google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html The Armchair Genealogist: September 2010

Family Recipe Friday - German Potato Salad

This old-fashioned recipe hails from my German Grandmother. Ruth was born in Canada, but lived in the German community of Kitchener, Ontario. She was in  fact a third generation Canadian, but the German influences of her ancestors were evident throughout her home and in her cooking. This is a popular recipe among her descendants.

Grandma Ruth's German Potato Salad

Potatoes, medium 6
Onion, chopped 1
Margarine or butter ¼ cup
Eggs 2
Sour cream ¾ cup
Sugar 3 tbs.
Cider vinegar ¼ cup
Salt 1 tsp.
Pepper pinch

Boil potatoes with skins on, until tender. Keep warm. Sauté onion in butter until clear. Beat eggs and add sour cream, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Add to onion.

Mix well and cook over low heat until thick. Slice potatoes into bite size pieces and add to cream mixture. Toss lightly to coat. Serve Warm.

 Old-Fashioned Recipes from Family Historians

But I'm Not a Writer!

"But I’m not a writer"  is a common excuse I often hear when I am encouraging family historians to record their genealogy in a book format. Many think, they require writing experience or a  journalism diploma or have previously been published at some point in order to write a family history book. That is not true. What is true is that it takes effort, like anything of value in life, it won't happen without hard work, patience and a commitment.

However, if you really want to consider writing a family history book then I have gathered a few tips that will help you commit to the process while developing your skills and confidence to complete the task.

  •  Create a writing area. Clear away a spot where you can write. Some place you don’t have to clean up and put things away each day. If you have to pull things out and put things away every time you sit down to write, it won’t happen. I wrote the majority of my family history book at the dining room table. It doesn’t have to be fancy it just needs to be your dedicated space. 

  •  The Support of Your  Family. Because it will take time away from them. You need to find the time somewhere and that often means giving up some valued family time, but with a supportive family on your side there will be less guilt involved.

  • Learn from Experts. Locate a writing class. There are many classes at local community colleges or online. Particularly, ones that are dedicated to writing family history. I have sourced a few for you. Committing to a class will grow your self-confidence and skills and put you well on your way to writing your family history book.

  •  Gather the necessary tools. You will need a computer, a printer and Internet service, along with a basic set of reference books in order to get your family history writing headed in the right direction. 

  •  Read. Great writers are great readers. Read a variety of  books on writing, books in both fiction and non-fiction and in particular those with historical content. Read critically, paying attention to characters, plots, the use of details. All genres of books can help you find your style and writing voice.

  • Just do it. Don’t spend so much time thinking put doing. It doesn’t matter if the first couple of attempts are garbage. You have to start. Each endeavour will become easier and more rewarding as your skills improve.

  • Write every day. Make time to write every day. Create a daily goal, whether it means 15 minutes or 2 hours. It could mean getting up early, turning off the TV or staying up late. I find mornings work best for me. Carry a notebook, with you because inevitably ideas will come to you when you least expect it and then vanish before you had the chance to write them down.

  • Develop your writing through other avenues. Don’t be afraid of developing your writing through avenues outside of your history book. Writing articles or a blog are great ways to grow your writing experience and will expand your confidence as a writer.

  • Think small. Start by writing small stories, about individual ancestors, or an event that affected your family history. As you begin to develop the individual stories, you will find the path to connecting them into a cohesive family history.

  • Tell the World. There is no better commitment than a verbal one.  By verbalizing your commitment to the world you are more likely to follow through on that commitment. So tell everyone your writing a family history book then make it happen. 

  •  Write something someone wants to read. If your intention is to be published, avoid the trap of writing only for yourself. Instead, write with the reader in mind. By adapting the same skills of most novelists, you will create a family history book your family will want to read.
Don't be fooled, it takes work to write a family history book. You won't win any prizes or publishing contracts but the satisfaction of having written a family history book will be reward enough.

