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ImageDo you recognize the image above? If the answer is yes, then you know I’m going to talk about Twitter. If you don’t know what the bird represents, what a “tweet” is, or shudder when you hear people talk about “Twitter,” “Facebook,” or Social Media, then please stick around and keep reading. Perhaps I can alleviate your concerns!

The first thing everyone should know is that no matter how strict you set your privacy settings, you should act as if the whole world is reading. If you don’t want your parents, children, co-workers, spouse, boss, friends, or the world knowing your deepest, darkest secret (that you would otherwise post for “strangers” to read) – then just don’t post it. Things have a way of getting back to the people you are trying to hide something from (and yes, I just realized I ended a sentence with a preposition!) Second, if you don’t want someone judging you due to your political, religious, ethical, or moral opinions – then what are you doing posting them? I guarantee that not everyone on your friends list has the same opinion/belief that you do – even if you think they do – they just hide it better! Third, due to all the changes that social media makes day in and day out, you will at one time encounter urban legends (ten gazillion likes will NOT help that poor child get a new heart/liver/kidney and unfortunately the child has probably died in the few years since the posting has been making the rounds); your closest friend may have clicked “like” on something (Facebook) and it has shown up on your newsfeed – unfortunately whatever they “liked” has offended you in some way – do not, I repeat Do Not believe that your closest friend has done this intentionally. Sure, they could have remembered rule #1 (see above) but things happen. Just either click the little x so you don’t see similar things in your newsfeed, or just keep scrolling, or even contact your friend in person and explain that you were offended before you jump down their throat and decide that there is no way in the world they can ever be your friend again (what are you – 8 years old in elementary school?)

Now that we got that out of the way – there are those who post on Facebook all of the time but Twitter freaks them out. I guess it’s the 140 or less thing – whatever you “tweet” on Twitter, it must be 140 characters or less. Trust me – it can be done!  You may have to learn some “texting” or “tweeting” language, but it will become comfortable after awhile. I’ve been on twitter for awhile, tweeted sporadically up until about a month ago, and now I have made 180 tweets and have 33 followers – some are my friends/family and most are via geneablogging. Why, yes, I will probably tweet about this post when I’m done!

So how exactly does social media further genealogy research? Besides the networking angle, it can provide tips and tricks on better research strategies or even connecting distant cousins.  Recently, the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree held in Burbank. The fact that I am not a member nor do I live anywhere in the vicinity of Burbank did not deter me from eavesdropping on the event. Unfortunately I didn’t participate in any webinars, but I did keep up via Twitter.  Below I’ve listed my favorite tweets (mainly because, these are hints that will help me!)

Tweets (or retweets) from Missy Corley:

  • Schedule time every 6 mos or so to organize your bookmarks.
  • When you’re stuck, re-examine the records you already have.
  • Unsubscribe from the email lists and newsletters you don’t read.
  • The CountyCheck feature in RMS is great!

Tweets (or retweets) from Amy Coffin:

  • Some free map sites: NYPL, David Rumsey, LOC, Perry Castaneda at UTexas
  • Don’t forget Cyndi’s List map page.
  • Arons is now playing with HistoryPin.com, and so should you.
  • Hovorka: new genealogists need seasoned genealogists too, for guidance, where to find info.
  • Hovorka is saying the same thing Witcher did at RootsTech 11 about getting them in the door, not cramming citations down them.
  • Hovorka: we need tools that foster mentoring and collaboration.
  • Hovorka: scholarizing is a brick wall to reaching new genealogists. #scgs12 Yes, it is. Preach on, sister.
  • Hmmm…mugshots.com, not your typical genealogy records set.
  • If you’re into frugal curating, @familycurator has a book coming out about it in a few months.

Tweets from Randy Seaver:

  • Thomas talked quite a bit about affiliate programs on geneablogs Made up to $200 in one month
  • Ancestry Insider says to write geneablogs for yourself. Ought to use images in every blog post.
  • Thomas says Wikimedia Commons has copyright free images available for use on blogs.

