The Bump app on my iPhone.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could exchange contact info at Rootstech without worrying about business cards?
Wouldn't it be nice if I took this awesome photo at Rootstech & I was able to share it with you quickly and almost effortlessly?
Wouldn't it be nice if I could, like, quickly share with you at Rootstech this great app that could help you find more of your dead people efficiently so you don't have to find it online to download?
Wouldn't it be nice if I could quickly share with you at Rootstech an event from my calendar?
Wouldn't it be nice if we could quickly connect on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn?
Guess what!?! We can With the Bump App. Take a look:
Did you see how happy everyone was when they Bumped? I wanna be that happy at Rootstech. Don't you? I want to Bump at Rootstech. Don't you? I've had it on my iPhone since right after I first bought my iPhone, but I noticed at our conferences nobody Bumps. Why don't we Bump? Don't we want to be happy at Rootstech like they are in the Bump video? [Bump. Smile.]
The Bump app is available for the iPhone, iPhone Touch, iPad, and Android. Now, not all the newest features of the Bump app are on the Android version, but they're working on that. The contact info is definitely on there.
And? An iPhone can Bump with an Android phone too. That's right the Bumping is cross platform.
And? It's free.
They even have a short Bump video for the iPhone:
And a short Bump video for the Android:
For more detailed information, take a look at their Frequently Asked Questions page.
So download it. For iOS, get it from iTunes or App Store, and for Android, get it from the Android Market.
Fill-in your contact info.
Then let's Bump at Rootstech.
So we can be happy. [Bump. Smile.]
[Note: I am not affiliated with Bump Technologies nor was I asked to review their app. I just wanna get happy and bump at Rootstech. For more disclosure information please visit my Disclosure Page.]
What's SOPA & PIPA? Why Stop It?
Here's a video about it from FightForTheFuture.org
How to buy technology and gadgets?
Yes, I do reviews of products. Yes, I advertise products and services on my website. I am an affiliate advertiser as I've written on my disclosure page. However, I thought today I'd not try to sell you anything in this blog post. I thought I'd go over how I decide to purchase a technological product. But first? Here's what I don't do:
But when it comes to technological products and gadgets, I have a whole other set of standards that I adhere to simply because I'm not rich. I haven't won the multi-state powerball lottery. And I don't live on my own island. In the Caribbean. With white sands and turquoise waters. [Tweeting.] If I did and had all those things, well, it'd be a different story. I'd buy whatever toy and gadget that I wanted. [Which would be all of them.]
Instead, I have to make intelligent decisions about my technology purchases. I have to weigh needs and budgets, which are usually on opposite ends. [*Big Sigh*] So, how do I do it? This is the process that I go through when trying to decide what to buy.
In other words, I look at my needs and wants then find the correct tech product or gadget that's going to complete me.
Which is how I ended up with Umber and not an iPad. Not that I didn't want an iPad because the inner big overgrown gadget geek in me wants one, but it wasn't going to complete me. Together, Umber, my Nook, and my iPhone? They complete me. *snort*
So, when I mention, suggest, or review a product, I'm presenting it to you. I'm rarely going to say that you MUST get it. Why? Because I have no earthly idea what it's going to take to complete you. Duh. If I could do that I wouldn't be here.
I'd be on my own island.
In the Caribbean.
With white sands and turquoise waters.
No. This isn't the prize. But wouldn't that be nice?
Who won Thomas MacEntee's fantabulous Dropbox for Genealogists webinar-on-cd from Legacy Family Tree Webinars?
Well, it was someone who subscribes to this blog's Genie-Tech Newsletter.
It's...Jenna Mills from the blog, Desperately Seeking Surnames. Have you seen her blog layout? It's beautiful! So go ooooh & aaaaah over her blog & tell her congratulations! BUT before you go drool over it, are you signed up for the Genie-Tech Newsletter? If not, sign up below:
[Note: I am an affiliate of Legacy Family Tree, which means if you click on a link or an image with a link to their website and purchase something, then I will be paid a small referral commission. Also, as a Geneablogger attendee to SCGS's Jamboree 2011, I received a set of webinar-on-cd's fromLegacy Family Tree, and this is where this particular one came from. For more information please visit my Disclosure Page.