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Your Family History

Upper Canada Land Petitions - Where to find them, What will they tell you?

Before the arrival of the Loyalists and British military settlers, the present-day Province of Ontario was an extension of the Province of Quebec and in 1791 was named Upper Canada. Many early settlers, both military and civilian, submitted petitions to the Governor to obtain Crown land along with sons and daughters of  many Loyalists who were also entitled to free lands. These records became known as the Upper Canada Land Petitions and last week the Library and Archives Canada launched an online database of these land records. This research tool provides access to more than 77,000 references to individuals to lived in Upper Canada between 1783 and 1865.

During this time, each applicant was required to submit a written petition, according to the regulations in force at that date. He or she also had to supply the necessary supporting documentation such as certificates from a local magistrate confirming his or her age, good character, loyalty and identity, or a discharge certificate from the Army or Navy. Unfortunately, in most cases, the documents were returned to the applicant, so they are not included with the land petition.

However, a successful petition identified oneself without any doubt and was be able to justify any special entitlement. Therefore, the petitions will often contain an applicant's story detailing services, losses and sufferings during the American Revolutionary War or the War of 1812. They may also contain discharge certificates, letters of introduction from prominent individuals in Britain, reports by the Surveyor General or the Attorney General on technical and legal matters, and some lists of settlers by region. The petitionner had to pay a small fee for processing the petition up to the point of granting the land.

The database was created from the list of names at the beginning of each bundle of petitions and not from the card index or the actual petitions due to errors and omissions on the index and from the various spellings of names on the petitions as a result handwriting and legibility.

The search screen at the Library and Archives Canada website allows you to search by the name of an individual. It is best to search by surname only, due different spellings of names and sometimes there is no given name on the documents. You can then scroll through the list of results, from which you can obtain a description including, name, place, year of document. By further clicking on a name, a more detailed description is provided including surname and given name, place, year, volume, bundle, petition, page, microfilm and reference.

The actual records have not been digitized but are available on microfilm, and can be access through the interlibrary loan program. If your ancestors were early settlers in Upper Canada then this archive collection is worth investicating at

Family Recipe Friday – French-Canadian Tourtière

A tourtière is a meat pie originating from Quebec, usually made with minced pork, sometimes veal and beef or a combination. It is a traditional part of the Christmas and or Christmas Eve celebration. It has been served by generations of French-Canadians throughout Canada. Tourtière remains a wonderful treat at my family’s Christmas table.

This recipe hails from my mother and her French-Canadian roots. My mother is a 10th generation French-Canadian and many of the traditions I have enjoyed in my childhood are a direct result of her heritage.

Every family seems to have it own version or “original recipe” passed down through the generations. My mother’s family arrived in Canada in mid 17th century; this recipe has been passed through each one of those generations. At Christmas time, my mother makes her tourtière, a tradition she completes each year, without question, committed to memory, taught to her not from a written recipe, but by standing alongside her mother and grandmothers. Only recently, I asked her to write it down for fear it would be lost to future generations. I suspect some of the ingredients have been altered over time based on the convenience of today’s readymade spices. I’m sharing it with you today. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.

(This recipe makes 8-10 pies, my mother makes them in advance and freezes them for Christmas day and for use throughout the holiday season. She sends us each home with our own pie on Christmas Day.

Mom's Tourtière
7 lbs of medium ground pork
3lbs of medium ground beef
4 bay leaves
2 large cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons of  ground clove
3 tablespoons of poultry seasoning
2 teaspoons of ground sage
2 teaspoons of oregano
2 medium onions, chopped
1-2 sleeves of crackers

Place meat in large pot, cover with water, add bay leaves, chopped onions, bring to a boil, stir occasionally until half the moisture is boiled away, reduce heat, and add 1 or 2 sleeves of crushed crackers to thicken and then the remaining spices. Fill pie shells with meat mixture, cover with top crust and bake for 1hour at 350F  until crust is golden brown. Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting and serving, or chill and freeze for future use.

Past From a Recipe...

from DJs Genealogy Desk...Mom's Homemade Soup

Family Recipes Friday
from Finding Our Ancestors.....Milk Pie

Family Recipe Friday: Grandma’s Devil’s Food Cake
from Greg Lamberson's Genealogy Blog

Follow Friday - The Goofy Chick Who Hired a Psychic Genealogist!

The goofy chick is Kerry Scott over at Kerry is a great writer and she has a posted a two part article on hiring a psychic genealogist. Ok, now before you go getting all-dismissive, and high and mighty on me just check out her post. Kerry writes about her little experiment and what lessons she learned. You can read Part 1 here (The Time I Hired a Genealogy Psychic)  and Part 2 here (Was the Genealogy Psychic Worth It? You Be the Judge).  It’s an enjoyable and enlightening read and there is a lesson for all of us. If you’re really a big fan order the t-shirt.
P.S. Make sure you read the comments.

Irish Genealogy - You'll Need More Than Luck

We have all heard that old saying “the luck of the Irish.” After spending the last few years researching my Irish family history I am hard pressed to buy into this. The Irish witnessed over 1000 years of invasion, colonization, exploitation, starvation and mass emigration. Hard to imagine there was any luck going on. As a result, many family historians researching their Irish ancestors aren’t having much luck themselves.

One of the most difficult branches of my family tree has been my elusive Irish ancestors. Years ago, when I began my research and new little about Irish records, I was told I would not find the documents I was looking for because “they all burned.” Well, that person was right, and wrong. What I have come to discover is just this --- the secret to finding your Irish ancestors lies in knowing three important things about your ancestors:

1. What area of Ireland did they originate from,
2. What was their religious orientation
3. And the period in which they lived in Ireland.

After identifying these three facts, you then need to educate yourself on the Irish records that are available.

The person who told me there was a fire was in fact correct. They were referring to the burning of the Dublin Public Records office in 1922 during the Irish Civil War. The Irish Public Records located in the western block of the Four Courts, was used as an ammunition store by the Four Courts garrison. It was the centre of a huge explosion, blowing to pieces one thousand years of Irish state and religious archives. The greatest loss to family historians was the census records from 1821 to 1851, and for that reason, the earliest available complete census records begin in 1901.

The 1861-91 censuses were destroyed by government order during WWII because of the Pulp Initiative.

However, with some education and resourcefulness not all is bleak. Some records survived the fire, and many other records such as civil birth, marriage and death records for various time periods do exist but they are not easily accessible to armchair genealogists.

It has taken me several years to get a handle on Irish records, and I presume that if I had this much trouble many others are just as confused. In this series of posts on Irish Genealogy, I hope I can help a few readers understand the lay of the land when it comes to finding your Irish family history.

In future posts, we will look at the makeup of Ireland understand the Counties, Unions, Baronies, Parishes and Townlands and how to find where your ancestors lived. We will look at where to find census records (those that do exist) and census record substitutes that may help fill in the gap for those loss records. We will look at civil and church records including birth, marriages and death certificates and where to find these elusive records. We will also look at wills and land deeds.

All the while, we will create a list of key online websites in finding your Irish ancestors. As armchair genealogists, our primary focus will be online resources, since most of us are not heading to Ireland anytime soon. (Although it’s on my bucket list.)

Online Irish websites are just as fragmented and confusing as the country itself. There seems to be no one website that covers it all. No, not even Ancestry or Family Search have all the Irish records you are looking for, perhaps in the near future??? In future weeks, we will take a closer look at the websites that can help and what they offer, as we build The Irish Armchair Link List.

Irish Genealogy can be one of the most frustrating, patchy and elusive set of records to uncover. The key to finding your Irish ancestors is in understanding what records do exist and where to find them. I hope I can help.