Tweets (or retweets) from Elyse Doerflinger:

  • Bubble.us is like a giant whiteboard and you can type anything down – get ideas out of your heard @drewsmithpa
  • (Original tweet by Amy Crow) That’s the key: “If I look at your citation, can I get back to the original?” – C Witcher (The comma doesn’t matter!)
  • (Original tweet by Tonia Kendrick) Be committed to ANAYLYZING your data. #Witcher

All of the tweets about Steve Luxenberg’s presentation on “Secrets” by Susan A. Kitchens!

Tweets from Tonia Kendrick:

  • NewsLibrary.com can be used a la carte – no subscription necessary. Contemporary content, not historical. @megansmolenyak
  • Create timelines whenever you can. #Witcher

I kept all spelling/hashtags/capitalization the same however, most of these tweets included the hashtag for the conference which I did not include above.

Social media allows distant cousins – who would never be able to meet any other way – to get to know each other better and share valuable genealogical data and information. It also gives family historians the ability to learn from each other. So use it – but use it with care!

If you would like to read more about the folks above:

Personally, I want to thank all those who tweeted from the Jamboree as well as the presenters and the sponsor!

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I’m taking a break from writing – or thinking – about the series of articles I want to post concerning Death, Dying and Wading into the Legal System. There are other things to write about for the time being.

New Geneablogger stuff – I guess I’m a little behind the times (please read: too busy dealing with personal issues) to realize that Thomas MacEntee of Destination: Austin Family (and other great blogs) fame, has been hard at work on the GeneaBloggers blog/website. There’s a wealth of great information and a list of ALL of the Geneabloggers! It’s been around for several months so if you’ve been a little busy or preoccupied (like me!) – go check it out and bookmark it! I think it’s great that each week, new geneablogs are mentioned.

There’s also a new Social Networking site “just for genealogists” – GenealogyWise. Several of the geneabloggers have hopped on the new bandwagon in town – so far not many have abandoned Facebook. Are you on GenealogyWise? I haven’t signed up yet. For the time being, I have way too much on my plate to try to keep up with another network! Perhaps sometime in the future.

Another item I wanted to mention was the recent SoCal Jamboree that was attended by many of the geneabloggers – especially those who live in the Southern California region.  To read more about this event (sounds like it was quite a party!) – head over to Southern California Genealogical Society 40th Annual Jamboree. Then check other geneabloggers postings to read about all the good stuff they learned, the new friends they made, how they met their “idol”, and see all the great photos! I’ve enjoyed the Jamboree vicariously – since I’m not in Southern California and not able to participate in person!

Elyse Doerflinger has pondered why Genealogy Societies Need to Look Torward the Future over at Elyse’s Genealogy Blog. Wonderful content and she’s received tons of comments! Have I mentioned that Elyse is one of our “younger” sisters in the geneablogger world? She has an excellent perspective on so many issues!

Don’t forget to participate in several of the upcoming Carnivals and prompts! If you have writer’s block – or just keep bumping into that genealogical brick wall and need a break – these are wonderful ways to get inspired.

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I completed my last task early this morning in the GBG games.  Whew!  I was able to get quite a bit completed – though I would like to have done more.  I think this has challenged many of us in the genea-blogging world the last two weeks.  Thanks to Thomas MacEntee, Miriam Robbins Midkiff and Kathryn M. Doyle for being the administrators for these games as well as the Genea-Bloggers Group on Facebook.  You all really keep us on our toes and make us strive to research deeper, keep proper documentation, stay organized, remember to keep back-ups of our information, and to write what we know.  Thank you!

So without further ado – these are my final stats:

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources - completed over 50 citations using John Wiley’s “How to Cite Sources”. Platinum Medal

2. Back up Your Data – didn’t complete.

3. Organize Your Research:
   
A) 0
    B) More than 20 – complete
    C) 0
    D) More than 20 – complete
    E) Created at least 20 new entries in the database; scanned over 20 photos – Complete
    F) Didn’t complete
Three Tasks – Gold Medal

4. Write! Write! Write!
    A) Wrote a Summary of my blog
    B) Participated in several of these
    C) Prepared at least 3 items in draft mode and published later.
    D) Wrote a Bio of my ancestor (finished today!)
    E) Didn’t do
Completed 4 Tasks – Diamond Medal

5. Reach Out and Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness
    A) Commented on several new (to me) blogs
    B) Joined more than 5 new blog networks
    C) Sent an invitation to another genealogist to join Facebook
    D) Didn’t do
    E) Indexed gravesites for Find-a-Grave (over 20)
    F) Didn’t do
4 Tasks Complete – Diamond Medal

Congratulations to all the participants and to all those who won any level of medals!

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I didn’t check back in last night to update my progress in the Genea-Blogger Group Games.  I realized I could do an indexing project (Number 5 “Reach Out and Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness; Part E. “Participate in an Indexing Project”).  I went on Find a Grave and added 20 new names with pertinent information and some photos. Names and info I entered: maternal grandparents – Vesta and Glen Johnson; aunt and uncle – Glen and Mary Johnson; aunt – Lois Johnson. They are all in Glenn Haven Memorial Gardens in Clark County, Ohio. My maternal great-grandparents: John and Katie Johnson; their two children – Letis and Mary. They are in East Maplewood Cemetery in Anderson, Indiana. John’s parents – James and Amanda Johnson and several of their children – placed in Little Blue River Cemetery in Rush County, Indiana. Vesta’s family (her mother, step-father, and two brothers) – in Greenwood Cemetery, Leaburg, Oregon. Vesta’s father, step-mother and half-brother (Joe, Anna and Albert Wilt) in Beswick Cemetery, Harrison County, Indiana. Vesta’s brother and his wife – Clarence and Maud Wilt – in Mendon Cemetery, Madison County, Indiana. And my brother in Welcome Cemetery, Cullman, Alabama.

I also added a new genealogy blog to Facebook – Linda Robbins’ HollingsworthRobbinsFamilyTree blog. On Facebook, you can find it Here. Please visit Linda’s blog and let her know how much you enjoyed it! Linda’s also pretty new at Facebook and we want to welcome her!

So that tallies up to finishing 4 tasks under that category = Diamond Medal!

I also wrote a post for the upcoming 54th Edition of Carnival of Genealogy on the Family Language (as part of Write! Write! Write!, Part B).  So that tally under that category is now 2 tasks complete for the Silver Medal!

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Welcome to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Genea-Blogger Group Games! As part of the criteria, all those participating had to submit their intention of competing by August 7th. Participants would need to publish a post by Noon Pacific Daylight Time today describing what categories we would be competing and the goals we hope to achieve.

Competition begins tomorrow, August 9th and runs through August 23rd. Scanfest occurs on Aug. 24th so Closing Ceremonies will be held on Aug. 25th. The medals and closing ceremonies will be held at Destination: Austin Family.

Categories That I Will Be Competing:

1. Cite Your Sources (citing proper sources using Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills or How to Cite Sources by John Wiley.)

2. Organize Research (organize at least 20 digital files into folders, label, add metadata, add descriptions, add tags, etc and organize at least 20 digital photos into folders, label, add metadata, add descriptions, add tags, etc.)

3. Write! Write! Write! (Participate in a genealogy or family history related blog carnival.)

4. Reach Out and Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness (Comment on a new genea-blog; Join another genea-blogger’s blog network on Facebook Blog Networks.)

I’ve been getting real excited about these 2008 Games! I hope you are participating too! Wish me luck as there will be awards for all the hard work that the Genea-Bloggers are doing.

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With the Olympics beginning on Friday, August 8th, and continuing for two weeks, the Genea-Blogger Group at Facebook is inviting YOU to participate in the Genea-Blogger Group Games! For more information, please go to Miriam Robbins Midkiff’s AnceStories blog.
I’ve signed up to participate and frankly, I’m very excited! With my time being pretty limited these days, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to even “place”! As I read the categories, I realized there were some things I could do! And all participants will receive a badge created by footnotemaven!
So please go read the “rules” and information and then sign up!
Let the countdown begin!

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