For those researchers who use their iPhone and an online cloud storage service [like Evernote or DropBox] to scan and store documents, there is one main complaint. If you scan [or take a photo of] a document, you're not able to attach any notes to it or citation information. Well, I've found two apps that work together to help you with this process. So. This is a 2 app how-to / review. [Lucky you cuz it's a long post.. But? It has pictures.] The first app is a scanner app called GeniusScan+, and the second is GoodReader which is a PDF reader app with some pretty rockin' annotation capabilities. I'll go over the scanner first, then the PDF reader, which is the exact workflow you would use when you're out and about collecting documents.
Before we get started, this how-to / review assumes you have downloaded [bought] both of these apps.
This thing really is a genius. There's a free version but it doesn't support exporting to the cloud [boo], but the one that can export to the cloud is well worth it's price. Once you've uploaded the app here are the steps to scan a document, photo, or book:
The document that I've used for this demo is a copy of my 2nd great grandfather's death certificate. I downloaded it from FamilySearch.org, but we're going to pretend that I scanned it. There are several things I know that are not correct on there, or at the very least things I need to look into. So. I want to mark them, write down a quick note, and place the citation info on the bottom of it so that I can go back later and create the full citation. [You know, to be a good little genealogist. =) ] Following are the steps to do this:
Below is another gallery of screenshots, but this time it's of the GoodReader App screenshots. Again, I tried to include as many steps as possible. And they are in order from left to right.
If I had just wanted to add citation information, I could have just done that. Also, I could've put the citation information in a sticky note. There are a lot of options with GoodReader and my example above is just one way you can use it. GoodReader has the following features:
The Bottom Line
These are some pretty awesome apps that can really help a researcher out when they're on the go. [And who's not these days?] However, they aren't free. But? They're cheap. Here's the lowdown on where you can find them, how much change you need to look for in your couch [or sofa if you're a sofa person. I'm not, so...] cushion so you can purchase them, and what kind of devices you can get them on:
It's time to do some more genealogy celebrating. Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. premieres Sunday, 25 Mar 2012 on PBS at 7pm CST. I love this show just as much as I do NBC's WDYTYA?. There will be 20 celebrities featured with 2 being shown in each episode. The list of celebrities includes:
And? I like that it's presented differently than Who Do You Think You Are? [WDYTYA?]. Professor Gates presents the celebrity's story to them, and I like that format. Now, before everyone gets all upset about the fact that less research is shown in this show which was a complaint of Gates' last genealogy-related show Faces of America, let me explain myself [further than what I already have inprevious posts]. After watching these shows many people never go on to perform their own family history research for a multitude of reasons. And from my conversations in real life with non-genealogy people, a common reply that I get from them after answering their question of what I do is, "I never thought about doing that. That would make a great gift."
You see, a huge segment of the populace isn't opposed to family history. They've just never thought about it. It's never been brought to their attention. And it's a shame we don't do this in schools enough. Remember in school when you were learning about the American Revolution and how you had to memorize all those dates and battles? Wouldn't it have been more meaningful and satisfying if you knew how you and your family fit into that historical event? And educators should take note. But I digress...
Anywho, a fraction of this segment of the populace that will not go on to research their family history themselves after watching a genealogy TV program, will go on to pay someone else to do it. They will pay a professional to do the research, and they will get a report detailing the information that the professional was able to find about their family history, much like the celebrities in Professor Gates' show. Therefore, the complaint that his show is unrealistic because it doesn't show the waiting, the brick walls, and all the difficulties of researching is not entirely accurate because for many it is exactly what they will experience [minus the getting to sit down with Professor Gates, of course, being videotaped, and being on TV. However, no one is stopping a professional genealogist from doing something similar. There are many free online video platforms out there and I'm sure there are some clients out there who'd love to be videotaped. Not all, but some. And you're welcome for the idea.]
Therefore, genealogists ~ hobbyists to professionals [especially professionals] ~ should embrace genealogy on TV in all its forms. The way it's presented may not be your reality, but it's someone's reality. It may not be your story, but it's someone's story. [And professionals, you might get some clients from it.]
For more information about the show, please visit the Finding Your Roots site. It's a well-designed site that's full of information. However, it's not so busy or full that it's overwhelming to a beginner, which makes it a nice link to send to those less-enthused about family history as you.
