Thursday, January 25, 2018

Ferndale Genies Rock “Organizing”

I hope everyone had a great time last Monday.  I know I did.  Thank you to Rick for bringing his notebooks and ideas and to everyone who contributed to the discussion.

For today I am going to suggest that you read this post on the blogsite.  If you are receiving it by email, just click on the Title of the post in blue above.

My all new Organizing Tips page is over there on the left sidebar.  And below it are new pages:  Two Organizing Articles, Personal Checklist form, Research Log forms, and Judith’s Organizing system. 

My Organizing Tips are new and I would suggest that everyone with organizing problems read through them.  Even if you were at the meeting, I skipped some important points like “you need a naming system for your computer files” and I gave an example.  Organizing resources are at the bottom.

I use the Personal Checklist along with a Family Group Sheet when I am organizing all the information I have about an individual or family, usually in preparation for trying to solve a problem.

Most of us could make a leap if we consistently used a research process.  I added some Research Logs to our blog too.  Even better would be coming to the Whatcom Genealogical Society meeting on February 12 where professional genealogist Cyndi Ingle will be speaking on “Back to the Basics: Research Planning and Execution Online”.  (see Events tab for details)

Coming Up

Friday, February 9th we are planning an afternoon of learning to build family trees online.  This is by reservation only.  I am speaking to participants ahead of time to find out what they need.  Also recruiting mentors.  So far requested programs are,, and RootsMagic.  Participants and mentors can contact me at ferndalegenies at gmail dot com.  The sooner the better.

January 31 is a free webinar at Sunny Morton.  Her topic is Comparing the Genealogy Giants: Ancestry,, and  I watched her similar talk last year and will be watching this one too.  It’s for all levels.  If you have never watched a webinar, this is the time.  It is free for the live broadcast and for a week following.  Go to the link and register.  When you register, you will receive an email reminder and also a notice when the recording is available.  While you are there, cruise through the topics.  Some are free but with a $50 annual membership you receive on-demand access to over 600 recorded webinars, access to the syllabi and other perks.  The membership is only recommended for people who will actually watch webinars. 😊

Tuesday at 8 on PBS:  Sylvia asks “Are you watching the new PBS series We'll Meet Again? It's really good. They are using genealogy and detective work to reunite lost friends.’’ This is the new Ann Curry show I have been hearing about.  I missed the first episode last Tuesday but it is being reshown on KCTS on Friday night at 3am Sat morning if you can record it.  Also may be on their website.

February 26 is our next Genies meeting.  We don’t have a topic yet but we never run out of interesting information.  Let me know if you have particular interests.  For now DNA is scheduled for March when I hope some of your new tests will have been processed.

Happy Winter!  If Ferndale Schools are closed, we will be too.  Just late opening?  Check with the library.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Reminder! Meeting this Monday 1/22/18

Doors open at 12:30 for setup and to borrow a library computer if needed.
Meeting starts at 1:00 and wraps up by 3:30.

We will be talking about topics people want to work on this year.  There was a strong response about “Organization” so I am coming prepared to discuss it.  Let’s see what the problem areas are. 

Bring your tips and “show and tell” notebooks or other methods of organizing.  Even if you have brought them before we continue to show new people.

A second topic of interest is building trees and basic research.  There should be plenty of time to talk about what you need and to get started working.  Bring your papers and any passwords with you.

Whether you are beginning or more experienced, this meeting is all about what you need and how we can help you. 

Don’t forget we will need helpers too. 

Can’t wait to see you all.  Judith

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Meeting 1/22 Focuses on Organization

This Monday is Martin Luther King Day and the library is closed. 

Our meeting is on Monday, January 22 from 1:00 to 3:30.

During our meeting we will focus on organizing genealogy, one of our common themes.  There are so many blogs about organizing and I could spend all day reading, reading, reading.  It seems important to pin down what your personal organizing problem is. 

For me it’s that, even though I know a lot about organizing genealogy now, I didn’t when I started so I have been building on a heck of a mess.

1.      I need to learn a few things.  Like how to use a research plan.  Blogger Lisa Lisson states this goal as “Setting a detailed and organized research plan, documenting where I stop and where I need to pick up again.”  That would save me a lot of time as I jump around a lot in the little time I have available.
2.      I need to tackle my paper and my computer files.  The best hint here is to use the same system for both.  I organize by surname while there are other systems being used.  And along with this I need to settle on a naming convention for my computer files.
3.      I made a big leap when I finally decided to switch to RootsMagic for my main automated family tree.  I like the advantages of having it on my desk.  This tree was easily built with a gedcom file from my tree.  Now I have to do a major cleanup, again from the days when I didn’t know what I was doing. 

What are your biggest organization challenges?  Let the group know and we’ll make suggestions.  Get ready for a lively discussion.  Bring tips, notebooks, examples and questions.  Here are a few resources to help.

Lisa Lisson has written a number of organizing articles.  Start with this overview:

In the first paragraph she says this: Read the full story on what you need to know to organize your genealogy here:  

At the bottom of her first article there are links to “genealogy in 20 minutes a day”, how to create a genealogy research plan, using a timeline, photo organization and other topics.  


Here’s a free 14-page collection of organizing articles you can download from Family Tree Magazine:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

More "this and that", trip to Burlington

Elizabeth and Judith are going to this meeting in Burlington.  There’s room for two more if anyone wants to ride down with us.  The meeting is from 1 until 3 this Saturday.  It fits right in with the Genies monthly meeting focus on organization. 

Sat., Jan. 13 Oh, Where, Oh, Where, Has My Genealogy Data Gone? – George Ridgeway Skagit Valle Gen. Society webmaster, George Ridgeway will share best practices for storing and organizing your valuable research data so you can easy retrieve it and share it with others.

