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5-Minute Prep for Faster Online Research

Are you asking yourself, "how do I make my family history research faster?" Sadly, family history research (genealogy) takes time. Think how long it took to create! But, there are ways to be more efficient and efficient means faster.

One caveat. With genealogy, you want efficient, not just fast. Fast today can mean completely stuck tomorrow!

So, I have a genealogy hack for you that can make your future online genealogy research faster.


here's a genealogy hack for you if you're looking to speed up your online family history research


Spend some time as often as you can on this (daily would be great, weekly almost as good, but monthly is better than nothing).

Studying Genealogy Periodicals

Studying Genealogy Periodicals: Journals, Newsletters, and Magazines


An often underutilized source of self-education is the genealogical journal. Genealogical journals are one of the only ways to learn how to do quality genealogy by studying quality genealogy.
Studying Genealogy Periodicals | The Occasional Genealogist


Print to PDF for Genealogists

Are you fighting with your printer over another genealogy printing job? Maybe you need to go green and print to PDF.

Several years ago I published a post about printing to PDF. It was on my blog for my genealogy services website which I'm now retiring so I'm updating and republishing the article here.

You'll learn how simple it is to print to PDF and why genealogists, in particular, should love this option.

Summer Genealogy Inspiration

Does summer have you avoiding or missing out on genealogy? It might be the weather or maybe it's your summer schedule. No matter the reason, summer can either be a great time to accomplish some genealogy or a genealogical waste-land (that you often don't even understand).

Need some genealogy inspiration? Here are five ideas to break you out of your genealogy rut.

Here are some ideas to shake up your summer genealogy routine.

Genealogy Research Skills Improvement

This isn't my normal type of post. This is essentially a round-up of my own posts related to a specific topic. But a topic you can't easily find with a search or a label.

This post rounds-up my posts about improving your genealogy research skills. If your genealogy skills need a boost, you're in the right place. I hesitate to label these as intermediate skills or advanced skills because we all have different ideas about what is "intermediate" or "advanced" genealogy.

Let's just say these posts will help you improve your genealogy skills. Some people will call these beginning skills, some intermediate, and some will consider them advanced skills. It doesn't matter, your skills have to improve to continue researching your family history.

Evernote Form for Census Correlation
Census Comparisons Continued
Is Your Genealogy Knowledge "Fuzzy?"
"Burned" Counties aren't always "burned"
Success in "Burned Counties" --- easy techniques to start with
Find Every Clue in U.S. Census Records
Cousin Baiting: What is It, Should You Do It?
What's the Opposite of Genealogy?
More Reverse Genealogy
Finding Aids vs. Library Catalogs
Evaluating Evidence: Books
Finding Female Ancestors: The Importance of Siblings
Make Your Genealogy Skills Go Pro
The 3 Genealogy Mistakes You Have to Tame to Improve Your Skills
Genealogy FAN Club: What Is It? Plus What It Is Not.

(looking for something else? This list is for posts that don't have a convenient label. Try the links in the top right, or a label from the right menu to find more from The Occasional Genealogist).


Pick your own genealogy skill to improve from this round-up on The Occasional Genealogist #genealogy #familyhistory

Have You Found the Hidden Features at AncestryDNA?

I really hope this post teaches you nothing. I know, strange to say. But I'd be thrilled if you are already using these in-house autosomal DNA tools from AncestryDNA.

As I'm preparing my new course, Overcoming AncestryDNA Overwhelm, there are some basics I want to make sure are covered. I don't want to keep the information just for those taking the course.
Discover AncestryDNA's Hidden Featuers


In this post, I'll show you three features people treat like they're hidden, point out four "hidden in plain sight" features, make sure you're aware of the basic tools, and give you some hints for using the newly revealed information.

Don't worry, it's not an overwhelming amount of information. When we're done, you'll know where the hidden features are to make every visit to AncestryDNA more productive.

How to Pick the Best DNA Test for Genealogy

So many choices!

Are you interested in using DNA to research your family history but don't have a clue where to start?

This post will give you some information to answer the question "what's the best DNA test for genealogy." I was going to also include "what happens after I test" but that is a subject for another post.
best DNA test for genealogy

What Is the Best DNA Test for Genealogy?

First, there are actually three types of tests you can take. If you know nothing about using DNA for genealogy (referred to as "genetic genealogy"), you are probably thinking about autosomal DNA. That is the type of test you see advertised on T.V.

If you're just getting started, here are my recommendations.

Three Genealogy Shortcuts That Aren't Cheats

There really aren't any shortcuts in genealogy.

Most of the "shortcuts" come in organizing, filing, and using technology--rather than record usage.

It's really about being efficient.

However, I've got three fantastic shortcuts that really can help you. Here are three suggestions to save time while still doing great genealogy.
map and vintage photo with text overlay three genealogy shortcuts that aren't cheats


If you haven't been doing some of the things mentioned (like creating a research plan and keeping a research log) because you're trying to save time, you're not taking a shortcut, you're cheating.

It'll come back to bite you in the end.

Genealogy FAN Club: What Is It? Plus What It Is Not.

image with text overlay do you know what cluster research is
If you got here because you Googled “genealogy FAN club,” you probably are embarking on a really fun stage of your genealogy research. At least I hope you are.
image of vintage fan with text overlay What is a Genealogy FAN Club?


A genealogy FAN club is not a “fan club” for people who are FANatical about genealogy. Although if you’re ready to learn about FAN clubs, you probably are a genealogy fanatic.

Can a Genealogy Checklist Help You?


Do you like the idea of a genealogy checklist? A handy little list you just follow and mark items off so you know where you are?
image of a clipboard and notepad with checklist, text overlay Can a Genealogy Checklist Help You?


I like that idea, too. It sounds much less intimidating than a research plan or doing analysis.

I still often yearn for a nice little checklist to walk me through my research.

But there's a problem. Using genealogy checklists are fraught with perils!

Yes, perils!!!

Finding Her Maiden Name: Develop the Skills to Bust a Brick Wall

free course of genealogy problem solving, brick wall busting

Sometimes I feel like the topic of finding a maiden name has been covered from one end to the other. As far as information being available, out there... somewhere in the world, it has been.

But every day, more people start their family tree for the very first time. They don't know where all that knowledge is. In fact, I think writing about finding a maiden name is probably more valid, simply because there are so many "new" genealogists out there.

So today, I'm launching the very first Occasional Genealogist mini-course. Specifically, it's about finding maiden names, but it's also designed to show you a methodology that can be adapted to any problem you label "impossible" (also called a "brick wall" in genealogy).

Organize Your Genealogy Education with Pinterest

Have you discovered there's a lot you need to learn about genealogy? I have heard that sentiment so many times from readers, lately.

image of a stack of old books with text overlay Organize Your Genealogy Education in Pinterest

Organize Genealogy Articles with Pinterest


So, in this post I want to show you an easy way to keep your (overwhelming amount of) genealogy education sources organized. If you're reading this, I'm guessing you read a lot of online material (that's the education sources I'm referring to). Maybe you read a lot of blog posts.

Genealogy Research Planning: A Recipe for the Chronically Rushed


image for how to eat an elephant with text overlay - recipe for elephant ala genealogy

How to Do Genealogy When You're Short on Time


Today I'm going to give you a recipe for Elephant ala Genealogy. If you don't get it, it's that old joke about "how do you eat an elephant?" The answer is "one bite at a time." It's the same way you plan genealogy research.

This is a bite-sized approach to doing genealogy planning, followed by research, and then the extremely important "reporting" step. This is not a recipe a professional genealogist would use for a client (it's for Occasional Genealogists) so I've adjusted the reporting step to make it easier to get started.

I've laid out this recipe for 15-minute sessions because it's likely you can squeeze that amount of time in somewhere. Research planning of this type is easier if you do it frequently.

You can also do this once a week for a longer time, just try and avoid redoing work each week because you don't remember where you left off. Figure out what you need to do so you know what to do next. That is a super valuable skill to learn so make it part of your process.

Organizing Your Genealogy: Identify Your Real Problem

Genealogists are notorious for their paper piles. Did you know your excessive amount of unfiled or unorganized material (paper or digital) might indicate a more serious genealogical problem?

Messy Desk or More Serious Genealogy Problem?

How to Organize Your Genealogy: Addressing Your Root Problem


Falling prey to this problem is so easy, I do it periodically. Recently I was reminded of what I should be doing. That simple reminder adjusted how I approach my in-progress client work. It was that important.

So today, I want to help you identify the difference between a simple problem with clutter and being disorganized, versus a more serious genealogical problem that IS affecting all your research.

The 3 Genealogy Mistakes You Have to Tame to Improve Your Skills

Do you want to further your genealogy skills so you can research better or faster? Have you run into a problem that seems too "difficult" for your current skill level?

Whatever reason you have for wanting to improve, there are three basic mistakes you have to tame before you can move "up."
There are three genealogy mistakes you must tame before your skills will improve. | The Occasional Genealogist #genealogy #familyhistory

Resource Library Links

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