Posted in Genealogy Toolkit

Dayna’s Genealogy Toolkit

Dayna Jacobs, AG®   https://ongrannystrail.com/

toolkit piktochart

This toolkit is full of my go-to links that are (mostly) not record repositories, but rather are tools to help me find, interpret, and organize my research and records. I think you’ll want to keep them handy, too.

Abbreviations & Acronyms for Genealogy – What do they mean?

Animated Atlas – U.S. History Timeline

Archive Grid – Enter a zip code to identify nearby archives

BLM-GLO Records – Find U.S. federal land patents and locate parcels on a map

Cheat Sheet – Boolean Genealogy Searches – Online searches made easy from OGT

Cheat Sheets – Family Tree Magazine – A variety of helps

Cheat Sheet – Table of Wars and Ages of Servicemen –  Determine which war your ancestor might have been involved with

Citation Creator – EasyBib – Help for source citations

Cloud Convert – Convert files from one format to another

David Rumsey Digital Map Collection – Excellent map resource

Earth Point township and range tools – Locate land in the public domain

Easy Google Genealogy Searcher – Google search templates for genealogists

Encyclopedia of Genealogy – by Dick Eastman

Evernote – Organize your research

Free Forms and Charts – Family Tree Magazine

Free Forms and Charts – Rootsweb

Genealogy Gophers – Searches in genealogy books digitized by FamilySearch

Geographic Names Info System (GNIS) – Supercharged online gazetteer

Historical Map Archive – A look back in time

Internet Archive – For digitized county and family histories

Learning Center – Free online courses at FamilySearch

Linkpendium – Links to genealogy resources organized by locality

Map of US – Interactive map of the U.S. and county boundaries by year

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) – Order land entry files and pension files

Newspapers – Library of Congress: Chronicling America

Research Report Template – Download this editable template from OGT

Research Wiki – FamilySearch – Huge knowledge base for researchers

Surname Distribution Maps – See where surnames are clustered geographically

The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy – Online version of a classic

Timeline Template – Download this editable template from OGT

Topoview – Download historical or current topographical maps from the USGS

Town and County Database (Rootsweb) – Enter the name of a town to find the county

Vital Records – Where to write

Worldcat – Find libraries and items for interlibrary loan

The ICAPGen ℠ service mark and the Accredited Genealogist® and AG® registered marks are the sole property of the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists.  All Rights Reserved.

Posted in Conferences and workshops, Institutes, Research tips

SLIG 2018: Need to change up your lunch options?

After five days at SLIG you might want to add some variety to your life by trying out a new lunch spot. Did you know there are some great little places within a block and a half of the Hilton? Just head east on Broadway (300 S.) and cross Main Street to find a cluster of eateries you might not know about. Some I have tried, and some come highly recommended by my son, who worked a few blocks away for ten years. On Main Street you will find J-Dawgs for amazing and cheap hot dogs.

Then there’s The Robin’s Nest for sandwiches, soups, and salads:

Around the corner on Broadway are Spitz Mediterranean street food, Rich’s Burgers and Grub (highly recommended but maybe a little pricey); Toaster’s sandwiches, and Padeli’s street Greek. I might have to have a falafel taste-off between Spitz and Padeli’s. There’s also Barbacoa Mexican food on the corner of Broadway and Main. Wow, I’m making myself hungry again!

Posted in Conferences and workshops, Institutes

SLIG 2018: Genealogy and Chinese New Year

On a lunch break from SLIG yesterday, I decided to go out for Chinese food and got a nice surprise when I opened my fortune cookie. What genealogist wouldn’t want to have a fortune like this?

I’m looking forward to the Year of the Dog!

Posted in Conferences and workshops, Institutes, Technology

SLIG 2018: (I don’t) know it all


And the good news is that I don’t need to know it all, because genealogy is an “open book” test. You don’t have to have all knowledge in your head, but you do need to know where to look to get the answers. And coming to SLIG is like reading 20 books in one week! So, halfway through my third day here (remember, I attended SLIG Tech Day on Saturday) I’m fully immersed in my little world of research methodologies and resources.

Fortunately for me, there is enough empty space in my head I am not yet in danger of overload. We’ll see how I feel by Thursday night. Also fortunately for me, there is a shop at the Hilton that sells Snickers and Twix. I think they stocked up on these special “Know-it-All” Snickers just for SLIG!

I mentioned that I would let you know how it’s going with my tech gear. Not bad, actually. At first I tried to follow the syllabus material via PDF on my laptop, but found it a little awkward to navigate the document. I’ve been keeping handwritten notes on my iPad using the Penultimate app and that has been very smooth and easy. I like it a lot!

I tried following and annotating the syllabus in it’s printed form for a few classes, but because I like having a digital version of notes and materials I switched over to the PDF version in my iPad’s iBooks. It is very easy to highlight and make brief notes right in the document using my Apple Pencil, and switching back and forth between the iBooks document and my handwritten notes in Penultimate has been super easy. I found that by doing it all on my iPad I was able to focus on the presentation more and really digest what what being said, and it helped me to follow the syllabus material more closely. I think I’ll stick with this routine for the rest of the week. Plus, there is less clutter on the table in front of me this way!


Posted in Conferences and workshops, Family History Library, Institutes

SLIG 2018: Getting around town

If you’re not a local, or even if you are and you don’t want to worry about bringing a car, you’ll be glad to know Salt Lake City has great public transportation as well as Uber and Lyft options.   If you are coming from the Salt Lake International airport, hop on the Trax green line rail and ride it all the way to the Gallivan stop. Walk around to the west side of the block and you’ll be at the Hilton—SLIG’s home.

There are plenty of restaurants within walking distance, but if you’d like to pick up some groceries for the week just hop back on the Trax at the Gallivan stop and head north to the City Center stop.  Then walk a block and a half east to the Harmon’s grocery store where you can stock up on snacks or prepared foods.

When your classes end for the day and you want to spend time at the Family History Library, SLIG provides shuttles from the Hilton to the library and back again.  If you’d rather walk you can head straight north three blocks from the Hilton—about 3/8 of a mile.

If you’d like to explore downtown Salt Lake City, Temple Square, or the City Creek mall, the Trax rail is free in that area.  UTA has a website with maps and schedules to help you plan.

The Temple Square stop will deposit you near the Family History Library, Symphony Hall, the LDS Church History Museum, and Temple Square of course.  You can attend live broadcasts of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on Sunday mornings, or tour the grounds. The State Archives are very nearby, as well as other excellent research repositories and historic landmarks.

My new warm coat, as seen in a mirrored window!

If you forgot to bring a warm coat, or you realize your California winter coat is just too wimpy, City Creek or Gateway mall can save you! And I can always make time for a little shopping…

Posted in Conferences and workshops, Institutes, Software, Technology

A Firsthand Look at Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG): Day 1 – Tech Day

SLIG 2018 logo

Curious about what it’s like to attend a genealogy institute?  Follow along as I share observations and experiences during my week at Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), held annually in Salt Lake City, Utah.  I touched down in Salt Lake City International Airport two days ago and have already begun my adventure.

Genealogy institutes are different than other kinds of genealogy conferences.  See why in my previous post 4 Genealogy Institutes You Should Know About.  SLIG is a 5-day institute preceded by a welcome reception tonight, and this year they added a SLIG Tech Day which I attended all day yesterday.  I am enrolled in the course titled, “Advanced Genealogical Methods” taught by Dr. Thomas W. Jones and am pretty excited about it! It should be a pretty intense week, and I figure by Friday night’s closing banquet my head should be spinning and my feet dragging.  But hey, that’s what chocolate is for and I intend to take heavy doses.

At yesterday’s Tech Day I signed up for three workshops: Evernote for Genealogists (by Gena Philibert Ortega, AG®), Using Google’s My Maps as a Research and Analysis Tool (by Cari Taplin, CG®), and PowerPoint Tips and Tricks – Not Just for Speakers (by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG®, CGL).  All were excellent and I came away with good ideas which will help me in my own research, as well as in the classes I present.  All three of my workshops were held in the Hilton’s seminar theater, which is well-suited for larger classes.  The desktops all had power outlets, which was great because we all had laptops and many of us also had tablets.

Here are the gear and apps I am packing for this week:

  1. Lenovo Thinkpad with a 13-hour battery, plus a 5-hour spare.  You never know what the power outlet situation will be in a classroom full of laptop-users and it’s best to not have to worry about it! Same goes for researching at the Family History Library or other repositories.
  2. iPad Pro with 10.5 inch screen
  3. iPhone 7
  4. Apple Pencil for note-taking and annotating records
  5. I use Evernote extensively to organize my research trips, research sessions, and life in general.  I use the Penultimate app which is integrated with Evernote to take handwritten notes using my Apple Pencil.  Each page of notes is automatically saved to Evernote, making my life easier.  I have Evernote on my iPad, iPhone, and laptop, and the content I add is synced across all three platforms, as well as my online account.
  6. Scannable app.  There are a number of scanner apps out there which are good.  I’ve been using Scannable because it is integrated with Evernote and automatically saves my scans to the Evernote notebook I choose.  I have it on both my tablet and phone.
  7. I upload PDFs and syllabus material provided by instructors, reference books, and blank pedigree charts and family group charts to the iBooks app that came with my iPad.  This allows me to highlight and make notes on the the pages using my Apple Pencil.  I also like having blank pedigree and family group forms to organize my thoughts as I research.  I can easily erase the names and dates and re-use the charts.
  8. RavPower power pack (21,000mh) to charge my iPhone and iPad. It can simultaneously charge both multiple times according to what I’ve read, but I haven’t used it yet to test it out.  I hope it’s true!  Again, you never know what the power outlet situation will be in a classroom, but I also like having it as I travel to use in airports and on the plane, so I can work or watch movies.

So how did my tech gear do on Tech Day?  I felt like it was pretty functional.  I was able to use my laptop to practice what was being taught about Evernote, Google My Maps, and PowerPoint, and at the same time was able to take handwritten notes using the iPad and Apple pencil.  Things could get dicier when I have to use my iPad to annotate the syllabus material while also trying to take handwritten notes, but I’ll let you know how it goes.

After my Tech Day classes I was able to hit a nearby grocery store and stock up on snacks to get me through the week, and a few meals to see me through the weekend. Time to cram for tomorrow’s classes!