Saturday, February 25, 2012

Weather Is Beautiful, Wish You Were Here

I just finished attending and presenting a another wonderful event hosted by Family History Expos in St George, Utah.
I wasn't able to go last year and was excited to have another chance to have a quick weekend away with my wife to Utah's "Dixie" about 90 minutes north of Las Vegas.
The weather last time we came was so-so and rained off and on, but this time it has been gorgeous and sunny in the mid-to-upper 60s.  When we left home from up in central Utah there were some frigid north winds blowing with a high in the 30s, so these temps were a welcome change.
Outside the Dixie Center in St George, Utah
I taught 3 different classes at this conference and  each one went well and was full of students anxious to learn. The class time for each was only 50 minutes, so sadly I didn't have much time for questions. Therefore, I  often had students visiting after class and promising to email me for further discussion.
I taught two classes on Friday. The first class was on locating family, local and county histories online. The second one is a popular one on various "Cloud" technologies that can assist in organizing, backing up and syncing your family history and genealogy research data.  We also discussed some applications that allow you to create or modify documents or media. (See the new tab header for some of those tools in my Digital/Cloud Toolbox.)  On Saturday I had the chance to teach a class exploring criminal, prison and asylum records and resources for what I call the "Shady" side of your family tree.   A great conference overall!
 If you were there, what class (mine or someone else's) was your favorite? Share your comments.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rootstech Recap

Time for a brief recap of my RootsTech adventures. In my case it was a wonderful time catching up with many genealogy friends and making lots of new ones.
I was able to meet several of the geneabloggers that I had known online, but hadn't ever met in real life, including a couple mentioned in my previous bucket list post.  I also had a great time meeting up with several of them at a local hotel where we took over the lounge to watch Who Do You Think You Are? with Martin Sheen.  It was fun being able to watch it with others that appreciate what goes into the research and efforts behind the scenes, and can also enjoy the reaction of someone discovering family history details for the first time.
As far as the classes went, I had the chance to attend several great presentations. I was exciting to see the progress being made on a new GEDCOM standard.  I for one will be THRILLED when there is a greater chance of moving data more completely and easily between various apps and web tools!!
The chance to hear from other genealogists about their use of social media was also wonderful. I found that many were using it much like I was, especially regarding using Facebook for more close friendships and everyday stuff, and then google+ for more focused interests and connections.
I certainly had to laugh wholeheartedly at the comedian Ryan Hamilton, that put on a show Thursday night for the crowd. He mentioned the absurdity of Facebook and the fact that it was like someone wandering into your house and pulling your photo albums off the shelf and just perusing them.  Of course you would say, "Who are you and what do you think you are doing!?",  to which the intruder would say, "Oh don't worry about it, I am a friend of a friend".
The chance to speak to vendors was also high on my list.  It gave me a chance to discuss the content of their sites, how the data was exported/imported, what new advances in DNA testing were becoming more accessible, etc., which I can then bring to the table when it comes up in one of my presentations.
Seeing the advancements in cooperation/collaboration between various companies was a treat.  Some still have work to do to play nicely together in the "genealogy sandbox", but things like the efforts in making the 1940 census available and indexing it quickly - including an awesome new mobile app for helping index while on the go (not while driving please)  - really showcase the ability of the genealogy community to work together to accomplish great things. I look forward to seeing this desire to work together as companies, techies and genealogist continue to flourish and expand.