Genealogy Writing Boot Camp – 23 November 2013

Genealogy Writing Bootcamp

Lisa Alzo and Thomas MacEntee Pool Their Talents In Offering a Unique Online Educational Event

14 November 2013 – Chicago, IL. Do you want to write your family history in a compelling format to share with family and friends, but having trouble getting started? Perhaps you need inspiration as to format or you just want to build your writing skills. And what’s up with Microsoft Word? Are you frustrated with getting Word to work with you instead of against you? You’ll learn tips, tricks, ideas as well as Word survival skills in the upcoming Genealogy Writing Boot Camp.

What Is Genealogy Writing Boot Camp?

Genealogy authors and educators Lisa A. Alzo and Thomas MacEntee team up to offer this unique online educational event on Saturday 23 November 2013. Classes include:

  • Back to Basics: Craft a Compelling Family History Narrative from Start to Finish presented by Lisa A. Alzo, a well-known genealogy educator and author with an M.F.A. in Nonfiction Writing.
  • 10 Secrets You Should Know to Survive Microsoft Word presented by Thomas MacEntee, who taught Microsoft Office classes in the corporate world for over 10 years before bringing his teaching and technical skills to the genealogy industry.

Hack Genealogy Boot Camp – A Different Kind of Learning Experience

What will you find at a typical Hack Genealogy Boot Camp event?

  • Live webinars with extended Q&A periods.
  • Lunch period “online chats” where participants can exchange ideas about what they’ve learned.
  • Easy-to-read handouts that are ready for you to use at home.
  • Freebies from presenters including cheat sheets and hand out extras!
  • Access to recordings for up to one (1) year!

Genealogy Education at a Great Price

There are many options when it comes to online genealogy and family history education. Free webinars are great, but some can have limitations when it comes to accessing recordings afterwards and require you to purchase a subscription or membership. Paid options exist but their pricing may be out of your reach.

Hack Genealogy Boot Camp events will always be reasonably priced: from $6.95 for a single webinar up to $29.95 for a full day online event. And there are often early bird coupons and discounts! Offerings are priced to secure the best instructors for the topic and allow them to be fairly compensated and you still get access to great content.

Get More Information about Hack Genealogy Boot Camp

The best way to stay in touch is to add the Hack Genealogy Blog to your RSS feed reader or save the link to your favorites. Also sign up for our periodical emails listing upcoming Boot Camp events as well as the latest tech news in the genealogy world! Click here to sign up now and you can unsubscribe at any time!

Also visit Hack Genealogy at for more information or email with your questions.

About Hack Genealogy

Hack Genealogy ( is a technology resource for the genealogy community with a focus on “repurposing today’s technology for tomorrow’s genealogy.” Thomas MacEntee is the driving force between Hack Genealogy whose goal is to provide information on emerging technology inside and outside the genealogy industry.

Follow Hack Genealogy on Facebook (, Twitter ( and at

About Lisa A. Alzo

Lisa A. Alzo is a freelance writer, instructor, and lecturer with over 20 years’ experience in the field of genealogy. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Pittsburgh, and is the author of nine books, including: Finding Your Slovak Ancestors, Writing Your Family History Book, and the award-winning Three Slovak Women. Lisa has written hundreds of articles and her work has appeared in Family Tree Magazine, Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy, APG Quarterly, among others. An internationally recognized speaker, Lisa blogs as “The Accidental Genealogist” For more information see

About Thomas MacEntee

Thomas MacEntee is a genealogy professional specializing in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogy research and as a way to connect with others in the family history community. When he’s not busy writing blog posts, organizing the 3,000+ members of GeneaBloggers, teaching online genealogy webinars and more, Thomas MacEntee is busy in his role as “genealogy ninja.” Stealth is not easy, but he manages to get the inside track on emerging technologies and vendors as they relate to the genealogy industry. After being laid off from a 25-year career in the tech industry in 2008, Thomas has been able to “repurpose” his skill set for the genealogy community and loves to see other genealogists succeed, whether it is with their own research or building their own careers in the field.

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Special Pinterest Boards for Veterans Day

Our Gratitude Shall Not Sleep

Next Monday, 11 November 2013, is Veteran’s Day and GeneaBloggers announces two new Pinterest boards where family historians can pay tribute to their military ancestors: Our Gratitude Shall Not Sleep and Military Honor Rolls.

Our Gratitude Shall Not Sleep

Follow Our Gratitude Shall Not Sleep – Military Ancestors by GeneaBloggers on Pinterest

We invite those on Pinterest to join as we build a virtual memory wall to pay tribute to all our military ancestors and our present day veterans who served in the military. Consider posting photos, medals, patches, letters home, newspaper articles and stories – anything that not only makes sure that we never forget their service, but lets others learn more about our family history.

