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February 9th, 2016

pinterest-logo-white-1920I’m a bit behind on my genealogy blogging. We closed the library at 2:00 on Friday and I went home and ended up taking a snooze instead of writing my genealogy blog! What can I say? Winter brings on that kind of behavior.

This week I’m sharing information about a new type of genealogy resource for me – Pinterest. We have just started developing Pinterest “boards” at Curtis Library. A “board” is much like an old fashioned bulletin board – you “pin” items on the board (digitally) according to your interests. Other folks who have the same interests check out what you do with the goal of finding new information, resources and ideas.

To participate and use Pinterest you have to become a member which simply means you sign up at with your email. After doing that you can set up your own boards and search the boards of other Pinterest members. Here is the link to the Curtis Library boards –

The Library has 32 boards and as you might imagine a lot of them are about books (Fanged Fun, Things that Go Bump in the Night, Food Memoirs, Historical Mysteries). However, there are also a number of boards that are about other things (still library related) – check out “The Collaboratory” or “Community Art” or “Genealogy” or “Fabulous First Lines”.

Pinterest is very visual (think about what you would put on a bulletin board) and as such it has taken awhile for me to figure out how you might use it for genealogy which is heavy on ideas and information and lighter on visual imagery. A lot of Pinterest genealogists use their boards to capture information about new resources or “how-to-do” some part of genealogy research which is how I will start. Check it out here and see what you think. If you would like to contribute, email me at and I will send you an invitation to participate on the Curtis Library Genealogy Board. Happy Research!

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!

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