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Monday, March 2, 2015

Northern Virginia Genealogy Activites

The month of March is going to see 2 big conferences in the NOVA area.  One is free and one is a downright steal for the price so make sure you check them both out!

On March 14th is the 2nd Fredericksburg Virginia Family History Day and once again it is packed with great speakers and information.  Some of the speakers are nationally know and many are from great Virginia institutions.  For instance Micheal Strauss, AG, Dr. Shelly Murphy, Jean Cooper from the University of Virginia Library and Anne Toohey from the Library of Congress.  In addition, they will have these individuals from the Library of Virginia: Errol Somay, Calli Lou Freed and Joanne Porter.  Plus, I will be giving the keynote address that morning.

Two weekends later will be the Fairfax Genealogical Society's Spring Conference on March 27th and 28th.  This year they have 12 tracks of classes over 2 days with many nationally known speakers.  Their focus is on research in the Mid-Atlantic states and ethnicities that immigrated to those.  However, there are also classes on technology and methodology as well.  Early bird discount for the conference goes away on March 16th so register soon!

I hope to see you at these great regional opportunities to learn.  Make sure to say hi if you will be there!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Source Citations Course From Family Tree University

I am very excited that my first course for Family tree University starts on Monday February 23.   “Source Citations for Regular People” walks you through the basics of creating a source citation for genealogical research. I hope to see you in class!

Here is a teaser from the email that was sent out on Wednesday February 18th from Tyler Moss, Online Editor of Family Tree University.  

Source Citations can strike fear into the heart of genealogists. We know we need to use source citations, and how important they are to our research and for those who come after us, yet the thought of creating one from scratch can give you cold chills.

In this course you will learn the whole source documentation process, as well as study examples for all types of sources. Soon your fears will fly away, as citing courses becomes just a part of your genealogy routine.

This course is open to anyone interested in citing sources. Shannon Combs-Bennett will be available to answer all of your questions. See syllabus here »
 What you'll learn:
Why source citations are important to your genealogy research
Key elements of a source citation
What the different types of source citations are and how to write them
How to create templates for future citations
And so much more!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Keynote Speaker at the Fredericksburg Family History Day

I am very honored to give the keynote at the Fredericksburg, VA Family History Day on March 14, 2015.  If you are in the area I hope you will be able to come out and participate in this free day of family history exploration.

The theme of the event is "Threads that Bind." Staying true to the theme, I was asked to speak about the ever growing field of genetics in genealogy.  To me, genetics is the threads that bind us to our ancestors.

If you have heard my genetics lectures in the past don't be afraid that you will hear the same old lecture again.  Yes, I will have some of the same information (basics never change) but there will be a lot of new information as well.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the keynote or at my other lecture on using heraldry in genealogical research.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

I'm going to rootstech, wish me luck

Well, it is that time of year again when genealogists flock to Salt Lake City for RootsTech.  As I am sure you are aware FGS has joined them this year making it one huge event with estimates of nearly 10,000 people in attendance over the 5 days.  Wow is about all I have to say.

This is the first year that I am able to attend.  No sitting at my computer watching the live streaming videos longing to be there too.  Now I will be able to see, hear and experience what an amazing conference this is going to be.

Whether you are going or will be a participant at home, you can keep up with all my wacky adventures through social media.  I will be live tweeting as much as I can plus putting tid-bits on this blog as well.  Make sure you follow me on Twitter @tntfamhist!

If you are going please stop by and say hi to me in the exhibitors hall!  I am splitting my time between 2 booths: The In-Depth Genealogist (1533) and the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (129).  I will also be at all of the evening socials so if you spot me come on over and say hi.
The most exciting thing though is I am signing my books and answering questions on Friday from 1:30-2:30 at the In-Depth Genealogist booth. Bring your Richmond or DC guides with you for me to sign.  If you don’t have one don’t worry! We will have copies at the booth for purchase. 

Finally I am making videos there too!  If you are getting in early and want to be part of a live taping of The In-Depth Genealogists “Chit-Chat Live” we will be taping at the Family History Library on Wednesday from 1-2:30.  Come join us and get involved with talking about that week’s Genealogy Roadshow episode!  Of course, if you have never seen Chit-Chat before, check it out here on our YouTube Channel.

Well, I am going back to packing and trying to work on what I will look at first at the Family History Library!  Wish me luck, ‘cause I think I am going to need it…

Friday, February 6, 2015

A grammar checker giveaway is the perfect gift for every writer

You all know that I write a lot.  Well, not as much on this blog as I want to, but I still write A LOT. Recently a company named Grammarly made a wonderful infographic talking about writers.  You may have seen it on Huffington Post.  I have written about their company before in another post and I will admit that I still love their stuff.

If you are not sure who this company is, check out their website link above.  I really like their grammar checker and have used it in the past when a paragraph just didn’t look quite right.  Of course, the best part is that there is a free service.  Once you try it and you really like it you can choose to upgrade to a premium account for $11.66/month.  So why aren’t you over there checking your work right now?

OK, back to the image at hand.  This graphic talks about why having strong writing skills can make you better at your job.  Let’s face it, genealogists do a ton of writing.  We write for clients, we write for lectures, we write articles for publication or for family and sometimes we write for ourselves.  Recently I realized that I am spending 6-8 hours, 5-6 days a week, sitting at my computer writing.  So yeah, with all that time on a keyboard I can see how we might be better than other professions who don’t write (like we do) all the time.

Now Gramarly does admit that the study can’t determine why those who write well tend to make more or appear to be more successful in their field.  However, I tend to agree with them that the skills a writer develops, like attention to details, probably help a lot to move them up the ladder.  My dream is to one day have an office with a door and no, putting a door in the dining room does not count.

Make sure you check out this infographic as well as the Gramarly website.  It’s a pretty neat site I am sure you will get a lot out of it!

Speaking of which.  If you do check it out, and fall in love with it leave me a comment below before February 21st and one of  you will receive a free account.  How about them apples?!

*This was a sponsored post by Grammarly. I did not receive any payment for this review, I was simply asked to review thier infographic.

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!