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Calgary Public Library, Postcards from the Past

Calgary Public Library, Postcards from the Past

Now that our gardens are (mostly) dead, it is time for us to think genealogy.  With that in mind I thought I would  tell you about some of the events that are coming up.  First is our Family History Coaching program, at the Central branch of the Calgary Public Library.  We have been holding this program for many years now and we have helped loads of genealogists with their research.  It takes place at the Central Library (616 Macleod Trail SE) on the 4th floor at 10:00 on the last Saturday of the month.  No registration is required, just show up with your research and your questions and we will put our heads together and work on your family tree.  Its lots of fun, trust me.

The next event is our November general meeting, which takes place on Monday November  2 (yes, it will be November next week) at River Park Church which is at 3818 14A Street SW.  There’s lots of parking and lots of really great people.  The topic is not exactly genealogical but it is historical and who’s going to turn down a great historical presentation?  Bill Evans, who is a wonderful speaker and a talented photographer, will be presenting “Dirt Road History of the Plains and Foothills”   His presentation is about the people, places and events that shaped this unique part of the world. On their travels, Bill and  his wife Marg discovered incredible legacies left behind by the first Canadians and Red Coats, adventurers and bullwhackers, homesteaders and ranchers, teachers and men of the cloth and many others, whose lives and experiences are the stuff of novels and the silver screen.

We invite you to join us on a multi-media voyage through time in the footsteps of those who went before us. Journey from Wood Mountain to Pinto Horse Buttes, from Cypress Hills to Immigration Gap, from Chesterfield House to the “Ridge Beneath the Water” to the grasslands of Old Man on His Back, from Whiskey Gap to Signature Rock, from Ft. Benton to Ft. Calgary, and into the lands where the wild horses roam! Bill’s presentation was sold out at the Fish Creek Speakers Series so this is a chance for those of us who missed it to see this excellent presentation.  Everyone, members and non-members alike is welcome.  We’d love to see you all there.

Happy ancestor hunting.


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Two Heads Are Better Than One

two heads


One thing that I know for sure from my years as a genealogy researcher is that putting two minds to work on a problem is a sure way to solve that problem. It took me a long time to figure that one out –I have always been a solitary researcher – maybe a bit anti-social even, but when I started working with other genealogists I realized that every researcher is different and those differences can help you climb, skirt or knock down your brick walls. I have had the privilege of watching some great genealogical minds at work and the experience has been eye-opening to say the least. I have not just found solutions to immediate problems, I have learned techniques and ways of thinking that have helped me avoid many frustrating errors and find innovative ways to track down those elusive ancestors.
So, why would you care about this? Well, you can avail yourself of the very same resources by joining me and some of my genealogical mentors at the Family History Coaching program at the Calgary Public Library. On the last Saturday of the month from September to June (excepting the Christmas season) two genealogists from Alberta Family Histories Society come down to join me and together we offer genealogists, from beginners to experienced, a chance to collaborate with other researchers and to learn, just like I have, from their wealth of knowledge. How can you say no?
We are going to meet this Saturday, June 27, from 10 am to noon, on the fourth floor at the Central Library, 616 Macleod Trail SE. The library is on the C-train line, City Hall station, and there is also ample parking in the City Hall Parkade (accessible from 9th Avenue and just $5 on weekends) and also on the streets in the beautiful East Village. You could make a day of it – come down and hang out with some great genealogists, find an ancestor or two, grab a bite to eat and stroll down the River Walk. What better way to spend a Saturday?

Christine Hayes
Genealogy Specialist at Calgary Public Library,
Alberta Family Histories Society Program Committee Chair

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Notice of upcoming Annual General Meeting

Notice of the Annual General Meeting is hereby given in accordance with the AFHS Bylaws, which state: “Written notice of the date, time, place and purpose of such General Meeting shall be made available to all members in good standing at least twenty-one (21) days prior to the meeting.”

The Annual General Meeting of the Alberta Family Histories Society shall be held on Monday, April 6, 2015 at River Park Church, 3818 – 14A Street SW, starting at 7:00 p.m., during which financial and other reports will be presented, business conducted and elections held.

