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First Friday Genealogy
With Sassy Jane

The Free Monthly Genealogy Newsletter

January. Tidying. New beginnings. Simplifying. This First Friday Genealogy with Sassy Jane issue offers tips to start the new year with a genealogy clean slate.

As many of us begin the tenth month of staying home, we've been pelted with ideas for improving ourselves, our homes, and our research.

So, if you been home so long that removing toaster crumbs with a vacuum cleaner seems like a good idea, please skip this newsletter and relax with a good book instead! 


Keeping your bookmarks organized saves time and avoids repeated searches for the same resources.

I arrange my bookmarks either by topic (migration, dna) or location. I separated FamilySearch resources into subfolders to make it easier to go directly to specific databases, their catalog, and place name search resources.

In the Genealogy/CensusUS folder seen in blue at right, I have bookmarked every US census search page from 1790 through 1940. These shortcuts eliminate the need to click through website layers to reach frequently used records such as these.

The same holds true for research by location. Being able to go straight to database search windows – for example, to search all FamilySearch Scotland databases – FamilySearch works the same way. 

Of course, genealogists are seldom interrupted by phone calls, spouses, doorbells, family members, appointments, or errands. :)

But when interruptions happen, save the bookmarks you know you want to keep in the PENDING folder. Later, when you return, you can decide whether the resource is worth bookmarking and what Genealogy subfolder to use. 

Cleaning up your computer desktop not only speeds up your computer, but also provides a shortcut to your research files.

We acquire files so many different ways these days. Set up folder aliases to organize your computer desktop and funnel new files to specific locations.

As seen at left, I've created desktop folder aliases on my Mac for Dropbox, my master genealogy folder, downloads, screenshots, and scans. (In Windows these are called shortcuts.)

Now my computer desktop isn't engulfed when I'm working on a big research project because new downloads, scans, and screenshots are saved to the specific folders I've designated.

On Windows, to learn more about desktop shortcuts and how to make them, visit this link. To create a desktop shortcut to an already existing Windows folder such as Downloads, follow the instructions in the link. 

On a Mac, follow these linked instructions to create desktop folder aliases. 

Now newly acquired files are easily available for reviewing, citing, and then renaming and filing in permanent locations in your master genealogy research folder

You need a password manager. Full stop.

Our online lives are just too complex to manage without one. Audiences at my day-long seminars have heard me harp on this string several times. And I do that because this is important, both to be safer online and to save time and energy.

Dashlane is the password manager I recommend and have used for years. Remember one password and Dashlane remembers the rest: URLs, passwords, log-in names, payments, receipts, and IDs. It also monitors your personal information for activity on the Dark Web.

One of Dashlane's outstanding features is the Security Dashboard (above) that evaluates how safe you are online. Weak, reused, and compromised passwords are identified. Dashlane then helps you create new stronger passwords. 

Dashlane also:
  • Stores your passwords using military-grade encryption
  • Auto-logs you on to websites you choose
  • Syncs passwords automatically across all your devices regardless of platform
  • Notifies you when a website has been compromised
  • Shares individual passwords with a designated person
  • Generates strong passwords
Dashlane is available on a freemium model: free but limited functionality or premium with all features. First Friday readers get six months of premium Dashlane free at this link

There are several great password managers out there. Nearly all of them have a free version or a free trial of a premium version so you can try before you buy. 

Struggling with sources? Sick of citations? 

Want to clean up your existing sources and citations, but don't know where to begin? Are you finding great new resources, but aren't sure how to cite them on your tree? 

Try Simplifying Genealogy Sources & Citations, a Sassy Jane Genealogy ebook, for step-by-step help. 

"På denne nyttårsdagen, beste ønsker for nyttår 2021," from these Norwegian gnomes to you. (I hope Google Translate didn't let me down here!)

May the new year bring you health, happiness, wisdom, peace, and the discovery of many new ancestors.

Stay safe! See you on February 5. 
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