Rootstech. Who is it for Anyway?

Rootstech. Who is it for Anyway?

Finally recovering and processing Rootstech 2018 and time to write my summary. After reading various comments and blogs about the conference, mainly people confirming (after seeing pictures of the crowds), that they would never attend Rootstech and complaints about the lines getting into classrooms, etc. I realized that there is some confusion on who Rootstech is really for. Rootstech's organizer's FamilySearch, know that serious genealogists, whether they are professionals or hobbyists, are still going to go to institutes, attend other genealogy conferences, watch webinars, etc. regardless of what happens or doesn't happen at Rootstech. While Rootstech provides some classes that would appeal to the experienced researcher, you are not the target audience - they welcome you and want you to attend of course, but your are not the target audience. I have attended every Rootstech from the beginning, lots of bumps, starts and stops along the way, but overall I have always been excited Continue reading

Top 7 Insider Tips & Secrets to Survive and Thrive at Rootstech

Top 7 Insider Tips & Secrets to Survive and Thrive at Rootstech

Rootstech is the BIGGEST Family History Conference of its kind in the World. Officials are estimating attendance to Rootstech being held in Salt Lake City, Utah next week to be around 25,000 - with more 50,000 tuning in from around the world with live-streaming sessions. There is so much to see, with keynote headliners like Olympic Gold Medal Skater and sports commentator Scott Hamilton, PBS series' Finding Your Roots host Henry Louis Gates Jr., Social Media's Humans of New York Brandon Stanton and Mexican pop-rock singer, Natalia Lafourcade are all set to light up the stage. Over 300 classes and labs geared for everyone from very beginner (just-dipping-your-toes-in), to intermediate. More than 200 exhibitors with products that will be sure to delight any lovers of genealogy and family history. With SO much going on, it is easy to get overwhelmed. I've attended every Rootstech conference from the beginning, I served for years as an official Rootstech Amabassador and this will Continue reading

Finding Your Family History Treasures on Ebay, Amazon and Etsy

Finding Your Family History Treasures on Ebay, Amazon and Etsy

Are you like me and didn't inherit a lot of heirlooms or family history memorabilia? Did you know you can reclaim items from your ancestor's past on eBay, Amazon and Etsy? WHAT!        I know, who would of thunk it! Ebay currently has 64,386 genealogy items listed! Ebay can be a great place to look for out-of-print books, genealogy records, family Bibles and histories and genealogy books on CD. Besides the obvious genealogy books to be found, there may be other treasures waiting to be discovered! This is my latest family history find, a $1 token in exchange for merchandise at Martin O'Rear store, in Jasper, Alabama. A search in Google Books, reveals Alabama Supreme Court court case with a Martin O'Rear owning a merchandise store in Jasper, Alabama.  And yes, I spent way more than I would of liked, but I did talk the seller down $50...but, can you put a price on family history treasures...well, apparently you can and I'll pay it! I've also purchased on ebay a watercolor of Continue reading

Genealogy Time Management Tips and Tricks

Genealogy Time Management Tips and Tricks

For some people like moi, trying to manage time is like trying to herd cats.Each of us has a finite amount of time we can devote to genealogy – whether we are doing research, writing family stories or blogs, documenting family photos, recording family interviews or whatever, we have only so much time we can devote to these activities each day. The amount of time we have for these activities will probably vary depending on our individual circumstances, day of week, time of the year, etc. These tips and tricks will getting started in planning how you use your time more effectively.Evaluate Your Activities. Determine how worthwhile the endeavor is according to your genealogy goal. Is spending large amounts of time on all the social media sites achieving your goal? There comes a time when the Law of Diminishing Returns comes into effect. Are you getting less out of the activity than what you are putting into it? However you're spending your genealogy time - is it paying off?Saying “Yes” to Continue reading

Getting a Great Genealogical Education for Little or No Money!

Growing up my dad would often quote the English proverb,“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” Well, if wishes could make it happen, I would attend every genealogy conference, institute and enroll in Boston University’s Genealogy Certificate program today! In order to get where I want to be in my genealogical education, I have put myself on a stiff genealogy education plan that expands across the next 5 years. While those plans include the major conferences and institutes, those plans are also subject to the funds available at that time. Which means – if I want a quality genealogy education now - I am going to have to get way more CREATIVE!While not everyone wants to become a professional genealogist, I would think anyone who does their own family history research would desire to be more effective – wanting to spend the precious time they have to devote to genealogy research to be more focused and more successful.So here are some ideas to create your own genealogy education plan: Continue reading

11 Great Ways to Share Family History Fun

11 Great Ways to Share Family History Fun

Summer is a great time for families to get together, whether its for an official reunions or just a simple gathering. Why not throw in some   family history fun while you’re enjoying the BBQ! Here are some great ways to cherish your families this summer.Celebrate your Ancestors BirthdayAny reason for cake and ice cream right! Keep family connections alive and help your children and grandchildren know those who have gone before. Make it as big or small as you like, but everyone likes to have a reason to celebrate!Share Family Stories Around the CampfireTell your stories around the campfire at bedtime or anytime. Make the stories real, make them fun, add sound effects and most of all - make them compelling. All of us learn to love our heritage and our ancestors when we know their stories. Not the facts, but their individual stories and what makes them ours!Make a Family History Coloring Book You can convert family history photos into coloring book pages! Write a simple story with the Continue reading

This "Normal" You Speak of, Sounds Like No Fun at All

People sure are funny. It is not enough for some to have inherited a good name and a unique family history. People want to be special, they want others to know that they are not your average Joe, Josef, Josip, or Jose. No one wants to be "normal" except when it comes to medical test results.8 of 10 times someone will tell me if they are Native American, that they are related to an "Indian Princess"; I specialize in Japanese ancestry research, so I was surprised to learn that just as many people will say to me that they are related to a Samurai warrior.Just as people will quickly point out that they had ancestors that were on the Mayflower or are descended from royalty. Satchel Paige once said, "Ain't no man can avoid being born average, but there ain't no man got to be common."Genealogy use to be something the wealthy and powerful pursued. Their supposed "good breeding" was the reason for their superiority and success. The thing is, if we take credit for the good our ancestors did, Continue reading

Writing a Family History is the Smart Thing to Do

Writing a Family History is the Smart Thing to Do

Recent research at the University of Graz, called the ‘Ancestor Effect’ suggests that thinking about our ancestors prior to a job interview or college exam increases the chances for success, as Jerrie Hurd reports in her latest blog post. The ‘Ancestor Effect’ hypothesizes that being aware of what your ancestors have gone through and overcome, increases your confidence and creates a stronger sense of identity…So doing genealogy and learning your family stories makes you smarter! I knew that already – go to any national conference and you will be amazed at the sheer number of smart and brilliant people in attendance.Besides making you smarter, writing your family history can be emotionally healthier and very healing. A good way to start is by outlining the life of your ancestor into segments.Let me show by example how I break a life into pieces.My grandfather was Farmer Greenwade, yes, his name was Farmer and no, he was not a farmer! He was born 28 July 1884 in Jeffersonville, Continue reading

I’m so Confused? What am I?

Genealogist? Family Historian, Curator, Archivist? I have been pondering what it is that I do and what to call myself for awhile. I can see that I am not the only one after reading Nancy’s post on My Ancestors and Me blog. I could be called a genealogist because I research lineage and create family trees for myself and others professionally. But, because I want to know more than just the mere names and dates - I want to know about their history, their culture and more details than just the facts ma'am…which also makes me a family historian and a poor imitator of Sgt. Friday.At RootsTech I heard the terms “curator and archivist” bandied about a bit.  A curator is responsible for the 'care and acquisitions of objects' and the term has recently moved to include not just objects but digital records. An archivist is primarily concerned with preservation for future generations the information that is in a collection or library.With all the stuff collectibles, photos, books, papers and images Continue reading

Getting Personal

I am a bit hesitant about this post as it is personal… then I realized that any post about your family is going to get personal – what’s more personal than family? It’s not so much personal in the way of sharing anything intimate or anything…I thought that word would get your attention! But, This story is near and dear to my heart.In my series Why in the World Would You Do Genealogy, which you can read here and here - I discussed Reason 1,“It Gives me a Sense of Belonging” and Reason 2, “It gives me a sense of purpose and a feeling that I can do it.” Which brings me now to Reason 3: “Genealogy Gives me Perspective and Wisdom”.My grandmother was Mertice Beatrice Beck and she was born in 1939 in rural northwestern Alabama.Mertice Beatrice Beck BrownHer family was poor, and not just poor - but dirt poor.Luther Ellis Beck and wife Tela Pearl Cole Beck with their children Hazel, Mertice, Gertrude, Mazell, Jimmie Nell, and Kermit on lap. (Not pictured oldest child John Erwin).Mertice was Continue reading