5 Ways to Use Trello for Genealogy and Family History

Thanks to guest blogger, Lisa Alzo, for this post.

Have you ever wished for a whiteboard in the cloud where you could generate ideas, organize your research tasks, or storyboard your family history writing?

Then, say “Hello” to Trello—a free project management tool to help you streamline your genealogy projects, tackle your "to-do" lists, and improve your workflow. I have been a fan of Trello for several years to organize my work and personal research projects. In this post, I will share with you five ways to use Trello specifically for genealogy and family history.

Trello graphic

Getting Started
The first step is to set up a free Trello account at https://trello.com.  Once you have registered, you will be taken to the Trello “Welcome Board.”  You will see a brief tutorial that will bring you quickly up to speed on Trello’s system of boards, lists, and cards. Trello’s customizable notecards enable you to view any project in a single glance, share it for easy collaboration, and set it up to sync on multiple devices to take your work with you wherever you go. It is like having your own virtual whiteboard.

Trello for Genealogy and Family History

The uses for Trello are endless—from collecting and organizing ideas to setting up group projects with multiple collaborators.  There is no limit to how many boards you can create. Below are five easy ways you can begin using Trello immediately for genealogy and family history.

1. Create a research plan. Trello provides a way to visually organize your genealogy research tasks.  Create a board for each main surname you are researching. Then create three lists for “To Do,” “Doing,” and “Done.” Other lists could include a specific research task (e.g. “Check FamilySearch,” “Correspondence” or “Source Citations.”   You can also add due dates, checklists, comments, attach files, and set reminders. Other board suggestions include a cemetery board to organize the family gravestones you photograph, or a “mystery photographs” board for those unidentified pictures you come across. Becky Jamison, who blogs about her family history research on the Grace and Glory Blog, is an avid Trello user and has recorded a video with some great ideas for project boards.

2. Storyboard writing projects. One of my personal favorite uses of Trello is to outline and storyboard writing projects. I create boards for articles I am working on, book projects, and family history profiles. Since I can attach an image to each card, this is an excellent way to create a visual storyboard for each writing task. I also like to use the available Power-Ups—a way of incorporating additional features and integrations that are adaptable to your project needs. Enabling Power-Ups on boards allows you to access important information from other apps such as Calendar, Dropbox, Google Drive and others (Read more about them in the Trello User Guide). Free accounts get one free Power-Up per board. My favorite Power-Up to use is the one for Evernote because it helps me to bring over my research materials (notes, saved web pages, etc.) into Trello.

3. Outline and plan blog posts. If you blog about your genealogy research, Trello is a great tool for managing your editorial calendar. For my blog, The Accidental Genealogist, I usually start a blog post outline in Evernote and then attach it to a card to expand the idea. If you write your posts using Google Docs, you can start a draft with Google Drive directly from Trello and compose the article. You can also attach a Drive folder to the card to access the image assets for the post. Using due dates can help with meeting deadlines.

4. Create a travel itinerary. Whenever I travel to a genealogy conference or go on a research trip, I use Trello to build a board for it. I actually save a blank board as a template and then I can customize it for each trip. I make lists for airline and hotel reservations, daily schedules. For conferences, I also create lists for registration information, syllabus files, presentations, and expenses (I can attach images of my receipts right from Evernote). When the trip or conference is over, I can simply remove that board so that it is no longer in my active board list, but I can always go back to refer to it at a later date.

5. Collaborate on research, writing, or other group projects. Trello is the perfect tool for collaboration. You can add members to specific boards (they will need a free account). This is a good option if you are working with another family member to research a specific branch on your family tree, if you have a co-author for a book project, or for members of a genealogical society. If you are a fan of Mondays with Myrt or the other Google Hangouts co-hosted by Dear Myrtle and “Cousin Russ” (Worthington), they use Trello as their planning tool.

Be sure to download the free Trello app to all your mobile devices (you can even work offline and sync your boards later). There is a small learning curve, so start with a small board and then add more features as you need them. If you are a FamilyTreeWebinars.com subscriber, check out my webinar “Your Whiteboard in the Cloud: Trello for Genealogists” for more tips and project ideas.


How to Crop, Resize, and Highlight Census Images for Genealogical Use

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Legacy user, Scott Langworthy, has written up some instructions for manipulating census images to make them easier to read. He has kindly offered to share them here with you. Before downloading the document, here is a summary of how this can benefit genealogists.

