Thursday, December 31, 2020

Frustrated with your Genealogy Research? Try this!

Every year Thomas MacEntee offers some kind of 12-step do over group.  It started as 12 weeks and morphed into one step a month for a whole year.  It’s up to you how much or how little you do.  This is the first year for a Zoom meeting on New Years Day at 8 AM Pacific.  It will be recorded.  If you signup, get there early because attendance may (or probably will) exceed the room limit.  But as I said, it will be recorded.  Plus, there is a facebook group by the same name.  And, a free e-book by the same name; the link is at the bottom of this post.

More details and registration here: .


2021 YAY!!!!!!!


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Genies Minutes 12/21/2020

Again, thank you to Sylvia for the minutes.  We had a great meeting with 15 people and lots of ideas to move our genealogy forward.  Thank you, everyone.


DATE: December 21, 2020

Meeting commenced at 1:00 p.m.

IN ATTENDANCE: Barbara B; Judy B; Linda B; Judith C; Elizabeth D; Frank & Margie; Peggy V; Rick; Bill R; David R; Judy S; Sylvia W, Sherry, Suzie P


Barbara B is trying to write her history. Has discovered the Norway census (My Heritage’s new collection). Very detailed. David shared the Norwegian gov’t has them all online along with other governmental records, and they are all free. Farmers’ families mostly stayed on the farm, so lots of records.

Judy B has letters from members of several different groups of her family, spanning many decades. She is working on scanning her slide collection. She has letters from the 1930s and the year before her parents married. They wrote a lot. What to do with all the letters? She has a Christmas project of taking all the notes/letters that have been saved between each of her children and their grandparents and putting them in a file for each.

Linda B read a Legal Genealogist article about a case where Ancestry is being sued for breach of privacy. She recently found an ancestor on Find A Grave, only to find the information someone had posted there was very inaccurate. She sent Find A Grave her corrections, with citations and evidence. She bought the Your DNA Guide book. She is developing her family tree – expanding it out so that more matches can be applied to the tree through extended family members.

Judith C has been researching, using and comparing the various desktop software programs for storing family trees.

Elizabeth D is frustrated with Family Search, a feeling that others have expressed. FS has a community tree that anyone can add to/subtract from causing some disagreements over tree entries when you don’t have control over it. She had a problem when her biological father’s tree was replaced with someone not her biological father and their tree. She asked if anyone was having a problem with Roots Magic freezing and needing to be restarted to regain the program? Others agreed they had. Elizabeth is still working on her 3rd – 4th Gt Grandmother and trying to verify the person who emigrated to the US from Ireland and was able to buy land in Georgia.

Frank: Frank was questioning cM vs. percentage and segment numbers. He couldn’t tell if a match was a 2nd or 3rd cousin. Judith said 23AndMe reports in percentages, all other DNA sites report in cM. Look for tools that will convert percentages. DNA Painter can help too as you can put in either percent or cM. 

Margie shared last Saturday/Sunday’s Wall Street Journal article (Dec 19-20, 2020, B-4) which presented a checklist for you to complete for your heirs. It is thorough and more personal, like an interview, which can help your heirs know everything you want/need them to know. Bill gave us a link to an article by the same author about a voice/video legacy you can make.

Peggy hasn’t done genealogy as much as trying to find a DNA connection to a specific person. She is not too happy with Family Search. She saved information in a file and imported it to Ancestry Gallery. She wondered if the reason she is having trouble with her target DNA person is because the information she found on Find A Grave is incorrect.

Rick is dabbling in Family Search. He found someone else had posted his mother’s obituary at, which he and his wife had written. He wants to get it from Family Search into Ancestry. How would he go about this?

Bill R is here to reconnect with us. He has taken five DNA tests with each of the major companies. The latest is Living DNA. He wants to compare results across the different sites.

David R shared that he feels blessed to have a hobby that he can continue through a heavy snowstorm (east coast) and the coronavirus. He is able to work on his genealogy uninterrupted by these events. He asked what the group might know about GeneaNet that he has recently discovered. Judith says she has had a little experience with it. It’s mainly European. She transferred a DNA raw data file there. They accept DNA results and match you, but they don’t test DNA. They provide many records too.

Judy S says she has nothing to share today, she came to the meeting to learn.

Sherry is continuing with her tree triangulation, using her aunt’s matches. She wonders could Gedmatch help?

Suzy P is working on her slide show editing slides from 1970-80. She wants to do this for her younger sister, who doesn’t recall as much of the history. Suzie says, “A lot of history is trapped in these slides.” She is also sorting boxes of letters.

Sylvia W is working on her adoptive father’s family, specifically his eldest brother. She has located descendants of his family and has just recently made contact with a grandson. He is eager to share photos and knowledge of family history with her. Sylvia is waiting for her book order to come in. She has ordered a copy of Diahan Southard’s DNA book.


Judith announced an update for Zoom, properly known as Zoom v5.4.7. You want to stay on the current version so you will have the same updates as everyone else.

Thursday, January 7, 2021 Judith will be offering a beginners Study Group Session. Let Judith know if you are interested in attending.

Friday, January 29th, 2021 Judith is offering an Intermediate DNA session. Participants will be working on a question taken from their own DNA studies. Before the meeting, participants should submit a question, family summary, where they were tested, what they have done so far, etc., so the group can review and offer suggestions.


Judith is mainly focusing on the three major desktop tree programs: Roots Magic, Legacy, and Family Tree Maker. Her research has found that all three have major pros and cons. It ultimately comes down to personal preference. She isn’t ready to switch yet, as Roots Magic is still working on an upgrade to v8, which is a complete overhaul of its system, in order to get rid of all the glitches people complain of. Once she has had a chance to examine the completed roll-out of v8, Judith will make her decision. Her advice is: stick with what you have until you have a real reason to move. For those currently with Roots Magic, it may be unnecessary to have to learn a whole new program if v8 is as good as it is promised to be.

Discussion ensued about various ways to move files between sites, such as records, media, trees, etc., as well as tools for cleaning up your tree. Roots Magic has many more tools for cleaning up trees than others. “Sending” a Gedcom file: each program allows you to create a family tree Gedcom file and transfer it to other websites and desktop software. Issues with various sites were also discussed and the question was asked, “Do any desktop program features help manage DNA? None that are known by Genies. Linda shared that although not directly dealing with DNA, Roots Magic lets you create groups, so you could group your DNA matches and see/work with them offline.

The meeting was concluded at 2:35 p.m.

NEXT MEETING: January 18th, Monday at 1:00 p.m. Zoom access begins at 12:50.


Sunday, December 20, 2020

Meeting Reminder plus a gift from Thomas MacEntee

Hello, everyone, Sylvia suggests for our December meeting we might "dress Christmas-y".  I'll be wearing my holiday socks but that's all you get.  I'll be missing treats from Rick this year unless he figures out a way to send them virtually.

Topic: Genies Monthly Zoom Meeting

Time: Monday, Dec 21, 2020, 01:00 PM Pacific Time    Meeting opens at 12:50.

Meeting ID: 834 0560 2012

Passcode: 731291

And finally, here is a gift of free cheat sheets from Thomas MacEntee.  I know you've seen some of these before but in your spare time, take another look.

Download a variety of easy-to-use, free genealogy cheat sheets created by genealogy expert Thomas MacEntee of! Click below or HERE for a complete list!

Please SHARE these 2-sided cheat sheets with your genealogy friends and fellow genealogy society members!