google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html The Armchair Genealogist

Family History Blogging: What is Your Why?

Have you been blogging about your family history for some time? 

Are you considering starting a family history blog in 2017? 

Regardless of where you are in your blogging adventures, beginner or expert, it is always a good idea to evaluate or re-evaluate why you family history blog.

There are three kinds of bloggers, which one are you?

You’ve been thinking about starting a family history blog for some time, but you are reluctant to start. Recognizing your reasons for starting a family history blog can go a long way in determining your blogging strategy, your content and your motivation in starting a blog. Once you have your reasons, starting can be a little easier.

Same Old Same Old
You have been blogging for a long time. It’s just something you do, and you haven’t really given much thought to ‘the why’ for a while.  Things feel stale and the same, it might be time to revive your tired old blog.  A re-evaluation might be in order. Your reasons for blogging may have changed over the years. This might be a chance to give some thought to refocusing your blog. 

Out of Love
You have fallen out of love with your blog and writing a blog. Your writing is sporadic to non-existent at best. Your blog might even be delinquent. It’s time for a fresh start, to evaluate your reasons for blogging, to refresh your blog and to find your passion again.

Regardless of which category you fall into, one thing is likely, you haven’t given much thought to why you blog about your family history for some time, if ever. 

Why are you blogging? Is your reason on the list below?

·                     To make money, an income
·                     To be a published author
·                     To sell books at lectures or webinars
·                     To promote my genealogy skills to potential clients
·                     To make connections with others in the genealogical community.
·                     To put out some cousin bait and extend my family lines.

I hope these are not why you are blogging.

The above are by-products of blogging. Things that we can achieve as a result of blogging. There is nothing wrong with achieving the above, but they shouldn’t be "your why.'  Because if they are then I can guarantee you your motivation for blogging will not last nor will your readership. 

Why you blog should come from a deeper more purposeful place. 

When your 'why' is well thought out and your blog has a defined purpose, then you will more likely find your passion and in turn that passion will be passed along to your readers. That passion will sustain you through the long haul of blogging. 

For example: 

I believe understanding my ancestor's life adds meaning to my own life.
I believe my ancestor’s remarkable life, sacrifices, and story should be shared in a way that is entertaining, motivational, and educational. 
I believe genealogy can teach us about ourselves and can influence our own behaviour in life.

When our readers share our passion and beliefs they have a stronger call to read our blog, and we have a more substantial commitment to continue to blog and share. 
I can read any number of blogs in a day. It is the blogs that align with my beliefs, my passion, my understanding of genealogy, those are the blogs that I will come back to time and again.

Growth is Good
Writing is fluid, an ever-changing journey.  Our writing is evolving, and there often comes a time when we need to refocus and evaluate our purpose for blogging, address new topics, change our style and content of our blog and maybe even find a new audience. This change is called growth, and I'd be disappointed if you weren't growing as a blogger. 

Change and growth is an essential element to keeping your passion alive as well as keeping your readers interested. One of the first exercises we do in our course Family History Blog Writing is to identify our blog’s purpose and why we blog and identify our target audience. It is an important first step in developing a blog or reviving a tired old blog.

Whether you are just thinking about starting a family history blog or looking to find your passion again join us in January for our Family History Blog Writing Course. We will help you find that passion, your 'why',  elevate your blog writing skills, create interesting and compelling content, create an editorial calendar and help you develop writing habits all motivated through a passion that will sustain you for the long haul.

Click here, Family History Blog Writing Course, to see our full curriculum.

There are only two ways to influence human behaviour: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it. 

                                                                                            Simon Sinek 

What is your why? Feel free to share in comments. 

Five Cool Genealogy Gifts for the Holidays

Struggling to find a Christmas gift for the genealogist who has everything?

Here are some new and perhaps yet undiscovered gift ideas that might make you the favourite gift giver this holiday season. The gifts I've chosen this year, I'm very much familiar with, I use them. I think they all make great gift ideas for getting organised in 2017. Progress happens, and brick walls are busted through when we get organised.

Here are five really cool tools to make your favourite genealogist the most organised genealogist this coming year. 

1. Zcan+ Wireless Mouse Scanner

I discussed the Zcan+ Wireless Mouse Scanner a few months ago, here on TAG.  I own one of these little treasures, and I can tell you it is my new favourite tech toy. A scanner that is also a mouse. Brilliant. I use it to scan pictures, documents, bills, notes. It is wonderfully portable for those trips to archives and for visiting relative’s homes. Check out more details here. To purchase click here, and when you buy the Zcan+ Wireless Mouse with the scanning pads, you'll get the pads, in the small and large size for free. Just add Armchair to your cart in the Coupon area, and your purchase will be discounted $19.99.


Now if your favourite genealogist is anything like me they have a lifetime of scanning ahead of them. I have boxes and boxes of children’s photos in addition to my family history scanning. I pick away at it, but I realised I needed help. I would rather be researching and making books then scanning. So I joined offers many services, two that I'm thrilled to be using is their white glove scanning service and cloud storage. First, you purchase the cloud storage. The cloud storage is your own space to keep your pictures safe. You can share this space with family to view pictures, or you can keep it private. Did I mention this is a one- time only cost? There is no renewal fee every year, only if you want to increase the size.