Military Honor Rolls

Follow Military Honor Rolls by GeneaBloggers on Pinterest

Another Pinterest board has been created thanks to the inspiration of Heather Wilkinson Rojo and the Military Honor Roll project at her blog, Nutfield Genealogy.

Military Honor Rolls are installed by schools, towns, and sometimes businesses and social organizations to honor their members, residents and alumni who participated in past wars. Sometimes they list all the residents of a town who went to war, and sometimes the honor roll lists only those who were killed in action. By transcribing these lists found in parks, on walls, and inside buildings we make these names of men and women available to be found by search engines online.

How To Get Involved

IF you would like to participate in either of these boards, you must have an active Pinterest account and do the following:

1. Follow the boards above.

2. Email with your Pinterest profile URL (the one for GeneaBloggers is OR your email address.

3. Let us know which board you want to pin to – either one or both.

4. GeneaBloggers will follow ALL your boards and then add you to the board or boards you request.

We also ask that you stick to the topic and pin items that are related to that board. Any pins considered off topic or spam will be deleted.

Remebering Veterans Every Day

An while this is a Veteran’s Day inspired project, we all know that our veterans deserve our attention each and every day. We’ll keep these boards active and invite all those with military ancestors to continue pinning throughout the year.

©2013, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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Caution: Link Requests Targeting Genealogy Bloggers

caution genealogy link requests

Recently, members of Geneabloggers and other genealogy bloggers have been bombarded with email requests from several sites asking them to review and link back to specific blog posts and content.

One such site is “free people search dot org” (note that I am not providing an active link to their site – that is what they want, after all). Here is today’s email from


My name is Samantha and I am a student doing some research on a genealogy paper I have due and came across your site. Anyways, I found your site among a few others, most useful and just wanted to extend my thanks and appreciation. I am fairly new to the world of genealogy and have a new found interest in it now.

Anyways, with all the research I did, I stumbled across so many articles and there was a really fun list I found that had a bunch of interesting facts on DNA. You can find it here [link removed]. I thought you or your other readers might find it entertaining.

Thanks . :)


I highly doubt that “Samantha” is a college student working on a paper. She is also probably good friends with “Carla Adams” ( who sent another email this week from “free people search dot org.”

Why Do Some Sites Make Link Back Requests?

The fact is that some sites don’t want to really work at providing solid, informative content and engaging others. Or they take the easy way out by playing on the gullibility of bloggers, especially new bloggers.  The fact is that these sites merely want you to link to them so that they can build their Google Page Rank and improve their search engine standing on Google, Bing and other sites.

How do they do this?  Various methods include mentioning your blog in a list of “95 Best Genealogy Blogs” or “120 Online Genealogy Resources” etc. Another method is to give you an “award” and a badge which they hope you will post at your site.  Doing so will get them the link they want.

In general, this practice is looked down upon in the SEO industry – or should be. Link backs should be organic and come from bloggers who value content and truly want to give credibility to that content with a link. And at the very least, link requests should be legitimate with real contact information (see below). Samantha Greene and Carla Adams are most likely just shills for “free people search dot org.”

Link Requests: Consider The Source

As genealogists we know the value of a source and that proof of a connection to a person who could be an ancestor depends on the quality of that source. A certified birth record carries much more weight than a family story about where or when that person was born.

As a genealogy blogger you should use the same critical analytic skills when you get these link requests.  Ask yourself these questions before you reply to a request or post about the site:

  • Do you know the person or the site making the request?
  • Is the site genealogy related? How long has the site been around?
  • Are there advertisements on the site? What is the nature of the advertisement?
  • Is their content valuable or original?
  • What is the site’s reputation on the Web? Why would they give an award to genealogy bloggers or other groups of bloggers?

As for “free people search dot org,” you’ll notice that clicking on their About or Contact Us link goes nowhere – that is cause for concern. Also, there are no active links for their Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. And the blog they are using to post content, does not even appear as a link on their site. Why not?

One of my most popular lectures – They’re Alive: Searching For Living Persons – is about finding living people as a part of genealogy research. I know the major search engines and I also know there are some disreputable sites that will overcharge your credit card or trick you into signing up for a yearly subscription if you request information. I have not signed up for “free people search dot org” so I don’t know how their site works, but with any site where I hand over my personal information and or credit card data, I always read the Terms of Services. I can’t seem to do that at “free people search dot org.”

Think Before You Link

The genealogy community and the genealogy blogging community are pretty “tight” and most of us “know” each other at least online. Yes we welcome new sites, vendors and others, but like our ancestors welcoming new people into town, we should be cautious. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions and determining a site’s intentions before linking to them. Remember to think before you link.

©2013, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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