Review: How to Use Evernote for Genealogy

Genealogy author and educator Thomas MacEntee reviews How to Use Evernote for Genealogy by Kerry Scott - “A complete guide to mastering Evernote and making it work for your genealogy research!”

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Are you intimidated by technology, but feel like you are “missing out” when friends and family rave about a brand new app or program? Have you heard about Evernote and always wondered how others are using it for genealogy research? In the new book How to Use Evernote for Genealogy, author Kerry Scott employs an approachable and comfortable writing style to “demystify” the Evernote product, cut through all the hype, and show you how to get up and running with the most popular note taking product currently on the market.

Scott is a skilled writer who can cover all the “getting started” basics as well as advanced features and make the reader feel confident enough to start using Evernote. I loved the various “personal observations” Scott has included in each chapter; you can tell from all of these real-life experiences that the author is a serious Evernote user who has figured out a way to leverage the program for genealogy research success.

How to Use Evernote for Genealogy is not another technical book that you will review once and then never use. Most likely, you will be consulting various chapters and sections for days and weeks as you build your Evernote skills and find new ways to use the program for genealogy.

Evernote Templates that ROCK!

Lately there has been a dearth of free Evernote e-books on the Web, but they really don’t solve problems encountered by genealogists and family historians. How to Use Evernote for Genealogy has three different appendices at the end of the book, filled with useful Evernote templates.

Not only can your review each template, there is a convenient link to a text version so you can start creating your own Evernote forms for genealogy. These include Census Extraction Templates for the US Federal Census, Genealogy Conference Planner (to plan your classes when attending a genealogy conference), and Research Worksheets and Templates, including a family group sheet.

Structured to Get Things Done!

I’m a bit of a “techie,” and perhaps this is a “guy thing,” but I usually don’t read the directions or knowledgebase when I start using a new product. Instead, I like to “kick the tires” and “poke around.” Well if this is how you learned Evernote, I recommend using the Keys to Success segment at the end of each chapter of How to Use Evernote for Genealogy. Review each item and make sure that you are familiar with each concept before you move on to the next chapter.

Also, don’t forget that there are checklists, templates and “value added” features at the end of each chapter as well.

Conclusion: A Must Have Guide for Evernote Users

You name it, author Kerry Scott has covered it when it comes to using Evernote for genealogical research. This includes the use of audio and video files from interviews, synchronizing data between multiple devices, using photos with Evernote, creating tables and more.

With How to Use Evernote for Genealogy, you can be up and running with Evernote as your personal genealogy virtual assistant. In addition, after a few hours, you will wonder how you ever got by without Evernote all these years!

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Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statements.

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Review: Unofficial Guide to

unofficial guide to

Recently, I had the opportunity to read and review the Unofficial Guide to – How to Find Your Family History on the World’s Largest Free Genealogy Website, by Dana McCullough. Even as a long-time genealogist, if you thought you knew FamilySearch, this guidebook brings you the latest, up-to-date information on a treasured resource for family history.

FamilySearch: A Hidden Gem for Genealogy

As the author notes at the outset, many beginning genealogists are completely unaware of FamilySearch and it remains a hidden gem for them. McCullough’s format for the book is to cover the major aspects of FamilySearch, including Trees, Historical Records, User-submitted Genealogies, Family History Books, Wiki, Catalog, Memories, Indexing and more. The author also devotes special side bar sections to tracing the roots of specific FamilySearch resources. This includes the background and origins of the Ancestral File, Pedigree Resource File and the IGI (International Genealogical Index).

In reading the Unofficial Guide to, I felt guided by a genealogist who honestly confesses to the same mistakes that many of us have made in the past, such as not citing sources. I appreciated the special attention MCullough devoted to sources, their importance, and even how to save sources from other websites to FamilySearch.

Other nice features of the book are the Keys to Success and Getting Started checklist sections at the end of each chapter. Too many genealogy “how to” books don’t offer this type of “call to action” to the reader. Anyone purchasing this book has no excuse not to get started with FamilySearch since all the tools are laid out for them!

The Unofficial Guide to is filled with little gems and bits of advice covering many different areas. In the Family Trees chapter, the author reviews how to upload photos and documents and covers in detail how copyright is handled. In addition, she covers the collaboration aspect of Family Trees and how to protect your privacy and the privacy of your family.

Get to Know FamilySearch In-Depth and Up Close

At 242 pages, the Unofficial Guide to is not just substantial, but also comprehensive. It is suitable for those just starting to explore their family history as well as seasoned genealogists who want to extract every bit of knowledge possible from the FamilySearch site and its affiliated sites.

The Unofficial Guide to can be purchased online at – click here for more information.

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Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statements.

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Review: How to Archive Family Photos

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I just finished reading How to Archive Family Photos – A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize and Share Your Photos Digitally by Denise May Levenick and here is the first thing I’m going to do: get rid of all the bookmarks and articles about digitizing and organizing photos that I have saved to Evernote, Pinterest and other places. Why? Because How to Archive Family Photos covers ALL the bases with updated and current information about photo organization and digitization. You do not need any other book and since Levenick’s approach is sensible and easy-to-read, you likely will not need much else if you want to tackle that pile of photos!

A Photo Project Road Map

With over 25 years’ experience in technology focusing on desktop applications and programs, I often find “holes” or “gaps” in books that purport to completely cover a specific topic involving technology, apps and gadgets. There is no “gap” to mind or “hole” to overlook with How to Archive Family Photos; the author has laid out a systematic approach known as Organize, Digitize and Create.

Levenick takes time to explain technical terms in plain English. She also offers a variety of approaches to tasks such as determining how much digital storage space a user might need, or the best scanner to use for a specific project. In addition, the author goes beyond the typical do-it-yourself approach and indicates when it might be time to call in reinforcements and use outside vendors. The information in How to Archive Family Photos is varied and allows the reader to find the right approach for dealing with his or her own collection of photos.

Once you have organized and digitized all those photos, negatives, slides and more, you get a reward! You get to “play” and be creative with 25 different projects ranging from simple thank you cards using an old family photo to more complex items such as wall calendars, photo books and more. Too often I find that similar books will list many ideas and even resources for creative projects, but they won’t take the time to outline the project in a step-by-step approach the way the author has done in How to Archive Family Photos.

How to Archive Family Photos: A New Classic

In my family history book collection, I have very few titles that I am willing to designate as “bibles” or “canonical works” meaning that the book is the go-to guide on the subject. We are talking classics such as Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills or The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, edited by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking. Now I can add How to Archive Family Photos to that special place on my bookshelf.


If you are serious about managing and preserving your family photo collection then you owe it to yourself and your family history to purchase How to Archive Family Photos and get started TODAY.

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Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statements.

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.