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UPDATE: I no longer recommend testing at AncestryDNA. Currently, there are severe limitations to the tools they offer and your options for third-party tools are now being limited. If you've already tested at AncestryDNA, this post will help you use those results but for faster results, consider a site with more tools and segment data like MyHeritageDNA. Some suggestions in posts may no longer be available for AncestryDNA results. This is too massive and changing too fast for me to update everything at this time. Are you one of the millions of people who took a DNA test from Ancestry.com? Are you one of the thousands (possibly millions) who is confused or looking for more help with your AncestryDNA test? Do you know if there are AncestryDNA tools? Are they free? Yes, there are tools, some are free. So which ones should you use? There are two tools everyone should be using and they're free. This post will explain how to use these two tools and then also give you four ...
Forms can really help you out in genealogy. They can remind you of all the "things" you need to caputre as well as provide an organizing structure. This post is for lots of kinds of genealogists. You might be: ...on the hunt for the right form to organize your genealogy. ...looking to go deeper with the information you already have to solve a genealogical problem. ...wondering what information successful genealogists keep and use. First, I want to make sure you're not doing "fill-in the blank" genealogy by using forms. I also want to make sure you're not making genealogy harder for yourself. Then I'll talk about a great resource if you want to create your own genealogy forms but aren't sure what to include. This information is also just generally helpful if you need to solve a genealogy problem. Finally, I want to talk about embracing all this new information, even if it seems like way too much. All of this started by me trying to ans...
I've been creating a lot of genealogy forms, guides, charts, cheatsheets, etc. in the last few weeks. I've gotten to the point of summarizing some of the most important steps you need to take, those steps the most occasional of Occasional Genealogists needs to do, even if they have to drop a lot of other "important" steps. Well, maybe I shouldn't call these "steps." These are genealogical things you need to be doing. In this post I want to highlight a simple solution to what I often refer to as the magical genealogy step. This simple solution may or may not directly accomplish the step it helps you with but it has lots of advantages. I've written about it before but need to update some of what I said. This Step Really Feels Like Magic My "magical" genealogy step is writing up your conclusion, that's how we complete proving a genealogical conclusion. So completing a conclusion is a step but writing about your genealogy can ...
This post is part of my Family History Month 2019 Collection. This is the third topic for "DNA Week" but if you've missed  the  Family History Month 2019 Collection , you can sign-up for my free course " The Road to DNA Success ." It will help get you started, with one simple step, on your  Road to DNA Success. You came here today because you want the best DNA tools . OOOOOO, sounds so promising. You're going to break down all your brick walls by picking the perfect tools, easily executing them, and then you'll sit back and relax under your lush family tree. ahhh, relaxing under the family tree No. You're not. Genetic genealogy doesn't work that way. I am going to talk about what I consider the best DNA tools but with a huge caveat. Most people don't need a bunch of DNA tools . If you're Googling and Pinterest searching for the best DNA tools, you could probably be better spending your time. So why are tools so popular...
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). 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 the genealogy process. You just don't have to use a "log." A log was a must in the dark ages, when we did crazy things like ...
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...