Friday, April 2, 2010

Shoestring Genealogy

Shoestring Genealogy
Kathryn Brannigan Walizer

While preparing for a genealogy class , I revisited a website that has been around for a while now, Dae Powell’s Shoestring Genealogy. Dae developed this website as he states "I developed my web site,, to help others (and me!) to find less expensive ways to research our family. Online resources are becoming more abundant, but they are not the only ones -- nor should they be -- that you should use".

There is a floating menu on the left where there is access to presentations, genealogy chat rooms, genealogy forms and charts and just for fun some genealogy crossword puzzles and quizzes. I tried a few and they really are fun to use.
All this good stuff is free to copy Dae only asks that you credit him when you share.

On the Right side of the Home page, there is a link that says site map clicking this brings you to a cornucopia of genealogy information, here you can access the crosswords, presentations, group tools, utilities, and interesting stories. now that is just part of the left side of links on the site index page.

Moving over to the right side, there is a list of Group Shoestring Forms, I especially like the forms that Dae has developed. they include Ancestor View Chart, Cemetery Log, Census Search Grid, City Directory Log, Correspondence Log, Data Analysis/Evaluation, Death Record Flow Chart, Deed Research Notes , Family Census,Time Line Goal-Oriented Research, Internet Research Log, Marriage Log, Obituary Extract, Pedigree Chart w/ Citations, Soundex Extract, and Family Worksheet, a lot of forms huh, not quite, those are just Dae's that he is giving away free.

The next section Group Online Forms. are blank forms found in various places on the internet, for example the US Census forms will take you to Ancestry.Com, where you will find blank forms of all the census years to download again for FREE!! and the link I especially love is the One Stop-free Stop, give this one a definite look, because, here you will find not only Genealogy Forms, but also Form Letters, Deed Research Forms, Manifest Extract Forms, plus many, many more.

There is also a Blog group listing I like to review these looking for new sites and online recourses, my favorites include many on this list Dick Eastman, Everton’s Genealogy Computer Tips, Ancestry Insider, Roots World by Megan Smolenyak, Smolenyak

The next list Group Web-Sites contains links that include Cyndi's List, Distant Cousin, FamilySearch, Footnote, Genealogy Buff, World Vital Records, NARA, and my Favorite new site Linkpendium. If you are not familiar with this site It lists resources for every state, and when you go to the surname list you can click on the alpha letter and then go to the search box and type in the surname. A list of recourses will come up for that surname, Give this one a try. You will love it. You can also add your own website to the list.

This web site will give you genealogy research help to aid you in your family search. Luck to you and Kudos to Dae Powell.

What is
Kathryn Brannigan Walizer is: The Genealogy Social Network, and what is a social network you ask? It is similar to a facebook site except all the members here have the same passion, genealogy. Joining GenealogyWise will give you a home page where you can post you surnames, area's of research, family photographs, your websites if you have them, and the groups you are interested in. and a wall where other members can leave messages for you there is also a section to send e-mails to other members.
From this home page you can link up to the other venues on the site. one of my favorites is the Forum tab, here you will find many articles of interest to keep you up to date on what is going on in the genealogy world.

From the Group tab it will transfer you to the Group page. as of this writing there is over 3,360 different groups to join, whoa, how to wade though all those groups, no fear the great people at GW have provided a search box, and from there you can type in your area of interest. Typing in Pennsylvania genealogy will provide you with 18 groups. Cost to join $0 benefits, priceless. there are also surname groups and I personally have made many contacts in these and even found a few distant cousins.

It is hard to say which tab brings up the best of the site, because they all offer so much information. The Photo tab is unique because like the groups it brings up all the photos posted by the members but this also has the search box. Here, if you were to type in the surname Harris it would bring up only photo's associated with Harris These photo’s could include bible pages, headstones, ancestor photo's copies of birth, death certificates. You never know what you will find. Under each photograph is the name of the submitter and clicking on this link will bring you to that persons home page where you can leave them a message on the page or ask that they become you friend so you can communicate though the site e-mail.

The Chat tab brings up a screen where you can chat (type) with fellow genealogists in real time. I know the thought of chat screens scares many, but this is really a place to find good friends and receive help from persons willing to help you scour the internet with various resources at their disposal, I was on the chat the other day and someone came on saying he was looking for a particular name to find out what she died of, he could not locate her. Another researcher asked the name, state of death, and within 15 minutes had located the record of her death, certificate number and because of this he was able to send for the microfilm with the certificate.
The chat screen also serves another great purpose, it hosts chats by noted genealogists and genealogist chat hosts that provide many great presentations, many of these presentations are transcribed and can be found in chat transcripts on the Chat tab

The Genealogy Search tab will connect you to the World Vital Records site here you can search for a person and see what the WVR has but it is your choice to join as it is a $ fee site. what is nice about this site though is that you can see exactly what records there are, and you can join monthly or yearly.

I find it helpful to ask others just what they think and I asked one researcher to give his opinion of the site and this is what he had to say

"I have been involved with Genealogy for over 30 years, first as part-time and after retirement, full time. I do research in Norway, England and Poland and have connected with cousins from all over the world. On Genealogy Wise I have met some very knowledge people, had lots of help with DAR and other look-ups. I really enjoy the positive attitudes and friendly nature of genealogy researchers, they are the best".

I talked to the administrator of the site and she asked me to be sure to relay the fact that they do have privacy settings on the site that you can decide what information is out there and who may see it.

The advantages of joining GenealogyWise is the ability to meet fellow genealogists, gain knowledge, and most important get help in areas that will allow you to break though that brick wall. GenealogyWise is a social networking site that encompasses genealogists of all areas, there are beginners looking for guidance and experienced and even professional genealogist's that will to give you help and advise, and it is all done in a friendly social setting among friends. Can’t get better than that on any site the web has to offer