#FamilyHistoryMonth – On Day 7 Discover IntoThePast


Family History Month IntothePast for European records

IntoThePast is a site in development that was introduced at RootsTech 2017 (the largest genealogy and family history convention in the world).

IntoThePast will specialize in hosting European records, primarily archival handwritten records, that have been digitized and made searchable with their proprietary Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology, SearchInk.

IntoThePast with SearchInk








“ is an online meta-search engine that allows users to search for parish records with a focus on European records. is powered by the SearchInk Handwritten Text Recognition technology.”

IntoThePast will be the website where archival materials are hosted and presented to the public for searching. SearchInk is the technology that converts handwritten text to searchable content. ARQI is the company that negotiates with archives to digitize their materials. And Qidenus Technologies is the parent company that has developed the patented products for book digitization.

IntoThePast will offer subscription services and it remains to be seen if they’ll offer a level of free service. It’s definitely a site worth watching if you have European ancestry!

IntoThePast join their launch listFollow them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and go to their website and join the launch list to enjoy 6 months of free premium membership.

October 7, 2017 |

End of September Genealogy deals



RootsTech 2018 registration is open!

  • Visit for more details and discounted pricing-up to $100 off the regularly priced package!

  • Visit the OnGenealogy Events page for updates and hotel information.

    VRBO rentals

  • You might also want to consider renting a home or apartment through or a similar site. (At I usually sort by “price low to high” and use the “more filters” to specify if I need internet, multiple bathrooms, etc. If you use the map feature to see which homes/apartments are closest to the Convention Center, the Salt Palace Convention Center is on the left/west side of West Temple between 200 South and South Temple. You’ll need to have a rental car or use a taxi/Uber/public transportation for many of these rentals. If you rent a car, there’s parking beneath the Convention Center for $10/day and I always get there before 9 am and have always been able to find parking. There’s other public parking as well, but this is the best parking for this convention.) I’ve used vrbo rentals in four different states with great results, but I’ve also seen properties that appeared to be scams, so read the property reviews and be cautious.

  • If you can’t attend in SLC, we’ll share their livestreaming, free class list when it’s announced!



Free Genealogy Webinars this week:

LegacyFamilyTree free webinars







FamilySearch September webinars free






BYU Family History Library Webinar Series










Genealogy Scams to be aware of

  • AARPs Fraud Watch Network, based in the United States, has an article on Social Media and Genealogy Scams that’s worth a look. Genealogy is a billion dollar industry and this article shares what to be wary of as you shop online or join genealogy sites.



Headstone Cleaning Techniques

  • The GazetteXtra has an article “Oak Hill Cemetery Preservation Society learns proper cleaning technique from national expert” which shares tips on how to properly clean headstones so we don’t damage them.




Save Your Photos Month is wrapping up!



Some fun ideas for September from the web include:






Other Genealogy Deals:


Blaine Bettinger Intro to DNA Crash Course free download book


Best in your research, whether it’s fee or free!






September 24, 2017 |

RootsTech 2018 registration and other September specials!



RootsTech 2018 registration opens Wednesday, September 20th!

  • Read the FamilySearch media release for more details and discounted pricing

  • Visit the OnGenealogy Events page for updates and hotel information

  • If you can’t attend in SLC, we’ll share their livestreaming, free class list when it’s announced!




Save Your Photos Month is wrapping up!


Some fun ideas for September from the web include:







Various Photobook companies are offering specials

  • in South Africa is offering up to 30% off photo products

  • Mixbook is offering 50% off first time orders and has other sales as well

  • Chatbooks turns your Facebook posts into photobooks

  • Caroline Guntur the Swedish Organizer Organizing Your Photos offersThe Swedish Organizer has a free email course for organizing your photos. She is also offering 10% off her Digital Photo Organizing Masterclass. Join her email list for regular offers including a great freebie download, A Checklist for rounding up all your Digital Photos (something you need to do prior to organizing everything).








