Warning: This post is long, opinionated, and may or may not be a sales pitch. It just depends.
You know [of course you don't], I was in retail and retail management for *counts on fingers* almost 10 years.
And that's not counting the times [in high school] I had to fill-in for the 2 guys at the counter in the Parts Department of my Dad's truck and trailer company when they decided they were both too sick to come in and sell parts to truck drivers. [Both on the same day? Yeah right.]
And that's not counting when I waited on customers when I was in elementary school and junior high at my Mom's pet shop. [That she never liked, but that my Dad bought her because he thought she had way too much time on her hands. *snort*]
And there are some things I learned while working in retail in these different capacities, but one thing I learned was very important.
The customer is always right. [Even if they are completely and absolutely wrong.]
A retail person and salesperson's [And, yes, those are different. Related, but different.] job is to sell the customer what they want.
However, if the customer asks a retail person their opinion on what they're considering buying, then suddenly the retail person has the chance to become a salesperson. I use the word "chance" because they may or may not know anything about the product or service in question. [They're just there to pick up a paycheck so they have money to go out that weekend.]
However, on the off-chance the retail person actually does know something about the product or service, a customer may be able to make an informed purchasing decision.
And, no, you're not on the wrong blog. This is a blog about technology and genealogy. I promise. Just hang tight.
Here's the tie-in.
If you want to purchase a Flip-Pal, I will be more than happy to sell one to you.
They're popular. Everyone wants one. All the genealogists say to get one. They go like hotcakes at the conferences. Everyone seems to have "Flip-Pal fever." And being an affiliate for them, I can tell you they have an awesome commission structure. Therefore, if you want one, I'd be stupid not to sell you one.
However, if you were to ask me if you should buy one, I'd say, "I'm not sure. It depends."
What do you specifically need a scanner for?
I can honestly say ~ if you were asking ~ that you generally should buy a Flip-Pal if the following situation exists:
[Please take notice of the word and in bold above.]
But if you have the following situations, you need to reconsider:
I could go on with the scenarios [because there are definitely more], but what it comes down to is this: It just depends on your situation.
If you want a Flip-Pal, I'll be happy to sell you one.
If you want my opinion on what scanner is right for you and your situation, I'll be glad to give it to you, and then if Amazon sells it, I'll be glad to sell it to you. Or sell you a Flip-Pal if that's right for you.
If you want my opinion on scanners and your situation and then want to buy from someone else [including from a local business because they have a better deal], that's fine too. Contact me or, better yet, comment below because you may have the same situation as someone else.
You can even buy truck and trailer parts and pet supplies from me through Amazon because Amazon sells just about anything and everything. [It's like a one-stop-and-shop shop.]
It just depends.
I'll sell you whatever you want or nothing at all because the customer is always right.
For your convenience, here's some links:
Disclosure: In case it wasn't clear in my blog post, I am a Flip-Pal affiliate and an Amazon affiliate. If you click on any of their links and buy something, I will get a referral commission. [Which is small from Amazon and to make anything more than like what one normally spends on the neighborhood ice cream truck when it comes by, I'd have to have, like, a gazillion people visit my site every month, which I don't. But, hey, the Choco Taco off the ice cream truck is good. And if you don't want to buy anything, that's okay too.]
Click to enlarge.
Findmypast.com means what it says. Back in February while attending the RootsTech 2012 conference, I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing Chris van der Kuyl, CEO of brightsolid, the parent company of Findmypast.com. [Video interview at end of post.] In our interview, Mr. van der Kuyl explained his plans for Findmypast.com and his vision of its entry into the American market. And today marks the momentous fruition of that vision.
I've taken a preliminary look at their site, and I'm very impressed. With it's clean website design, Findmypast.com brings with it a much needed breath of fresh air. Being uncluttered, the Findmypast.com site allows users (especially budding genealogists), to easily navigate its site.
I'm really pleased by the "Get Started" tab wherein a new genealogist can find the correct steps to take in getting started with their family history research. Clearly having D. Joshua Taylor, himself a professional genealogist, on board as Findmypast.com's North American Business Development Manager has made a big impact.
