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???

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