Friday, September 16, 2016

Ancestry Interview with Yours Truly

Earlier this year at RootsTech, I gave a talk on using the Bureau of Land Management records. Ancestry did an interview with me which is posted at YouTube. Check out "Learn Why Bureau of Land Management Records Are So Valuable."

Thank you Ancestry!

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© 2016, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Monday, February 15, 2016

RootsTech Final Summary

GeneaBloggers at RootsTech 2016. Well, those that made it in time.

Now that the dust has settled from RootsTech, I'd like to discuss my favorite sessions and a few of my favorite things about RootsTech in particular and conferences in general.

Favorite Sessions
How to Search Norwegian Digital Archive by Finn Karlson
Norwegian research is relatively new to me. Finn came to us from Norway to give his talk. I am impressed by the records that are available in Norway. The site he mostly spoke about was DigitalArkivet.

He also discussed Norwegian naming conventions. In particular the three names an individual is given:
  1. The given name which doesn't change.
  2. The patronymic name which does change. Usually it's the father's first name with either "sen" or "datter" appended depending on whether the child is a son or daughter. 
  3. The address or farm name which might change several times.
Using DNA Testing to Solve Genealogical Questions by Tim Janzen
This talk was definitely advanced and I am happy that this time I was able to keep up and understand. All of those DNA courses I've taken over the last couple of years are paying off!

Tim had some facts he wanted us to memorize. One of them that I jotted down was that 4 equals 14 cMs (centimorgans). Or, fourth cousins share about 14 centimorgans. If you're into DNA at all, hopefully you'll get what I'm saying.

Favorite Things About RootsTech
  1. The opportunity to network with friends, colleagues and relatives. Every conference or institute helps expand my circles. I especially enjoyed meeting up with my cousin (a close cousin) several times. We've known each other for decades but because we live in different parts of the country, RootsTech is becoming our opportunity to meet face to face, catch up with family and share family photos. This year Cousin and I kept appearing in the same classes. I guess our interests are converging more and more!
  2. The Exhibit Hall.  There just aren't enough hours in the day to take it all in! In addition to the usual vendors like Ancestry, MyHeritage and others, there are the newer companies. Of particular interest are those that competed in the Innovator Summit. Another cousin wants to share information and I'm thinking one of the apps I learned about in the Exhibit Hall and at the Innovator Summit might be just what we need.
RootsTech may be over for yet another year. But the warm memories of connecting with friends and family and of new discoveries are still going strong.

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© 2016, copyright Michelle Goodrum

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