Friday, March 16, 2012

Follow Friday - 21COFH Catch up, Ireland Reaching Out, Free Handouts

This Follow Friday I have a few selections of interesting genealogy reading.

21COFH Catch up
I have missed quite a few of the 21st Century Organized Family Historian weekly challenges. These challenges are created weekly by Michelle Goodrum at The Turning of Generations blog. I have been catching up with a backlog of blog reading.
The following challenges from previous weeks I found very interesting and I have bookmarked them with Diigo for later reference.
The latest challenge is Week 11 - Digital Files which is a repeat of the challenge from Week 3.
The task is to select at least one (more if you have time) of your digital gadgets and do the following:
  1. Transfer the files to your computer (or wherever it is you store such digital items).
  2. Remember to use your organizational and file naming scheme.
  3. If you have decided to utilize metadata for citations, tags and other information, be sure and include that into your workflow.
  4. If some of your items need further processing or analyzing, add it to your to do list (unless you have time to take care of it this week).
  5. Make sure this work is backed up. Always make sure your work is backed up! If you don't have a backup plan, there are numerous resources at GeneaBloggers
This reminded me that I had not transferred photographs from my iPod touch for a long time. In fact I just realised I had 320 photos on there that were not backed up! I have now transferred them to my laptop and subsequently to my external hard-drive where I backup my photographs. A very timely reminder for me.

Ireland Reaching Out
I just registered at the Ireland Researching Out project web site after I received an email newsletter informing me that the project had gone national.. The Irish Times describes how "Some 2,500 parishes have become members of the project and have uploaded their details to the project website" (Taoiseach launches diaspora initiativeThe Irish Times, Thursday, March 15, 2012). You can find out more about this project at their web site Ireland Reaching Out.

I have already joined the pages for several of my ancestral parishes, which are now listed under 'My Parishes' on my profile at the Ireland Reaching Out web site. Most parish pages do not have content added yet, but hopefully that will change in the future as more people join the project. 
Joining parish pages at Ireland Reaching Out was a simple process
Free Handouts from Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2012
I really appreciate it when resources such as handouts from genealogy events are made available online for download. A great selection of handouts from presentations and workshops at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2012 show are available on the web site of the Society of Genealogists.
Creative Commons License Australian Genealogy Journeys by Aillin O'Brien is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tech Tuesday - Further Exploration of the Galaxy Nexus - Apps - Galaxy Nexus Series - Part 2

Last week I posted Tech Tuesday - Getting to know the Galaxy Nexus in which I gave some of my initial impressions of my new (and first) mobile phone, a Samsung Galaxy Nexus. At the end of that post I wrote that I hoped to write a future post about some of the different apps I have been trying. Interestingly, in this past week the Android Market relaunched itself as Google Play. To celebrate the launch, Google Play has made various apps available on sale for 25 cents and 49 cents. I have purchased a couple of on-sale apps in the last few days including: Camera Zoom FX, Paper Camera, TuneIn Radio Pro and Smart Tools.

Other apps I am trying including the following:


FamilySearch Indexing Beta

BillionGraves Camera App
Family Bee (free trial)

Communications / Social Media 
Google Reader

Notes / Documents / Bookmarks
Google Docs
Evernote and Skitch
OneNote Mobile
Power Note by Diigo

ES File Explorer

Google Search
Google Googles
Gesture Search

Photography / Scanning / Creative
Camera Zoom FX
Paper Camera
SketchBook Mobile Express

Web Browsers
The default browser which came installed.
Chrome Beta
Opera Mini
Dolphin Browser Mini

Maps / GPS
Google maps
Google Earth
My Tracks
Street View on Google Maps
GPS Test

Amazon Mobile
Out of Milk Shopping List

Google Translate (I removed this app due to privacy concerns about the 'nearby' feature, there appeared to be no way to opt out of it)

Books / E-Reading
Google Play Books
Adobe Reader
LibraryThing Scanner

Scanner for Zotero
Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr Seuss (because I love that book!)

