Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Randy Seaver has posted a genealogy challenge on his Geneamusings blog.
Tonight's "fun" challenge is, put simply, to create new genealogy proverbs.

As I OD on March Madness, I've come up with the following:

1. If at first you don't succeed in finding your ancestors, branch out.

2. Cousins are for finding.

3. Family history is a life-long hobby; it's never ending.

4. The harder an ancestor is to find, the more interesting he/she is likely to be.

What can you add?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Searching for Cousins

On the way home from RootsTech 2013, my husband and I stopped in Baker City, Oregon overnight. While we were snowbirding in Arizona this winter, we met a couple from Baker City and it occurred to me to share several obituaries for tangential Bartshe family members [we're talking 4th cousins here] I had obtained last year. Much to my surprise, these folks were good friends with one of the Bartshe granddaughters who had lived and died in Baker City and were able to put me in touch with her daughter. We arranged to have dinner last night in Baker City. Not only did the daughter come, but she also brought her uncle, brother to these sisters and grandson of John Riley Bartshe, my great-great-grandfather's first cousin.
We spent almost 3 hours sharing stories about our families. I'm sure the waitress was wondering if we'd ever leave! Cousin Joe told some fascinating stories about how his father's family came to eastern Oregon. And at 78 he's still farming the same land settled back in 1860.
I tried not to snow my newfound cousins with all of my research during dinner, but will be sending them a packet of information soon. They had made copies of a few old photos for me and I promised to send them digital copies of family photos I have.
I'm hoping this encounter will lead to a long and productive relationship. Have any of you had success connecting with previously unknown cousins? I'd love to read your stories.

Friday, March 22, 2013

RootsTech 2013 -- Day 2

After two days of RootsTech, I'm actually glad I won't be able to attend tomorrow. This has been a disappointing conference. I'm just glad I registered early (like last October) and didn't pay full price.
I naively thought that the focus of this conference would be on the intersection of genealogy and technology. Unfortunately, many of the sessions I've attended in the last two days haven't met that definition. In one session today, the only mention of "technology" was "do a Google search." Really? That same presenter made the statement that WorldCat identifies ALL locations for EVERY book available in the US. Really?
The "workshop" I attended yesterday that was supposed to teach me something about CSS was a total bust. Half the people left before the session was half over. We were in a computer lab, but never had cause to touch the computers!
Luckily, today's workshop on metadata was much better. The only real flaw was that it (and other "workshops") were scheduled for a single hour. What were they thinking? Workshops that involve hands-on learning require at least two hours.
I was also deeply frustrated in the Exhibition Hall today. After speaking with people in the booth late yesterday, I prepared a Gedcom file and put it on a jump drive to get my free fan chart. I took my jump drive to them at lunchtime today and was told it had to be uploaded from the computers at the Family History Library Mini-Lab. One of their yellow-shirted employees accompanied me to the mini-lab, only to end up in a shouting match with 4 or 5 FHL representatives. I was left to figure out how to upload the file on my own, which I thought I accomplished. I went back to the booth to see if they'd gotten the file and was told they couldn't check for it, come back later. So I returned an hour later and was told it was too soon; they were backlogged by several hours. So I went back at the end of the day (about 4:30) and learned that they had NOT received my file and couldn't do anything until tomorrow. Since we're leaving first thing in the morning, I can't go back and try again. Talk about frustrating!
I spent some time speaking with several other vendors in the exhibition hall and enjoyed meeting the folks at Map the Past and Photo Face Match, as well as Curt Witcher at the FGS booth.
I've got two other complaints about this conference:
--There are very few classes for intermediate or advanced genealogists. For most of the time slots in the first two days, there was only ONE session marked "intermediate"; but tomorrow there are 3 in the first session and 5 in the 3rd session [zero in the 2nd session]. Who the heck planned this?
--What's with all the emphasis on storytelling and what does that have to do with the interface between genealogy and technology?
Quite frankly, if I'd know that a third of the classes would be on storytelling and less than 10% would be designed for intermediates, I never would have even considered attending RootsTech 2013. I certainly won't waste my money on this conference again!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

RootsTech 2013--Day One

Day One at RootsTech 2013 dawned very early. 80 Geneabloggers were invited to tour the exhibit hall at 7:30 AM--3 hours before it opened to the public. Amazingly, I was there, as these photos attest.

The three keynote addresses this morning were all amazing. Interestingly to me, they all seemed to focus on broadending family history beyond the facts to the STORIES of our ancestors. Personally, I love it!
In the exhibit hall there are lots of opportunities to record and share stories and photos/books/documents. And about a zillion vendors of all sorts of stuff beyond just the usual genealogy books, gizmos and databases. I hope to explore some of these booths more later in the day, when the crowds thin out.
The big minus here is that there is NO free wifi in the convention hall. How ridiculous is that? I raced to the "internet cafe" sponsored by FamilySearch where you can connect to their ethernet. It's now full, so glad I got here first.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Off to RootsTech 2013

   After two months of playing snowbirds in the Arizona desert, we're off to SLC for RootsTech 2013. This will be my first RootsTech conference and I'm anxious to see how it compares to the NGS and FGS meetings I've attended in the past.
   I have to admit that I was a little disappointed in both of the other national conferences I attended. They seem to just recycle the same presenters making the same presentations they've been making for years. Neither conference energized me, though I did pick up a few good research ideas at each of them.
   I'm signed up for two workshops and several geneabloggers events [though for some reason my names wasn't on Thomas MacEntee's list he posted on Facebook today]. I'm looking forward to meeting "Dear Myrtle" and Randy Seaver, both of whose blogs I read every day without fail. Maybe I got dropped for not posting to my blog in six months?
   I was pleased to receive an email this evening asking me to download some specific software for one of my workshops. I already have 3 of the 4 programs on my laptop, but am intrigued by the 4th program. It apparently helps you geocode your photos--music to this geographer's ears!