Need Help Using FamilySearch More Effectively?

FamilySearch is free online genealogical website and database dedicated to 'connecting families across generations.' There is a ...

30 August 2017

Need Help Using FamilySearch More Effectively?

Using FamilySearch More Effectively Webinar

FamilySearch is free online genealogical website and database dedicated to 'connecting families across generations.' There is a research side of the site and a tree building side. Are you getting the most out of this resource? has billions of names in the family tree and millions of records for genealogical research. Devon has worked with hundreds of beginning and intermediate FamilySearch users, and they confess to not using the site to its best advantage. She has pulled together her best tips and is offering to share them online with you on...

23 September 2017.

The eConfernece will start at 8:30 am CST and end at 4:00 PM and will feature Devon, along with 3 other presenters. The best part of this conference is the live chat feature during Devon's presentation and during a 5th-hour live panel discussion with conference participants. This is no boring slide show rebroadcast. This is an interactive learning opportunity!

For complete conference schedule and class details, visit

Sign-up today for the live conference on Saturday, September 23rd or watch the replay until October 23rd.

Other topics include:


 The host for the eConference is The Humble Area Genealogical Society and the coordinators are yours truly, Devon & Andy Lee - the Family History Fanatics. Register today for Michael's class and three additional topics as well as a bonus hour panel discussion!

Cost: $15
Date: 23 September 2017 (live)
24 September - 23 October 2017 (replay)

If you can not attend live on 23rd September, you can watch the replay for up to 30 days and still have access to handouts. You must register before the event starts.

To register visit, and click on the REGISTER NOW buttons. You'll pay with PayPal first and then complete the final Webinar Jam registration page.

Genealogy eConference for Hurricane Harvey Flood Relief


Members of The Humble Area Genealogical Society had the flood waters from Hurricane Harvey damage or destroy their homes. Our conference was originally going to use proceeds from this conference to help our chapter's preservation efforts. However, our board feels the funds donated will best serve our community best by helping the impacted society members recover.

As such, this eConference will give 50% of each registration to the relief of these members. Register today and provide aid.

About Devon Noel Lee:

Author, Speaker, and Family Historian. Devon Noel Lee specializes in preserving and sharing family memories and motivating budding genealogists. She has published over 60 books, including a memoir and four family history how-to books, including the popular A Recipe for Writing Family History. With over 20 years experience in genealogy, Devon is a high energy speaker and lab instructor at local, state, national genealogy conferences and public libraries. She educates and inspires the genealogy world weekly through videos on the  Family History Fanatics YouTube channel. This former beauty queen reported on pageant news for 16 years. She’s a Texas Aggie with degrees in Marketing and Journalism. Currently, Devon is a home educator for five superheroes.

28 August 2017

3 Methods for Organizing Your Genealogy

Do you have a house full of genealogical records that are completely unorganized? Did you inherit genealogy from someone else and don't know what to do with it? Well there are three methods of organizing your materials so that you can access what you need quickly in the future.

Before I can explain the methodology, let me explain something that you must know. There is no one right way to organize. The only wrong way to organize method is to have a big old pile of stuff that people would rather throw away then dig through.

Your organization efforts must simplify your retrieval process. If you can quickly find a document or photo, then you are using the right system for you.

BE WARNED that organizing takes time. You generally will not be able to organize a room with multiple file cabinets filled to the brim and overflowing in an hour, or a day. Sometimes the project will take weeks if not months so tackle.   

The best advice is to ORGANIZE AS YOU GO. When you make a discovery, determine where the discovery should be filed and then place it there. You do not have to look at a stack of papers, research, photos, and such, and feel like everything has to be organized at once. Develop your system as you slowly work through your discoveries. That way, if you need to make any changes, you make them while your system is still flexible enough to accommodate any modifications.

Entire websites and books are written about the specific tools and materials you can use to store your physical documents, photos, and memorabilia. In this post, you’ll consider which method you’ll use to these mechanical specifics.

Organize By Family

The most common method of organization in genealogy is by family. In simple terms is one folder per family consisting of a father, mother, and their children. The information in this folder may include the standard genealogy charts specific to this family, vital records about the family members, photos, stories, journals, research notes, etc. 

Remember that the parents in this folder are children in other families. As such, their information would need to be copied and placed in the folders of their respective parental families. Additionally, many of the children will form their own families. The documents in their parental family will need to be copied into folders where they become the spouse/parent. 

Some suggest that you keep a log in your files that indicate that additional source items are in a certain file. This would allow you to place all items pertaining to a person prior to marriage in the file folder of their parents. Any item pertaining to life after marriage would be placed in the folder of marriage. Then create a log stating that a married person’s birth certificate is located in the parental file folder. And, the death certificate would be made mention of in the parental file folder but placed in the folder where the individual was a spouse. 

Files are labeled with the husband’s name and years. So, if the family was Lewis Brown, you would label the file BROWN, Lewis 1918-1978. You might even need to add the wife’s name, especially if you have multiple ancestors with the same name or if one ancestor had multiple wives. For instance, one of my male ancestors had two wives. His first wife would be discussed in the file labeled SMITH, Andrew N 1855-1933 & Emma Ward. The second wife would be discussed the a folder labeled SMITH, Andrew N 1855-1933 & Mary Etta Webb.

