Starting the oral history conversation

family_history_daily_main_logoLast month, I read this great interview with D. Joshua Taylor, president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, Director of Family History at findmypast.com and co-host of Genealogy Roadshow. The interview was written by Creastleaf for Family History Daily.

I was especially inspired by this question and answer:

Crestleaf: To you, what are the top three most important questions people should ask when conducting oral history interviews with their family members?

JT: First, who was the oldest relative you knew; make that leap from one generation to another while you can. Second, ask them about their childhood – these are the clues and tidbits that we cannot readily find in existing records. Finally, ask them about a memory of yourself – too often we fail to document our own stories.

I think those questions are brilliant! They’re informal, will glean great information, and, I think, spark more conversation.

I just spent some time with my elderly parents on a whirlwind visit to Walla Walla, Washington, with my niece and nephew, who live in Australia. I had hoped to try out those questions but ended up having precious little time for such conversations. When I go back in a couple of months for a more leisurely visit, I’ll be sure and ask the questions. I hope to be able to ask them of my aunt (my father’s sister) as well.

And when I do, I’ll report here. My thanks to Crestleaf, Family History Daily, and, of course, Joshua Taylor for such great information!

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!

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!