Using a Snipping Tool

We often want to capture not the whole screen but just a part of it.  For example when you find an ancestor’s birth or marriage or death announcement in a newspaper, you just want to cut out that small piece of the page.  Similarly you find an obituary, but only want to clip part of the page.  Also when you find a Probate entry in an index – they are great to clip. Finally you often want to clip out just part of the page in a Census.

All of the clipping programs are simple to use. You click on the top left of the section you want to capture and then drag to the lower right and let go – you get a simulated camera shutter – remember when we used to have those?

This is easy when you are set up to do it!  Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 and Mac OS all have built in clipping tools.  Sometimes Windows “hides” it on us and we have to move it to where  we have easy access.  Instructions for using Snipping Tool are pretty much the same for all 3 versions of Windows – so just click on the link in the section below for Windows 7.

1.  Using Snipping Tool with Windows 7

Here is the link to the information on how to use the snipping tool – these instructions are good for all versions of Windows:

But . . .   it’s not on the Start Menu on my Win 7 computer!  Answer:  It’s hiding and you need to find it and pin it to the start menu.  Where’s it hiding?  Click on the Start Menu then select All Programs and look for the Accessories folder – it’s not near the top of the list! – open the Accessories folder, locale the Snipping Tool, right click on the icon and select Pin to Start Menu – or pick whatever option you like

2. Using Snipping Tool with Windows 8   

The Snipping tool should already be on the Start menu –  if not then use the above link and on the right of the screen next to the the words Windows 7 is a down arrow, click on it and select Windows 8 to get the Windows 8 version of the instructions – you just need to locate and move it to where you want it to be

3. Using Snipping Tool with WIndows 10

Again it might be under the Start button – but it wasn’t on my Win10 laptop – you need to find it and put it where you want it.  Click on the Start button and type Snipping in the search box.  The Snipping Tool will appear at the top of the list – don’t rush to click on it! – right click on it and Pin it   to the Taskbar – now it appears in the tray across the bottom of the screen.  Looks like the same application as in previous versions of Windows – although I hear it has some added features – so you can use the link to the how to use instructions for Windows 7 to get you started.

4.  Using a snipping tool with Mac – press the Command, and Shift keys and also the 4 – yes, all three at once! – and a small cross hair appears on the screen – use your mouse or trackpad to position the cross hair on the top left corner of what you want to clip then hold down the left button and drag to the lower right and let go.

Great tool – have fun – if you mess up then just do it again!  Practice does make a difference.

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Check out the even larger collection of Digital Books at FamilySearch

The digital books collection at continues to grow . . ..   and grow.  You can find the link to Books under the menu Search.  Last time I looked – just now – there are “more than 200,000 digitized genealogy and family history publications from the archives of some of the most important family history libraries in the world. The collection includes family histories, county and local histories, genealogy magazines and how-to books, gazetteers, and medieval histories and pedigrees.”  The list of libraries whose books are included is also growing.

I would suggest that you look to see if there are any books for families in your family tree.  How do you do that?

Generally I just put a last name from my family tree in the search box.  You may need to try several last names and be willing to scroll down and scan the results.  It is amazing what you might find.  Doing this for my 4th great grandfather Watson I found a wonderful book by Jan and Phil Gregory “The Business of Empire:  William Watson and Sons.” My ancestor was a brother of their Watson and there was a lot of great information in a well sourced and documented book.  Besides that I was able to get in touch with my long lost cousin Jan by email.  She has been great to get to know!

There is also an advanced search.  Using this I put in my last name Letall and asked in the left dropdown for Full Text and the first item on the list of results was the Philimore edition of Huntingdonshire Parish Registers!  I know my Letalls lived in Huntingdonshire!  This is a book of marriage transcripts from the register done by Mr Phillimore – he visited lots of parishes.

Sadly that it is often slow to access the digital books – and sometimes very very painfully slow – often I reload the page – seems scans book take a long long time to download – large file sizes and lots of images  –  but it’s worth waiting for! I don’t think they have the server capacity for digital books that they have for historical records or family tree.

Hint:  If there is more than a few pieces of information then look around for the option to download the document – sometimes a down arrow in a box  – may depend on your web browser.  Then you only have to wait once!  Every document I have accessed has been a pdf file.

Wow things run fast in Adobe Reader after you have downloaded the file.

And  . . . don’t forget to use Ctrl F (Command F on a Mac) – press both keys at the same time to see a small search box – put in the last name and it will search the document for your last name and stop when it finds one – then use the right arrow beside the search box to have it resume.  Don’t forget to use variants of the spelling of the name when you search.

This search feature also works in any web browser on any web page.