Once you have your cloud storage in place, then you purchase a scanning box. They have 3 sizes to choose. They send you a box, you fill it with pictures, slides, VHS tapes, negatives and or film.  They scan and upload to your cloud storage. They then send your items back in the same box. Refill the box and send it away again, repeat as many times as you like until your scanning is complete.  Now, that I have someone scanning my photos I can get on with the business of making books. Love it. It’s simple to get started. Click here. When you join, it will ask for your ambassador, that’s me, click on the drop down box and find my name, Lynn Palermo. I’ll receive a small commission.

       3. Volt Planner

I love calendars because I’m a visual person. Calendars are great visual tools for me for planning and setting my goals for the upcoming year.  I keep digital calendars that syncs to my iPhone and laptop, I also have a large wall planner and yet I still love a day planner in a good old-fashioned book format. A few weeks ago thanks to Jen Baldwin, I learned about a daytimer and immediately fell in love with. The Volt Planner is a lovely day planner with lots of tools for brainstorming and planning your 2017 goals and projects.  Genealogists can use it as a daily planner or for a particular project and make it their first step to getting organised in 2017.  

      4. The Ultimate Evernote Package

Evernote is a fantastic organisational product. It's not new but it still remains one of the best software around for organising your family history notes. Those notes that I scan with my Zcan+ I save in Evernote along with a variety of items, including family history, recipes, writing ideas etc. It's a great product for genealogists because it’s portable and very efficient. It is part of my everyday life, regardless of whether I am researching or writing. I highly recommend Evernote as part of any genealogist’s organisational system. Want to see some smiles on Christmas morning, consider gifting a complete Evernote package.

·         An Evernote Premium subscription.
·         Kerry Scott’s book  How to Use Evernote for Genealogy
·         An Evernote Moleskin Notebook, perfect for taking on the road

     5.  Family History Book-Making Package

 Sometimes genealogists can be procrastinators, particularly when it comes to turning their research into a family history book. So, here is a very good idea to help motivate. Our Creating a Legacy Family History Book Course at The Family History Writing Studio includes16 downloadable videos that walk you through building a book from idea to publishing using the MyCanvas software by Alexanders. If you want something to wrap to go under the tree, download the videos then save them to a DVD or USB stick. Then head over to and purchase a gift certificate. You can use the contact tab on their website to request one or by calling the help desk at  1-801-980-9809.

Combined, there is nothing standing in their way from creating their own family history book. 

There you have it 5 really cool tools for the genealogist on your Christmas list. 

8 Reasons You Should Be Building a Family History Book

1.  You’ve been researching for 20+ years and have a lot of research.

Okay, you have been researching a long time, and yes, you’re not done. But let’s be realistic you will never be. But it’s time to take what you have acquired and start organising into a shareable format for your family. It’s doing nobody any good spread across boxes, and computers. Time to pull it all together.

2. You've just started your family history journey. 

While you still might be just beginning your family history journey there is nothing wrong with researching and writing at the same time. If you know that your end goal is to build and family history book then knowing that now in these early days is a bonus. It will affect how you organise yourself, and you can begin to write those stories now while you research. You'll be so much further ahead when you are ready to build that book. 

3.  Your kids don’t want your genealogy stuff.

Your children have shown no interest in your genealogy stuff so why should you build a family history book. Perhaps they haven’t shown an interest because you haven’t shared their family history with them an interesting and engaging format. Family history books and stories have a way of helping your readers make an emotional connection with their ancestors.

4.  Your research is a pile of papers that only makes sense to you.

 That means it’s time to format it into a book that someone else can understand it. Your family will never connect with a pile of stuff. Files of papers in boxes don't interest anyone, well unless you’re a genealogist. Don’t risk having all your genealogy end up in the trash bin. Organise it into a book that will be treasured for years to come by your descendants.

5.  You want to leave your family history in a format your kids will look at.

A family history book is an excellent opportunity to leave your relatives with their family history in a beautiful book they will love for generations to come. Nothing is more appealing to family members than a book that sums up their legacy in a nice neat package, something they can pass on for generations to come.

6.  You want your family to know their ancestors.

A family history book is a perfect vehicle to share your ancestor’s documents, pictures and stories. Your family can’t connect with their ancestors through just a picture or a document, bring them all together in a legacy family history book, a book that will appeal to all age levels.

7.  It adds a new skill to your genealogy toolbox.

 It’s time to learn a new skill. Learning to create and write your family history stories is an excellent extension of your genealogy journey. It is a new skill that you should be adding to your genealogy toolbox. Learning to create and write a family history book can help you to examine your family history deeper while at the same time offering you a new skill and a new sense of motivation besides producing a beautiful book.

8.  You want to leave a legacy that reflects your genealogy work.

We've spent the better part of our lives researching our family history. It has been our passion, why not create something beautiful that will allow you to share your love, the fruits of your labour and leave a legacy of your years of work. Your family history book will not only represent your ancestor’s legacy but your legacy as a passionate genealogist.

Want to learn how to create your own legacy family history book? 

