About Thomas MacEntee

What happens when a “tech guy” with a love for history gets laid off during The Great Recession of 2008? You get Thomas MacEntee, a genealogy professional who’s also a blogger, educator, author, social media connector, online community builder and more. Thomas was laid off after a 25-year career in the information technology field, so he started his own genealogy-related business called High Definition Genealogy. He also created an online community of over 3,000 family history bloggers known as GeneaBloggers. His most recent endeavor, Hack Genealogy, is an attempt to “re-purpose today’s technology for tomorrow’s genealogy.” Thomas describes himself as a lifelong learner with a background in a multitude of topics who has finally figured out what he does best: teach, inspire, instigate, and serve as a curator and go-to-guy for concept nurturing and inspiration. Thomas is a big believer in success, and that we all succeed when we help each other find success.

New Celebrities Get the Experience of a Lifetime on New Season of “Who Do You Think You Are?” on TLC

TLC has revealed the list of celebrities for the new season of Who Do You Think You Are? which starts on February 24, 2015!

We just received this announcement from our contact over at TLC! Who Do You Think You Are? Executive Producer Lisa Kudrow will appear on ‘The Talk’ where co-host Julie Chen teases her involvement in the show. Below is a clip from the segment as well as a teaser for the upcoming season below.

All-new season set to premiere February 24 

The two-time Emmy nominated series is back with eight new hour-long episodes and a brand new batch of celebrity contributors. Executive Produced by Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? continues to shed light on the mysterious, and often surprising, family histories of some of America’s famous faces. The season premieres Tuesday, February 24 at 10/9c.

Today TLC announces half of the featured celebrity contributors in the upcoming season, which includes:

  • Julie Chen, who brings the series to China for the first time ever and learns about her grandfather’s brave and generous contributions to his country.
  • Angie Harmon, who meets a family member she didn’t know existed, and learns that he fought under George Washington.
  • Sean Hayes, who travels to Ireland to learn more about his father’s side of the family.
  • Bill Paxton, who reads captivating first-hand accounts of wartime battles in which his four times great grandfather was involved, and walks in his footsteps at the site where he fought a battle in the American Revolution.

Ancestry, the world’s largest online family history resource, is teaming up again with TLC as a sponsor of the upcoming season. As part of the show sponsorship, Ancestry provides exhaustive family history research on each of the featured celebrities, which is used to build out the story of each episode.

Last summer’s season of WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? averaged 1.4 million viewers. The series is produced for TLC by Shed Media and Is or Isn’t Entertainment, and is based on an original format created by Wall to Wall Media and Alex Graham. More information can be found at TLC.com/WDYTYA. ‘Like’ Who Do You Think You Are? on Facebook.com/WDYTYA and follow @WDYTYA on Twitter.

Genealogy Blogging Beat – Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Dec 16, 1773. Anniversary of Boston patriots’ boarding of British vessel at anchor at Boston Harbor. Contents of nearly 350 chests of tea were dumped into the harbor.
Today is Tuesday 16 December 2014, and here is what’s available in terms of Daily Blogging Prompts and other related events in the genealogy blogosphere:

Items of Note

  • Today: Jane Austen’s Birthday – Anniversary, Battle of the Bulge – 70th Anniversary, Battle of Nashville – 150th Anniversary, Beethoven’s Birthday – Anniversary, and Boston Tea Party – Anniversary.

Continue reading

Announcing the Genealogy Do-Over

Announcing the Genealogy Do-Over - the 2015 educational initiative at GeneaBloggers - where you do get to go home again . . . and start over.

Today I’m making a big announcement: Me and genealogy are parting ways. Done. Finished. Game over.

Have you ever said to yourself, “That’s it! I’ve had it and it just isn’t worth it anymore!” Well, have you? Sort of like the character Howard Beale in Network when he says, live on air, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

My Past Genealogy Research Frustrates Me!

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Before you think that I’m leaving the genealogy community or closing down my genealogy business, let me clarify what I mean by leaving: Starting January 2nd, I’m setting my 20+ years of genealogy research aside and starting over. From scratch.

