30 January 2014

LAST CHANCE to Win a Free Pass to Attend RootsTech!

CONTEST ENDS at MIDNIGHT, January 30TH! Yes, I changed the date! If you already entered you don't have to do it again.

Here's your last BIG chance to attend the RootsTech genealogy conference for FREE in Salt Lake City, February 6th through the 8th at the Salt Palace Convention Center.  This is a $239 value. Just let me know that you want your name in the hopper for a chance to win. All you have to do is tell me why you are interested in attending and agree to meet me there for an interview about your experience at the conference.

That's it! RootsTech is now the largest genealogy conference in the world. You will have a discovery adventure as you learn about sharing photos and stories about your family, exploring the Expo hall, and attending workshops. Listen to exciting keynote speakers like The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, the award-winning blogger and #1 New York Times bestselling author and Judy Russell, a certified genealogist with a law degree who enjoys helping others understand the interplay between genealogy and the law. She blogs and maintains The Legal Genealogist website.

You can attend classes presented by a myriad of terrific speakers and learn more about discovering your roots, no matter whether you are totally new to the family history world or an experienced genealogist! 

Just comment on this post. All I need is a way to contact you and a very brief explanation as to why you are interested in attending. I will draw a name and notify you if you win.  I review all comments before I post them so your comments won't even show.

The Pioneer Woman
Judy Russell

23 January 2014

Ancestry and FamilySearch - Next Step in Collaboration Efforts

Ancestry.com Expands Groundbreaking Collaboration With FamilySearch

Additional 1 Billion Global Records From 67 Countries to be Available on Ancestry.com

PROVO, Utah, Jan. 21, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ancestry.com announced an extension of their collaborative efforts with FamilySearch International that will make more than 1 billion additional records from 67 countries available on Ancestry.com. These already digitized records, provided by FamilySearch, are in addition to the agreement the two largest providers of family history resources announced a few months ago that will help digitize, index and publish an expected 1 billion global historical records never before published online from the FamilySearch vault over the next five years.
These additional records, which are already digitized collections, represent a significant expansion toAncestry.com, which hosts the largest collection of global records available online. The records also add to the aggressive international digitization efforts already in place by Ancestry.com.
As stated previously by the company, Ancestry.com has a long-term content strategy, which is committed to investing $100 million to digitize and index new content over the next five years. The company is focused on providing access to a global collection of records and expand family history interest in its current markets and worldwide.

The additional collections include more than 1 billion digitized and indexed records and over 200 million images containing birth, marriage, death, census and church records from Europe, Latin America, South Africa, South America, Asia and more. These collections will provide Ancestry.comcustomers with rich details that will help them discover new information about their ancestors from around the world.

"We are excited to be expanding our exclusive, groundbreaking agreement with FamilySearch. In addition to the previously announced plan to together digitize 1 billion records never before published online, we're thrilled to be able to provide our members with access to this additional 1 billion records from 67 countries," said Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry.com. "These new global records will mean even more discoveries for our members."
A focus on adding global content isn't new to Ancestry.com, who has offices around the world and 12 billion global records already on the website. The site currently hosts record collections dating back to the 1300's that include records around the census, immigration and naturalizations and military, just to name a few. In fact, hundreds of millions of records from Germany, Italy, Mexico, and Eastern Europe have been added in recent years to the billions of records from the company's primary operating markets and record digitization projects are underway for collections from many more countries.

These 1 billion additional records are expected to be available on Ancestry.com starting in January and fully published over the next few months. To search records from around the world currently available on Ancestry.com visit www.ancestry.com.

16 January 2014

RootsTech Innovator Summit

Chris Dancy, the "World's Most Quantified Man," to Kick-off Innovator Summit Preconference at RootsTech

Salt Lake City, Utah — The RootsTech family history and technology conference is getting a jump-start a day early with Innovator Summit, a half-day event featuring Chris Dancy, “The World’s Most Quantified Man.” The event will be held on Wednesday, February 5, 2014, from 11:00 AM to 5:30 PM, at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
Debuting in 2014, Innovator Summit builds off of what was formerly known as the RootsTech Developer Day and is focused on expanding technology and business opportunities that leverage family history data. Speakers such as Dancy and classes throughout the day will create a unique opportunity for software developers, entrepreneurs, and technology business leaders to network, explore and influence family history innovation.
Dancy serves as a director in the office of the chief technology officer of BMC Software and has been featured in WIRED, TED NYC 2013, PBS, and Dreamforce. Known as a data exhaust cartographer, Dancy keeps metrics on himself for every moment of every day. He knows the number of steps he travels in a day, his average heart rate, and the amount of food he’s eaten—every phone call, every appointment, every piece of quantifiable personal data possible, he knows it. He will kick off the day with his keynote address titled, “Facebook of the Dead.”
By bringing in keynote speakers such as Dancy, Innovator Summit aims to inspire new ideas, new discussions, and new connections that will drive technology and business opportunities both inside and outside the traditional genealogy marketplace. “We want to bring technology thought leaders, innovation experts, and entrepreneurs to the discussion of what’s happening in family history,” said Thom Reed, a marketing manager with RootsTech. “Innovator Summit creates a new venue to showcase innovative ideas and foster collaboration in the genealogy space.”
There will be 16 Innovator Summit classes on Wednesday, February 5, as well as 15 additional classes offered during the remainder of RootsTech (Thursday, February 6 through Saturday, February 8), which is expected to draw over 9,000 attendees. In addition to Dancy, other business and technology speakers at Innovator Summit include:
  • John Spottiswood, executive vice president of business and corporate development at Inflection LLC (the parent of company of Archives.com, which was sold to Ancestry.com for $100 million).
  • Cydni Tetro, entrepreneur in residence at Disney and cofounder and executive director of the Women Tech Council.
  • Jesse Stay, social and growth strategies consultant for Stay N' Alive Productions, LLC, former director of digital media for Deseret Digital Media and author of Google+ Marketing for Dummies.
One of the most popular elements of Innovator Summit is the annual Developer Challenge. New apps, software, or other products are unveiled, and three winners will receive cash prizes and the chance to show their winning entries to media, bloggers, and RootsTech attendees. Past winners, such as Tammy Hepps of Treelines.com, have gone on to successfully launch their products.
For more information about Innovator Summit or to get registered for the conference, please visit http://rootstech.org/innovator.
About RootsTech
RootsTech is a unique global family history event, where people of all ages learn to discover and share their family stories and connections through technology. The first annual conference was held in 2011, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hosted by FamilySearch and sponsored by leading genealogical organizations, the conference includes hands-on demonstrations and forums to provide a highly interactive environment and accelerate learning.

15 January 2014

Evernote for Genealogists Quick Reference Guides Now Available

I teach a class on using a product called Evernote for helping to organize your family history. So I want to make you aware of a simple product that will help you learn more about how to use Evernote and use it to help you with your life and your genealogy. 

Evernote is certainly the fastest-growing (and FREE) note-taking technology out there, so it’s no wonder that it is incredibly popular with genealogists. If you’re an Evernote user yourself, you’ve likely noticed that there’s a lot of functionality packed into it. However, I’ve noticed that many genealogists aren’t taking full advantage of what Evernote offers.

That’s why Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems created these “cheat sheets:” quick reference guides that help users immediately harness the Evernote’s power to gather, organize, cite and share genealogy research across multiple platforms. In them you’ll find:

§  Getting Started Checklist
§  Quick Keys to speed up your use of Evernote
§  Specialized Note-taking Actions
§  How to Get the Most Out of Clipping
§  Tips for Maneuvering the Desktop Client
§  Genealogical Organization Suggestions
§  Little Known Search Strategies
§  Source Citation Tips, and Using Reminders

Here are a couple tips from the "cheat sheet":

1) Create a New Note: When you’re working on your computer and you want to make a quick note of something in Evernote, you can get there with lightning speed by pressing quick keys simultaneously. Windows: Ctrl+Alt+n.  Mac: Command + N

2) Instant Note Search: What if you are knee deep in your research and you have a note that you need to quickly reference? Simply press Win+Shift+f (Windows) or Option + Command + F (Mac) from anywhere on your computer and Evernote will instantly open with your cursor in the search box ready to type a keyword and search!

There are plenty more great tips included in these reference guides.

