Recent Genealogy Posts:

New genetic genealogy tools

If you uploaded your DNA testing to MyHeritage or took their DNA test, you might want to check out some new tools that they have added to their site.

The first resource that I found particularly useful was the Chromosome browser.  This tool allows you to compare your DNA test to others who have been identified as DNA matches to you.

The goal of mapping is to use known relationships and their DNA to identify unknown relationships.  So, I might map two cousins whose relationship to my family has been identified.  Then I can add other DNA relationships to see if they triangulate, meaning we all share common DNA.  This will then let me confirm from which branch of my family tree that individual is descended.  The next step would be to compare family trees and see if I can figure out the shared ancestor.  Several of the genealogy companies offer this service but I found this one particularly easy to use.

The second tool is called AutoClusters.  This is an automatic tool that bunches your DNA matches into “clusters” of individuals who are likely to have descended from a common ancestor.  In essence this tool does a lot of work for you in making matches.  You have to request that this be done and then the results are emailed to you.  I just did this and now I’m waiting so we’ll see how it goes.  I’ll report back if I discover anything fascinating.

Happy research!

By |March 1st, 2019|Categories: Genealogy Blog|

How to attend RootsTech and never leave home

For many years I’ve wanted to go to the RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City.  I am always interested in learning new genealogy research skills and I would love to see what I might discover at the Family History Library with its amazing compendium of genealogy resources.  Unfortunately, getting out of Maine at the end of February can be dicey because of winter storms so I haven’t made the trip yet.

However, I did just discover that now a great deal of the Conference can be viewed online so I can at least attend virtually!  If you go to there is a schedule of programs that will be live-streamed so that you can view them for free on your computer as they are happening.  Check out the list and mark your calendar (and don’t forget the time difference).  A number of classes will also be recorded and made available on the RootsTech archives page after the event.

Finally, if you want more than the live-streamed programs, RootsTech is also offering a “virtual pass” for $129.  The pass will provide access to 18 online recorded sessions.  Here’s where you can find information about this option –

I will definitely be looking at the free live-stream sessions and may even splurge for the virtual pass.  I hope you have a chance to check some of this out.  It all sounds like a great learning opportunity.  Happy research!

By |February 8th, 2019|Categories: Genealogy Blog|

Try something new

This is probably due to both my age and how I learn but I have never been a big podcast consumer.  I learn primarily through reading and taking notes and I’ve never found it easy to remember things that I hear versus hear and see.

However, one of my goals for 2019 is to learn about podcasts.  They are hugely popular with people in the 20-45 age group.  Those are people we want to use the library so we librarians need to understand and appreciate what is important to them.  To that end I’ve started investigating the universe of podcasts.

I’ve learned from my research that podcasts do have an appeal for me.  There are about a million genealogy-focused podcasts “out there” that have all sorts of interesting information for any genealogist.  I can listen and get ideas for my genealogy research while I’m cleaning house or doing the laundry or walking my dog.  Given that multi-tasking is critical to having some degree of order in my universe, I’m now beginning to get the appeal of podcasts!

I thought I would share the names of several of the genealogy podcasts that I’ve encountered and encourage you to try them also, especially if you have never listed to one before.  First, let’s talk about how you can listen:

  • If you have a Mac or iPad or iPhone, go to the iTunes store. In the upper left corner of the store site, you will see a place where you can click and chose music, movies, tv shows, podcasts, or audiobooks.  Click on podcasts.  You can then search on genealogy or put in any of the following specific podcast names just to get you started:
    • The Genealogy Gems Podcast with Lisa Louise Cooke. Lisa is a well-known family historian and her podcasts has lots of great information about the best websites, resources, and practices that will enhance your genealogy research.
    • The Genealogy Guys. Includes news from the genealogy community, book and software reviews, guest interviews, and some fun chatting.
    • Genealogy Happy Hour.  “A place where new family historians can learn how to document their family histories and celebrate their new discoveries.”
  • The easiest way to listen to a podcast on a pc is to open your web browser and go directly to the page for the podcast. You will see a play button on the page (usually for the most recent podcast) and you can listen right from your computer.  Here are the links for the above podcasts:

I hope you spend a few minutes to check out these resources.  Happy research!

By |February 1st, 2019|Categories: Genealogy Blog|

Don’t procrastinate

This week’s blog is about backing up your genealogy research.  I had a real scare on Christmas.  My laptop was sitting on the floor in my office at home, getting charged.  That shouldn’t be a problem – I’ve done it a million times.  However, this time my old, blind dog somehow slipped into my office (he isn’t allowed in there) when I wasn’t looking.  He discovered my computer and decided it should be HIS computer – yes, he peed on the laptop.

I discovered the computer about two minutes later.  After some time spent trying to figure out what had happened (the dog had intelligently left the room immediately after his transgression), I tried to dry off the laptop.  I even put it in a paper bag with rice at the bottom because I had read that would “draw out” the moisture.

Turns out the rice doesn’t work.  When I got an Apple Genius Bar appointment the next day, the genius opened up the laptop and all the important parts had already started to corrode!  I didn’t even realize that was possible.  So, my computer was dead.

Then I really started to panic because I had ALL my genealogy files on that laptop.  I thought my files were automatically backed up to the Cloud but I wasn’t sure.  Those files represented about ten years of research so, as I’m sure you can imagine, I was very unhappy.

Long story short – yes, my files were automatically backed up and I didn’t lose anything.  Whew.  Thank heavens for iCloud.

So, the moral of my story is that you should check your genealogy files on your computer today and MAKE SURE they are backed up regularly and automatically.  There are many free backup programs out there.  Search “free files backup” and then get to work.  You do not want to lose all of your research upon which you have spent so much time and energy!   Happy research and Happy New Year and a toast to my new computer and old dog!

By |December 28th, 2018|Categories: Genealogy Blog|
Digitized Brunswick Times Record

Below are links to some genealogy resources – please note that HeritageQuest requires a Portland Public Library card. Curtis Library has a card and can use it to get you access when you are in the library. Access to American Ancestors is through Curtis Library’s subscription and can only be used from inside the library.

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