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Evernote for genealogy

I gave a talk at the monthly meeting tonight about Evernote. Evernote is software that remembers everything so that I don’t have to. Given the powerful features that even the free version has, you’d almost think that it was designed specifically for genealogists.

I’m not going to re-hash my talk here. There are plenty of resources on the Web if you weren’t able to make it to my talk. I did tell those who were there that I would provide some resources, though, to help them to learn more about using Evernote specifically for their genealogical research.

YouTube resources for Evernote and genealogy

Let’s begin with a video that tells you about what Evernote is. I covered a lot of ground pretty quickly, so a brief recap might be helpful. This is an great (if a little bit campy) video which covers the basis of What Evernote Is in just a shade over six minutes.

Got it? Good.

Now let’s move on to HOW to use Evernote . The actual ins and outs of using Evernote were a little beyond the scope of my talk, since I was more keen to let folks know just want it could do. That’s often the toughest thing to get one’s head around.

But after you know what it can do, you need to know how to actually make it do that, don’t you? Here’s a concise video about 15 minutes in length which will tell you more about how to use it. It’s important to understand that since Evernote is on pretty much any device where you can use it (iPad, Android tablet, smartphone, and of course Mac and PC), how it looks in this video might not be how it actually looks on your device. Feel free to search Youtube for helpful videos for your specific device.

You’re now an expert on WHAT EVERNOTE IS and HOW TO USE EVERNOTE! Good for you! But how do can you harness its power for your genealogical research? The following video is just over an hour long and goes into everything from basics to genealogical best practices for Evernote. It’s a bit slow getting going, and it’s a little bit dry and wandering, but it has good information for you to learn about applying it in your genealogical life.

Pinterest resources for Evernote and genealogy

Are you a Pinterest user? I’m not so familiar with it myself, but if you follow this link, you’ll find a whole whack of pins about Evernote for Genealogy.

What are the problems with Evernote and genealogy?

As gushing as I was about Evernote, I’m sure that it’s not for everyone. When evaluating how well you can use something, it’s often helpful to understand why other people find that it doesn’t work. Thankfully, one blogger has written a lengthy but informative article of why Evernote doesn’t work for her genealogy research. Read Problems with Evernote and Genealogy on her website.

Get Evernote and power up your genealogical research

I’d promised that I’d give you a link that you can use to sign up for Evernote. For full disclosure, if you sign up for Evernote and you buy the premium version (which I can’t recommend enough), I’ll get a month of premium for free. Like I said, it’s probably my favourite $5 to spend every month. I don’t desperately need a month free, but, if you’re going to sign up anyway, I’ll gladly accept my reward.

To sign up for Evernote now, click this link right here and enjoy the benefits of having Evernote tidy up your thinking!

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The Master Genealogist software to be discontinued

The publisher of The Master Genealogist (TMG) genealogy software, Bob Velke, announced at the end of July that he will no longer be continuing to develop the program. After 25 years in production—and just a few short months after the latest version release–he cites health matters in his own life as one of the drivers behind his decision to no longer develop the software any further.

His company, Wholly Genes Software, will continue to maintain a support forum for user-to-user support. However, he says, aside from a patch or two for bugs that may be found in the software, he’ll no longer be actively supporting the software once the clock strikes the year 2015.

The Alberta Family Histories Society currently has a TMG user group. Organizer Alan advises that he will be surveying to see if there is interest in continuing on with the TMG user group. After all, for those who already have and use the software, it’s not as though it will suddenly self-destruct after support ends.

While TMG will continue to be for sale for another few weeks, if you are just thinking now of acquiring genealogy software, you’ll be well-advised to steer clear of TMG. Thankfully, there are plenty of other software packages that will manage your genealogy data and research. AFHS has user groups for Reunion, Legacy, and Family Tree Maker (though some or all of these may be inactive at present… contact the organizers by their e-mail on the AFHS SIG page to find out more).

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