According to one of their press releases sent to me today, Findmypast.com has done their homework:
The launch of findmypast.com follows growing global demand for the records and functionality offered by findmypast’s other sites, says van der Kuyl: “Last year, we had 4.5 million visits to findmypast.co.uk from other countries, led by the U.S., while 55% of findmypast Ireland visits came from outside Ireland.”
Findmypast.com will enter the U.S. market, armed with the unique wealth of its British and Irish genealogical records, as well as its unrivalled ease of search technology and its more flexible payment options.
“We aim to become the go-to family history site, first for Americans of British and Irish descent, and eventually for all Americans”, says van der Kuyl.
Over 40 million Americans or 13% of the total US population report British ancestry, according to the American Community Survey of 2009, although other estimates put the figure as high as 72 million or nearly a quarter of all Americans. Meanwhile, some 40 million Americans report Irish ancestry.
Findmypast.com will offer customers the chance to buy a “World Subscription”, providing access to many unique record sets of particular value to those tracing British or Irish ancestors. These will include:
• The most complete England, Wales and Scotland census collection available anywhere
• The most comprehensive online index of birth, marriage and death records in England and Wales: over 300 million records
• 42 million local parish records, dating back to 1538, and steadily growing
• Passenger lists from ships leaving the UK 1890-1960
• British Army Records 1760-1915
• A fast-growing collection of local UK records dating back to 1700
• Irish vital records dating back to the 13th century, plus millions of unique Irish land, estate, prison and court records
• The British Library’s Newspaper Archives, the world’s greatest newspaper archive [available via findmypast.com by late 2012]
Here's a quick clip from Nov 2011 featuring Ed King, Head of the British Library's Newspaper Collection, and Chris van der Kuyl, Chief Executive of brightsolid being interviewed about The British Library's Newspaper Archives collection which will be available soon on the Findmypast.com site:
Findmypast.com is celebrating their American launch with a limited time introductory Pioneer Offer of just $4.95/month with a 12-month subscription, $59.95/year (normally $20.83/month or $249.95/year).
And just what do you currently receive for the $4.95/month price?
Along with the UK records listed above [with the British Library's Newspaper Archives collection coming in late 2012, you can find:
Of note are Findmypast.com's flexible payment options. As mentioned above, a yearly subscription service is available. However, if your budget or research habits require shorter time periods for performing research, Findmypast.com offers a credit system wherein a user may pay-as-they-go.
In correspondence sent to me today, Tyler Tangalin, Findmypast.com's Marketing Executive in their North American headquarters, indicated, "...new US and overseas collections, some unique to findmypast.com, are being secured and will be announced as they go live online."
With such a low subscription price, now is definitely the time to sign up. It will definitely be interesting to see what further US records Findmypast.com will make available. Indeed, it looks like they have a solid start with a bright future.
Welcome to America, FindmyPast.com!
Note: Please find below my video interview with Chris van der Kuyl taped at Rootstech 2012 back in February as well as an embedded copy of Findmypast.com's latest press release.
No. There are no crystals involved in New Age Genealogy. [Unless, of course, you want them. I dunno. Maybe you do.]
New Age Genealogy is the term I use to describe the hybrid research we do nowadays. You know, the part online and part offline research that we perform.
Many start researching online. And that's not wrong. It's just different than how it used to be done. What it does mean, though, is that we have quite a few folks who start off with a bang online then quickly get stumped because not all the answers are online. In fact, only a small percentage can be found online.
However, we can use our online tools to narrow down where the records we need are offline, and that's important.
New Age Genealogy doesn't mean we do all our research online. It certainly doesn't mean we do it all offline.
What it means is that we use the available tools online that are readily at our disposal in order to be organized with our research, to find the information that can be found online, and to find where additional information might be located offline.
Then we go offline.
It also means we take advantage of educational opportunities both online and offline.