Australian Government Apps
FireReady (Victorian CFA)
Fires Near Me NSW
State Library of New South Wales

Educational / Games
Spell Me Right: Word Scramble
Words, Words, Words
Spelling Bee
Chess Free
MapMaster - Geography game


TuneIn Radio Pro
IMDb Movies & TV

Transport Info (NSW)
Metlink Beta (Vic)

StopWatch & Timer
Tiny Flashlight + LED
Smart Tools

Christian / Catholic
Divine Mercy
YouVersion - The Bible App

Obviously not all of these apps have a relevance to genealogy research. For the apps that are relevant to genealogy research, I will choose one app (or a group of related apps) each week to review on this blog. 
To do proper justice to the Galaxy Nexus and to each of these apps I will make sure I am in an area with a strong mobile data connection, or I am connected to a Wi-Fi network, when I try each of the apps. Each review will give my general opinions of the app, potential uses for the app in my genealogy research and links to other blogs and web site with further information about each app. I hope by committing to write these reviews I will learn more about the capabilities of each app and unlock the full potential of the Galaxy Nexus as a tool to assist me on my genealogy journeys.  

I also hope to review some of the features particular to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (such as the camera, the photo gallery, calendar, settings and general user interface etc.) in upcoming posts. After that, I think I will then finish my series of Galaxy Nexus posts with a post describing some of the apps I would like to use if they exist sometime in the future.

Do you know of any other great android apps I could try? Please let me know about them. Thanks. 

Creative Commons License Australian Genealogy Journeys by Aillin O'Brien is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tech Tuesday - Getting to know the Galaxy Nexus - Galaxy Nexus Series - Part 1

One of my goals for 2012 was to 'Buy an Android Smartphone and use it for genealogy research.' The opportunity came sooner than I thought when family circumstances made the purchase of my first mobile phone more important.

Due mainly to the great reviews many genealogy bloggers have given their own Samsung Galaxy products, my smartphone of choice was the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. The Official Galaxy Nexus web site includes great information, images and videos giving details of Features and Tech Specifications.

As I mentioned, this is my first mobile phone. I have had experience with other 'mobile' technology of sorts. Back in 2004 I purchased a Pocket PC/Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) - a Hewlett-Packard iPAQ 2210 (I mentioned this is my previous post Technology - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week 8). In March last year I updated my music player from an iPod Nano 4th Generation to an iPod Touch 4th Generation. The iPod touch has allowed me to use many iPhone apps and to access the Internet (via a wi-fi connection), but I have missed out on the advantages of having a constant data connection and GPS, not to mention the basic capabilities of a phone. This was OK though and I have been happy with my iPod touch.

Now I need to get to know my new Galaxy Nexus and explore the apps available from the Android market. Thank you to Jill Ball for creating the blog Android Genealogy as I have found that blog a great source of information as I start to learn about my new gadget and its capabilities.

My initial impressions

My initial impression is that my new Samsung Galaxy Nexus is a clever and sleek gadget for which I am very grateful. I expect I will find lots of new reasons to appreciate it as I get to know its features better over the coming weeks and months.

I will start my assessment with my very minor minuses and finish with some of the things I like best about the Galaxy Nexus. I am no tech expert. These are just my initial opinions as a hobby genealogist who enjoys the use of technology. Keep in mind also that this is my first mobile phone.


