Genealogy Do-Over – Week 10: 6-12 March 2015

The Genealogy Do-Over - Week 10 Topics: 1) Reviewing DNA Testing Options and 2) Organizing Research Materials - Digital

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Previous topics in the Genealogy Do-Over:

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Topics: 1) Reviewing DNA Testing Options and 2) Organizing Research Materials – Digital

While I had fun with last week’s Genealogy Do-Over topics (collateral research is one of my favorite areas), I’m very excited about this week which is Week 10. Are you enjoying the variety of topics we’ve covered so far? Remember, that one of the goals of the Genealogy Do-Over is to learn new and better methods of finding your ancestors. To do this, it has to be on your terms, and on your schedule. So if you feel like you’ve fallen behind, don’t worry! You’ll always have access to these topics via PDF. And remember that when the current Genealogy Do-Over cycle ends, on 3 April 2015, I’ll be restarting with Week 1 on Friday, 4 April 2015 and it will run through Thursday 2 July 2015.

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Reviewing DNA Testing Options

One of my biggest research challenges has been to connect two different lines of ancestors: the MacEntees of Gardiner, Ulster County, New York with the more famous McEntees of Kingston, also in Ulster County. The only way I’ll likely prove one of my long-held theories is through DNA testing.

Which DNA Test is Best? One Way to Start . . .

. . . is to read! That means studying various articles available online and in print. I’ve learned so much over the past five years from these great blogs that feature DNA and genealogy:

DNA Genealogy Toolkit

Another great read – and FREE – is the Jump into Genetic Genealogy: Use Genealogical DNA Testing to Solve Family Mysteries e-book from Family Tree University. This guide will help you learn the terminology involved with DNA genealogy and you’ll be able to differentiate between the various tests.

How about a wiki, like Wikipedia, but for DNA genealogy? That’s what you’ll find at the ISOGG Wiki (http://www.isogg.org/wiki/Wiki_Welcome_Page) created and maintained by the International Society of Genetic Genealogy. This site makes it easy to search for terminology, DNA test vendors, and more.

Interpreting Testing Results

One tool I need to use more is GedMatch (http://v2.gedmatch.com/) which allows you to upload your testing results from various tests and run reports as well as connect with other genealogists using DNA testing.

  • What I Plan to Do: I have tested with Ancestry.com DNA as well as 23andme, two of the leading providers of DNA genealogy testing products. My next step is to review the various tests available at Family Tree DNA, purchase a test and then wait for the results. I also need to do better in interpreting my results and reach out to possible cousins to prove or disprove relationships in my family tree.
  • New to DNA Genealogy: If you have not yet spent time learning about DNA genealogy, use some of the resources listed above and familiarize yourself with the various tests and terminology. Also consider attending a DNA genealogy lecture at the next genealogy conference you attend.
  • Currently Using DNA Genealogy: If you have already completed one or more DNA test, make sure you are using all the possible tools at your disposal for interpreting results and connecting with others.

Organizing Research Materials – Digital

While computers and the Internet have been a boon to genealogy researchers, with more data come more headaches including how to keep it all organized!

Danger Ahead: The Digital Dark Ages

Which of these two do you think is more in peril of being lost: An original photograph from 1950 or a digital scan of that same photograph? While the printed version might be lost, or consumed in a fire or damaged in a flood, consider all these calamities that could befall your digital version:

  • Hard drive failure
  • Accidental deletion of file
  • Conversion from high-res TIFF file format to lower-res JPG format
  • File corruption
  • File format becomes obsolete
  • Storage on outdated media such as floppy disks
  • Over-correction of color and features using photo editing software

The truth is that there is no guaranty that TIFF or other file formats will even be around in 20 years. I’m pretty sure that even with glasses, my eyes will always be able to see that 1950 photo! See Google’s Vint Cerf warns of ‘digital Dark Age’ for an overview of this pressing issue.

Pick a File Naming Convention and Stick With It!

There are many different ways to name your digital files used in genealogy research. Some prefer a numbering scheme while others begin with the surname. What about married female ancestors? (I ALWAYS use the surname with which they were born . . )

My method right now, and one that works for me is as follows:

  • SLATTERY John Vincent b1888 WWI Draft Reg Card
    This tells me, at first glance, that the file is a World War I draft registration card for John Vincent Slatter who was born in 1888. I add the “b _____” segment since I have many ancestors with the same name, such as John Austin.

