Interested in Self-Publishing Your Genealogy Research?

Self-Publishing Boot Camp

[Editor's Note: Readers of GeneaBloggers may not know that I also run the Hack Genealogy website which covers the latest in technology for genealogists and family historians. Every other month I team up with Lisa Alzo, of The Accidental Genealogist, and we offer a "boot camp" covering a popular topic such as writing, project management and this month, self-publishing.  Check out the info below and be sure to sign up soon . . . each and every Hack Genealogy Boot Camp in the past has SOLD OUT!]

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Come join well-known genealogy educators Lisa Alzo and Thomas MacEntee as they team up to offer a unique education event: Self-Publishing Survival Guide! On Saturday, 22 March 2014, you’ll be able to learn from two experts on how to take your written genealogical research and publish it in both print and e-book format.

Are you all ready to publish on your own, but you don’t know where to start and have these questions?

  • What is the best self-publishing platform for me and my book?
  • Should I use a service that handles book cover design, marketing and more . . . or can I really do this all on my own?
  • Should I have a print version and an e-book version?
  • What are the formatting and document preparation requirements for both print and e-book self-publishing?

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

Register by Monday, 17 March 2014 and receive $3 off the registration price for a low $9.95! Space is limited and if you register but can’t attend, you’ll still receive the handouts, the freebies and access to the recordings!

Space is limited and if you register but can’t attend, you’ll still receive the handouts, the freebies and access to the recordings!

Win A Free Registration!

That’s right. You could attend this Self-Publishing Boot Camp for free if you are selected as our Registration Rebate winner! Simply register and pay for the upcoming Boot Camp by the early-bird deadline of 17 March 2014. We’ll select one person from the list of registrants and refund their entire registration fee!  No contest forms to fill out! We’ll announce the winner here at Hack Genealogy on Tuesday 18 March 2014.


  • 11:00 am EDT /10:00 am CDT
    Welcome / Meet & Greet
  • 11:15 am EDT / 10:15 am CDT
    DIY Publishing for the Family Historian: Tips, Tricks and Tools
    Lisa A. Alzo, M.F.A.
  • 12:30 pm EDT/11:30 am CDT
  • 1:00 pm EDT /12:00 pm CDT
    Microsoft Word Secrets for Self-Publishing
    Thomas MacEntee
  • 2:30 pm EDT / 1:30 pm CDT
    Closing and Thank You


DIY Publishing for the Family Historian: Tips, Tricks and Tools
Presented by:  Lisa A. Alzo, M.F.A.

Whether you’re a family historian looking to share information with your family, an aspiring author, or a society looking for cost-effective way to produce materials, this session is just what you need to get started with self-publishing. Learn tips and tricks for preparing your book from idea to print, and the basics about which software and online writing tools can help with the process. Various self-publishing/print-on-demand platforms including: CreateSpace, Lulu, Smashwords, Kindle, and more, will also be briefly discussed.*

*    Attendees will also receive a free Self-Publishing Checklist.

Microsoft Word Secrets for Self-Publishing
Presented by:  Thomas MacEntee

Preparing a written narrative extracted from your genealogy research may seem straightforward, even using a generally accepted document software like Microsoft Word*. But there are special considerations when it comes to self-publishing that narrative, in both print and e-book format. Learn the secrets to producing a formatted narrative that can easily be published on a variety of self-publishing platforms.**

*    Microsoft Word 2010 will be the version used during the webinar. Many, if not all, of the features are the same or similar on other versions of Word including 2007 and 2013.

**   Attendees will also receive access to a special Self-Publishing for Genealogists Toolbox – tons of links covering platforms, methods and tips!

Presenter Bios

Lisa Alzo

Lisa A. Alzo

Lisa A. Alzo is a freelance writer, instructor, and lecturer with over 20 years’ experience in the field of genealogy. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Pittsburgh, and is the author of nine books, including: Finding Your Slovak Ancestors, Writing Your Family History Book, and the award-winning Three Slovak Women. Lisa has written hundreds of articles and her work has appeared in Family Tree Magazine, Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy, APG Quarterly, among others. An internationally recognized speaker, Lisa blogs as “The Accidental Genealogist” blog For more information see

Thomas Mac Entee

Thomas Macentee

When he’s not busy writing blog posts, organizing the 3,000+ members of, teaching online genealogy webinars and more, Thomas MacEntee is busy in his role as “genealogy ninja.” Stealth is not easy, but he manages to get the inside track on emerging technologies and vendors as they relate to the genealogy industry. After being laid off from a 25-year career in the tech industry in 2008, Thomas has been able to “repurpose” his skill set for the genealogy community and loves to see other genealogists succeed, whether it is with their own research or building their own careers in the field.

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.
  • Once payment is processed and received, you will receive a confirmation email. You will also receive links to register for each webinar. You must register for both webinars if you want to participate in both webinars.
  • 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 passwords for each webinar as well as links to all the handouts and freebies to you can review them before we start.
  • After the webinars, all registrants will have access to the recordings for personal use for a period of one (1) year. Recordings will be hosted on Vimeo and set to play only on a specific page here at Hack Genealogy. A password will be required to access the video pages.

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.

©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee

2014 Tech Trends for Genealogy

2014 Technology Trends for Genealogy

[Editor's Note: the following text was prepared for two on-air appearances in early January 2014: Bernice Bennett's Research at the National Archives & Beyond on BlogTalkRadio and a Fireside Chat at Mocavo with Michael LeClerc.]

Part of the problem I see with recent technology innovations in the general user population is that these same technologies are either a) not relevant to genealogy and family history research OR b) are not yet ready to be embraced by the genealogy community.

