of the Mac platform in terms of technology and user experience.

Early this year, expanded to another Apple® platform: the iPhone®. With the launch of its Tree To Go iPhone application in January 2010, now gives users access to generations of family history at every turn. From their iPhone, users can easily upload photos, update sources and edit trees. The Tree To Go iPhone application is available for iPhone and iPod touch® for free through the iPhone App Store or iTunes®.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Reverse Genealogy and Google Tools - Back to school time!

Family Tree University just announced a terrific saving on courses that start Nov. 8 including my Reverse Genealogy and Google Tools courses. Register now and save 25%.   I don't think I've see a discount this low offered before.  

These classes are non-credit which means no-pressure, just lots of learning as we work together on increasing your family-tree-know-how.  I'll be available to you throughout the class to answer questions, and provide feedback.  Here's the scoop:

Enter coupon code THANKS10 when you register.

Google Tools for Genealogists: Four Resources to Enhance Your Family History 
Go beyond simple web searches and take advantage of Google’s other built-in tools, which can be just as helpful for family tree research. This course will explore four of the tools best suited to help you with your genealogy: News Archive and Timeline, Book Search, YouTube and Google Earth. 
    Find out More>>>

• Reverse Genealogy: Working Forward to Break Down Brick Walls
When we first begin researching our family tree, we’re taught that we should start with ourselves and work backward. Starting at the end of someone’s life and working backward is the most efficient and accurate way to research—in most cases. But two genealogical challenges call for a change in strategy: overcoming brick walls and finding living relatives.
    Find out More>>>

Hope to see you in class!