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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

NGS Press Release : Research Trip to Ft. Wayne

National Genealogical Society Opens Registration for Research Trip to Fort Wayne, IN
15 to 19 August 2016

ARLINGTON, VA, 10 FEB 2016—Registration is now open for the National Genealogical Society’s guided research trip to the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, from 15–19 August 2016. Under the guidance of research consultants Pamela S. Eagleson, CG SM and Patricia Walls Stamm, CG SM, CGLSM, participants have five days to conduct personal research at one of the largest genealogical libraries in the Midwest. For more information or to register for the trip, visit

One of the noteworthy research repositories, the Allen County Public Library houses the Fred J. Reynolds Historical Genealogy Collection; PERSI, the Periodical Source Index, and in a joint venture with the Indiana State Museum, the Abraham Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection. The library’s collection contains more than 350,000 printed volumes and 513,000 microforms.
The trip includes:
  • Guidance from leading experts
  • Online orientation
  • Meet and greet for participants
  • Four genealogical presentations
  • Personal research consultations with group leaders
  • Tour of the Abraham Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection
  • Five nights at the Courtyard by Marriott, including free internet in rooms and parking for one car or airport transfers
  • Fees and taxes for all planned events

For more information or to register for the trip visit Payment is required in full at the time of registration. The package price does not include transportation to Fort Wayne.

Eagleson is a researcher, writer, and teacher who conducts client and personal research nationwide with an emphasis on New England, the mid-Atlantic, and the Midwest. A member of NGS since 1981, she currently serves as a director at large. She lectures at NGS national conferences as well as regional and local conferences. She has attended the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR), the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP). Winner of the 2004 NGS Family History Writing Contest, she is co-administrator of the Stone Surname DNA project and a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and many regional genealogical societies.

Stamm serves as NGS Education Manager. She lectures on a wide variety of topics at many of NGS and the Federation of Genealogical Societies national conferences. She is a graduate of the NIGR and IGHR. Stamm is a course coordinator at Samford University's Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research and teaches at St. Louis Community College.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogical education, the highest standards of research, 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, and guidance in research. It also offers many opportunities to interact with other genealogists.
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The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®.

Keynote Speaker from RoosTech Paula Williams Madison

Leading up to RootsTech I purchased the book Finding Samuel Lowe written by one of the Thursday Keynote Speakers, Paula Williams Madison.  Some of you may know from past book reviews that I love a good chasing-my-family story.  I knew I would have the opportunity to speak with her at RootsTech as one of the ambassadors which made me really dig in and read the book quickly. 

Paula has a somewhat unique background growing up in Harlem and rising to the top as an NBC Universal Executive.  The daughter of Jamaican immigrants, her mother half Chinese and half Jamaican, Paula and her brothers did not have an easy life in New York City.  A heritage that she decided to invesitgate more after the death of her mother.  Her book chronicles the journey she took, also filmed along the way as a documentary, to find her Chinese grandfather and the family she never knew.

During the keynote address on Thursday there was barely a dry eye in the audience.  As with any family story we genealogists sat in rapt attention through the audience.  We hung on her every word as she described her first meeting with the aunt and uncle her mother never knew and the emotions that ran deep through her. 

Paula on stage with a picture
of her mother
I was lucky enough to get to be a part of a small group who were able sit down one-on-one with Paula in the media hub at RootsTech.  In this “sofa chat” we were able to get some behind the scenes details, hear more personal thoughts on her journey, and ask questions to the man (Martin Proctor) who filmed the amazing documentary about her journey. 

She was asked what she thought the benefit to a face to face meeting was with relatives you have never met before.  Her words made so much sense, “nothing can replace a touch.”   She is correct, there is nothing in the world that can replace the embrace, caress, hand shake, and so forth of someone who is your flesh and blood.  Paula went on to tell us “no one can anticipate what it will be like” which I think is true as well.  While I have never met close relatives in this way I have met a few distance cousins and the anticipation and excitement even from those meetings were nearly overwhelming for me.  I can only imagine what she went through.

Her camera man, Martin Proctor, also gave us a look into his thought process for documenting her first meeting with her relatives.  Martin stated that “in production you had to roll with it as it evolved – you couldn’t control it… by the end I knew what was going to happen and could get ahead of her” for those powerful and emotion filled shots.  He even admitted that at times he stood there wondering where the shot was going to lead him, how would people react, and how welcoming would they all be.

Paula looking at a published
Chokbo from the Family
History Library
If you document your family history in real time I am sure you can relate to his emotions and thoughts.  I know I have had those thoughts even when dealing with close relatives.  To try and document those people who you have no contact with must have been a challenge full of surprise and apprehension. 

At the end of our chat a member of Family Search came by and surprised us with a bit of on the spot research.  Across the street, and a few blocks away, at the Family History Library there are a number of Chinese Genealogies, or chokbo (there are several different words depending on where the family came from).  Even better, they had several for the Lowe family, the two bound copies were shown to her to let her know that her linage was documented and not that far away.

To say it was an emotional surprise was an understatement.  Martin whipped out his phone and documented the event, along with several other bloggers, proving that just because the documentary was complete the documenting of her family story was not.

Monday, February 8, 2016

RootsTech and Tech Issues

It is hard to believe that RootsTech has come and gone.  Due to an issue with my computer I have 6 half edited blog posts waiting to go.  Sigh.  Grumble.  Gumble.

This evening my live-in tech support is helping me to solve the unfortunate situation.  Which means this is my apology to you as you get bombarded over the next few days with posts!

I have so much to share with you, a lot of which is behind the scenes looks at things I did.  Oh boy, was it an amazing time!!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Announcement From Find My Past


Salt Lake City: 6 February 2016
Time: 7am MT, 9am EST, 2pm GMT

Leading family history site, Findmypast announced today at RootsTech a range of new global partnerships with leading technology providers. This will further strengthen its reach in the U. S. as well as U.K. markets.

The raft of new partnerships include deals with RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, FamilySearch, Family-Historian, Puzzilla, Billion Graves and RootsCity. Findmypast will make its vast record collection of more than 8 billion records available to customers via these partners. The rollout of these partnerships will begin in 2016, with exact dates to be detailed later.

Customers using these various family history products will benefit from having Findmypast’s record collection embedded within the actual product in ways that each partner determines will benefit their customers most.  Adding to the excitement, Findmypast also announced that in 2016 it will build on its extensive British and Irish data base by adding hundreds of millions of new U.S. records including the most comprehensive collection of US marriage records available anywhere.

Commenting Ben Bennett, Executive Vice-President North America and International for Findmypast said:

“2016 is going to see us expanding our partnerships across the U.S. Our aim is to provide our customers with more and more records and family history resources to aid them in their family history research.  Regardless of where the customer is doing the research, Findmypast will bring the full benefit of the more than 8 billion records that Findmypast has in order to help them discover more about their family.”

Taking these essential steps to creating a healthy ecosystem of partnerships will help ensure that those searching for ancestors who have lived in the UK and/or the US can take full advantage of Findmypast’s world class record collections.

Friday, February 5, 2016


Oh, I am very excited!  Maybe I can find my Irish....

Salt Lake City: 5 February 2016
Time: 7am MT, 9am EST, 2pm GMT 
Leading family history site, Findmypast, announced today at Rootstech that it will launch 10 million Irish Catholic Parish Registers, one of the most important Irish record collections, in March 2016. 
Covering over 200 years from 1671-1900 and over 1,000 parishes, Findmypast has worked to transcribe the National Library of Ireland’s online image collection of 3,500 baptism and marriage registers. This is the first time that the collection has been indexed with the images linked online, making the search much easier and the records more accessible. As a result, family historians will now be able to make all important links between generations with the baptism records and between families with the marriage registers.  These essential records cover the entire island of Ireland, both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. 
Ben Bennett, Executive Vice-President North America and International for Findmypast said 
“The Irish Parish Registers will be a gold mine for anyone with Irish heritage. The 10 million baptism and marriage records will help even more people to trace their Irish ancestors.  In addition to being able to search this valuable collection, customers with family trees on Findmypast will benefit from leads that automatically connect the records related to their family directly to their trees.  The Catholic Parish Registers are a hugely important addition to Findmypast’s Irish collection, the largest and most comprehensive source for online Irish family history research.” 

DNA Panel at RootsTech Innovator Summit

 For the first time (ok, I have only ever been to RootsTech one other time) I attended the Innovator Summit on Wednesday.  Confession: I did miss the keynote because I was helping set up a booth so I didn’t get to see everything.  What I did see…amazing!

First off, it was wonderful to see so many young genealogists at the event.  Yes, it may be the tech focus of the conference, so many people expected a younger demographic to be there.  However, there was a large presence of young genealogists ranging from late teens to fresh out of college.  To me, it was the proof that the young genie demographic is alive and thriving! YES!