Organize By Type

Knowing that the need to make copies of source items to be placed in multiple folders or to keep accurate cross-referencing logs might be cumbersome, some people elect to group their items by type. This system groups all interviews with interviews. All photographs are kept with photographs. All birth certificates with birth certificates, and so on.  

Items are identified by the principal individual(s) and ordered alphabetically. So, all the interviewees’ recordings are labeled with their name and then filed according to their last name. Photo albums are grouped by the principal family names and then arranged by last name on a photo album shelf. Loose photos are generally arranged by owner’s collection (Aunt Margie’s photos. Grandma Maggie’s photos) and then arranged chronologically  as much as possible. 

There are limitations with this method as well, but the focus is keeping similar type items together with less need to make copies or cross-references.

Organize By Project

Some genealogists remind me of homeschooling parents that love unit based learning rather than a progressive system. These genealogists would be better served by organizing their material based upon the projects they are working on.

In this case. if you are writing a historical narrative of people from Connecticut, all files associated with the relatives from Connecticut would be grouped together. If you are creating a scrapbook about your mother, then  pull out all of the photos, documents, and memorabilia relevant to your mother’s story in one file box. Organize your material based on your end goal or the projects you are working, on rather than by family or by type. 

The drawback of this method, is what are you do with the material you have that is not part of a particular project? You can simply create a miscellaneous folder and hope for the best. Or slowly adopt the file by type or family methods.

These three methods of organizing your genealogical material can also be mixed and matched together creating a method that serves you best. Once you know the overall plan for organizing your material, you can then examine the specific naming systems, labels, archival quality folders, binders, and page protectors you will need to accomplish the task.

Which method best describes your organizational preference? Let me know by leaving a comment.

Do you have a different method that's not listed above? Tell me about it below.

25 August 2017

Join the Power Scrapbooking Boot Camp on Sept 9th

Power Scrapbook Boot Camp

Every year, you take photos by the thousands and rarely do anything more than storing them on the computer. For decades, scrapbooking has been the solution to the picture accumulation problem, but it has also been a curse. Scrapbooking is too crafty or too time-consuming. It doesn't have to be that way.

With summer behind you, take a look at that camera roll on your phone or your memory card. In a few short weeks, you can create a family treasure that captures your memories and preserves your family history. If you'd rather tackle your photo flood taking over your home from the past 30 years, you too can solve your photo overload.

The Power Scrapbooking Boot Camp is perfect for those who have tried scrapbooking and lost their fire. Also ideal for beginning scrapbookers who know how to drag and drop using any computer service!

Heritage Scrapbooks
Power Scrapbooking Makes These Projects Possible!

I'll show you my amazing speedy scrapbooking methods, which also tames your clutter and organizes your photos at the same time! As I walk through the Power Scrapbooking steps, ask questions in the Chat feature with Hack Genealogist, Thomas MacEntee moderating the feed! I'll answer your questions live during each webinar session.

SESSION I:  I Feel the Need for Speed: Power Scrapbooking Principles
Before you learned to type, you needed to learn your alphabet and how to make words. In Power Scrapbooking, you have to prepare to assemble your pages before you can become the ultimate human assembly line in memory-keeping page creation. The first portion of our boot camp will teach you the Power Scrapbooking steps that help you leave the start line at breakneck speeds. 
SESSION II:  Let's Get Digital: Creating Scrapbooks at Mixbook or with Photoshop Elements
Power Scrapbooking relies upon digital scrapbooking. Nothing beats the speed of using the computer to combine your photos and stories together. This portion of the boot camp will demonstrate how to power through creating a summer-themed scrapbook using's online design service. And we will close out the webinar with a demonstration of using Photoshop Elements for those with more customized needs. 

 9 September 201710:00 am - 1:30 pm (CST)

 Register Today! 

To register, visit this link: Power Scrapbooking Boot Camp Link

21 August 2017

Quick Story Gathering Ideas to Enrich Your Genealogy

Gather Your Family Histories

Did you think you don't have enough time to do family history?  Maybe you don't have enough time to push your pedigree all the way back to Adam and Eve (which by the way you can't), but you do have time to gather stories from your living relatives. And honestly, you can't afford to waste any time procrastinating the capturing of these stories.

14 August 2017

Help! What Questions Should I Ask In the Family History Interview?

Family Questions to Ask Your Relatives

Do you struggle coming up with questions for interviewing a relative? You know that preparing questions ahead of time, but what should you ask? Should you rattle off items on the Pinterest discovery "20 best questions for interviewing relatives"?
Take time before your interview to determine what you want to know. What you hope to discover will heavily influence the questions you prepare.

07 August 2017

3 Memory Trigger Exercises for Your Next Interview

3 Memory Triggers for Interviews - Genealogy

Preparing to interview a family member can be super exciting. But for many interviewers, they are uncertain what they want to ask the interviewee. Meanwhile, many interviewees are nervous about what you're going to ask them and whether they are going to remember. Here are three ways you can put your interview we at ease and discuss stories that will give you a richer deeper family history and family history interview.