Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Saving Trove lists

Do you have a variety of Trove lists made as you research your family history? 

It is likely that you compiled these over time as new resources became available through Trove. Any newly found item added to a Trove list is always added at the end, so over time, the lists become unwieldy. There is a filter by date option, but what if you have forgotten the year in which that article appeared or you would prefer to have more control over the data in the list?

Here's a handy guide for saving and adding lists to your computer so that you can manipulate the data in a spreadsheet.

Log in to Trove and select the list to download. Decide whether to filter by date or type. Here I have chosen the whole list as it has only 51 items.

Open in Excel or equivalent spreadsheet. There are several columns that can be deleted before you begin to sort the data. The only columns to retain are:
  1. itemSequence - that is what number it is in the list
  2. itemNote - any notes made about why the item was added to the list
  3. itemThumbnailImage - more about this column later
  4. workTitle - the title of that section of the page
  5. workDate - this one will be split for sorting
  6. workPage - page number
  7. workFormat - whether it is a Family Notice, article etc

The next step

Insert three columns to the right of workDate.
Choose the Data tab, highlight the workDate column then Text to Columns

Follow the wizard, choose Delimited

choose delimited

On the next screen choose space.

choose space

This displays how the data will be distributed in the blank columns you previously added. On the final wizard screen, leave the choice as General then words will remain as text and numerals will be formatted as number data.

Change the column headers to match the newly created columns. Day, Date, Month Year.
Save, then highlight the whole spreadsheet. From the Data tab choose Sort.

Add the Month column next and choose Custom list to see the built-in Custom lists.

Add another level for Date so the final sort screen shows as below.

The data now displays in date order as it was published.

One final step to make this spreadsheet useful. 
The links in the column titled itemThumbnailImage only display a thumbnail of the page. 
  1. Highlight the column
  2. CTRL-F to Find -t then leave the Replace field blank. 
This will remove the thumbnail so that the link will redirect to the full page where the article is located.

Now one has a useable timeline of all the articles saved for that family complete with the notes made about the article at the time.

Have you downloaded any of your Trove lists since the upgrade last June?

This post first appeared on

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Simplify your view

Genealogy life in Covid19 times

Your travel plans have been curbed, the restaurants, museums and art galleries are closed during the lockdown. It is National Family History Month so what better time could there be to review and upgrade the tools you use for family history?

Simple Software enhancements

Do you ever lose track of where that cursor (cursed thing) is? Do you sometimes give presentations to other family historians? Do yourself and other viewers a favour by making your mouse cursor visible.

In the search bar type Mouse pointer > Select from this display

If you do not have Search turned on head to Settings and type in mouse.

Simply drag the bar to enlarge your pointer, this also enlarges the cursor.
If presenting to an audience consider changing to a larger size so that viewers can easily see the pointer.Use the color wheel on the right to choose a colour to contrast with your slides or presentation.

If you do not have the search bar turned on in your bottom toolbar, right click on the up arrow on the far right hand side and select Search then choose either the icon or the search box.


Have you saved some hard-earned money by staying at home? Perhaps a treat for your eyes may help with your family history.

Yes, a second screen for your family history.

Are you working on digitizing your photos and would benefit by viewing them on a larger screen?

Perhaps you have some faded shipping lists or documents that are hard to read.

For far too long I worked only on a laptop or iPad screen. Imagine my delight at having acquired a larger monitor for editing those photos and viewing those faded documents. 

Ways to use a second monitor for family history tasks

  • Comparing data on two browser tabs, simply drag one tab to the second screen to view them side by side.
  • Family history software open on one screen, data source e.g. Ancestry, MyHeritage or any other program open on the second monitor,
  • Data in the family history program open on one screen and a spreadsheet open for filtering and sorting on the second monitor.
  • Copy from one screen and paste to the other.
  • Watch webinars and see the detail in a presenter's slides on a larger screen, while taking notes on your smaller screen.
  • File naming protocol document always open on one screen while saving files on the other
  • Photo digitizing on one screen and spreadsheet for recording them on the other.
My 21" monitor is certainly not a high-end, high-priced product, but more than satisfactory for my needs. If you have saved on expenses during the lockdown, you may like to consider doing your family history a favour with a second monitor.

After plugging the second monitor in either by HDMI or VGA cable do visit Settings to extend the display. 

For those who already have a second monitor, what other genealogy-related tasks are easier with two screens?

This post first appeared on

Sunday, 15 August 2021

Three simple ways to make Family Photo collages

made in Canva

It's August 2021 and many in Australia are in lockdown to prevent the spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus. It is also National Family History Month here, an excellent time to work on some of those unfinished projects.

Shauna Hicks on Diary of an Australian Genealogist mentioned a photo collage she recently made and this sparked the idea for this blog post, an activity to undertake during NFHM. 

Whether you have endless family photos or just a few, a collage is a quick visual method to generate some extra family interest. Here are three simple methods to assemble a collage whether they be all photos, a combination of photos and document images, or photos of heirlooms. Many of the mobile photo collage apps add a watermark or branding unless you pay or subscribe. These are 3 free options.


There are several online options on sites such as BeFunky and PicMonkey but Canva with an excellent range of free Photo Collage templates tops the list of those available.

From the Canva home page select More > Photo collage. or simply search for photo collage. I prefer to choose from the more menu so that the free ones in each category appear as shown below.

Canva photo collage

Select a Free template then use the Uploads button on the left to upload your photos. Each uploaded photo can then just be dropped onto the template where it will replace the existing photo. Edit any text or click on any photo to adjust or remove it.

These collages are set at 25 x 20 cm. If you wish to make a larger or smaller size, choose Custom Size from the home page and add the desired dimensions. 

Add and resize the photos until the desired effect is achieved. Add some text and decorative elements by choosing these features from the left side panel.

Download choices include png, jpg or pdf print for a high-quality document.


If you have PowerPoint already on your computer it is simple enough to assemble a photo collage. If not, use the free online version.
In a new blank document choose the Design tab>Slide size

Slide size ppt

On a blank slide, insert photos, and crop to shape to add some interest.
Add appropriate icons and text boxes.
Format the background with another image, colour or pattern.
Export as pdf or image - png or jpg

Trip to central Australia - A4 collage created in PowerPoint

Google Drive

There are two options within Google Drive to use.
Slides is the Google alternative to PowerPoint.
Choose Slides>New
From the File menu scroll down to choose Page Setup
Set your desired dimensions and proceed as above.
Individual pages can be downloaded as either jpg or png.

The other alternative in Google Drive is to use Drawings with a blank canvas. In a similar manner use Page Setup to determine the size of your finished collage. Add pictures, shapes text boxes and more. Similar download options are provided or the completed canvas can be published to the web and then easily embedded in a website or blog.

Here's a collage of four generations of family weddings.

Compiled in Google Drawings

Why not compile some family photo collages this family history month?

This post first appeared on

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