ScanMyPhotos September specials

  • ScanMyPhotos has several photo specials available and is still offering a deal on photo scanning that must be purchased now but can be redeemed any time in the next 6 months. Buy two boxes, get the third free. They ship you empty boxes for your photos, you ship them back and they scan and return all your photos. This amounts to around 6,000 photos scanned for $0.05 per photo.









Other Genealogy Deals:




Blaine Bettinger Intro to DNA Crash Course free download book
















Forces War Records free tutorials and guides




















Free Genealogy Webinars this week:

Free Legacy Family Tree Webinars for genealogy and family history




FamilySearch free genealogy webinars




BYU Family History Library Webinar Series






Best in your research, whether it’s fee or free!


September 18, 2017 |

Fee or Free Photo Scanning

E-Z-Photo Scan at RootsTech 2017


Fee or Free Photo Scanning

If you’re like me, you have piles of old, printed photos begging to be digitized. I even took mine out of old albums & scrapbooks and threw the albums away (I don’t recommend this). But before you take on the enormous task of digitizing your photos, make sure you have the right tools. It makes no sense to hand scan small photos, one by one, on a flatbed scanner or with a phone app. There’s a better tool available that is a huge time-saver–E-Z Photo Scan.

E-Z Photo Scan sells & rents multiple scanners but my favorite by far has been the model that allows you to stack 30-60 smaller photos in a pile and it auto feeds them into the scanner, names the file (according to your instructions), and can output in multiple file formats. It will run a stack of photos through in minutes. It can take a scan of both sides of your photo as it runs it through. (There are other options for larger photos and photos/scrapbooks that can’t be bent in any way-I’m not addressing those in this blog.)

Below is a video I took at RootsTech of a patron using the E-Z Photo Scanner to scan a few photos. This doesn’t do the scanner justice because she’s just dropping photos in one-by-one with what she has on hand.

This is the vision: you will have a nicely organized box with stacks of photos and you will put a stack of photos on the scanner and let it feed them through while you sit back and watch digital versions appear on the computer, with files named so you will be able to locate and identify them in the future.

Personally, I wouldn’t attack the scanning job without this tool. If you don’t have access to this type of scanning equipment or a similar time-saving tool, prepare your printed photos now, for a time in the future when you will have access to this type of equipment. Prepping the project will take far more time than the actual digitizing. (Or work on renaming and organizing your most recent digital photo files and master the art of file naming with current photos before you attack old photos.)

E-Z Photo Scan just advertised a Monday webinar (that’s today, Monday, May 15th) at 1 pm EDT and is inviting people to pre-register. The webinar will address file naming techniques, “tools, strategies, and ways needed to turn naming file names into high-performance search bots.” I wish I’d taken a class on file naming before I scanned my photos. I should have spent time organizing the photos into the batches I wanted to scan together, labeling the piles with how I wanted the system to automatically name them, etc. I was just so excited by the time-saving technology I jumped in without much planning. (Again, I don’t recommend this.)


E-Z Photo Scan

E-Z Photo Scan sells this equipment or will rent the equipment in the United States and Canada and they offer financing for purchases. This is a display from RootsTech 2017 showing how the rental process works and what is delivered when you order.

E-Z-Photo Scan at RootsTech 2017

E-Z-Photo Scan at RootsTech 2017

If you choose to rent you will definitely want to do all the organizing and prep work before the machine delivery date. And by organizing and prep, I mean gather every possible photo you can digitize, put it in the stack you want it digitized with, have it in the exact order you want the files to appear in, and pre-label each stack with the file naming format you intend to use (ideas from the webinar or any other file naming source you trust). This is a massive project and most of the work will be preparation. You might want to ask family or neighbors if they’d be interested in sharing the rental fee and allowing them time with the equipment. I’ve heard of groups sharing the costs and taking turns using the equipment that was set up in one person’s garage. I also have a girlfriend who purchased one of these for her family (she’s a diehard librarian/archivist). So even though the rental or purchase price seems like a high start-up cost, people do it and love it.