(By the way, during the gold rush in the United States, many Irish and Irish Americans became successful miners. It is believed the term “ luck of the Irish” was a result of their finding fortune. It carries with it a certain tone of mockery, as if to say, only by pure luck , as opposed to smarts could an Irishman succeed.)

Tuesday's Tip - Those Crushing Three Words - FILE NOT FOUND!

How many times have you searched the internet, seeking a lead on your family history research when you come across a website that sounds promising? You click in anticipation of discovering a hidden treasure only to see in big bold print “File Not Found.” Your heart sinks as your excitement is crushed, and a possible lead has disappeared as fast as it came.

Genealogical sites can come and go for various reasons and that can create a problem, when you think that site may hold important information in your family history research. Your mind immediately goes to the ‘what ifs’. What if this site offered clues to my ancestors? What if that missing link could offer a small piece of information that could break down my brick wall? What if an opportunity has passed me by?

Don’t be discouraged. You can obtain the page you are looking for in a few quick easy steps. Here are two options to turning back time.

If Google produces the File Not Found Page

1. Hit the back button
2. Look for a link to a “cached page” copy of the page
3. Click on Cached
4. This will return a copy of the page as stored in google archives
5. Your search term will be highlighted in yellow within the page.

Another option for finding lost pages is via a non-profit digital library of Internet sites in digital form call the The Wayback Machine at . This site provides free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the public. Enter an Internet address in the search box; the Wayback Machine will present a list of dates showing when that particular page was archived. Click on one of the displayed dates to see the archived page. The asterisk after particular dates designates when the Wayback Machine detected a change in the page.

The advantage of using the Wayback Machine over Google cached pages, the Wayback Machine includes images. From a historical researcher’s perspective, the Wayback Machine offers a view of significant portions of the web, as it existed at times from 1996 to the present as well as recovering sources lost because of URL shifting.

On a side note, The Wayback Machine is hosted by This website also houses one of the largest library collections of interest to family historians, including the American and Canadian libraries collections. It offers millions of books in digital format that includes over 300 city directories and 1000 family histories free for searching, viewing, downloading and printing.

I hope that these tips will help you find your lost link but makes no promises you will find any hidden family history treasures. However, you can be assured no webpage will be left behind.

Family Recipe Friday - Nonna's Sauce

It's harvest time, and that means for me canning season. Every year at this time, I turn approximately 4 bushels of tomatoes in tomato sauce. I know for many of you the idea of canning your own fruits and vegetables is an arduous task. However, in the middle of winter when I'm enjoying the fruits of my labour, and the hardwork is behind me, I'm am grateful for having done the task.

The ritual of canning my own tomatoes each fall is a salute to Italian my mother-in-law, and the generations of women who came before her. I'm sharing with you today her recipe for canning tomato sauce. I consider this recipe to be my greatest treasure. Nonna passed away several years ago and it was the quick thinking of my sister-in-law to it write down her recipe and her knowledge, all inherited bits of information from her mother and grandmothers. Josephine was born in  Caserta, in the Campania region of Italy. My sister-in-law and myself took our turn learning the ropes and I continue the tradition today.

Today, with so much talk of eating healthy and clean,  there is no better time to consider turning back the clock to the days of our ancestors and take up the lost art of preserving and canning our own fruits and vegetables.

Nonna's Sauce

  • Your tomatoes should come fresh from your local farmer if not from your own garden. Roma tomatoes or if you can get your hands on San Marzano tomatoes are ideal.
  • Wash your tomatoes genereously, remove the stem and any dark or white spots.
  • Hand cut the tomatoes and put them into a blender.
  • Pour the blended tomatoes into the separating machine. This machine will separate the skin and seeds on one side and send the juice in a pot on the otherside.
  • Once you have filled a large pot with juice you can begin boiling it on the stove. You can add some salt at this time. This juice will boil for a couple of hours until you are happy with the consistency.
Meanwhile I wash my jars and lids in the dishwasher on sanitizing setting. If they finish before the sauce I will then hold them in the oven keeping them warm and sanitized until the sauce is ready. The lids I boil on the stove and hold in the hot water until ready to jar.

