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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review of Interview With Mary Tedesco From Genealogy Roadshow

On Wednesday 28 January there was a great hangout I listened to which was produced by featuring Mary Tedesco.  The show focused mainly on the New Orleans shows for the new season of Genealogy Roadshow, the 2nd of which will be shown next Tuesday 3 February 2015.  If you have not have the opportunity to watch the hangout I recommend you do so. is a website that acts as a local news source for Louisiana.  The site is published by Stephen Sabludowsky (@BayoubuzzSteve) who hosted the show.  Co-hosts for the episode were Erin Brady (Miss USA 2013 @OfficialEBrady) and Ben Fisher.  The hangout lasted 43 minutes so make sure you budget the time to watch, it’s not a quickie.

It was really a wonderful chance to have a small behind the scenes peek into what a host, and consequently the show, is really like.  Mary acknowledged the team of researchers (she said it takes a village!) and that a lot of the magic happens later with the production team.  They are the ones who cut, snip and edit the footage into the final stories.  Those powerful stores which have left me grabbing a hankie a couple of times.  Which, by the way, season three casting is underway so go out there and submit your stories!

I particularly appreciated her candor on what it takes to be a good genealogist and pointing out how each story, and really each family, is very different.  That is so true too!  No one family has the same experience and we are such a diverse nation, with so many ethnicities and heritages blending together, it still amazes me what people can discover with a little digging.  We all have a story to share and I think if someone didn’t know a thing about genealogy they might be interested to learn more about their family after watching this video. 

Her emphasis that a grasp of history is important really hit home for me.  I cannot agree more on this subject.  Many people I know use genealogy as a jumping off point to learn more about the history of their ancestors.  Be it social, military, or political histories which is great.  Everyone should investigate what effect their ancestors and why.  However, I come at it from a different view.  The reason a lot of my brick walls were broken down was because I knew the basic history going in.  Maybe not everything I needed to know but I knew enough that I was able to lead my research to the correct countries or figure out from dates and patterns why people were migrating where and when. History (all types) goes hand in hand with genealogy research.

Of course I nearly jumped with glee when Mary was asked about how technology will help genealogy.  She used the words I love saying, and have been given the stink eye for too.  Social media and technology is having an impact on genealogists, we can’t run away from it!  We, genealogists, are crowd sourcing our brick walls.  Halleluiah!  Another person saying what I have spouted for the last several years in blog posts and lectures.  If she was there in the same room with me I would have kissed her.  Really, I would have.

So go check out the video and let me know what you thought.   

Monday, January 26, 2015

New family relationship chart by Crestleaf

How many of you get confused when you are trying to figure out just how are you related to a new cousin you found?  Sometimes my head hurts just trying to figure out all the removes and how many go where.  To be honest, I keep a chart handy for just this type of calculation!

Recently I was shown this great blog post by Crestleaf.  If you have never heard of Crestleaf let me tell you a little about them.  They have a simple philosophy that is expressed in this mission statement “Crestleaf was built to enable people all over the world to capture, preserve and share their family story with living relatives and future generations.”  The website has free public records for you to search, the ability to create a private family tree, as well as the ability to share and preserve the stories of your family.  Sounds interesting huh?

However, it is a cousin chart that brought me there, so let me tell you about this great chart.  Crestleaf updated one that was originally created by Alice J. Ramsay in 1987.  We have all seen versions of this out on the internet, but I like the way Crestleaf color coded and added figures to it.  Of course the “You Are Here” tag was plain cute. 

Needless to say if you are looking for a high quality graphic display of kinship then make sure you check it out!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Lectures, Appearances and a Book Signing OH MY!

Making Notes In An Organizer Stock Photo
Photo by Stuart Miles. Published on 26 August 2011
It’s only half way through January and my year is starting to fill up.  That is a very nice feeling.  So far I am attending national conferences and local ones too.  I’d love to chat with you if you see me at one of these events.  As of this morning I will be lecturing at or attending the following events:

Attendance: RootsTech / FGS 12-14 February 2015

Webinar: "Dead End: 5 Sources for Death Records" 13-15 March 2015 FTU Winter Virtual Conference

Webinar: "Climb Your Genetic Family Tree," 13-15 March 2015 FTU Winter Virtual Conference

Lecture: Title TBA 14 March 2015 Family History Day, Fredericksburg, VA Family History Center

Lecture: "Beginning Irish Research and DNA," 21 April 2015 Ancient Order of Hibernians, Fredericksburg, VA

Lecture: "Raising the Next Generation: Engaging and Instilling an Appreciation of Family History in Children," 25 April 2015 Fairfax Genealogical Society

Attendance:  2 May 2015 Fredericksburg Regional Genealogical Society Spring Seminar at Salem Church Library Fredericksburg, VA

Attendance: NGS 13-16 May 2015

Webinar: "Creating and Maintaining a Family History Blog" 9 June 2015 Ontario Genealogical Society 

Webinar: "Engaging the Next Generation" 7 October 2015 Minnesota Genealogical Society 

Of course this will be updated through the course of the year.  Click on the “Upcoming and Previous Lectures” page here on the blog to keep up to date with where I will be.

