In Memoriam: Sharon Gumerove

Blog Post Banner In Memoriam: Sharon Gumerove

This past year the frequency of blog posts slowed as I processed the loss of my best friend since 8th grade, Sharon Gumerove. You might have seen her name gracing the dedications in my books, acknowledging her unwavering support of my efforts, especially in website and editing services.

Being from different boroughs in New York City, we might not have met had it not been for us attending what could be considered a magnet school, Hunter College High School. Our adventures could easily fill a book. We were part of a team publishing a science fiction fan magazine in high school and college. We drove across the country when I moved to California, long before she had her driver’s license. There were so many great times we spent together. More than that, we were family.

If our adventures could fill a book, Sharon’s acts of kindness to others could fill a library. She was a beacon of generosity, always ready to lend a helping hand. The lives she touched were undoubtedly better for having known her.

Thanks to phone calls and social media we stayed in close contact. Just before her passing, we spent countless late nights discussing uses of new artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Her focus was on content creation for her websites and social media; my focus was about how to use AI in genealogy and to support all types of learning. We bounced ideas off each other, sharing our experiments and what we had learned. The feeling of loss echoes every time I contemplate reaching out to share a moment or inquire about her life.

Sharon had an array of plans for the future; her death was truly unanticipated. I found myself drawing on the genealogical search and contact skills I had amassed to reach out to those close enough to attend her funeral and the users of her web hosting service. She had hosted my website, and the transition, though challenging, became manageable with the skills she had imparted. She had taught me enough to manage my website; I only needed to learn about web hosting.

As we step into 2024 with hopes and plans, there’s an undeniable sadness: a realization that we are closing the book on the last year Sharon was with us. May her memory be a blessing, a testament to the profound impact she had on all our lives.

Archaeology and Genealogy

Archaeology and Genealogy

This past semester I took an introductory class in archaeology. Archaeology is part of anthropology, so the class involved more than digging. I learned that archaeology was one of the four branches of anthropology, with the other three being: Physical (Biological) Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology and Linguistic Anthropology.

Archaeology and genealogy share some similarities. Like genealogy, archaeology looks at peoples and their cultures through the physical things that they leave behind. Historical archaeology is most like genealogy because it covers the time of recorded history.

Archaeology borrows three principles from geology: the Archaeologists use principles from geology to determine time frames of artifacts: the Principle of Superposition, the Principle of Association, and the Principle of Strata Identified by Fossils/Artifacts.

The Principal of Superposition is where the oldest artifacts are at the bottom. Just as genealogists begin with themselves and work backwards to older ancestors, an archaeologist digs through layers, from newest to oldest and the story is the sum of those layers

The Principle of Association means the materials that are close together are of similar age. This reminds me of the collateral relatives that genealogists research to find answers, and cluster research.

Principle of Stratification lets archaeologists estimate the age of artifacts by the layers in which they are found. Genealogists dig through the layers of each generation to find their ancestors and families.

Digging a site is a destructive process, where genealogy is constructive. Genealogical work is similar to archaeology in the way that it uncovers the artifacts that are combined with their context to build the story of how people lived and moved through their space. Unlike genealogy, digging a site is destructive. Once a site has been excavated, it is destroyed. (It may be possible to virtually reconstruct a site through the use of technology.) Similar to genealogy, when little is known about an ancient culture, archaeologists begin with what is known about the present and work backwards.

Context is incredibly important in archaeology. Having an artifact without understanding where it was found and what was around it robs it of most of its value. The context of our ancestors’ lives is what gives our work its value. Understanding their lives and times, the challenges they faces is the richness on genealogy.

Next semester on to Physical Anthropology which promises to discuss inheritance and DNA testing.

Be a family history archaeologist and uncover the stories of your ancestors!

Happy Holidays 2021!

Merry Christmas WWI

Hello Everyone,

We hope this blog post finds you well and celebrating a happy and healthy holiday season.

This year brought Zoom classes, a class accepted by RootsTech Connect 2022, graduation from the amazing ProGen Study Group program, an archaeology class, more WWI research and a new book coming out soon.

So, stay tuned for more Zoom classes, books and more from us.

Here’s to what 2022 brings!

May all your weeks be filled with genealogy.

Genealogy at the Movies

There are many movies about families, and while they naturally put us in mind of genealogy, there are some movies where genealogists, or genealogy plays a major role.

Recently, I watched “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. In that movie, James Bond posed as a genealogist to infiltrate the lair of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the head of SPECTRE. Blofield had been communicating with a London College of Arms’ genealogist Sir Hilary Bray in an attempt to establish his claim to the title of ‘Comte Balthazar de Bleuchamp’. James Bond poses as a knowledgeable and irresistible genealogist, with beautiful ladies more interested in seeing his genealogy book that we usually experience. Although there are many camps about who is the best Bond, this one starred George Lazenby as Bond.

“Murder on The Orient Express” always makes me think of genealogy. The connections between the passengers definitely needed a family tree as well as a chart of the Friends, Associates and Neighbors (FAN) Club. The connections to the child and the family were intertwined to the plot. Even people who connected to the family after the event became entwined with the plot.
The Star Wars movies are the ultimate genealogical movies. They encompass a truly large FAN Club, of a multitude of beings. For those family members who do not yet know they are interested in genealogy, teach them about family trees by sketching out Luke and Leia’s genealogy. Perhaps they will want to know how their own genealogy compares.

“Who Do You Think You Are?” is back

Season 9 of “Who Do You Think You Are?” is here! The episodes are airing Monday night on TLC.

Last Monday had two strong episodes with Jon Cryer and Laverne Cox. Discussions with genealogists and interpretation of DNA results were a part of both episodes.

If you would like to stop by and comment during (or after) the episode you can stop by our Facebook page: A Week of Genealogy Facebook Page

Full episodes from this season and Season 8 can be viewed online at:
Scroll down to find the links to the other episodes.


Family Trees: Syncing, GEDCOM and Backups

Electronic family trees are a terrific way to capture what you learn about your ancestors. They can help you organize and share what you have found. Once organized, you can analyze what you know and what you need to find.

At a recent class, there were a lot of great questions about family trees. Thinking about family trees, a blog post might help to sort out some of those answers.

While there is a lot to consider about putting a tree online or keeping a family tree on your own computer, there are definitely reasons to do both!


Should I backup my online tree?
There is an expectation that an online tree will be backed up by the hosting website. But what if that website gets sold to another company? or undergoes a cyber attack and has a loss of data? or decides that it no longer wants to host family trees?

It is always a good idea to backup your online tree. If you have it on your personal computer, you can still use the tree during a time when you are not connected to the Internet. You also have access to your tree if one of the situations in the above paragraph occurs.

Syncing (synchronizing) the trees online and on a home computer can be thought of backing up the tree.


You can certainly download a tree from or , and the format will

GEDCOM is an acronym for Genealogical Data Communications (but I have seen it referred to as Genealogical Electronic Data Communications).

Think of this as the most basic, stripped down form of your tree. It includes data about the individuals including sources, and linkages between individuals. In fact, it is a text file that follows the rules of a format that all family tree programs understand. The extension for this type of files is .ged

Imagine you wanted to transfer text from one fancy word processing program to another, but they don’t open each others file format. So, you might decide to save your document as a plain text file, that can be opened by another word processor. Of course, that simple text file would not have all the images you inserted and detailed formating that you might have done in your original.


To synchronize, or sync, means to make your online tree and the one on your computer match.

This comes in handy when you are attaching people, facts and documents to an online tree. That way you can get those additional people, facts and documents into the tree on your computer.

If you have the same tree online and on your computer, you can consider that a backup.

But, some people like me use the online tree to collect data, while the one on my computer has a lot more information, especially about living people. Just be aware whether or not the family tree program on your computer allows you to choose to upload or download your tree from the Internet.


Downloading GEDCOMs
For many of your online trees, you have the ability to download a GEDCOM that contains all the people and facts from the tree. Remember, GEDCOMs do not have all the media attached, so you will not get the pictures and documents downloaded.
Note: When there is one tree for everyone on the website, a GEDCOM cannot be downloaded. and Family Tree -> View all trees next to each of your trees are three buttons: Settings, Export, Delete. You will Export your tree.


How-to Information
After the class, one of the attendees and I sat down to look for videos to show how to do all these tasks. Since you know I use Google quite a bit, you will not be surprised to learn that I searched for the following terms:

  • download GEDCOM from ancestry
  • rootsmagic sync with ancestry
  • rootsmagic sync with familysearch

then selected the link to show results in the Video category.

There were how-to videos for all the family tree programs.


Good luck and let me know how you do!