How To Download Your Tree

With all the recent speculation about a possible sale of, genealogists are being advised to download a copy of their Ancestry Family Tree. Here’s how to do this:

Step 1: Under the Family Trees menu, select the Ancestry tree you would like to back up. Once you are in that tree, select Tree Settings from the Tree Pages drop-down menu.


Step 2: Click on the Export tree button on the bottom right side of window. This will start the download of the GEDCOM.


Step 3: When the download is complete, click on the Download your GEDCOM file. This will open a window allowing you to select a place for the downloaded file (note: if all of your downloads automatically go to your Downloads folder, check there).


What next? Well, you can open the file in your family tree software or upload the tree to another online family tree host. Personally, I recommend WikiTree, which is now, and always will be, free to use.

Whether or not a sale of actually occurs, it is always a good idea to back up your data. What is your preferred method of back-up?



Tech Tuesday: Fix Your Broken Links

I’ve been super sick with bronchitis for the past 2 weeks, so I’ll keep this post short. On a side note, however, being so sick has really made think about how the ancestors managed, back in the day. I mean, if I’d had this bug 150 years ago, I would probably be dead. Antibiotics have saved my life more times than I can count (although they have also almost killed me a few times). Just think about how strong our ancestors must have been to have survived what we now consider “routine” infections. And then there were those who did not survive. Things that make you go, “Hmmm.”

Anyway… I wanted to share this cool plug-in with those of you who are WordPress users (apologies to those of you using other platforms). I’ve been blogging for about 7 1/2 years – which is like 412 in blog years. When I moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress, I made a critical error in not moving my domain quickly enough, so about eleventy zillion of my links are now going to error pages. How do I know this? I installed the Broken Link Checker plugin. Day after day, this awesome tool does the tedious task of crawling my blog for broken links, so I won’t have to. And every 3 days, it nags emails me with a list of more broken links to be fixed (345, at present count, ugh). This task would have taken me forever to do on my own, post by post. I know; it’s going to take me forever as it is, but at least I know exactly where to look.



BTW, you can vary the amount of time between nags updates, and you can have the emails sent to whichever email address you prefer. Make these changes in the settings for this plugin.

So why should you care if your links are current? Well, for one thing, you might be losing readers who have already clicked onto your blog, especially if you have posts that are cross-linked. Readers who wander onto a 404 Not Found page will most likely click away rather than stick around and use your search feature (assuming you have one of those). Also, you are losing readers via search engines. You want to make sure that your important posts are being found high up in searches, not buried under other, irrelevant stuff, right? And lost readers = lost cousins. We don’t want cousins to miss the bait. 

So give this plugin a try, and let me know what you think. And now, I’ve got to get busy fixing those 345 broken links… ugh.



Best Bytes for the Week of 1 May 2015


Best Bytes is an eclectic collection, in no particular order, of things I thought were interesting during the past week. I hope you find something to enjoy here!


What’s Hot

Starts today! FamilySearch Indexing Announces First Worldwide Arbitration Event

BillionGraves’ Million More in May Madness 2015 (every user that uploads 50,000+ unique photos or transcribes 50,000 records will win an iPad mini)

Save 25% on a [] gift membership this Mother’s Day

Geneabloggers Contest: Win a 6-month Membership

The International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE) 2015 Excellence-in-Writing Competition – Open for Entries

SCGS Jamboree 2015 – Calling All Members of GeneaBloggers

AncestryDNA Soon Available in Canada!

Introducing Ancestry Academy, a New Way to Learn About Family History is hiring: Job Search


Cool Stuffs

How Old Do I Look?, A New App From Microsoft That Tries to Detect the Age of a Person in a Photograph

Free App for Making Videos

Geotaggers’ World Atlas: Photo Spots Reveal the Most Interesting Places on Earth

Chrome add-on stops scammers from getting your Google password

For you frequent fliers: Dufl, A Service That Packs And Ships Your Suitcase, Is A Traveler’s Dream


In the News

R.I.P. Messenger: The little spacecraft that could

72 Year Old Message Found During Renovations

Spring Cleaning Leads to Creepy Find in Family’s Attic

Stuck on your Irish genealogy? Good news!

Deleting the Family Tree: When shuttered its social network for relatives, it erased 10 years’ worth of my family’s correspondence and memories

Amy Choate-Nielsen: Newspaper gives glimpse into ancestor’s actions — but it’s only a piece of the puzzle (part 1) and Amy Choate-Nielsen: Case of mistaken identity solves family history mystery (part 2)

Ewwww. A French Company Will Turn Your Dead Relatives Into Perfume


Help Wanted


Archivists, genealogists, historians: What Inspired You to Do What You Do? #archivistinspiration

Two Men—Or One?



3 Generations, Do You Know Them?

Please Pass the Salt…And Tell Us About Your Ancestors

Jamboree 2015 – Calling All Volunteers!


From the Blogs

How Mad Men Will Really End—With a Shaky Leaf from Clue Wagon

An open letter to genealogy societies from

Repurposing Your Posts from the Moultrie Creek Gazette

Who was Donald Lines Jacobus, and why should you know about him? from In Search of Our Common Heritage

No wonder they didn’t smile: Old Timey Toothbrushes from Blind Pig & the Acorn

Why are we using unsupported genealogy programs? from Genealogy’s Star

Finding time to do your research from Organize Your Family History


Fave Photo of the Week

The look on her face (first photo) is priceless: Manchester New Hampshire Shoemaker, Mechanic, Harley Motorcycle Dealer, Motorcycle Club Founder: Joseph Exilia Forest (1880-1929)


Just for Fun

“Luke… I am your father.” Now he has the perfect way to show it. Fan Chart for Star Wars Fans


The Last Byte

Food for thought: Does the digital era herald the end of history? (h/t @DJoshuaTaylor)



Last Day for Jamboree Early Bird Registration

icon-jamboreeI just wanted to mention that today is the last day for the “early bird” discount for the Southern California Genealogical Society’s Jamboree. Members save $25 for the full weekend, and non-members save $30, by registering before May 1 (assuming my math is correct). Visit here to register.

Also, the blogger badge contest has been extended until today, so you bloggers who plan to attend need to get your badge posted pronto if you want to enter! More details on the Jamboree blog.

Finally, the room block at the Burbank Marriott goes bye-bye on May 13, so don’t forget your hotel reservations.

As for me, I’m 1 for 3, so I need to get my fanny in gear before time runs out! surprised



Museum to Open at Former Insane Asylum

I stumbled across this story on Facebook today. My grandparents lived in Rialto, which is not far from San Bernardino, and I remember hearing of the mysterious Patton State Hospital (formerly the Highland Insane Asylum). I’ve always been fascinated with the history of how we care for our mentally ill, and I think looking at past (and current) treatments (or lack of) tells us a lot about the culture of that era. The new museum includes items from 100 years of treatment of mental illness, and some are quite controversial.


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