Sunday, January 21, 2018

Five Free Scrivener Resources to Help You Share Your Stories

Are you struggling with writing your family history? Looking for a tool that can streamline the process? 

If you haven't yet tried Scrivener--a multifaceted writing and project management tool that you can use to plan, organize, and write your family history--then perhaps 2018 is the year you will want to take it for a test drive. 

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Scrivener, developed by the company Literature and Latte.  I started using Scrivener back in 2011 and first mentioned its usefulness as a writing tool for genealogists in a webinar for Legacy Family Tree Webinars in 2011. I frequently present on how to use Scrivener at genealogy conferences and for webinars.

I have rounded up a list of five FREE Scrivener resources to help you get started so you can share your stories. Three of the resources are products I have created and the remaining two are general resources.

1. Scrivener Software Free Trial.  You can try Scrivener for free for 30 days (and that is 30 days of actual use, not calendar days)And if you decide you like it, and wish to buy the full version, I have a special discount code for you.

Use LisaAlzo at checkout to save 20% off of your purchase of a regular license using the links below:

Scrivener for Mac

Scrivener for Windows

The coupon is NOT valid for Scrivener for iOS (iPhone/iPad). Learn more here.

2. Storyboard Your Family History with Scrivener. Get a basic overview of how to use Scrivener to create a visual outline (storyboard) for all of your writing projects. Click here to access the free presentation and accompanying handout.

3. Scrivener for Genealogists Facebook Group. Interact with fellow genealogists who use Scrivener in a closed Facebook group. In Facebook, search for Scrivener for Genealogists and send a request to join.

4. Scrivener Handouts and Templates. Visit the Free Scrivener Resources page on my website to download the free handout “25 Scrivener Hacks Every Genealogist Should Know“ and the free Ancestor Profile Scrivener template.

5. Free Previews: Scrivener for Genealogists Webinar Series Legacy Family Tree Webinars. If you are a bonus member of Family Tree Webinars ($49.95 per year), you can watch the five full-length webinars I presented on Scrivener.  You can preview a snippet of each one on Legacy, but must be a bonus subscriber to watch the recordings in their entirety.

Other Resources

Scrivener QuickSheets (PDF) - Because I want you to love using Scrivener as much as I do, I am discounting my popular Scrivener for Genealogists QuickSheet (you can choose Mac or Windows) - Save 50% through 24 January 2018.

Click here to purchase the Mac version PDF - use coupon code: scrivmac50

Click here to purchase the Windows version PDF - use coupon code: scrivwin50

The Write Stuff Genealogy Intensive. Put your writing plan into action through my six-week course that you can start and complete whenever it is most convenient for your schedule. In Week 2, participants are encouraged to use Scrivener to create a storyboard for their writing project. For the month of January, I am offering a $40.00 discount off the regular price. Learn more here.  Use coupon code: writenow to get your discount.

With so many free resources available, there are plenty of ways to learn more about Scrivener. I know once I started using it my writing productivity soared!  Now I can't imagine starting any writing project without it!

[Disclosure: Thank you for supporting The Accidental Genealogist by using the affiliate links on this website. While I receive a small commission if you click on a link and make a purchase, this does not increase the cost to you in any way. See my full disclosure page for more information.]

Copyright, 2018, Lisa A. Alzo, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Farewell, 2017: My Year in Review

It's time once again to say farewell to another year. I don't know about you, but I am counting down the hours minutes until it is time to put 2017 in the history books and move on to 2018!  Here is my year in review.


Besides my gigs as a regular contributor to Internet Genealogy, Your Genealogy Today, and Family Tree Magazine, I wrote blog posts for Legacy Family Tree.  In addition, I spent much of 2017 writing a series of courses on Eastern European Genealogy Research for The National Institute for Genealogical Studies (more on this in the coming months). I also worked on a "to be announced" book project for Family Roots Publishing. 


In 2017, I presented more webinars than in previous years to groups in the states (Florida, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and others), Alberta, Canada, and to worldwide audiences via Legacy Family Tree Webinars. My good friend and colleague, Denise Levenick (The Family Curator)  and I also partnered together for a special Fall into Family History Webinar on organizing a writing project and selecting and preparing images for a photo project. (You can purchase the recording of this webinar here).

Online Teaching and Coaching

In addition to the National Institute courses, I continued as an online course moderator for Family Tree University. I also had the opportunity to coach many aspiring family history writers in my own online courses The Write Stuff Genealogy Intensive and The Write Stuff II Genealogy Intensive. These courses are ongoing through the year so you can sign up at any time. 


In 2017, I traveled to present sessions at genealogy conferences in Burbank, Columbus, Toledo, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Springfield (MA), Salt Lake City, and Seattle. The highlight of my year was presenting the keynote address at The Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International Conference in Pittsburgh. At this same conference, CGSI presented me with a Distinguished Achievement Award. The engraved plaque reads: "In recognition of her many outstanding years of teaching, coaching, writing, and researching on Slovak, Rusyn, and Czech genealogy." I was completely surprised and so honored to receive this award from my long-time colleagues and friends at CGSI. 

Ready for 2018
On my desk, I have a stone with the word "Create" imprinted on it. 

I look at this stone every day and it helps me to think of new ideas for writing and other projects I want to work on. So, I have chosen the word "CREATE" as my word for 2018.  I hope to reawaken my muse to write more books and design more products to teach others about genealogy and family history writing.

I will be hitting the road again in 2018 to present at many genealogy events. Watch this blog for more information!  

A special thank you to my readers for your continued support in 2017. All the best for 2018!

Copyright 2017, Lisa A. Alzo, All Rights Reserved

[Disclosure: The above post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission].

2018 Legacy Family Tree Webinars Schedule Announced

Good news on the genealogy education front for 2018!

MyHeritage and recently announced that registration is now open for its 2018 Legacy Family Tree Webinar Series. Choose from 106 classes from genealogy's leading educators on a variety of topics. (Click here to read the full announcement).

I am pleased to also announce that I will once again be a presenter for two live Legacy Family Tree Webinars in 2018:

  • 25 Simple Research Hacks Every Genealogist Should Know
  • 10 Eastern European Genealogy Resources You Might be Missing

I will also be pre-recording more bonus subscriber-only webinars too. My recent recordings include such topics as Creating Family History eBooks, Using Coroner's Records, for Genealogy, Researching Eastern European Archives, Using Immersion Genealogy to Learn about Your Ancestors, and many more!

Click here to learn more.

Sign up (it's FREE!) for one or for all of them today and you will receive a reminder email both one day and two hours prior to the live event.
Webinar Brochure
Print the webinar brochure to share with your friends, genealogy society, or Family History Center. memberships
All live webinars are free and their recordings are free to watch for the first 7 days. With a webinar subscription (click here to sign up) you get these additional benefits:
  • Access to 1) all the existing 637 classes in the library (856 hours of quality genealogy education), 2) plus the 106 webinars that will be added during the 2018 season, 3) plus any additional bonus subscribers-only webinars (171 of these so far) - all available for the duration of your membership
  • Access to all 2,910 pages of instructors' handouts plus the new handouts of the 2018 season
  • Chat logs from the live webinars
  • Additional 5% off anything at
  • Chance for a bonus subscribers-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Additional members-only BONUS webinars
  • Playlist, resume watching, and jump-to features
It's just $49.95/year.
[Disclosure: The above copy contains affiliate links. As a Legacy Family Tree affiliate, I will receive a small commission if you use these links to sign up for a subscription].
I hope you will join me and all of the presenters for a great year in genealogy education!

Copyright 2017, Lisa A. Alzo, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Are You Ready to Write Your Family History in 2018?

Is writing a family history one of your goals for 2018?  Are you ready to compile all those years of research into a compelling narrative? Need a project to complete while waiting for your DNA test results to arrive? The New Year is the perfect time to dive in and share those family stories!

My popular course, The Write Stuff Genealogy Intensive--a six-week writing workshop will show you how!  Click here to register before 31 December 2017 to save over 30% off the regular price: Normally $129.00, now just $89.99 - Use code NYEWRITE at checkout.

What is The Write Stuff Genealogy Intensive?

Are you excited about (or perhaps even a little obsessed with) the idea of getting your family history down in writing? Maybe you have self-doubts and fears about how to get started, what to write, and how to put it all together in a compelling way? If so, then this workshop is for you! During this six-week intensive, you will learn the key steps for producing a quality family history narrative from outline to finished product, ways to use “storyboarding” to plot your project, and how to build your writing skills, as well as your confidence as a writer. In addition, you will receive helpful tips, project management tools, and a productivity toolbox to help keep you on track.

Start Whenever You are Ready

There is no official start or end date for the Write Stuff workshop, so you can work at your own pace and still receive valuable feedback on your writing from your coach!

Through online instructional sessions, weekly assignments, and collaboration with other participants, you will have access to an instructor with more than 27 years’ experience, who will teach you about key nonfiction writing techniques you can use to produce a “can’t put down” family history that will keep the pages turning for generations.

NOTE: While Facebook is not required, participants will reap the most benefits from the collaborative environment by accessing the Facebook Group for The Write Stuff Genealogy Intensive. 

Key Goals of the Course

Learn writing skills and techniques to produce a quality family history; build on the skills each week.
  • Focus on getting a working draft.
  • Work at your own pace.
  • Receive constructive and helpful feedback.
  • Overcome fears and anxiety about writing.
  • Have fun!

For more information and to register, visit and remember to use promo code NYEWRITE at checkout to save 30%! Sale valid through Sunday, December 31st.

[Disclosure: The above is a paid course where I am the coach/instructor and receive an instructor's fee as compensation].

Copyright, 2017 Lisa A. Alzo, All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 09, 2017

It's Almost Time: CGSI Genealogical and Cultural Conference Pittsburgh, PA October 17-21

It's almost time for the 16th CGSI Genealogical and Cultural Conference October 17-21 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  

CGSI Registration booklet. Click here to learn more and register.

Will I See You in Pittsburgh Next Week? 

I have been waiting for this conference for over a year.  I have  the honor of presenting the keynote address on Friday, 20 October 2017 - "They Built This City: Celebrating Pittsburgh’s Industries and Immigrants."  The opening session starts at 8:00 a.m. with the singing of the Czech, Moravian, Slovak and Carpatho-Rusyn National Anthems, and the Star Spangled Banner, followed by the keynote talk.

I will also be presenting three other sessions during the conference:

  • Overcoming Brick Walls in Eastern Europe Research (Thursday, 10/19)
  • Beginning Slovak Genealogy (Friday 10/20)
  • Identifying Pittsburgh’s Slovak Cluster Communities and Their Role in Preserving Slovak Heritage (Saturday, 10/21)

About CGSI

The Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International Conference is the premier event to learn about techniques for genealogical research in the areas now known as the Czech and Slovak Republics.

Presentations throughout the conference will explore the history and culture of the people who lived in the present-day Czech and Slovak Republics.

Ethnic-focused bus tours of the Pittsburgh area, live performances of regional music, and special-interest movies are all a part of the CGSI Conference.

The Czechoslovak Genealogical Society was founded in 1988 in St. Paul, MN. It was incorporated as the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International in 1991. 

CGSI currently has about 2,400 members from across the US, Canada and the Czech and Slovak Republics.

More information including registration form can be found at

Copyright 2017, Lisa A. Alzo.  All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Fall into Family History Webinar - Now Available for Purchase

Did you miss the Fall into Family History Webinar on Saturday, 30 September 2017?  The complete session is now available for purchase in digital format for just $19.95!

Digital Version Now Available

I had such fabulous time teaming up with my friend and colleague, Denise Levenick aka The Family Curator, and we helped an enthusiastic crowd kick off their family history writing and photo projects. Since October is Family History Month, there is no time like the present to share your family photographs and stories.  

Click here to learn more and purchase your copy of the digital version (includes links to watch the videos and PDF handouts).  


Session 1: Organizing Your Family History Writing Project 
with Lisa Alzo, will show you how to:
  • confront and conquer writer’s block
  • use storyboarding to organize your ideas
  • find and use pro writer’s tools for outlines, timelines, mind maps and more
  • generate and discover new ideas to bring your stories to life 

Session 2: Selecting and Preparing Images for Your Family History Project 
with Denise Levenick, will help you know:
  • what to look for when choosing snapshots and digital images
  • minimum requirements for image size and resolution
  • how to organize images for easy access and publication
  • the three photo edits every picture needs
  • how to convert file formats for your project 


[Disclosure: The above post is an advertisement for a paid webinar I am selling]

Copyright 2017, Lisa A. Alzo, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Announcing Fall into Family History Month Webinar: Saturday 30 September 2017!

I'm pleased to announce that registration is open for a special Fall into Family History Webinar on Saturday, 30 September 2017. 

I will be teaming up with my friend and colleague, Denise Levenick aka The Family Curator, and we want to help you kick-off your next family history writing or photo project.

Yes, we know this is short notice, but Denise and I were talking last week about how we could combine our areas of expertise to encourage and inspire genealogists to share their family photographs and stories. Since October is Family History Month, we decided to seize the moment!

The online seminar will take place on Saturday 30, September 2017 starting at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time / 8:00 a.m. Pacific time. Cost is just $19.95. There will be two sessions, which will include Q&A and we will also draw for some fun prizes.

Session 1: Organizing Your Family History Writing Project 
with Lisa Alzo, will show you how to:

  • confront and conquer writer’s block
  • use storyboarding to organize your ideas
  • find and use pro writer’s tools for outlines, timelines, mind maps and more
  • generate and discover new ideas to bring your stories to life 

Session 2: Selecting and Preparing Images for Your Family History Project 
with Denise Levenick, will help you know:

  • what to look for when choosing snapshots and digital images
  • minimum requirements for image size and resolution
  • how to organize images for easy access and publication
  • the three photo edits every picture needs
  • how to convert file formats for your project 

Limited seats available. All paid registrants will receive links to watch the recordings and will receive the handouts, so if you can't attend the live webinars on Saturday, you can still register and watch later on your own schedule.

Registration ends at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, 29, September 2017.  Click here to register or learn more. 

If you are ready to jumpstart a project this October, then register TODAY for the Fall into Family History Month Saturday Seminar.

[Disclosure: The above post is an advertisement for a paid webinar I will be presenting]

Copyright 2017, Lisa A. Alzo, All Rights Reserved

Friday, September 08, 2017

Mark Your Calendars Now! Polish Genealogy Seminar October 13-14, 2017

If you have Polish or Ukrainian roots, then you won't want to miss the Polish Genealogy Seminar hosted by my friends from the Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast in New Britain, Connecticut, Friday and Saturday, October 13-14, 2017 in New Britain, Connecticut. 

I have had the pleasure of participating as a speaker at this conference several times over the years, and I can honestly say it is one of the best run genealogy events around. 

Register now to reserve your space!

Below is the press release from the conference.  


The Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast, Inc. and The S. A. Blejwas Endowed Chair of the Polish and Polish American Studies, Central Connecticut State University cordially invite you to attend the 2017 GENEALOGY CONFERENCE to learn the strategies for tracing your Polish-American and Eastern European roots.

It will be held on Friday, October 13, 2017 and Saturday, October 14, 2017 at the Institute of Technology, Business and Development, Downtown campus of Central Connecticut State University, 185 Main Street, New Britain, CT.

The conference provides an opportunity to learn strategies for tracing your Polish-American and Eastern European roots.  The speakers are well known in Polish genealogy circles and their discussions will enable attendees to fill in the missing pieces of their family history.  Speakers have extensive experience in their respective fields and have been featured at numerous regional, national and international conferences.

Featured speakers will be Matthew Bielawa, (Vice-President, PGSCTNE), Dr. Mieczyslaw B. Biskupski, (Endowed Chair, Polish and Polish-American Studies, CCSU), Michelle Chubenko, (New Jersey), David Ouimette, (Utah), Tadeusz H. Piłat (Tarnobrzeg, Poland), Thomas Sadauskas (Virginia), Jonathan Shea, A.G., President, PGSCTNE).and Julie Szczepankiewicz (Massachusetts).
A two-part seminar will be presented on "Finding the Missing Pieces of Your Polish and Ukrainian Family History." 

Many lectures are scheduled including:  

1.  "Did Pilsudski Raise a Polish Army in America?"
2.  "Jersey Roots: Touring the Garden State"
3.  "Genealogy in Ukraine:  Discover Online Resources,"
4.  "The Story of Polish Immigrant Millworkers,"
5. "Overcoming Spelling Problems and Unlocking the Power of Names"
6.  "Europe's World War II Displaced Persons: Their Little Known Story," and
7.  "The Ins and Outs of Geneteka:  How it Works and How to Use it Most Effectively." 
8.  Tadeusz Pilat will speak on "Greek Catholics in Poland and Family Research" and "MilitaryConscription Lists in the Kingdom of Poland and Genealogical Research." 

For more information, please see the conference website at which includes the conference schedule, speakers' biographies, and lecture summaries.   Information and forms about one-on-one consultation appointments with the speakers (a limited number are available), registration and lecture selections are also available.

Throughout the day, a collection of books, maps and other materials will be available to all attendees for consultation.  Officers of the Society will be present to answer questions.

Click here for more information.

Copyright, PGSCTNE and Lisa A. Alzo, 2017
All rights Reserved