And just to get you more excited, here's a preview of this season's series [Harry is in this clip. *sigh*]:
In case you are unable to view the video on my site, here's a link to it on PBS' site:
Okay. The #WDYTYA Commentary Spreecast last Friday night went pretty well, I think. Especially for my Windows 7 crashing earlier in the afternoon, for me cleaning off Umber, reinstalling Win7, and everything being hunkydory 45 minutes before the Spreecast. There were a few technical difficulties. However, I think that will get better with each show.
It's archived on my Spreecast Channel, but I don't think it'd be very interesting to watch since we only talked 15 minutes before WDYTYA started and during the commercials. Also? We need some more people willing to go on video. I'm not the most entertaining sort. Plus, I think it'd be nice to have someone else's commentary. [And? Sometimes I felt like I was talking to myself. It's like I needed an 'Ed McMahon' on the couch. *snort*] We had a few who wanted to get on video, but there were some technical difficulties. Therefore, I found instructions on how to join a Spreecast, their FAQs page, as well as a how-to video for those who plan to join us for the WDYTYA Commentary Spreecast during this next Friday night's episode with Reba. We'll be starting at 6:45pm CST, which gives us plenty of time to get set up and start gabbing.
Speaking of Reba, I'm SO excited about her episode this Friday, 7pm CST on NBC. I've read her autobiography and I'm a big fan of hers. I think it'll be interesting to see what stories she finds in her tree. I love when she says [in her Oklahoma accent], "I don't think I'll be able to rest until I know, 'Why?'"
I couldn't agree with you more, Reba. [In my Texas accent, of course.] Here's a preview of her episode:
If unable to watch the video on this site, here is a link to watch it on NBC's site:
I've not hidden my feelings when it comes to NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? I absolutely love it. As a researcher I think it's a wonderful tool being used to reach out to the non-genealogy world and exposing them to family history research. And that is why I really don't like what critics of the show are saying. For one, they're never happy. In the first 2 seasons critics were SO concerned about the show showing too much story and not enough research. They wanted the celebrity to do some of the work, not the expert. And now? In the 3rd season, the celebrities are shown doing the work in the clips, and critics are crying out that they don't want to see the celebrities do the work. They're happy that more of the technical aspects are being shown instead of just the story.
And this is just 2 of the complaints of the critics, and I don't think the criticisms from the different seasons are coming from the same people. [At least I hope not. However, I've not been taking names.] One thing I do know is that they're coming from the online genealogy world. I realize that genealogists revel in the technical aspects of researching. After all, that's part of why we do what we do. However, WDYTYA? is not a show for researchers.
WDYTYA? is a show for researchers-to-be and for those who will never be researchers. Putting the Ancestry.com, NBC, and business aspects aside [and don't kid yourself, it's a business], it's a national, if not world, platform that exposes people to the idea of family history. And we, as researchers, can use it as a tool within our own families and communities to get people interested, but please don't think this show is for us and our detailed technical genealogical minds.
And what does the general public like to see? They like drama, scandal, and celebrities. In story form. My proof? Well for one [and I CANNOT believe I'm about to mention this celebrity family on my blog], the Keeping Up with the Kardashians. More proof? Ice Loves Coco, The Apprentice [celebrity version] and Kendra.
And let's not forget shows like Dancing with the Stars where there are mini dramas popping up with every episode.
But? The general public doesn't just love stories involving celebrities. They like the everyday Joe [or Jane] who is suddenly propelled in front of the camera sharing their story full of drama and scandal. Of course eventually some of them become celebrities because of their story and some even achieve cult status. And here's some of the shows on the lovely reality TV shows list:
And let's take a look at one of them as an example ~ American Chopper. Now, Senior and Paulie entertained me for years. Their bike shop reminded me of my Dad's truck and trailer mechanic's shop and paint & body shop. [And Senior reminded me of my Dad. Sort of.] Surprisingly, I know my way around a mechanic's shop and the aspects of running one. I'm also quite familiar with the technical terminology. However, when I watched the show, I didn't sit there and critique every minute detail of the show [and I could have]. Why? Because it was about the ongoing drama between Senior and his son Paulie who practically never agreed on anything. I'm sure bike chop shops around the country watched the show because of their passion for building bikes, and I'm very sure they had criticisms with certain details of the show. But guess what? The show wasn't for them and in a way it wasn't for me either. It was for those voyeurs out there [and the voyeur in me] who wanted to escape our own drama for a while and watch someone else's drama for a while. That's right. Escape our story and watch someone else's story. [For me, it was refreshing to see someone else working for their difficult father-boss.]
