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Did the title of this post get you excited, or mad, or just curious? Good! I've got you here now I've got some helpful information. This post is for you if... you struggle to keep a research log. you don't know what a research log is. you're looking for an excuse to justify your lack of keeping a research log. you are a research log nazi and you're making every genealogist you know miserable. That might cover 99% of the genealogists out there (I hope not, I hope more than 1% are successful and happy with their research log but it's possible most people "struggle" even if they keep a log). This post is part of my Family History Month 2019 Collection. If you haven't already, you can get access for free by signing up here . Now, I'm about to burst some bubbles or calm your fury so get ready. You don't just get to NOT keep a research log for your family history research. Tracking all research you do is a VITAL part of th...
One of the top requests I get from genealogists is help doing research planning. I know this was a topic I was always looking for help with even after I was a professional. Last week I started talking about Research Plans but today I want to flesh it out and the freebie(s) in the Family History Month 2019 Collection will help you do that. Today I provided a printable and a digital "Plan to Notes to Report" template. What is this and why would you want it? This is the template that I consider makes genealogy as fast and efficient as possible. The fastest way to (correctly) do genealogy is to keep your notes on a computer (as in only use a computer---I know that's not always possible but I'm just saying that makes the research process as fast as possible without cheating). The template is about reducing the amount of work you redo (before we used computers you would have had to redo much of this work and even before you could take a portable device to a rep...
Today's post is the second for the Family History Month 2019 Collection. If you haven't signed up to get the free resources, you can (through the end of October 2019) at The Occasional Genealogist Academy . Today's freebie is a printable "Research Plan Creator" designed to simplify research planning. In a nutshell, the Creator will have you go from a "goal" that is too broad (which is why so many people think planning their family history research is hard) to an actionable research question and planning. It's really simple but a good reminder if you keep trying to skip planning or dread it because it's too hard. Research Planning for Beginners There are some subtleties you can add to a research plan to improve it but those should happen naturally based on your skills. The more experience you have, the better your plan should be. That means if you are a newer researcher, a simpler plan is OK. This is like in school before you learne...
Happy Family History Month! This is the first post related to the Family History Month 2019 Collection . To kick off the Collection, I've created an exclusive Family History Month Planner (sign-up to get it and all the other freebie's, here ). So why do I create genealogy planners? It's because there are two simple secrets to genealogy success many hobbyists overlook. They are: Planning and Goal Setting There are lots of types of plans and goals you can use in genealogy but the two simplest, that are probably the most overlooked, are related to a planner, as in a calendar or personal schedule. The type of planning I'm going to talk about in this post is planning your time or scheduling. Later this week I'm featuring research planning. This post is also focused on general goal setting like you do in a daily planner not in crafting research goals or asking research questions (I'd consider research planning and research goal setting "skipp...
This is an old post from my original blog. I need to update it but it still has good info and I've referenced it in other posts. I'm moving it here to hopefully motivate myself to update the post! FYI:  Unindexed records are now an even bigger player because that is how you access the records you used to order on microfilm from the Family History Library. Now you can get them online (some from home but others only at a FamilySearch affiliate library). Access the MOST records by using the FamilySearch CATALOG (see why I need to update this post!). The article I mentioned in my post last week provides five great reasons you might not have found your person in online records. I'd like to add a number six and give you a few suggestions to learn more about overcoming this reason. "Number 6" the records aren't indexed. If you know much about online records (genealogical or not) you may easily understand the difference indicated by the terms "online ...
This week I have something a little different. It's my first guest post! Earlier this summer I was completely overwhelmed and my health was even starting to suffer. I'm in a business mentorship this year and one of my fellow program participants is an efficiency expert and productivity coach and she was able to MASSIVELY help me. I got all caught up and the rest of the summer went so much better (good thing, it has been a crazy busy summer and the rest of the year looks to be the same). Why do you care if you're not a business owner? Occasional Genealogists have to be efficient. ...
Do you feel like you never find time for genealogy? Here's a secret, you will rarely ever "find" time for anything. You have to MAKE time. In this post I have seven ways you can make more time in your schedule. This post will describe one way that I think is really important. Then I have a "handout" for you with six more tips! Get the printable of 6 Productivity Tips to Help You Work Smarter, Not Harder . There are also bonus topics sprinkled throughout this post so you can craft your own unique solution to "making" time! ...
Mind mapping is a brainstorming technique where visual diagrams are used to show how thoughts or ideas are connected. The process is commonly used in project planning and presentations. But have you tried it for genealogy? Mind maps look a lot like family trees that got a little loose and crazy. And I know that’s exactly what it feels like when I’m thinking through a difficult genealogy conclusion, analysis, or DNA problem. ...
I hope DNA day got you excited! DNA is such an amazing tool for genealogy. But it is also potentially confusing. Most people have so, so, so many pages of matches and no idea how all of them are related. ...
If you've been bombarded with news of AncestryDNA's new feature, ThruLines™, you may be wondering what it is and what it can do for you. I woke up Friday morning to an email from a research cousin to one of my DNA clients asking and exclaiming all sorts of things about ThruLines™. Basically, she thought the magic of technology was finally happening for her DNA results. So is ThruLines™ like the magic results so many people assume DNA will give? Is it the opposite, a lot of hype that will mislead you? I think it's somewhere in-between, a great time saver when used correctly. ...
Are you trying to make progress using your DNA results but aren't sure what to do? This post is for you. You can try these tips and suggestions to get more from your DNA results. I started this list as part of my post about contacting AncestryDNA matches . These were suggestions of what to do while you wait for a response. You can try these anytime, though. Sometimes you aren't waiting on a response from a DNA match, sometimes you're waiting for the right DNA match or maybe you just don't have time (or the know-how) to do something more involved. These are simple but productive suggestions. What Can You Do While You Wait for DNA Matches to Respond? ...
Is AncestryDNA different? Why are DNA results different from one company versus another? Why are ethnicity results different at every company? I'm not going to address why results (ethnicity or genealogical) are different in this post. I will say they are different and that doesn't make them wrong. If that's what you're looking for, read this post about why your DNA results are not wrong (even if they are different at different companies) . I am going to talk about why using your DNA results (not ethnicity results) is different at AncestryDNA. This is a topic I've gone on tangents on in other posts so I've realized I just need to write a post I can refer to when appropriate. Why is AncestryDNA Different? ...
I'm thinking about renaming this post, "Contacting AncestryDNA Matches: Do It Now!" It is going to take you longer to read this post than it will take to contact SEVERAL matches after you implement my suggestion(s). So what's stopping you?  Maybe it's because... Contacting DNA matches can seem intimidating. It might be because you have so many, or maybe you just don't like contacting people out of the blue. It doesn't matter why, having a plan (and preferably a template) makes it much easier. You can request the templates plus tips and hints from this post, here . In this post, I'm going to help you craft an email template specifically to use at AncestryDNA. Contacting AncestryDNA Matches: Do It Right ...

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