google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html The Armchair Genealogist: June 2011

Want to Build a Family History Legacy Book

When Fear Holds You Back From Doing Your Best Research!


Think back to those firsts, your first day of high school, your first date, your first day at the new job, your stomach is all a flutter. You don’t know what to expect where to go and who to see. You are worried, you do not know what you are doing and it will show.  You are constantly thinking about saying or doing the wrong thing, looking and sounding like a newbie. Sound familiar, because it is a universal human experience. For some it is a fleeting moment, for others it can be crippling and can be holding them back from a rewarding experience.

We have all been there, and firsts can be tough. However, we also know that once we move past those initial nervous butterflies, we all begin to enjoy the experience and wonder what all the fuss was about. The same can be said for visiting an archive.

At some point in your life as a family historian, you are going to experience that first day in an archive. You may experience many of those feelings you had on your first day at the new job or on your first date.  You’re excited to have this new experience while at the same time, you’re afraid of making the wrong move. For some of you, maybe your anxieties of the unknown are holding you back from making that initial visit.

The best way to get rid of those nervous butterflies is preparation. The more prepared and knowledgeable you are about the archive and the process of doing research, the more comfortable you will be in getting through that first day.

Here are a few tips. Don’t let fear of the unknown hold you back from visiting an archive and experiencing a wonderful rewarding part of genealogy research.

  • Do some investigation on the internet first. Check online for catalogs, indexes, collections and guides. Don’t waste your time going to archives that don’t have the documents you are looking for, know what that archive holds that you need to see. Nothing says newbie like asking for a collection that they do not hold. Today with the internet there is no excuse for not knowing what an archive holds in their collections.  

  • Call ahead, make an appointment- and possibly even order your documents ahead of time. Some larger archives and certain collections are not easily accessible and require pre-planning.  This will also make an archivist very happy.  Showing up knowing what you want to see, with call numbers, titles, authors etc, says I know what I am looking for and I have done my homework. Nothing can excel your comfort level more than winning the support of the archivist.

  • Check visitor information and guidelines before heading out. Every archive has a set of ground rules- their own policies and procedures, while most are very similar across the board, they can vary slightly, make sure you read them in advance.

  • Never whip out a pen in an archive, a true sign of an inexperienced researcher. Paper and pencils only. Again, check with the archive, most will not allow bags, purses and even laptops but they all very slightly.  In my experience, the larger the archive, the longer the rule list.


  • Go with a game plan- determine what topic, family surname or particular ancestor you are researching, heading in without a game plan will leave you overwhelmed and bewildered. Trying to order too many collections at once is a sure sign of your inexperience.  An archivist knows what you realistically have time to cover. Don’t make him or her pull more then what you can possibly examine in your allotted time period. Take your time and don’t take on more than you can handle.

  • Keep Track of Your Sources- sometimes we get so excited about having primary documents in front of us we get ahead of ourselves.  Before you begin your hunt, write down the word file, the call numbers, the description of the folder or box you plan to open.  

  • Start with a local archive- this will help you get your feet wet, learn the ropes and make your mistakes at a smaller level before going to a larger National Archive. It also allows you to fix your mistakes because you can go back.

  • If you are still nervous, find a fellow genealogist who has been through the process; ask them to join you on your first visit, or even a fellow family historian who also has yet to visit an archive. You can learn the ropes together.

Regardless of all those nervous butterflies, have fun, learn something and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes make us better, more confident in our task the next time around. However, certainly don’t let your fear hold you back from what can be one of the most rewarding research experiences of a genealogist’s journey.

Monday Morning Mentions


Monday Morning Mentions is an opportunity to reflect on what has been happening at the Armchair Genealogist this past week over my morning cappuccino and give a nod to some of my peers who captured my attention in the blogging community.


If you want to see what ranked in my Google Reader this week click, The Armchair Genealogist's Google Reader Highlights 

You can also find me on Facebook. Stop by and leave a message. I often will link some great finds there as well. 

You can also follow me on twitter at @LynnPal or my twitter paper The Armchair Genealogist Journal. 

At the Armchair Genealogist this week, posts included the following: 


Each week I’m choosing four blogs that deserve a shout out, they will be in the form of 4 categories, Internet Genealogy, Family History Writing, a New Blog and a blog that posted a great old-fashioned family recipe. OK some weeks I choose more than 4 just because it to hard to pick just one, and it's my blog so I can change the rules. 

Internet Genealogy – a great genealogy or internet tip that will benefit any armchair genealogist
This week’s mention:


Need some tips on scanning, check out ScanFest is Coming by AnceStories; The Stories of My Ancestors. Miriam explains what ScanFest is, and offers some solid basic tips for scanning. Although Scanfest was this past Sunday,  Miriam offers a replay here, so you can get familiar and ready for the next one. 


Long Lost Relatives offers a great list of free e-books that could help your genealogy business. Click here to check it out. 


Writing Your Family History – great advice or information on writing your family history
This week’s mention:

I found this great article on self-publishing for those of you thinking of dipping your toe in the waters, In the Mind of the self-published is well worth reading. 

If you read my post on the writing tool Scrivener, then you might find this article helpful, Scrivener - 5 Tips on Organizing Documents


New Genealogy Blog – we will tip our hat to a newcomer who impresses us right out of the box
This week’s mention:  

Molly shares with us, her grandparents relationship through the letters they shared throughout World War II in her blog Brooklyn in Love and at War


Family Recipe - a blog that makes us want to eat, and offers up a great old-fashioned family recipe to share on Family Recipe Friday.
This week's mention: 


My Ancestors and Me shares a wonderful find this week. Nancy shares a cookbook that belonged to her grandmother and written in her grandmother's own hand. Her post  Her Websters Spelling Recipe Book - Cover and Page 1,  shares a couple of recipes from page one of the book. I think I will try the Soft Ginger Bread cookies. Looking forward to see the rest of the book. 
You can find more newcomers at Thomas' list of New Genealogy Blogs at Geneabloggers.  For other great reads, Randy at Genea-Musings offers the Best of the Genea-Blogs.  Greta does a great job at Greta’s Genealogy Bog, she offers the Follow Friday Newsletter each week, click here for this week’s edition

Have a great genealogy week, keep searching and writing!

What's On Your Summer Reading List?


Summer is officially here.  For me that means time with family, vacations and Barbecues.  I also love to take some time during these warm weather months to a get a little extra reading done.  I love creating a reading list of books for the summer months.  Books I can absorb in my lounger, with a tall cool drink while enjoying our few short months of semi-tropical weather in the Great White North.

 I have been preparing my list of summer books, some of them genealogy/family history based books, some of them not so much.  I do have other interests besides family history (surprisingly).
 I think I need a few more to fill in the weeks ahead, so here is what’s on my list, if anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear from you. 

What is on your summer reading list?

I usually like to read novels based on family history.  I love to see how other writers have taken their ancestor’s stories and turned them into books. For this reason, I will be reading the following

Oh, Beautiful: An American Family in the 20th CenturyOh Beautiful; An American Family in the 20th Century by John Paul Godges - I have recently downloaded this to my Kindle. However, I understand the hard copy is a physically beautiful book.  If you’re a book junkie, this might be one worth picking up.

Shaking the Family Tree: Blue Bloods, Black Sheeps and Other Obsessions of an Accidental Genealogist by Buzzy Jackson - Buzzy takes a look at her own family tree and the obsessive world of genealogists. I think I will find this one highly relatable.

The Journey Takers by Leslie Albrecht Huber - The author traces her ancestor’s journeys from Germany, England and Sweden to the US.

I will then turn my thoughts to historical fiction. For obvious seasons, as a family historian I like history.  I know, historical fiction is not history, but it does transport you back to a time and place that we as family historians love to ponder and usually with a great story attached.  From a writer’s perspective, I like to compare the writing of a family history story to historical fiction. I’m interested in marrying the two mediums. For this reason, my historical fiction read this summer will be...

Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy)Fall of Giants by Ken Follett - It’s a big book weighing in at 985 pages and the first in a trilogy so I will leave it at the one for now. 

In addition, to encourage the writer in me.....

The Writing LifeThe Writing Life by Annie Dillard - this is not a how to writing book but more of the authors account of what it’s like to live day in and day as a writer, not as romantic as you think.  Annie Dillard has written eleven books, including the memoir of her parents, An American Childhood; the Northwest pioneer epic The Living; and the nonfiction narrative Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Based on the above novels, I think Annie Dillard represents a great learning example for family history writers. You can in fact get three of her most popular novels in a collection:  Three by Annie Dillard; An America Childhood; The Writing Life, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.