Last but not least, at RootsTech / FGS I will be signing my books! If you are going bring your copy or buy one at the In-Depth Genealogist booth or online from them or amazon.  Time and date coming shortly for the official signing, but hey if you see me there and want my John Hancock just grab me.  I’d be delighted to stop and chat a second.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Genetic Genealogy Standards Published

On the heels of the APG Professional Management Conference (which was great, by the way, even from my house!) The Genetic Genealogy Standards Committee released the document of standards they have worked on for the last year.  Many people are blogging about it right now (such as The Legal Genealogist and The Genetic Genealogist) so make sure you read all the commentary about it from these sources too.

This process started in 2013 and then took off in earnest in the spring of 2014.  Which, it should have.  The genetic genealogy community strives for excellence and consistency with paper genealogy researchers, but to be honest some people are still finding their footing.  It’s not like there was a BCG manual on genetic genealogy out there to use as a guide for those interested.  There was some controversy in fact among some genealogists over what standards there should be, laws in different states and how genealogists should proceed. As an example see the NGS Quarterly vol. 101 no. 4 December 2013 editorial “DNA Standards” and the response here.

However, shoving a round peg into a square hole isn’t always an answer.  This niche of study is too different and still evolving.  This is why I was so happy to wake up Sunday morning to these standards.  As a unique field among genealogists, which is advancing more quickly than lecturers can teach about it, we have a responsibility to follow ethical genealogical practices but also those of scientists. 

The committee consisted of CeCe Moore, Blaine Bettinger, David Bachinsky, Traci Barela, Katherine Borges, Angie Bush, Melinde Lutz Byrne, Shannon S Christmas, George T. Cicila, Michael Hait, Tim Janzen, James M Owston, Ana Oquendo Pab√≥n, Ugo Perego, Steven C. Perkin, Ann Turner, Debbie Parker Wayne and Jennifer Zinck.  They have created a wonderful starting place for this niche and yes, I say starting place, because just as science is constantly developing I am sure these standards will too. Everything evolves over time, it has to or it will become obsolete. 

Particularly important was this paragraph in the introduction of the standards:
These Standards are intentionally directed to genealogists, not to genetic genealogy testing companies. As used in the Standards, the term “genealogist” includes anyone who takes a genetic genealogy test, as well as anyone who advises a client, family member, or other individual regarding genetic genealogy testing. However, it is ultimately the responsibility of those taking a genetic genealogy test (“tester”) to understand and consider these standards before ordering or agreeing to take any genetic genealogy test.
I can’t stress how much I agree with this statement.  Nearly every day I come across someone who has tested and they really are not sure what the results say or how they find out that information.  I am not suggesting you need a genetics degree to do this but I do think that having a basic understand of procedures, companies and what your goal is would be great.  Sure, in an ideal world you would work with another genealogist who has this expertise (just like I really should go and find a researcher to help me with my Irish ancestry) but we all know that is not likely to happen for most people. 

On the committee website there are pages set up for more detailed standards concerning mtDNA, yDNA and citations.  I didn’t see any dates listed for when these will be available, but as soon as I find that out I will post about it.

Needless to say I am over the moon that these are out there.  A copy is printed and on my cork board next to all my other reminders and quick reference sheets.  I want it handy when I have visitors who ask what’s new in the world of genetic genealogy. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Attending the APG Virtual PMC, are you?

Today and tomorrow I am sitting in frigid Virginia (it is below zero here with wind chill!) watching the APG Virtual Professional ManagementConference (VPMC).  I am convinced I would be warmer if I was attending in person at Salt Lake City!  However, since I am currently battling being sick (sitting on couch, under the covers with my lap top) the attendees should be thankful that I am not there in person.

This is the first one I have attended and I am looking forward to it greatly.  No, I won’t get to see or participate in everything like I was there in "real life", but for what I can do it’s great.  I am going to learn a lot and I hope that many of you will chat with me about it if you are attending virtually too.  To see my thoughts, go watch mytwitter feed during the live streaming. I am going to do my best to tweet between coughs and such.  We will see how well that goes.