  • The touchscreen is good but does not appear to work as smoothly as the touchscreen on my iPod touch. 
  • Sometimes when I turn the phone sideways and the screen moves to landscape mode it gets stuck that way and wont move back to portrait mode when I hold the phone up straight. I can't remember what app I was using when this happened, and I suspect it could be more to do with the particular app I was using than the phone. 
  • Intermittent data connection - Not a problem with the phone, and probably not really the fault of the well-known carrier either, but my data connection is quite intermittent in some country areas. This is a difficultly I accept. The data connection appears to work very well in most regional cities and towns I have visited though. Unfortunately some family members I often visit live in known 'blackspots' where even phone calls and text messages don't get through! I am happy enough though. 
  • Battery life is fairly limited - I realise this is because I have, initially, been using apps on my phone a lot, with the screen on for a long time. I accept that the battery is doing its best, so I don't really consider this a very important 'minus'. I haven't got a working car charger yet so that would certainly help the battery life while travelling.
  • The number of (quality) Android apps is still limited, but I hope this will change in the near future. Most apps still seem to be made for iPhone, and unfortunately for iPod Touch owners like myself many of these apps are the kind that benefit from having a constant mobile data connection and GPS, so no matter how much I try to use them on my iPod Touch their features really are limited. As an example, many of the apps listed on the Victorian Government Mobile Apps list are available only for iPhone. This includes interesting apps such as the Melbourne Museum Field Guide to Victorian Fauna (I have this on my iPod Touch and it works well as it doesn't require a data connection). However, other potentially interesting apps like Trust TreesVic-Heritage and travel/tourism apps would really only be useful with a mobile data connection and GPS.
  • Works very well for the basics - telephone and text messages. 
  • Data connection (when and where a strong signal can be received) is fast. 
  • GPS - Google maps with navigation, Google Earth, My Tracks for keeping track of places I have walked - lots of fun! The Google maps with navigation has already been very helpful when travelling, and it is always interesting to hear how the computerised voices pronounce Australian location names! But a warning, using Google Earth is a great way to use up data connection quickly!
  • Works great as a Wi-Fi hotspot. I have connected my laptop computer and iPod touch to the Wi-Fi network very successfully. Does this then mean I could use my iPod touch like an iPhone with a data connection while travelling around? Sort of. But, as I mention above, it would still need the GPS functionality to make the best use of many apps. The location feature on my iPod Touch worked once, when I was visiting Sydney and connected to a Wi-Fi network. This was based on my proximity to known Wi-Fi networks and not on GPS signals received from satellites (see the iPod Touch specifications, specifically footnote number 4). 
  • Great for quick access to Gmail, Google Reader, Google+ and Twitter. The Facebook app and Facebook Messenger app seem to be quite slow. 
  • I am enjoying getting to know new apps and exploring Android versions of apps I have already used on my iPod Touch. So far I have only tried free apps. 
  • I am pleased with the still camera and video camera. I have taken a few photos already including the following which I was happy with: 

In my next blog post I will write about some of the apps I have so far tried. Any app suggestions or comments would be most welcome. Thanks.

Further Reading (and Viewing):
YouTube - Getting to know your Galaxy Nexus
Google - Galaxy Nexus
Samsung - Galaxy Nexus
Galaxy Nexus by Samsung - Tutorial at Verizon Wireless with thanks to a post on the Android Genealogy blog for directing me to this last link.

 Creative Commons License Australian Genealogy Journeys by Aillin O'Brien is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at I am in no way affiliated with Samsung or Google or any company.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Motivation Monday - Goals for March 2012

It is Motivation Monday once more. Back in February I took a quick look at which of my January goals I managed to complete. Life outside of genealogy and blogging has been taking precedent for the last month. For March, I am going to make a few small goals, but I will be less ambitious than I was in January.  

Goals for March 2012: 

  1. Save snapshots (using the Evernote Web Clipper for Google Chrome) of the remaining messages in the 'Sent' folder on
  2. Participate in blogging prompts when able (52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy21st Century Organized Family Historian and Beyond the Internet)
  3. Actually make a start on my new Legacy file, beginning with myself and working backwards methodically, recording all sources, attaching relevant source documents and attaching photographs. During March, I aim to do this for just my immediate family. 
  4. Continue organising my bookshelves on Google Books. At the time of posting, I have 300 books saved in the 'Favorites' bookshelf. During March I will aim to reduce that number to at least 280. 
  5. Continue reading Photoshop Elements 10 All-in-One For Dummies. At the moment I am up to page 186, I will aim to read up to page 215 by the end of March. 

