My 2013 Genealogy Re-Boot

2013 will be a year of big change for me. I’m starting a new job closer to my home and one of the results of this will be recouping hours each week previously spent in my car commuting. I’m hoping this will translate into more time that I can put towards genealogy.

Additionally, I’m in the midst of a genealogy re-boot. While I’m choosing to blog about it at the beginning of the New Year, it’s actually been underway for a couple of months (even before I knew that I’d be taking the new job). I’ve been slowly making changes to my blog and how I do research, in the hopes that I will be a better, more organized genealogist in the long run.

Steps I’ve taken so far:

1) most notably, was the re-design of my blog, which was mostly cosmetic, but was needed to make my content more accessible and pleasing to view;

2) I updated my versions of Crossover and RootsMagic, as I plan to start using RM more (more on that later);

3) I started blogging more often, using the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories as a convenient way to bring more content to my blog (this also helped me to make use of many photos I recently acquired; more on this later as well);

and 4) I added a small “cousin-bait” paragraph to blog posts about my ancestors, inviting those who may share those ancestors to be in touch with me. Folks still find my blog by searching for terms that make it painfully obvious that they share, or at least are searching for, an ancestor of mine, but still, they don’t make contact. However, I have started to hear from cousins more often (one of whom cited the cousin-bait paragraph in his email to me), so I think this was a worthwhile update to make.

I have many more changes that I hope to implement. Among these is to set goals for things I’d like to accomplish each week or month, such as:

  • Processing one document/source per week (if not more) into my RootsMagic database. I have been neglecting this database entirely over the past year, and that’s bad because it’s the database where everything is sourced properly. My Ancestry.com family tree allows me to discover lots of potential resources, but not everything on there is proven fact. I’m using RM to create a fully sourced tree.
  • Writing at least one blog post per week. I’ve been neglecting this blog, but I hope to have lots of new content thanks to my revamped genealogy plan.
  • Reading one genealogy book per month. I am a book collector, but haven’t done very well when it comes to reading those books. I’m excited that I will have more time and energy to put toward this goal.
  • Exploring one new technology per month. This doesn’t have to be genealogy-related, necessarily. Things are changing so rapidly these days and there’s so much out there that I want to explore.
  • And taking one genealogy-related trip every two months. I won’t be able to travel to far-flung conferences this year, but I’m hopeful that I can do things like attend local APG chapter meetings, FHL events and the like.

There are some specific things I want to have completed by the end of 2013:

  • Become an expert Evernote user (I’ve only been using this tool haphazardly until now).
  • Explore FamilySearch more, especially FamilySearch Wiki.
  • Clean up the surname organization of files on my computer.
  • Re-organize my office. I brought home a lot of stuff from my old office and so I need to find a way to store everything in my home office and still be able to use the space.
  • A renewed focus on photo organization and actually using my photos, not just archiving them. My focus over the past several years has been to try and preserve as many family photos as I possibly can. I want to start using these photos more, however. I have many of them in scrapbooks and other items that only I can enjoy. I want to explore ways to share the photos more easily with family members and others.

I’m publishing this post as a way to hold myself accountable for the above goals. I’ve been in a holding pattern over the past year when it comes to my own personal genealogy research. This is partly due to a lack of time, thanks to my old commute. However, the biggest problem was that I didn’t have a plan. I expect that I’ll be revising the above plan as I achieve goals, acquire new skills and learn about new resources. I’m looking forward to sharing my new discoveries with you.

Using CrossOver to Get RootsMagic Working on a Mac

I waffled over purchasing RootsMagic recently because I really wanted the software, but I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to use it on my Mac laptop, where I do most of my personal genealogy research. After talking with the RootsMagic staff at their FGS10 booth though, I was informed that a program called Wine could make running RM on a Mac possible.

I visited the Wine website and quickly became flustered. Luckily, there is a neatly packaged version for newbs like me, created and maintained by CodeWeavers. It does cost money to permanently install this easy-to-use version of the software, but I’ve tried the trial version and am sold after getting both it *and* RM4 up and running on my Mac in less than 15 minutes.

The process to get them both working was quite simple. I clicked on the Try Now button here. Then I filled out the form and clicked on the resulting link to download Crossover. After the .dmg file downloaded, I clicked it to install per usual. After it installed and launched, I was prompted to load the installation CD for the Windows software I was trying to run.

I popped in the RM4 CD and Crossover told me it didn’t recognize the software but that I could continue to install it as “Other Software.” This I did and before I knew it, Windows-esque install screens were popping up, prompting me through the process to install RM4. I was a little weirded out when I was asked whether I wanted to install RootsMagic on my C: drive (does my Mac have a C: drive?), but I kept on rolling as if I were truly on a PC and before I knew it, RM4 had launched!

Now I’m following the tips in the RM4 guidebook I also bought at FGS10 and everything has run super smooth. I hope this helps anyone else who wants to use this software but also has a Mac!