8 Top Websites for Videography Training


Do you want to create a video personal history, but aren’t sure how to get started? Here are a few websites that can help you get on your way to making quality video on a budget with little or no experience.

Also see my Top 100+ Interview Questions for family and personal history interviews.



Hurlbut Visuals Blog. “A trused and innovative learning authority for experienced and aspiring filmmakers globally.”

Screenshot 2015-01-24 12.49.42


Lynda.com. “Learn about videography and motion graphics, including tutorials on storyboarding, color correction, lighting, and video editing in After Effects, Premiere Pro, iMovie, and Final Cut Pro.”

Screenshot 2015-01-24 12.41.56


MediaCollege. “… a free educational website for all forms of electronic media. We have hundreds of exclusive tutorials covering video & television production, audio work, photography, graphics, web design and more.”

Screenshot 2015-01-24 12.59.17


TheC47.com. “theC47 is an online and offline resource for production based training and information. More specifically, theC47 produces and provides educational content that focuses on the craft of both video production and filmmaking.”

Screenshot 2015-01-24 12.47.32


Videomaker. “This is the place to start for videography training. Here you will find hundreds of articles about audio/video software, video editing hardware, and help with video lighting techniques.”

Screenshot 2015-01-24 13.00.18


Video 101. “Offers tutorials on the fundamentals of film and video production. Includes video clips, flash animations, and explanations.”

Screenshot 2015-01-24 13.00.45





VideoUniversity. “Hundreds of free articles for new and advanced videographers. Here’s a sample:  50 Ways To Improve Your Video Business; Video Art – An Introduction;  Audio for Video — Part 1 Tape Formats and Hardware;  Audio For Video – Part 2 Microphones & Techniques;  Audio For Video – Part 3 Audio Production Techniques.”

Screenshot 2015-01-24 13.02.34


Vimeo Video School. “…a fun place for anyone to learn how to make better videos. Start by browsing our Vimeo Lessons, or find specific video tutorials created by other members.”

Screenshot 2015-01-24 13.03.06

Are there other you recommend? Please let me know in the comments.

Book Review: “Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes” by John Kotzian

sky pilot of the great lakes coverAnyone interested in the personal history, genealogy, the history of the Great Lakes, maritime history, lighthouses, Michigan history, or the story of someone who dedicates his life to serving others, sometimes at his own peril, will want to read “Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes” by John Kotzian. “Sky Pilot” is a labor of love about Kotzian’s great-great-grandfather and Kotzian’s first book. “Sky Pilot” meant chaplain in sailor’s slang. “Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes” was a nickname given to Reverend William H. Law by the sailors, lighthouse keepers and others he served who revered him.

After being rescued from Lake Huron by a Life-Saving Service crew, Rev. Law devoted his life to helping others, oftentimes with great bravery and personal cost and sacrifice. Rev. Law was a Baptist minister and a Canadian immigrant. He was a hero who saved countless lives through his life-saving missions and tireless work the better the lives of others. His story may have otherwise been forgotten were it not for this book. He was also a writer whose writing provided much needed entertainment for lighthouse keepers who led otherwise mundane lives.

“I have so many good things to say in writing about others that I can’t think of writing about such common things in my own life.” -Rev. William H. Law, 1906

“Sky Pilot” is a wonderful example of how to incorporate genealogy into personal history. It was extensively researched and incorporated quotes from the works of Rev. Law, as well as naturalization records, census records, homestead applications, U.S. Congress records, Baptist archive records, compiled interviews, letters, correspondence, and published histories.

Visit Kotzian’s website to order an autographed copy of “Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes” and read more about this story at http://www.johnkotzian.com. The book is also available at Amazon.com, Avery Color Studios, Foghorn Publishing, Barnes & Noble and retail locations in the Great Lakes Region.

Disclaimer: I know John Kotzian. He did not pay me to write this review.

DNA and other Adoption Resources


My wonderful Aunt Barb (she is not biologically my aunt, but a friend of the family) mentioned to one of my sisters recently that her beloved husband, Russ (who died of cancer far too young) was adopted and that she would like to find his biological family and research his genealogy for her children and grandchildren. We did not know that Uncle Russ was adopted! Of course, I offered to help.


Coincidentally, I had recently read a book by Richard Hill, who embarked on a quest several years ago to find his birth family called, Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA. It is a riveting personal history that you will want to read in one sitting. Like Hill, my Aunt Barb and I are from Michigan. The references to various places in Michigan make the book that much more interesting to me.


Hill used good, old-fashioned detective work, genealogy, and DNA testing to help him find the answers he sought. In the book Hill references an organization called Adoptees Search for Knowledge (ASK)* and woman named Jeanette from this organization who played a prominent role in helping Hill find his family. If you or a client is in a similar situation, consider reaching out to ASK or other similar organizations for help.

Hill also wrote an e-book Guide to DNA Testing. You can find it at his website DNA Testing Adviser: http://www.dna-testing-adviser.com/AdoptionSearch.html. In this book he describes and compares the three major test types: autosomal, MTDNA/female, and YDNA/male, as well as the three major testing companies:


Family Tree DNA (a simple swab test)


23andMe (also a simple swab test)


and Ancestry (Saliva test)


Hill explains the purposes of all of the tests and their strengths and weaknesses.


Additional adoption/dna resources

Can DNA Help You Find Your Birth Parents?


National Support Groups

American Adoption Congress
1025 Conncticut Ave., NW, Ste. 1012
Washington DC, 20036
(202) 483-3399

Concerned United Birthparents, Inc.
P O Box 503475
San Diego CA 92150-3475

Midwest Adoptive Families
2979 Oakshire
Berkley, MI
(248) 530-1344

Adoptees Liberty Movement Association
P.O. Box 727
Radio City Station
New York, NY 10101-0727
(212) 587-1568

Post Adoption Resource Center


Adoption Identity Movement of MI (AIM)
P O Box 812
Hazel Park MI 48030
(248) 850-8910

Adoption Identity Movement of Grand Rapids (AIM)
5767 Leisure S. Dr. SE
Kentwood, Michigan 49548
(616) 531-1380

Kalamazoo Birthparents Support Group
Adoption Insight
P.O. Box 2183
Portage, MI 49081
(269) 324-9987

People Impacted by Adoption/ CSS
Birthparent Support Group
4925 Packard
Ann Arbor MI 48108
(734) 971-9781 ext 322

Adopted Teen/Parent Support Group
Truth in the Adoption Triad
29260 Franklin Rd, Ste 115
Southfield, MI 48034
(248) 353-8687

Michigan Assn. for Openness in Adoption
3244 Pembrook Drive
Traverse City MI 49684

*Adoptees Search for Knowledge (A.S.K.) 
P.O. Box 762
East Lansing, MI 48826-0762
(517) 321-7291

Bonding by Blood, Unlimited
5845 Waterman Rd.
Vassar, MI 48768-9790
(989) 823-4013

Adoption Support Group for Adopted Parents
129 E. Third St.
Flint, MI 48502
(888) 200-8915
Peace With the Past

Macomb Library
40900 Romeo Plank Rd
Clinton Twp., MI 48038
(586) 855-6650 or (248) 830-6966

Post Adoption Support Services
N. 1194 W. Tie Lake Rd.
Wetmore, MI 49895

Truth in the Adoption Triad
6634 Gage St.
Gagetown, MI 48735
(989) 665-0210

Adopted Child
2979 Oakshire
Berkley, MI 48072
(248) 530-1344

State of Michigan and National Registries

Michigan Central Adoption Registry
Department of Human Services
PO Box 30037
Lansing MI 48909
(517) 335-6075

International Soundex Reunion Registry (ISRR)
P O Box 2312
Carson City NV 89702
(775) 882-7755

Are there other relatives, neighbors or anyone else you can think of who may have information that could help you or your client?

Put on your detective hat. Think Miss Marple or Agatha Christie. Good luck!



How to Infuse Your Personal Histories with Genealogy

This article was written for the October 2014 issue of the Association of Personal Historians newsletter the Perstorian.

By Kimberly Tucker, M.Ed.

Genealogy and personal history are a natural fit. Genealogists and personal historians are both driven by the desire to preserve the histories of and tell stories about people. You may realize the power of seeing a census record or vital record in the context of your work – it not only adds proof, but also visual interest. Census and vital records are just the tip of the iceberg. Consider military, immigration and naturalization, tax, probate, land, historical newspapers, and a variety of other records as well. These records help paint a picture. Not sure how or where to start? Here are a few ideas.

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 9.59.45 AM

Call a Genealogist

While you can find a wealth of information on your own, consider hiring a professional genealogist. If you decide to hire or collaborate with a professional, the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), and the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists are good places to find one.

The Genealogical Proof Standard

Should you decide to go it alone, keep in mind the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) when doing your work. According to the BCG, the GPS consists of five elements:

  • a reasonably exhaustive search;
  • complete and accurate source citations;
  • analysis and correlation of the collected information;
  • resolution of any conflicting evidence; and
  • a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.


You can find webinars, classes, and a wealth of information online. The National Genealogical Society and The National Institute for Genealogical Studies offer classes if you want to expand your skills and build your confidence (and the services you can offer your clients). Join your local genealogy society. They oftentimes offer classes and special interest groups.


Cyndi’s List, Linkpendium, and One-Step Pages by Steven P. Morse are great starting points to help you find genealogical resources on the Internet. Other great places to look are: FamilySearch (see their Wiki as well) Ancestry, Google, Google Books, Find A Grave and BillionGraves.

Infusing your personal histories with genealogy will add another dimension to your work. Give it a shot!