I have a few others on list, as part of my book club. Just some good fiction, I am currently reading The Kitchen House

I also hope to get to The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar- Author Robert Alexander re-creates the story of the final days of Nicholas and Alexandra as seen through the eyes of their kitchen boy. 

Finally, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand – A story about an unlikely relationship between a retired Major and a local shopkeeper of Pakistani descendant set in a small England town. 

What’s on your summer reading list? Anything you would like to share.

A Summer Online Genealogy Conference

Last week I posted about what I was looking for in an virtual genealogy conference and what my recommendations would look like. Grace was kind enough to let me know that Family Tree University had just announced their Summer 2011 Virtual Conference. Therefore, I thought I would take a closer look at it for you guys and give you the lowdown.

First some of the details. This conference is scheduled for Friday Aug 19th to Sunday August 21, 2011. There are currently planned 15 pre-recorded video classes that will occur over these 3 days. There will also be live chats and forums occurring during or after the presentations, I’m not clear on that just yet. Family Tree University staff and the instructors will be a part of the chat.

The cost is $199.00 and if you register before July 15th you can grab the early bird special of $149.00. The price is right.

For genealogy conferences this is definitely a step in the right direction. However, I think the dates may be a hindrance to many. Not to discourage you, by all means if it meets your criteria then go for it. But for me I prefer conferences in the winter or early spring, especially online when I am house bound by the cold Canadian winters. August is usually reserved for holidays, kids and vacations. I tend to use the summer months for cemetery hunting, genealogy trips while the weather is good and save my online learning and hunting for the long winter months.

I was a little disappointed to learn that the classes are pre-recorded. While this is wonderful for those who can’t fit it into the schedule, and can’t attend all of the lectures, it does take away from the urgency and the feel of coming together as a community online, and learning live and interacting, an experience I valued in other online conferences. I prefer the idea of them being live during the weekend, however, once they are completed the recorded lecture is then posted for those who have paid there registration fee, and one can download it at their discretion. Or if they can’t attend them all or miss a couple they can download it later. From personal experience, I know if I commit to the three days, I will set the time aside. I have downloaded sessions I couldn’t attend only to never find the time to get back to them. I guess for me, it works better if I'm into a forced dedicated time situation.

I think this conference is great for beginners, based on the choices of classes currently being offered. Some great presenters who can offer some good solid research techniques, Lisa Louise Cooke with Goggle Surname Search Secrets, Build Your Research Toolbox with Thomas MacEntee, and Making Sense of Pre-1850 Censuses with Maureen Taylor and Using Naturalization Records with Lisa A. Alzo. These are strong presenters with some good solid information to share. Although, for those of us who have been around for awhile we may not find these topics new and fresh. For instance, Build Your Research Toolbox has been offered before through Legacy Family Tree. I listened in on a couple of other presentations on Goggle research techniques by Lisa. I’m not discounting them by any means, and I recommend them highly if you haven’t seen these speakers in action. Personally, I was looking for lectures that were bringing some new to the table, that would speak to me, something that said this is new and I can’t miss out.

If you’re a more experienced researcher, these courses may come more as a refresher course. I’ve often sat in on a lecture I thought would have nothing new to offer me and have been pleasantly surprised, clearly I don’t know it all.

Only some of the agenda has been released at this point and the full 3 day program will be revealed in due time. I will keep you posted perhaps there will be something for the intermediate/advanced family historian. Regardless, for those getting their feet wet this is a great place to start and you will walk away with a ton of information and certainly get value for your money.

Although there is no mention to an Exhibitors hall as previously mention in my Recommendations for a Virtual Genealogy Conference, there is mention of a swag bag of freebies from ShopFamilyTree.com

So we will follow this new virtual conference, and see how this form of conferences develops in the coming months and year along with any others that may surface. Let me know if you attend and your review of the conference. I’m still on the fence post about attending, I will wait and see the entire 3 day program before deciding. I will keep you posted.

Does this virtual conference meet what your looking for in an online conference? Will you be attending?

Monday Morning Mentions


Monday Morning Mentions is an opportunity to reflect on what has been happening at the Armchair Genealogist this past week over my morning cappuccino and give a nod to some of my peers who captured my attention in the blogging community.


If you want to see what ranked in my Google Reader this week click, The Armchair Genealogist's Google Reader Highlights 

You can also find me on Facebook. Stop by and leave a message. I often will link some great finds there as well. 