I also was able to attend a panel discussion on DNA.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but heck, it’s DNA.  You know for that one fact that I had to attend right?

The panel was Dr. Scott Woodward, Judy Russell, and Diahan Southard moderated by Scott Fisher host of Extreme Genes: Family History Radio.  There were no questions taken from the audience, but instead it was a preselected set for each panelist.  Even so, the questions asked and the information given was timely and on topic.

Panel for the DNA session
Judy was, of course, asked about ethics and genealogy.  It made me very happy that this issue was brought up.  Ethics is always a sticky topic, one that many genealogists stumble on frequently.  Add in the issues of genetics and the already sticky situation then becomes quick sand.  Judy made several good points, including that any time you deal with family information ethical issues should be looked at.

More importantly, she took the stance that I have since the beginning.  Genetic data belongs to the person who gave the sample, period.  Why this is a question I do not understand.  After many lectures I have people come to me on both sides of this predicament.  Those who feel that they paid for it, so it’s theirs to control.  Then those who want to know the results and are shut out by the person managing the test.

Yes, this is a conversation that obviously needs to be had more and more.

While that might have been the most electric discussion of the panel, there were quite a few other great points brought up.

For instance, I really liked Dihan’s answer when asked what products or spin-offs she thought were out there for the taking.  She hit the nail on the head with the industry needs companies (or people or groups) to create nice ways to share genetic results with people.  We all know that Ancestry allows you to send the ethnicity picture out to people, but it would be great if there were ways we could easily share more types of genetic information with our family.

Why family? For me, they are the ones that we need to get and keep interested.  If we could share information, explanations and our enthusiasm with our relatives I honestly believe that many more would understand the thrill.  It can take most people weeks if not months to fully understand their results.  Why should we expect our family to feel our excitement when we show them a DNA result and they have no idea what it means?  I mean I love my husband, but at times, he shows me a techie thing and my eyes glaze over while I nod my head.  We all do it with our own family and genealogy.

Overall it was a good day, and I am so glad to be back at RootsTech 2016.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Pre-RootsTech Wrap-up

Seriously, when did it become Thursday?  The time is flying around here!  Which means I owe you all a few posts letting you know what is going on here at Rootstech.  As well as giving you some fun bits about what I am doing around here!

I arrived into Salt Lake City Sunday afternoon.  Thankfully even though I flew through Denver it was still nice weather and I did not get stuck there like travelers the next day!  I was also lucky that I was able to travel with a great friend (and awesome traveling companion) the whole way which always makes airports and flights so much fun.

The only down side to traveling to RootsTech for me is that I only have one day of research time at the Family History Library.  Those of you who have been there are groaning right now I know it.  Honestly, one day is a drop in the bucket for the amount of time that a person could spend there.

It was great watching my traveling companion make a few amazing finds of her own.  The lucky duck actually spent three days at the library. Three. Days.  Three!  I promise not to hate her too much.

Microfilm Cabinets at the
Family History Library
Those who are family and read this blog with the family connections will be happy that I was able to gather information on a couple lines.  Which means, family history blog posts will be coming in the next few weeks.

Valerie Eichler Lair from Val’s Roots was a sweet heart and helped me organize a research to-do sheet for several lines that I needed to work on for various reasons.  Valerie actually teaches people who to prepare for large research trips to facilities, so check her out if you need any advice.

I worked on my Arvin and Combs lines.  For my husband I worked on his Thompson and McChesney lines.  While I did not complete my whole list, I did make some wonderful discoveries that I can’t wait to share with you in the next few weeks.

Tuesday was play in the morning and work in the evening for me.  I joined a wonderful bunch of ladies on an excursion to the Great Salt Lake.  Before you ask… yes, it was cold…yes, there was snow…yes, we were a bit insane.

However, even in the middle of the winter it was an amazing place to visit.  The vistas were warmth, and thought I was nuts.  No bison pictures for me.  Oh, well.
No it is not real, just a statue.
But look at the view.
breathtaking with the snow covered mountains and the glistening water.  We even saw two herds of bison grazing.  I, however, was the only one who wanted to get out of the car and take pictures.  Everyone else was just fine in the

My luck with food however, has been hit or miss.  Well, really more miss than hit, but those are the situations which amazing stories are made of.  For instance, ask me about the hot sake experiment if you see in the future.