Epson, Canon, Wolverine, etc

Epson, Canon, Wolverine are just a few companies offering similar products in my area. Search online for other digital, auto-feed, photo scanners available in your area. Some computer and office stores in my area sell this equipment but options will vary based on your location.


LDS Family History Centers

Many LDS Family History Centers located throughout the world have this equipment available for free. You’ll need to contact your local family history center and ask what digitizing equipment they have and how to reserve a time to use it. You’ll want to plan on at least 30 minutes to familiarize yourself with the system, even if a volunteer is there to assist you. (I’ve heard a few people say they’re afraid to use these facilities because they don’t want to be proselytized and in my experience, this is not the purpose of the LDS Family History Centers and religion has never been discussed when I was working, but if religion did come up, a respectful “I don’t like to discuss religion” would end it.)


Libraries and Archives

Libraries and Archives worldwide have digitizing equipment and some make it available to patrons and offer use of the equipment free-of-charge. Others may charge a fee. I used this or similar equipment at a local college (free of charge) and actually reserved two machines for 2 hours each, and had my sons feeding photos through one machine and batch naming them while I fed photos through the other. (We brought USB cards with inadequate storage space and an external hard drive with 1TB of space that was more than adequate.)


Genealogical and Historical Societies

Genealogical and Historical Societies would also be a great place to check. I suspect if they offered use of the equipment for free, that would for members only, and they would charge a fee to other patrons.


It’s been four years since we scanned our photos and I recently saw new equipment for digitizing scrapbooks that allowed the patron to flip through page after page as it digitized. The equipment took a photo, a digital version appeared on the computer, then the patron flipped to the next page, etc. No need to take apart scrapbooks and albums. Anyway, that’s another blog for another day, but the point is, don’t start a project until you’ve researched the latest and greatest tools. Nothing is more frustrating than learning you were inefficient with your time because you chose the wrong tool for the project. E-Z Photo Scan is aptly named, it’s easy to use and is the right tool for the job.

Best in your digitizing whether it’s fee or free.

May 14, 2017 |

RootsTech 2017 Expo Hall


I’m still recovering from RootsTech and trying to organize notes and handouts but here’s a quick mash-up of some Expo Hall pics from different days. There’s little rhyme or reason to the order and it doesn’t include all the photos and videos I have but it should give you a taste for the experience if you weren’t there and hopefully great memories if you were.

This RootsTech 2017 video link will take you to the youtube channel to view the video.

RootsTech 2017 Expo Hall


February 13, 2017 |

Historic Journals from RootsTech 2016


If you have old letters, diaries, and family papers that have been stored for years but not transcribed, Historic Journals from RootsTech might be the site for you. And even if you aren’t the one who inherited the family papers, maybe the one who did has shared it online and you’ll find it here.

Document uploaded to Historic Journals

Document uploaded to Historic Journals

Historic Journals is an online family history website with both free and fee offerings for finding and sharing your ancestor’s journals, wills, letters, photos, and more. Historic Journals pulls data from the free family tree site, You can upload documents and allow others the privilege of helping transcribe them. “The privilege” haha. We all know there’s a reason they’ve been sitting in boxes for years. It’s work. It takes time. And it can be tedious. The problem is, yours might be the last generation that will be able to read them and these documents often contain important leads and clarify relationships and once they’re lost, those helps are gone.








Screenshot of Historic Journals page where you view and transcribe documents and tag ancestors

Screenshot of Historic Journals page where you view and transcribe documents and tag ancestors

When you upload an image and give rights to others to transcribe the document, you or anyone you’ve given rights to, can choose to add a transcription (there are options to zoom in and out), edit the transcription, etc. You can also tag individuals named in that document and once they’ve been tagged, if you’ve chosen to make the document public, they’ll go into a database where Historic Journals will allow other descendants to view the document and transcription.









How am I related? feature on Historic Journals

How am I related? feature on Historic Journals

Historic Journals has a “How am I related?” feature that detects any tagged person in a document who is your direct ancestor using the free trees on  Historic Journals will highlight your ancestor’s name and prompt you with “How am I related?” and if you select this question it will pull up the inserted fan chart with your descendancy from the tagged individual. So in my case, Joseph Pomeroy Cass-Hannah Cass-Polly Lamb Wells-Eudora Adelia Stone-Martha Eudora Randall-Randall Webber Tayler-me









Shared letters, biographies I can access because my ancestors are tagged

Shared letters, biographies I can access because my ancestors are tagged

This is a screenshot of the library on Historic Journals where I can see:

  • what I’ve contributed
  • what others have contributed and shared that pertains to my ancestors
  • what others have tagged my ancestors in
  • other public items

In each of these groups I’m given the “How am I related?” prompt with a descendancy chart if my direct ancestor is tagged.




Free Genealogy Fan Chart from Historic Journals

Free Genealogy Fan Chart from Historic Journals

My husband thinks my fan chart is embarrassing because I haven’t completed all my 6th generations, but if you can overlook my struggles, here’s a view of Historic Journals feature where they give you an expandable fan chart for your ancestors. You can search the fan chart for some common genealogy problems:

  • loops
  • duplicates
  • birth after child’s birth
  • birth after death
  • birth after marriage
  • marriage after death

Historic Journals highlights these potential problems in orange. Yikes! I have a marriage recorded after the person died, so I’ll have to check into that one.

Historic Journals also has a pioneer feature and if you have ancestors who were Mormon pioneers they’ll all be listed on this page, with “How am I related?” prompts.

They also have a Mormon Migration feature where they’ll list any ancestors who are part of the Mormon Migration database (1840 and 1932).

Even if you don’t need to transcribe and share letters and documents, if you have a free tree on, you’ll want to check out Historic Journals for free features to see if anyone’s shared documents that might help you with your family history research.

April 22, 2016 |

Relative Finder from RootsTech 2016


Relative Finder is a fun, free genealogy program that’s jokingly referred to as the “gateway drug to family history.” Check it out and you’ll see why:  Relative Finder is a genealogy program that was developed by Tom Sederberg at BYU. It’s been around a while but has a new look and some new features and kids and adults alike love it! And did you miss the “free” part? It’s free genealogy!!!

Relative Finder for finding your roots and relationships

Relative Finder from RootsTech 2016

I’ve created a short video if you’d like to see the program in action.

Relative Finder shows relationships between users and other people, living or deceased. To use Relative Finder you’ll need to have a FamilySearch account and tree and you’ll login with your FamilySearch account. FamilySearch is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and you can create free trees on their site (a word to the wise, your FamilySearch tree shouldn’t be your only family tree or gedcom file–I’ll blog about another time.)

When I login, Relative Finder will show my relationships and the closest relationships will be displayed first. FamilySearch doesn’t let Relative Finder store information on living people so Relative Finder will see my deceased parent has a grandchild and tell me that grandchild is my son or nephew-it can’t discern between the two.

Relative Finder will return relationship results for any relationship you have with someone in a public group. Public groups include:

  • Authors/Poets
  • Business Leaders
  • Catholic-Saints and Popes
  • Classical Composers
  • Constitution Signers
  • Declaration Signers
  • European Royalty
  • Famous Americans
  • Famous Europeans
  • LDS groups including LDS prophets, apostles, pioneers, seventies, and more
  • Mayflower
  • Military Explorers
  • Movie Stars
  • Reformers
  • Salem Witch Trials
  • Science and Technology
  • US Presidents
  • US Presidents’ Wives

Relative Finder works best for people with European descent but but they keep adding interesting ancestral lines and it’s becoming more and more diverse.

You can create groups, join groups, or try to connect with someone by starting a Connect session and inviting them to join. (Again, they’ll need a FamilySearch account and tree-but it’s free!)

I created a group for my family and invited my siblings and their spouses and in-laws. My brother and his wife are 6th cousins! I’ve joined a group my neighbors created and we have fun seeing how closely we’re related (my closest is a 9th cousin but a few of my neighbors are 4th cousins).

