Saturday, February 6, 2016

Friday at RootsTech 2016

Friday was another exciting busy day at RootsTech. I started off in the exhibit hall with Maureen Taylor, aka The Photo Detective. Recently, I received three photos from a family member and wanted to see if I was estimating the time period they were taken correctly. I was in the ballpark for two of them. One of the subjects was a civil war veteran and it looks like the photo was taken in the 1860s. Yeah! The third is turning out to be a mystery because the time period the picture was taken conflicts with the age the person would have been. So now I have to wonder if the person in the photo was correctly identified. My 15 minutes with Maureen was incredibly educational. I just love listening to her reason her way through these old photos. I'll be writing more about what's coming up with Maureen in a future post.

The talk I gave today, Digging for Ancestors at the Bureau of Land Management, was well attended. One attendee followed along online, on her ipad, while I did the "tour" of the BLM website. She found an ancestor and was very enthusiastic to follow up and order the land entry case file. Yeah!

One thing that is a big improvement this year is the wifi in the Salt Palace. It is functioning great with all of the thousands of RootsTech attendees. Like the lady who followed along on the BLM website during my presentation, I was able to do the same in the sessions I attended.

The two sessions I attended were:
  • Finn Karlsen's How to Search the Norwegian Digital Archive
  • Kitty Cooper's How to Do a DNA Triangulation: Case Studies
I'll have more about those classes in a future blog post.

RootsTech is great for connecting with other GeneaBloggers. This week is no different. Jill Ball from Australia is one of my favorites. I met Jill several years ago when I won her RootsTech pass contest. She writes the GeniAus blog.

More to come!

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© 2016, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Friday, February 5, 2016

RootsTech Thursday 5 February 2016

World's Largest Genealogy Chart
RootsTech was a long day but eventful day on Thursday. We started the day with a challenge from Steve Rockwood, president and CEO of FamilySearch. Select an ancestor or family member and think of a story about that person. Then share it with your family members in one minute or less. What a great table topic around the family dinner table! I say take it another step and record or write down that one minute story.

Ancestry recorded an on camera interview with me about researching your ancestors in the records of the Bureau of Land Management. I’ll let you know when the interview appears online. It was a fun experience. I also had the opportunity to discuss some of the AncestryDNA features with Anna Swayne. I’ll be sharing that information in future talks and blog posts. AncestryDNA has some cool and powerful tools.

My first RootsTech presentation, The Non-Scientist’s Introduction to Genetic Genealogy and DNA went well and I’ve receive some positive feedback from the talk.

The rest of my afternoon was DNA oriented. Paul Woodbury had two sessions that I attended. The first, Developing a DNA Testing Plan gave me one of those light bulb moments. If you are looking at your mitochondrial or Y-DNA matches in Family Tree DNA (FtDNA) check to see if they are also an autosomal match (Family Finder). It may help you narrow down where on your tree you might have a common ancestor.
This is an image from the Y-DNA match list. This particular match also took the Family Finder test and has uploaded a tree.

Paul’s class, Introduction to Chromosome Mapping was the last class for the day. It was an excellent review. So now I can get right back up to speed on my chromosome mapping project which has been languishing lately.

I also want to mention that The In-Depth Genealogist is running a conference special of a $25 subscription for everyone. Whether you are attending in person, virtually from home or from following the various blogs. Hop on over to The In-Depth Genealogist website or wander over to Booth 1334 in the RootsTech exhibit hall.

Stay tuned and remember you can attend virtually via the livestream.

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© 2016, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

RootsTech Media Dinner - Sneak Previews

At the Media Dinner tonight we were treated to time with tomorrow's keynote speaker, Paula Madison. Paula is the the subject of and executive producer for, Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China. She is also the author of the book, Finding Samuel Lowe.  She spoke to us about her search for her grandfather and a family reunion on another continent. She graciously signed her book, posed for pictures and answered questions after we watched the movie. Paula's story was riveting, emotional and heart warming. Her keynote tomorrow is sure to be excellent. If you are attending RootsTech from home, be sure to watch the livestream that begins at 8:30 am.

Also, tomorrow is the Freedman's Bureau Index-A-Thon. I'm sure you will hear more about it in the morning.
At tonights dinner I caught up with Thomas MacEntee, GeneaBloggers founder and one of the people who helped me get started with this blog several years ago.

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© 2016, copyright Michelle Goodrum

RootsTech 2016 Day 1, Wednesday

RootsTech 2016
One of the big events at RootsTech today was the Innovator Showdown. There were 60 applicants who applied for the $100,000 grand prize. It’s a combination of cash and other products and services. There were many excellent presentations. Here's what caught my attention:
It’s a way to curate the myriad of social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc), email and photos. It includes commenting, sharing and an event based collaboration feature (great for family reunions). You can then use their publishing platform to produce a book of your “journaling.”

The History Project
Allows you to bring together documents, photos, audio files, etc about one of your family members to allow their lives to be remembered.

A 3D lazer scanner for albums

We will see later this week who the finalists are.

This morning I met with Ben Gunther from MacFamilyTree. They are preparing to launch version 8. More on that later.

This afternoon is ramping up in terms of places to go and people to see. I’m attending “France Internet Sources – Top Research Sites” in hopes of getting some ideas for researching the 25% of my ancestry that is French.