You can also follow me on twitter at @LynnPal or my twitter paper The Armchair Genealogist Journal. 

At the Armchair Genealogist this week, posts included the following: 



Each week I’m choosing four blogs that deserve a shout out, they will be in the form of 4 categories, Internet Genealogy, Family History Writing, a New Blog and a blog that posted a great old-fashioned family recipe. OK some weeks I choose more than 4 just because it to hard to pick just one, and it's my blog so I can change the rules. 

Internet Genealogy – a great genealogy or internet tip that will benefit any armchair genealogist
This week’s mention:


A Patient Genealogist shares a  website she finds very useful,  in her blog about the  Family History Archives . The Family History Archives is a collection of published genealogy and family history books. It is part of the Family Search website, and definitely a worthwhile online resource.


Writing Your Family History – great advice or information on writing your family history
This week’s mention:

Stories to Tell again this week offered a thought provoking and timely post entitled A Father's Day Challenge: Preserve Your Family HistoryThis website offers family history book publishing services, you can also find some helpful articles to guide you through the process.  

New Genealogy Blog – we will tip our hat to a newcomer who impresses us right out of the box
This week’s mention:  


This week I have taken a shine to Nuts From the Tree. The author is  taking over as the family historian and learning the ropes from her Mom.  Love the approach of this new blog. 


Family Recipe - a blog that makes us want to eat, and offers up a great old-fashioned family recipe to share on Family Recipe Friday.
This week's mention: 


This week Swiss Steak, caught my attention. Not because I'm Swiss or that even this recipe is (Really why did it get its name?) but I remember my Mom making this often. You can check it out at Mascot Manor Genealogy
You can find more newcomers at Thomas' list of New Genealogy Blogs at Geneabloggers.  For other great reads, Randy at Genea-Musings offers the Best of the Genea-Blogs.  Greta does a great job at Greta’s Genealogy Bog, she offers the Follow Friday Newsletter each week, click here for this week’s edition. Elizabeth at Little Bytes of Life offers her Best Bytes for the week here.

Have a great genealogy week, keep searching and writing!

My Dad



Ken is best described as a dedicated family man, with an incredible passion for sports and an entrepreneurial spirit. 

Kenneth George was born June 3rd, 1938 to Ruth Vogel and Jerome Kowalsky in Preston, Ontario.  At age five, Ken moved to Simcoe with his family.  He attended St. Mary’s School, a two-room schoolhouse run by all nun teachers. In 1955, he graduated from Simcoe High School.

As a kid, sports meant everything. Ken played on four Ontario baseball championship teams and in two championship games. He played an Ontario Midget Hockey Championship in 1952-53. During his late teens and early twenties, he played baseball for St. Mary’s CYO commercial league. He pitched a no hitter striking out 19 batters in a 7-inning game and hitting a home run, while brother Earl caught for him, all in the same game. It stands out as a highlight of his sports career.

Less than 1 year apart in age, Ken and Earl were close. In the summer, they lived in Wellington Park playing and watching ball games. They spent hours playing in the dingle bush, pretending they were in the jungle. Ken and Earl played catch for countless hours, once breaking a car window; the driver gave Earl a dollar for not running away. In the winter, they played hockey on the ice rink in Wellington Park.  As a father, he would later re-create an ice rink in the backyard for his kids.

Ken enjoyed visits to Kitchener to visit his family. His favourite place was Aunt Maime and Uncle Ed's; she would make them homemade fries and root beer, a big treat. Ken remembers sleepovers at Grandma and Grandpa Vogels, pulling two big armchairs together for his bed. Grandpa Vogel had a chicken coop,  and Ken recalls his Grandfather  placing the chicken’s neck in two large nails in floor, turning the nails so the chicken was caught, with one swing of a small chopper the chicken would flop around for a short time with  no head.

Years later, when Grandpa Vogel would come to Simcoe to visit his daughter, Ruth would call Ken to come and cut his Grandfather’s hair. Ken always saw his Grandfather as a very jolly rotund man, however,  in his final days in the nursing home we was only a whisper of himself, Ken recalls how sad he felt to see him that way.  