A sampling of my ephemera collection.
Over the holidays, my 14yo daughter was watching me do my spontaneous ephemera mystery tweet-a-thon, or whatever you wanna call it. I had visited the antique store [again] and had purchased ephemera that had some identifiers / clues on them. [Again.] I do it all the time actually. I buy other family's stuff, try to identify it and the story behind it, and try to see if a descendant or family member is looking for their ancestor online, then try to reconnect the two. Why? I dunno. Obviously I have a problem. I just know how happy I'd be if someone were to email me and say, "Hey, is this yours?" and it turn out to be a photo of my 2nd great-grandmother, Annie O'Brien. I'd finally be able to find out if I have her to blame for my freckles.
Anywho. My daughter said, "Mom, you should, like, give this thing its own site, make it a 48 hour challenge, and get everybody to work on it together. And you could call it The 48 Hour Ephemera Challenge."
This. This is why I had children. So I don't have to come up with all the brilliant ideas. <grin>
I know a lot of you are like me. You like a good mystery. You like things our ancestors left behind. And you love a good story.
Voila! Here's the forum: http://48hourephemerachallenge.lefora.com/_
It's not perfect. And I'll be fixing it up as we go. But I wanted to start as quickly as possible. I've a stack of people's dreams, hopes, fears, and stories. And they're fading fast. Can you identify them?
So. Welcome, to The 48-Hour Ephemera Challenge Forum, where a new ephemera piece is posted every Friday night, and you have 48 hours to work with others in a forum atmosphere to figure out the story behind the piece using clues from the piece and online resources.
That's it in a nutshell. It's a game. We're gonna have hands on learning with using online resources. It's a game. We're gonna meet a cousin or two hopefully. It's a game. We're gonna solve ephemera mysteries. It's a game. We're gonna learn from each other. It's a game. We're gonna learn how to take our online research and get it to the point of offline research. It's a game. We're gonna hopefully reunite descendants with their ancestors' ephemera. It's a game. We're gonna find family stories. It's a game.
But most importantly? We're gonna have fun. Genealogy-style.
Sometime on late Friday afternoons, I will blog a post announcing the new ephemera piece here on 4YourFamilyStory.com. You can either follow the link on my blog [there's a tab for it now on the menu], or you can check the 48 Hour Ephemera Challenge Forum on Friday's. When you see it, get started.
The following will be the instructions posted with every piece:
Then, we can start looking up information on the internet. When you do find something on the internet include the following in your post to the forum:
Note: We aren't going to research offline, but I want us to get to that point and figure out where we might look if we were to go offline. Archives, library, courthouse, etc.
Y'all ready to find some family stories? You've been challenged. ;)
Genealogy is Back in Primetime
I mentioned inmy previous post that watching the 3rd Season Premier ofNBC's Who Do You Think You Are? makes a good reason for you to go to Rootstech. However, even if you can't make it, you can watch the season premier on Friday, Feb 3rd at 8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT.
3rd Season's Lineup
Take a look at the complete press release from NBC on the Who Do You Think You Are? 3rd Season Premier.
Note: I am an ad affiliate of Ancestry.com, which sponsors NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? series. Please visit my Disclosure Page for more information on my disclosures with vendors.
A deleted scene, Walking Across History, from Lionel Richie's episode from Season 2. Watch more deleted scenes from past episodes on NBC's Who Do You Think You Are?'s website.
The 2nd Annual Rootstech conference will be held 2 Feb 2012 through 4 Feb 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
"Why should I go?" you might ask. "Give me 10 good reasons I should go, Caroline. And I said good."
Okay. I'll give you 10 good reasons you should attend Rootstech 2012:
So. There you go. My 10 good reasons why you should go to Rootstech. It's not to late to register. Visit Rootstech2012's website for more details about registering and the speaker schedule. I'm going. Will I see you there? [Psst. They have a special right now on registration, $149. After Friday, 13 Jan 2012, it will go back up to the regular price of $189.]
Note: I am in no way affiliated with Rootstech or FamilySearch.org. I just think we're gonna have a good time, and I'd like to see you there.
With more and more genealogists being introduced to social media, there are more and more genealogists trying out Twitter. And I still advocate that Twitter is the best way to connect with other like-minded individuals for their genealogical research goals as well as their genealogical social goals. Therefore, I thought I'd give some very simple steps and suggestions for those just starting out on Twitter.
While I could go on and on about different aspects of Twitter, I'm not going to. This is enough for you to start chirping, to test your wings, and to see if you you'd like to learn to soar.
If you have any questions, please let me know in comments. Please remember that the only stupid question is the one you DON'T ask, but really want to ask. So ask. Please.
Oh, and please follow me on twitter: @FamilyStories
And if you liked this article, feel free to let your followers know by clicking the tweet icon below this article and tweeting it to them. Don't forget to add the hashtag: #genealogy
Goals? I've got plenty of those. It's just hard to write them all down, but it's even harder to remember them if I don't write them down. And if I don't write them down, I'm less likely to get them all done. That's why I am SO every lucky that I have a genea-buddy goal goddess. She's organized, on the ball, and I've no doubt she'll keep me on track. Who is this genea-buddy goal goddess? She's Kim Von Aspern-Parker from the Le Maison Duchamp blog. She's already a week ahead of me. But? Duh. She's my Genea-Buddy Goal Goddess. She's right where she should be. We'll be working hard to keep each other on track throughout the year. That's right. I'm going to work real hard to make sure she stays a week ahead of me. ;)
Now for my goals for 2012.
On 4YourFamilyStory Blog
On BloggingGenealogy.com Blog
Houston Genealogy Examiner Column
It's a big list. Can I get it done? I'm gonna try. =)
Screenshot of main screen taken with my iPhone.
_If You’re in a Hurry, the Quick Version
If You’re Not in a Hurry, the 'Get a Cup of Coffee and Get Comfortable' Version
I’ve been asked a few times, “How do you write your family stories?” And I’m always at a loss as what to reply because I don’t know how to explain it. I always start with pre-writing. You know, that boring writing exercise no one wanted to do back when they were in school? Yeah. I brainstorm on paper. But before that, I think about an ancestor and their life. I try to liken them to something in modern times and try to make them real for my readers. [You see, at this point, they’re already real for me. I’ve poked around in their lives. I’ve learned some of their secrets. I’ve brought to light things my ancestors never thought in a million years would be made public knowledge. I’ve even conversed with them. But I digress.]
I definitely look for an angle, usually a humorous one. Okay. I’ll admit to adding a little sarcasm as well. [So sue me.] And there is, of course, a beginning, a middle, and an end. And I kind of tie it all together. [No, not with a ribbon. I’m speaking metaphorically.] And I definitely try to play up the aspects of the story that I think are interesting. Then I add my two cents into the mess [usually in brackets], and I try to talk about the setting and try to explain what was going on at the time. All in a conversational style like we were sitting at a local café talking about family stories over a cup of coffee [or two] and a slice of cherry pie. [And our waitress is Flo from that old T.V. show, Alice. You know the one with the tall hair who was always callin’ everyone ‘Honey’ or ‘Sweetie’ and tellin’ everyone to ‘Kiss my grits!’ when they upset her?]
See? Not very helpful, is it? I’ve never really broken my writing process down to try to explain it to others. I just do it. The creation of it starts in my head, and it keeps growing and growing and growing until my head is about to explode. And I quickly start writing ideas down ‘cause heaven knows I don’t want my head to explode. [I’d just have to clean it up.] Then as I write down the ideas, a story starts to emerge. No, not like a phoenix arising from the ashes. Nothing grand like that. But more like a lost and beaten up soul tripping its way through the murky forest and finally stumbling out of the fog and into the blinding light.
And this is why I’d never suggest to someone who was trying to develop a writing process that they follow mine. However, it looks like I don’t have to worry about trying to explain my writing process, or any writing process for that matter, because someone has already done it. And there’s an app for it as well. That’s right. A writing course tucked into an app that can be accessed with your handy dandy smartphone anywhere you and your smartphone might happen to be.
Screenshot of the 'Getting Started' section.
_Now, I’ve played with the How to Write Your Family History app for several weeks. [And you thought all I was doing was making heritage craft videos over the holidays and messing around on Twitter. *snort*] I wanted to actually take the course, run it through its paces, and compare it to my writing process.
And I’m very pleased with the outcome. Developed by The Professional Writing Academy from the UK, the How to Write Your Family History app is cleverly designed to help the family history researcher learn to write their family history as well as publish it. The course takes you step-by-step through a very sound writing process. As family researchers sometimes we get bogged down in the amount of research we have, and we simply do not know where or how to begin the task of writing. We want our family history to be recorded in an interesting way ~ more than just a ‘who begat who’ tome that no one but the geekiest of genealogy descendants will read, but how do you accomplish this?
Well, with this app, you begin at the beginning. There are 8 main sections of the course:
After every concept is discussed in every section, a ‘Learning Checklist’ is provided so you can evaluate if you are ready to go to the next concept or section. With each point in the checklist, if you are not sure or ready to go on, there are ‘Questions to Ask Yourself’ in order to give you additional information to prepare you for the next section.
Additionally, throughout the app you have the ability to take notes, bookmark, consult the additional reading recommendations, and track your progress through a ‘Course Map’, or outline.
Screenshot of Course Map.
This app is definitely for beginner to intermediate family history writers. In app form, the course is convenient for those who are on the go, but who still have made it a goal to write about their family history in story form. Moreover, it does discuss and help the user to explore the different ways to publish their writing in all its forms. Compared to taking a writing course at a community college or compared to buying numerous books on the subject of writing one’s family history in all its different forms, it is quite affordable at $5.99.
At first glance one might feel some sections could be strengthened with more information. However, as I glance at my large stack of books that fall within the genre of ‘how-to write your family history’ sitting on my bookshelves, I’m not sure if this really is a con in that more information does not necessarily translate into writing. At some point, the writer must make the jump and begin writing, and it’s my opinion this app gives the complete information and suggestions that are needed to learn the writing process and to complete the writing process, and does it in such a way so that it does not intimidate beginners.
Further, it has thought-provoking prompts that would be helpful for the intermediate family history writer to brush-up on their skills and tweak their writing process. I especially enjoyed and appreciated the lists of further reading for the different types of sub-genres of family history. I have always advocated that reading in the genre in which you wish to write is imperative to becoming a better writer. It’s what I like to call the ‘what goes in, comes out’ reading-writing phenomenon [which obviously needs a better title].
This app does what it advertises by teaching the user to write their family history and publish it in the myriad of forms that exist to publish such a history, and I will be incorporating certain aspects of the course into my writing process so that my writing resembles less a lost stumbling blind soul and more a phoenix rising from the ashes. [A flying family story sounds more fun than one that stumbles. Does it not?]
Additionally, I highly recommend visiting The Professional Writing Academy website. Along with this app, they offer online writing courses for all genres, mentoring, and support for those writers of all levels who would like their writing to not only fly, but soar.
Screenshot of Further Reading of Family Stories sub-genre.
Have a genealogy-related app, family history-related app, or an app that can be used for genealogy or family history research in some capacity and need it reviewed? Please contact me.
Disclosure Note: I am not affiliated with The Professional Writing Academy. I was contacted by them to review the app and I received a complimentary copy of the app from them for me to review and keep. However, as always, my opinions based on my use of the app are just that. My opinions based on my use of the app. For more disclosure information please visit my disclosure page.