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Tune in for the best information, innovation & inspiration to help you grow your family tree!

Jul 22, 2012

Published July 22, 2012

In this episode author Gena Philibert Ortega and I talk about her new book From the Family Kitchen: Discover your Food Heritage and Preserve Favorite Recipes. Who doesn’t love yummy home cooking? There is a lot to be learned about our ancestors, and in particular those elusive female ancestors, through a study of our culinary history. 

We’ll be talking about the invaluable genealogical records that are so often over looked, ways that you can really dig in to your fabulous food family history, and I’m even going to share a recipe and utensil that our grandmother’s use and that you can still use today to make super scrumptious treats for your family. (Video coming to the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel!)



Speaking of grandmas, I finally found my awesome grandma in California in the 1940 census and it was a snap because the California index along with several other states on July 13, 2012 by Ancestry.  Grandma and Grandpa were just 3 months away from moving in to their first real home which they were in the process of having built, and from the birth of their first child, my mom. 

FamilySearch continues to add records to the free website. They just announced that they have added the 1881 and 1891 Scotland Census Indexes and Millions More records for Brazil, China, Ecuador, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Other Countries.


Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems website:
We’ve got an entirely new website for you, and thanks again to all of you who have been writing in. I know we’ve had some hiccups along the way getting the Premium feed switched over, but that’s up and running now, and let me remind you, Premium Members are now getting all 88 Premium Episodes published to date.

In the past you would get the most recent 6 episodes and then a new one each month. But now, you have a wealth of episodes available to you.  I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be able to make all of the content available to you Premium Members, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but the old site just couldn’t handle it.

Premium Membership is now a HUGE value – same price, at least for now - $29.95 gets you one whole year’s access to all of those episodes.

Donna wrote:
“My question is how do I access the early premium episodes, I always listen to Genealogy Gems / Premium via iTunes?”

Lisa’s Answer: Sign in to your premium membership. From the menu go to Premium Episodes and there you will find instructions for updating your premium podcast feed.  It’s important to delete your current premium feed in iTunes first and add the new feed. The need feed will download all the episodes for you and then bring you the new ones as they are published.


Mike wrote in to say: “The new website looks great.  Having recently redesigned one at work, I know how much time it can take.  I particularly appreciate the back catalog of premium podcasts and have started listening to them.  And I hope that your video on hard drive organization will finally motivate me to get electronically organized. Keep up the good work!”

Lisa’s Answer: Thank you very much Mike I really appreciate it!

I am really tickled that the new site was Randy Seaver’s Tuesday Tips on July 10, 2012 on his wonderful Genea-Musings blog which you will find at

Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems website his Tuesday's Tip - Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems Website

Thank you Randy!


Life After iGoogle Follow up
In Genealogy Gems podcast episode #136 I gave you a neat solution to the demise of iGoogle. As you know Google has announced it will be discontinuing iGoogle which is the way you can customize the Google homepage just for you, and here on the podcast we’ve talked many times about how to customize it specifically for genealogy research. Now while it won’t go away until later in 2013, there’s no time like the present to make a switch and is a great alternative. So in our last episode I walked you through a special process for converting your tabs and your RSS feed gadgets to a new free Netvibes account to get you started in the transition.  And I also published a video at the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel to show it to you step by step.

I’ve heard from many of you that you love the Netvibes solution:

Nanby said: “Thanks for saving our iGoogle pages. I am going to work on your solution.”

Lee wrote: “Looking forward to your help in converting from iGoogle, and LOVE that all the Premium podcasts are available.  Thank you thank you!”

Kim commented on the Genealogy Gems blog:   

“I glanced at NetVibes this weekend, but knew you would be addressing the issue!  I loved your comment, ".....this will be fun"!  You actually make it so easy for us to follow along and yes, even make it 'fun' :) Appreciate the tutorial and I'll be watching for more.”

I you've been trying to get your genealogy vibe on by converting from iGoogle to Netvibes but you’re having trouble (and I've heard from a couple of you) rest assured, it does work. However there are a few things I want to remind you about.

First, this only converts your iGoogle tabs and your RSS gadgets such as gadgets you have for following blogs and podcasts. It can’t convert gadgets that were made specifically for iGoogle because they are coded for iGoogle.  However, don’t worry because there are lots of great Netvibe gadgets that can do many of the same things.


Also, in this conversion, it is MANDATORY that you follow the directions exactly!  It won't work otherwise. So for example, while it might seem like it should be easier to just drag your mouse over the code to highlight it for copying rather than right-clicking and using SELECT ALL which I tell you to do in the instructions, don’t do it, because I found that it absolutely can make a difference.  I don’t know what that is, I’m not a programmer, I just play one on TV, so that’s why I really tried to carefully write out the instructions in the show notes, and demonstrate them in the video.

I know that it may seem like you are doing too many extra steps by copying and creating an .XML document just to turn around and convert it and then copy it as a .TXT document, but every single step as I described it is critical to the conversion working properly. So if you’re having trouble, I would recommend printing out the instructions from the show notes page, and doing each step and checking it off to be sure you don’t miss anything.

But please, if it gets frustrating, just know that you do not have to convert iGoogle.  I don’t want you to get bogged down with the conversion and pull your hair out. Simply start a new Netvibes dashboard and add the feed manually by using copy and paste.  It will take a little longer to make the transition, but it’s not that bad and it will save you from further headache.

And stay tuned because I'll be doing additional videos showing you how to start a Netvibes page from scratch and then how to really jazz it up which is going to be really fun!

Now I just want to answer a couple of specific listener questions in case it will help the rest of you.


Don wrote in to say that sometimes the Command bar wasn’t visible in Internet Explorer, and he’s absolutely right. Some folks will not have their Command bar activated so that might cause some confusion when you try to follow the conversion instructions.

How to Activate Your IE Command Bar

1.      Right click on a bit of blank space in the browser bar area at the top

2.      a little popup menu will appear

3.      from there you can check mark Command

4.      the bar and the Page menu will become visible

Leroy wrote: “I watched you podcast on Netvibes. Nice solution to the loss of iGoogle. Want to know if Netvibes runs on both Mac OS and Windows platforms? Thanks in advance for the assistance.”

Lisa’s Answer: Like iGoogle, Netvibes is on the "cloud" and resides on the Netvibes website.  This means it can be accessed by any computer, regardless of operating system. It also means you can access your homepage from any computer no matter where you are with your user name and password which makes it very flexible and portable.

Julie from AZ wrote to say “Been trying to sign up for a basic account, and can't get pass the sign-up page.  Every user name imaginable seems to already be in us.  Just keep getting the same message.  Any suggestions?”

Lisa’s Answer: Netvibes has been around about as long as Google which is quite a while in technological terms, and I notice the same thing with Google when it comes to user names being used up. What I would recommend is to just get a little more unusual with the name you choose. 


One idea that works also for passwords is to create a user name that stands for a sentence:


I Am Migrating To Netvibes From iGoogle  =   IAMTNFI (the first letter of each word)


Kay writes: “I listened to the most recent Episode 136 and was so excited! First of all, it's terrific news about the Premium service and the access to all the podcasts.  This has always been very frustrating to me - I listen while I walk and then most of the time I would forget to save the podcasts on my hard drive before they were gone forever.


So glad to hear there is a solution to iGoogle.  BUT the transfer isn't working.  When I attempt to convert the source file from my iGoogle page to the OPML format, I get one of two results.  Either nothing because the file is "too big" or I get an OPML file that's only about 8 lines long - this is a file that will not import into NetVibes dashboard.   I just get "0 files imported".


Lisa’s Answer: I heard from a couple of you that you also got an error message like Kay did saying your iGoogle code was too big to convert, and you told me you have pretty big iGoogle pages. I have a pretty large iGoogle page with 12 tabs full of gadgets and I just went through the instructions again and it converted.  I don’t know why that happens, and I can’t seem to replicate the problem, so the best thing I can suggest is that you make a list of the iGoogle gadgets that you have – the ones that are not RSS feed gadgets – and then delete them before going through the conversion process. That should make the overall file smaller.  And then you will have a list of the kinds of gadgets you were using in iGoogle so that you can look for replacements in NetVibes.


And the "zero files" result is the same one I got when I was just highlighting and copying, or when I didn't save the code into an XML file first and then re-open it and copy it into the conversion box. I'm guessing with your know-how you might be doing some short cuts that just don't work in this case.


UPDATE: Genealogy Gems Toolbar has been discontinued


Reset your homepage – Janice is talking about the page that the little house button on your browser is set to.


How to Change Your Homepage in Firefox back to Google:

1.      Go up to the menu (Make sure your Menu bar is on and visible) and clicking TOOLS

2.      Select OPTIONS

3.      Select the GENERAL tab in the pop up window

4.      Paste in the "Home Page" field

5.      Click OK

6.      That will reset your Home button on the Firefox browser back to Google.


Internet Explore: just click the little arrow next to the button and follow the menu prompts to reset it to


John asked about another feature. “I recently reinstalled your toolbar on my IE9 browser.  I've found this to be a very useful tool.  However, I noticed a few things changed soon after adding the toolbar.  When I add a new tab in my browser it defaults to what I believe to be a Bing search page with your logo on it.  I miss my old New Tab page where I could click on several of my most used sites.  I'm not even sure what the default was prior to adding the toolbar.”

Lisa’s Answer: When you install the toolbar it will set the page you get when you click to open a new browser tab page, to a search page which shows a search box and a Genealogy Gems logo. If you don’t want a search page on new tabs, you can change it back to the default page that shows your most recent pages as options to click when you open a new tab.


How to Reset New Browser Tabs:

1.      Click the wrench icon in the toolbar menu


3.      Uncheck the box for "show a search box" for new tabs


Thanks to all of your who have installed the free Genealogy Gems Toolbar. I really want you to enjoy it and hope these customizations help you do so!

GEM: Interview with Gena Philibert Ortega

When you click this link to buy Gena’s book you are helping to financially support the free Genealogy Gems Podcast at no additional cost to you, and you'll save money.Thank you!  Get Gena's book here.  

Watch the Companion Interview Video at the Genealogy Gems YouTube Channel

Please be sure to click the SUBSCRIBE button while you are there!


BONUS VIDEO:  Gena and I hit the kitchen to make a blast from the past.  Watch the video at the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel.  Be sure and leave a comment, "Like" the video, and pass it along to your friends!

Genealogy Gems App users will find the video in the BONUS CONTENT for this episode.

Cool Cooking iPad Apps (click images below:)

Betty Crocker app    Food Network app