It means after locating online where an ancestor's tombstone is, we hop in our car, give [I say give because mine is voice activated] the address to our GPS, and use our smartphone to take photos and upload them to the internet while we're still at the cemetery. [And perhaps we tweet about it too just because we can.]
It means we talk to people online who we've never met IRL [in real life] and ask questions. We learn from each other.
It means we talk to the folks in our local genealogical society because we realize they know the local history like the back of their hand.
It means we don't only do things a certain way because that's the way they've always been done.
It means we learn from those who have come before us and the standards they've set, and we add all that to our skills set and the technology we have now.
We're results-oriented. We have questions, and we're not afraid to ask them. In fact, we're pretty bold about getting those answers.
And really? If New Age crystals could help us to find our ancestors, you can bet we'd buy some of those too.
However, I haven't heard of New Age crystals helping anyone out with the research process, but I do have a General Record Reminder list that helps me to remember what I should be looking for both online and offline.
Does it have everything listed? No. In fact, feel free to comment below if you think I have forgotten something vital. [*snort* Get it? Vital?]
Does it advocate only online resources? No, don't be silly. Only offline? No, of course not. It's just a general reminder list that I use. It has a few links to online resources where I thought appropriate, but that's it. Links of resources can be tricky as stuff is getting digitized all the time.
And while I think there is nothing wrong with starting online with your research, it's important to realize there are many, many offline resources that need to be searched for in order to answer our burning genealogy and family history questions.
Basically, if we can't find something online, then it's time to look offline for it.
It's time for our research to be whole.
It's time for us to be whole ~ complete.
It's time to be a full-fledged New Age Genealogist.
And if that means turning on some Yanni and purchasing some crystals, then so be it.
Or you can download my General Record Reminder List. You can even customize it to your heart's content. For free.
For how long will it be free? I dunno. I'll have to consult a tarot card reader to decide on that. You know, the ones that set-up shop at dusk in Jackson Square in New Orleans? Yeah. And while I'm there asking them about that perhaps I'll ask about my ancestors too. After the obligatory beignet and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde, 'cause I don't need a tarot card reader to tell me that that's a must. ;)
For OneNote 2010 version:
For OneNote older versions:
For Word, newer versions:
For Word, older versions:
Before I even say yay or nay when it comes to doing research for a client, I have a Research Request Form that I ask them to fill-out. That's right. I make them work before I take a look to see if they should pay me to work.
I do this for a number reasons. It cuts down on miscommunication, and it provides a more accurate picture of the genealogical problem. However, it also encourages the potential client to get any previous work they may have done as well as the information they already have [perhaps just in their heads] down into some viewable form for me as well as for them.
And I realize I may be discouraging potential clients because who wants to do all that work, right?
And I realize I might be giving a potential client the exact help, or coaching, they need to get the job done themselves.
And I'm comfortable with all of the above. It doesn't behoove me to work with and for someone who isn't willing to hand over the information [in whatever form it may be in] they do have. You'd be surprised at how many people like to play "Let's test the genealogist." [Um. You do know you're paying to test me, right?]
And for those who like to research and have been doing it already, helping someone out now ~ even if it means I don't get a client right now ~ goes a long way in building a relationship with someone for down the road when they truly cannot get past a brick wall.
So? In that spirit, I thought I'd share the information from my Research Request Form with some minor revisions making it the "Pre-Research Plan Worksheet". It's pretty duh-kind-of-stuff, but sometimes listing out that duh-kind-of-stuff can help you find the answer. And sometimes the answer is actually in the duh-kind-of-stuff. And I'm making it available to you downloadable as a Miscrosoft OneNote page file and a Word 2010 file, plus older version as well. Then I stuck versions of it over in a public file in Evernote as well as in a public file over in Google Drive.
Following is a description of the parts of the worksheet:
Describe your genealogical problem below.
[If you use a genealogical database software of any kind that allows you to print out or view your target research person in a pedigree chart form, then make it happen. Do it old school and print it out. Or go even older school and fill out a pedigree chart. Or get fancy [and save a tree] and pull it up on your smartphone and/or tablet of choice. And this can take the place of most of the questions below except for this first one. Something to keep in mind: do you have all the other information filled out on your pedigree chart of your Target Research Person, or TRP? How about any of the other folks near them in the pedigree chart? Any blanks?
