So last month an advertisement came across my Facebook page for the Genealogy Scavenger Hunt. I had heard about it in the past while listening to Julie Cahill Tarr talk to Denys Allen of PA Ancestors (click here to view the podcast on the PA Ancestors YouTube page).
What Is It?
The Genealogy Scavenger Hunt is a challenge every month where you explore records you may not necessarily use every day in your genealogical pursuits. When I signed up, I was able to get the previous 5 months challenges, so for February you were analyzing documents associated with the enslaved, for March it was a female homesteader, and for August it is coroner’s reports.
Why It’s Awesome!
Why am I enjoying the Scavenger Hunt? Because I’m using records I wouldn’t necessarily use. All of my people have been in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, or Massachusetts, I’ve not had any reasons to look up resources for the enslaved. It has been refreshing to get out of my comfort zone (and that is the perfect phrase as I haven’t always been excited about the findings, especially in February’s use of the documents for the enslaved individuals). But searching through the Homesteaders information on the Bureau of Land Management’s site was fun to utilize as well, I’ve not had a whole lot of success on the website with my own ancestors but feel better prepared now whenever I am fortunate enough to get lucky!
I’ve yet to get a 100% on everything (though with the August one I apparently mis-read the month of when something happened), I had the date and year correct. Still with each month’s completion you earn a badge.
If you are interested in a great genealogy challenge that will allow you to expand your knowledge of different types of records and actually put them to use for an exercise, go and check out the Genealogy Scavenger Hunt on Julie Cahill Tarr’s website Genealogy in Action.
Please note, Julie Cahill Tarr is not aware of my writing about her challenge, though I am hoping she does not mind. I am simply writing about my own experience about how these challenges are helping me be a better researcher. I am not getting compensated in any way for this review.
Have you ever taken the time to listen to a podcast? I’ll admit I always meant to do some listening but find myself always on the go and never really having a moment to just sit and listen.
But that changed when I decided to listen one day on my way to work. It’s not a huge drive, mind you, just 8-10 minutes depending on how many red lights I get stuck with between my house and my place of employment. But it was nice as I really seem to pay attention to what is being said by the host of their show, and often a guest.
More Than One Way to Listen
One of the things I find interesting about these podcasts is that there is more than one way to listen to the programs.
You can listen to your podcast of choice by downloading an app on your cell phone. I know mine automatically came on my phone. On both iPhones and Android phones there is an app called “Podcasts” that you can use to listen. It’s easy to get going as you can just put in the keyword of “genealogy” in the search bar and it will bring up a list of programs to choose from. Below is what came up on mine:
You can then just click on a program that looks interesting. The one that caught my eye today is the The Genealogy Professional by Marian Pierre-Louis (I’ll confess she is in my library but I don’t think I’ve officially listened to this one yet, but this episode from February 1 looks interesting):
Another way to listen to podcasts is using your computer or tablet and eliminating an app and going to the program’s website (though obviously you can use apps on tablets and I just checked on PC’s too). To be consistent, I’ll use the same program I clicked above and go to the website associated with it (I’m hoping Marian doesn’t mind, she seems nice when I hear her on webinars).
You can see where there is an advertisement to sign up and automatically receive the latest episodes using an app. But in the middle of the page you see the triangle inside a circle, that’s the media player where you can listen to the podcast straight from Marian’s webpage.
Some podcasts also post their recordings on YouTube. One in particular I enjoy listening to is called PA Ancestors, and since we all know that I am stuck in Pennsylvania, no one is happier about finding new avenues to do my research in the Keystone State.
Along with her YouTube channel, you can also listen to PA Ancestors on podcast apps. She also has a blog that is worthwhile too (I actually discovered Denys Allen on Twitter and started listening to her that way). Her podcasts are very informative and have a lot of range from regular history to cemeteries to how to find various types of records – I soak it all in (as I have Pennsylvania ancestors on both sides of my family – but especially my dad’s side).
If all else fails, Google “genealogy podcasts” and you will get all sorts of recommendations. On Google one of my other favorites came up as a suggestion, Amy Johnson Crow’s Generations Café.
Things to Look For in a Podcast
One of the things I look for in a podcast is how long is the program going to last? I’ll admit, one of my favorite parts of Generations Cafe and PA Ancestors is that many of them are 10-20 minutes in length. When I’m going back and forth to work, I can listen to the entire program on my trip in or on a round trip to and from work (I go home for lunch each day so it’s not bad to start one on the way home, and I can either finish at home or listen to it on my way back to work when my lunch is over).
Some are well over an hour long – and you have to know yourself if you can sit still long enough or have an activity where you can listen.
The one nice thing about using my phone is that when I hit pause, it picks up right where I leave off. I’m fairly certain YouTube and a website may not be as accommodating (but you can always write down where you are at time-wise and so you know where to put the little dot so you could pick up where you left off on the recording).
However you like to listen, I think podcasts are great, despite really getting into them within the past month (though I have listened to The Genealogy Guys off and on after meeting them at the 2019 Ohio Genealogical Society). There are so many to choose from I am sure you will find one that you enjoy.
If you have a podcast that you just L-O-V-E, share with me in the comments! I’m always up for trying something new!