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.

RootsTech early bird deadline extended

RootsTech 2015 registration is openIf you’ve been on the fence about attending RootsTech 2015, to be held in Salt Lake City February 12 to 14, now’s the time to commit. They’ve just extended the early bird price of $159 for the three-day conference. You can grab it until Monday, January 26.

To get more information and to register, go to the RootsTech website.

I attended last year and loved it and will be attending again this year. I think $159 for the level of education you get there is a gigantic bargain. (By contrast, I pay about $600 for registration for my organizers’ professional conferences.)

If you decide to go, please let me know in the comments. Perhaps we can meet!

Creating a genealogy to-do list

gentodolistsampleI know I have two big impediments when it comes to making progress with my genealogy research. One is that I often don’t know where to start in a particular session. The other is that I think I need a huge block of time and that huge block rarely comes.

But I know better. I am a big believer in grabbing snippets of time to complete discrete tasks. For me, this is true in life and in genealogy research. But my reluctance to start a short session still rears its head.

Yesterday, as I was pondering this situation, I came up with a strategy that might be helpful. I created a form for myself where I can separate tasks by the amount of time I think they’ll take. That way, when I find myself with 30 minutes to spend on family history research, I can scan the “30 minutes” section (or the “15 minutes or less” section) and hop right into a task. The form I created has seven sections: 15 minutes (or less), 30 minutes, one hour, two hours, half day, full day, and weekend.

Since I’m trying to focus on one branch of my family per quarter, I decided to make a separate list for each branch. That way, if I come across some leads for families I’m not working on this quarter, I can put them on the appropriate list, and when that quarter rolls around I’ll already have a task list to get me started.

If I manage to use this form consistently, it should serve a few purposes:

  • I’ll be able to jump right into my research without feeling overwhelmed
  • My sessions should be more focused and productive
  • I’ll research more frequently, because I won’t be waiting for large blocks of time to emerge
  • If I hit a dead end, I can go right back to my list to refocus

I can’t wait to give this a try. I’ve started with a short list for a couple of family branches. I’m going to figure out a way to include routine tasks on the list (like updating my progress tracker and making sure that all paper documents are also properly stored on my hard drive) so that they get done relatively painlessly. I think this will definitely be a work in progress.

In the next week or two, I’ll create a template for you to use in your research and include it in the Printables section of this site. I’m going to wait a little while to do so, so that I can refine it a bit, based on my use. (An excerpt of my one-day-old version of the form is what’s pictured with this post.) I’m thinking that I may drop the final two sections, since I want to include smaller tasks, not large projects, on the list. But I’ll use it awhile before deciding.

I’m curious: Do you find it hard to figure out where to start when you have time to do genealogy research? Or is that something peculiar to me?

Find genealogy success with Genealogy Intensive from Thomas MacEntee

One of the things I struggle with in my genealogy research is finding the time to do the research, staying focused, and avoiding overwhelm. Internet communities and research trips can provide camaraderie and support but, for the most part, genealogy research is a pretty solitary endeavor.

That’s why I was really excited to receive an email yesterday from Thomas MacEntee of Hack Genealogy and GeneaBloggers announcing his new Genealogy Intensive™ online workshops. (Maybe you received it too.)

The six-week workshop is limited to 13 participants, all focused on a common goal. (Each individual workshop has a theme.) The participants provide support, feedback and accountability to one another and are led by an expert coach. There are assignments and weekly online meetings. The first Genealogy Intensive, called The Write Stuff will be led by Lisa Alzo and is for people who are interested in building their their family history writing skills. It starts October 13. The price for the Genealogy Intensive is just $129 (right now it’s discounted to $99), which seems like a huge bargain to me.

I know from experience that this type of camaraderie, accountability, guidance and focus can reap huge benefits. I’ve taken similar courses in different contexts. In fact, I started this blog as a result of a similar workshop in 2012 called Why Not Now? that spurred me to figure out the technology side of setting up the blog, something I’d been wanting to do for ages. After the two-week-long Why Not Now? workshop in April 2012, the blog was well on its way. It went live in June 2012 and has been going strong ever since.

The other reason I’m so excited by Genealogy Intensive concept is that I’m a big fan of Tom MacEntee. I listened to him raptly for four hours as he lectured at the Genealogy Society of Southern Illinois’ one-day conference  in August and I love his website GeneaBloggers. I’m very grateful for the support he provides to genealogy blogger and for his generosity in sharing his knowledge about genealogy.

If you’re interested in putting your family history into writing and feel you could use some instruction and encouragement, I urge you to sign up! I won’t be signing up for this particular intensive (I’m a professional writer), but I eagerly await the schedule of 2015 Intensives that Tom tells me will be coming out in the next few weeks.