The schedule for the VPMC is as follows:


10:45 - 11:45am MST
Taxes and the Professional Genealogist - James M. Beidler
  1:15 -   2:15pm MST
Finding the Law - Judy Russell
  3:00 -   4:00pm MST
Mind Maps for Genealogy - Ron Arons
  4:15 -   5:15pm MST
DNA and Genealogical Proof - Angie Bush


  8:15 -   9:15am MST
Get Paid for Your Passion: Setting Fees - Elissa Scalise Powell
  9:30 - 10:30am MST
Finding Your Niche: Matching Passion, Professionalism & Pecuniary Interest - James M. Beidler
10:45 - 11:45am MST
How to Have Difficult Conversations with Clients and Colleagues - Christina Grover
  1:15 -   2:15pm MST
Time Management: Successfully Balancing the Demands of Our Many "Clients" - Angela Packer McGhie
  3:00 -   5:15pm MST
Genealogy Professionals Needed: Help Adoptees Discover their Genealogical Roots with DNA (workshop) - CeCe Moore

Like I said, it is a great line-up.  I wonder how well I am going to keep up with notes today.  Someone bring me chicken soup!  Luckily the recordings will be available later so I can review them again if I need to sleep.

On that note, send me healing vibes, let me know your thoughts, and give me a shout out if you are watching from home too.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Year three in review

Another year has come and gone.  Why do they keep getting faster the older I get? I swear just a couple of months ago I wrote the “it’s another year” post for 2013.  Well, I hear when you are super busy the time just flies so we will stick with I am super busy and not just getting old.

Star Candy In Glass Stock Photo
by audfriday13. Published on 11 May 2012

Stock Photo - Image ID: 10082728
For those who have followed from the beginning this blog turned 3 on November 28th.  Three years, wow.  There were times I wasn’t sure it would last past the first few months.  Thank you for sticking around and being interested in what I have to say.  It’s fun to run into you all in person at conferences or society meetings and know you enjoyed a post or two.

There were lots of changes to my genealogy career this year.  In October I announced that I accepted The In-Depth Genealogist as Creative Director.  This has pushed me in ways I could not have imagined.  It has also been a learning process as I figure out my new job.  Unfortunately it has taken time away from me being here, and with you, but in the New Year I hope to get a better handle on that.
a position with

I also hung my shingle out as a professional (or at least a struggling transitional) genealogist.  With the launch of my 2 books, increased speaking engagements, and more writing I thought I should put together a website and brand.  From that T2Family History was born.  I love the logo, which was designed by my friend Jennifer Soucy who is an excellent graphic design artist. 

I have continued with my courses through The National Institute for Genealogical Studies and am 1/3 of the way through the program.  Yes, I am still on track to earn my PLCGS in American Studies in December 2016.  It seems so far away but I know that it really isn’t.   If you are curious about The Institute or the courses pop on over to their blog and learn more!

For this blog, it seems I wrote some articles you all really took a shine to.  The top 10 posts (and 1 series) from 2014 were:

7.   NGS Recap Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4

What is coming in 2015 you ask? Well bigger, better and more I hope!  What I do know is that it’s going to be busy, and right now in January my eyes are set on finishing the marathon.  Hope you will dream big and come along for the ride!  

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

NGS Competition Deadline 12/31

If you have not seen this announcement make sure you read it.  Many of you, or the youth genealogists you know, should consider entering.  There is a week until submissions are due!

Arlington, VA, 24 DECEMBER 2014: Each year, the National Genealogical Society recognizes excellence in genealogical scholarship through its various competitions and awards. The deadline for six of the competition entries and award nominations—December 31—is quickly approaching. NGS encourages its members, member societies, and other organizations to review the requirements and make entries and submissions. Winners will be recognized at the NGS Family History Conference, to be held May 13-16, 2015 in St. Charles, Missouri.

The following NGS awards and competitions have a deadline of December 31:

•        Family History Writing Contest: NGS recognizes the best genealogy covering 3 to 4 generations.

•        Award for Excellence—Genealogy and Family History: NGS presents this award to an individual or nonprofit organization for an outstanding genealogy or family history book published during the past three years.

•        Award for Excellence—Genealogical Methods and Sources: NGS presents this award to an individual or nonprofit organization for a book, article, or series of articles published during the past three years on genealogical methods and sources.

•        Newsletter Competition: NGS recognizes the best genealogical society, historical society, and/or family association newsletters. The competition has two categories: one for major societies (with distribution of 500 or more copies of each issue) and one for local societies (with distribution of less than 500 copies of each issue).

•        John T. Humphrey Scholarship: John T. Humphrey served NGS in a number of positions over the years, including education manager. The Society has renamed the Home Study Course Scholarship in his honor. The award is given annually to an individual who has demonstrated a serious interest in genealogy, and covers the entire cost of the NGS Home Study Course.

•        Rubincam Youth Award: NGS encourages young genealogists to explore their family histories with the Rubincam Youth Award. The senior category is open to students in grades 10 to 12 or between the ages of 16 and 18, and the junior category is open to students in grades 7 to 9 or between the ages of 13 and 15.

More specific details about each competition can be found here.  Individuals and societies making nominations will receive an acknowledgement that their entry has been received. An additional seven competitions and award entries have a deadline of 31 January 2015. See the submissions calendar for more details. Questions about all awards and competitions may be directed to

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists.