Early-bird registration for NGS conference ends March 30

Early-bird registration for NGS conference ends March 30I am so excited to be attending the National Genealogical Society’s annual Family History Conference, May 13 to 16. It’s going to held in St. Charles, Missouri, less than a half hour from my house, so it’s been on my calendar for about three years.

I registered in January, but I just noticed that the early-bird registration deadline is Monday, March 30. If you register after Monday, you’ll pay an additional $35. So if you’ve been on the fence about attending, now might be a good time to make a decision. Here are links for the program and to register. It’s a very robust program.

If you can’t attend but are interested in the content, a certain number of the lectures will be available via live stream for a fee of $80 or $140, depending on whether you buy the opportunity to view one or two tracks.

This is the first NGS conference I’ve attended. In past years, they’ve conflicted with my husband’s birthday. But the conference is a little bit later this year, and local, so there was not way I was going to miss it. I can’t wait to experience the differences between NGS and RootsTech (and the SCGS Jamboree I’ll be attending in June).

I love genealogy conferences because of the learning opportunities and the motivation it gives me. And I love being around people who are knowledgeable and passionate about genealogy. I feel so fortunate to have this year’s conference practically in my back yard.

If you’re planning to attend, please let me know and maybe we can meet up!

Just signed up for SCGS Jamboree!

Blogger badge-blogger-1I hadn’t actually considered attending the Southern California Genealogical Society’s annual Jamboree this year. I was aware of it, but I hadn’t focused on the content and I think I had a vague notion that the conference was related to southern California genealogy.

Then yesterday one of my readers, Kitty Cooper, a genetic genealogy expert who is a presenter at this year’s Jamboree, asked if she’d see me there.  I checked out the Jamboree’s website, saw all the great talks being offered at a really reasonable price, and decided to attend.

In addition to the three-day Jamboree, June 5 through 7, the SCGS is offering a one-day workshop on DNA on June 4. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that I’ve had my autosomal DNA test done, but I’m pretty clueless about the meaning of the results. So I jumped at the chance for this in-depth learning opportunity.

The conference was made more affordable for me when I contacted a friend who lives just 20 minutes away from the conference venue (the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport) and she invited me to stay in her home.

There are many great offerings, but I’m particularly looking forward to hearing talks about Civil War ancestors, pre-1850 U.S. Censuses, mapping, Jewish genealogy (my husband is Jewish and I’ve been thinking of helping him look into his family history) and, of course, genetic genealogy.

If you’re considering attending, registration is only $125 for SCGS members who register by April 30. I’ll share with you that I found the online registration process a little baffling. The website doesn’t make it abundantly clear what is included with the registration fee. I was helped by taking a look at the mail-in registration form, which outlined everything clearly. From there, I went ahead and joined online then, in a separate transaction, registered for the DNA day and the full weekend Jamboree. I also signed up for  the Saturday night banquet featuring Michael D. Lacopo, talking about his popular blog, Hoosier Daddy.

Thank you, Kitty, for suggesting it, I look forward to meeting you and hearing you speak at the DNA day!

If any other readers are planning to attend the Jamboree, please let me know. I’d love to meet you!

Putting your ancestors’ lives in context

HistoryLines can help you create a timeline for your ancestorsOne of the ways I want to explore my ancestors as I try to dig deeper into their lives (learning more about my ancestors, rather than learning about more ancestors) is to put their lives in social context. I’d like to learn more about how they lived and what life was like for them.

At RootsTech, I learned about a new service, HistoryLines, that helps me do just that. I think it’s pretty exciting. You enter in an ancestor name or link a Family Search tree or upload a GEDCOM and you’re presented with a timeline of information about what was going on around your ancestor at the time he or she lived.

The service is in Beta now, but I signed up as a Beta user (as can you) and have had a good time exploring it.

Here’s a video they debuted at RootsTech.

The timeline that HistoryLines produces includes historical events that may have had an impact on the ancestor’s life, as well as more personal information, like how childbirth might have been for the ancestor’s mother, and what education, hygiene, clothing, medicine and entertainment were like at the time. (That’s just the tip of the iceberg of available information.) There’s also an interactive map, so that you can see their migration patterns. You can edit the timeline, which allows you to quite easily create a meaningful story to share with others.

My ancestors are all from the U.S. and the U.S.-related information on HistoryLines is plentiful. They also have information from Germany and Denmark and data for Canada and France are in process. I’m sure they will be adding data from more countries.

Timelines can be a great organizing aid. Adding social to the context makes this a really fun, and potentially very meaningful, tool.

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.