Category Archives: Blogging

What Genealogy Resource Am I Thankful For?

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

This week’s SNGF post is serving two purposes, as Genea-Musings‘ Randy Seaver has shared Elizabeth O’Neal’s November Blog Party challenge.

My Descendant’s Ancestors

Here are Elizabeth’s guidelines:

What genealogy “resource” are you thankful for this year?

Examples include: a website, a book, a specific library, found items, conference/webinar/seminar/class, a person or any other resource for which you are most thankful.


I had to think a bit, but not for very long.

The genealogy resource for which I am most thankful has to be FamilySearch for several reasons.

First, the website is absolutely fabulous with newly digitized collections appearing online almost daily. I have been able to read records from Slovakia, Denmark, Italy and Sweden from the comfort of my home. Although many collections are not yet indexed, the search and browsing functions are robust enough that I can navigate my way through most of the records I need.

Second, FamilySearch hosts too many live webinars to count each year. I’ve virtually attended sessions on European and United States/Canada research and learned new strategies at each.

Third, the partnerships that FamilySearch has developed with other genealogy entities means that even more resources can be accessed online. Not all of these partnerships require subscriptions. For example, the book catalog includes digital versions of titles held in libraries other than the Family History Library. I’ve read a number of genealogies through the FamilySearch portal.

Fourth, FamilySearch IS the Family History Library. I only live a 75 minute flight away from Salt Lake City and was lucky enough to get to visit the library twice this year. The expert help available onsite is unparalleled when compared to any other single library.

Family History Library
Source: My personal photo

Fifth, FamilySearch is the host and main sponsor of RootsTech, the world’s foremost genealogy-technology conference. I’ve attended the last four conferences and have registered for my fifth, coming up from 27 February – 3 March 2018.

I have to put in a plug for RootsTech 2018 here, as I am an official ambassador this year:

If you are considering attending RootsTech 2018 OR have already registered, my RootsTech 2018 contest is running until 9 November 2017, so you still have a few days left to enter.

What is the prize? A FREE pass to attend RootsTech 2018. If you have already registered and win, instructions will be given to you on how to have your registration fee refunded. For the complete rules, visit my post from 31 October 2017.

There is no doubt about it. My genealogy research would not have progressed to where it is without FamilySearch!




Blog Surfing Research Toolboxes, Part 2 – Professional Sites

Last week, I wrote a post about bloggers’ research toolboxes, which turned out to be a very popular read. In both my original 2015 post and last week’s update, I decided to focus for the most part on bloggers who were not professionals running a genealogically-based business.

However, there are many professional bloggers out there who have great research toolboxes, so I decided to give them their own post. I am sure there are others out there, but here are some of the ones with whom I am familiar. They are in ABC order by blog name, except for Thomas, who has the honor of being first. 🙂

  1. Destination: Austin Family – Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers is probably the best known because he is the one who has encouraged us all to create our own toolboxes. He has also generously shared his own.
  2. Anxiously Engaged – Peggy Lauritzen has a list of helpful links on the left side of the home page.
  3. Evidence Explained – Elizabeth Shown Mills doesn’t label her links as a research toolbox, but for source citation tips, her website is the place to go.
  4. Genealogy by Paula – Paula Stuart-Warren has a long list of favorite research links.
  5. Old Bones Genealogy – Eileen Souza has a Resources tab on her home page.
  6. Olive Tree Genealogy – Lorine McGinnis Schulze has a blog along with her website, which is a huge research toolbox for ships’ passenger lists, along with links to many other Canadian and American records.
  7. Relatively Curious – The home page has links to both websites and research.
  8. The Armchair Genealogist – Lynn Palermo’s site has multiple tabs to genealogy writing resources.
  9. The In-Depth Genealogist – Jennifer Alford, Terri O’Connell and Heather Reed maintain this site, which has a Resources tab.

If you are aware of other professional sites with research toolbox links, please leave a comment.

Blog Surfing Research Toolboxes

Almost two years ago, in July 2015, I wrote a post which turned out to be quite popular. The topic was actually visiting blog websites – not just reading through feedly or some other aggregator – and checking out the additional information found in tabs.

I realized that I was missing out on all kinds of extra information – links to genealogy resources, others’ family trees (and they turned out to be cousins) and educational information links. I learned quite a bit while blog surfing.

The first time around, I chose to highlight only those bloggers who were not also professional researchers. The blogs I visited included: Nutfield Genealogy, Finding Lost Russian and Ukrainian Family, Genea-Musings, Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog, One Rhode Island Family, Celebrating Family Stories, Granite Genealogy, Julie’s Genealogy and History Hub and, the lone business-oriented site because it’s about DNA, DNAeXplained-Genetic Genealogy.

As I did some spring cleaning of my own on this blog site, I decided to take another look around some of the many blogs I follow. Many do not have toolboxes with resources, but they do have surname lists and stories which are definitely worth checking out.

Here are a few blogs that have more extensive toolbox tips that I’d like to share this year:

  1. A Patient Genealogist – Devon Noel Lee has tabs to guide beginners and tips for organization, research and writing. She is also a scrapbooking enthusiast and shared suggestions for creating great looking family history scrapbooks. She has even added a link on the side for her YouTube videos.
  2. Collecting Cousins – Mary Ann’s home page greets the reader with multiple resources links to check out, neatly divided into topic, state and country. There is another link to genealogical forms and how-to’s.
  3. Cow Hampshire – Janice A. Brown’s roots go to New Hampshire, hence her blog name. There are links to SearchRoots, which gives tons of New Hampshire resources. I found in my own research that there aren’t tons of easily found New Hampshire records online so if you have NH roots, be sure to visit here. She also has links to lots of genealogy and history sites.
  4. Genealogy à la Carte – Gail Dever created her toolbox links after my 2015 post. She went one step further and even created an ever-growing list of Canadian genealogy groups on Facebook. Gail also has a robust list of tools for those with Canadian roots.
  5. Do you have Jewish/Eastern European roots? If so, be sure to visit Lara’s Jewnealogy. She has links to locating records, DNA tips and summaries of past IAJGS conferences.
  6. Rosie’s My Danish Ancestors is the place to go if you need ideas for Danish research. There are multiple links to resources and websites that can help answer your Danish research questions and show you how to access the records.
  7. Last, but not least, I will include my own Empty Branches on this list, as I’ve spent a week updating almost every tab of links located just below the header photo. The new addition is Genea-Tech Toys, with links to most of the tools you might want to use for your 21st century research. I hope you will take a moment and check out the changes.

I have to issue a challenge to all of you bloggers who don’t have research toolboxes set up on your sites yet. How about it? I find myself drawn into the bloggers who have some of the “extras” to share. It’s like a free lesson in how to do “whatever” in genealogy.

If your blog has a toolbox and I haven’t mentioned your site in 2015 or this time around, please leave a comment. I didn’t check all 200+ blogs that I follow, but it took quite a bit of hunting to find the six new sites I focused on this year. Although several of the bloggers listed above give presentations, I tried to spotlight those who weren’t overtly professionals selling products.

There are tons of those sites online and they also have some great toolbox links, but it’s nice to recognize the littler guys.