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!

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness has returned!

RAOGK is back!Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK), the website where frustrated family history researchers could request (and receive) help from strangers, has returned after a three-year hiatus. In its heyday, the website, which was started in 1999, had over 4,000 volunteers. Due to the illness and subsequent death of one of its founder, Bridgett Schneider, it ceased operations in 2011. (Thanks to Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter for the background.)

The website is trying to build itself back to its former glory and is looking for volunteers to do courthouse lookups, tombstone photos, and similar local tasks. Volunteers are reimbursed for expenses, but not time, and are expected to do at least one free genealogy research task (an Act of Kindness) monthly.

This is a great example of the genealogical generosity I learned about last year at Roots Tech. I love how genealogists help one another–and I love that RAOGK will make it so easy to help. If you’re so inclined, I urge you to go to the website and register as a volunteer in your local area. (And, of course, if you’re in a fix with your research look to see if there are volunteers in the area where you need help.)

 

Another great resource: free newsletters

weeklygenealogistI’m a big fan of the genealogy resources I pay for. Ancestry.com, Fold3.com, Family Tree magazine and Family Tree University have all been worth the money I paid for them and I’m lucky that I have the resources to budget for them.

One reason I’m glad to pay for the subscription sites is that they provide one-stop shopping, in a sense. They’re chock full of information so I can search away at one site for hours.

But there are many free resources available that a genealogy researcher could certainly keep busy without every spending a dime.

For me, anyway, sometimes the challenge lies in finding (and remembering) these resources. One great source for them, I’ve found, are genealogy society newsletters and newsletters from luminaries in the genealogy field.

When the newsletters land in my inbox, I give them a quick scan. And then I move them into a family history research email folder, waiting to come up in a search if I need them. Since I have an inbox zero policy, I do at least glance at each newsletter before filing it.

Recently that paid off when I quickly looked over The Weekly Genealogist, the newsletter for the New England Historic Genealogical Society. It had a spotlight on Washington State genealogical resources, including a link to the searchable website of the Masonic Memorial Park in Tumwater, Washington, where, it turns out, my great grandmother and great grandfather, Hattie and Elmer Adams, are buried. I love that I received Pacific Northwest resources via a New England Society!

Here are  some of the free newsletters I subscribe to.

What valuable free newsletters am I missing? I’d love to hear about your favorites.

Ancestry offering free access to military records for Veteran’s Day

1918 WWI Draft Registration Card-James Jeffries-Bates Missouri croppedIn honor of the upcoming observance of Veteran’s Day on November 11, Ancestry.com is offering free access to its military records for the weekend. If you aren’t a subscriber to Ancestry, this is a great opportunity to delve into their extensive database. I never cease to be astounded at the digitized documents that we have access to without leaving our chairs.

Featured collections in this promotion include:

  • World War I Draft Registration Cards
  • U.S. World War I Mother’s Pilgramage
  • World War I, World War II and Korean War Casualty Listings

They’re also offer a free downloadable guide to World War I Draft Cards.

Just go this Veteran’s Day promotion page to get started (and download the guide). The page promises free access to “military collections from around the world, including all U.S. war records.”

Happy hunting!