Evernote for Genealogists Quick Reference Guides are available at the Genealogy Gems store at www.GenealogyGems.com and for a limited time you can purchase them at a discounted price. 

14 January 2014

RootsTech - New Flipboard App Now Delivers Exciting Genealogy Content

Now that it’s 2014, RootsTech is almost upon us, so the genealogy industry is abuzz with new and emerging technologies for family history. Consider what’s been happening in the mobile space this last year:

  • Smartphone usage in the U.S. increased by 50 percent (Kleiner Perkins)
  • The number of emails being opened on mobile increased by 330 percent (Litmus)
  • Tablet usage doubled in the U.S. (Pew Research Center)

The bottom line: More than ever folks are accessing websites, videos, podcasts, blogs and other online information on their mobile devices.

As part of its mission, RootsTech helps family historians embrace these new technologies. Well, RootsTech has already gotten off to a running start by introducing attendees to Flipboard, a free magazine app available for all major mobile platforms. 

RootsTech 2014: Where Genealogy and Technology Converge is a Flipboard magazine published by Genealogy Gems in conjunction with the RootsTech team. I’m writing to invite you to experience the magazine for yourself (if you haven’t already) and share it with your audience. The magazine crowd-sources great web content from RootsTech speakers, exhibitors, and official bloggers in one beautiful and convenient place. It is multimedia, too – you’ll find video and audio content as well as text.

How to Access the Magazine in Flipboard:
1. Get the free Flipboard app at flipboard.com, in iTunes or Google Play.
2. Set up your free account.
3. In the search box at the top of the homepage, search for ROOTSTECH.
4. Tap “RootsTech 2014″ by Lisa Louise Cooke (you’ll see a magazine icon next to it).
5. When the magazine loads, tap the SUBSCRIBE icon at the top of the page.
6. Starting at the right hand side of the page, swipe your finger from right to left over each page to “flip!”

You can also access the magazine through your browser at http://tinyurl.com/RootsTech2014.

As you can see, Flipboard offers exciting possibilities for curating, organizing, and presenting online content. It aggregates social network, other online content and RSS channels for Android, Blackberry 10, iOS, Windows 8, and Windows Phone 8. Content is presented in a captivating magazine format, allowing users to “flip” through it with a simple swipe of the finger.

As a genealogy new media content creator and publisher, Genealogy Gems is excited to introduce this creative use of this emerging technology to the genealogy industry. Check out two more new FREE Flipboard issues from Lisa Louise Cooke that you can share with your audience:

How to learn more about Flipboard:

  • PODCAST: Tune in to the newest Genealogy Gems Blog and Podcast episode #163 for Lisa’s exclusive interview with the folks at Flipboard who provide tips and tricks for creating magazines!
  • FAMILYSEARCH: Click here to read FamilySearch’s press release on RootsTech 2014: Where Genealogy and Technology Converge.
  • ROOTSTECH: Attendees can catch Lisa’s workshop “Flipboard for Genealogy: Create Incredible Mobile Magazines of Your Favorite Genealogy Web Content” on Thursday at 4:00pm (LAB1263T) and Friday at 2:30 PM (LAB-1263F). Register at www.Rootstech.org. Session description: Turn your favorite genealogy web content into a customized and personalized digital magazine with the free Flipboard app. You’ll add free genealogy blogs, podcasts and video channels to your mobile devices (tablets, smart phones) in this hands-on session.

NOTE: I am honored to be included in this RootsTech 2014 digital magazine. Check it out, I'm published in there several times with my blog articles!

12 January 2014

Prepare Before Attending a Genealogy Conference

It's time again to resurrect my blog post about being prepared to attend conferences... RootsTech is almost here!

It’s that time of year – genealogy conferences are springing up all over. I remember the very first time I attended a conference and felt like I was the only person in the world who did not know what was going on! I had not done a very good job of preparing myself for the experience. What I have learned over time is that there are some simple steps you can take to make your experience a great one.  It doesn’t matter whether this is your first conference or 20th conference, whether it’s a big conference or a little one, whether it’s about genealogy or any other subject, planning ahead will make a difference in how much value you get and how enjoyable the experience is for you.

First, decide what conference is best suited to your particular needs and skill levels.

