FREE Family History Library Webinars – March and April 2015

Anyone can attend genealogy classes offered by the Family History Library from the comfort of home. Here's how to access the March and April 2015 classes.

Did you know that the Family History Library in Salt Lake City has a way for you to attend their live genealogy classes online and from the comfort of your home or office? Between now and the end of March 2015 there are no less than 10 classes scheduled, with an additional 11 classes scheduled for April 2015.

And despite what you may have heard, you do not need to be a member of the LDS Church in order to join the classes. Access is free to everyone and this includes the recording made available shortly after the live online class.

Listing of Upcoming Live Online Classes – March 2015

The list of classes available to access live and online is posted in the FamilySearch Research Wiki here. The remainder of the March 2015 schedule is as follows:

Note: all times are listed as Mountain Time Zone.

How to Attend a Live Online Class

  1. Make sure you have an account at FamilySearch. Visit to create an account.
  2. Click a link above for more information on the content delivery program used (Webex) and also click here to download an informative PDF on installing Webex. Do this before you join any online class since it may take several minutes to install.
  3. You cannot “sign up” for a class ahead of time; you need to click the link a few minutes before the scheduled start time. Place a reminder on your calendar for each class you want to attend and remember to check the correct time according to your time zone.
  4. When ready, join the live webinar and also check to see if a handout is available.
  5. If you miss a live online class, return to the class specific link and look for the recorded session after the live class is over.

Finally, FamilySearch has told me that they can accommodate 500 people per class and have yet to “run out of space” for any class.

Take advantage of this amazing FREE genealogy education resource!

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Newspaper Research Strategies Boot Camp – Saturday, 31 January 2015

Learn how to use a variety of newspaper resources for genealogy research at the Newspaper Research Strategies Boot Camp at HackGenealogy.

[NOTE: While this Boot Camp covers many newspapers and different research strategies, around a third of the focus will be on resources helpful to genealogy researchers in Australia and New Zealand. All webinar start times are shown for Australia and New Zealand.]

Through this special Boot Camp you’ll learn:

  • Which online newspaper resources are available for Australia, New Zealand and beyond including the United States, Canada and United Kingdom.
  • How to get the most out of newspaper articles and use the extracted information for research breakthroughs.
  • Which tools work best for capturing both newspaper images and text.
  • How to find unusual sections of newspapers for clues in finding ancestors.

You’ll receive over 3 hours of educational content, handouts and freebies for the low price of $12.95 USD! You’ll also receive access to the recorded versions of each webinar for up to one year!

Register by Monday, 26 January 2015 and receive over 23% off the registration price for a low $9.95 USD! Space is limited and if you register, but can’t attend, you’ll still receive the handouts, the freebies and access to the recordings!



Saturday 31 January 2015
Duration: 3.5 hours (with a 30 minute break)

  • 10:00 am AEDT (Sydney/Melbourne/Canberra/Hobart) / 12:00 pm NZDT
    5:00 pm CST (Chicago) / 11:00 pm GMT (London) Friday 30 January 2015
    Welcome / Meet & Greet
  • 10:15 am AEDT / 12:15 pm NZDT
    5:15 pm CST / 11:15 pm GMT
    Digging for Treasure – Using Online Newspapers
    Michelle Patient
  • 11:30 am AEDT/ 1:30 pm NZDT
    6:30 pm CST / 12:30 am GMT Saturday 31 January 2015
  • 12:00 pm AEDT / 2:00 pm NZDT
    7:00 pm CST / 1:00 am GMT
    United States and Canada Newspaper Resources and Strategies
    Thomas MacEntee
  • 1:30 pm AEDT / 3:30 pm NZDT
    8:30 pm CST / 2:20 am GMT
    Closing and Thank You


Digging for Treasure – Using Online Newspapers
Presented by: Michelle Patient

Online newspapers contain a wealth of valuable information to enhance and progress your family history research. Resources reviewed will include English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Australian and New Zealand newspapers. Topics to be covered:

  • Getting started
  • Which newspapers to use (it all isn’t in your local paper)
  • Types of information available and possible costs involved
  • How to dig deeper and wider
  • How newspapers can help break down brick walls
  • Search tips and tricks
  • Ways to use the information you find

United States and Canada Newspaper Resources and Strategies
Presented by: Thomas MacEntee

While online newspaper resources are plentiful for United States and Canada research, finding the best websites and tools to collect data can be a treasure hunt. Topics to be covered:

  • Review of best newspapers resources, free and fee
  • Using Google Newspapers
  • Capturing images and information
  • Oft-neglected newspaper sections
  • Extracting information and look for clues

All registrants will have unlimited access to the recordings for personal use, including the ability to download and save the recordings. Recordings, along with the access password, will be made available within 48 hours of the end of the webinars.


Presenter/Moderator Bios

Michelle Patient – Presenter/Moderator

Having written and spoken, both within New Zealand and overseas, Michelle Patient brings a wide ranging background to her presentations and enjoys combining education with entertainment. Whether you are new to researching your tree or you have been climbing branches for years, her talks aim to provide tools and tips to help you not only advance your research, but to do so more easily and confidently.

Having written and spoken, both within New Zealand and overseas, Michelle Patient brings a wide ranging background to her presentations and enjoys combining education with entertainment. Whether you are new to researching your tree or you have been climbing branches for years, her talks aim to provide tools and tips to help you not only advance your research, but to do so more easily and confidently.

Thomas MacEntee – Presenter/Moderator

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, marketer, network builder and more.

Thomas was laid off after a 25-year career in the information technology field, so he started building his own genealogy-related business called High Definition Genealogy. He’s 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.”


How To Register

Ready to join in this great educational event? Here are the details on the registration process:

  • Click the button above to go to PayPal and make payment or click here. You do not need a PayPal account to make payment.
  • IMPORTANT: If you use a different email address for Paypal than your normal email address PLEASE LET US KNOW! We have not way of sending you the registration link or password otherwise! Email us at
  • Once payment is processed and received, you will receive a confirmation email. You will also receive a link to register for the webinar.
  • Then you’ll be reminded via e-mail at least one day prior to Boot Camp.
  • Within 24 hours of the start of Boot Camp, you’ll receive the password for the webinar as well as links to the handout and freebie so you can review them before we start.
  • After the webinar, all registrants will have unlimited access to the recordings for personal use for up to one (1) year, including the ability to download and save the recordings. A password will be required to access the video page.

Questions? Email us at

Terms and Conditions

Please read the Terms and Conditions for all Hack Genealogy Boot Camp events before you pay and register! Click here for more information.

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee

Genealogy Do-Over: Week 2 – My Own Progress So Far

Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers describes his own Week 2 progress for the Genealogy Do-Over.

So in Week 2 of the Genealogy Do-Over, we have the tasks of collecting information about our own lives, interviewing other family members about the family history, and setting research goals. Again, like almost everything in the Genealogy Do-Over, while it may look easy on the surface, each topic does require some effort, some thinking and quite a bit of work. I prefer to look at it all as an “investment” and I’m taking the time to “do it right” if I’m going to actually succeed in this do-over!

A Family Group Sheet Issue – Removing the Bias

As I stated over at the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook Group, I am partial to a set of fillable PDF forms produced by the folks at Family Tree Magazine. Called Essential Family Tree Forms CD, there is a great family group sheet form that is easy to use.

But because I want to look at other types of forms, I tried using one that I found on the Internet. Let’s just say I realized there was a definite bias when I opened the form:

biased family group sheet

  • The Husband is listed at the top of the form and it is the only person with an Occupation field available. I guess women don’t have occupations.
  • The Wife is listed under the Husband.

So I’ve reconfigured this family group sheet so that the Husband is now listed as Person and the Wife is listed as Spouse. And both of them are allowed to have occupations.

family group sheet

Download the Biased Family Group Sheet and compare it to the Reconfigured Family Group Sheet.

My Week 2 Progress

So far, this is what I’ve done:

  • Self Interview – Family Group Sheet: I filled out a family group sheet for myself and named it using my preferred file naming convention.
  • Biography: I also did a quick one page biography outlining my major life events and where I have lived over the past fifty plus years.
  • Other Family Group Sheets: Having been told the birth dates and places of my parents and when they got married, I also created separate family group sheets for each of my parents, listing myself and my younger brother Michael as the children.
  • Family Member Interviews: I don’t have many older relatives left and some just don’t want to discuss family history. When my great uncle Gregory Austin died in December 2013, he was the last of that generation and I regret not interviewing him years ago about family history. I do remember the stories that my great grandparents John Ralph Austin and Therese Austin told, and I’ve constructed family group sheets based on my recall. In addition, my aunt Patricia Larsen May produced rudimentary family group sheets for a family reunion in 1991. So I set those aside last week and I will use them to populate other family group sheets and generate more research goals.
  • Set Research Goals: Once my family group sheets were finished, I created a Microsoft Word document listing my research goals:Prove birth date of Thomas MacEntee.
    Prove birth location of Thomas MacEntee.
    Prove baptism date of Thomas MacEntee.
    Prove baptism location of Thomas MacEntee.
    Prove father name of Thomas MacEntee.
    Prove mother name of Thomas MacEntee.
    Prove marriage date of Richard MacEntee and Jacqueline Austin.
    Prove marriage location of Richard MacEntee and Jacqueline Austin.
  • File Management: Since I moved all my original research to a HOLD Genealogy folder on my C drive of my desktop, I’ve created a new Genealogy folder and then this week created two sub-folders: Templates and Family Group Sheets.– Templates is where I will story any form-type documents that I use over and over again such as a research log, a to do list, a family group sheet. This is where I go for those forms and I create a copy that I place in another sub-folder as needed.genealogy folder– Family Group Sheets is where I store all family group sheets for my research. These serve as my “intake” forms and from them I populate my research goals and try to prove data points (such as a birth date or location) or relationships. Since I am trying to remove what I see as a bias in family group sheets (where the husband is the main focus), I will need to create two for each family: one where the husband is the primary person and one where the wife is the primary person.

family group sheets

* * *

Are you ready for Week 3? I am and I’ll post the topics, information and resources for Week 3 of the Genealogy Do-Over at GeneaBloggers on Friday 16 January 2015.

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.