Friday, February 3, 2012

The Journey to RootsTech 2012

Day 2 - 2February 2012

The day started off with an excellent breakfast at eh Radisson. The other good news was that I didn't have to change rooms. I headed over to hear the RootsTech keynote speaker for the morning, Jay Verkler, the past head of Family Search. I was very impressed and excited with what he told us. There are great collaboration plans in the near future. He also talked about developing the community framework timeline. That opens up some excellent research possibilities. Another momentous announcement was that they now estimate that it will only take ten years to digitize the current microfilm holdings for the Family History Library. I can can hardly wait! And it's wonderful to hear there are 4,200 genealogists here. That rocks. Google had an intriguing announcement about Google Chrome. Using Historical-Data.org, Schema.org, and an extension they will now be able to deeper search sites that were ignored in earlier Google searches. Family Search, Ancestry, and others will be included. BrightSolid is evidently going to become part of the American genealogist's vocabulary. They are a UK company that is well-known there that is coming across the pond. That could open up some interesting competition.

After the keynote thousands of genealogists headed to the Exhibitors Hall. I was aiming to get a free tee shirt by getting my card stamped from various vendors. I succeeded and am now the proud owner of a RootsTech tee. It was rather crowded to actually visit with vendors, but I decided to do more in-depth chats with them later.

My first session was Steve Morse. He has some great free helps that I would call widgets but probably aren't. They help you find things like the birth date from a gravestone that gives the death date and the age in year, month, and day. He also has some great aides for the 1940 census! He's at SteveMorse.org, not com. More to come.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Journey to RootsTech 2012

1 February 2012

Planning paid off! I made a list of everything I needed to pack days before I was to leave. It would be too easy to forget a charger or some other vital tech piece. Last night I checked that list twice just like Santa-- I don't think I forgot anything.

I deliberately took the mid-day flight and am really glad I did. It was an easy morning getting out of the house. My flight wasn't until 12:45, but I wanted to get tot he airport an hour and a half early just in case there were any problems. It was an easy drive to Omaha and the easiest airport check-in I have had. There was no one waiting to check baggage, the security check was barely busy, and I was to my gate by 11:15-- wow.

One of the things besides the kitchen sink I didn't bring was a lunch or snack. I brought a small package of Lay's potato chips and a cup of coffee. I could refill it and take it on the plane. That worked well, but next time I will take along a sandwich or something. It was great having the new Delta card, as it got me zone 2 seating which is pretty sweet. The flight was on time leaving and arriving at Salt Lake. The last time I was st the SLC airport I was stranded with my daughter for a day. This time it went well. Their shuttle system takes getting used to but was only $8.00.

My hotel reservation was in two parts. They couldn't guarantee I would have the same room the second night. They did upgrade my room though. I hurriedly set up in my room and then headed towards the Family History Library. On the way I realized I was very hungry and stopped at the J B's across from the Salt Palace. It was great getting that 55+ lunch price. I had looked before I got toe SLC to figure out how to get to the FHL. Of course I got the distance off a bit and had to call Mike to get better directions. The FHL ended up being just a hundred feet away.

My friend Marcia and I had planned to meet for dinner tonight, and I knew she was going to the FHL when she got to SLC. I looked around the FHL a bit and found her checking out the US book shelves. I had forgotten just how impressive the FHL is. I was mesmerized walking down any bookshelf-- it was incredible what they have. I checked out a few books I had printed out the records for before I left.

Marcia and I headed over to the Salt Palace to get our registrations. The Salt Palace is huge. The registration process went well. From there we went to a very nice Japanese restaurant across from the Palace. We ate light,but each added a glass of wine. After dinner we headed back to the FHL. This time I decided to work on the Saratoga land records. I had ordered the grantee index earlier in Lincoln and had the volumes and page numbers I needed. It was tedious, but I am starting to put a picture together of that family. Thank you to the person who suggested bringing magnets to mark the microfilm cabinets. After a couple of hours or more we headed back to our hotels. After relaxing for a bit and checking out the conference schedule again I decided to go down to the bar to write up my notes while enjoying an excellent glass of Cabernet!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My DNA Surprise

I started the year in my previous blog by telling what I would be doing in 2012. I really didn't go into my end of the year update on my FamilyTreeDNA profile. though. I had a Y-DNA profile done four years ago as part of the Clan MacFarlane project. When FamilyTreeDNA had their recent sale, I thought it would be fun to do the Family Finder profile. I just recently received my results. I wasn't at all surprised to learn that according to the test about 93% of my ancestry is Western European. I have researched most of the immediate lines and figured it would be a high percentage. I thought there might be a small American Indian lineage as, like many families, there is a story if native ancestry. That was not the case, the profile showed instead that about 7% of my ancestry in Middle Eastern. This fascinates me, as it was so unexpected. Now I can't wait to get going on verifying where this comes into my ancestry. Genealogy, it's the hobby of surprises.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Looking at 2012

I think this will be an exciting year for genealogy. I kicked off the year using several new databases on FamilySearch.org. FamilySearch is becoming a great site. They have made great inroads in making state and local sources available. They have become especially strong in New York documents. In addition to the state censuses, they recently added probate records. It is gratifying to see them going this direction with their collections.

This year I will be attending my first RootsTech conference in February. I am very anxious to head to Salt Lake. Not only will there be lots of genealogists to meet at the conference, there will some time to do some research at the Family History Library. This summer I plan to take a road trip through Michigan, Ohio, New York, and Massachusetts. There will be cemeteries, historical societies, libraries, and Niagara Falls to visit along the way. As an added fun trip, I am also considering a trip to Oklahoma and Missouri to fill in some loose ends.

This past Fall I joined the local genealogical society, the Lincoln Lancaster County Genealogical Society, and plan to be active in it. For this coming year I also plan to index the 1940 census for the area where I grew up in South Dakota. As a fan of FindAGrave, I will continue to add records to their database from requests and cemeteries I visit on the trips. Yesterday, I found a newly added record on FAG that helped open up a current line.

2012 will be a very busy year for me, contributing to what is available and extending my own genealogy.