Click Here to Receive New Posts
in Your Inbox

This form does not yet contain any fields.

    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

    Now Available

    Follow Me

    Entries in family tree university (10)


    Organize Your Genealogy NOW!

    Organize Your Genealogy In a Week

    Save 20% on Any Course at Family Tree University with Offer Code FTUCOURSE. Expires 03/10/2015.

    January is National Get Organized Month, and if you are looking for a boost to your genealogy organizing resolutions, check out Family Tree University's upcoming  Organize Your Genealogy in a Week online workshop where I will be on-hand to answer questions and share tips to help you be an organized genealogist in 2015. 

    A new year brings out the best of intentions in all of us -- I know that I'm looking at a pile of papers and a flash drive filled with digital images from my recent trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. And everything needs to be labeled, filed, and organized so I can use this great information in my family history research. My goal is to process this new batch of material before this Friday, when we'll be talking more about organizing your genealogy at the FTU workshop.

    You can access the Organize Your Genealogy in a Week workshop anytime, anywhere, from your computer, tablet, or smartphone January 23rd through January 31st, 2015. The course features:

    • Six 30 to 60 minute instructional videos, and two written lessons on organizing your digital and paper genealogy. 
    • Advice from expert Denise May Levenick, author of How to Archive Family Keepsakes, (that's me!) on how to organize your research, and share your quandaries with fellow participants.
    • Unlimited viewing: Your all-access pass gets you into all videos throughout the week—you can even download the videos to watch again later or view ones you missed.
    • Make your own schedule: Because the classes are pre-recorded, you don’t have to show up at a specific time to catch the ones you want—or choose between sessions you’re interested in.
    • Message board discussions: Ask questions and share ideas to apply the research strategies you learn.
    • Convenience: Log in anywhere you can connect to the internet, at whatever times work for you.

    If you've been struggling with an avalanche papers, digital files, photos, memorabilia, and research notes, you'll find practical strategies to help you conquer the mess and find more time for your research.

    Sign up today for this one-week organizing course and Save 20% with this special coupon code:

    Save 20% on Any Course at Family Tree University with Offer Code FTUCOURSE. Expires 03/10/2015.

    And, in the meantime, you can get ready for the workshop by checking out the latest issue of the Genealogy Insider where Editor Diane Haddad offers Tips from the Pros: Baby Steps to Organize Your Genealogy from my article in Family Tree Magazine May/June 2014 issue.


    Fire, Flood, Earthquake: Is Your Genealogy Safe?


    Learn how to protect your family history research before and after disaster strikes whether you're at risk from natural disaster, home disaster or a computer crash in the September FamilyTree Magazine Podcast when I talk with with Lisa Louise Cooke about my article in the current issue of FamilyTree magazine, "Your Genealogy Disaster Plan." 

    Last week I shared disaster-preparedness tips "Prepare Your Family History to Survive Fire Season" prompted by the California wildfires that were burning in my sister's former hometown of Sliverado Canyon, California. Here are a few more tips you can hear more about in the September FamilyTree Magazine Podcast with Lisa Louise Cooke.

    Before Disaster: Know Your Risks


    Gather important numbers
    Practice prevention
    Prioritize keepsakes
    Digitize to safeguard
    Get an insurance checkup
    Back up computer files
    Save passwords
    Practice smart storage
    Make a genealogy grab and go list
    Create a genealogy disaster kit

    After a Disaster: Be Ready to Salvage Your Treasures

    Assess the damage
    Collect scattered items
    Contact your insurance agent
    Salvage wet photos for later attention


    Family Tree University Fall Virtual Conference Discount

    If you can't attend the Federation of Genealogical Society Conference in Texas next week, maybe you'd like a little genealogy education from home instead!

    FamilyTree University's Fall Virtual Genealogy Conference September 19 - 21, 2014 offers three days of on-demand webinar classes and live chats featuring: genealogy technology, research strategies, and ethnic research. Register now and save $40 Save 20% on Any Course at Family Tree University with Offer Code FTUCOURSE.

    I'll be presenting two sessions on working with digital images:

    Organizing Your Digital Images -- Do you have digital photos and scanned images scattered across your digital devices? Learn how to set up a system where finding and archiving digital pictures is fast, fun and pain-free

    5 Easy DIY Genealogy Book Projects: Showcase Your Research in Style -- Creating a genealogy book is a goal of many family historians: We want to capture our family story in a form that can be passed down from one generation to the next. Try these five projects to create a book, even if you’re not a writer.

    The full program includes classes in:

    Genealogy Technology

    Top Free Websites for Obituaries, Shannon Combs-Bennett

    Software Secrets for Every Genealogist, Lisa A. Alzo

    Top Free Websites for Vital Records, David A. Fryxell

    Organizing Digital Images, Denise May Levenick

    Top 5 Undiscovered Family Tree Databases, Shannon Combs-Bennett

    5 Easy DIY Genealogy Book Projects, Denise May Levenick

    Research Strategies

    13 Obscure, Overlooked and Undiscovered Sources to Overcome Brick Walls, D. Joshua Taylor

    Top 10 Genealogy Traps to Avoid, Lisa A. Alzo

    Forensic Genealogy Crash Course, Catherine Desmarais

    10 Ways to Diagnose (and Treat) Errors in Your Research, Sunny Jane Morton

    Exploring Digital Newspapers on GenealogyBank, and Chronicling America, Nancy Hendrickson

    Ethnic Research

    Use the Web to Research German Records from Home, Michael Lacopo

    12 Best Websites for Eastern European Genealogy, Lisa A. Alzo

    Secrets to Tracing Scandinavian Ancestors, Diana Crisman Smith

    Google Translate Tutorial, Gena Philibert-Ortega

    SAVE $40 on Registration

    Save 20% on Any Course at Family Tree University with Offer Code FTUCOURSE.



    RootsTech 2014 Photo Album (with Captions and Comments)

    Every parent knows that two-year olds can be challenging. They push against convention, fall, and usually get up to do it all over again.

    RootsTech 2012 was a lot like that toddler, feeling his way in the big genealogy technology universe. Not quite sure what would work, what wouldn’t work, but all the time trusting that eventually he’d figure it out.

    And then, the toddler turns three . . . and four.

    RootsTech has grown up, and the 2014 conference put this event “behind the wheel” with a real Driver’s License.


    Blogger Meetup for dinner at Roots Tech 2012. 

    I first attended the genealogy tech conference in 2012 when RootsTech was held in a smaller venue area at the Salt Palace Convention Center. The exhibit hall was noisy and crowded and it was difficult to find the session classrooms. The program seemed heavily tilted toward developers and beginners with little for intermediate or advanced genealogists. Networking and F2F blogger meet-ups, however, made it a worthwhile event.

    Fast-forward to 2014 and a whole new RootsTech experience.

    Entrance to RootsTech2014

    Entrance to the Salt Palace Convention Center for RootsTech 2014.
    A bigger, better venue for 2014.

    First impression walking in the Salt Palace Convention Center entry was “Wow!” The immense two-level hall was decked with enormous banners showcasing family history photos, vendors, and slogans. Standing on the upper level and looking through the huge glass windows, views of the Expo Hall showed continual demonstrations, products, and displays.

    RootsTech2014 foyer banner

    RootsTech2014 expo foyer

    RootsTech2014 expo window

    Beyond the Expo Hall, session rooms were large enough to accommodate most crowds with great audio visual arrangements.

    My biggest dilemma of the the three-day event was trying to squeeze In attending other sessions between presenting four sessions and signing books at the Family Tree University booth in the Expo Hall.

    RootsTech2014 ftu booth

    RootsTech2014 ftu dolan levenick moss

    Family Tree University booth in the RootsTech Expo Hall, with
    Allison Dolan (left) and Tyler Moss. 

    I didn’t get to hear author Dr. Thomas Jones, or geneticist Blaine Bettinger, or Laura Prescott, or CeCe Moore, or Judy Russell, or Lisa Alzo, or a host of other great speakers because there was just so much going on! And with sessions for ALL levels of genealogical and tech experience, there was a lot to choose from.

    However, I did get to flop down in the Backblaze Theatre front and center in the main hall to rest my feet and soak up presentations from several product developers. As bloggers Amy Coffin and Caroline Pointer said, “This is the awe-some. ‘They’ come to you.”

    A semi-circle of black and white couches and armchairs faced a large screen and podium. Every fifteen minutes a new vendor or presenter took the stage to demonstrate their product or share a some kind of software or hardware feature. Their presentation was punctuated by the “candy lady” who came around with a basket of deliciousness, and the “ticket lady” who passed out door-prize tickets. Every fifteen minutes.

    Clearly, RootsTech has figured out that not every attendee has the stamina of the kids attending Saturday’s Discovery Day. But whereever you are in your own family history search, RootsTech 2014 offered something just for you.


    Digitize Your Genealogy Workshop Begins Soon

    Digitize Your Genealogy

    Are you ready to start turning your family history papers into digital files, but don't quite know how to get started? Join the one-week Digitize Your Genealogy Workshop at Family Tree University for simple steps to help you go from paper to pixels.

    I've expanded the digitizing sections from my book, How to Archive Family Keepsakes, to a workshop program that includes

    • on-demand videos
    • hour-long webinar
    • written lessons 
    • book excerpts
    • message board

    I will also be answering questions on the message board and sharing ideas to help you move past any digitizing hurdles.

    Register Now, and Save 20% Off Entire Purchase at Family Tree University. Use coupon code FTUCOURSE during checkout. Expires 12/31/2013.



    7 Steps to Disaster-Prep Your Genealogy

    What's Your Risk From Disaster?

    Join me on Wednesday, 25 September for an exclusive LIVE Webinar at Family Tree University, 7pm EST / 6pm CST / 5pm MST / 4pm PST, as we discuss how you can prepare for the next Big One.

    In Southern California, we worry about earthquakes and wildfires -- those natural disasters often lead to home (and keepsakes) damaged or destroyed by fire, water, or power loss.

    Fortunately, you CAN take steps to prevent the total loss of your research and your family keepsakes. This 7-Step Genealogy Disaster Plan can provide peace-of-mind and an action plan for preserving family history --

    Genealogy Disaster Plan

    1. Inventory, Prioritize, and Digitize

    You might not be able to save everything in the event of a devastating natural disaster, but digital copies can provide replacement copies of photos and documents, and information evidence of artifacts and other memorabilia. Inventory, prioritize, and digitize to create a digital archive of your most important materials.

    2. Backup Your Digital Files

    You can't hear it enough -- Backup, Backup, Backup. 

    3. Preserve Your Keepsakes

    Don't just throw your treasures in any box and think they are preserved. You need to use Archival  containers that will help your items last as long as possible.

    4. Store Your Keepsakes

    You also need to store those archival boxes in the best location possible -- moderate temperature and humidity, and free from pests, pollution, and light.

    5. Make a Genealogy Grab & Go List

    Sometimes, you'll have time to prepare for an impending disaster. Save time with a list of items that you want to preserve.

    6. Create a Genealogy Disaster Kit

    Follow our handy list of items to help you recover your keepsakes after a disaster. You'll need protective gear, cleaning supplies, and storage containers.

    7. Stay Alert and Up to Date

    Keep informed, backup often, and migrate digital files as media becomes older.

    Learn More

    Sign up for the Family Tree University LIVE Webinar Wednesday, 25 September 2013 for more information about what you can do BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER a natural disaster to protect and preserve your genealogy research and family keepsakes. You'll discover resources for:

    • local hazard maps
    • rescuing water-damaged items
    • getting rid of smoke odor
    • finding a professional conservator
    • where and how to store your keepsakes
    • what to put in your own Genealogy Disaster Kit

    The LIVE Webinar will be followed by Q & A time for your specific questions. Click here to sign up  and get 

    20% Off Entire Purchase at Family Tree University. Use coupon code FTUCOURSE during checkout. Expires 12/31/2013.


    Note: I am a contributor and affiliate for Family Tree University. See my Affiliates and Sponsors page for more information.


    5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Virtual Conference

    Final FTU 200x2002 300x167

    Sure, you can attend the sessions in your running shorts and squeeze in a webinar between the kids' soccer games. You can even wear your PJs and bring food and drinks to class! You can play the radio in the background or keep an eye on game score, too.

    But, I've found that multitasking isn't always the most effective way to attend a Virtual Genealogy Conference. It's too easy to be distracted by everyday routine and miss out on just the session or chat I want to see most.

    Instead, I get a lot more out of online learning when I take time to prepare just like I would if the conference was held on site.

    This weekend's Family Tree University's Fall Virtual Conference features three different genealogy activities:

    • 15 recorded webinars
    • 8 scheduled live chat sessions with presenters
    • a conference message board for on-going discussion and questions

    All activities will be coordinated by Kerry Scott, FTU Instructor and Clue Wagon blogger. Kerry is sure to keep things lively and entertaining all weekend.

    A Handful of Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Virtual Conference

    1. Get Online and LogIn

    A day before the conference begins you will receive a copy of the Student Manual (pdf) and a link to the Conference website on Blackboard. This is the same software used by many universities for online learning and it's intuitive and easy to use. 

    If it's your first online conference it's a good idea to take time now to make sure you can log into the site. The content won't be posted until the actual date, but you can be ready to go! You don't want to miss something good because you are figuring it out the details.

    2. Mark Your Schedule

    I like to review the topics and presenters ahead of time so that I have a good idea of what sessions I want to view early on in order to ask any questions I might have at the live chat with the presenter. The full program for the Fall FTU Virtual Conference is posted here.

    If possible, view companion webinars before the live chat so you are ready to ask questions and join in the conversation.

    3. Prepare Your Home and Family

    When it comes to weekend genealogy, it seems like it's all or nothing at my house. I might have time for uninterrupted research and webinars, but when family activities take priority during a virtual conference, I focus on downloading materials and checking the message boards so I can review everything later.

    Sometimes it's possible to set aside a Genealogy Weekend that's clear for conference events and your own personal genealogy research. Let the rest of the family know what hours you'll be busy; order pizza or make a do-ahead casserole. Pretend you are attending a conference on-site and give yourself time to make the most of your virtual conference weekend.

    3. Join In! Ask Questions! Participate

    In a face-to-face conference the presenter can see you smile or nod your head, but in a virtual world the chat room is lonely and quiet without participation. It's okay to make brief comments just to let folks know you are there. Ask a relevant question, or make a remark like, "thanks, "great idea," or "LOL" to join in.

    4. Take Advantage of the Experts

    The Discussion Board is a great place to leave questions, pose a problem, or make a request for more information. You've got a a wealth of experience available; make use of it!

    5. Download the Materials

    Before signing off for the weekend, take time to download the webinars and handouts, and print out a copy of the conference program. It will be your Table of Contents to hours of genealogy education on demand, whenever you have time and questions on the conference topics.

    You still have time to register for this genealogy event and get ready for a weekend of family history fun and education. See you this weekend at the Family Tree University's Fall Virtual Conference.


    Join Me and Learn New Skills at the Family Tree University Fall Virtual Genealogy Conference

    When you can't go to a genealogy conference, let the conference come to you! Family Tree University will present a Virtual Genealogy Conference September 14-16, 2012 with 15 recorded webinars, online chats, discussions, and giveaways.

    Final FTU 200x2002 300x167

    I am one of several genealogy educators who will present sessions for the weekend in three tracks -- Technology, Research Strategies, and Ethnic Research. One of the advantages of a virtual conference is that you don't have to choose between concurrent sessions. Every presentation is pre-recorded and your registration pass gives you full access to view and download sessions throughout the weekend for view whenever you wish.

    I will be presenting two sessions on digitizing with your heirloom documents and photos and your genealogy piles (oops, files). 

    Scanning Secrets

    Do you have photos and documents you want to preserve digitally? In this class, discover tips and tricks for scanning your family ephemera, from choosing the right resolution to cropping and more.

    Paperless Pedigrees: Organizing Your Genealogy Electronically

    There’s a bigger benefit to going green in your genealogy than simply saving the environment: Embracing electronic documentation can preserve and put in order your exhaustive research. Just because the material you work with is old doesn’t mean your organization techniques should be outdated. Check out this class to get your e-files in order.

    You can get a head-start on the conference at FaceBook by attending live 30-minute chats hosted by several conference presenters. Read the full schedule for dates and times of Meet the Presenter on FaceBook.

    Save on Registration

    There's still time to get a discount on Conference registration. Family Tree University is offering a 20% discount to Family Curator readers who enter the special code FRIENDSOFDENISE when registering for the Conference. 

    View the conference program and meet the presenters. Register here with the discount code FRIENDSOFDENISE.


    Learn Genealogy Skills from Home: Family Tree Univ. Fall Virtual Conference

    Would you like to advance your genealogy education without the fuss and expense of travel? Wouldn't it be great if you could pop in and out of conference sessions between kids' soccer games, social commitments, and lunch with a friend?

    If you think so, I hope you will join me, Lisa Alzo, James Beidler, Lisa Louise Cooke, Rick Crume, Thomas MacEntee, Gena Philibert Ortega, and Diana Crisman Smith September 14-16 for the Fall 2012 Virtual Genealogy Conference presented by Family Tree University.

    15 View-Anytime Videos

    The seasonal FTU Virtual Conference presents a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in genealogy instruction, live chats, and message board discussions all via the internet. The Fall Course features 15 instructional videos in three tracks: genealogy technology, ethnic research, and research strategies. 

    I will be presenting two pre-recorded sessions on moving your genealogy research and keepsakes into the digital age:

    Scanning Secrets: Tips and Tricks for scanning photos, documents and ephemera

    Paperless Pedigrees: Organizing Your Genealogy Electronically

    Video sessions may be viewed at any time during the three-day conference, and are also available to download. 

    Live Chat Sessions

    Scheduled live chats provide an opportunity to ask questions and broaden your understanding of topics and strategies; message boards offer a forum for ongoing discussion.

    Choosing a Cloud Genealogy Program

    Best Genealogy Tablet Apps

    Discussing Source Documentation

    Researching Courthouse Records

    Sunday Brunch Free-for-All

    Share Your Stumpers: Ideas for Your Brick-Wall Problems

    Learn more about the Family Tree University Fall 2012 Virtual Genealogy Conference here.

    SAVE $50 Until Wednesday Nite

    A special two-day promotion saves you $50 off the regular $199 Registration price when you use the coupon code FTUNEWSVC at checkout. This offer expires 11:59pm, Wednesday 15 August 2012.

    Registration includes an All-Access Pass for the three day conference and a "swag bag" of goodies from Family Tree. 

    I hope to see you September 14-16 at the Family Tree University Fall 2012 Virtual Genealogy Conference.

    Disclosure: I am a contributing author to Family Tree Magazine and a presenter at the Fall 2012  Virtual Genealogy Conference. I receive a small affiliate fee when you click through and register from this blog. See About: Disclosures for more information.


    Digitize Your Family History Webinar

    Photo and Scan Your Genealogy Photos and Documents

    If you are looking for tips to speed up your family heirloom digitization project, you may be interested in a new webinar I will be presenting Thursday, 9 August 2012 for Family Tree University.

    Digitize Your Family History will feature:

    What does it mean "to digitize"

    Why you should digitize your family keepsakes

    Scanning vs. Digital Photography

    Choosing what to digitize

    Using a commercial digitizing service

    Tricks for making copies with your digital camera 

    Tips for scanning success

    Setting scan resolution (dpi)

    Naming digital files

    In addition, attendees have submitted how-to questions that will be answered during the webinar, and have an opportunity to ask further questions at the end of the presentation. Topics include:

    How to scan a tintype

    Setting up a digital camera to photograph framed items

    Scanner settings for cabinet card photographs

    Digitizing an oversize document

    and more

    My favorite part of the program shows my newest photo innovation -- using a flexible tripod for some camera gymnastics.

    Hope you can join us next Thursday, August 9 at 4 pm Pacific Time / 5 p.m. Mountain / 6 p.m. Central / 7 p.m. Eastern

    Use the code FAMILY10F when you register and save 10%. Click here to learn more and register.


    Find us on Google+