Before you jar place 3-4 fresh basil leaves (from your garden) and fill the jars with the hot sauce. Leave at least 1 inch head room. Attach lids and secure tightly, turn upside down to sit and seal.

When you are ready to use your sauce.

Saute up a little chopped garlic in olive oil, add a jar of sauce, let simmer for 20-30 minutes adding again some fresh or "frozen fresh" basil about 1/2 way through your cooking time along with kosher salt to taste.

This will make a lovely marinara sauce for your favourite pasta.

Family Recipe Friday - A New Blogging Opportunity

I love food and long before my passion for genealogy surfaced, my first and favourite past-time was cooking. It still is very much an enjoyable part of my life. However, these days it fights for time with my genealogy research.

In the last several years, as my genealogy research expanded so did my desire to collect and cook from old-fashioned heritage recipes.  I am recording the family recipes of my mother and grandmothers, some handed down from their grandmothers and great-grandmothers.  Food is such a large part of our story, our cultural identity and as a foodie; I feel the need to create a special place for it.

With the fall weather here, Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon (yup I said it), this is a time when our thoughts turn to traditions, and there is no bigger tradition shared from generation to generation then the family recipes of our ancestors, the recipes of our cultural heritage.

I have decided to start a new blogging meme, and invite my genealogy friends to dedicate a little space to the old-fashioned family recipes of their ancestors.

Family Recipe Friday will be an opportunity to post an old-fashioned family recipe. A recipe inherited from an ancestor,  a recipe you discovered through your genealogy research or perhaps a discovered recipe of your ancestral roots.  I encourage you to join me, write a little story about your recipe and post the recipe on your blog to share with others.

I believe this is a great way for many of us, to not only share our special recipes, but the stories behind them. It provides those of us who just love food to explore some new recipes and cultures. For those of you who were blessed with being raised in the traditions of your ancestors, this allows you the chance to share those memories and recipes with your fellow family historians.

Not only will this provide an opportunity to share recipes amongst ourselves, but invite any foodie or cook seeking an old-fashioned family recipe to discover one from no better place then a family historian.

Therefore, every Friday, post a recipe, with the title Family Recipe Friday, so I can find you. I will feature a recipe each week myself, I will also designate a specific Family Recipes page on my blog linking to your recipes. Thomas at GeneaBloggers will also be covering this blogging meme.

If you don’t have a blog to post your favourite  recipe, email them directly to me at and I will feature it on an a Family Recipe Friday post.

 I am looking forward to exploring together, the recipes of our ancestors.

Nonna's Sauce

Seven Key Lessons to Editing Your Family History Book

Writing a family history book can be a long and arduous task. Approaching the editing stage of your project usually indicates that the end is insight, and most likely it is. However, I encourage you to not wait until your book is complete, before considering how you are going to edit your book. In fact, I encourage you to have a plan in place before you even put one word down on paper.

As a genealogist, someone who deals in facts, it was hard for me to accept that there may be mistakes in my own family history book. A date recorded wrong, a name misspelled, the possibilities are endless as to how you can easily take the enormous amount of facts you have inserted into your family history book, display them in an interesting and readable format, and not come out the other end without an error or two.

Since we are recording our history as a legacy to future generations, we want our information to be accurate. In creating my own family history book, I have learned a great deal about the editing process of a book. Some of these lessons were learned through my own growing pains. I am a writer and not an editor. And despite what you may think, they are two very different creatures. I would like to share seven key lessons I learned in the process of editing a family book. Some I followed, some I learned the hard way. I share them with you in the hopes you can be ahead of my learning curve.

Lesson 1 - Never attempt to be writer and editor. It does not work. You cannot write your book and edit it. You will have looked at it so many times you will never see your errors. Plan to have an individual or better yet an editing team to do the dirty work. This can be friends or family members or if the budget allows you can hire a professional editor.

