google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html The Armchair Genealogist: March 2017

Take a Lesson from a Professional Genealogist for less than a Cup of Coffee

Free stuff or next to free stuff doesn't come around too often so when it does it's best we make the most of it. 

Some of you may not be aware of the BCG - Board for Certification of Genealogists. While this organization provides classes that will help you to obtain your certification as a Professional Genealogist they also serve an even wider audience. They offer webinars for the average family historian looking to expand their knowledge but maybe are not necessarily ready to become a certified genealogist.  

You don't have to be seeking professional certification in order to utitlize their on-demand webinars that are available at your convenience.  Some of them are free and some will cost you a few dollars and I mean a few dollars. I've provided a sampling below of what is currently available with links to them. When you click on the link you'll get a preview before the video will stop and ask for your payment. 

The Current Free Ones! 

Kinship Determination: From Generation to Generation by Russell, Judy G.

Fine Wine in a New Bottle: Guidelines for Effective Research and Family Histories by Thomas W. Jones.

A Webinar that Cost Less than a Grande Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks

And then are others which will cost you a few dollars and I mean literally a few dollars, less than a Grande Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks.

Webinars like,

Elementary, My Dear Watson! Solving Your Genealogy Puzzles with Clues You Already Have by James M. Baker 

Complex Evidence What it is, How it Works, Why it Matters by Warren Bittner

'Of Sound Mind and Body' Using Probate Records in Your Research by Michael Hait

The Importance of Context in Record Analysis by Barbara Vines Little

When Worlds Collide: Resolving Conflicts in Genealogical Records by Judy G. Russell

Black Sheep Ancestors and Their Records by Ann Staley

There are plenty more. You can find them on the BCG website. Perhaps, you'll even realize you just might have what it takes to sign up and set your path to becoming a Professional Genealogist. 
For more information about the Board for Certification of Genealogists and genealogy standards, and to view the above videos you can visit The Board for Certification of Genealogists

Who Do You Think You Are? Sunday Night

On this Sunday’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? at 10/9c on TLC, actress Jennifer Grey uncovers the truth about the emigrant grandfather she thought she knew, learning how he survived adversity to become a beacon of his community. Jennifer also uncovers the devastating tragedy that stopped her great-grandmother from ever making it to America.

Catch a Sneak Peak

Irish Genealogy: A book, a webinar, blog posts and free records!

With today being St. Patrick’s Day, there is always a flurry of Irish research approaching the day. So, this year, I thought I would round up some of those articles so you can tap into to a little help for those difficult Irish ancestors. If you're quick, there's also some links to a few websites with free access to Irish records. 

Irish Genealogy Help: DIY and Pro on Genealogy Gems by Lisa Louise Cooke

Why are Irish Records so Weird? By John Grenham at John Grenham – Irish Roots. And here's a link to his webinar of the same name with  Legacy Family Tree Webinars
Don't forget John's book. It's on my bookshelf. 

(affiliate link)

IGRS 80th Anniversary Archives - Last year was the 80th anniversary of the Irish Genealogical Research Society, and they launched a story writing project. They collected stories of readers about their favourite Irish born ancestors.  This is a round-up of those stories, tales of Irish men and women across the last 300 years. Some great insight into the lives of the Irish. 

Terri O’Connell (a good Irish lass) has an 8 Day Irish Research Series she posted last year but still quite relevant.  8 Days of Irish Research – Start here.

FindmyPast is a great a terrific resource for Irish Records. Check out A Complete Beginner’s Guide to FindMyPast Records  and 10 Things You Need to Know When Starting Irish Genealogy Research

Don’t forget our own Irish Research Page for Beginners. 

Saving a Little Green 

And if you’re not sure if you’re Irish, or just how Irish you might be, Ancestry is also offering 20% their DNA kit.

In celebration of St. Patrick’s the following websites are offering free research. Watch the ending dates, they vary. Maybe honour the day by dedicating to a day of Irish Research. 
American Ancestors, the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Service (NEHGS), is celebrating offering free access to its Irish resources from March 15-22. Included are unique databases (notably Boston Catholic parish records) and a guide to Irish genealogy. is offering free access to its Irish collection, until 11:59 pm on Sunday, March 19. 

Findmypast is making their entire collection of Irish records free until Friday, March 17 (6:59 pm CDT).  

Do you have an Irish brick wall? My Irish brick walls are Phelan and Stapleton. What are yours? 

The One Missing Tool in Your Genealogy Toolbox

...can you guess? 

I'll give you a few clues.

  • It has the ability to connect relatives with their family history.
  • It can help families enjoy and engage with their family history.
  • It will aid genealogists in leave a lasting legacy. 
  • It has the ability to format a genealogy into a sustainable shareable format for generations to come. 

Have you figure it out?


Did you guess writing? 

Writing, learning the skill of writing, particularly the skill of crafting family history stories holds incredible power. And yet,  I can bet, it is not the most used tool in your genealogy toolbox. I'll bet, it's not even a tool in your genealogy toolbox. 

Regardless of whether you are a beginner researcher or a veteran, learning to write stories holds incredible power as we mentioned above. And yet, it remains an afterthought for so many. It continues to be one of those things we will get to someday. Despite its ability to change how we can share our family history, and how your family interacts with their family history.

Family historians keep writing at arm's length for many reasons. They don't have the skills, they fear writing or they find it overwhelming. They may not understand story structure and how to create entertaining family history stories. And then there is the excuse, "my research isn't done." 

Well, let's think back to when you started your genealogy journey. Did you know how to do competent research? Did you understand GPS, or citations, or how to apply a methodology to your research work? 

No of course not. You sought this knowledge out, you took classes, went to conferences, attended webinars, read books, and you learned. 

There is no magical talent.

Writing is no different. You can learn to write your family history stories. There is no magical talent. It takes three things, learning skills, adding time for it in your calendar and practice. 

Now, let's take on the last objection:  I'm not done my research. 

So I ask you, when will that be? 

That's what I thought.

Research and Write at the Same Time

It is perfectly acceptable to be researching one ancestor while writing about another. We don't have to wait until we have all the research done. It's acceptable to be writing about one event in an ancestor's life while researching the rest of their life. It's perfectly acceptable to be learning the craft of writing while we research. When the day comes that we are ready to create that legacy book, learning to write will have been checked off the list. The learning curve and time to complete your book will be substantially lessened. 

Also, writing while we research helps us to see what we need in our research, where the gaps lie, what social history we require to tell the story we want to tell. 

So, are you convinced yet that writing is a necessary tool in our genealogy toolbox? And that the time to add it is now, not later, but now.  

If writing is missing from your genealogy toolbox, then consider our upcoming course. 

Learn to turn facts into page-turning scenes.
Learn to add writing to your genealogy toolbox.

Begins Tuesday, March 21, 2017