When do you do your genealogy research?

Setting aside time for genealogy researchI love doing genealogy research. I just have a hard time finding the time to do it. When I was at RootsTech two weeks ago, I was immersed in genealogy talk for three days and it was divine. Trouble is, I went from there to visit family members with health issues and was immediately immersed in that. I’m back home now, but have been booked solid with organizing clients. So I have yet to do any research, despite my getting all jazzed up in Salt Lake City.

I realize that the time to do genealogy research is not going to just present itself. I need to set aside time in my busy schedule to do it. I think I’ll set a goal of doing research at least once a week. That feels realistic. Given my work schedule of late, working on family history on a weekend is probably going to be easiest.

I’ve learned through my blogging that if I want to get something done, I should do it first thing in the morning. So I think that for the next month or so I’m going to try hard to do family history research (for as long a period of time as I’m able) first thing on Saturday mornings. If I’m seeing a client on Saturday (which is fairly often the case), I’ll shift to Sunday. It’s rare that I have both Saturday and Sunday clients.

Maybe you can help me. When do you do your genealogy research? Do you schedule it or does it just happen when you feel like it? I’d love to learn from your experience!

It’s not about climbing the tree

One of my takeaways from RootsTech last week was how much one can learn about one’s ancestors by digging deep into the records. I learned techniques for how to use historical maps, military records and tax records to learn more about my ancestors. I can’t wait to dig in.

And that got me thinking: Do I want to learn more about my ancestors or learn about more ancestors? It’s a bit of a quandary. I find myself really excited every time I break into another generation on my tree. I’m anxious to try to verify my initial findings (using unverified sources), for example, that I descend from the Mayflower. I can’t do that if I’m still working in the 19th century.

But I realize that I want to know more about my ancestors than their dates of birth, marriage and death. I’d like to know how they lived, why they migrated, what their military experiences were like, among other things. And that’s going to require locating multiple sources about each ancestor and resisting the temptation to just climb the family tree.

I’m a big fan of spreadsheets and checklists, so I think I’m going to create a checklist of categories of sources to try to find on each ancestor before moving to another. This will also help me when I come back to an ancestor.

I can’t wait to see what I learn!

Photo by Juanjo+Willow via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

Can’t be at RootsTech? Watch from home

Crowds at RootsTech 2015I’m at RootsTech 2015 in Salt Lake City, with 22,000 of my closest friends. Seriously, this is one large conference.  But it’s amazingly manageable. One day in, I can say that the sessions are really valuable. And I’m happy to tell you that even if you’re not able to attend in person, you can remotely watch a selection of the sessions.

The streaming schedule is posted here. If you’re not available when they’re on live, have no fear. The website indicates that recordings of these sessions will be posted for a limited time on the RootsTech website after the conference.

One of the great aspects of the conference, the ginormous trade show, has to be experienced in person, alas. I’ve only scratched the surface my first day here, but I’ve already learned about some new products and services and had a good time talking with vendors. I’ll post some highlights at a later date.

If you have the chance to watch the live stream, I encourage it. This conference offers quality content that’s well worth the time investment.

This photo of the corridor at RootsTech on Thursday was taken by my friend, Lori Hanson Krause. Used with her permission.

Off to RootsTech 2015!

RootsTech 2015 I leave really early tomorrow morning to fly to Salt Lake City for RootsTech. I’m really excited, though my to-do list for today is huge. This is my second year going to RootsTech; I wrote a similar post last year, which I just re-read. Last year I was feeling overwhelmed at the thought of such a large conference (according to this press release, there were 13,000 in attendance last year).

Turns out, this conference is so well organized that the large number of folks wasn’t a big issue. There are an expected 20,000 people going this year, since it’s being held in conjunction with the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) conference.

I bought a pass that allows me to attend FGS sessions as well. So this year I’m feeling overwhelmed not by the number of people, but by the sheer number of choices of classes each day. Thanks to the marvelous RootsTech app, I’ve gone through and selected the classes I think I want to take, but I’m leaving myself open to changing my mind.

Today, I’m focusing on deciding what I want to research at the Family History Library, the largest genealogy library in the world, and what I might need to take along to facilitate that research. I also want to pack light, because I’m going from Salt Lake to Washington state to visit family and I’d really like to do it all in a carry-on. (I by necessity packed light for my last trip to see family and it was worth the effort.) I’m hoping that my focus on keeping my genealogy files organized electronically will work to my benefit so that I don’t have to bring a lot of paper to support my research.

Last year I was feeling shy. This year I have true friend, a reader of this blog, whom I met at last year’s conference. Can’t wait to see her! I look forward to making more friends–I’m going to do my best to speak first and meet interesting people. (I want to give away my new business card!)

Can’t wait to see what I learn. I’ll be posting here about the conference, so if you’re interested, please keep an eye out.

If you’re going to RootsTech and want to meet up, let me know!