Ken worked summer jobs at Canadian Canners and for Ralph Bint Construction. His first full time job was with the British Knit making $25.00 a week.  They sold clothes by catalogue and Ken printed the catalogues. The business closed and Ken started with Simcoe Job Print.  This business moved to Pond Street and became R.H. Perry Printing Ltd.  Ken spent 13 years with Bob Perry, and brought brother Bob into the business.  An opportunity to purchase the Simcoe Reformer printing division became available and with brother’s Bob and Rick, Second Ave Printing was born in 1969. This would be a big risk for Ken, but the risk would pay off, he retired 51 years later and sold his share of the business to son Jeff.

Ken first saw Jeannine Desmarais bowling in the St. Mary’s bowling league. She started to attend Regis Club (a club for out school single people) which Ken had been attending. Ken proposed to Jeannine after Midnight Mass Christmas 1959 in her parent’s home. They were married on May 28th, 1960 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Simcoe, Ontario.

Ken continued sports throughout his adult life. He took up umpiring as means of supplementing his income for his young family, often taking son Jeff to the games with him.  He admits although a better ballplayer, his first love was always hockey. He spent 26 years playing competitive hockey then transitioned to pickup hockey until he hung his skates up at the age of 69.  

Ken and Jeannine and their six children spent summer days around the pool and evenings at the ballpark.   All celebrations revolved around the family coming together with lots of great food, a tradition that remains today.  Sunday brunch and dinners were popular as well as Christmas Eve's were fondly remembered spending them with Grandma and Grandpa Kowalsky and Aunt Donna.

Church has played a prominent role in Ken’s life, early as a young altar server, then as a Eucharistic Minister for over 25 years. He is an honorary life member of the Knights of Columbus (51 years) and former financial secretary. He is the President of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

As a successful businessperson and an accomplished athlete, a husband with a proud 50-year marriage, wonderful children and plenty of healthful and happy grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Ken trusts this will be is his enduring legacy. 

                                                                Happy Father's Day Dad! 

Recommendations for a Virtual Genealogy Conference


It comes as no surprise to my readers that I am a big fan of online conferences. With each online conference, (I have attended others outside of genealogy) I learn more and more about what appeals to me when I attend these virtual conferences.

Like many of you, this past Saturday, I participated in the SCGS Live Video Streaming of some of the lectures taking place in Southern California.

Live Streaming of genealogy conferences is really quite new, with Rootstech breaking the way earlier this year. I have no doubt others will follow, and certainly, next year there will be more changes and improvements to the online genealogy conference.

I don’t want to take this opportunity to pick away at Saturday’s lectures but rather applaud them for offering up the free lectures to those of us at home.

I know with time there will be changes and as someone who has attended other conferences I think I can offer up a few recommendations for those organizations that are looking to take their virtual conference to the next level.

I am more than willing to pay for an online conference. These suggestions are based on the family historian paying for the virtual conference, as many of the ideas I am about to suggest take time and money to implement.  Assuming this is the path we are headed with genealogy conferences, and I believe we are, here are my recommendations.


  •   Plenty of advance time to register – I like to be able to clear my weekend for these events and prepare my family for my somewhat lack of attention to them.  I would also like to be able to decide which conferences I wish to attend , assuming there will be more than one available to choose from in the near future. Just as I like to size up which conference I wish to attend in person, I wish for the same opportunity in a virtual conference.  Therefore, a little lead-time to prepare my budget and myself would be nice.
  • Multiple Days – Yup, I would like attend for more than just one day. Just like those attending in person, I would like to be able to attend for 3 days because perhaps I can, or one day or two days will work better for me. Flexibility is the key for the consumer. 

  • Top Notch Technology – I have attended conferences that were strictly audio, video is not as important to me, put  a power  point slide show with the audio and notes I can download are very important. Some speakers talk very quickly, so notes and slide shows go along way if video proves to be a problem or more costly.  Don’t skimp here, free or not, nothing is more frustrating than faulty technology, nothing will send a customer away faster.
  • Ability to download recordings for listening to later – this gives me the option of listening later to a seminars that didn’t fit into my schedule or a lecture I want to review at my own pace.
  •  The Basics  – this in my mind would be the bare minimum I would expect to pay for, attendance of all available online lectures, all lecture notes, the ability to download all online lectures after the fact.                                       
  •  An online exhibitor’s halls - the ability to access an online exhibitors hall, where I can follow links to their websites, participate in any specials or free e-books or downloads. These are usually done in exchange for email addresses, and I’m ok with that. I like the free stuff. Bring it on.
  • Different levels of packages at different price points - I don’t expect to make this too complicated for the organizers.  Perhaps, a couple of options for those who want the bare bones basics and others who want the bells and whistles.  For example:    Standard Package- attendance of any of the online featured seminars of your choice with download capabilities  Premium Package –access to Exhibitors hall, downloads, free subscriptions, e-books etc. 
  • Value for the Money – I have no problem paying for a virtual conference. I have been known to pay up to $200.00 for a 3-day online conference.  I felt I got my monies worth on those occasions and walked away with a sense of rejuvenation and motivation that I get from attending a live conference. I would love to see the genealogy conference come to this point in the near future.  If all of the above suggestions were implemented, I definitely feel I was getting value for my money.  I believe instead of attending one conference a year in person, which I would continue to do, I would attend maybe 3 virtual conferences each year along with the one I attend in person. This is a win-win for everyone.  

What are you looking for in an online genealogy conference?  Are there any recommendations you would like to add to the the list? 


Monday Morning Mentions

Monday Morning Mentions is an opportunity to reflect on what has been happening at the Armchair Genealogist this past week over my morning cappuccino and give a nod to some of my peers who captured my attention in the blogging community.


If you want to see what ranked in my Google Reader this week click, The Armchair Genealogist's Google Reader Highlights 

You can also find me on Facebook. Stop by and leave a message. I often will link some great finds there as well. 

You can also follow me on twitter at @LynnPal or my twitter paper The Armchair Genealogist Journal. 

At the Armchair Genealogist this week, posts included the following: 


Each week I’m choosing four blogs that deserve a shout out, they will be in the form of 4 categories, Internet Genealogy, Family History Writing, a New Blog and a blog that posted a great old-fashioned family recipe. OK some weeks I choose more than 4 just because it to hard to pick just one, and it's my blog so I can change the rules. 

Internet Genealogy – a great genealogy or internet tip that will benefit any armchair genealogist
This week’s mention:

I really enjoyed Betsy Cross' post Why is Family History So Easy? Betsy reflects on how people get in the way of their own progress and the fear of the commitment to the project. I feel the same way about those who procrastinate when it comes to writing their family history book. Regardless Betsy shares her biggest obstacle, getting organized. Check it out on her blog Remember

Michael Hyatt offers a wonderful tool for bloggers. If your a genealogy blogger looking for a organizational tool Michael shows you how he uses Evernote as his "blogging workbench" in his post How to Use Evernote as a Blogger



Writing Your Family History – great advice or information on writing your family history
This week’s mention:

Stories to Tell offers a great post entitled Plan Your Family History Book Sooner Rather Than Later. This website offers family history book publishing services, you can also find some helpful articles to guide you through the process. 

New Genealogy Blog – we will tip our hat to a newcomer who impresses us right out of the box
This week’s mention:  

Anne's Genealogy History Blog is doing a great job of getting up to speed as a genealogy blogger, she shares her impressions of attending the Virtual SCGS conference this past weekend in her post SCGS Jamboree Live Stream Sessions


Family Recipe - a blog that makes us want to eat, and offers up a great old-fashioned family recipe to share on Family Recipe Friday.
This week's mention: 
Cyndi from Mountain Genealogists brings us an interesting recipe in her post this week for Family Recipe Friday.  Cyndi shares Fried Poke, a recipe she recalls dearly from her childhood.    
You can find more newcomers at Thomas' list of New Genealogy Blogs at Geneabloggers.  For other great reads, Randy at Genea-Musings offers the Best of the Genea-Blogs.  Greta does a great job at Greta’s Genealogy Bog, she offers the Follow Friday Newsletter each week, click here for this week’s edition. Elizabeth at Little Bytes of Life offers her Best Bytes for the week here.

Have a great genealogy week, keep searching and writing!

More Irish Genealogy News - 95,000 Church Marriage Records Go Live!


This week the Irish Family History Foundation announced the online release of 95,000 church marriage records, a combination of Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland parishes. This is a huge score if your ancestors originated from the county of Wicklow. 

Unfortunately these records are behind a pay-per-view subscription wall, which makes it difficult to ascertain if they are in fact your ancestor without paying to view the transcription itself. Check out the announcement below. 


Wicklow Church Marriage Records Now Available

The Irish Family History Foundation's Online Research Service (ORS) are pleased to announce the availability of an additional 95,000 church marriage records from the Wicklow Family History Centre for Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland parishes in Co. Wicklow.

