Saturday, 31 January 2015

Preliminary Session Choices - Saturday, Day Four at RootsTech / FGS 2015

Life got in the way of completing my preliminary schedule last week and, as such, I am now able to say that this time two weeks hence my first ever RootsTech / FGS conference experience will be OVER and I will be looking to [die of exhaustion] round up all my loose ends and last minute photocopies at the FHL before I fly out on Tuesday evening. I can't believe it's come upon me this fast! I can't believe in just 14 days it will be all over!!

But first, back to business:

So I figure I'll post my preliminary list of choices for sessions and after the conference we'll come back and see how I did. Okay? Okay. Cool. Glad that's sorted.

See my prelim picks for Wednesday's schedule here.
See my prelim picks for Thursday's schedule here.
See my prelim picks for Friday's schedule here.


8:30am - 10am
(Plenary) General Session - Inspirational Keynote Speakers and Presenters
AJ Jacobs (author)
Tim Sullivan (Ancestry)
Donny Osmond (entertainer -- aka the best Joseph from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat EVER!!!!)

Okay, let's pause just a moment here and get it over with now...
As a musical theatre chickie myself... 
... I can't even deal with this...
... #fangirl-ing
... #SQUEE
... ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!
... okay, I have to stop thinking about it.

Back to business.
......... yeah. EEP!

10:30am - 11:30am
WOAH! Only four initial picks for this time slot... Have I missed something? lol

1. She Came From Nowhere... "A Case Study Approach to Solving A Difficult Genealogical Problem" - Michael Lacopo
-- Intermediate to advanced level look at the GPS = excellent, though I'm not sure how much my brain will be able to take in at this point in the conference...

2. A Sense of Belonging - Teresa Clark
-- From the session description: "Research shows knowing the story of your people increases the ability to endure personal trials". Love it.

3. Are You Missing Genealogy Gems in Military Documents? - Anne Mitchell
-- I have some experience with military records but not much with the Fold3 site...

4. Genealogy Wikis: A User's Guide - Kory Meyerink
-- I have used wikis for various purposes but I am hesitant to participate much in wiki trees... Hopefully, this session would alleviate some of my qualms...

11:30am - 1pm (Otherwise known as LUNCH!)
(Paid) Luncheon: Getting Along with your Genome: AncestryDNA Breaks It Down -- AncestryDNA Expert
-- Chose this luncheon, honestly, in hopes that there might be special swag and/or prizes; additionally, I'm interested in learning more about the DNA side of having tested at 23andMe
-- Scheduled Eats: Chicken breast stuffed with Provolone and Baked Ham topped with a roasted chicken veloute; rice pilaf; seasonal vegetable; fresh baked breads; house salad; homemade dessert; coffee, tea and chilled beverages

1pm - 2pm

1. Hurdling the Census Chasm - Melissa Tennant
-- Always looking for new ideas about where to look between censuses!

2. Beyond the Census: The Non-Population Schedules - Deena Coutant
-- I've done a lot of census work but not as much with the non-pops; glad to see this is I/A levels

3. An Affection for Our Ancestors: Family History Activities for Kids - Deborah Gamble
-- Always trying to brainstorm ways to get my younger cousins interested in genealogy NOW...

4. Photos: Past, Present and Future - Jens Nielsen
-- I know a bit about preserving old photos at this point. For me, it's a necessary evil as opposed to an enjoyable aspect of this "hobsession". I'm curious about what might be said regarding the future of photos though... Certainly paper versions are no longer in fashion.

5. Conducting Story-Driven Research - Tammy Hepps
-- I need to work on my ability to manipulate record details into narrative points...
-- Another chance to see Ms. Hepps speak IRL

6. Before You Click: Creating Your Online Research Plan - D. Joshua Taylor
-- I'm always looking for planning tips and strategies...
-- Yet another chance to see Mr. Taylor speak IRL

2:30pm - 3:30pm

1. The War Memorial - Reconstructing a Community - Audrey Collins
-- an intermediate case study

2. Manuscripts and More - Pamela Boyer Sayre
-- another opportunity to learn about museum holdings

3. Getting to Know Fold3 - Gordon Atkinson
-- haven't made much use of Fold3 so far but then my interests do not lie much with the wars and military; not to make light of the wealth of information found in those records, I just find I'm first drawn to other types
-- hopefully, this presentation is not just a long advertisement for the website

4. Tumble Your Family History - Kaci Nicks
-- I'm intrigued by Tumblr but hesitant about whether or not I will ever actually use it... It may be a tool with which to appeal to younger generations, though...

5. Maiden Aunts, Bachelors, and Childless Couples: Don't Forget the Dead Ends - Loretta Evans
-- this is a cause near and dear to my heart however, for me, it's "all-level ability" status is a mark against this session simply because I might spend my time at this con listening to more advanced speeches

4pm - 5pm

1. Marth Benschura: Enemy Alien - Judy Russell
-- this is another of Judy's talks which she will be presenting elsewhere so I think, although I am quite interested, I will mark that session on my calendar to free up this session slot and perhaps see a different speaker

2. How the Public Land Survey System Shaped Our Country - Billie Fogarty
-- beginner level session but I found my land records course through NIGS a bit difficult so I think I could use some more information here, presented in a different fashion perhaps it will stick better in the old rotten noggin.

3. We're Here in America, Now What? - Jennifer Alford
-- the first steps taken by immigrants once they arrived in their new homeland fascinates me; any insights here would be helpful... especially anything leading to more info regarding the Masons which feature prominently in the lives of my hubby's ancestors

4. School Daze - Finding the School Records of our Ancestors - Peggy Lauritzen
-- another chance to see Ms. Lauritzen speak
-- I've already attempted to locate some school records in the course of my research, with not a whole heck of a lot of success... interested in this session for student records as well as teacher records

5. Do I Own My Ancestors?: Copyright, Attribution, Plagiarism, Sharing and Claims to Research Ownership - James Tanner
-- copyright issues plague my worries...
-- a chance to see James Tanner of Genealogy's Star (blog) speak in person

6. Make History: A Guide to Helping Teens Connect with their Family History - Brooke Parker & Becca Potter Summers
-- another chance to see what makes the teens tick

7. Fun New Ways to Improve Your Genealogical Research - James Brewster
-- FamilyTreeDNA presentation... hopefully not a long advertising session...

5:15pm - 6:15pm
(Plenary) RootsTech Closing Event
David Archuleta (American Idol finalist!!)
BYUtv's Studio C (heard amazing things about these peeps!!)


I found this exercise of writing out my initial session choices and reasons for interest very enlightening and highly recommend it to others. It has helped me to pinpoint what is most important to me regarding getting the most out of these sessions and this dual-conference. It's helped me develop a list of priorities which should prove helpful when making decisions on the fly - such as when a particular class if full-up.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Preliminary Session Choices - Friday, Day Three at RootsTech / FGS 2015

So I figure I'll post my preliminary list of choices for sessions and after the conference we'll come back and see how I did. Okay? Okay. Cool. Glad that's sorted.

See my prelim picks for Wednesday's schedule here.
See my prelim picks for Thursday's schedule here.


8:30am - 10am
(Plenary) General Session - Inspirational Keynote Speakers and Presenters
D. Joshua Taylor (FindMyPast)
A couple of Bushes*

10:30am - 11:30am
My first cut of the choices, in no particular order:

1. Cluster Genealogy: Finding Your Lost Ancestors - Deborah Abbott
-- I tend to do this type of research automatically but not necessarily consciously (I think it's because I'm naturally a nosy-Parker); clearer tips and strategies can only help.

2.  Gentlemen Judges: The Justices of the Peace - Judy Russell
-- no judges in my ancestry of whom I'm aware at this point; this would be a talk that wouldn't make the list if anyone else was presenting it...
Had to be done... I refuse to apologize.
3. New Standards or Old? Guidelines for Effective Research and Family Histories - Thomas Jones
-- nitty gritty, meat-and-potatoes-type learning to be had, methinks...

4. Be the Ancestor You Wish You Had - Linda Coffin
-- I suspect I may have heard this lecture before... If not from Linda herself, definitely a beginner's level interviewing lecture... still, I'm intrigued.

5. Right or Wrong: 6 Things You Need to Know About Picture Sharing Online - Maureen Taylor
-- I'm always leery about posting any photos online...

6. Using 23andMe's Ancestry and Genealogy Tools to Learn About Family History - Joanna Mountain
-- I've had my DNA tested through 23andMe but still don't fully understand how to locate relatives based on the shared DNA segments, etc, etc, yadda, yadda...

7. Impossible Immigrant! Exhausting Research to Find an Ancestor's Origins - Warren Bittner
-- sounds like more FAN and cluster stuff - but with examples
-- and I've never heard Mr. Bittner speak IRL...

11:30am - 1pm (Otherwise known as LUNCH!)
(Paid) FindMyPast Luncheon: Who Do You Think You Are? Story -- Ian Tester
-- Chose this luncheon, honestly, in hopes that there might be special swag and/or prizes
-- Scheduled Eats: Boneless breast of chicken topped with pear tomato marinara sauce; mozzarella and romano cheeses; penne pasta; seasonal vegetable; fresh baked breads; house salad; homemade dessert; coffee, tea and chilled beverages

1pm - 2pm
So, for this time slot, I'm pretty much screwed-chewed-and-barbecued. Let's see how many I can eliminate as I type them out here... **

1. Doing the History Eliminates the Mystery - Curt Witcher
-- Very interested in an intermediate/advanced look at using historical, geographical and ethnic details to aid my research.

2. Jumping the Pond: Finding the Origins of Your Immigrant Ancestor - Donna Moughty
-- Interested in intermediate level tips for locating ancestral countries of origin.

3. Certification: Measuring Yourself Against Standards - Elissa Scalise Powell & Judy Russell
-- This session is 2.5 hours (so, basically, it's a double session which would eliminate all choices in the next time slot)
-- I have previously seen a presentation about BCG certification though that one was only about an hour long... but this one is described as more interactive AND includes the Legal Genealogist
-- and I really do think I want to get certified after I've graduated NIGS....

4. Culinary Family History: You are What Your Ancestors Ate - Loretta Evans
-- My attempts at family cookbook compilation have been such a success that I'm considering giving this lecture instead of just attending it (Ha!)...
-- and my Nanny's name was Loretta - definitely a sign.

5. Blogging Your Research, Memories and Family Stories - Laura Hedgecock
-- I follow Laura's blog and would like to hear her speak... but this sounds more like a techie how-to than a bloggy-writey one. The former is not my bag.

6. Antiquus Morbus: Diseases and Causes of Death - Janet Camarata
-- This talk is one that I picked to see from the very beginning, when just the descriptions of sessions were posted and the schedule had yet to be released. I'm very interested in the heredity of certain causes of death and medical conditions within my family. Of course this talk has to be presented at the same time as forty-seven hundred other lectures I'd like to see...

2:30pm - 3:30pm
This time slot will be moot if I choose to go with the BCG session (#3 above)... But here are my choices, nonetheless, in no particular order (actually, they are usually in the order they come up in the RT app):

1. Writing a Prize-Winning Family History - Thomas Jones***
-- Advanced. Tom Jones. Nuff said.

2. Fraternal Organizations: Records and Resources - Kris W. Rzepczynski
-- Many of the men on hubby's tree were Masons... but I still can't get a clear idea of how to get my grubby little paws on these secret-y records or of what they might entail...
-- Another one of my first-picked sessions!

3. Railroads Beyond the Mississippi: History and Records - Paula Stuart-Warren
-- lots of railroad workers in hubby's tree but most were on the CPR; mine also sports some rail dudes but mine worked the line in South Africa... still, this talk might spark some ideas...

4. Interviewing Grandma - Linda Coffin
-- another beginner level interviewing session; another chance to see Linda speak IRL

5. Deciphering Old Handwriting Online - Amy Harris
-- I've done a lot of wandering around on BYU's paleography site but it would probably help to go through some of it with a live instructor; I do have a paleography course coming up through NIGS though...

6. Personal History Triage: How to Tell the Best Ten Stories of Your Life - Alison Taylor
-- the session description mentions a few of the writing dilemmas with which I frequently struggle...

4pm - 5pm
Choices. They are here:

1. Using Tax Records for Genealogical Problem Solving - Michael Lacopo
-- Not sure I've ever used tax records... voter's lists, yes; but I don't think tax records...

2. Lesser-Known Sources for Births, Marriages & Deaths in the British Isles - Audrey Collins
-- Lots of Brits up my tree
-- intermediate level = good

3. Fun with... Citing Sources! - Jean Wilcox Hibben
-- it's a beginner class but citation creation still freaks me out
-- I've heard Jean speak on a webinar and she seems to be quite good at making the basic stuff simple as pie...

4. What's in a Name? Trouble! - Ron Arons
-- I like the showing the GPS in action with examples bit... not so interested in mind map tech, if I'm correctly interpreting this description...

5. Uncovering Family Histories in Cemeteries - Tom Comstock
-- not sure how much I'm willing to bet this isn't just a big advertising session for BillionGraves....

6. Genealogists, Technologists, Privacy Advocates: We REALLY Need to Talk! - James Dempsey & Frederick Moss
-- I'm not really up for a debate... but the subject matter is compelling and ever-more relevant

7. Discover Family Stories with FMP and Mocavo - Michael Leclerc
-- I have had a subscription with Mocavo and didn't use it as much as I would have liked...

5pm - 7pm
(Plenary) Celebrate Your Heritage: RootsTech Cultural Night in the Expo Hall
-- Must remember to complete my Expo Hall Passport and return it to the Info Desk by 6:30 to be eligible for prizes drawn at 6:45!! PRIZES!!! YAY!! Good thing I just read that in the app!

Yes, The Asterisks Mean Something

* Can you believe I couldn't find an appropriately funny bush PLANT meme??? I just wanted something funny about bushy plants but OH NO that's not the bushy that pops up...

** So, yup - was able to knock four Beginner Level or Getting Started classes right off the list just for being beginnery... Too bad, so sad. At any other conference, I'd probably get to go to all of the beginner ones that interested me because options would be lacking!

*** I know it's this Tom Jones:
and not this Tom Jones:

but, I can't help it...
Every time his name comes up I start singing like THIS (I know you do it too FYI):

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Preliminary Session Choices - Thursday, Day Two at RootsTech / FGS 2015

So I figure I'll post my preliminary list of choices for sessions and after the conference we'll come back and see how I did. Okay? Okay. Cool. Glad that's sorted.

See my prelim picks for Wednesday's schedule here.

So this is where things get tricky because the schedules of the two conferences begin to compete. The most choice I've ever had per session at a conference is three or four classes, MAX. For FGS2015 alone there are SIX different sessions to choose from!! SIX! Altogether - combined with RootsTech? Try 24 different sessions (according to my count on the RT app)! TWENTY-FOUR!!!! *mind blown*

(I have no idea where I found this meme -- If this cute lil chunk belongs to you and you object to his/her presence here, just say the word and I shall vanish it!)
Seriously... how the hell am I going to choose only ONE out of twenty-four sessions to attend per time slot?? That's more sessions in one time slot than at one entire conference here!!!

I have heard some popular sessions will be repeated. Others, like the keynote addresses, will be broadcast live and available to watch online for a year afterward. I've also received the tip that some sessions will be recorded and sold on CD in the Expo Hall... but which sessions? and how do I schedule which ones I want to see in person when I don't know which are being taped/sold? And which company will be selling them? and how much per recording??


Well, one thing at a time I suppose.


8:30am - 10am
(Plenary) General Session - Inspirational Keynote Speakers and Presenters
Dennis Brimhall (FamilySearch Int'l)
Mike Mallin (MyHeritage)
Tan Le (Emotiv)
-- The RT app says doors open at 7:30am... OMG, I'm going to be SO TIRED!!! The anticipation of it is almost as tiring as the actuality will be... lol

11am - Noon
A cursory perusal of the FGS schedule and the RT app leaves me with "only" seven choices for the first session of the day... YIKE.
In no particular order, they are:

1. 21st Century Italian Genealogy - Michael Cassara (
-- Lots of Italian ancestry on hubby's side for which I may glean tips from this lecture...

2. Getting the Most Out of Genealogical Evidence - Thomas Jones
-- Never heard Tom Jones speak IRL before and it's listed as an Intermediate level so this talk should be an invaluable asset to my learning curve...

3. Hatched, Matched and Dispatched: Vital Records Research - C. Ann Staley

-- Intermediate level class looks like it might provide some insight into more current vital records

4. How Old Did He Have to Be? - Judy Russell

-- Who cares what it's about? It's Judy Russell! Actually, I'm not entirely sure about this one because Judy tends to focus on American law/records and the US is not one of my main concerns at this point, nor for the foreseeable future...

5. How to Wring a Record Dry - Nancy Lauer

-- can't figure out what level this class is... can't hurt to revisit proven procedures though

6. Is that Uncle Harry or Jesse James: Facial Recognition Tools for the Genealogist - Maureen Taylor

-- Maureen is the Photo Detective and a genuine Genea-Celeb in my book; in fact, I own a couple of hers (books)! Have never heard her speak in person... would love to learn to "CSI" my families' photos...

7. Self-Publishing for Genealogists: Tips, Tricks & Tools - Lisa Alzo & Thomas MacEntee

-- I've seen Lisa speak IRL but not Thomas. Not sure if I'm at the publishing point yet...

8*. Searching for Our Ministers and Clergy - Patricia Stamm
-- I honestly wouldn't mind seeing this lecture either though I rank a few previously mentioned as higher priority. There are a lot of priests and nuns in my family, though so far they are all Canadian...

Noon - 1:30pm (otherwise known as LUNCH!)
(Paid) MyHeritage Lunch: Family Storytelling and Instant Discoveries in the Mobile World -- Mike Malin
-- I chose this luncheon because I don't know much about MyHeritage
-- Scheduled Eats: Roasted turkey breast with natural gravy; cranberry sauce; parsley buttered mashed potatoes; traditional sage dressing; seasonal vegetable; fresh baked breads; house salad; homemade dessert; coffee, tea and chilled beverages.

1:30pm - 2:30pm
In no particular order, my top six (I still can't believe I'm whittling it DOWN to ONLY six!!) choices for this time slot are:

1. Infamy in the Family: Online Tools to Help Identify Family Members of Ill Repute - B. Douglas Conley
-- so many criminals in my hubby's family tree... hehehe... Is it weird that I am so drawn to them??

2. Accessing England's Probate Records and Indexes Online - Apryl Cox
-- my main surnames of interest track back to England and this intermediate level class may shed some light...

3. Bridging the Gap: Tracing US Ancestors Between 1780 and 1840 - D. Joshua Taylor
-- Both my husband and I have Pennsylvanian Dutch ancestors who immigrated to Canada around 1790...

4. Genealogists 3.0: Adding Emotion to Your Research! - Cor de Graaf & Walther Hasselo
-- I can't find this on the RT session list I printed out so it must be a newer addition but using newly-available-online archival, archeological, museum collections in my research is definitely intriguing... I know certain things are available offline right now but am not really at a point yet where I can make proper, efficient use of them... I don't -think- "Genealogists 3.0" means a new type of software...

5. Irish Records: Beyond the Obvious - Rosalind McCutcheon
-- Tons of Irish ancestry on my tree therefore anything "beyond the obvious" would be good for my research efforts; however this session is listed as appropriate for ALL skill levels... I'm not sure whether I think that is a good thing...

6. Up in Smoke! What to Do When the Courthouse Burns - Peggy Lauritzen
-- Should this ever be a problem for me, I think I have a pretty good handle on using alternate records, found outside the courthouse... Also unsure if the talk will be so US-centric that I won't find it more-immediately useful... BUT, a plus is that it is listed as intermediate level...

3pm - 4pm
My top five choices for this session time slot, in no particular order, are as follows:

1. From a Pile of Pieces to a Puzzle Picture - Donna Moughty
-- I think I have a "good grasp of the basics" but sometimes hearing someone new talking about "the same old, same old" shines a new light on things... And this talk is not listed as solely a beginner level, so... it's a possibility. Also, never heard this speaker IRL or otherwise.

2. Problem Solving with Probate - Thomas Jones
-- Though this session is listed as Beginner level, I'm not nearly an expert with probate records yet and I hear Tom Jones is a very good teacher...
-- Whether or not I have already heard this speaker by this point in the conference will also play into my decision, I think.

3. Stetsons, Chaps, Prairie Bonnets and Levis: Western Dress Clues - Maureen Taylor
-- I'm so interested in what the fashion in photographs can tell me but how did the fashion migrate? Especially to places other than America...
-- Again, whether or not I have already heard this speaker by this point in the conference will also play into my decision.

4. Documenting Your Family Heirlooms - Jennifer Alford
-- This is something I'm presently trying to figure out as my mom and her siblings age... I'm worried I will lose the stories associated with the "things" that are important within our family... Also, I've never heard this speaker IRL or otherwise.

5. Family, Food, and Fun: Making a Family Story Cookbook with Recipes - Alison Taylor
-- Along the same lines of my previous choice... This past Christmas I attempted to engage my relatives in the collection of favourite family recipes. Let's just say, if success is defined as one person responding after a few days and about four others mentioning my email to me in person over the holidays with only ONE recipe received in total... then I suppose my attempt to compile a family cookbook was successful. LOL!

6. Making a Federal Case Out of It - Judy Russell
-- This WAS on my list until I realized Judy will be giving this same presentation via Legacy Webinar on July 10th.

4:30pm - 5:30pm
I have paid to attend a computer lab in this time slot; however, I'm now seriously considering backing out of it (refund, etc). I'm currently signed up for Batch Processing of Photos and Their Metadata Using XnView (Randy Whited). I'm very interested in metadata but there are just SO many other lecture choices that don't cost extra... Now, I've heard that Mr. Whited is an excellent teacher but this lecture says it builds upon previous RT workshops -- workshops I have not attended. So, while I consider what I'm going to do about the computer lab... My top choices for this time slot are as follows, in no particular order:

1. A Gift of Legacy: Who's Writing Your Story? - Deborah Abbott
-- I like writing about ME lol although it's probably not a priority presently...

2. After You're Gone: Future Proofing Your Genealogy Research - Thomas MacEntee
-- I have a suspicion I've signed up to attend this (or similar) webinar by Thomas at a later date... Whether or not that's true, I will have to consider whether or not I've already heard Thomas speak at this conference already by this time. Additionally, I'm unsure about this session because his lectures tend to be more techie than I prefer. That is by no means a knock; I just underconstumble tech options better when I'm farting around on my own as opposed to via this sort of format.

3. Finding Your Family on - Peter Drinkwater
-- Solely because the speaker's name reminds me of my Game of Thrones fave, Peter Dinklage! LOL
From Guy Code Blog (click for link).
-- I'd like to learn more about using this website more effectively; however, I have the same reservations as those from my previous choice

4. Getting Started in Genetic Genealogy - Diahan Southard
-- I'm pretty clear on the very basics of genetic genealogy but I saw Diahan's presentation at the 2014 SoCal Jamboree via live broadcast and was blown away by her teaching style, enthusiasm and the clarity with which she described a fairly complex topic; she would be awesome to see live, in person! I need to check what the actual topic/title of that presentation was and how it compares to this one... don't want to see the same thing again, especially with so many other options out there! *stress*

5. Parenting Keys that Unlock Hearts - Carol Rice
-- I'm not a parent yet but I definitely want to pass on this interest in genealogy and heritage once the little ones arrive...

6. Finding the Living Among the Dead: Using the Internet to Find Your Living Cousins - Amy Archibald
-- I'm pretty savvy about locating contact info for living peeps. I think I scared our realtor with how much info I dug up in just under an hour about the sellers of a house for which we'd submitted an offer! But there are likely tips and ideas I've not considered yet... and I'm always interested in techniques for dealing with the living and their private info...

7. The Margarine Moonshiners from Minsk: How Curiosity and Persistence Uncover Buried Secrets - Tammy Hepps
-- It's strange... I am experiencing some sort of cosmic pull toward this lecture. I don't have any specific interest in it's description (other than my general genea-proclivity for those of unseemly ilk). Or maybe the draw stems from reading about how Ms. Hepps won the Innovator Summit at RootsTech one year for Of course, now, I can't recall where the heck I read that so I'm not 100% positive how accurate it is LOL... Whatever the case, this session may just prove to be the dark horse on my list of choices!

(Plenary) RootsTech Opening Social
Sponsored by
Featuring YouTube sensations Alex Boye and One Voice Children's Choir

Yes, The Asterisks Mean Something

*Yeah, yeah. I said "only seven" and then added an eighth choice... Ya gonna make a big deal about it???

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Preliminary Session Choices - Wednesday, Day One at RootsTech / FGS 2015

So I figure I'll post my preliminary list of choices for sessions and after the conference we'll come back and see how I did. Okay? Okay. Cool. Glad that's sorted.

[Oh my gawd... I just realized I will actually be AT these sessions only three weeks from today!!! Ahhhhhh!!!!!!]


8am - 9:15am Session
(Plenary) Successfully Embracing the Future
"...Courage to Change the Things I Can..." - Curt Witcher
Applying TLC to Create New Growth - Deena Coutant
Being More than "Social" on Social Media - Jen Baldwin

9:30am - 10:30am
Engaging Your Long Distance Membership - Jen Baldwin
-- I met Jen in person at the Ontario Genealogical Society's 2014 conference in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. She was manning (womanning?) the FindMyPast booth in the marketplace. Having seen a grand total of six people younger than age 40 (including Jen!!) at genealogy conferences up here in my neck of the woods, I am very interested to see how the younger generation makes a living at this "hobsession". Definitely looking forward to listening to her speak!
-- second choice was Thomas MacEntee's talk but after looking at the website it's not something I'm interested in at the moment

10:45am - 11:45am
New Kid on the Block: Embracing Your Society's New Volunteers - D. Joshua Taylor
-- Just for the NKOTB reference alone! J/K
-- I'm a new volunteer with my local society AND I have never seen D. Joshua Taylor speak IRL* - another young'n to emulate!
-- second choice was Rorey Cathcart's Wordpress session but I'm a Blogger user so I don't know if I particularly want to spend my precious session time learning about a whole new service I may never use...

Noon - 1:15pm (otherwise known as LUNCH!)
(Paid) FGS Luncheon: The State of Our Societies: 2015 Update
-- I need to eat and this seemed like the solution. I hear it's usually a pretty good session and many people's favourite luncheon of the event. So sayeth the interwebs.
-- I don't know about you but, in my book, all meals require the mention of food: Plated Lunch Menu = Asian Chicken Salad, Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake! (The operative word here... cheesecake!) #YUMMO

1:30pm - 2:30pm
The Ethical Genealogist - Judy Russell
-- Seriously? It's The Legal Genealogist! No other choice for me. I will make a point of grabbing a spot early as I'm sure her lectures will be packed.

2:45pm - 3:45pm
What Do I Do Now? Your First Year as a Board Member - Jen Baldwin
-- Pretty much Me-To-A-Tee, right there in the title...
-- I think my second option will be C. Ann Staley's Organizing and Carrying Out a Society Project since I should probably volunteer to do something as a board member...

4pm - 5pm
Maximizing Organizational Effectiveness - Jordan Jones
-- Surely some "tips and techniques from 16 years of professional management experience" will assist my personal organization strategies even if the talk is geared toward society org.
-- second choice is Rorey Cathcart again with her Social Media for Societies: It's Not a Bandwagon, It's a Freight Train! lecture. I think I'm pretty in-the-know about social media tools but there are always new things being developed and I certainly am not an expert; neither am I an expert in organizing and strategizing social media in conjunction with the volunteer resources of societies. AND I haven't yet seen Rorey present IRL... Maybe this will become my first choice...

6pm - 7:30pm
(Paid) FGS 2015 Opening Social: Behind the Scenes: Family History & Television

Yes, The Asterisks Mean Something

*IRL = In Real Life

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

15 Blog Posts About Researching at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City

As I prepare for my first ever trip to Salt Lake City (and the Family History Library!!!!!), I've done a lot of Googling for tips, tricks and hints about how to prepare. I've amassed quite a list of posts by other bloggers that I thought might be useful to other first-timers. Some are out of date but you can still glean some helpful tidbits.

Make sure you read the comments that are sometimes submitted below the blog posts! I have gobbled up as many BRAINNNNZZZZZzzz --er, tips from the Comments section as I have from the post on many occasions!

Click the image to visit the real Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US) website.

First and foremost, familiarize yourself with anything posted directly from the horse's mouth:

1. Tips for Visiting the Family History Library from

Then, if your a bit OCD (like me) continue (for hours) with other researchers' experiences:
(The following articles appear in no particular order and this list is, by no means, exhaustive [although you may be exhausted after you're finished reading them all...]).

2. A Workbook for My Visit to the Family History Library by Diane Boumenot, One Rhode Island Family

3. Salt Lake City Library: Ready, Set, Go! by Lorine McGinnis Schulze, Olive Tree Genealogy

4. Tips on Making Your Salt Lake City Research Trip a Big Success by Joanne Todd, The Gene Pool

5. Top Ten Tips for Visiting the Family History Library by Mary Blauss Edwards, Of Graveyards and Things

6. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City by Matthew Miller, Matt's Genealogy Blog

7. Tips for First Time Family History Library Visitors by Shelley Bishop, A Sense of Family

8. Visiting the Family History Library in Salt Lake City by DearMYRTLE, DearMYRTLE's Genealogy

9. Grab Your Coat and Get Your Hat by Jill Ball, GeniAus

10. SLC Genealogy Research Travel Kit by Joan Miller, Luxegen Genealogy and Family History

11. My First Visit to the Family History Library by Kristina Rees, Losing My Census

12. Getting the Most Out of Your Trip to the Family History Library by Susan Bankhead, Brick Wall Genealogist

13. Visiting the Family History Library by Elaine Kowalski Schroeder, The Spiraling Chains: Kowalski - Bellan Family Trees

14. From the First Floor of the Family History Library by Stephen Danko, Steve's Genealogy Blog

15. Trip to the Genealogist's Mecca: Family History Library in Salt Lake City by Bob Kramp, Life's Journey

Are there any posts I've missed that you've found particularly helpful? Any tips you can offer from your own experiences?

Monday, 5 January 2015

The Birdman of Alcatraz

Today, while hubby spent his last day of Christmas vacation binge-ing on NFL, the semi-finals of the World Juniors hockey tournament and WoW*, I spent 147 minutes watching the Turner Classic Movie Channel - specifically, the black and white classic film that is "The Birdman of Alcatraz," starring Burt Lancaster.

In 1962, Lancaster was nominated for an Academy Award for this performance.
Photo courtesy of

Widely known as The Birdman of Alcatraz, Robert Franklin Stroud, spent most of his life in solitary confinement (ironically, not at Alcatraz) after being convicted on two separate occasions of murder. Although recalled to be a difficult inmate, Stroud was allowed to raise canaries in his cell in effort to make a productive use of his time. Indeed, the convict managed to author some articles and two books on ornithology and become a leading voice in the field before it was discovered some of his requested equipment was being used to create an alcoholic still. Shortly thereafter, The Birdman was transferred to Alcatraz.

Photo courtesy of

All of this to say... I suppose if you HAVE to find a criminal in your family tree, one like this would be a good one to find. I mean, at least he contributed in a meaningful way to society at some point, right? Though I'm not sure any contribution can make up for murder...

Anyway, without digressing into a discussion about civil rights and the downfalls of the criminal justice systems of our world, yadda, yadda, yadda ---

Have you ever found a criminal in your family tree? How do you feel when you uncover someone's scandalous past? Guilty? Ashamed? I suppose it matters how close they are to you in that stuff we call wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey**...

My husband's family tree seems to be drooping from its load of "perps" and suspects*** while I have only unearthed one scoundrel in my family history so far -- the son of a crofter who shot a gun into the face of a servant girl while participating (inevitably inebriated) in a wedding parade one jolly night in the early 1800s of Scotland.

My one and only reaction to all of the above? EXCITEMENT!

I imagine this is from a movie but I found it here:
Huzzah! So many documents to find! New avenues of research to consider! Out-of-the-ordinary details to scrutinize, glean inspiration from and incorporate into the family history narrative! Another hopefully tantalizing tidbit with which to interest disinterested family members! And above all, another challenge!

I can't be the only one...........

Yes, The Asterisks Mean Something

*WoW = World of Warcraft, an online multi-player role-playing game created in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment. You may have seen William Shatner, Mr. T and Verne Troyer et al on some of their television ads a few years ago...

**wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey = A Dr. Who reference. I don't watch the program but do accrue points with Hubbly-Hubbard (hubby) for such geekery.

***Okay "drooping" is probably an exaggeration. Simmer down! But one side of his tree IS predominantly Italian.... Just sayin'. (hehehehe)

Reference List

Alcatraz History website,; Ocean View Publishing Company, 2014 [accessed 07 Jan 2015; 4:30pm EST].

IMDB website, [accessed 07 Jan 2015; 4:30pm EST].

Wikipedia website, [accessed on 07 Jan 4:45pm EST].