That being said, many of the emerging technologies you could expect to see in 2014 will most likely have some impact on us as genealogists:

Tablets and Mobile Devices

More and more users will be purchasing tablet type devices meaning tablet computers and multi-purpose devices such as the Kindle Fire or the Samsung Galaxy. There is a trend towards “2 in 1” devices such as tablets that convert to a laptop etc. Genealogists are starting to use these devices for “portable research” meaning they can have a virtual research assistant at their fingertips especially when they visit an archive or repository.

Of course, not every repository will allow such devices – remember to call ahead and ask (don’t rely on websites which might not be updated). Genealogists don’t want to be tied down to a computer at the archive – they want to use their device which might be loaded with Evernote, their genealogy database software, their files, scanned documents, photos etc.

In addition, genealogists are using these tablet-type devices to do more and more scanning or capturing of documents. Applications like CamScanner and’s Shoebox make this possible.

DNA Testing

Look for continued growth in the area of DNA testing for ancestry and genealogy purposes. While we’ve seen one company – 23andMe – forced to stop marketing its product as testing for understanding personal medical issues – use of DNA testing by established genealogists will continue to grow. In addition, DNA testing will be one of the key “hooks” to bring newcomers into the genealogy and family history market.

Look for these advances in the area of DNA:

  • more webinars and educational materials to understand the DNA results
  • better and easier ways to connect with other testers to share results and share research

Big Data and Predictive Data

“Big Data” continues to be a big topic and one that has a big impact on genealogy.

When it comes down to it, the major vendors in the genealogy space are really just “big data” companies.’s main asset is its collection of over 10 billion records. When you think about it, Ancestry and other companies take two approaches to monetizing their records: 1) they provide ways to “easily” search the records and find your ancestors; and 2) they “gamify” the process of doing genealogy by letting you build family trees, connect with other researchers, share information with family members etc. This “gamification” is key because much of it represents work performed by members and users which is then uploaded and incorporated into Ancestry’s growing database.

So look for new ways to work with data which could mean:

  • reindexing of data sets including new fields added to the original index (occupation added to a US Census which was not part of the original index)
  • advanced story telling such as how Ancestry is using its new Story View to bring many different data points together so users can get a better idea of an ancestor’s life
  • use of “pinning” either to maps/geography programs or to story board similar to Pinterest; one concern will be copyright and how vendors can control any “leakage” of records out to sites like Pinterest


Protecting one’s privacy became an even bigger challenge given the revelations about the NSA and metadata / phone surveillance here in the United States. One emerging trend in 2014 will be the creation of “personal clouds” which are self-hosted. This means instead of placing your data on Dropbox or Box and accessing it from various devices, you will create your own cloud site and make it private.


One thing that we as genealogists don’t do is document our own lives and experiences. Perhaps because we are so focused on documenting the lives of our ancestors, we suffer from the “cobbler’s children have no shoes” syndrome.

There are many apps and programs available under the category of “life streaming” and some would say that Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms can serve this purpose of assembling a personal diary. But the keyword is “personal” – many of these sites are very public. One program I’ve discovered is called One Sentence Diary which helps you keep a personal diary with each daily entry limited to 300 characters a day.

One twist you could see: having these apps used to develop an ancestor diary. Already there are “historical Twitter accounts” that actually tweet diaries of the famous and not so famous. It isn’t so far-fetched to think that genealogists sitting on a collection of ancestor diary materials might take to these platforms to share information about their ancestors. Also, look for more and more methods of keeping a personal journal and more genealogists using these tools for their own life streaming projects.

Life Consolidation

This is a difficult topic for which there isn’t, nor should there be, a catchy title: how do you handle cleaning out the home of a parent or loved one after they die or they are placed in a care facility? Having been through this journey myself, I struggle with the terminology. “Boxing up a life” seems so cold but there is that aspect to the process.

Especially as Baby Boomers begin dealing with this process, they also come to the realization that someone will have to do the same for them in 20 or 30 or more years. Any technology that can simplify the “tracking of items” or assist with organizing and scanning documents and images will be more and more attractive to everyone, not just family historians. This is a growing niche and its own industry – how to settle an estate, disperse family mementos yet also celebrate a person’s life through storytelling. Look for specific apps and platforms geared towards this problem and providing solutions.


And once you’ve gathered research and information on a loved one or an ancestor, how do you make sure it is preserved and shared with others? There are so many choices for storytelling out in the marketplace that most are overwhelmed. One thing you’ll see develop alongside technologies – such as ReelGenie and Saving Memories Forever - are Facebook groups and educational offerings to assist users in telling the best story possible. Both video and audio will be popular and highly shareable with family members.

Beacon Technology

A trend for 2014 is having stores use “beacon technology” which would sense smartphone signals of shoppers (which their permission) and alert them to sales and specials at store end caps etc.

So why couldn’t this technology be used at genealogy conferences (where an attendee is notified of a special event on the expo hall floor) or at a library like the Family History Library? Example: you are walking the stacks and you have your surnames and research data set to receive “signals” related to available resources.


While Google Glass is getting all the attention as of late, the general trend is towards devices that are getting smarter about where we are and what we want. Google Glass uses for genealogy could be as simple as viewing a tombstone and finding information about the person buried to viewing entire genealogy presentations.

Handwriting Recognition

Mocavo announced in late 2013 that it was developing a way to scan handwritten documents and have the image converted to “searchable text” much like current OCR (optical character recognition) used in digital scanning. If successful, this would prove to be a boon to not just genealogists but any history researchers. Add a translate feature for foreign language (like Old German) and we’ll see major advances in the development of record sets and access to historical records.

Innovator Summit – RootsTech

One of the areas where the genealogy sphere falls behind is in bringing the technology and business worlds into the fold. The new RootsTech Innovator Summit on Wednesday, 5 February 2014 in Salt Lake City – the day before RootsTech begins – seeks to solve this problem.

©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee