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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

I am still here, Life during a pandemic

When we entered quarantine at the beginning of March I was like "Woohoo! So much time for writing!" Well, that obviously did not happen. Just look at how many posts there are here.

I got sick, my husband got sick, my kids got sick, and my dad got sick. While we do not know if we had Covid-19 (there were not enough tests at that time and we did not meet the criteria to be tested) it's been several months of being cared for and caring for others in my home. Exhaustion is the worse part. You just do not want to do anything.

To top it off, my husband and I have relapsed several times with whatever this is. On the 15th I was given a Covid-19 test which came back negative. However, as my doctor told me yesterday, that doesn't mean you didn't have it, you simply do not have it now. Yup, my husband and I are still sick with some sort of chest crud and are under treatment, again.

After 12 weeks at home (one of us leaves the house as needed for groceries, medicines, or to a doctor appointment) I need to set a routine and stick to it. No matter what. Having everyone here though has set my mind into a loop. When your kids are home, doing school work, it sometimes is hard to get into a work rhythm. I have not begun any large projects because once I get on a roll, then get sidetracked with helping someone, I often cannot maintain my momentum.  The train of thought has derailed and the crane to right it gets bigger each time.

Although, I finished two crocheted afghan projects that have languished in a basket and made a new granny square blanket from scratch using odd and end yarn I have stashed around the house. So yay for making things!

Plus, we started a garden for the first time in 16 years. Yes, 16 years. My husband still has tilling
trauma from the last time I tried to do a garden. One of my boys wanted to try, and having a willing victim, er participant, makes things happen around here. We started seedlings in the house, built a raised garden bed (4'x4'), and have planted the first seedlings in it. There are three types of tomatoes, dwarf sunflowers, bib lettuce, and heirloom marigolds. The marigolds are from seeds I saved three years ago from a summer camp project for child number two. He attended camp at Mount Vernon, home of George Washinton, and they planted marigolds from the plantation to bring home. Those two heirloom flowers gave me several dozen seeds.

We have also planned an herb garden to go around the seating area in the back yard. The plants are ready to go, I am just waiting for the supplies from the building supply store to be delivered. We will have oregano, thyme, mint, lemon balm, sage, basil, and chamomile. Fingers crossed it all gets done this week. My seedlings want out of the house!

But it has not all been sitting around and playing with yarn and soil. I have made some progress on some paid, volunteer, and personal research. Limited of course because I only have the internet and my personal library. However, some of my librarian and archive friends are still at work. Guess what, they re bored too. I lucked out that some research I needed was done by these wonderful people over the last couple of months. So, reach out and see if the repository you need information from is taking online requests or phone requests. While it will not be free, you may get extra care and information since they have not as many customers to help.

I hope you all are doing well. Stay safe, take care, and do some genealogy today!

Monday, March 2, 2020

RootsTech London 2020

During Steve Rockwood’s keynote address, he and Jen Allen announced the opening of RootsTech London! Mark your calendars for November 5 – 7 at the ExCeL. Take advantage of the early-bird pricing and secure your seat now. Full passes are £79 and day passes for £39.   

Start planning by checking out my previous London RootsTech 2019 Posts here

Friday, February 28, 2020

Press Release Heritage Storybooks

FindMyPast Press Release: Findmypast’s archive is the fastest growing on the market

Findmypast’s collections have grown by over 1.5 billion names in the last year
Totalling over 13 billion records, Findmypast is now home to the fastest growing archive on the market

More records added over the past 12 months than all competitors combined

Millions of new and exclusive records bought online for the very first time Findmypast continues to publish millions of new records from Britain, Ireland, North America and beyond each and every month, providing users across the globe with new opportunities for discovery.

The world leaders in British & Irish family history are now adding an average of 4.3 million searchable names a day, making them the second largest publisher on the family history market and the fastest growing archive online. 2019 has seen Findmypast’s collections expand significantly, with over 1.5 billion names added to the site over the past 12 months alone.

By bringing more data to market than any other family history website, Findmypast is plugging essential gaps in previously difficult to research regions through improved access to a wide variety of family history resources, many of which cannot be found anywhere else online.

Recent progress in Scotland where a range of new material has been published in association with society and archive partners across the country, marks just the latest step in Findmypast’s continued efforts to help users knock down brick walls and discover ancestors on both sides of the Atlantic.

All recent and future updates build on Findmypast’s existing digitization projects, including:

  • The Catholic Heritage Archive - a groundbreaking initiative to digitize the historic records of the Catholic Church in the U.S., Britain, and Ireland that has resulted in the online publication of more than 27 million records since February 2017. Recent additions include millions of new Sacramental marriage records from the Archdiocese of New York with more U.S. records yet to come. 
  • The 1921 census of England and Wales - In the most anticipated family history development since the online publication of the 1939 Register, Findmypast has been selected as The National Archives’ commercial partner to make the 1921 Census of England & Wales available online.
  • The British Newspaper Archive - Findmypast’s exclusive partnership with the British Library that has already resulted in the online publication of more than 36 million pages. New editions and titles are added every week with a variety of Commonwealth titles from Canada, the Caribbean and beyond to be added in the coming months - also available on Findmypast. 

Tamsin Todd, CEO of Findmypast, said: “I am proud of Findmypast’s heritage of working with wonderful organisations across the globe to digitise and share extraordinary record collections. We hear from our customers all the time how learning about their ancestors’ lives changed their understanding of their own lives. As we accelerate the growth of Findmypast’s collections, we will help ever more people feel the thrill of going on a journey to discover family stories that have the power to change the future.”

For more information, to request images or to discuss feature opportunities, please contact Niall Cullen: ncullen@findmypast or Alex Cox:, +44 7464 946769 

Findmypast (previously DC Thomson Family History) is the British-owned world leader in online family history millions of registered users across its family of brands, which include Findmypast, Genes Reunited, Findmypast DNA, the British Newspaper Archive and Twile. Its lead brand, also called Findmypast, is the home of the world’s most comprehensive online collection of British and Irish records, including: 

  • The largest online collection of UK parish records 
  • Twice the number of Irish records available on any other site 
  • The British Library’s vast collection of historical newspapers 
  • Military service records for all three branches of the British Armed Forces 
  • The official home of the 1939 Register, in partnership with The National Archives 

Findmypast is committed to making discoveries in the British Isles easier than ever before. It combines the best of British and Irish data with the knowledge of inhouse experts to provide a unique family history experience that guides researchers through every step of their journey. For more information on how Findmypast is enhancing the experiences of family historians worldwide, visit:

Award-winning filmmaker, Scott Wilhite, to introduce at RootsTech 2020

On Saturday, February 29, 2020 ShotBox will host Scott Wilhite, an award-winning writer, producer, and director and founder of the high net worth family preservation service, Wilhite will be introducing, which brings focused family storytelling to a broader audience with an easily attainable price point.

History has shown that 70% of the wealth of high net worth families is lost by the time it hits the grandchildren. The family wealth is gone because the family is gone. The relationships simply fall apart. 

After working with high net worth families since 2001, Wilhite recognized a similar need with families everywhere. “Youth today are struggling. They’ve got high levels of anxiety, depression, and self-destructive behaviors and addictions. They’ve got an identity crisis,” says Wilhite. “They need to know who and whose they are.”

HeirloomStories is a platform for Generation One parents and grandparents to share the life lessons, insights, beliefs, and values that have guided them throughout their lives. The done-for-you service handles all the details from storycoaching, to recording, to distribution on a custom family webpage.

The connection between grandchildren and their grandparents has been severed. Children source wisdom from YouTubers and Instagram Influencers instead of their grandparents. Wilhite points out, “We don’t ask Aunt Kris for a recipe anymore, we Google it; we don’t ask Grandpa for help fixing the mower, we go to YouTube. There’s an opportunity to restore the grandparent connection through the family narrative.

About ShotBox

ShotBox is an innovative portable light box that allows individuals to quickly digitize their most precious journals, scrapbooks, photos, and heirlooms.

For more information, visit (link

About Scott Wilhite and 

Scott Wilhite is an award winning commercial filmmaker, best-selling author, speaker, and app maker. His focus is on helping preserve family relationships through clarifying their family narrative.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

RootsTech London Bound, tips you should think about

The ExCel area looking up the Thames
to London. Oct 2019, by Author

I was at RootsTech London in October 2020, and I loved it. However, I have heard people in the expo hall stating, “how in the world would they get there?” Well, let me give you some ideas that helped me get there, which saved me time and money.

Airport to London: Fly into London City Airport. Do everything you can do fly into here. It is across the street from the ExCel! Plus, it was less than £5 to take a cab across the river to my hotel. Convenient, quick, and you do not have to deal with London traffic or the Tube. 

Airline: I love, love, love flying Aer Lingus. Unfortunately, they do not go to every city in the US, but for a discount overseas airlines, they are great. If they fly to your area, check them out.

The Dublin Secret: There are 16 airports in the world where you can clear US customs in that country. Dublin is one of these airports.  What does that mean for you? Well, you fly back to the US on a domestic flight and do not have to clear customs when you land, which can be a nightmare. I love flying for 5+ hours, walking off the plane, getting my bags, and heading home. For me, it means cutting out the 3+ hours of standing in line here in the US after a long flight.

Well, there are a few things you can think about for the time being. Maybe one of these will help you make your London dream come true. I will have more tips in the weeks ahead!

Time flies when you are having fun at RootsTech

SLC at Sunset 24 Feb 2020

I arrived Monday night in Salt Lake City, and today is the first time I have sat down to write anything about the conference. Yes, I have been that busy! But it is a good busy, so let me catch you up on some of the fantastic things that are going on here.

First off, I did make my trek to the Family History Library on Tuesday. Of course, the floors were packed with many excited researchers. I lucked out and found a couple of books I needed and have not found at any library in Virginia. Even better, I used the book scanner there. So great! It does not put pressure on the spine of the books, and you have a nice PDF of your pages downloaded to your thumb drive. Much lighter (and environmentally friendly) than carrying papers back home with me. Yes, I could have taken pictures with my phone, or used my phone scanner, but it was a new tool to try out! Can you blame me?

Photo by Terri O'Connell
It was my pleasure to attend the speaker's social and media dinner on Tuesday night. These times are always special to me as I get to see people I do not get to see very often in a more relaxed setting. We are here to work (either speaking or reporting and sometimes both), and these events are the kick-off for a high paced four days. I can never thank the event staff enough for all they do for us as well.

My first presentation is done. I spoke yesterday (and will give the lecture again on Saturday) on "What to do when the vital record is wrong?" It was the first recorded lecture I have presented at RootsTech, so I was a bit nervous. Thankfully my friends in the audience said I did great. I think I can believe them, right?!

Photo by Amie
Bowser Tennant
Last night when the expo hall doors opened to the public there was an amazing phenomenon. Hundreds (and hundreds) of kids with their parents poured into the Salt Palace. The expo hall is free for everyone and this kick-off of the 10th anniversary grew quite the crowd. I am still waiting to see if we get a count on how many were there!

Today is off and running! Talk to you more soon.