Sometimes stating what you think is your problem [ *snort* Genealogical problem, that is.] in your own words can help you to focus and narrow the problem down into something workable. Therefore, this is the first question I ask from a potential client.
List the name of your Target Research Person [TRP], their vital information, and locations where they have lived. List as much as you know. Vital information includes dates and locations of birth, marriage, and death. If female, please give maiden name, if known.
This will definitely make you focus on that one ancestor that you need to research on. [On the worksheet, I started you off in a table, but you can add to it as needed.]
List the name of the spouse of the TRP you are wanting researched, their vital information, and the locations of where they have lived. Please list as much information as possible. If female, please include their maiden name, if known.
No, you're not looking for these folks specifically, but sometimes these 'other' people left more of a trail. So taking a look at them should not be overlooked. Remember your ancestors had social networks too. [I talk about this in an article I wrote for my column in Shades of the Departed ~ The ANCESTOR Network Method, p.76 ~ as well as in a guest post I did a while back for MyHeritage.com.]
List the children of the TRP you are wanting researched, their vital information, and the locations of where they lived. Please list as much information as possible. For female children list spouses, if known.
List the parents of the TRP you are wanting researched, their vital information, and the locations of where they lived. Please list as much information as possible. List mother's maiden name, if known.
List the siblings of the main ancestor you are wanting researched, their vital information, and the locations of where they lived. Please list as much information as possible. List spouses, if known.
So there you go. The above questions will help you get focused enough to write a research plan. Admittedly, there are more questions one could ask oneself about the genealogical problem at hand, but this should be enough to focus the researcher enough to make a research plan. Download a copy below and customize it to your heart's content. And hopefully it will help you past that brick wall.
[If you are interested, I previously did versions of an actual Research Plan Worksheet, and those versions can be found & downloaded here.]
And if you have another way of getting focused before creating a research plan, what do you do? Let everyone know in comments below.
For OneNote 2010 version:
For older versions of OneNote:
For Word 2010 version:
For older versions of Word:
For Evernote version:
For Google Drive Version:
I finally finished my 3-part series on How to Build a Family History Website Using the Weebly.com Platform. Yay! It ended up being WAY longer than what I'd first planned. And? I left the blog portion of the site unfinished so we can finish it over on BloggingGenealogy.com. Over there I'll show you how to build a Weebly blog from scratch, how to tweak it, and how to optimize it in every way possible in order to achieve your goals. [Fun!]
Back to this series, though. Throughout the 3-part video series, I mention some links as well as some code. Therefore, the following is a list of links as well as the code. You should insert this Ninja Trick Code into the Footer Code spot so that you can block your site visitors from hijacking your photos. [Remember: It only works on some browsers ~ not all.]
Weebly Support Center
Code for the Image Ninja Trick [Just copy & paste into the Footer Code located in Settings>Search Engine Optimization (SEO).]:
<body oncontextmenu="return false;">
Disclosure: Weebly.com does not have an affiliate program. However, they do have a referral program. If you click on my referral link below, set-up a Weebly.com account, create a website, publish it, and Jupiter aligns with Venus, then I receive a free month's worth of my Weebly Pro Service. Just kidding about the Jupiter alignment with Venus thingy. But? If you do go ahead and publish [not just start, but publish] a Weebly site after using my referral link, I do receive a free month's worth of Weebly Pro Service. But? My life doesn't depend upon whether this happens or not. It's worth about $5 to me. You just as easily could start one by going to Weebly.com. I'll never know, and it's totally up to you. No pressure. If you do, though, I thank you in advance. Either way, I thank you for reading my blog post and watching my videos. Goodness, I thank you for just showing up. You rock! =) ~C
Weebly Referral Link: http://www.weebly.com/link/N9Kzvp
I'm constantly reading about technology and social media. In fact at the very least, I read these types of articles at least 2 times a day. From there I decide if I'm going to share the article to Twitter, Facebook, or both. Then sometimes I save it in my Pocket App to read later. I read my Pocket App once a day and then decide if I'm going to review whatever technology that was brought up in the article because I think it has value in the genealogy and family history world. Or? I might save it to mention it in my newsletters.