Important Lesson: Now the sad part of my adventure but I think an important lesson.  I am a Google Chrome user  – like it because it is fast and easy to use – never use anything else unless things are not working properly.  A couple of times recently I have felt that Chrome was not working well with FamilySearch – always it seems on a Sunday evening when I am teaching Family History.  My solution – stay calm – it’s not good for class members to see beads of fear induced perspiration running down my face – and use a different browser which for me means Firefox.  This has never failed to solve my problem – so far!  The same thing happened here.  The Phillimore edition of the Parish Register was so slow with Chrome that I couldn’t bear it.  Closed and went to Firefox and was much much faster.  Firefox window also showed progress in the download and after the download was complete gave better navigation tools.  Even so the individual pdf images of each page were still very slow to appear even in Firefox.  Best to download and open in Adobe Reader if you have lots of family information in the document.

Have fun finding your ancestors!

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Why is the 1939 National Register important for British research?

FindMyPast in partnership with the National Archives will be publishing the 1939 National Register on 2 November 2015!  This is great news for British researchers.  This is not a census so why the fuss?

  1. The Census Act of 1920 provides that no UK census can be made available for the public to view until 100 years after being taken.  The 1911 Census is the most recent census that is available and we don’t expect to see the 1921 Census until 2022 or so – wouldn’t it be nice if it were early?
  2. The 1931 Census of England and Wales was completely destroyed by a fair in 1942 – there was no connection between the fire and the war and it remains a mystery what caused the fire.  Remember the saying about not keeping all your eggs in one basket?  Good news for Scottish researchers is that their census was not in the same building! Bad news for Scottish and Northern Ireland researchers – their registration cards are not apparently in this release.
  3. There was no census taken in 1941 because of the war – so that means no census in 1931 and 1941.

The 1939 Register will help us bridge the gap.  Why did they take the register?  3 reasons:  identity cards,  ration cards,  and eligibility for military service.  The information was gathered on 29 Sept 1939 – just after the start of World War 2.

Details recorded for each person were:

  • Residence
  • Name
  • Sex
  • Date of birth
  • Marital status
  • Occupation
  • If member of armed forces or reserves

The declaration of date of birth is particularly interesting and might save the purchase of some birth certificates.  There are over 40 million names in the register.

For more information go to: – you can even see a sample of the registration form

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Tips for selecting a Genealogy Program for Your Computer

If you do a google search for the best genealogy program you find the link to Top Ten Reviews.  Certainly some interesting information.  There is a separate list for Mac users.   Clicking on Sort by Standard Rankings creates the Top Ten List .   Again interesting, but then I see that they are advertising to sell software so I wonder how unbiased they are? – they have a featured program that may not be the number one in their top ten ranking.

What is an alternative?  Surprisingly just do a search for for genealogy program and you get a short but interesting article –  – and at the bottom there is link to a fairly comprehensive review of both Windows and Mac software.  This way you can see what programs are available on both platforms.   But maybe the list is a little long?  Look up product on the Top Ten web site and then look it up in the longer list.

If you have both Windows and Mac computers check to see that one purchase will give you the right to install the software on both computers!  One company made us pay twice – and  the mac version was much more expensive!

We hope this helps – but a test drive before buying is always best – so download a program that has a free version and take it for a drive!

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MyHeritage gives access to 46 million Swedish Household Records

From the MyHeritage blog dated 15 October 2015:

We are happy to announce that we’ve added over 46 million Swedish records to MyHeritage SuperSearch. The high quality parish register records, spanning 1880 to 1920, are now available, indexed and searchable online for the first time. These records include information about births, deaths, marriages, addresses and changes in household composition. They provide a unique view into the lives of Swedish people living at that time, making this collection a fantastic family history resource for anyone with Swedish heritage.

Search Sweden Household Examination Books Now

Swedish Household Examination Books are the primary source for researching the lives of individuals and families throughout the Parishes of Sweden, from the late 1600s to modern times. The books were created and kept by the Swedish Lutheran Church, which was tasked with keeping the official records of the Swedish population until 1991.

Each book or series of books represents a 3-10 year period of time within a parish. Every year, until 1894, the parish priest would visit each home and test each individual’s knowledge of the catechism. They would also collect information about births, marriages, deaths, where people had moved to or from, etc. Each year the priest would return to update the previously recorded information, noting changes within the population of the home. Because the books were updated annually, families can be traced from year to year, and often from location to location throughout the country.

After 1894, the examinations were replaced by Församlingsbok, records of the Church of Sweden which were used to officially enumerate the population from year to year. The focus on examining doctrinal knowledge of the catechism was removed and instead the records were more focused on enumerating the Swedish population.

With the help of our Swedish partner, ArkivDigital, we have produced an index of names from the Swedish Household Examination Books consisting of over 5 million full-color and good quality images. This portion of the Swedish Household Examination Books (Husförhörslängder), mostly covers the years 1880-1920, with a few exceptions from the early 1800s and late 1700s. The Examination books are an invaluable collection that can provide insight into the make-up of families within Sweden, from birth to death or emigration.

The Sweden Household Examination Books, in addition to over 6 billion other global historical records, are available in SuperSearch™, MyHeritage’s search engine for historical records.

When combined with our innovative matching technologies, these collections will prove even more useful. MyHeritage users will receive Record Matches for all records which match profiles in their family trees. Members can save matches and import new information directly to their family trees using our extract informationfeature, and even add new people to the tree directly from the record. Our Record Detective technology will ensure that each record points to even more records, turning a single discovery into a door to more. Each record will display a summary of additional records and individuals in family trees relating to the original record.

