Curtis Home Catalog Services Readers Corner Research Kids Teens

Another free resource

January 29th, 2016

100847-98260If you haven’t checked it out yet, Family Tree University has another free e-book available, titled “Surnames: Family Search Tips and Surname Origins”. To get the book you have to share your email address but since I’m always interested in genealogy news from Family Tree, I’m fine with doing that. You can find the information about the free book at The “book” is actually a series of articles with a focus on name research.

I found the tutorial about “Refining Google Surname Searches” to be particularly helpful. I understand how to use quotation marks in Google searches (if you put quotation marks around the phrase you are searching, Google will only produce documents with that exact phrase). However, I’ve always been a bit fuzzy about how to use the plus sign and the minus sign effectively in Google searches (I probably shouldn’t admit this given that I’m a librarian!) The article clearly explains how to do this and immediately I found my genealogy name searching got more efficient.

Also, in the articles titled “Naming Names” there was a links to a very useful website that identifies women’s nicknames ( ). It took me some time as a genealogist to understand that frequently women would change the names they used on census and vital records from formal versions (Elizabeth) to a nickname (Liz, Betty, Beth, etc.).  So, it can be very helpful to know the options for nicknames when looking for elusive female ancestors.

Happy research and hopefully these resources will help!

I’m a believer

January 22nd, 2016

u_ZwBnOs3s7nHA2v4XDCrJknAAVVHQIzK4mVF8tbx1n62-_LrDSopwHviqeNuDIFigc=w300I’m officially a convert to Evernote. It took me awhile to get there but now I’m ready to sing the praises of this tool for genealogists.

Evernote is a program/app that you put on your computer/tablet/phone that allows you collect/tag and store information in a very logical, easy-to-recall system on your computer. Evernote also allows you to sync your information across all of your devices so that you can access it no matter where you are.

I use Evernote as I’m going through websites, looking for information about my Canadian relatives. Once I find a website with information that might be useful, I make and save a copy of it by using the Evernote “web clipper”. After I clip a page (or a segment of a page) I can store it on Evernote on my computer in notebooks and stacks. A notebook is a compendium of materials with a point of commonality (like a family). A stack is simply a group of notebooks.

If I’m researching a particular branch of my family like the Doucetts, I create a notebook for each individual that I’m researching. When I clip an item, I can move it right into the correct notebook. Evernote keeps track for me of the website URL from which the item came. I can also “stack” all of the Doucett family notebooks into one Doucett stack which makes searching for information even simpler.

You can use Evernote to collect and store any piece of information from websites, to photographs that you take on your cellphone, to scanned paper. You can even store emails. You can tag all of your materials, thereby making them even easier to track.

There are many, many resources online about Evernote and how to use it. You can find a whole page of resources on Cyndi’s List at .  Additionally, Curtis Library has a copy of “How to Use Evernote for Genealogy” available for borrowing in the Genealogy Room.

And, if that isn’t enough Marian Dalton, the library’s Tech wizard, will be teaching a tech meet-up on the basics of Evernote on Friday, Feb. 5 from noon to 1pm in the library’s seminar room. Liz Doucett will follow up with a tech meet-up on Evernote for Genealogists on Friday, Feb. 12 from noon to 1pm in the seminar room. We hope to see you at one of these sessions to learn about Evernote. In the meantime happy research!

Boxes of slides?

January 15th, 2016

5fb2c6334ee4fa233461345e7b041f36Did you grow up watching slide shows? It was a big event at my house when my father would pull out the carousel of slides and the screen, set up everything in our living room, and show slides of various family events for an evening’s entertainment (yes, I’m completely aware that I’m dating myself!) Both my dad and my grandfather loved slideshows. As a result after they passed away I ended up with boxes of slides in my basement. I tried sending off some slides to companies that do digital conversions but it was expensive and I was uncomfortable letting such important family history go out of my hands.

I’ve heard this same story from library patrons and genealogists. Many times people have asked me if the library has any equipment to help convert slides to digital files. Now, thanks to a recent fundraising event held for the library at Gelato Fiasco we were able to purchase a simple slide-to-digital converter! At the beginning of February the converter will be available for use in the library’s Genealogy Room.

The process is simple and, once you get set up, doesn’t take long. All you need is your computer (if you have a laptop that you can bring to the library) and your slides. If you don’t have a laptop, we can set you up with a memory card that you can check out on your library card, just like a book. This will allow you to convert your slides, take the memory card home to your computer, download the digitized slides, and then return the card to the library. All you’ll need to do to get started is to stop at the Reference desk by the Genealogy Room and let the librarian know what you would like to do. You will get a quick lesson on how to use the equipment and then you can convert away.

A couple of suggestions before you start. Go through your slides and weed out the ones that you don’t care about. No sense converting those 45 slides of anonymous scenery or people that you don’t know! Put the slides in the same order that you would like them to be on your computer. Then, when you convert them, you don’t have to reorganize them again on your computer. Finally, think about how you will use the slides on your computer. If they are just for fun, then you can convert them at a lower resolution (which takes less time). If they are going to be part of your “official” family genealogy, then you probably will want to convert them at a high resolution. This will take you more time to do.

We’ll look forward to seeing you in the Genealogy Room at Curtis – in the meantime happy research!

Curtis Money icon Curtis Money CHIP icon CHIP COS icon Cornerstones of Science creative spaces icon Curtis Creative Spaces MARVEL! icon MARVEL! download icon Digital Downloads