Step away from the desk

Leaving the house can make you a better genealogist

Thomas MacEntee and me

When I started doing genealogy research, I did all my research online, from the comfort (and isolation) of my desk. I was able to find a huge amount of information. Twenty-first century genealogy researchers are truly fortunate.

But I’ve learned that getting away from the desk and researching at other repositories can be really beneficial. When I was researching at the Midwest Genealogy Center, I was reminded of the benefits of scanning a section of books. Titles jump out that I wouldn’t have thought to search for. Friendly librarians pointed out resources I didn’t know existed. At the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, a professional genealogist on staff gave me a mini research lesson as she helped me confirm that a person I’d found was actually my great great grandfather.

There’s another way to learn by stepping away from the desk: Going to conferences. Last Saturday, I attended a one-day conference sponsored by the Genealogy Society of Southern Illinois. It was in Carterville, Illinois, two hours from my home in St. Louis. I learned about it from a blog reader, Vickie Sheridan, who commented after I expressed my disappointment over not being able to attend the Midwestern Roots Family History and Genealogy Conference in Indianapolis as planned.

The conference was terrific! I am so grateful to Vickie for telling me about it. There were at least four ways it benefited that made it well worth the time and (somewhat minimal) expense:

  • I learned a huge amount of information that will help me in my research
  • I got ideas for blog posts
  • I met Vickie
  • I met Thomas MacEntee, the conference speaker (he did four talks!), whom I’d been looking forward to meeting in Indianapolis

I’ll write more in a future post about some of the great research tips and tricks Thomas presented, but I’ll whet your appetite with this one. Tom has created what he calls a Genealogy Research Toolbox in which he has organized a huge collection of over 150 valuable genealogy links. He encourages people to use it and share it. Here it is: Genealogy Research Toolbox.

In discussing the value of curating links such as these, Tom made a very cogent point.

Why should I spend 30 minutes looking for a link when I could spend that 30 minutes looking for my ancestors?

That’s just another way that being organized can help us be more productive researchers. I’m so glad I left my house in an effort to become a better genealogy researcher!

 

 

When life gets in the way of genealogy plans

frowneyfaceI was so excited to go to the Midwestern Roots Family History and Genealogy conference this weekend. I’d heard from several blog readers who were going to be there and I’d arranged to meet some fellow genealogy bloggers. All that, plus the opportunity to soak in the knowledge of a two-day conference and a pre-conference workshop. That’s my idea of a great time.

But today I made the decision to cancel my plans to go. I have a long-time, beloved organizing client who has moved back to St. Louis and her belongings are arriving tomorrow, the day I was planning to leave for the conference. I’m committed to getting her moved in and settled as quickly as possible, so my team and I will be spending the rest of the week making that happen. I just wish the moving company had delivered her belongings sooner–they arrived in St. Louis over a week ago. But it can’t be helped.

I figured out a consolation prize, though. I’m going to devote Saturday and Sunday to genealogy education. I had purchased ten lectures worth of streaming content of the National Genealogical Society’s 2014 conference, and the opportunity to watch it is expiring in just a couple of weeks. So I’ll watch that and get a bit of the conference experience. I also plan to spend time reading some of the copious information I’ve gathered about preserving original family documents (the subject of the pre-conference workshop I was planning to attend). And I hope to spend some time with my  ancestor map and maybe do a little research on my Rasco line while I’m at it.

Committing to doing that work this weekend has made me feel better about having to miss the conference. I’m also buoyed by the prospect of the National Genealogical Society’s 2015 conference in St. Charles, Missouri, a mere 30 minutes from my house.

Want to meet up at the Midwestern Roots conference?

Midwestern Roots 2014 conferenceI can’t believe it’s almost August already. Next week I travel to Indianapolis for the Midwestern Roots Family History and Genealogy conference. I’m very excited. I love conferences in general and I’ve really enjoyed the genealogy conferences I’ve attended so far. RootsTech 2014 was especially valuable for me.

Before I went to RootsTech in February, I posted here and was so happy to hear from a reader, Lori Krause, who was attending. She’s a fellow Missourian (though she lives on the other side of the state) and we spent a lot of time together at the conference and have also visited the Midwest Genealogy Center together subsequently.

So I thought I’d see if anyone is going to the Indiana conference. If so, maybe we can get together for coffee or sit together at a session. (I promise not to pressure you to become my BFF.) Just leave a comment and I’ll contact you via email or just email me through the Contact form.

I’m heading up early for the pre-conference session on preserving original family documents on Thursday morning.

I’m very excited about this learning opportunity. And I hope to multiply the benefit by meeting one or more readers of this blog!

Are you attending Midwestern Roots Family History and Genealogy Conference?

Midwestern Roots 2014 ConferenceI’m very excited! I just registered for the Indiana Historical Society’s Midwestern Roots Family History and Genealogy Conference, August 1 and 2 in Indianapolis. Indy is within driving distance for me, so when I saw the caliber of the offerings at this conference, it was a no-brainer to sign up. Presenters include Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers and High Definition Genealogy; Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems (in fact, I found out about the conference through Lisa’s newsletter); Anne Gillespie Mitchell of Ancestry.com, and Warren Bittner, genealogical researcher and trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists, among other great speakers.

I also signed up for a pre-conference session on preserving original family documents, presented by Romana Duncan-Huse, senior director of conservation at the Indiana Historical Society. I’m very interested in continuing my education on preserving inherited items.

If you’re an avid conference-goer like me and live near Indianapolis or wouldn’t mind traveling there, I encourage you to check out the program at the link above. At only $150, it’s a very moderately priced conference.

If you plan to attend, please let me know!