Tina Sansone: How I Hack Genealogy

Tina Sansone

[Editor’s Note: I invite you to come meet Tina Sansone, author for BellaOnline.com, e-book editor and a Tennessee-based professional genealogist and find out how she hacks genealogy! Tina is one of those folks whom I’ve never met in person yet through her valuable contributions in the online genealogy community and through social media, I feel I know her so well! ]

About Me

Name: Tina Sansone (Bettina Helene Smith)

Title or position:  APG Board Member, SL-APG President, Tennessee Genealogical Society- Social Media & Public Relations Director, BellaOnline.com Writer & Ebook Editor, ISFHWE SE Director & “Excellence in Writing” Coordinator, Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy Mentor and Blogger, GeneaBlogger.

Website or Blog: http://www.bellaonline.com/sitegenealogy and http://www.gtownma.wordpress.com

Other social media links:

Age (optional): 52

Location: Germantown, Shelby County, Tennessee

Technology I Use

Hardware (computer, laptop): Toshiba Satellite Laptop with webcam

Cloud storage: Google Drive, Dropbox, Mozy (free versions)

Backup program or routine: Back up to CD, flash drives and some files to the cloud; I email gedcoms to family members for back ups.

Printer:  HP or Canon.

Are you “paper” or “paperless” or in-between?: Both, but more paperless recently.

Email program: Gmail, but have a Yahoo, Hotmail, Comcast, and various others.

Smartphone model:  Sprint iPhone 5.0

Fave mobile app: GPS, MindMup, Messages and Flashlight

E-reader: Kindle on my laptop

Web browser: Google Chrome

Calendar program: Keepandshare.com, Google Calendar, and my cell’s phone’s calendar

RSS feed reader: Just started trying out Feedly.

Photo storage and editing:  Picasa and Photobucket

Fave social media:  1) Facebook and 2) Google+

Genealogy database program: Roots Magic 6, PAF, Ancestry Trees, FamilySearch

Music player: Real Tunes, iTunes – Mainly radio

Blog platform:  WordPress & Weebly-personal, BellaOnline-professional

Other tech stuff :  Scanner, webcam, Life Chat headset, iPhone

Me and Genealogy

Number of years involved in genealogy: Seriously since about 2000

Professional or non-professional?:  Professional (or try to be), “on the clock” towards my BCG certification.

What I do (describe your role in the genealogy community): writer, lecture, editor, researcher, blogger, social network admin, mentor.

What I enjoy most about genealogy and family history: helping others discover their family history and breaking brick walls.

What annoys me most about genealogy: Not having the financial ability to travel to the places to access records I need or visit ancestral sites; or to visit family as often to get those one on one interviews.

Genealogy super power: breaking brick walls, genealogical PowerPoint creator.

Biggest advance in genealogy in the last five years: I think it is the amount of resources getting out there, especially on FamilySearch and State Archives, Webinars and Social Media.

What will always stay the same in genealogy: 1) some family members will never be interested no matter what you discover; 2) the debate over what is a professional; and 3) not everything will be online!

What will need to change in genealogy: I hope it will be regarded more seriously by non-genealogists; the prices need to be affordable by those needing to access the records; and the records need to be available and not restricted.

My vision for genealogy in the year 2020: Great breakthroughs in DNA and genetics, more people showing an interest and posting their personal documents on line to help others. I also feel more specialized fields will be created much like Forensic Genealogy is being introduced now.

Top Genealogy Books I Refer to oftenProfessional GenealogyMastering Genealogical ProofThe Researcher’s Guide to American GenealogyEvidence ExplainedBCG Manual, IGHR syllabus, Forensic Genealogy Institute syllabus.

Closing Thoughts

My Secret Hack for Genealogy (a tip or trick): Seek advice from those more experienced, but ONLY after you have done your part in trying to solve it. Collaborate… don’t forget to say “Thank You!” to those who have helped you.

Advice to a beginning genealogist: Document where you find your information as accurately as you can. Find someone more experienced to be your mentor. Join your local genealogical society!!!  My best financial investment was attending IGHR Samford in Birmingham, Alabama. It is not just the education you gain there, but the networking and gaining friends that is equally important.

Advice to a “lifer” genealogist: Mentor a beginner!  Don’t fight change such as social media. Join a genealogical society!!!

Open Forum

As much as we all love researching our ancestors, let’s not forget about those that are living too!   Attend as many conferences, classes or webinars you are able to and keep up to date on all the new genealogical materials.


©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.