See the Wicklow Sources List for full details.

Just go to the following site and login using your existing IFHF login details.
http://wicklow.rootsireland.ie

We now have nearly 18.5 million records online.

Remember that you can purchase and spend your credit at any of the IFHF online centres.

Please check out our interactive map to see which centres are currently live.

If you have any questions or comments please check our Online Help and if this does not provide an answer, then do not hesitate to contact us or one or the county centres.


Can a Writing Tool Really Help Your Story - This One Can!

I’m always on the lookout for a new writing tool, something to keep me organized and on target. Perhaps I’m secretly looking for a wonderful invention that will take away all the pains of actually sitting down and accomplishing the task. Of course, I learned that long ago there is no magic wand.

I’ve tried a number of programs in the past and I always end up in the same place with a software program that complicates the entire writing process and creates more work and requires me to study a long dry manual to get started.  

Enter Scrivener.....I wasn’t using this program long before I was soon singing its praises. Simply because there is no huge learning curve, you can be up and using Scrivener in a matter of minutes.

Regardless of whether you are writing your family history book, a fictional novel, a how to book, a magazine article or series of blog posts, Scrivener can organize your projects into efficient and organized binders. Scrivener is a flexible and easy-to-use tool regardless of what you’re writing. 

Scrivener is a word processor that works like a project management tool. Its premise is a simple binder, that stores everything you need for a project, the manuscript, plus all your research including PDF files, pictures, notes and ideas, pretty much everything you can think of.  

Scrivener was initially created for Mac users and has been very successful with great reviews by these users, only recently have they offered a free beta version for Windows.  It is available for download here. This is how I became familiar with Scrivener.

Scrivener is a grand slam for a few reasons.

First, it allows you break a large writing project into small and manageable chunks. It really helps you move past the mindset that this project is too big and overwhelming.  When you’re ready to produce the finished document, it brings all those chunks together into a single document.

Whether you prefer to work with outlines, or index cards, Scrivener gives you options.  I am no longer restricted to the method of the program; I tell the program which method I prefer.

I personally love the corkboard. I am not a linear writer. I often rearrange. If you’re like me, with the corkboard, you can place your story contents on 3x5 cards. You can easily move your content around, even entire chapters. This aids in arranging timelines, scenes, and locations, very valuable in sorting out a family history story.  

You can also simply restructure your draft with drag and drop.

I love that I can type my manuscript while splitting the screen with my research. As I make notes, or come across web pages, PDF files, pictures and even audio/video files, I can imported them into Scrivener as part of that project’s file.  I can import much of my family history research alongside my manuscript for easy viewing. Later when I compile my manuscript, these items are not included. Scrivener supports importing documents in RTF, HTML, TXT, PDF, web archive, bmp, gif, ico, jpg, aif, and other formats.
There are so many features to Scrivener I can’t begin to list them all here. However, no worries, Scrivener is not meant to overwhelm you. Learn as you go. The manual is easy to read.

If you really want to make the most of Scrivener, then I suggest buying an e-book for only $5.99 called Writing a Novel with Scrivener. Author David Hewson offers a personal guide on how he used Scrivener to create a novel, 5 novels to be exact.  Again, an easy read, David really focuses in on the features he uses the most and gives you some insight into how he uses them to create his novels.

 This is not a manual but a how to write a novel with Scrivener. He takes users through the basic processes of structuring a full-length novel, writing and developing the story, then delivering either it as a manuscript for an agent or publisher or as an ebook direct to Kindle or iBook.

Keep in mind he wrote this for Mac users but the few differences at this point do not obstruct the merit of this book for Window users. 

 As I have only tried the Windows version, I can only speculate that the Mac version has a few added bells and whistles. Scrivener for Windows will run on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.  

All I can say is sign me up. I can't wait to hand over my money for this program. When Scrivener for Windows goes on sale, it will cost $40.00 for the regular licence and $35.00 for the education licence. Remember if you wish to give it try the Windows version, you can download the free Beta version here. For Mac users click here

Rarely do I endorse a program so whole-heartedly but Scrivener is a winner.What I love most about Scrivener while it won’t do the writing for you, it also won’t get in your way either! search is over the perfect writing tool has arrived. 

Go ahead give Scrivener a try, you'll be one step closer to finishing that book. 

Here's a quick video outlining its basic features