My children love the public groups. I have a son who loves science and he likes to see his relationship to famous scientists. I’m 12th cousins with President Obama! After my husband learned my brother was named after a Mayflower ancestor he had the audacity to disprove that lineage. But I got the last laugh, Relative Finder shows that I’m still a Mayflower descendant (although from a different line). I’m a 12th great granddaughter of Richard Warren from the Mayflower. I’m not going to apply to the Society of Mayflower descendants without researching this but it’s fun to see and it’s a great place to start my research.

So if you’re an average person who’s not going to be chosen for Finding Your Roots or Who Do You Think You Are, but you’d like a peek at the possibilities, Relative Finder is for you. That’s why it’s called the gateway drug to family history. You know you wanna try it!

If you’d like more tips on Genealogy please subscribe to my YouTube channel.



February 26, 2016 |

ResearchTies from RootsTech 2016


After scouring the RootsTech Expo booths for three days, meeting with representatives from each booth, the exhibitor that will make the most difference in my research and genealogy needs is ResearchTies. I’m betting a lot of people missed them because they were back by the crowded computer lab area, but they offered 20 minute lab tutorials which were worth every minute (wish I could have signed up for an hour). Check out a short video highlighting How to use Research Ties at my OnGenealogy YouTube channel.

ResearchTies research log program

ResearchTies at RootsTech 2016

ResearchTies is an online research log where users record genealogy objectives, sources, searches, record results and more. You can add digital images, url links, and import gedcoms*. And the creator and president of ResearchTies, Jill Crandell, MA in history, accredited genealogist, or her staff provides quick customer support.

I’m religious about using research logs when I work offline, especially at a library. But most of my research is done in quick snippets online, when I have 15 free minutes. I don’t record “nil” searches because let’s face it, in 15 minutes I haven’t exhausted the results and there’s nothing “thorough” about my research effort. (You’d better believe I record nil searches if I’ve gone through a microfilm three times–don’t wanna be looking at that puppy again.) But, like I said, ResearchTies is changing how I do all my research.

Organization is a huge key to genealogy research success. I’ve found that when I’m in a hurry and quickly google search a person I’m hoping to find (usually in a new online book offering) I’ve often searched the wrong name (the child v the parent) or left out some vital information in my boolean search. Using an online research log helps me organize my thoughts and get the details of my search right so I use the best queries possible. Then I add the sources I’m searching, record the search and record the results.

Not gonna lie, sometimes I do the search first, then when I strike gold I go back, create an objective, add the source, add the search, add the result. I would never do this offline, honestly! But at least now, after I’ve done the search, I’m not just taking a screenshot and then hitting print. Or worse, grabbing the nearest spiral notebook (maybe even one belonging to my child), taking notes on what I’ve found, because of course, I assure myself, I will file this paper in my non-existent surname files and always remember all the details of this search and url that I’m not bothering to write down. Why do any of us do that?

If there’s a scarlet letter for bad research habits I should wear it. But. Not. Anymore. I am going to be a research log rockstar. Seriously. This program was designed by a genealogist for genealogists and inspires best practices in research. Reminds me of a genealogy meme: “There’s no Genealogists Anonymous because no one wants to quit.” Well there should be a “Poor Research Loggers anonymous” and this is where we should all go:

If you’re interested in trying it out, they offer two-week free trials then to continue you’ll need to sign up for a $30/year subscription which covers the cost of the program/hosting/support. They have a Learning Center for tutorials and email support for anything you don’t understand. You know it has to be good if “research logs” is someone’s favorite take-away from RootsTech. Thank you Jill Crandell and thank you ResearchTies!

*Be judicious about your gedcom import-are you honestly going to research 10,000 names? The answer is No. Email ResearchTies with their recommendations. You’ll be glad you did.

P.S. I’m not being paid for any endorsements. I just happen to be blogging/vlogging about genealogy. 👍 Good luck with your research!


February 23, 2016 |
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