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.

Genealogy Blogging Beat – Thursday, 1 October 2015

On 1 October 1984, the term "cyberspace" was used in the science fiction novel Neuromancer by William Gibson.

On 1 October 1984, the term “cyberspace” was used in the science fiction novel Neuromancer by William Gibson.

Today is Thursday, 1 October 2015, and here is what’s available in terms of Daily Blogging Prompts and other related events in the genealogy blogosphere:

Genealogy Items of Note

  • Today: Breast Cancer Awareness Month, “Cyberspace” Term Coined – Anniversary, Data Backup Day, Family History Month, Gay and Lesbian History Month, German-American Heritage Month, Levittown Opens – Anniversary, and Polish-American Heritage Month.

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Announcing Cycle 4 of the Genealogy Do-Over


The Genealogy Do-Over is restarting! Cycle 4 begins on Friday 2 October 2015 at GeneaBloggers - so if you missed your chance, join us on the next journey!

Back on 15 December 2014, I made a big announcement: I was getting rid of 20+ years of past genealogy research and starting over. Some people said I was crazy. Some people said the idea was just “stupid” and wasteful.

But almost 10,000 genealogists and family historians have either been actively participating in this crazy project or have followed it over at the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook Group. Many have said that they finally have a methodology and format for research that they can live with AND that can bring them results.

Still more have taken the collaborative effort to heart and have shared their own work, their own templates as well as tips and tricks. The Genealogy Do-Over has been as close to a “genealogy hack-athon” and an exercise in group problem solving as I could want.

I want to thank . . .

  • everyone who has stuck it out to the end of Week 13 in either Cycle 1, Cycle 2, Cycle 3 or all cycles so far;
  • everyone who admitted they needed more time and made the 13-week schedule work for them;
  • those who simply followed discussions and promised they’d join in for Cycle 4;
  • those who didn’t want to do a complete “do-over” so development a review of their previous research;
  • every vendor who offered a special discount coupon or free item for participants; and
  • everyone who helped spread the word and took time to explain the craziness that is the Genealogy Do-Over

Cycle 4 – Genealogy Do-Over

So we start again on Friday, 2 October 2015 back at Week 1. To get ready, here are some things you can do, whether you are a repeat participant from Cycles 1 through 3 or brand new with Cycle 4:

  • Read the original announcement from 15 December that outline what motivated me to create the Genealogy Do-Over
  • Review the Schedule of Topics for Cycle 4 here
  • Look for the “Introduce Yourself” post at the Facebook Group for Cycle 4 – say hello to everyone!
  • Sign up for the email list here to receive each week’s topic info vial e-mail

I will be actively participating in Cycle 4 as I did with Cycles 1 through 3.

Genealogy Do-Over 2016: A Monthly Program

And here is some big news for those of you wondering if the Genealogy Do-Over will continue in 2016! The answer is YES, but in a different format. Starting 1 January 2016, we’ll revert to a monthly schedule of topics. This means I’ll take the same topics for the 13-week program and group them differently so there is more time to spend on each set of topics.

Many genealogy societies want to set up SIGs (special interest groups) to focus on the Genealogy Do-Over and the monthly configuration will greatly assist them in this type of project.

Look for more information about the 2016 Genealogy Do-Over program in late November 2015.

* * *

So stay tuned, bookmark http://www.genealogydo-over.com and watch for the Week 1 post on Friday 2 October 2015!

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Genealogy Do-Over Cycle 4: Schedule of Topics

Cycle 4 of the Genealogy Do-Over starts on Friday 2 October 2015 - here is a list of topics to be covered as we go "all in" with our genealogy research.

Below is the list of topics to be covered during the Cycle 4 of the Genealogy Do-Over beginning Friday, 2 October 2015. As you review the topics please keep these things in mind:

  • This is a curated list based on a) my own experience as a genealogist, b) my experience as a genealogy educator, and c) information gathered from other genealogists online and in attendance at offline conferences and workshops.
  • The list is representative, in my opinion, of core areas of aptitude required for basic successful genealogical research. Your mileage may differ . . . meaning that your research habits and specific research projects may warrant different areas of concentration in terms of skill building.
  • Participants (and viewers) may agree or disagree with the topics or the order of the topics; feel free to add or remove topics that you feel are not relevant to your specific genealogy research project.
  • Each week, an UPDATED post for Cycle 4 will appear here at GeneaBloggers covering the Genealogy Do-Over topics. Posts will include tips, advice and resources.

Genealogy Do-Over Facebook Group and More

An interactive collaborative community for the Genealogy Do-Over has been created on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/genealogydoover/. Those hoping to participate in the Genealogy Do-Over, and those just monitoring the group’s progress, are encouraged to join. Just like the entire Genealogy Do-Over program, there is no fee or “upcharge” for this collaborative environment.

Over the next week look for more added features to help you succeed in your Genealogy Do-Over.

Genealogy Do-Over Topics

(click each heading to go to the post for that topic)

Week 1 – 2-8 October 2015

  • Setting Previous Research Aside
  • Preparing to Research
  • Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines

Week 2 – 9-15 October 2015

  • Setting Research Goals
  • Conducting Self Interview
  • Conducting Family Interviews

Week 3 – 16-22 October 2015

  • Tracking Research
  • Conducting Research

Week 4 – 23-29 October 2015

  • Managing Projects and Tasks
  • Tracking Searches

Week 5 – 30 October-5 November 2015

  • Building a Research Toolbox
  • Citing Sources

Week 6 – 6-12 November 2015

  • Evaluating Evidence
  • Reviewing Online Education Options

Week 7 – 13-19 November 2015

  • Reviewing Genealogy Database Software
  • Digitizing Photos and Documents

Week 8 – 20-26 November 2015

  • Conducting Collateral Research
  • Reviewing Offline Education Options

Week 9 – 27 November-3 December 2015

  • Conducting Cluster Research
  • Organizing Research Materials – Documents and Photos

Week 10 – 4-10 December 2015

  • Reviewing DNA Testing Options
  • Organizing Research Materials – Digital

Week 11 – 11-17 December 2015

  • Reviewing Social Media Options
  • Building a Research Network

Week 12 – 18-24 December 2015

  • Sharing Research
  • Reviewing Research Travel Options

Week 13 – 25-31 December 2015

  • Securing Research Data
  • Reviewing the Journey

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.