And? In the process, we *all* learned something about building a bike whether we wanted to or not because they dovetailed the technical into the story. Not all of it, mind you, just enough to move the story along. And I cannot and will never build a motorcycle. I can promise you that.
And we need to remember that when it comes to the show WDYTYA?. Yes, we need to watch and support it, but let's stop criticizing every detail of the show and embrace the fact that they're trying to tell a story [and the fact that our passion ~genealogy~ is being spotlighted on prime time TV.]. Stop quibbling over gloves or no gloves, too much story and not enough technical, let the celebrities do the work or don't let them do the work.
How about we just let them tell the story? The name of the show is Who Do You Think You Are?, right? Well, I'm not a tree nor a leaf with lines between me and my family members. I don't walk around with my vitals listed on my body. I'm a person with a family. And guess what? My family and I have a story to tell.
Remember: It's not for us. It's for them.
And here's a clip of a deleted scene [That's right. Not shown in last Friday night's episode.] where the research is dovetailed into the story perfectly. Well, both stories ~ Blair Underwood's story of finding his family and his own family's story. It's short, but very moving and revealing.
If unable to watch the video here, here's the link to it on NBC's site:
With the help of RootsTech and FamilySearch.org, I had the honor and privilege to interview Chris van der Kuyl, CEO of the Scotland-based company brightsolid. Brightsolid is the parent company of the genealogy sites Find My Past UK, Find My Past IE, Find My Past AU, Genes Reunited, Scotland's People, The British Newspaper Archive, 1901 Census Online, and 1911 Census. Additionally, they're entering the American market right now with CensusRecords.com and later in the year with Find My Past US.
So, try out CensusRecords.com and see how you like it. And? Let them know how you like it. They really want to know what you think.
Mr. van der Kuyl was an incredible interviewee who made my job very easy, which I am extremely thankful for.
If unable to view the video here, below is the direct link to it on YouTube:
I absolutely cannot wait for this Friday night's episode of WDYTYA? with Blair Underwood. I missed WDYTYA? last Friday night. I really don't think it's such a good idea to start a series, run 2 episodes, and then have a "break" for an awards show. But? I guess you can't really do anything about scheduling. I just think you'd want to train your viewers, so to speak.
Nevertheless, I'm thrilled it's back this Friday night at 7pm CST on NBC. However, I won't be tweeting throughout the show. Too many people on the West Coast complain about it. And even though Twitter is as much mine as it is theirs, I'm just not gonna tweet throughout the show. [However, I'll be scheduling some tweets about the show to go post during the show for the benefit of my non-genealogist Twitter friends.
However, I'll be hosting a Spreecast on my Spreecast Channel. What is Spreecast? It's a social video platform, where I can produce and host a broadcast, of sorts. I can have up to 4 people on screen at a time, and as many people as I want chatting in the chat room as possible. That's right. We'll have a chat room.
So. It'll be like we're watching it together in person, but not.
Why not do a Hangout on Google+?
Spreecast is different than a Hangout in that this is a broadcast on my Spreecast Channel that will be archived on Spreecast. It also has some other capabilities to the broadcast. For example, I could have a second person be a producer [or several someones] and help me with who is on the screen so that I can run the show. This would be very helpful if I were interviewing someone, which I may want to do down the line among other things. Plus, if people don't want to be on camera, they can still participate through the chat room. I'll be keeping up with the chat room while we watch and comment on the show. [And I hope you realize how much I don't want to be on camera, but I'm doing it because I like the idea of the video medium. And that desire is bigger than my hate of me on camera.]
So. Who's in on this little venture of mine? We'll start at 15 minutes before the show [6:45pm CST] and end promptly at 8pm when Geneabloggers goes live on Blog Talk Radio. It's gonna be casual. Nothing formal. Just a bunch of genealogists gabbing about NBC's Who Do You Think You Are?
URL for the Spreecast: http://www.spreecast.com/events/genealogyshowcommentarygoesonair
Info about Joining a Spreecast: http://help.spreecast.com/
Spreecast FAQs: http://help.spreecast.com/faq
And you can RSVP below in the bottom right hand corner of the box below. If you want.
So, See ya' Friday night at 6:45pm CST!