Lesson 2- Prepare from day one for the editing process. The first day you decide to write your family history book, you need to set up a binder titled Primary Sources. In this binder, you will have a section for every person in your family history book with copies of all their primary sources. Whether that is a birth certificate, a marriage licence, a page from a bible or diary, or a family group sheet, a living family member has completed. This book will later be your editors go to source to ensure all information has been transposed accurately from their primary source.

Lesson 3- Do not take corrections personally. The entire idea is to have another set of eyes objectively read your book. If a page layout is confusing to them, if a story doesn’t flow, a sentence structure is awkward; it is not a personal attack but an opportunity for growth. You want your family to enjoy and get the most out of your hard work and the editing process will bring your work to the next level.

Lesson 4- Regardless of whether you are self-publishing, or using a printer, don’t shy away from paying for a proof or purchasing an advance copy. This allows you to an opportunity to see the final product, check facts again, colours, spacing, quality of pictures etc. It is well worth the investment.

Lesson 5 – Resist the temptation for your book to be “a surprise for the family.” Allow the current family to preview the book, and correct any possible errors prior to going to print, particularly if it contains personal information about themselves.

Lesson 6- There will be mistakes. Despite all your best efforts, be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. It is inevitable, based on the sheer volume of information alone there will be an error or two. If you keep your book small your most likely to have fewer opportunities to make mistakes. However, if you have one shot at a grand book then the volume of information you are handling leaves more room for problems.

Lesson 7 – Family members are very understanding of the work that goes into writing a family history book and are very generous with their praise, and less worried about mistakes. Send out a corrections page that family members can slip into the book, so that both current and future generations cannot be mislead by a transcription error or an oversight.

Related Reading
The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Family History Book

Open Thread: Should Genealogy Volunteers Be Paid?

Last week, Thomas at Geneabloggers started a conversation about the State of Content Wars. The discussion was centred around paid vs. free content, the rush to be the first to get the data online, public domain rights and will companies run out of data to sustain the genealogy online industry.

I left a few comments in regards to this topic, but at the end of the day, my conclusion came down to this: genealogy has become big business.

Many genealogists, beginners and experts alike are more than willing to pay for access to online-digitized documents. Obtaining these documents through the old-fashion way of hauling yourself to various towns, historical societies and archives is certainly not without expense, so I believe many of us prefer the current trend of online access and that is not about to change. This very need has established a very large online market and a demand for more data. Along with conferences, books, online webinars, database subscriptions, software programs and DNA testing, there are plenty of avenues to spend your hard-earned money in this ever-expanding industry.

As Thomas pointed out there seems to be a rush to be the first to get these documents online. Therefore, I have to ask my colleagues and myself would it not be worth it then to pay genealogists and family historians to index these documents as oppose to the current trend of using volunteers.

Take Ancestry for example, (poor Ancestry, that are the example for everything), a publicly traded company with over 1 million subscribers, it has the means to spend major dollars advertising. They are literally everywhere.

I personally pay major dollars in subscription fees each year and have done so for nearly 5 years now, and will continue to do so. This article is not about bashing Ancestry. I love them; I believe they have changed the face of genealogy.

However, my question is this, why are they still using volunteers to index there digital documents? How many for-profit businesses do you know that enjoy the luxury of free labour.

Ancestry’s World Archives Project according to their website offers you an opportunity to help save world historical documents, and states: World Archives Project:

All indexes will remain free to the public on will donate copies of record indexes and images from the project to partnering government archives and genealogy societies.
Images and indexes from the project will be available free to patrons at thousands of subscribing libraries across the U.S. will provide free advertising to partnering genealogy societies.
  •  Note, the indexes you create as a volunteer are free to the public, however, if one wishes to view a document you must pay the subscription fee.
I will make it clear at this point,  I have never volunteered to index for Ancestry or LDS. My problem is with all the money they have to spend on running their perspective businesses, do you not think they should be paying their volunteers. Of course, they would no longer be volunteers but paid employees of Ancestry, or perhaps contracted by Ancestry and paid by the piece.