And this is how I came across the TextGrabber + Translator App developed for the iPhone by ABBYY. It has the following features that caught my eye:
So, you can probably see why I was a wee bit interested in this app for us genealogy and family history researchers, no? For a little more overview take a look at their YouTube video about it:
If unable to watch the video here, this is the direct YouTube link:
Pretty slick, huh? But you're probably wondering, though, how well does it work?
Don't worry. I took one for the team and tried it out for you. [I'm helpful like that.]
And it does exactly what it says it does. It only has 3 stars with mixed reviews in the App Store, but I absolutely did not get the bad results that some of those reviewers got when I tried it out. It worked like a charm for me.
[And that is a problem with online reviews from folks you don't know. I mean, just how savvy are they with tech, right? And? I found out from my teenaged kids that there are always internet 'trolls' on forums and reviews who say anything to stir things up. I'm not saying these reviewers are actually trolls of any kind. Absolutely not. I'm just saying the possibility exists. BTW, I delete comments from all kinds of trolls so if there are any trolls reading this blog post, your bridge called it wants you back.]
Anywho. I thought I'd also point out that I was especially pleased with the translation and OCR capabilities. I chose an old college Spanish book, Triple Espera, which is a collection of Hispanic American short stories edited by Djelal Kadir to test this out. Was the translation perfect? No, but it was acceptable all things considered, like, you know, Google Translate isn't human.
Also, I was pleased with the scan of the snippet of the cover letter that came with my great-grandmother's and her siblings' baptismal record entry copies. It only had two mistakes with the OCR, and I can see why they came about. Additionally, just to see what happened cuz I was feeling pretty darn lucky, I performed a Google Search within the app of the snippet I scanned and that the app OCRd. [I know. Fancy, right?] And...
It blew up! Gotcha. No, it didn't. I was just kidding to help lighten up this nerdy-techie moment, but as you will see in the slideshow of screenshots I put together for you at the end of this review, the first search result on the search results page is a blog post I wrote about my great-grandmother.
I don't need to tell you how pleased as peach I was about that search result, do I?
Therefore, the TextGrabber + Translator app gets 2 thumbs up from me. But only because I don't have anymore thumbs to give it. If I did, I would.
It's compatible with the following iOS devices:
iPhone, iPod touch (4th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G, iPad (3rd generation) and iPad Wi-Fi + 4G.Requires iOS 4.0 or later.
For more information take a look at it in the iTunes store or the ABBYY website. It's available in the App Store located on your device to purchase for a whopping .99.
And please do not tell me that's too much money, especially while holding that Grande Starbucks coffee in a venti cup with 2 pumps hazelnut, 2 pumps vanilla, 2 pumps caramel, 2 Equals and 4 Sweet'n'lows filled to the top with cream, with extra cream on the side, double cupped with no sleeve, a stir stick, and stopper put in the top.
[And may I never be behind you in line at Starbucks.]
[Update: The developer of the TextGrabber + Translator App contacted me to thank me for the review, and asked if they could quote from my review for their app in the App Store. Me being shocked that someone was going to quote me, use my name, and send a link back to my review here, I enthusiastically agreed. Also, out of gratitude, they gifted me their ABBYY Lingvo Dictionaries app. I send my thanks out to them, and I look forward to trying it out. They didn't ask, but I will definitely be reviewing it. Genealogists and family historians can always use a language dictionary when we venture beyond the U.S. border in our research. ~C]
If you enjoyed this post and you are not a troll of any kind, please feel free to sign up below for my Genie-Tech newsletter where I tend to give out more advice and news about technology that I manage to stumble upon, where I throw in an extra blog post, and where I tend to give you a list of technology articles that I found during the week that I think might be useful in your genealogical and family history research pursuits.