And here's the preview to Blair Underwood's episode that will air this Friday night on NBC:
And if you're unable to watch the video here, here's the direct link to the video:
Clear App on my iPhone.
Just Clear It
I don't believe I've ever played with a simpler app for my iPhone.
Even it's name is simple.
And yet the name says so much. It takes a very mundane and much-hated task ~ List making, especially To-Do lists. Yuck. ~ and makes it fun.
Okay. "Fun" might be too strong of a word. Perhaps pleasant would be better. Or makes it not-so-bad. And? It's intuitive. Very easy to use. No need for a 500-page manual to get the hang of this app. No siree. After downloading it, it took me all of 1 minute to learn the ins and outs of it.
[That last one is probably why they named it Clear. Great marketing. "The App that clears your life."]
Makes your handy-dandy iPhone that much more handy and dandy.
But don't take my word for it. Here's the video:
A Word or Two About the App Store Reviews
Now. I've read the reviews in the App Store on Clear. The main complaint is that it's too simple. In fact, someone listed this whole list [go figure] of things it doesn't do. Seriously? Do people really do all those things to their lists? Really? No wonder the lists aren't getting done. Cuz if they were getting done, you probably wouldn't have been looking for a new app to take care of your lists. [Just a thought.]
You see, I'm a procrastinator. I got it from my Dad. And if given the chance [like with a whole bunch of list features], I could spend all day on my To-Do lists. I could make them pretty. Alphabetize those suckers. Color code them with, like 50 different colors, number them, letter them, letter the numbered list, number the lettered list, set-up monthly tasks to tackle larger tasks, break those monthly tasks into weekly tasks, take a sledgehammer to those weekly tasks and come up with daily tasks, pound those tasks a little more to come up with hourly tasks, and yet pound them some more into tasks by the minute.
Then? I'd schedule a break from all that task-organizing.
Then I'd take that break.
Then I'd feel extremely guilty for not getting anything done, except for my awesome To-Do list.
Yeah. So. I need my list making to be easy. Simple. So, if you're one of those task-mastering champions, then more power to you. And? This app is SO not for you.
Who Can & Can't Get The Clear App
Sorry Android. It's not available for y'all. [Or Microsoft 7, but I think that's probably a given. No?]
Apple products that it IS compatible with:
Gasp! It's not free. But? Go look in the seat cushions of your couch. Scrounge together the buck and buy this app. It's HOT. And not just because it has that 'heat map color coding priority thing' going on either. It's the App of the Week in the App store. The description of the app indicates to get it now while Clear is cheap.
Note: I've no connection whatsoever to the developers of the Clear App or to Realmac software. I just thought it was pretty darn nifty. And easy. And cheap. So I thought I'd pass it along. Kinda like a public service announcement.
Genealogists and family historians, stop what you are doing right now and read this.
You absolutely must read the book In the Blood by Steve Robinson.
Take a break from your own research and see what happens when a very creative person's mind takes some genealogical ideas and fleshes out a story of intrigue, mystery, and murder. If I had been reading a paper copy, I'd call this one a page turner, but as it happens I was reading it on my new Nook Tablet, Valentina. [Yes, I name my gadgets. Makes it easier to curse at them when they don't work.]
I stayed up late to read it. I woke up early [in part because of my Pug, Millie] to read it. And I read when I should have been blogging. It was that good.
It was good to see characters I could relate to on a genealogical level. Mr. Robinson did not assume I was dumb and wouldn't have a clue as to what he was talking about. Through his characters he briefly explained in dialogue or in a action what was going on genealogy-wise, and I appreciated that immensely.
I read a lot, especially suspense murder mysteries, and I can truly say that In the Blood is on par with the best. Then add the genealogy part, and, well, this one is a winner.
Mr. Robinson weaves a multi-layered tale with the flawed protagonist, Jefferson Tayte, being pushed out of his comfort zone to search for the answer. Kinda like what we genealogists and family historians do every day. We research the past looking for answers about our ancestors and our ourselves.
Does Tayte find the answers? I dunno. You're gonna have to read it. All 877 pages of it. [Told you he fleshes it out.]