Our Creating a Legacy Family History Book Course is live this Friday on our sister site, The Family History Writing Studio. 

This downloadable course will guide you step-by-step from idea to publishing. Work in your own time at your own pace. 16 videos, over 7 hours of instruction using the MyCanvas book building software, and a closed Facebook page to ask your questions. 

The Life of a Rockstar

Sometime yesterday between dealing with technical issues on a website, writing a blog post and practicing a genealogy presentation for this coming Saturday, I learned I'm a Rockstar. Not just any Rockstar but a Genealogy Rockstar.

As I was drowning in work and deadlines, this bit of news added a small pep to my step.

I am honoured to be among such a prestigious list of the Top 10 Genealogy Rockstars in Canada.   I placed 7th; you can see the entire list below, and read more about the top Genealogy Rockstars and the Superstars at John Reid's Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connection.

Canada's Top Ten Genealogy Rockstars

1. Gail Dever 
2. Lorine McGinis Schulze
3. Christine Woodcock
4. Dave Obee
5. Kathryn Lake Hogan
6. Mike Quackenbush
7. Lynn Palermo
8. Jane MacNamara
9. David Pike
9. Glenn Wright

And as I eluded to in social media, I think we can use this opportunity to challenge each other and ourselves. The winners will be the all those who benefit from our work.

I especially wanted to thank those who voted. This is my first time on the list, and I need to thank you my readers and all those who attend my lectures, listen to my webinars, read my blogs and books. I am continually motivated by your belief in me and more importantly by your passion to research and write your family history.

Thank you, I look forward to another great year. Now back to work.

Scanning Family History Photos at Your Finger Tips!

I’m all about making the most painful jobs easier. For me, in the realm of genealogy that would be scanning and filing. With so many pictures and documents, scanning can become a rather mundane task. However, I have recently acquired a new little device that has turned my world upside down.
It is called the Zcan+ wireless mouse, and it is by all accounts a scanner in your mouse. That’s right. Until you see it for yourself you won’t believe it, so I encourage you to watch the video below, but before you do let me tell you a few things about it.

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This fit-in-your-palm scanner slides over your pictures and documents and then like magic they appear on your screen. From there you can edit them and save them into a number of formats, including Pdf, Jpg, excel, and word docs. Just to tip the scales you can also scan and save to Evernote. We all know how much genealogists love Evernote. You can also save your scan directly to Facebook, Twitter, and email. 

If you’re out in the research field such as at an archive, library or Grandma’s house, and you want to scan a picture, document or page of a book, this little mouse quickly looks after the job with a simple click of a button and few swipes across the page.

You continue to use it just like a regular mouse, but with a simple click, it becomes a scanner. There is no battery required, just recharge as needed by plugging it into the USB of your computer.

Now it’s looking pretty great so far.  Well let me add it scans in high quality, 400 dpi and it offers OCR capabilities, with 199 OCR languages. Yup, you heard me.

What about fragile photos, you ask? Don't want to drag a scanner across those treasures. They offer two size pads. Slide the picture under the protective covering and no worries about damage to your photographs. 

I am so in love with this product I can’t imagine using another mouse. This mouse comes in the wireless version; that's one I have, or you can get the USB version. I have been playing with this mouse all summer and showing it to everyone I know. I keep finding new uses for it.

This mouse also extends beyond my genealogy projects. I use it to scan my notes, I often keep a yellow pad beside my computer, I make notes, for projects, books, research, etc., all day, every day. Those yellow pads have a tendency to pile up in my office because they contain notes I made and I want to keep track of but of course they aren't organized in that stack on my desk. Now, I scan those notes at the end of the day and add them to my files in Evernote.  I have found a way to continue to make handwritten notes, which I love to do, and I’m not prepared to give up, but I’m no longer getting bogged down in all the paper.

I also use the mouse scanner to scan paper bills. I’m trying to go paperless, and get rid of the monthly paper bills that come in through snail mail. I still have a few.  I pay them online, scan the bill, save it to a digital file and get rid the paper, no more filing that already overstuffed filing cabinet.

Compatibility: Requires iOS 8.0 or later and it is compatible with: 
  • iPhone 5s / 5c / 6 / 6 Plus / 6s / 6s Plus 
  • iPad (4th generation) 
  • iPad Air and iPad Air 2 
  • iPad mini 2 / 3 / 4 and iPad Pro

Now that you heard my praises take a look at the video below and see it in action for yourself.

I also managed to garner a bit of a deal for you. Now that I’ve become an affiliate for this product, with the good folks at Shop the Hound. Also, if you know anything about me you know I only do this for products I believe in, use, and love.

Here’s the Deal

1. When you buy the Zcan+ Wireless Mouse with pads, you'll get the pads, in the small and large size for free. Just add Armchair to your cart in the Coupon area and your purchase will be discounted $19.99.

2. When you buy the Zcan USB version, you can add the large pad to your order for free. The USB version already gets the small pad so now you'll have both. Add the large pad to your order, then use Armchair in the Coupon area to get the discount.

I think you'll find the Zcan+ wireless mouse a great investment and wonderful addition to your genealogy toolbox.