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!


Posted in Archives and Libraries, National Archives, Research tips

Learn more about NARA records at “The Twelve Key” blog


I just came across an excellent blog for any of you who are interested in U.S. National Archives records, and wanted to share a link to it.  It is called The Twelve Key, by Claire Prechtel Kluskens, who is a senior reference and projects archivist at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, DC.

In my first visit to her blog I learned about the carded medical records for Mexican War volunteers in a link to an article she wrote about it for NGS Magazine in 2014, and I was able to order my great-great grandfather’s medical record from the Mexican War.  According to his pension file, which I obtained years ago, he had been hospitalized when he lost a finger “in a charge made by lancers” at the Battle of Buena Vista.  I am very interested to see his medical record!  I’ll post it here when I receive it.

The Twelve Key website has links to Kluskens’ extensive historical and genealogical publications, as well as research guides she has produced for the National Archives, and syllabus materials for lectures.  You are going to love this website!

Posted in Conferences and workshops

Ancestor Roundup in Seaside, CA – Feb 3, 2018

Just thought I’d put a good word in for the 37th annual Ancestor Roundup, to be held in Seaside, California on February 3, 2018. It’s a bargain at only $20 if you opt for the e-syllabus, and that even includes lunch!

I’ll be presenting four classes:  Evernote Research Tricks, Dayna’s Genealogy Toolkit, Archives and Libraries – Successful Research Onsite and Online, and Washington, D.C. Research Online in Your Jammies.

The keynote speaker will be Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA.  Her keynote presentation is entitled, “New Tools for Successful Research.”  Address for the conference is 1024 Noche Buena, Seaside, CA.

Here is a preview of the class schedule, and the registration form.


Posted in Research tips

Where to Download Thousands of Free eBooks

Here’s a post on the Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter I thought would be good to share, because who doesn’t like “free”?

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

It would be a stretch to say this article relates to genealogy; however, I have found that many genealogists are also avid readers with a broad range of literary interests. With this in mind, I thought I would share some ideas for those times when you want to enjoy reading a good book on a different subject.

Did you know you can obtain thousands of free ebooks to read online, download to your computer, or transfer to your Kindle, iPad, or other ebook reader?

Many of the available ebooks are electronic versions of classic literature. In other words, they are old books and are out of copyright. However, mixed in with these are quite a few more modern books where copyright permission has been obtained.

Most of these books can be read on a Kindle, iPad, or Nook, as well as on the screen of any Windows, Macintosh, Chromebook, or…

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Posted in Lineage Societies

Associated Daughters of Early American Witches…and other lineage societies worth joining

It’s October, and we of course are all celebrating “National Family History Month.”  Have you decorated yet?  I noticed everyone is getting into the spirit of National Family History Month with skeletons, witches, and even a few headstones springing up in front yards.  Well done!

As part of my own celebration I decided to finally join a lineage society.  You know, those organizations that only accept members with ancestors who meet certain elevated standards, like Daughters of the American Revolution, or Colonial Dames of America, or… the Associated Daughters of Early American Witches.  Yes!

Looking through The Complete List of Active Hereditary Societies I discovered oh so many organizations for the rest of us. And they sound like their meetings must be way more fun:

  • Descendants of the Illegitimate Sons & Daughters of the Kings of Britain
  • Associated Daughters of Early American Witches
  • Flagon and Trencher (descendants of early tavern or innkeepers)
  • Order of Descendants of Pirates and Privateers
  • Registry of Infamous and Famous Relatives in American Families
  • National Society of Saints and Sinners

Alas/fortunately, I do not qualify for any of those societies.  Looking forward to the next big holiday I love to celebrate—Thanksgiving (because I was born on Thanksgiving and I really like pie)—I plan to apply to The General Society of Mayflower Descendants or National Society of Old Plymouth Colony Descendants.  They don’t let you join just because you like pie, however, so I will need to come up with some proof of descendancy from my 10th great-grandparents, John Alden and Priscilla Mullins.  I will let you know how it goes.

Bacon’s “Landing of the Pilgrims” on

Check out the Complete List of Active Hereditary Societies—I’ll bet you qualify for at least five organizations.  Let me know what you find.