Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Roots Tech - Three Things I Learned on Saturday

The only session I attended in person on Saturday was the Advanced Metadata Workshop given by Randy Whited.

For anyone not familiar with the concept of metadata, Randy had a great example. Metadata is simply data about data. So for a book (data) the title page is metadata. It's data about what's in the book. We usually think in terms of metadata and digital files which is what Randy's session primarily covered. Three things I learned:
  1. XnView is freeware that allows you to view, edit, batch process, batch rename and manage metadata (IPTC). I've had this program for eons but had forgotten how much I like it. Randy showed us how to resize the "canvas" your image is on and add text, such as a citation. XnView allows you to do this in batches. Perfect for adding citations to those land files I obtained at NARA in January.
  2. ExifToolGUI is another freeware that allows batch processing of your files. I was intrigued because you can see and work with the various standards for digital metadata (EXIF, IPTC and XMP).
  3. Windows Explorer allows you to add comments to the comments field and then view later on. It's good for people who are tabular in their thinking. I've been staring at that comments field for years and never gave much thought to doing anything with it.
One last tip. If you download an image from FamilySearch.org, copy their citation into the comments field in properties in your image file. It may not be in the format that you want but at least you have the citation information.

URL for this post: http://turning-of-generations.blogspot.com/2014/02/roots-tech-three-things-i-learned-on.html

© 2014, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

RootsTech Exhibit Hall Wanderings - Part 3

I've been asked which of the smaller vendors in the RoosTech Exhibit Hall really wowed me.  Here are 4 of my favorites. (Note: read all the way to the end for some fun.)

  1. Treelines. Winner of the 2013 RootsTech Developer Challenge, I first heard about this company during Blaine Bettingers presentation, Begging for Spit. Treelines is for recording family stories. Each page can contain an image and text. It looks like an excellent way to share photos and documents and the related information with other family members. Their website has public examples to peruse although you can also make your stories private.
  2. Family Chart Masters. Their custom family charts are a work of art. They also can make inexpensive working charts for you as well. One of these days, when my family tree is a little more filled in, I'm going to have one made. One of these days.
  3. Genealogy Gems. I'm a huge fan of Lisa Louise Cooke. She's partly responsible for the existence of this blog. And she literally changed my genealogical life through her Genealogy Gems podcast. During her Google Earth presentation in the Demo Theatre, I learned a couple of things to share with you.
    1. David Rumsey maps are now part of Google Earth and can be "snapped" onto a Google Earth view.
    2. Newberry County Boundary Maps can be downloaded into Google Earth.
  4. MagiCensus. This product caught my eye because I manually update Word tables with census research to analyze the data and see where the holes are. Apparently this product can do automatically what I have been doing manually. It definitely has me intrigued. 

Last but not least a little exhibit hall fun. FamilySearch had a booth where they were showing off the scanners that have been installed in many FamilySearch Centers. People can bring their photos and documents in, scan them, put them in their FamilySearch account and attach the digitized item to people in their trees.

The booth had a scrolling photo wall and computers with templates where you could take your picture, insert your face in the template and it would appear on the scrolling wall. You could also email the pictures to yourself. Here's my photo (well one of them...snicker...):

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. I was not paid by nor have I received anything in compensation for writing about these products.

URL for this post: http://turning-of-generations.blogspot.com/2014/02/rootstech-exhibit-hall-wanderings-part-3.html

© 2014, copyright Michelle Goodrum

James Tanner Presenting at Sunland Springs Village February 22

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

RootsTech - Three Things I learned in Each Session on Friday

On Friday at RootsTech, I attended three sessions. Here are three things I learned in each session.

Image courtesy of Photokanok /
Begging for Spit – Blaine Bettinger
Is this a great title for a presentation or what?

1.     You will approach people differently depending on your purpose, whether or not they are a relative (well a close relative-you know what I mean) and whether you even know the individual. Examples of purposes for collecting DNA include:
o   Surname study (Y-DNA)
o   Chromosome mapping
o   Testing a specific hypothesis
2.     Engage your “relative” to generate interest in your project on their part. You can approach this in two ways:
a.       Show how the test will benefit them. For example, explain the test will provide information about their ethnicity. This appeals to genealogists and non-genealogists. It’s important to explain the limitations however.
b.      Show how the test will benefit others. If you are doing a chromosome mapping project, you could explain their participation will help complete as much of the chromosome map as possible.
c.       Bottom line: There is no formula. You need to step back and figure out the best way to communicate to and engage whoever it is you want to contribute DNA.
3.     Keep it simple. People are busy. Keep your communications and explanations short and simple.

Image courtesy of Boians Cho Joo Young
/ freedigitalphotos.net
Will Your Family History Have Lasting Value? Tom Jones

1.     Make your top genealogical priority to do what future genealogists can’t by obtaining oral histories from living people, gathering and labeling family photographs, documents, artifacts, etc.
2.     Gather DNA. The only limit is how much you can afford to collect.
3.     Continually educate yourself to improve your research skills. Those starting their genealogical journey today have a huge advantage because there are so many educational opportunities available now.
Technology for Deciphering Foreign Language Records – Randy Whited
This is one of those sessions where I learned as much from the question and answer period as the presentation itself.
1.     Since most of the foreign language documents we are interested in are at least partially handwritten, it’s important get them into a machine readable program like Word. You may need a table with diacritic marks. Google “diacritic marks” or “character map.”
2.     Word can be set up to proof a document in the language you want to translate from.
3.     Then you can use Google Translate or another tool to perform a translation
Sounds easy eh? That’s only three things I learned.
Stay tuned for what I learned on Saturday.

URL for this post: http://turning-of-generations.blogspot.com/2014/02/rootstech-three-things-i-learned-in_11.html

© 2014, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Saturday, February 8, 2014

RootsTech Exhibit Hall Wanderings Part 2

I've been spending a fair amount of time in the RootsTech exhibit hall this year. Instead of rushing off to a luncheon each day, I packed my own lunch and ate in the exhibit hall (usually while hanging around the demo area (see picture of awesome couches). Also, I traded going to one session each day with wandering around, talking to vendors and spending money. It worked out well in that I found myself re-energized because I had been moving around instead of sitting.

The soda counter has been much appreciated. Did I mention the sodas, lemonade, etc. is free? Also, they have water stations out in the halls. It's easy to get dehydrated in Salt Lake City with the low humidity and high altitude.

One thing I noticed is that when I make a purchase, the vast majority of the time, the receipt is emailed to me. No paper receipts to keep track of. Also, I don't feel the vendors are pushing as much paper in the way of brochures and fliers. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of brochures and cards to be picked up if you want but I'm finding that I have less paper at the end of the day than in years past and that is just fine by me.

I visited with the folks at Archives.com and People Finders. Renewed subscriptions with GenealogyBank and Fold3. Gotta love the conference specials they offer. I also ended up getting a subscription with Newspapers.com. I'd been thinking about it for a while anyway. While I was chatting with Peter Drinkwater about my new subscription, he mentioned he was giving a demo in the demo theatre shortly. (See above picture of super comfy couches and you'll know where I headed next!)

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies also has a booth. I'd been contemplating signing up for some more classes and ended up buying another package. It turns out I'm not all that far from earning my PLCGS from them. So now I'm committed!

No genealogy conference is complete unless you visit Mia's Books and Family Roots Publishing. The later has a small booth this year and a large room over in the Plaza Hotel. On the way to the Family History Library. Yes, I bought a couple of books.

More soon...

URL for this post:

© 2014, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Friday, February 7, 2014

RoosTech - Exhibit Hall Wanderings - Part 1

The exhibit hall this year has doubled in size to accommodate more vendors and double the crowds. I spent quite a bit of time in there during lunch and in the afternoon. While it was busy, I never felt like it was overcrowded.

I'll write about my experiences as I get a few minutes here and there.

NGS (National Genealogical Society) - During a conversation with NGS President Jordan Jones and later during a presentation by Jordan and NGS Education Manager, Patricia Walls Stamm, I learned more about the revamping of theNGS Home Study course.

I knew they were rolling it out in pieces. What I didn't understand was that the two courses currently available at the NGS website, are part of what was formerly the Home Study Course. Those two courses are:

American Genealogical Studies: The Basics
American Genealogical Studies: Guide to Documentation & Source Citation - just released
The first several modules for American Genealogical Studies will roll out soon. Each one builds on the previous so you need to take them in order (think prerequisite).

By the way, the presentation was in the Backblaze Demo Theatre. I really appreciated the comfy chairs at the end of a long day!

URL for this post: http://turning-of-generations.blogspot.com/2014/02/roostech-exhibit-hall-wanderings-part-1.html

 © 2014, copyright Michelle Goodrum

RootsTech - Three Things I Learned in Each Session Today

It's been a long, exhilarating but also exhausting day. Before drifting off into dreamland, I want to share a few things I learned today in the sessions I attended at RootsTech. But first a plug for FamilySearch's indexing initiative for obituaries. Straight from the mouth of Jack Sparrow.

Dead men tell no tales... but their obituaries do!

I hope you help with the obituary indexing project.

Genetic Genealogy Demystified: Reading and Understanding Your Family Tree DNA Results - Elise Friedman

This was a computer lab session and was billed as intermediate. So if you know nothing about DNA, this might look like a foreign language to you.
  1. Mitochondrial DNA - I learned that CRS stands for Cambridge Reference Sequence. This is the first mitochondrial sequencing that was ever done. Everyone is compared to this and you are told where you differ.
  2. Mitochondrial DNA - RSRS stands for Reconstructed Sapiens Reference Sequence. This is what has been reconstructed of early human sequencing. So your differences are compared to this.
  3. Family Finder - Population Finder - Some members of my family have a pretty high percentage of Orcadian ancestry. The Orkney Islands are off the north coast of Scotland. I thought this was rather odd. It turns out this is a catch all for western European ancestry.
Real World Cases from the Desk of a Genetic Genealogy Professional - CeCe Moore
  1. Each case CeCe presented had a similar theme. Start with a question, review what you know, decide the next DNA testing steps to take and the next research steps to take. Does this sound familiar? It's pretty much the same as the way we do plain 'ol genealogical research. The main difference is the DNA aspect.
  2. Most of the cases she discussed involved building out the suspected ancestor's family tree and building out the tree of the suspected match. It's a lot of work to get an answer. But then genealogical research is a lot of work too.
  3. I want to read the book, The Hemmingses of Monticello: An American Family, by Annette Gordon-Reed.

Electric FANS - Jennifer Dondero

FANS here refers to Friends, Associates and Neighbors.
  1. Pivot tables in Excel are great for keeping track of FANS. I need to relearn how to make and use a pivot table. It's been years.
  2. Mind mapping can be a good tool. Jennifer likes Mind Meister. This is something that probably would never have occurred to me.
  3. Word Processing software is good if you have a small project.
I'll be back with an exhibit hall post. For now, good night!

URL for this post: http://turning-of-generations.blogspot.com/2014/02/rootstech-three-things-i-learned-in.html

© 2014, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, February 6, 2014

RootsTech 2014 Innovator Summit

This week is RootsTech. Care to guess where I am?

For a brief summary of the day, check out my post over at The In-Depth Genealogist, "RootsTech Day One."

More will follow both here and The In-Depth Genealogist so stay tuned...

© 2014, copyright Michelle Goodrum