IrfanView is a Free Photo Viewer which has many surprising capabilities, some of which I use all the time in my genealogical research and using Legacy Family Tree software.

When IrfanView, I can take a downloaded Census Image from Ancestry (for example), and do the following as needed to provide me with a finished Jpg photo.

  • I can Crop the excess part of the image. Getting rid of black or white that is surrounding the image we want to preserve.
  • I can use the Color Corrections Menu off of the Image Menu, to adjust the Gamma, and Contrast, to eliminate some of the noise, or to darken, or to lighten the image making it easier to see and interpret.
  • I can use a little trick in that same menu, if I first highlight the area where I want a nice Highlight Yellow area, and then use the BLUE Color Button and shift it down all the way to -255 thereby turning the selection in question, YELLOW and yet still see the underlying Black Text.
  • I can use the Resize menu off of the Image menu, to resize the full size image, in order to reduce the size in MB, to something smaller, but yet still zoomable to read details. This helps keep File sizes down, which can make the Legacy Database Images unwieldy.

There are other things this free viewer program can do, but this alone makes my simple editing work fast and allows for fast flow in getting the info, and moving on to the next image.

Click here to download the step-by-step, illustrated instructions.

Thanks Scott!


Learn Microsoft Word for free!

The recent Getting Started with Microsoft Word class by Thomas MacEntee has gotten such rave reviews that we've decided to keep it free - indefinitely!

Getting Started with Microsoft Word

Here's what people are saying:

  • "Absolutely fantastic webinar. I've used Word for years on lengthy documents and learned so much today that will help me. His webinar was better than all the books I have on how to work with Word."

  • "Awesome! I knew some of these tips, but Thomas has added so much more. Thank you. My Word editing will go much faster and smoother. :)"

  • "Excellent webinar!! I've been using Word for 30 years and learned new things I didn't even know were possible (or never took the time to investigate), especially the Styles and Format Painter. I look forward to watching the rest of the Word webinars. Thank you for doing these."

  • "I almost didn't sign up for this "Getting Started with Word" I have used Word for years and years. But I hoped for a few tips. OMGoodness. I got way more than I expected. Thomas made it seem so easy. He never talked down to us. He genuinely wants us to learn. He repeated the process (steps) after demonstrating. Great teacher. Great webinar. Thanks Geoff and Thomas"

  • "Thomas never disappoints. He made using Microsoft word look so easy. The examples he provided were easy to follow. He made sure the viewer knew how to do it themselves when they left the webinar. One of the best I have watched. Thank you!"

This first introductory class provides answers to many of the most common yet frustrating challenges for every day Microsoft Word users. And as the reviews above point out, Thomas makes it easy for everyone to learn.

First in a Series

Getting Started in Microsoft Word is the first in the new Microsoft Word Series that was created specifically for FamilyTreeWebinars.com subscribers. The series will teach you everything from Formatting Basics, to Understanding Headers and Footers, to Creating and Using Templates - and much more!

Enjoy the free class on us!

We know you're going to get a lot out of this class! We're convinced that you'll like this class so much that we think you might even want to sign up for a membership

Not a member yet?

Legacy Family Tree Webinars provides genealogy education where-you-are through live and recorded online webinars and videos. Learn from the best instructors in genealogy including Thomas MacEntee, Judy Russell, J. Mark Lowe, Lisa Louise Cooke, Megan Smolenyak, Tom Jones, and many more. Learn at your convenience. On-demand classes are available 24 hours a day! All you need is a computer or mobile device with an Internet connection.

Subscribe today and get access to this BONUS members-only webinar AND all of this:

  • All 322 classes in the library (465 hours of quality genealogy and technology education)
  • 1,385 pages of instructors' handouts
  • Chat logs from the live webinars
  • Additional 5% off anything at FamilyTreeWebinars.com
  • Chance for a bonus subscribers-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Additional members-only webinars

It's just $49.95/year or $9.95/month.

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Tuesday's Tip - Advanced Tagging

  Tuesday's Tip - Advanced Tagging on Legacy Family Tree


Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

Advanced Tagging

Did you know that if you RIGHT click on the tags in the Family or Pedigree Views it will bring up the Advanced Tagging screen? It saves you a few clicks.

If you have your tags labeled on the Advanced Tagging screen, if someone is tagged on one of the labeled tags and you hover your mouse over that tag you will get a little popup with the label. This is great if you forget what Tag 5 was.

  Advanced Tagging


Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips checkout the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis is part of the technical support team at Millennia, the makers of the Legacy Family Tree software program. With over 20 years of research experience, Michele’s passion is helping new genealogists get started on the right foot through her writings, classes and lectures. She is the former staff genealogist and weekly columnist for the McDuffie Mirror and now authors Ancestoring, a blog geared toward the beginner/intermediate researcher.

 


Tuesday's Tip - Attaching Document Files

  TT - Attaching Document Files


Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

Attaching Document Files

I write up case studies and proof arguments using MS Word. I also have a One-Name Study and using Excel spreadsheets to analyze my data is very important. I link these documents to Legacy's Media Gallery (which media gallery depends on what the data is).

I can open the Media Gallery, double click on the linked document, and the document will open and I can edit it. When I am done I simply close the document and the Media Gallery automatically has the most current version (Legacy links to the documents, it doesn't embed them). This saves me time because I never have to leave Legacy to open Word or Excel separately. It is important to me to keep all my genealogy information accessible in one program, Legacy.

There are individual media galleries, marriage media galleries, media galleries for locations, sources, source detail, mailing addresses, event addresses, repository addresses, and To-Do tasks.

For example, you can find a media gallery easily by looking at either the husband or the wife profile. See the media gallery highlighted with the red box below. When they gallery contains media the icon becomes colored.

MediaGallery2


When you click into the media gallery it looks like this:

MediaGallery


The different types of media will have different icons. The icon above is for documents.

 

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips checkout the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis is part of the technical support team at Millennia, the makers of the Legacy Family Tree software program. With over 20 years of research experience, Michele’s passion is helping new genealogists get started on the right foot through her writings, classes and lectures. She is the former staff genealogist and weekly columnist for the McDuffie Mirror and now authors Ancestoring, a blog geared toward the beginner/intermediate researcher.

 

 

 


Tuesday's Tip - Using Trees

  TT - Using Trees

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

Using Trees

Adding unlinked individuals to your file is a great way to capture people that you "think" are related but you aren't quite sure. You can add them as an unlinked individual and then you treat them just like anyone else in your file. You can add their family members and you will create a separate tree for this family group. If you ever find the connection you can simply link them to the main tree and all of the members of that tree will be linked.

Here is a screenshot of the trees in my One-Name Study. A One-Name Study inherently has a lot of unlinked individuals but with any luck you will find family connections and start linking people. This is actually a small ONS file because Glaentzer is a rare surname. You can see that my ONS file has 229 separate trees all in one file. I can use the scroll bar to see them all or I can print a list. You can also see that I can tag all of the members of a specific tree which is very helpful. I can also tag the "anchors" of each tree. Legacy has so many cool features.

  Trees

 

To reach the Tree Finder screen, choose Trees on the View tab of the Ribbon bar.  The first time this screen is displayed, Legacy builds the list.  When you return to this screen in the future, the same list is shown (for speed reasons).  If you have added new trees or just want to make sure that the list is up-to-date, click the Refresh button.

 

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips checkout the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis is part of the technical support team at Millennia, the makers of the Legacy Family Tree software program. With over 20 years of research experience, Michele’s passion is helping new genealogists get started on the right foot through her writings, classes and lectures. She is the former staff genealogist and weekly columnist for the McDuffie Mirror and now authors Ancestoring, a blog geared toward the beginner/intermediate researcher.


Tuesday's Tip - Global Changes

TT - Global Changes


Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

Making Global Changes

If you are going to make any changes to your file that have a global impact you need to make a backup of your file first. The biggie is when you are doing any merging. Legacy will make a temporary backup for you before you start merging and then put a nice little icon on your ribbon so that you can revert back.

You need to turn this on in the Options menu:

Options > Customize > 12. Other Settings

Scroll all the way to the bottom to Option 12.5

Click the button Turn of or off Optional Reminder Messages

Click the Prompts/Reminder Tab

Click the box Prompt to do an automatic backup before merging

When you do that, you will see the temp backup on the toolbar as soon as you start Find Duplicates routine.

Merge

This backup is only good for the current merging session! As soon as you close the merge the icon on the ribbon will disappear. I always make a real backup too in case I change my mind after I close the session.

You need to make a backup before you start working in any of the Master Lists. When you make a change here it affects your entire file and if you accidentally make a mistake a backup with save you a lot of tears.

If you ever use the Advanced Deleting you will want to make a backup first. Once you click the Apply button you can't go back. I highly suggest you keep the box "Confirm Each Deletion" checkmarked. Same with Advanced Sourcing. If you send a source to 462 people you can imagine that it won't be fun to go through there and delete them one at a time if you accidentally made a mistake.

 

 

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips checkout the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

 

Michele Simmons Lewis is part of the technical support team at Millennia, the makers of the Legacy Family Tree software program. With over 20 years of research experience, Michele’s passion is helping new genealogists get started on the right foot through her writings, classes and lectures. She is the former staff genealogist and weekly columnist for the McDuffie Mirror and now authors Ancestoring, a blog geared toward the beginner/intermediate researcher.


Tuesday's Tip - Editing Children's Information

TT-EditChildren

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

Editing Children's Information

You can get to the Edit Children screen by right clicking in the Children's List in the Family View and then selecting Children's Settings OR you can click on the cute little shortcut icon that will take you right to it.

 

TT-EditChildren

 

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips checkout the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

 

Michele Simmons Lewis is part of the technical support team at Millennia, the makers of the Legacy Family Tree software program. With over 20 years of research experience, Michele’s passion is helping new genealogists get started on the right foot through her writings, classes and lectures. She is the former staff genealogist and weekly columnist for the McDuffie Mirror and now authors Ancestoring, a blog geared toward the beginner/intermediate researcher.


Webinar Wednesdays (and more) Now Available on your TV with Chromecast

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What's that on my TV? If you said "Webinar Wednesday" you're right!

My brand new Chromecast from Google arrived in today's mail and now I can watch anything in our webinar library from the comfort of my living room recliner on my 55" wide-screen TV without having to connect my laptop to the TV. Talk about genealogy and technology heaven!

ChromecastHere's how it works. 

1. Purchase the Chromecast device. Amazon sells it for $30-35 here.

2. Plug it in to one of the HDMI ports on your television.

3. Plug the included USB power cable into one end of the Chromecast, and the other end into an open USB port on your television.

4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup.

What you can watch

OK, it's not just webinars from our library you can watch on your TV using Chromecast. You can broadcast anything to your TV from your:

  • Main computer (using the Chrome browser and extension)
  • Laptop (using the Chrome browser)
  • Tablet (using the Google Cast app)
  • Smart phone (using the Google Cast app)

Also look for the Google Cast button in video apps such as Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and more. 

Casting

Once everything's set up (it's really pretty easy) look for the Google Cast button in the upper right of your Chrome browser and click.

Cast1

 

Here's what the button's options look like:

Cast2

 

And here's another options screen (click the small arrow in the upper right). This lets you cast not just a browser's tab, but your entire monitor.

Cast

And here's what my 9-year-old, Braden, looks like as he watches our Genealogy Serendipity webinar from the couch.

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I'm not a big TV watcher, but with this technology, I love that I can catch up on or re-watch webinars in our library on the big screen. I might even do it with a bowl of popcorn tonight.


Tuesday's Tip - Husband and Wife Toolbars

Welcome to the Legacy Tuesday's Tip!

 

TuesdayTip

Tuesday Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn how to use the Legacy Family Tree Software with new tricks and techniques.

Husband and Wife Toolbars

Did you know that you can customize the Husband and Wife Toolbars?

These are the icons you see below the husband and wife details on the Family View (see icons in red boxes below).

To customize the toolbars:

Go to Design > Toolbars > Husb/Wife Toolbars.  If you have trouble finding it, the design link will be on the top right of your screen as in the image.

The default setting includes all available icons. You can customize the feature by deleting icons that you don't use or use less frequently.

  HusbandWifeToolbars

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips checkout the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

 

Michele Simmons Lewis is part of the technical support team at Millennia, the makers of the Legacy Family Tree software program. With over 20 years of research experience, Michele’s passion is helping new genealogists get started on the right foot through her writings, classes and lectures. She is the former staff genealogist and weekly columnist for the McDuffie Mirror and now authors Ancestoring, a blog geared toward the beginner/intermediate researcher.