Free Access Week at

Ancestry Free Access Week announced Free Access to immigration and travel records from around the world through September 5th.

This is a very large collection of materials. If you are not an Ancestry subscriber, this would be a perfect time to drop in to take a look and do some serious research in their travel and immigration records.

Another note, Ancestry has announced that the 1940 census will be available for free, once they post it after April 1, 2012. I’m looking forward to it. (But to be clear, the 1940 census will also be available on the National Archives website for free. It will be up to Ancestry to demonstrate compelling value in terms of usability and searchability to make the 1940 census a differentiator for Ancestry.)

Categories Uncategorized

Zendone, Evernote, and GTD

ZendoneI have written several times about Evernote, which has become my all-around storage solution for notes, web clippings, and documents. This is true both both in pursuit of genealogical finds, and for personal and business endeavors.

One of the biggest gaps I have seen in the Evernote product is its lack of a serious suite of GTD (Getting Things Done) functionality (Wikipedia: Getting Things Done).

GTD is a whole subculture. Some even say, albeit jokingly, a whole cult, built around the ideas of David Allen, the author of, you guessed it, Getting Things Done (Amazon | Barnes and Noble). If you distill his ideas down to the simplest level, David Allen’s point is that our minds cannot possibly hold everything we need to remember to do; our attempt to remember everything we should do causes stress, which lowers performance and the diminishes our ability to get things done. He recommends that we find a trusted system for gathering ideas, tasks, thought ticklers, and potential next steps. Periodically, we must process those items, taking action on the quickly done items, and sorting the others based on context (@phone, @computer, @work) and priority. Once we know we are gathering items and tasks in this way, we can use our minds to actually consider things, instead of simply try to remember what it was we intended to think about.

In Evernote itself, there’s not a good way to manage to do lists, deadlines, and an overall GTD workflow. Several integrations have sprung up that attempt to address this gap, including ones with Nozbe, Reqall, and Dial2Do. Of these, I am most familiar with the Reqall integration. While this helps you get data from Evernote into Reqall, it is a little limiting, and does not add up to an integrated workflow.

Zendone, new application, not quite released for Beta, but demonstrated on Vimeo and with a detailed picture of the user interface on their website, looks like it may address the GTD workflow gap in Evernote. Zendone allows you to pull items from the default folder in your Evernote account and process them, either taking the action you intend to take (do), or organizing them into tasks to be done later (review & organize). As you do this, Zendone automatically moves your notes from the default notebook. You can also add items in Zendone and have them show up in Evernote. Anything you schedule is pushed to your Google Calendar. Alternately, you can add things to your Google Calendar and they will show up in Zendone.

Zendone is a finalist in the Evernote Developer Competition, where nearly 1,000 developers competed for $5,000 for six finalists and a $50,000 for the grand prize. The winner will be announced at the first Evernote Trunk Conference in San Francisco on August 18th. I wish I could be there!

Categories Uncategorized