I don’t suggest this because I want a job. However, my time is valuable and I would love to index, but I have a problem with volunteering my time to index, so they can then charge me to access this very information and make a profit for their shareholders. To me that is not the true definition of volunteering.

It is clear genealogy is a business, expecting people to index your data for free is antiquated. Am I wrong? Would the data not be indexed faster? Would more people be willing to sign up for the task, if they could make a little pocket change? Could paying for these services open doors to a larger work force? Perhaps those who have experience in various languages, and handwriting would feel rewarded for their skills. Would a larger work force equal more data indexed faster, and therefore result in more subscriptions, increasing Ancestry’s revenue and therefore the bottom line?

I’m certain the think tank at Ancestry has reflected on these very matters. Certainly, I cannot be the first to suggest this idea. However, I suspect as long as family historians are willing to volunteer for this task, than they have no reason to change the current situation. Of course, if they paid the workforce, inevitably it would result in raising the subscription rate.

I wonder how many hours have been invested by volunteers over that several years and what would that equate into paid salaries. If that had been the route taken, could Ancestry have been the success that it is today?

I understand when genealogy hit the internet, and family historians realized they could help get these documents online, and by indexing, they could get faster access to these documents then it seemed to make sense to volunteers.

For the most part, this is no longer a not-for-profit industry and to expect your clients to volunteer their time so you can make money for your stockholders is a little on the warped side..... or very smart, because they are making it happen. Companies like Ancestry are not your local genealogical society, with limited resources.

I understand that you can get a discount on your subscription if you index for Ancestry, a 15% discount if you have a World Deluxe Membership. If you are not a subsciption holder you can have access to the orginal documents if you have indexed 900+ images in a quarter.

 Is Ancestry and others, missing a larger part of the population? Perhaps many who are not interested in a subscription, but would be willing to do the work for two reasons, they are good at it and they can make some money and therefore would consider a contract with such companies. I suspect as well those who are paid would more likely commit more time than their volunteer counterparts would.

I can’t exclude the LDS from this, although their site is free, and deemed a non-profit company, I still feel, many would help if they were paid. How could they afford such labour? Well, the LDS certainly have the funds to support a very large undertaking, and that very impressive vault, and the library and the family history centres. They clearly are looking to provide as much free data, and are moving at lightning speed to do just that. Could they not dedicate some of these funds to indexing? However, I have discovered that the LDS is very resourceful in acquiring volunteers. Did you know they use prisoners to transcribe documents? You can read an interesting article on this here. Should they be paid?

Why should the work force for indexing documents be free? What do you think? Have you volunteered? What was your experience? Would you sign up if they offered you a monetary remuneration? Could offering remuneration to genealogists encourage those with more advanced skills to sign up?

Feel free to leave your thoughts or a link to your own blog post response.

Tuesday's Tip- Check Your Thinking - A Pointed Lesson from an Expert

The first time I attended a National Genealogy Conference, I made the wise choice to attend a lecture by Elizabeth Shown Mills. At the time, I had no idea of her stature within the genealogy industry. Clearly by the size of the lecture hall, and the numbers in attendance, standing room only, others new something I didn't. After listening to her speak it was clear, she was a women of importance. Elizabeth has a gift of making you step back and take a look at your research from a different perspective.

I was reminded of that first encounter with her after watching this recent episode on You Tube, called We Are All Cousins published by the National Genealogical Society.  Elizabeth in her very special way reminds us to check our thinking, otherwise we just may be missing an important part of our genealogy research.

If you haven't had the privelege of attending a lecture by Elizabeth Shown Mills, then check out this recent video and if you have an opportunity to attend one of her talks, I would encourage you to make it a priority.