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.

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!