[Note: I am an affiliate for both Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. What does this mean? Well, if you choose to purchase a copy of the book by selecting one of the image links below, I will receive a small commission for referring you. Does this mean I totally made up this review so that you'd buy a copy? No. If this book sucked, I would have said, "This book sucked." I'll read anything, but I don't suggest books for others to read lightly. If you like murder mysteries and genealogy, then I think you'll like this book. And if you'd like to purchase it, here's some links to help you do that. And if enough people buy it through my links, perhaps I can support my habit of reading. I know my husband would like that. For more information about my associations and affiliations with companies and my disclosure please visit my Disclosure Page.]
Sometimes the Best Stuff is the Stuff You Don't Plan
I had a FAN-tabulous time at RootsTech this year. As I mentioned before, what I did do wasn't what I'd thought I'd be doing.
It was WAY better! Thanks to FamilySearch, I was able to interview a whole slew of genie people. It was an incredible opportunity for me and many, many thanks go to FamilySearch and Paul Nauta for allowing me access to such fascinating people.
Like I mentioned previously, I only attended 1 full session and I attempted 2 others. When I was planning out the sessions to attend prior to RootsTech, I noticed that there weren't many sessions on the User side that interested me due to their level of content. I had picked out some Developer classes to attend, but was lured away from my schedule with interviews, and I gladly went. Hello!?! Interviewed Chris van der Kuyl, the CEO of brightsolid AND Nick Barratt from the Family History Show. Trust me, it was no sacrifice. [And don't tell me you wouldn't have done the same. ;) ]
So, I can't tell you my experiences from sessions because I only went to one, which happened to be about Gamification and Family History ~ a developer session presented by, um, Chris van der Kuyl. I promise I wasn't stalking him. I've a legitimate interest in gamification. Can't you see the 48 Hour Ephemera Challenge Forum gamified? I can, but I digress...
Several of my fellow geneabloggers [Linda & Jenna] expressed that they wished that there had been more technology in the exhibit hall. I agree. Jenna mentioned that there was a bunch of software but no gadgets to play with. Totally agree with her on that one. Personally, I can look and play with software and databases online. A majority of them offer free trials online where I can try them out in the comfort of my home, not in a loud exhibit hall with a busy exhibitor. It would have been nice to play with some tech gadgets. Take them on a test run. FlipPal was there and people were playing [and buying] FlipPals.
What I Think Would Be Cool For Next Year
I have a confession to make. I used to teach Children's Church at our old church. And I found it tough to teach my own kids, especially my son. You see, my son is a "doer learner". He doesn't learn well if he's just sitting there doing nothing. His hands need to be busy. He prefers to move around. And he doesn't usually make eye contact. All sure signs that he's not paying attention, right?
It was exasperating as a mother and a teacher. I felt like a failure because I couldn't even control my own kid. Finally, one Sunday he'd been extra busy in the room. So, I decided to ask him a question or two just to make my point that he needed to sit down, be still, and just listen. And when I asked him the first question, he answered my question beautifully, and, in fact, verbatim. Then I asked the second question. This time something that required his opinion. And what came out of his mouth was remarkably insightful for an elementary kid.
That's when I learned that I needed to sit down, be still, and just listen.
I needed to let him move around. To keep his hands busy. To learn on his terms. To just do.
And what does this have to with RootsTech? Well, in my experience with technology and computers, I've found the best way to learn it, is to jump right in and do. That is, to learn by doing.
I know the workshops were a hit this year because they sold out so quickly, which signaled something for me.
So much so that I'd like to propose something, if I may. I'd like to see more workshops than lectures at RootsTech. More hands on stuff in the exhibit hall but also in the sessions. I don't learn much when I'm sitting there in a too hot/too cold overcrowded/standing-room-only classroom-like room with a speaker up front with a carefully laid out Power Point presentation.
Further, I'd like to see workshops on all levels ~ beginner, intermediate, and advanced ~ teaching us all something by doing. To have moderators & teachers guiding us, not lecturing or presenting. It's really not what they know about the subject. Nope. It's what they can show me how to do.
After all, people don't fork over gobs of money and time to to be talked to. They go to learn. And in this case, they go to learn how technology can help them research and share their genealogy.
Let me repeat that. They go to learn how technology can help them research and share their genealogy.
What part of that statement says 'sit down, be still, and just listen'?
None of it.
It says 'do'.
Oh, to be able to walk into a 1000 yr-old church and look at family church records that go back to the 1600s. *Big sigh*
And? To do it in Italy.
And? Love how Marisa thinks about and wants to know the story. 'Cause that's what it's all about.
If unable to watch the video here, please follow this link to watch on NBC's site: