Lisa’s Picks: Springing into Family History

By Lisa Louise Cooke Premium

In our May/June 2018 issue of Family Tree Magazine, we debuted a brand new look and exciting new content. We’re thrilled that for one of our new pieces our Family Tree Podcast producer Lisa Louise Cooke is joining our regular contributors with Lisa’s Picks, a column where she shares her favorite family history websites, books, travels, projects, apps and more. In this installment, we’re finding out what Lisa’s been reading, her current favorite apps, and more!

Homestead National Monument of America<

Historic Hotspot

Were your ancestors among the 1.6 million to claim western land under the Homestead Act of 1862? Add the Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice, Neb., to your summer must-sees. This prairie site includes some of the first acreage successfully claimed under the law. I love the fun details like a roofline resembling a plow and a parking lot measuring exactly 1 acre.

Lisa Louis Cooke favorite things recommendations

App Obsession

Adobe Photoshop Fix is a powerful, free photo editor. On my computer, I save copies of old photos in need of restoration to my Dropbox folder. When I have a few spare minutes, I pull a pic from Dropbox into Adobe Photoshop Fix on my phone. Tapping the Healing tool repairs even the worst damage sustained over decades. For more helpful apps, see my book Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research.

Genealogy Tech Tools

Get an insider’s intro to more of Lisa’s favorite mobile genealogy apps in her downloadable video class Essential Apps for Genealogists.

Magnolia Market

Side Trips

Lucky for this “Fixer Upper” fan who’s sad to see Chip and Joanna Gaines’ hit HGTV series end, the Silos was on my way to give a genealogy talk in Texas. The Gaines have added a new chapter to the story of Waco, once known as the “King of Cotton.” In 1910, J.T. Davis started the Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Co. at the corner of Webster and Eighth streets. His 120-foot storage tanks (behind my husband, Bill, and me, above) and other buildings now house the bustling Magnolia Market and bakery, where visitors can share in their love of shiplap.

Grappling with Legacy

Recent Reads

Sylvia Brown’s family put the “Brown” in Brown University. She wrote Grappling with Legacy (Archway) after a speaker declared of her slaveholding ancestors, “There were no good Browns.” The book dives deep into the topic of presentism—when our ancestors’ lives butt heads with modern values—and the family’s philanthropy spanning 300 years. You’ll be fascinated by the genealogy research and the intimate look at charitable giving, an intrinsic part of American culture.

1930s quilt

Family History in View

I think of my great-grandma Lenora Wise Herring every time I catch sight of this quilt she sewed in the late 1930s (as I’ve deduced from the stitching and use of feedsack scraps). I display it with care: It’s away from direct sunlight and out of grandchildren’s reach, and I refold and rehang it periodically to avoid extended stress on any one area.

Podcast The Family Tree Podcast celebrates its 10th anniversary in June. Join Lisa for a look at our favorite episodes and best genealogy advice. Listen in iTunes or on our Podcast page.

Lisa Louis Cooke favorite things recommendations

Lisa Louis Cooke is the founder of the Genealogy Gems website and podcast, and host of the Family Tree Podcast.

From the May/June 2018 issue of Family Tree Magazine.