This significant collection of Swedish Household Records will be an incredible help to all those with Swedish heritage in the pursuit of their family history. It enables users to learn more about their Swedish ancestors and the lives they led year after year, painting a picture of what life in Sweden was like centuries ago.

Search now to see how your Swedish ancestors lived! We look forward to hearing about your exciting discoveries.

Thank you to Dick Eastman for making aware of this!

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Give Thanks for these New Collections for British Research

This is Thanksgiving – and we have a lot to give thanks for, including all the new resources that come available to help us with our Family History.

On 9 October  FindMyPast in partnership with the British Library released the England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1832-1932 – over 220 million names!

The England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1832-1932 form the largest single collection released on Findmypast to date with over 5.4 million images and approximately 220 million names. The registers have been released in association with the British Library and are the result of a mammoth digitisation project to scan 100 years of microfilmed copies of printed registers, housed on 2.25 miles (3.62 linear km) of shelving. Electoral Registers are listings of all those registered to vote in a particular area. The lists were created annually to record the names of eligible voters and their reason for eligibility, such as their residence or ownership of a property.

This is the first time these registers have been made available online. They can be searched by name and constituency, as well as by keywords which will allow you to discover the history of your family.”

I immediately searched for my great grandfather in 1918 and found where he and his wife were living that year!

FindMyPast also announced the following:

Britain, Absent Voters Lists 1918-1921

Britain, Absent Voters Lists 1918-1921 contains over 20,000 pages listing over 100,000 names of service men, women serving with the auxiliary forces, merchant seamen, diplomats and others working in occupations recognised as supporting the war effort. Absent voters’ lists are registers of eligible voters who were absent from their homes. Lists were sent to the Adjutant General’s Department of the War Office who then arranged to send voting cards to men and women in the UK and ballot papers to those in France.

Lists were completed by August 1918 and therefore include names of men who were killed, missing or taken prisoner in the period of time between the compiling of lists and the publication of the register. Records can reveal your ancestors name, a description of their service and their qualifying premises allowing you uncover details of the home they left behind and the part they played in one of history’s bloodiest conflicts.

Ireland, Electoral Registers 1885-1886

The Ireland, Electoral Registers 1885-1886 contain over 3,000 records covering 12 counties. The 1880’s was a period of drastic change in Ireland, from land reform and the beginning of the Home Rule Crisis to the rise of the Irish Parliamentary Party. It was also a vibrant time for Irish culture with the Gaelic and the Irish Literary Revivals in full swing. Search the registers by name to pinpoint the exact location of your family during this exciting period of Irish history, or by address to learn who was living in your family home. From the Act of Union in 1801, until Ireland’s independence, over 7,000 electoral registers were created, but the British Library only holds the registers for a single year.

Scotland, Linlithgowshire (West Lothian), Electoral Registers 1864-1931

Containing over 23,000 records, the Scotland, Linlithgowshire (West Lothian), Electoral Registers 1864-1931 cover the traditional county of Linlithgowshire. The registers allow you to find out where your West Lothian ancestors lived, what they did and whether they owned property in the area.

That is a lot to be thankful for!

What if you don’t have an account with FindMyPast?  Like most of the pay to use websites they allow you to search, show you the list of results, and only ask for payment when you look at the details.  This way you know if there is something to pay for. A one month membership is about Can $20 or you can buy 60 pay as you go credits for about Can$15.

I really value my FindMyPast subscription for British research – great collections and images.

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Something New at

Something New at

Have you noticed that the Ancestry family of websites – .com, .ca, .au, etc – are being changed?  We have to get used to websites being updated.

Last Wednesday we were fortunate to have Deanna Bullock come to speak to the Red Deer Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society.  About 40 people were in attendance.

I learned several things – I always do when Deanna is the presenter.  Let me share one of them.  Hopefully it will help you.

I have noticed on some updates that family history websites and not just Ancestry are including features that only appear when you “hover”  on a spot on the screen!  I guess this makes the initial screen look cleaner and simply but how are you supposed to know where these features are hidden – and sometimes they are very useful things.

Let’s look at a search screen in Ancestry – apparently any of the various search screens are the same. Here is the search screen for Census searches:

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 4.52.46 PM

Notice the check box for “Match all terms exactly.”  I am always cautious about checking a box like that because there are usually variants in the spelling of names – and if you ask for exact on the search terms then you may omit the person you are looking for.

But what if you want to specifically request variants?  There is a menu for that!  Just start to put in a name – either in the First & Middle Name or Last Name fields – and, like magic some new choices appear.  You appear to be offered another way to request Exact but if you click on Exact you get some very helpful options.  Exact and  . . . Sounds Like, and/or Similar, and/or Soundex.  You can request one of these or all of them or some of them.  Very powerful!

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 4.53.02 PM

Glad I know where these options are.  Hope it helps you find your ancestors!

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