Friday, September 24, 2010

Approaching the Lectern - ebook review

Thomas MacEntee, owner of The Connected Genealogist, recently wrote an ebook, “Approaching the Lectern: How to Become a Genealogy Speaker.” You can buy this book at his Lulu Storefront. <>

I am a professional genealogist, but I want to up-level my business. It’s time for me to appear more polished on the Internet. Labor-day weekend I spent three days with Thomas’ book and worked on nothing but my business. I felt very accomplished by the time I was done! With guidance from Thomas’ book I now have a very clean Bio. One Bio is short in length, one longer, and one that is comprehensive.

Then I moved on to polish that Genealogy Resume. There are times we need to have this document available and now I feel very good about what I’ll be presenting. I’ve also added a reminder on my calendar to make sure this document stays current on a monthly basis.

Then it was time to review each of my presentations. Yes, those were stale (IMHO), but they are all cleaned up now. I created a template to use for future presentations as well. Thomas also covers the font size, color, graphics and more in his book. All ideas are very clearly written, and full of helpful ideas and suggestions.

For those who are new to speaking and those who want to appear more polished, Thomas covers all the basics! We all need to know our presentations blind, and be prepared for any and all things that might happen. Computer crashes happen, where is your backup? Who has a backup laptop you can borrow to use the backup on your thumb drive? And we have to be brave enough to ask for evaluations if we hope to get better!

Thomas also covers Virtual Presentation in chapter six. This is an item I hope to get much more comfortable with. I need more knowledge about this, so I’ll work on that a bit more over the course of the next few years.

Chapter seven covers Building Your Business and setting your rate. I concur with Thomas’ evaluation in this chapter. I just spent time with another genealogy tomb, Professional Genealogy, by Elizabeth Shown Mills. I went through the steps necessary to make sure I was charging the ‘right’ fees for my business. So Labor-day weekend didn’t need to have this step done again! Thank goodness! But, you do need to do this step. As you know, it is very relevant to you running a successful business.

Chapter eight: Marketing Your Business was of interest to me. We all need to be better at marketing our businesses. I hadn’t really worked on my blog, but I am now. I’ve been learning how to add pages. One of those new pages now has a very good bio about me, and another page has my lectures! I’ve more work to do, but this was a very good start! As suggested in Thomas’ book, LinkedIn is also a place to do marketing with professional colleagues. I’ve been more active on my page there, and joined more groups. I’ve asked for a review of my website from my colleagues. I got some very GOOD feedback! Feedback that makes my webpage look even more polished! Mission accomplished!

I felt the price I paid for this book was well worth what I got out of it! I spent three full days working on just my business. There wasn’t a client file in sight. And when that weekend was done I had accomplished quite a lot of work for the benefit of my business. Just the reason Thomas MacEntee wrote the book, to help others be successful. I would encourage you to read this book and then get to work on YOUR business.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Educational Opportunity at the National Archives

Press release from the National Archives at:
They have created a new site for teachers to help their students with history at:
Here is an excerpt from the press release:
“ is a significant and welcome addition to our popular education programs,” said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero. “It will engage teachers and students in new ways and stir their interest in history through the use of original documents in the National Archives. It is also consistent with our goals to make as much of our holdings available to the public as easily as possible.”

DocsTeach combines primary source content with the latest interactive capabilities of the Internet in ways that teachers who have pilot-tested the site are calling “brilliant!”

Not only does the site invite educators to explore thousands of documents in a variety of media from the holding of the National Archives—items such as George Washington’s draft of the Constitution, the cancelled check for Alaska, Chuck Yeager’s notes on the first supersonic flight, and President Richard Nixon’s resignation letter—but it also allows teachers to combine these materials using clever tools to create engaging activities that students can access online.

The seven tools featured on the site are designed to teach specific historical thinking skills—weighing evidence, interpreting data, focusing on details, and more. Each employs interactive components including puzzles, scales, maps, flow charts, and others that both teachers and students can tailor to their needs."

Looks like more wonderful learning opportunities are available to us from home!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cookus family, Nebraska

June of 2010, we found ourselves in Nebraska. We started in Omaha and we went west. There were many stops along the way as I worked to document my Cookus family. All Cookus family members who live in Nebraska descend from Joseph S. Cookus [1833-1911] and his wife, Minerva Ellen Doty Cookus [1837-1911]. They brought 9 children into the world. My goal was to find as much as I could about each of the descendants of these 9 people. All headstone photos have been posted to Find-A-Grave. Type in Cookus, and enter Nebraska for the state. The family lines have also been linked. As I learn more about each of these people, I can update their specific page at Find-A-Grave. If you know more about these people, I hope you'll send me a message! And you too can post updates as well.