David R. reports “I have just received information that the test ordered from FTdna mid-November is still unprocessed. They are now talking about doing it in February.”  The testing services don’t typically announce delays but I am sure this overload applies to the other testing companies too.

The Genealogical Proof Standard (or GPS) is a topic I mostly steer clear of.  It’s an important concept for experienced and beginning genealogist and here’s the simplest explanation I have seen from the MyHeritage blog.  It could give you a foundation for “proving” the information you are put in your tree.

Monday, January 8, 2018

This and That, some time-limied

Here are some odds and ends coming across my desk.  The ones with time restrictions are first.

For DNA beginners, thisTuesday:  It’s a drive but I guarantee you will get a better intro than I have time to give you.  And you can combine with a trip to the Outlet Mall. The meeting will take place at 1 pm on Tuesday, January 9th at the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society Library, 6111 188th Pl. NE, Arlington, WA. The presentation is free and open to the public and our general meeting will follow. We hope you will join us.

This month's presentation is entitled, "I've Had My DNA Tested, Now What?" and will be given by Mary Kathryn Kozy.  The lecture will briefly review what DNA testing is and what it can—and can’t—tell you. More specifically, we’ll be discussing autosomal DNA in this lecture and the tools available online from the testing companies, as well as third-party entities, to help you interpret your results. Mary has been researching her family history for over 35 years and in many localities. She has served in multiple positions in societies on the local & state level and currently serves on the board of the Jewish Genealogical Society of WA State & as an LDS Family History missionary. She holds bachelor’s degrees from UW in both Zoology and Information Technology & Systems and has completed three certificate programs with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. She has also completed the ProGen program with an eye toward certification as a professional genealogist.

For inquiring minds and technically challenged:  This drive is only to Burlington.
Skagit Valley Genealogical Society, Burlington

 Sat., Jan. 13 Oh, Where, Oh, Where, Has My Genealogy Data Gone? – George Ridgeway SVGS webmaster, George Ridgeway will share best practices for storing and organizing your valuable research data so you can easy retrieve it and share it with others.

From our own Sylvia:

I just opened GEDMATCH and got this message. You may want to pass it on to all. Sylvia

Dec. 24 ALERT! A company named Helix is attempting to sell an app called DNApassport and implying they are associated with GEDmatch. We have no knowledge of this company or their app. 

From Genie David R:

Last November, I ordered for a third party, an autosomal test from FTdna. Just received notification that processing has been delayed a couple of weeks. Clearly, they are having volume problems. I would not be surprised if the same happens to Ancestry, given the huge number of testers that signed on over Thanksgiving.

And I will close with some words from the wise, author unknown:

“Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it.
    Plan for more than you can do, then do it
Hitch your wagon to a star.
  Keep your seat and there you are.”

Saturday, January 6, 2018

New subscriptions 50% off through Sunday

Hi, folks,

Sorry I'm late with this.  For you new folks this is a great deal through tomorrow, Sunday, January 7.  MacEntee also has tips for people renewing. 

Go here:

And don't tarry!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Meeting Changes!

 Meeting changes are January 22, 2018 and February 26, 2018.

A New Year, Important Date Changes

Greetings, everyone,

MOST IMPORTANT:  Do I have your attention?  In January and February our regular 3rd Monday meeting falls on a holiday.  This happened last year and I totally forgot about it.  Our meetings for those two months only will be on the 4th Monday.  MARK YOUR CALENDARS.  JAN 22 AND FEB 26!!!!  Do it now---mark your calendar.  No meeting Jan 12 as announced at our meeting.

In January our Genies meeting is the only event scheduled.  WGS does not meet in January. 

We had a terrific Genies meeting in December.  We talked about our goals for next year.  Three areas really stood out. 

1.      Getting organized
2.      Building family trees online or on personal software
3.      Learning about chromosomes/DNA

These are all big topics and we will focus on them this year.  

Monday, January 22:  Our January 22nd meeting will focus on organization.  We work on this all the time and even old-timers struggle with keeping organized.  Did I say “big topic”?  We’ll need to touch on organizing time, space, paper files, electronic files, information about genealogy, and I could go on.  Let me know what is most important or urgent to you.  Either a comment on the blog or an email to ferndalegenies at gmail will help.  If you use an anonymous comment, please sign your first name.

Friday, February 9 12:30-4Reservation only.  I am proposing a combination 1-hour Getting Started for people who haven’t had an intro from me or who want a refresher.  Plus a few hours of hands-on “Building Family Trees” for anyone interested. I need to know who is coming so I can get enough helpers.  Also, if you want this but can’t come on that day, let me know so we can make arrangements.  Again, email or comment if you are interested.

Monday, February 26:  Regular monthly Genies meeting.  Topic: to be determined

Monday, March 19:  Many of you are testing DNA for the first time or diving deeper into your results.  By our March 19th meeting most should have results for yourselves or additional family members.  For this meeting we’ll have short DNA intro and long Q&A.  Something for everyone.  In the meantime, start with the DNA pages on the left sidebar of the Genies blog.  Also check out the DNA Bibliography page there.  If you need help, ask me where you should start. 

Along the way we will touch on the other suggested areas:

1.      Learn basic research
2.      Create a Christmas gift showing ancestors
3.      Create short stories
4.      Immigration

Feel free to comment or email other areas that you are working on this year.  Specific questions are most helpful.  Also, I am open to special interest groups meeting in addition to our monthly Genies meeting.  Take a look at your goals and dreams and let’s tackle them together.

Welcome to 2018 from the Ferndale Genies!