Copyright © 2012 Australian Genealogy Journeys. Clip art from the Open Clip Art LibraryCreative Commons License Australian Genealogy Journeys by Aillin O'Brien is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Reader GeneaMeme

Geniaus has created another genealogy meme The Reader GeneaMeme. I have been away from blogging for a while but thought I could step back in and contribute to this meme. Thanks to my blog readers for your thoughts and prayers during the recent unexpected illness in my family. Things are looking brighter now and we pray and look forward to my family member's full recovery. 

I hope I will be able to dedicate some more time to genealogy and blogging. I have, I admit, been wasting a little bit of my spare time trying out Pinterest (another great time consuming social media tool) and getting to know a new tech gadget I recently purchased (I will blog about that soon!). 

Now, on with The Reader GeneaMeme. 

The list should be annotated in the following manner:
Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize (colour optional)
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type

You are encouraged to add extra comments in brackets after each item 

Which of these apply to you? 

  1. Have you written any books? Not yet, I am planning a book about my Fullerton ancestors.
  2. Have you published any books? See answer to question 1.
  3. Can you recommend an inspiring biography? I haven't read many biographies, but one of the most recent books I read was inspiring biography Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life by Nick Vujicic.  
  4. Do you keep a reading log? If yes, in what format? I am currently keeping a reading log using LibraryThing, with one account for my genealogy, history and technology books and a second account for others books I have read.  
  5. Are you a buyer or a borrower of books? I am mostly a buyer of books but I also borrow books occasionally.
  6. Where do you get reading recommendations? Blogs, online bookstores, genealogy society journals. 
  7. What is the one genealogy reference book you can't do without? I haven't yet decided which genealogy reference book I can't do without.
  8. Do you hoard books or do you discard them when you have finished? I hoard books if I like them and sell/donate books if I didn't like them. 
  9. How many books are in your genealogy library? I have 28 books from my genealogy collection catalogued so far on LibraryThing, but I have other books I have not yet catalogued.
  10. What's your favourite genealogy magazine or journal? The Genealogical Society of Victoria's Ancestor journal. 
  11. Where are the bookshelves in your house? bedroom, loungeroom, passage.
  12. Do you read e-books? How? I haven't yet read any complete e-books. I have read sample e-books through Kindle reader on my iPod touch. 
  13. How many library cards do you have? Local library, State Library of Victoria, National Library of Australia, State Library of New South Wales. 
  14. What was the last genealogy title you read? Shauna Hicks' It's Not All Online: A guide to genealogy sources offline
  15. What is your favourite bookshop? I mostly shop online so I don't really have a favourite bookshop. Any bookshop is interesting!
  16. Do you have a traditional printed encyclopaedia in your house?  We still have a couple of sets but are intending on giving them away in the near future.
  17. Who are the authors in your family tree and what have they written? A couple of family histories have been published previously by relatives. I know other relatives have written academic books. My Mum has written and published a couple of biographies and local history books. And I am waiting to go to England some day and find the records to verify that my favourite author is my sixth cousin seven times removed...
  18. Who is your favourite author? Jane Austen
  19. Where do you buy books? Mostly online through Gould Genealogy, The Genealogical Society of Victoria bookshop and The Book Depository
  20. Can you nominate a must-read fiction title? The most recent fiction titles I have read were Laura Frantz's historical romance novels (set in late 18th century Kentucky) which were very well written. 
  21. How many books are in your personal library? I don't know the exact number yet. So far I have catalogued 29 books on one LibraryThing account and 79 on another account, but I think that includes some books I have read but don't own. I still have many books to catalogue.
  22. What is your dictionary of choice? Whatever dictionary is available at the time I need it. 
  23. Where do your read? Almost everywhere. 
  24. What was your favourite childhood book? I wrote about my favourite childhood books on a previous blog post:  Books – 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week 23 .
  25. Do you have anything else to say about books and reading? I really need to read a lot more as I have so many books on my 'I-am-going-to-read-that-one-day' pile. 

Copyright © 2012 Australian Genealogy Journeys. Clip art from the Open Clip Art Library
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