Lorine McGinnis Schulze: How I Hack Genealogy

Lorine McGinnis Schulze

[Editor’s Note: This week’s How I Hack Genealogy interview is with Lorine McGinnis Schulze of Olive Tree Genealogy. My first encounter with Lorine and her valuable genealogy resources was many years ago as I traced my New York Dutch ancestry. Lorine and I didn’t “connect” until I fell into blogging about my family history in late 2006. I was struck by how helpful, kind and resourceful Lorine was (and continues to be) to me and to everyone in the genealogy community.]

About Me

Name: Lorine McGinnis Schulze

Title or position: Genealogist, Author and Webmastser

Company or Organization Name: Olive Tree Genealogy

Website or Blog: http://olivetreegenealogy.com and  http://olivetreegenealogy.blogspot.com  are my two main websites and blogs but have many other blogs and websites. In total I have 10 blogs and 10 websites.



Also visit http://www.olivetreegenealogy.com/lorine.shtml for a complete listing of all of Lorine’s blogs and websites!!

Other social media links: Follow me on:

Age: in my 60s

Location: Ontario Canada

What I Use – Technology

Hardware (computer, laptop):

  • Windows 7 Computer, 3 years old
  • Mac Book Air, 3 years old
  • Mac Book Pro with Retina display, 1 year old
  • iPad 1st generation
  • iPhone 5
  • Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner
  • Smart Pen for recording family members’ memories and stories
  • Western Digital MyBookLive

Cloud storage: Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive are used on a daily basis. I have other cloud storage but do not use it as much.

Backup program or routine: Western Digital My Book Live, My Passport 1.5 TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drives (three of them), Dropbox and Evernote are my daily and weekly backup methods.

Printer: HP Colour LaserJet CP3525dn

Scanner : HP ScanJet 8300 and Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner. Also use a Scanning app on my iPhone.

Are you “paper” or “paperless” or in-between?:  In-between.

Email program: Gmail and Pegasus Mail.

Smartphone model: iPhone 5

Fave mobile app: Dropbox

E-reader: Kindle app on iPad.

Web browser: Primary is Firefox, also use Safari and Chrome.

Calendar program: Built in calendar on Mac Book syncs with all devices and the cloud.

RSS feed reader:  Feedly

Photo storage and editing: Picassa, Irfanview, Preview (built in on MacBook) iPhoto (built in on MacBook.

Fave social media: #1 is Facebook #2 Twitter #3 Google+ #4 Pinterest

Accounting or financial app: Don’t use one.

Virus protection: No need on a Mac. Norton on my Windows Computer.

Firewall or security program: No need on my Mac.

Genealogy database program: FamilyTree Maker

Music player: Jambox via Bluetooth from iPad, iPhone or MacBook.

Blog platform: Blogger.com

Other tech stuff: No mouse, no headset although I do have a wireless mouse for my Mac (never use it).

Me and Genealogy

Number of years involved in genealogy: 40+

Professional or non-professional?: I earn my living through genealogy (blogging, writing books, client research etc) but am not a certified genealogist.

What I do: I’m a teacher, motivator and facilitator. My blogs and websites bring free genealogy databases online and I also use the blogs to introduce new technology, new databases and thought-provoking ideas. Tutorials and step by step methods of research are something else I write about a lot and I use my Olive Tree Genealogy YouTube Channel to create video tutorials to help other genealogists. I also try to motivate other genealogists to preserve their family stories and heirlooms.

What I enjoy most about genealogy and family history: There are so many things I love about genealogy but mostly I love the challenge of the search and the excitement when a new discovery is made. I love solving puzzles and genealogy research is one huge puzzle that will never be finished, but the journey is amazing and satisfying.

What annoys me most about genealogy: I get annoyed by people who are name collectors, and who grab and merge trees with no thought as to accuracy or sources. I also get annoyed with anyone who is so invested in a family story that they refuse to believe the genealogical evidence disproving it. I’m also annoyed that I still haven’t found the parents of my 2nd great grandparents Joseph McGinnis and Fanny Downey and have a horrible feeling that the answer will all be revealed two days after my funeral.

Genealogy super power(s): I’m a good analyst and very creative. When I find a record I analyze it thoroughly and often spot clues that many researchers overlook. Then by thinking outside the box, I am able to form theories and formulate a plan for other records to seek. My superpower name would be The Extractor. Having a bit of OCD helps too as I am very methodical and precise with a dash of creative whimsy thrown in.

Biggest advance in genealogy in the last five years: More and more records being digitized and coming online.

Biggest flop in genealogy in the last five years: The overlap and reproduction of identical records and databases being published online by independent publishers. I’m talking about individuals who start a website but instead of finding a new set of Unpublished records, they jump on records previously published online and simply regurgitate those. Such a waste of time and energy! I say bring something NEW online if you are going to publish free content for researchers.

What will always stay the same in genealogy: The thrill of the hunt, the challenge and the desire to find ONE more bit of information or ONE more ancestor.

What will need to change in genealogy: Genealogists will need to venture outside their comfort zone and adapt and embrace new technology.  Otherwise they will be left in the past (no pun intended!)

My vision for genealogy in the year 2020: I hope for a world where all archives and museums will have made at least a start at digitizing their record holdings and publishing them online. DNA research will continue to grow and become more valuable to genealogists as new methods of testing are mastered.

Closing Thoughts

My Secret Hack for Genealogy: If I told you it wouldn’t be a secret anymore! But I do have 5  tips!

#1. When you find a record, read it carefully, analyse it and THINK about what it means. Use that record to lead you to other records

#2. Put your ancestor in a “real life” perspective and remember he/she was just like you – they laughed, they loved, they cried, they switched jobs, etc. By getting inside the head of your ancestor you can often figure out where he/she went or what they did.

#3. Go back over old records that you found and read them with fresh eyes.

#4. Search all siblings of all generations. You may find genealogical info by searching a sibling that you were unable to find searching your direct ancestor

#5: Verify every piece of information personally. Don’t accept anything without a source and check the source for yourself before adding the info to your tree

Advice to a beginning genealogist: Keep track of your sources and be methodical! One step at a time. Don’t just grab an online family tree without verifying every single “fact” for yourself.

Advice to a lifer genealogist: Don’t get stuck in your old ways. Realize that new records are being found and digitized all the time and that technology is your friend. Be open to new ideas and new technology and never never be afraid to say you goofed and followed the wrong line.

©2013, copyright Thomas MacEntee

About the Author

Thomas MacEntee
Genealogy educator and author Thomas MacEntee has been researching his family history for more than 40 years and is the creator of Abundant Genealogy, Genealogy Bargains, DNA Bargains, The Genealogy Do-Over and numerous other web-based genealogy and family history properties.