My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

How To Do Genealogy When You Eyesight is Failing You?

I received my first pair of glasses at age 3.
Recently, I had my first eye surgery, a cataract removed, and a new lens was put in. I had a few days of doing almost nothing because I couldn't see out of the bandaged eye and the other eye has poor eyesight. The second operation will be done in a few weeks, then my vision will be clear, but not good enough to see distance nor read, so I'll have to get new glasses. So how can I do genealogy with limited eyesight until I get new glasses in about six weeks? (If you want more information on how my genealogy volunteering has been affected in the past, see the end of article.)

Like so many genealogists, my genealogy world consists of a lot of research, reading genealogy books and magazines, doing data entering, corresponding through emails and some online contact with facebook genealogy friends. All those are easy when you can see, but what if you can't? Fortunately, I know my situation is temporary, but what can I do in the meantime?

The other night, I got my answer when I listened to Drew Smith's excellent webinar Organizing Your Genealogy Research Process presented by the Illinois State Genealogical Society. My take-a-way was, I should be thinking of projects and how to do them. For me, that is a lot of thinking. Like so many other genealogists, I jump from one thing to another. Anyway, during the past two days, I've thought of things I can work on, once the vision improves and I get new glasses. My list consists of things I must do in-order to make my genealogy life easier and I will report my progress in December 2016.

1. Learn Evernote. Drew Smith mentioned Kerry Scott's book in his webinar (see #9), "How to Use Evernote for Genealogy." I plan on ordering her book in a few days. Update: I already ordered it. Reading will begin in over a month.

2. Delete many photos, 26,000 is too many on my computer and I don't need them because many are on my blogs. However,  I'm not sure what my grand total should be. Decide which ones to print, which ones to use for my Lowell posts, and which one to use for future genealogy posts. The same goes for my iPad photos, which numbers over 6,000. I can begin now, because the photos are large enough to see.

3. Read and delete almost all 1,300 gmail messages. Most have been glanced at, and need a second read. There is lots of good information to save.

4. Do a better job at understanding Dropbox. I just don't get it yet, probably because of my difficulty in reading, I rarely read more than a paragraph, and even then, with macular degeneration, I miss words. So I will try hard with this. However, I did manage to "get" saving my RootsMagic7 to my iPad via the app and Dropbox. I believe it took about five hours!

5. Plan another trip to Canada for late summer. It won't be to do research, but to bring some items to the Missisquoi Museum and Archives. I'll revisit the six cemeteries where my ancestor's were buried. This should be an easy plan, but fun and I look forward to it. The last trip in 1999, I took limited photos as I didn't have a digital camera.

6. Write fewer blog posts. Most people want to write more, but I learned from doing almost a post a day for several years, it consumed so much time, good time that could have been used for learning some of the above things, like Evernote and Dropbox. My last post in December was one of my better ones, and I was quite pleased when Randy Seaver chose it to be included in his list of  Best of the Genea-Blogs - 13 to 19 December 2015So in the future, I'll try to do more of that type of post, along with whatever comes along.

7. Less time on facebook, boy that will be hard. When I'm not on facebook, I gain so much free time. I'll skim or read blogs, but will unfollow all blogs that have light or small print. Sometimes the font is so small or is in grey color, it's impossible for me to read with macular degeneration. Sorry writers, but I must leave you.

8. I will Not try to find new ancestors, I have enough. However, I will continue to review my sources, make corrections and try to solve my major "Brick Walls." In addition, I'll add and / or correct my past blog post entries dealing with surnames or add additional findings or photos.

9. In December I started thinking about what I would I do, and the first thing that came to mind was listen to Webinars, so I signed up for quite a few. For two years, I was a subscriber to the Legacy Family Tree Webinars, but was so busy with other things, I rarely listened. I plan on renewing so I can listen to many of the old ones I've missed. This will help me spend my time, and learn. To date, I've heard the following webinars:

"Tap Into Your Inner Private Eye - 9 Strategies for Finding Living Relatives" by Lisa Louise Cooke, January 9th.

"Organizing Your Genealogy Research Process" by Drew Smith, January 12th.

"Technology and Techniques for Differentiating Two People with the Same Name" by Geoff Rasmussen, January 13th.

Tomorrow, it will be: "Snagit software for Genealogists by Michael" by Michael Brophy, January 15th.

10. In conclusion, I'll be doing fewer blogs, looking for new ancestors and checking facebook. I need my "free" time to do all of the above, along with taking cemetery trips, corresponding with my wonderful cousins, cleaning off the desk occasionally, buying a Flip-Pal scanner (which Thomas MacEntee first showed me in 2011, now I know I need it for my trip to Canada), backing up everything on a monthly basis, and whatever else I may have forgotten.


Ever since I was a young child, I had to wear glasses and in beginning in grade school, I always had to sit in the front row. Through out my schooling years, that was always the case, but later the reason included poor hearing. As a matter of fact, in my baby book, my mother wrote I got my first pair of glasses at age 3, and poor hearing was noted at age 7. And, at age 4 I had six cavities filled! Ouch. Much later in life, these problems affected my life with work and outside activities. About eight years ago, I was volunteering at five places for over five years, and working and I thought everything was fine, until...

The eyes got really bad and it was discovered I have macular degeneration. I thought I would soon be blind in one eye, so I stopped my volunteer jobs at the American Textile History Museum and the Lowell Repertory Theater (did both about four years). I also stopped helping three genealogy societies. New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), as a proofreader and typist; the Essex Society of Genealogists (ESOG) as a index proofreader for the TEG and the Greater Lowell Genealogy Society (several positions) for many years. In addition, I taught beginning genealogy for about four years (13 total classes) at the Chelmsford Library in Massachusetts, and a Google class about 8 years ago to the Chelmsford Genealogy Club. With the last two, I stopped because of the eye and hearing problems. Now, I have a hearing aid and soon two new lenses...I can't wait to get back to my former genealogy world of reading wills, censuses, finding and reading cemetery stones and traveling to new places without my husband (whose eyes I used).