Monday, December 31, 2012

New Help for Genealogists on Twitter


Corn & Cotton Genealogy, Finding Our Ancestors and 
Ancestral Journeys Will Start Regular Twitter Chats in January, 2013

If you are interested in learning about resources, skills, methodology and techniques to further your family history research, the help you need may have just arrived. Three genealogy professionals: Stephanie Pitcher Fishman, owner of Corn & Cotton Genealogy; Terri O’Connell, owner of Finding Our Ancestors; and Jen Baldwin, owner of Ancestral Journeys; are reaching across state lines using the power of Twitter to answer your questions and create an environment of collaboration.  Beginning January 25, 2013, they will combine their efforts to bring you #genchat, a Twitter Chat focusing on genealogy related topics, skills and questions. The chat will be hosted every two weeks, beginning at 9:00pm CST, and lasting for one hour. The chats will be oriented towards hobbyist genealogists and family historians; all interested are welcome to participate. 

Between them, they bring 43 years of genealogy research experience to the Twitter platform. Individually, they each run a professional genealogy business and their areas of expertise range from the Midwestern United States, to integrating family history into home education, and the Rocky Mountain corridor. Each are also involved in various genealogy related projects, such as the digi-mag, The In-Depth Genealogist, and the upkeep of Conference Keeper, a site dedicated to compiling world-wide resources on educational opportunities for family historian’s.

A detailed schedule of the planned chats for 2013 can be found on the Conference Keeper website.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Genealogy Gems Passes Million Milestone!

I don't usually give shout outs like this on my blog but in this case it is well deserved. Lisa Louise Cooke, producer and host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, has announced it has passed the milestone of a million downloads.

If you haven't listened to this podcast yet, now is the time to start. Lisa provides top quality audio with relevant content and thoughtful discussion on genealogy topics.

Here's a fun infographic that Lisa created in honor of this milestone. Go ahead, give it a listen!

(Click image to enlarge)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Keeping Your Eye on the Prize

As independent professional genealogists, house historians, historical researchers, (insert your job here) ____________ professionals we have to wear many hats in our business. Not only do we have to complete our client work, articles, talks or other deliverables but we also have to do the book keeping, marketing and all other tasks. Sometimes striking a balance can be hard.

It's even harder when trying out a new activity that you think will help your business or let you express yourself in a different way. Sometimes trying out that new thing, whether it's learning social media or figuring out how to build your own website, can be complicated and get you off track.

Lately, I've been investing a lot of time in figuring out podcasting. Podcasting is where you record your message in audio format (or it can be video too) and make it available at regular intervals through a blog or podcatcher (such as iTunes). I guess you could say it's a audio blog.

Have you ever tried to learn something new and found it to be challenging?  Podcasting can be cheap and easy but if you want to do it right and have good sound quality it's more involved. At least, that's what I've discovered. It has also managed to steer me slightly off track. If this happens to you, put on the brakes. FAST!

Some podcasters I've followed have gotten so into podcasting that they left their original professions to become podcast consultants. While that does sound like fun, that's not the direction I want to go in. I want to keep my head and my business firmly rooted in public and personal history.

Keep Your Eye on The Prize

The purpose of podcasting for me is so that I can express myself better on the topic of house histories, genealogy and history in general.  Sometimes I get so wrapped up trying to figure out podcasting that I feel like my goal is to learn podcasting and not to share my experiences with history.

This is a really easy trap for independent professionals to fall into. You want to save money by figuring out x, y, z on your own yet the process is so consuming.

You have to keep your eye on the prize. Remind yourself constantly what the goal is, how this is going to help your business. Re-evaluate it as part of your business plan. Is this going to help your business plan?  If I end up talking about house histories then yes it will. If I get stuck in a whirlpool and never achieve my goal (but learn a whole lot about podcasting) then No it won't.

Staying Focused

If you can manage it, just remind yourself every day what your goal is. Ask yourself, "Am I staying on track?"

If the answer is no perhaps you need to a) abandon what your doing or b) find an alternative way to achieve your goal.

An alternative might be to seek the professional help of a consultant. Another cheaper option would be to find a partner or "buddy" who will push your forward and hold you accountable to finish your task.

Don't get caught in the whirlpool. Keep moving forward and achieve your goal. Figure out the strategies for moving your personal or business goal forward.

If you've been caught in the whirlpool and have some good strategies to get back on track please feel free to share them here.