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


Learn to Create a Legacy Family History Book

While there is still a great deal of summer left it won't be long before September will be here and that means our classes at The Family History Writing Studio will be starting up again. We have three courses coming your way this fall. Our first course is brand new and we are excited to be delivering it - Creating a Legacy Family History Book. Take a look at our video, I tell you all a Legacy Family History Book, what's it all about and how to become part of this exciting new class.

Our other two classes this fall, our popular Writing a Family History Scene and then another brand new class Plotting Your Story.

My Interview at the Genealogy Professional Podcast

Early this summer, I was honoured to be interviewed by Marian Pierre-Louis of The Genealogy Professional Podcast.

If you're not familiar with The Genealogy Professional Podcast, then I encourage you to check it out. If you're considering a career in the genealogy industry Marian offers a collection of interviews with genealogy professionals. These professionals bring a variety of skills and experiences to the airwaves in their conversations with Marian.

Our conversation is now live, and I hope you'll tune in for a listen. We had an excellent discussion. We covered a lot of ground in this interview, and I hope you enjoy it. In fact, it went by so fast, we could have talked for hours. 

You can listen at  The Genealogy Professional

Canada Day Discount for Family Historians!

This Friday is Canada Day and that means, well, besides, backyard and cottage parties, hot dogs and hamburgers and gathering with friends and family which is a great all unto itself, it also means some great access to some online databases as well as some nice discounts.

This weekend two of the leading online databases are offering some free research time in honour of the Canada Day holiday.

Free Acess to Ancestry is offering free access from now until July 2nd, 2016.

Free Access to FindMyPast

Findmypast also will be celebrating both Canada Day and July 4th with free access to their record collections. Their offer extends from June 29th until July 6th, 2016.

As a nice added bonus, a special webinar will be hosted by expert genealogist, Jen Baldwin, at 11:00 MDT, July 1st, in which she will be sharing essential tips and tricks for getting the most out of naturalization records. Over 2 million US Passport Applications & Indexes (1795-1925), and over 7 million US Naturalization Petitions have just been released in the initial phases of two brand new collections at FindMyPast. This will allow family historians to learn more about the first members of their family to become US citizens.

Great Canadian Genealogy Summit Discount

I was also informed of a Canada Day discount for the upcoming Great Canadian Genealogy Summit. Receive 10% off your weekend Registration. The code is CanGen 10.

Getting Ready to Write 1/2 Price Sale

And finally, The Family History Writing Studio is also offering a Canada Day weekend discount. If you're thinking about starting some family history writing and you just don't know where to begin, I encourage you to start with the workbook and webinar, Getting Ready to Write. Three hours of video along with a workbook to help get you, your research and your ancestor organized so you can start writing those stories. This weekend you get both downloads for 1/2 price, only $15.00 until Tuesday, July 5th.

Don't forget about the current promotion at The Family History Writing Studio, the 3 workbook set for $17.00.

Have a great weekend everyone, Happy Canada Day, and Happy 4th of July! 

Scrivener for the Family Historian

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of presenting two workshops at the Ontario Genealogy Conference in Toronto.  The topic of my workshops, Scrivener. In each workshop, I spent two and half hours showing students how to make the most use of Scrivener for writing their family history stories.

Scrivener is without a doubt the No. 1 writing software on the market. Created by Literature and Latte, it started out as a tool for fiction and screenplay writers. It has since been embraced by the nonfiction writing community and University students and now family historians looking to write their family histories and life stories. 

As a result of my preparation for those workshops, I also decided to assemble a guide for so many of you who have been following Scrivener and me these last five years but were unable to attend my workshop, Scrivener for the Family Historian

In this guide, I walk family historians from creating a project through to publishing.  I highlight some of the key features that I believe benefit family historians and the kind of writing that they are doing and how to use these features to maximize Scrivener to make you a more efficient and productive family history writer.

The contents of this 70-page guide include:

  •       creating new projects and importing from Word
  •     an overview of the Scrivener interface
  •      storyboarding your family history
  •     structuring your story in the binder
  •     organizing your research
  •     customizing the editor for writing
  •     comments, notes, and annotations
  •      handling pictures
  •     footnotes, bibliographies, and reference managers
  •     using targets to stay on track
  •     revision and editing inside and outside of Scrivener
  •     compiling your story for sharing

Also, as a part of this workbook, you will receive a link to download Scrivener templates designed specifically with the family historian in mind.

In the future, further how to videos will be produced and as an owner of the Scrivener for the Family Historian, you will have free access to these videos.

If you've been wanting to learn more about Scrivener but are not up to reading the 300-page manual, let me help you get started quickly and use Scrivener to write your family histories. 

The Scrivener for the Family Historian is available at the Family History Writing Studio in downloadable PDF format or on Amazon in paperback

*(I am an affiliate of Scrivener because I love it that much.) 

Summer Trips to Museums & Archives: 10 Things to Remember

The summer is here, and that means as family historians we will be planning those road trips to our ancestral hometowns. Road trips usually include stops at local archives to uncover new documents and local museums where we can learn about the social history and times when our ancestors lived.

If you have plans to visit a museum or archives this summer, then you should be aware of these 10 suggestions before you go.

  1. Don’t bring your lunch - Museum and archives don’t allow eating while you view the artifacts or do your research. Check in advance to see if the museum has a cafĂ© or restaurant. Eat before or after go to a local restaurant or pack a cooler and find a nearby park.
  2. Give yourself plenty of time - Don’t rush through the exhibits or your research. Plan your day well in advance when you can give your trip the time is deserves.
  3. Leave the luggage - Just got in from the airport but your room isn’t ready, and you're trying to tour a museum while you wait. Don’t show up with your luggage in tow. The hotel will be happy to store your luggage while you wait for your room. The museum doesn’t want you dragging your luggage through their artifacts. 
  4. Don’t touch - It’s surprising how many people go to a museum and don’t realize that the artifacts are delicate and touching them increases risk of damage and deterioration.
  5. Don’t climb, sit or lean on anything - Yes, this one often needs to be spelled out as well. The 16th-century chair is not for you to rest your tired feet. While in the archives you certainly can touch the books, but follow protocol for white gloves when handling original documents. Please don’t climb the shelves because you can’t reach a book on the top shelf. Ask for help.
  6. Read the wall text - The museum spends plenty of time writing and displaying information about their exhibits. Take the time to read the information and get the most out of your visit. Leave a little more informed than when you walked in.
  7. Turn off your flash - Check with the museum and archives on their photography policy. At the very least turn off your flash, they have been known to damage the artifacts over time. When in doubt ask.
  8. Use your inside voice - It’s amazing how many people have no concept of the people around them and how the sound level of their voices can be disruptive. Use your inside voice when in museum and archives and be aware that there are others around you that you may be disturbing.
  9. Check the hours of operation - Please don’t walk in 15 minutes before closing to tour a museum that will take 2 hours to view. Check the hours of operations before you leave home and be courtesy of the staff and volunteers who work long hours.
  10. Leave a donation - Many small museums and archives do not charge for admission and if they do then it is usually a very small fee. Consider leaving a donation on your way out the door. Small museums and archives face great struggles in keeping their doors open and housing the local history of a town. If you enjoyed your visit and were able to garner some new information about your ancestors then leave a donation and show your appreciation for local museums and archives. We take them for granted and often don’t realize their importance until they are gone.