This method is loosely based on one developed by a current Genealogy Do-Over participant, Diana Ritchie. Click here to read Diana’s original post in the Genealogy Do-Over Group on Facebook outlining her file naming convention.

Metadata Is Your Friend

What is metadata? Basically it is “data about data” but there is an easier way to get genealogists interested. What if I told you that there was a way for you to add information about a digital image to the file – such as the subject, data, location and even a source citation – to the file so that it is always part of the file structure? That is what metadata can do.

What is metadata? Basically it is “data about data” but there is an easier way to get genealogists interested. What if I told you that there was a way for you to add information about a digital image to the file – such as the subject, data, location and even a source citation – to the file so that it is always part of the file structure? That is what metadata can do.

In the example above I have entered my own text in the Title and Subject fields, added Tags and also placed by source citation in the Comments field (which holds 9,999 characters!)

You may not realize that metadata is already added to many of your digital files, especially when they are created. One example is a photo created with a digital camera or a smartphone. If you examine the metadata it will tell you the type of camera used to create the file, the file creation date, the resolution and sometimes even the GPS location of the photo.

So what about files that you’ve created, can you add and edit that metadata? Sure you can. An easier way to explain it is to watch a video recording of a webinar I presented called Metadata for Digital Images. Click here to watch now.

So what about files that you’ve created, can you add and edit that metadata? Sure you can. An easier way to explain it is to watch a video recording of a webinar I presented called Metadata for Digital Images. Click here to watch now.

Once you’ve mastered the metadata concepts, consider adding important metadata to each of your genealogy research files!

Organize AND Backup Digital Materials

What good is spending hours organizing digital files if you don’t ensure their future accessibility? Every genealogist should have a data backup plan and also perform backups on a regular basis.

Try employing the 3-2-1 Rule:

  • 3 copies of each file. This means one primary copy, likely your hard drive, and then two other copies such as in the cloud and on an external hard drive.
  • 2 different media formats. Don’t store all copies on different hard drives or in different cloud platforms. Use different media such as hard drive, cloud, USB flash drive etc.
  • 1 offsite copy. This means don’t copy files to a USB drive that you keep near your computer; place it in a fire safe. Better yet, make sure one of your file copies is in the cloud which means it is not physically stored near the hard drive version.

Don’t forget that backing up on a regular schedule is important as well. In the genealogy community, the 1st day of each month is promoted as Data Backup Day and is a reminder to all genealogists to future proof their research data!

  • What I Plan to Do: Since I set all my original digital files aside, in a HOLD folder on my C drive (and backed up, of course), I am now taking time to name files according to my own naming convention and placing items in their proper folder. I just need to maintain these good habits and not get lazy . . . that is when I just thrown files in a general folder and say “Oh, I’ll file them later.” If you’ve ever left items in your Downloads folder and then accidentally deleted them, you know why you need to file items right away!
  • “All-In” Participant Options: Map out a file naming convention and also rename folders if necessary. And don’t forget to have at least two forms of file backup! Most genealogists use a cloud platform such as Dropbox paired with an external hard drive or an automated backup site.
  • Modified Participant Options: If you have not set aside your original research files and are still working with them, you’ll likely have the most work to do in terms of getting organized. Again, just like the “All-In” folks, decide on a file naming convention and start using folders to group and sort items.

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And that’s all I have for this week’s topic of the Genealogy Do-Over. Get ready for next week when we’ll look at how to use social media as “cousin bait” and the importance of building both an online and offline network of fellow genealogy researchers.

Next Week: Week 11 – 13-19 March 2015

  • Reviewing Social Media Options
  • Building a Research Network

Thanks for being a part of the Genealogy Do-Over and your feedback is always appreciated. You can leave a comment on the blog post at GeneaBloggers, email me at geneabloggers@gmail.com or post at the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook Group.

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Genealogy Bargains for Friday 6 March 2015

	70% off Bankers Boxes – great for storing genealogy files! You get a pack of 12 white Bankers Boxes, letter or legal size, for only $23.99 – normally $77.49 – via Amazon

UPDATED GENEALOGY BARGAINS for Friday, March 6, 2015

New Deals

Ongoing Deals

FREE ACCESS AT FINDMYPAST – a free access weekend, Friday March 6 through Sunday March 9, 2015 with over 2 BILLION records – via FindMyPast

  • FREE ACCESS AT FINDMYPAST – a free access weekend, Friday March 6 through Sunday March 9, 2015 with over 2 BILLION records – via FindMyPast

Free Webinar - Researching with Karen! – by Karen Clifford now online for limited time! Access the recording now through Tuesday, March 10th via Legacy Family Tree Webinars

10% Off Photo and Slide Scanning – use promo code Thomas2015 and save – via Larsen Digital

http://legacy.familytreewebinars.com/?aid=86

70% Off! Irish Genealogy Premium Collection – a $192.91 value for $69.99 – via Shop Family Tree

SAVE 70%! Historical Maps of Europe Premium Collection – a $197.95 value for $59.99 – via Shop Family Tree

FINAL DAYS! Save 30% on Ancestry.com World Subscription if you have an AARP Membership – this offer expires on Wednesday March 4th – via Ancestry.com

Thomas MacEntee's latest best-selling ebook - 500 Best Genealogy & Family History Tips - 2015 Edition - is now available in PDF from Legacy Family Tree.

61% Off Photive 50 Watt 6 Port USB Desktop Rapid Charger – was $69.95, now only $26.95 – charge multiple devices including iPhone, iPad, tablets, smartphones and more all at once – and super fast! – via Amazon.

	Save 75% on automatic data backup with iDrive! This amazing deal with 1TB of storage for multiple devices is available once again! You pay only $14.88 for the first year instead of $59.99 – via The In-Depth Genealogist

FREE Online Genealogy Classes at the Family History Library - listing for March and April 2015 - sign up now! - via Family Search Research Wiki

40% to 50% Off Genealogy Books – sale at Genealogical Publishing Company.

Save 70% on Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians by Chris Paton – I met the author Chris Paton last year while teaching on a genealogy cruise in Australia. I heard several of his lectures and I can tell you this: the man know his stuff and is a wealth of knowledge on UK, Scottish, and Irish genealogy!

  • 20% off all Internet Genealogy publications! We’ve negotiated a special standing discount with Internet Genealogy magazine – 20% off all items! Keep in mind that there’s more than just back issues of this popular genealogy magazine . . . you can find quick sheets, special “find your ancestor” publications such as Tracing Your European Ancestors and more. Use promo code TM201520% to save!

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©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Genealogy Blogging Events – Week of 6-13 March 2015

Get the latest news on genealogy blogging events for the week of 6-13 March 2015, right here at GeneaBloggers.
Here is a list of events and goings-on in the world of genealogy blogging. Here’s what is happening in the coming week:

Daze of the Week!

Here are some upcoming dates to look out for so you can plan your genealogy and family history blog posts for next week:

  • 6 March: Dred Scott Decision – Anniversary, Fall of the Alamo – Anniversary, Michelangelo’s Birthday – Anniversary, and National Day of Unplugging.
  • 7 March: Luther Burbank’s Birthday – Anniversary, Distinguished Service Medal Created – Anniversary, Remagen Bridge Capture – 70th Anniversary, and Selma Civil Rights March – Anniversary.
  • 8 March: Check Your Batteries Day, Daylight Saving Time begins, International Women’s Day, and National Proofreading Day.
  • 9 March: Barbie Doll Debuts – Anniversary, Commonwealth Day (UK), and Fill Our Staplers Day.
  • 10 March: Organize Your Home Office Day, Telephone Invented – Anniversary, US Paper Money First Issued – Anniversary.
  • 11 March: Johnny Appleseed Day, Lawrence Welk Birthday – Anniversary, and Spanish Flu epidemic begins – Anniversary.
  • 12 March: Austrian Invasion by Nazi Germany – Anniversary, Charles Cunningham Boycott’s Birthday – Anniversary, FDR’s First Fireside Chat – Anniversary, Girls Scouts Day, Great Blizzard of ’88, and Jack Kerouac’s Birthday – Anniversary.
  • 13 March: Deaf History Month begins, Earmuff Day, Ken Doll Introduced – Anniversary, Kitty Geneovese Murder – Anniversary, and National Open an Umbrella Indoors Day.

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