There are many different genealogy conferences throughout the year that you can choose to attend, but pick according to you current skills level and interests.  In other words, don’t pick a conference or a track that teaches how to become an accredited genealogist before you have learned how to get started.  Most all conferences have classes that are fairly generic, others geared towards beginners, intermediates or advanced genealogists and family historians. There are very small local half day workshops all the way to week-long national conferences and each of them can be a wise choice.

Review flyers or other media prepared for a conference. Look online for reviews of prior year’s workshops. Check out the presenters and audit reviews from other presentations they have given.  Some presenters are easier to learn from than others and, as your experience grows you will identify with certain ones and find yourself a follower of their classes.
Finally, pick your conference and register as early as possible and when you arrive, check in at registration as early as possible to minimize your time in line.

Select which sessions or classes you want to attend.

Once you are registered for your conference of choice, download the schedule and review the workshop requirements. Many classes are geared to all level of skills and a few will require a prerequisite level of knowledge.  A few will require a separate registration for the class because it has room only for a limited number of people.  Try to stick to classes that fit your level of comfort and skill.

Make notes on the schedule and on the presenters. Determine which classes you most want to attend but, always choose a backup or two for any given time slot. Sometimes classes fill up quickly and there is no room left for you, requiring you to find another class to slip into. Or, maybe you attend a class for the first 3 minutes and determine that this just isn’t the class for you. With a backup class you can quickly slip into the room.

Don’t overlook a subject just because it’s something you know nothing about or it covers a locale that you have no interest in – you will learn new methodologies and tips in every class you attend.

Larger conferences now provide registered attendees access to syllabus material weeks before the conference begins. Take the time to review the presenter’s handouts. You can usually read through them and determine whether you will be overwhelmed with the class or find it too boring. Unless you are paying extra for a paper syllabus, plan on printing out the syllabus pages for the classes you plan to attend, or load them on your digital tablet or phone. You can then make notes during class using these handouts. Some times you will have a CD copy of the syllabus provided to you at registration.

Prepare yourself before attending the conference.

Get yourself ready to go starting with planning your trip. If this is a local conference, determine what you need to take with you each day and how you are going to get there. Are you driving? If so, you need to plan your parking in advance. On-site parking may be much more expensive than a smaller lot a block away. Taking public transportation may be less of a hassle than parking. Plan your strategy. Review the time of day you would need to be on the roads, the part of town where the conference is held and be prepared for the unexpected.

If you are flying to the conference then create a travel list of things to pack. Plan and prepare your flight plan, transportation to and from the airport, and don’t forget your list of meds, insurance cards, cell phones and any other items you may need. Don’t forget that extra carry on bag to get your conference materials home. If you have gathered too many, check with the hotel and have your extra’s shipped home. It may be cheaper than paying for that extra baggage on the plane.

Plan your attire. Workshops are not a formal affair so dress accordingly. Usually these conferences are quite casual and require very comfy clothing and good walking shoes. You will cover a lot of ground during each day. The last thing you want to do is end the day with blisters on both feet and still need to walk to your car or your room. Conference center rooms are often drafty or way too warm. Don’t dress for the outside, dress for a variety of temps inside. Bring a jacket or sweater and dress in layers.  If you have a problem with sweaty feet, bring an extra pair of socks to change midday. You want to be very comfortable.

Take a bag with you. If you don’t like to carry things or you get a headache from carrying a bag then get one on rollers.  The more things you pick up during the day the heavier that bag becomes.  (Larger conferences give you a carry bag at registration with a conference program, papers, and miscellaneous “stuff”.  I stuff the whole thing in my roller bag. Besides, roller bags make a great footrest!) Here is a list of items that you may find beneficial to carry with you. 
  • ·      Address labels or business cards. You can label items you pick up (even your conference booklet) or purchase and, exchange info with other attendees and vendors.  You will make friends throughout the conference that you meet in classes or over lunch that you want to contact with later.
  • ·       Pens, pencils, highlighters, paper, a clipboard or folder.
  • ·      Take a digital camera. You can take pictures of some presentation pages if allowed by the presenter. You might want to remember something specific about a vendor. Or, you might want to take pictures of friends or presenters you meet.
  • ·      You may be one of those people who love to take notes on your PC or you want your genealogy files with you. You can take your PC, handheld, or smartphone, but don’t expect to plug it in to an electrical socket from every room. It may not be available. Consider others when you bring these tools. Turn off the sound and beeps.
  • ·      Take snacks and a water bottle with you in your bag. There are food vendors at most large conferences but nothing may be available at others.  If you are in classes for several hours before a lunch break you will appreciate a snack and you may not be able to find a drinking fountain between each class.
  •         Take tissues and any meds you may need throughout the day.
  •         Remember, you can even roll up the jacket or sweater and stuff it in your bag when you don’t need it.

The workshops finally begin!

Be prompt. Don’t show up one minute before or ten minutes after a class starts and expect to get the best seat in the room. Don’t come in late and walk in front of a projector or stumble over everyone’s feet trying to get to the center of a room. Be early for the class whenever possible. Classes will start on time because they are on a tight schedule.

Take notes. Use your paper syllabus, your printed handouts, or a notepad. At the end of a class or while you are waiting for the next class to begin, summarize your key points and reread them.

Make the most of lectures and workshops. If you take the time before hand to prepare any questions you may have you will get better answers from those questions you ask. There is no such thing as a dumb question, so don’t be afraid to ask. However, classes need to be geared to generalizations, not your specific ancestor. So don’t waste other attendees time by asking the presenter a question geared to a specific circumstance or person. Most presenters will give an email address, or are available in the vendor area to ask specific questions later.

Make connections everywhere you go. Network, talk to people, introduce yourself. Establish research interests.  Exchange those address stickers or business cards.

Prepare for the VENDOR experience! Find the vendor map in your conference packet or locate it online before you go. Then plan your attack! Mark on your map the vendors you are most interesting in visiting. Make those your first priority. That way you can spend quality time with those vendors and visit the others as time permits.

Maintain a conference log. List friends, contacts, vendors, speakers to suggest to a group you belong to, and important points from lectures. Chart your progress and new skills you have acquired.  Make notes for your future research.  At the end of conference make sure your notes are understandable.

Participate in special events whenever you can. These provide extra opportunities to ask questions, network, and learn more.

The conference is over!
  If you can spend an extra day before or after a conference make sure to familiarize yourself with local research facilities, local points of interest and good places to eat. Enjoy the opportunity of visiting a new area of the country.

When you get home remember to review your notes, file important materials away and contact those new genealogy friends! Take a rest and then you’ll be ready to start planning your next conference!  


Family Discovery Day for LDS Church Members at RootsTech

In conjunction with the third day of RootsTech, on Saturday, February 8, 2014, Family Discover Day is a day of devotionals, classes, and interactive experiences designed especially for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Whether you’re just getting started with photos and stories or are already into your family tree, there is something for everyone.

Hear inspirational messages from Elder Neil L. Andersen, Elder Allan F. Packer, Elder Bradley D. Foster, and popular speakers who will:
  • Help inspire you to record, preserve, and share your family stories.
  • Teach you to find and prepare your family names for temple work.
  • Teach you the powerful features of the Family Tree on FamilySearch.
  • Help those with family history callings with insightful training.
  • Help you get started on your family history.
Family Discovery Day is free to attend and includes access to the huge RootsTech Expo Hall, where more than 100 vendors will help you with things, such as:
  • Recording your story.
  • Scanning photos and books.
  • Creating a visual family tree and more.

Family Discovery Day Classes

View full Family Discovery Day schedule, Family Discovery Day classes have an ID number that starts with LDS.

Register for Family Discovery Day

Family Discovery Day is free and includes access to the RootsTech Expo Hall. Click here to REGISTER. Begin the process, and on step 3, select Family Discovery Day as your pass option.

07 January 2014

Start with Family Stories - Riverton FamilySearch Library Saturday Seminar

The Riverton FamilySearch Library will host a free seminar on Saturday, January 18th, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. that will offer help to genealogists of all skill levels. 

 Start with Family Stories: Find, Organize, Preserve, and Share 

Stories make up who we are, and with the miracle of modern technology, we can share family stories in new ways. Learn how to upload photos, stories, and documents online; capture stories in the Family Story Room; explore the future at RootsTech 2014; and engage children, youth, and adults along the way. 

Devin Ashby is a project manager for FamilySearch, the largest genealogical organization in the world. Devin has been involved in family history for over ten years and holds bachelor degrees in history and Spanish and a masters degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University. 

 Following the keynote presentation from 9:00 to10:00 a.m., two blocks of four classes each are offered that cover topics of interest for beginning, intermediate, and advanced family history enthusiasts. 

10:15 a.m. Choose one of the following four classes: 
   • “Using British Naming Patterns to Find Your Ancestors” - Craig Foster 
   • “How Photos and Stories Can Lead to Temple Work” - Fran Jensen 
   • “Ancestral Quest Basics”- -Bud Wood 
   • “United States Statewide Collections on FamilySearch.org” - Adele Marcum 

11:30 a.m. Choose one of the following four classes: 
   • “Canadian Vital Records” - Yvonne Sorenson 
   • “I'm Irish, now what? Beginner's Guide to Tracing Your Immigrant Ancestor Back to Ireland”- -Jessica Taylor 
   • “The Research Journal: Your New Best Friend” - Katie Ledbetter 
   • “My Family Have Been Latter-day Saints for Generations: What Can I Do with Respect to Family History?” - Michael Grimshaw 

 Registration is not required for this free seminar. The Riverton FamilySearch Library is located in the LDS Riverton Office Building at 3740 West Market Center Drive. The facility is near the intersection of Bangerter Highway and 13400 South, just east of The Home Depot.

04 January 2014

UVTAGG - Free Saturday Keynote and Classes


The next regular, second-Saturday-of-the-month meeting of the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group - UVTAGG  will be on Saturday, 11 Jan 2014, from 9 am to noon in the LDS "Red Chapel", 4050 North Timpview Drive (650 East), Provo.  Information about the Group, main presentations, classes, and class notes are available on their website http://uvtagg.org.
The main presentation this month will be by Diane C. Loosle on Discover the Future of the Family History Library and Family History Centers.  What does the future experience in the Family History Library and Centers look like? What are the future plans for the Family History Library and Centers? How will things change in the next few years with more records and books being available online? How do the new partnerships between FamilySearch and Ancestry, MyHeritage and DC Thomson Family History change things? What is the “discovery center” we keep hearing about? These and other questions you may have about the Family History Library and Family History Centers will be addressed.  Diane C. Loosle is the new Director of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, as well as the Family History Centers worldwide, so this will be a chance to hear what is really happening, not just rumors.  

Diane is an Accredited Genealogist® and a Certified GenealogistSM  with a Bachelors degree in History from BYU with an emphasis in Family History and Genealogy and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Utah.   She has worked for FamilySearch for the past twenty years as a British Reference Consultant, British Reference Unit Supervisor, Customer Experience Manager, FamilySearch Genealogical Community Services Manager and now as Director of the Family History Library and Family History Centers worldwide. She enjoys spending time in the outdoors and traveling with her husband Mike.  Of additional interest to Utah County people is that she was in the BYU Cougar Marching Band while a student at the "Y"!  Information on her appointment as Director of the Family History Library is at https://familysearch.org/blog/en/diane-loosle-named-director-world-renowned-family-history-library/ 
After the main presentation the following classes are scheduled.  Check the meetings page at http://uvtagg.org/ for last minute changes or additions.   

(1)  Evernote:  Your Virtual Genealogy Assistant, by Sue Maxwell;  

(2)  Q&A: Discover the Future of the Family History Library and Family History Centers, by Diane C. Loosle;  

(3)  Making Your Trip to the Family History Center More Productive, by Ron Snowden;  

(4)  Ask An Expert (Personal Help), by Don Engstrom and Finn Hansen;  

(5)  Video of November's main presentation: The Latest and Greatest in FamilySearch Photos and Stories, by Tim Cross;  

(6)  Ancestral Quest, by Gaylon Findlay;  

(7)  Legacy: New Features in 8.0, by Dean Bennett;  and  

(8)  RootsMagic, by Renee Zamora.
All meetings of UVTAGG are open to the public whether members of the Group or not. The Group has the goal of helping individuals use technology to further their family history and there are usually about 100 attending the monthly meetings on the second Saturdays.