News & Reviews

The Confederacy and the Monuments — What We Need to Do As Genealogists

This post is one that I have been musing on for over two weeks, and I was not even sure that it was going to be written with all the seemingly conflicting points of view surrounding the issue….and because I did not know if I was the right person to do so.

But, I finally convinced myself that these words needed to be written because it is something that we as genealogists HAVE to address. Just like the issues of enslaved persons, transgender individuals, and same-sex marriage need to be spoken about in our community.

Statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville
Statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville

The events of that tragic weekend were pushed into place by “alt-right” organizers to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate icon Robert E. Lee located in Charlottesville, Virginia. A great mass of neo-nazis and white nationalists descended on the town on Friday night with tiki torches in order to intimidate those who didn’t agree with their stance and show their support of keeping the statue where they thought it belonged. The very next day, Heather Heyer was mowed down by a domestic terrorist hell-bent on keeping things “the way they were.”

Heather Heyer
Heather Heyer

As a genealogist and a lover of history, this incident, and the protests leading up to and following it grabbed my attention hard. In my quest to find individuals scattered across history, grave markers, historical signs and monuments have often been crucial to my work, without them, many of the people I have found would be lost to the sands of time.

To most people, this has come as some sort of conundrum or riddle. But it shouldn’t, the actions we should take are crystal clear. These monuments that celebrate treason, tyranny, and genocide, should be taken down, just like we did with statues of King George during the US revolution.

Pulling Down the Statue of George III, by John C. McRae
Pulling Down the Statue of George III, by John C. McRae

This does not for one minute mean we are going to forget or erase history. In fact, we can remember this history in a much more appropriate way than celebrating individuals who fought for slavery. Have you ever been to a museum? Take for instance the United States Holocaust Museum, The National Museum of African American History & Culture or The National Museum of American History.

Each one of these museums holds and showcases items from our countries history that no longer has an acceptable place in our growing progressive society, but are in places that we can understand the history through context and education.

Indiana Jones

To clarify, we aren’t moving interred remains and we aren’t going to forget their actions (and atrocities).

What we are going to do is move those conversations and places of remembrance into a more productive and proper place for all of our citizens, a place where people can still view the monuments and placards, but in a place where it is clear, we do not honor their actions.

You can find The Hipster Historian on Facebook & on Instagram. #onfleekfamilyhistory




News & Reviews

The Big DNA Upset — Ancestry’s Change

Earlier this week broke the genealogy world by introducing a new policy surrounding their DNA tests. This news has caused many a person to express their views concerning the subject, and as any good genealogist would do, I’m jumping into the fray to separate fact from fiction.

Picture of DNA test

According to the new policy released by Ancestry on the 13th of July, :

“Every adult who takes a DNA test is the Owner of that test. The Owner is in the driver’s seat and can assign people to specific roles. The Owner can choose to allow a family member or a trusted friend to manage the test results and direct messages, be a collaborator or just the view the results. If you manage your own test, you will see your role on the test change from Manager to Owner within the next several days. Learn more about the roles an Owner may assign below.”

But what does this really mean for genealogist — professional, amateur and otherwise? And for the future of DNA tests.

This means that each user on Ancestry’s website can have ONE DNA test attached to their specific account.

This DOES NOT mean you won’t be able to access other accounts DNA tests. The user of that account can invite you to view their DNA test through easy instructions that you can find on Ancestry’s website, and Ancestry even gives you this handy chart on how to see the different roles that a user can have pertaining the DNA tests.

Dna Roles
Picture by

So what do we do?

First. Let’s calm out collective genealogical butts and see what this policy really means. You will still have access to all of your DNA tests. That isn’t going to change.

Second. This will give the access back to the owner of the test, which is where it should have been in the first place. If this is an issue for you, I would ask yourself….why? Is it

Is it the age of the user? Create a new ancestry account for them. That way they can access it, as well as their family members in the future. They can also give you access to the test. This doesn’t ban us from accessing the tests, it just gives the ownership back to the owner of the DNA.

Third. Embrace Change. Seriously, if you can’t flow with the changes, then what are you doing in this field? We may think that genealogy is a static and none moving field, but in reality, people die every day and we are continuing to change, add more and build our family trees. Technology changes and we can learn to embrace this.

Those are the facts and those are the opinions. Sound off in the comments below on how you feel about this change.

You can find The Hipster Historian on Facebook & on Instagram. #onfleekfamilyhistory




News & Reviews

The Big Switch – No More Microfilms

The news from the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City, Utah seemed to come out of nowhere, but after years of research and study, the FHL will no longer be sending microfilm or microfiche to its various family history centers across the United States.


This has caused quite a bit of an uproar in the genealogical community with people on both sides becoming upset over what it could possibly mean for researchers. What does this mean for us as genealogists?


  • Financial
    • This switch will save money for both the FHL (in postage) and for those who are renting the microfilm and microfiche. These savings for the researchers can now be put into funds for purchasing other vital records.
  • Accessibility
    • This change indicates a step forward in the genealogical community as a whole. No longer are records going to be available to only a select few or those that have access to microfilm/microfiche, but they are working to make all of these records digitally accessible by 2020.
    • Online access to digital images of records allows FamilySearch to reach many more people, faster and more efficiently.
  • Community Conversation

    • As when any big change happens within our community, we get a chance to sit together and talk about what this means for us and what we do and how we can move forward to make the transition for everyone — from amateur to professional to expert — easier.


  • Accessibility
    • Out of all the comments, blog posts and explanations I’ve seen, accessibility to specific records has been the biggest hurdle to this conversation. Many genealogists and researchers rely on microfilm/microfiche to access specific records that may not be available online.
    • Financial

      • Financially is both in pros and cons as this will also cause many genealogists and researchers to spend more money on obtaining vital records that they cannot simply get from the rented microfilm/fiche any longer.

What are your thoughts on the change in microfilm and microfiche? As someone who has never really used it unless, at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, this doesn’t affect me very much at all. I’ve been lucky enough to gather most of my vital records and original source material from various online sources.

Sound off below on your opinions concerning this change!

You can find The Hipster Historian on Facebook & on Instagram. #onfleekfamilyhistory


News & Reviews

Passion Projects — An Update on Life Stories Transcription Services

I can hardly believe it, but after months of working my ass off, I’ve put together my first solid business — Life Stories Transcription Services. This idea came about after graduating with my bachelor’s degree from Western this last summer. I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life and retail wasn’t cutting it anymore. Late night musings and a couple of glasses of wine lead me to my current business model.

Life Stories Transcription Services
Logo by Timber Cove Design

Owning a successful business was something I never thought I could do, as I’ve had many failed (albeit passionate) ideas, projects and businesses in the past few years (handcrafted soap, social media consulting, and a couple of other more risque items). It took several times of failing to find a passion and a way to earn money that had attracted the same values. And I finally did it with genealogy + transcription. =)

If Plan A didn't work, the alphabet has 25 more letters! Stay cool.

Early this morning, in the witching hours of 3 a.m. (my natural state), I was finishing up my first client’s transcription and realized how much I loved this work. I love personal histories. Stories of peoples lives are so fascinating to me.  Listening to the voices of men, women, and others talk about their life stories and experiences. How different will we sound to our children and grandchildren?

If you are wanting to preserve your family stories, be sure to hit me up. You can message me here on Facebook. I love working with people and accept alternative payments if we can work it out. =)



Wake Up. Kick Ass. Be Kind. Repeat.

Photo from Project Happiness

Succeeding at this, I’m feeling more empowered and ready to kick some major slacker ass in myself. What are some of your projects that you’ve finally seen to

What are some of your projects that you’ve finally seen to fruition? Share them in the comments below with a link to your small business or service. No MLM’s please and thank you!