I have a practice session for the first of my presentations, “The Non-Scientist’s Intro to Genetic Genealogy and DNA.” That session is tomorrow, Thursday at 1:30. My second speaking session is Friday at 1:30 when I talk about, “Digging for Ancestors: The Bureau of Land Management.”

With any luck, I’ll be able to catch Judy Russell’s, “More Than Just Names: Advanced US Census Research,” at 4:30. The day rounds out with the RootsTech Media Dinner which I’m excited for.

For those of you who aren’t attending RootsTech in person, remember some of the sessions are streaming live. Check out the schedule.

More to come both at this blog and over at The In-Depth Genealogist. They have quite a contingent attending this year.

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© 2016, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Disclaimer: As a speaker and Ambassador for RootsTech 2016, I have been given 

Monday, January 25, 2016

FINALLY Get Organized: January Report

 I love organization. Lately it seems like there aren't enough hours in the day to get organized and stay that way! So I am excited that Dear Myrtle is doing her "FINALLY Get Organized!" series.
January has been a challenging month with the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and some family issues. But I've managed some big accomplishments.

My desk and computer work space is pristine. I feel like a ton of bricks have been lifted off my back. I can actually find things on my desk because all of the piles are gone. There are no distractions now that I have the one thing I'm working on sitting on my desk. The best part is that I cleaned up the desk the first week of January and here it is the last week of the month and it's still clean

My notebook system is pretty similar to what Dear Myrtle wants us to set up. But I did have some glaring holes! There was no section for myself or sibling. Oops! Also, while I do have sections set up for Dad and his parents, some important documents weren't included. Honestly, I just couldn't bring myself to put Dad's death certificate in there. But it's time. While I was at it, there were a couple of birth and marriage documents that I added, scanned, attached to my RootsMagic database and transcribed. Sometimes we get so wrapped up with chasing down the ancestors we didn't personally know, we forget to properly organize the more recent generations. 

I still have boxes and boxes of papers belonging to my parents and grandparents that I'm slowly organizing. That's not going to get done this month. All in good time.

One important task on Myrt's list was to, "Create an introduction..." She goes on to say, "Your surname binder and surname digital file folder on your computer each need an introduction to quickly orient those who find your work later." This is so important if we want our family to be able to use our work! I'm working on this task this week.

We need a file naming scheme for our digital files. Mine goes something like this:


My hope is that this will allow the files for an individual to naturally sort in chronological order. It works pretty well...unless there are variations in the way someone spelled their name. I always name the file using the name the way it was spelled in the document.

Just for fun, I've started putting photos on the front of my binders. Here's the cover I created for the Roos binder:
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 © 2016, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, December 31, 2015

RootsTech 2016 Keynote Speakers

RootsTech 2016 is just over a month away. It's held in Salt Lake City, Utah at the Salt Palace. One of the many highlights of the conference are the daily keynote speakers. I'm looking forward to all of them. Check out the daily schedule:

Thursday, February 4, 2016: 
  • Steve Rockwood, managing director for the Family History Department and President/CEO of FamilySearch International.
  •  Paula Madison, the subject of and executive producer for, Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China.
  • Bruce Feiler, a New York Times best selling author and author of the column "This Life" that appears in the Sunday New York Times. 
 Friday, February 5:
  • Josh and Naiomi Davis (Taza). Naomi is author of the blog, Love Taza.
Saturday, February 6:
  • Doris Goodwin Kearns, presidential historian and Pulitzer-prize winning author. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Family Discovery Day at RootsTech 2016

The latest announcement of RootsTech 2016 is below.

Also, registration for RootsTech is running at 50% more than this time last year. It's a good time to think about registering for RootsTech. After all the Salt Palace can only hold so many people! RootsTech registration is limited to 12,500 and Family Discovery Day is capped at 21,000. Just as important, if you are traveling from out of town, consider making accommodation arrangements.

SALT LAKE CITY, (November 23, 2015)—RootsTech, the largest family history conference in the world, announced today that Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Ruth Renlund, willlead its lineup for its free Family Discovery Day event, which will take place on Saturday, February 6, 2016, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. This incredible opportunity is specially designed for families and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ages eight and older.
 The free one-day event will feature inspirational messages, instructional classes, interactive activities, and exciting entertainment designed to teach Latter-day Saint families how to find their ancestors, how to prepare names for temple ordinances, and how to teach others to do the same. Attendees will also have access to the Expo Hall, where hundreds of exhibitors will showcase the latest technology and tools.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and FamilySearch International will host the event. Families are encouraged to register online at
Before Elder Renlund’s recent call as an Apostle, he served in the First Quorum of the Seventy and in the presidency of the Africa Southeast Area. After receiving B.A. and M.D. degrees from the University of Utah, Elder Renlund was a professor of medicine and the medical director of a cardiac transplant program. Sister Renlund graduated from the University of Maryland Law School in 1986 and practiced law with the Utah attorney general’s office. She served as president of the Utah Association for Justice. She also served on the Utah Supreme Court’s advisory committee for professionalism and was a member of the Deseret News board of directors.
In addition to Elder and Sister Renlund, attendees will hear from other Church leaders, including Primary general president Rosemary M. Wixom and Brother Stephen W. Owen of the Young Men general presidency.
Family Discovery Day will also feature additional Latter-day Saint speakers and closing event entertainment, which will be announced soon. Family Discovery Day is free, but registration is required. Visit to learn more and to register.

About RootsTech
RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.

Disclaimer: I am a RootsTech 2016 Ambassador and received complimentary registration to RootsTech along with other perks.