Seriously. How many times have you thought about doing the same thing? Did you start your research the same way I did, by just collecting names, grabbing stuff from other online trees, or pasting text into your genealogy software? Lately, has the prospect of going back and citing sources and proving facts and evidence brought you down and ruined your genealogy buzz? Do you throw up your hands and say, “I give up!” only to return to the same review and edit process days or weeks later?

If you’re like me, you need a genealogy makeover. Better yet, a Genealogy Do-Over. That’s what I’m calling this journey upon which I’m embarking in 2015. And I want you to come along.

Genealogy Do-Over: A New Journey of Genealogical Discovery

journey 02

Here is the short summary of Genealogy Do-Over: I set aside everything* related to my genealogy research including notebooks, papers, and even digitized files and my genealogy database files and START OVER. I’m hitting the reset button. I’m allowing myself to have a do-over! (* certain items such as vital records ordered and paid for or research gathered on long-distance trips can be retained).

Since I started my initial research, much has changed in the areas of genealogy research methodology and education. I now realize the need to collect facts and track them properly, including the use of source citations. I now understand the process of analyzing evidence and proving facts to reach a conclusion. In essence, I know a lot more about the “process” of genealogical research and I want to put it to use.

This is not to say that I haven’t been following proven guidelines when it comes to finding family history. For my research clients (mostly pro bono), I actually employ all the methods advocated by many in the genealogy community. However, when it comes to my own research from years ago, I’m not walking the walk . . . I’m just talking the talk.

It isn’t always easy to “walk backwards” and review each and every bit of information gathered over the years. Instead, I want to do more than re-walk a trodden path: I want to head out from the same starting point and see where the journey takes me this time. I’ll have better tools, better knowledge and be better equipped for each twist and turn. And again, I encourage you to join me on this journey.

The Genealogy Do-Over journey is constructed of 13 mileposts or journey markers which are laid out over 13 weeks. You can choose to pace yourself differently. You can even decide to drop some of the less important tasks and add your own. Do whatever it takes to ensure that you are on a firm footing to finding your ancestors.

A short synopsis of my planned route (a full schedule will be announced soon):

  • Take inventory of what I have, box up the physical items and set them aside.
  • Move all digital genealogy files into a HOLD folder.
  • Gather tools to research.
  • Set research goals.
  • Start with my own knowledge and write it down.
  • Start tracking research.
  • Interview family members.
  • And more!

And then, week by week, continue with my research, add more skills and areas of focus including citing sources, tracking searches, building a research toolbox, creating an educational plan, researching offline as well as online, and more.

By the end of the 13 weeks I hope to have completed a review of a firm foundation in genealogy and family history research skill building. I realize that some focus areas may differ; anyone along for the journey has the freedom to add or remove content. This program has to work for you and should not be something that you dread each week or that you find you are working against.

How Much is a Ticket?

Genealogy Do-Over Tickets

There is no price. A journey that could very well revolutionize the way you’ve been doing genealogy research is priceless.

The fact is that there is no cost to using the Genealogy Do-Over program. There will be weekly blog posts here at GeneaBloggers outlining each week’s tasks and I’ll post my own personal progress as well. In addition, there will be free webinars (like this one at Legacy Family Tree), a boot camp on using a research log, and even incentives such as prizes related to a specific week’s topic. I may even publish another free e-book!

You’re Invited – You Get a Genealogy Do-Over Too

youre-invited

What I want most is a collaborative community effort to re-examine the way in which each of us has personally pursued our genealogical research. I intend to be honest with myself without beating myself up. I want to feel the joy of looking at one small fact and perhaps realizing that I never looked at it from all angles. I want the discipline of not following a possible lead just because it shakes or makes more noise than other leads.

Most of all, I want to be open to all possibilities on my journey of genealogical self-discovery and to enjoy that journey. This means researching with a plan, with a purpose, with sound practices and with the support of my fellow researchers. I don’t intend to make this journey again. Genealogy Do-Over is my chance to get it right.

So stay tuned, watch for a new domain – http://www.genealogydo-over.com – and look for more announcements before the January 2, 2015 start date!

©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee