Sunday, September 13, 2015

Break Through Family History Writer's Block with Genealogy Writing Intensive Fall 2015

What's stopping you from writing your family history? You've done the genealogy research, but perhaps you are not sure where or how to begin chronicling your discoveries. Maybe you lack confidence in your writing skills or feel intimidated by the process involved in writing a compelling and accurate narrative. You likely have a litany of excuses at the ready: Not enough time, unfinished research, or the proverbial "writer's block" that stops you before your fingers even touch the keyboard.

If you find yourself identifying with any of the above scenarios, then the six-week Write Stuff Genealogy Intensive could be that answer to help you break through those barriers preventing you from sharing the stories of your ancestors, honoring your heritage, or preserving your own memories. Once again I am happy to be partnering with my colleague, Thomas MacEntee, to coach another session of this collaborative, intimidation-free learning experience that begins 5 October 2015 and runs through 9 November 2015

Don't delay--virtual seats are filling up quickly! Here's all the information from

What Is a Genealogy Intensive™?

A Genealogy Intensive™ is a small group of similarly-minded genealogists with the same project goal. The group meets virtually over a six-week period. Once a week, participants meet online using GoToMeeting (similar to GoToWebinar which is popular with genealogy webinar attendees). There are work assignments that are interesting, engaging, and collaborative without being burdensome. In addition there is an online platform to share ideas, encouragement and ask questions at any time of the day or night. The group is closed, private and led by genealogy educators and authors, two of whom you probably already know: Lisa Alzo and Thomas MacEntee. These “coaches” offer encouragement and facilitate online discussions to lend inspiration, solve problems and make that ever-elusive project a reality.
So, bring your obsession. Bring your ideas, no matter how wacky they may seem. Bring your enthusiasm. Get ready for results. We’re talking action and doing. We’re talking feedback and support. Click here to read more about the Genealogy Intensive™ concept.
If you missed out on the Spring 2015 version of The Write Stuff (which sold out quickly) then here is your chance! Read below for more information on this six-week collaborative, results-driven, group coaching environment focusing on writing family history narratives. Like all of our Genealogy Intensive™ offerings, you’ll have access to the recordings, handouts, and the Facebook group during and even after the classes end. At Hack Genealogy there is never an “upcharge” for a collaborative environment and if you act now, you can register for the Early Bird price!
Note: A minimum of eight (8) paid participants are needed in order for a Genealogy Intensive™ to be successful. If the minimum is not met, your tuition will be refunded in full and you’ll be notified of the next Genealogy Intensive™.

Special Offer – Free Registration!

If The Write Stuff Fall 2015 fills up, with 13 registrants, we’ll draw one name and offer them a freebie – a full rebate on the registration fee!


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.
Through on-line instructional sessions, weekly assignments, and collaboration with other participants, you will have access to an instructor with more than 23 years of writing 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.

Key Goals of the Course

  1. Learn writing skills and techniques to produce a quality family history; build on the skills each week.
  2. Focus on getting a working draft.
  3. Receive constructive and helpful feedback.
  4. Overcome fears and anxiety about writing.
  5. Have fun!

Coach Bio – Lisa Alzo

Lisa A. Alzo
Lisa A. Alzo is a freelance writer, instructor, and lecturer with over 20 years’ experience in the field of genealogy. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Pittsburgh, and is the author of nine books, including: Finding Your Slovak AncestorsWriting Your Family History Book, and the award-winning Three Slovak Women. Lisa has written hundreds of articles and her work has appeared in Family Tree MagazineFamily ChronicleInternet Genealogy,APG Quarterly, among others. An internationally recognized speaker, Lisa blogs as “The Accidental Genealogist” blog For more information see


Week 1 – 5-11 October 2015
  • Online Session: Introductions and Goal Setting.
    5 October 2015 via GoToMeeting
    9:00 pm EDT / 8:00 pm CDT 1 Hour, recorded.
    Topic: What do you want to accomplish? What’s important to you and to the group? What does writing success look like to you?
  • Assignment Creating outlines and summaries
  • Facebook Group ActivitiesParticipants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor (2 prompts each week)
Week 2 – 12-18 October 2015
  • Online Session: Review Assignment.
    Monday 12 October 2015 via GoToMeeting
    9:00 pm EDT / 8:00 pm CDT 1 Hour, recorded.
    Topic: Review Assignment.
  • AssignmentStoryboarding
  • Facebook Group Activities Participants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor (2 prompts each week)
Week 3 – 19-25 October 2015
  • Online Session: Review Assignment.
    Monday 19 October 2015 via GoToMeeting
    9:00 pm EDT / 8:00 pm CDT 1 Hour, recorded.
    Topic: Review Assignment.
  • Assignment 500 words about a family treasure or photo.
  • Facebook Group Activities Participants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor (2 prompts each week)
Week 4 – 26 October – 1 November 2015
  • Online Session: Review Assignment.
    Monday 26 October 2015 via GoToMeeting
    9:00 pm EDT / 8:00 pm CDT 1 Hour, recorded.
    Topic: Review Assignment.
  • Assignment Oral history interview or ancestor profile sketch.
  • Facebook Group ActivitiesParticipants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor (2 prompts each week)
Week 5 – 2-8 November 2015
  • Online Session: Review Assignment.
    Monday 2 November 2015 via GoToMeeting
    9:00 pm EST / 8:00 pm CST 1 Hour, recorded.
    Topic: Review Assignment.
  • Assignment Putting it all together – 1200 word narrative
  • Facebook Group ActivitiesParticipants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor (2 prompts each week)
Week 6 – 9 November 2015
  • Online Session: Wrap-up
    9 November 2015 via GoToMeeting
    9:00 pm EST / 8:00 pm CST 1 Hour, recorded.
    Topic: Conclusion and what we’ve learned.
  • Facebook GroupThank you, good-byes, next steps


The cost to attend a The Write Stuff Genealogy Intensive™ over a six week period is $129 per person. A special discounted price of $99 will be available during the early registration period.
Before you register and make payment, please read the Genealogy Intensive™ Terms and Conditions as well as the Participant Policies.
If you’re ready to be a part of The Write Stuff, Fall 2015 (5 October – 9 November 2015), then click here to register and pay via PayPal*
* You do not need a PayPal account to make payment; you can use a credit card via PayPal.

Money-Back Guarantee

We get it. You’re taking a chance with us on a new, radical format for online genealogy education. If you are willing to do the work and commit to the format of a Genealogy Intensive™, we’re certain you’ll be happy. More than happy. More importantly, you’ll finally get that project done!
If at any time you are not satisfied with the content or format of the Genealogy Intensive™, we’ll gladly refund your money.

[Disclosure: I have been hired as a freelance instructor  for this intensive by HackGenealogy, and I will receive an instructor's fee for leading this intensive.]

Blog ©2015, copyright Lisa A. Alzo. All rights reserved
Genealogy Intensive Information: ©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Book Review: The 15 Habits of Highly Frugal Genealogists - Free This Weekend

This weekend I will be learning how to be a more frugal genealogist and you can too.  There is a new book called The 15 Habits of Highly Frugal Genealogists published by my friend and colleague, Thomas MacEntee. The book is available to download for free from Amazon (Kindle format) starting Friday 4 September 2015 through Sunday 6 September 2015.
Genealogy is one of the most popular hobbies. It can also be an expensive hobby. Thankfully, Genealogy Ninja, Thomas MacEntee, has published The 15 Habits of Highly Frugal Genealogists to help genealogists save money while tracing their roots. As a long-time genealogist, I know what it costs to feed my habit, and being on a budget I appreciate being able to save money any way I can. 

Thomas MacEntee has his pulse on the genealogy industry and has been able to pull together a nice little book full of money-saving advice, tips, and coupons from a variety of genealogy vendors, including dozens of exclusive discount offers from some of the biggest companies in the industry such as, MyHeritage, ShopFamilyTree, and more. I downloaded a free copy of the book and have digitally highlighted many of the offers and can't wait to start saving.  

The book title is misleading, but on purpose and in a good way.  There are more than 30 ways to save money.  How can you beat that? 

Don't have an Amazon Kindle?  No worries. You don't need a Kindle to read this free book. Remember, you can use the FREE Kindle App available at to read free Kindle books on your computer or any mobile device.

One of my personal goals this weekend is to begin preparing my large collection of family photographs and documents for storage in a more effective and safer environment, so I really appreciate there are coupons for discounts for archival supplies, digital services, and genealogy software. But perhaps one of my favorite tips from the The 15 Habits of Highly Frugal Genealogists is how to get credit by reselling books and old technology. I have been meaning to pare down in these areas and instead of just tossing things out, or taking them to the recycling center, I can now earn some credit and hopefully get these items to someone who could use them. 

This book arrived at just the right time and I can't wait to implement some of the strategies that I didn't know about. Don't delay.  There's still time to get your free copy now! But even if you miss out on the free download, this book is worth so much more than its bargain list price of $2.99. Many of the tips can even be applied to areas other than genealogy. 

But if you have an interest exploring your family history, The 15 Habits of Highly Frugal Genealogists is a must-have for your digital bookshelf.


Thursday, September 03, 2015

Jumpstart Your Polish Genealogy Research with New Legacy QuickGuide by Jonathan D. Shea

Are you perplexed by the search for your Polish ancestors? Whether you are new to Polish genealogy or have hit an impasse in your research,there is a brand new Legacy QuickGuide to help: Poland Genealogy by Professor Jonathan D. Shea, A.G.. 

Here is the product description:

Polish Genealogy by Jonathan D. Shea - $2.95

Once one of Europe's largest and more prosperous nations, Poland was eliminated from the map of Europe for the entire 19th century as its territory was occupied by the empires of Prussia, Russia and Austria. However, the language, customs and traditions of the people endured and flourished, both in the homeland and in communities founded by Polish immigrants the world over. Genealogical research can be challenging, but once records are located, efforts to document a family history can be productive due to many detailed documents in the nation's archives.

The Polish Genealogy Legacy QuickGuide™ contains valuable information so you can understand how to research your Polish family history. This handy 6-page PDF guide can be used on your computer or mobile device for anytime access.

Shea, is a professor of foreign languages in the Connecticut Higher Education System and is a trained archivist and professional genealogist with specialization in Eastern Europe and IrelandThe founding President of the Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast, Inc., he now serves as its Reference Archivist and as the long-time editor of its journal, Pathways & Passages. He is the author of numerous books including Going Home: A Guide to Polish American Family History Research, and the popular In Their Words: A Genealogist's Translation Guide to Polish, German, Latin, and Russian  Documents volumes with William "Fred" Hoffman.

In the interest of full disclosure, Shea is a long-time friend and colleague of mine and I highly encouraged him to write this guide because I knew that so many genealogists could benefit from his extensive knowledge and expertise he generously shares through the useful tips and strategies included in this publication.*

Don't have Polish roots?  Don't despair!  You can now choose from 87 Legacy QuickGuides!

* [Disclosure: I am a member of the Legacy Family Tree Affiliate Program. What does this mean? If you click on the link and make a purchase I receive a small sales commission].