Feb 162015

I am currently in Salt Lake City having attended the wonderful combined Federation of Genealogical Societies and Rootstech conferences.

I did manage to find some GeneaGoodies to purchase while I was there.

Along with everybody else I don’t have unlimited finances, so one way I pay for my genealogy purchases is my GeneaJar. I have a set budget for what I withdraw in cash each fortnight.

Each day I shift the loose change from my wallet to the GeneaJar and then, when it is full I bank the money in a special account and start again. 

In Australia we no longer have 1 or 2 cent coins (the cost of producing them was way more than the face value) or 1 or 2 dollar notes.

This means that the coin compartment in your purse can become full quite quickly so it is better for the life of your purse to empty it out regularly and also better for my GeneaPurchases.

Last year I banked over $1000 which is nice when society subscriptions are due or books scream at me to purchase them!

Feb 162015

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) held their conference in Salt Lake City as a combined conference with RootsTech. It was extremely good value to pay the early bird price and then the add-on for the second conference.

FGS ran a Librarians Day on the Tuesday, that I did not attend as it filled up fast, and on the Wednesday they did a Society Day. As President of my society the Southern Suburbs Branch of GSQ I was very much looking forward to this.

All societies face challenges with the increasing  availability of records online, mass advertising saying that “just type in a name and your history will be shown” giving the impression that it is instant genealogy, being able to be relevant in an ever busy world being able to give value to potentially remote members, being relevant to potential younger members. Many societies have an aging membership and as they say “the only sure things in life are deaths and taxes”.

As I was helping set up our booth I did not attend the keynote with Curt Witcher talking about societies “Embracing the Future” or the morning sessions. 

You had plenty of choice as there were a choice of six streams of talks to determine which to attend.

For example in the morning sessions:
Connecting, Exploring, Refreshing: Marshaling Change in Your Society
Engaging Your Long Distance Membership
The Policy and Procedure Manual: Preventing I Didn’t Know That!
Using Cemeteries to Uncover Forgotten Histories
Communicating on a Shoestring Budget: Cost Effective Solutions for Societies
TechSoup -Technology by the Bowlful

And they were the choices in just one session!

My first session was with Judy Russell talking on “The Ethical Genealogist” An important topic for us all as individuals and also as society board members.

Judy is an excellent speaker and is a Certified Genealogist and a Certified Genealogical Lecturer and this really shows in her lecturing as she has the ability to take difficult subjects and make them interesting and enjoyable.

If you ever have the chance to hear Judy talk, run don’t walk to enrol in her session!

The next session I attended was the “Bringing Your Society into the 21st Century with a DNA Interest Group” by the effervescent and very knowledgeable CeCe Moore.

Lisa Louise Cooke

I am a member of a DNA SIG at the Queensland Family History Society and so this was a very pertinent presentation. The International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) has great resources for any society considering starting a DNA SIG and many educational resources for anyone interested in DNA for genealogy. CeCe Moore said “DNA SIGS are a great way of attracting people to your society especially if you promote meeting to general public” Also way of reactivating interst in your members who have become a bit blase about their research due to brickwalls etc.

Then it was “Video Marketing: YouTube Strategies for Societies” with the effervescent Lisa Louise Cooke. 

I was particularly interested in this as I want to do a welcome video for new members showing the rooms and resources so new researchers feel more confident when they first come to the premises. All going well we will also do some short instructional videos on using some of the databases.

I was very happy with the Society Day and FGS are to be congratulated on providing this resource for all societies.

There were many other presentation son this day I wanted to attend but as I have not managed to clone myself could not. So I was very pleased to read on Judy G. Russel’s blog that I could buy recordings of at least some of the ones I could not attend from Fleetwood Onsite. For the Society Day there are 14 presntations that were recorded (and 13 that were not). They are available on a CD-Rom or as MP3 on a USB and I think may also be able to be downloaded.

You can also buy recordings from previous conferences so if you really enjoyed a particular presenter look to see what may have been recorded at a previous conference.

I was also talking with Randy Whited who was the presenter of FGS Radio – My Society, podcasts designed to be informative for the administration of societies that there is a plan to restart these. Still early days but I was very pleased to hear this as I have found them very useful. You are still able to download these using iTunes or equivalent and it is a great way of learning while you are doing housework, driving, gardening etc.

So FGS in the words of Jim Nabors of Gomer Pyle USMC fame “Thankee, thankee, thankee”

Feb 142015
Emptiness waiting to be transformed

RootsTech and the Federation of Genealogical Societies ran a combined conference this year in Salt Lake City.

Wednesday was set-up day for the vendors in the Expo Hall which was a combined exhibition for the two conferences. This meant I did not attend the morning talks as I was helping set up our Unlock the Past Cruises booth.

It is always amazing to see an empty shell transform into the Mecca of Delight for attendees.

There were 173 exhibitors, some of which had very large booths.

The forklift was kept very busy

There was a great range of exhibitors.The big data providers, Ancestry, FindmyPast, MyHeritage and Family Search. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (who do Society Showcases) along with a number of societies including the Southern California Society, Guild of One Name Studies and National Genealogical Society were also present.

Maia’s Books had a very large stand full of wonderful goodies (yes some of which did end up in my possession!).

Rootsmagic and Legacy were present as were Evidentia and Clooz.  Family Tree Maker was on the Ancestry booth.There were areas you could get your books and photos scanned and of course places to eat.

Our stand nearly done. Doesn’t the red carpet look nice?

The Board for Certification of Genealogists, ICAPGen, the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Association of Personal Historians, Brigham Young University, National Institute for Genealogical Studies were all present.


 Then it was time to leave the Expo Hall and the other booths setting up to go to the afternoon sessions of the FGS Society Day.

Feb 112015

Having arrived Sunday evening I had breakfast at JBs the restaurant near my hotel and then went to  the library. I knew that on the 3rd floor of the library a special event would be occurring that morning: an onsite production of “Mondays with Myrt

I had watched these sessions on YouTube and was looking forward to seeing it done (and meeting Pat Richley-Erickson in person (Dear Myrtle is her nom de plume)). 

 Pat has been online since 1985 and has been heavily involved in many areas of genealogy. She writes the consistently top rated blog DearMyrtle and does a number of sessions a week: Monday with Myrt, Wacky Wednesday, Genealogy Game Night and more. She also runs the Geneawebinars Calendar, teaches classes and I don’t know where she finds the time to do it all.

So as you can imagine I was thrilled with the opportunity to see the production.

I arrived as things were being set up:

And then Jenny Joyce and I were invited to become part of the Hangout as an onsite participant! There were also seven participants who were external to the site and they were situated around the world.

Myrt interviewed David Pugmire who is one of the brains behind the Innovators Summit where people with ideas of how to integrate technology and genealogy have a chance to spruik their ideas and on Friday the winner will be determined.

I had a wonderful time!

All of Myrt’s Hangouts are available to see on her YouTube Channel and I would strongly recommend visiting and seeing what is there.

DearMyrtle will be doing AmbushCam segments during the combined Rootstech/FGS conference so you will get to hear interviews with all the top players in the genealogy arena.