Monday, February 19, 2018

Checking off the Checklist

I'm a fly by the seat of my pants type of girl but in the case of Rootstech I have a checklist that I consult prior to taking off. If I forget something I won't be making the 12,816 km journey home to collect it.



My 2017 post  has provided the basis for this 2018 list.

  • Hotel at Sydney airport for night prior to flight - Booked
  • Longterm Parking at Sydney Airport - Booked
  • International return flight Australia to SLC - Booked 
  • Airport transfer in SLC - Staying first night at SLC airport hotel - it has a free shuttle 
  • Hotel Accommodation - Booked at the Marriott Downtown City Creek - most convenient hotel to Salt Palace and City Creek shops. Had to book first night elsewhere as Marriott was full 
  • Passport - Already in handbag 
  • ESTA (Visa) - Still valid
  • Travel insurance - Renewed
  • Make copies of all docs and save on phone and laptop - Another job for this afternoon.
  • Pills and potions - packed an emergency 'just in case' kit of favourites.  
  • Get US dollars from bank - especially $1 notes - Done
  • Conference Registration - Done 
  • Respond to invitations - Done 
  • Download the Rootstech App - Done, classes selected and friends made. If more people made their profiles public I would be able to make even more friends 
  • Download Rootstech syllabus papers of interest - May have to do this in SLC. 
  • Compile list of research tasks for Family History Library - In progress in my Family Historian Database.
  • Make list of shopping to be done while in the US.
  • Find out names of Aussies who are travelling to Rootstech - only a small group this year - wonder if I have missed anyone? 
  • Set a date for a casual pre-conference dinner for members of the British Commonwealth attending Rootstech - Done. Details here.
  • Aussie pins/stickers/badges to hand out -  Done
  •  GeniAus Business Cards to hand out - New ones have arrived
  • GeniAus ribbons - Awaiting pickup on Salt Lake City. Thanks DearMyrtle
  • Purchase breakfast bars and healthy snacks for quick meals - already packed.
  • Start gathering up my Geneabling to wear at the event - can't find it since moving house. Will have to start up a new collection. 
  • A light day bag for conference - no-one else will have a bag like mine.
  • Organise my technology for the trip - A mammoth task for this afternoon.
  • Pack my Bags - Halfway there - need to take stuff out rather then put stuff in.

With only two more sleeps to go I had better stop blogging and attend to packing.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

How's your brand?

This morning I read an interesting post from a school librarian who was talking about social media and branding. So much of what she said is also true for genealogists and family historians.

Ashley Cooksey said in her post Social Media Profile and Branding  "One of the most important things a #ConnectedEducator can do is to build a stellar profile and create a social media brand. You may currently be thinking, “a brand is for a company, fast food restaurant, or shoe, not for a teacher.” Well, my friend, I disagree. Your profile gives followers a quick snapshot of who you are as a professional (and a person). Your posts will develop your brand. Think of this as your digital footprint."  The same goes for a Connected Genealogist.

In the article Ashley answers to three questions:
  • What do you need to include in your profile?
  • What should you post? And how often?
  • Why is it important to brand yourself?
I cannot think of many family historians whose content I instantly recognise. Some that I recognise are those with unique usernames/aliases (or as I call them AKAs) like The Chart Chick, Dapper Historian, Lonetester and ScotSue. These unique names have much more meaning than Mary Brown or John Smith. When I enter the search term GeniAus into Google the majority of the results that are returned are about or by me, ie relevant. I imagine that DearMYRTLE has a similar experience but I am sure that poor Mary Brown and John Smith aren't so fortunate. Do you consider the person who may be trying to find your pearls of wisdom via a simple search?

I am astounded when I visit blogs while writing welcome posts for the GeneabloggersTRIBE blog that quite a number of bloggers don't have a Profile or About Me statement. If we want to connect with our readers we must give a little. Have you checked your profile lately? Does it give the reader a hint of your personality and background. Readers like to know a little about those whose ramblings they are reading.

Some genealogists have one photo or graphic across all of their social media channels. Do you recognise these? 

This is a slide from a presentation I am giving at #Congress_2018
EXTRA added an hour later. If you are going to use a photo (unless it's one of you as a child) make sure it is recent and an accurate representation of the everyday you. 

The Legal Genealogist has all of this branding stuff sewn up. She has a recognisable AKA, uses the same photo regularly and even wears her pink coat to many geneaevents. I hear that the coat is now threadbare and that Judy has commissioned a replica.

Does your branding need a makeover? Perhaps you should read Ashley's post Social Media Profile and Branding.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Your Hatstand at Rootstech

I am a hatstand!

Finding an analogy to describe myself at Rootstech has been difficult...but I just had a lightbulb moment. I don't have as many hats as the Dr Seuss' character Bartholomew Cubbins but I will be wearing a few.

I am listing hats in abc order because they are all important.

Australian - I love my sunburnt country and, as an unofficial ambassador, relish being able to spread the good news about our land downunder.

Blogger - I first came to Rootstech as an Official Blogger in 2011 and I keep coming back to share the joy of Rootstech via my blog. I find lots of fodder for blog posts at Rootstech. Meeting fellow bloggers is a highlight.

Facilitator - As part of my Rootstech Ambassador role  I encourage Australians to visit Rootstech and while they are there provide them with on the ground support.

Family Historian - I arrive early in Salt Lake City so I can put on my Researcher hat and head for Level B2 at the Family History Library where I can freely use all their magnificent facilities and resources.

Friend - I came to Rootstech as a stranger in 2011. Now I go to catch up with the friends I have met and made there.

Leading some Aussies and friends on a merry dance through Salt Lake City in 2017.

GeneabloggersTRIBE AdminRootstech gives me an opportunity to meet many GeneabloggersTribe members under one roof and to share tales of Blogging.

Interviewer - Chatting with fellow genies and celebrities in the media hub allows me to record and share conversations with those unable to attend Rootstech.

Lifelong Learner  - I love to learn and avail myself of the learning opportunities at Rootstech that no other event in the world can provide.

Party Girl - This odd, eccentric old girl loves to party. I'm a people person and the formal and informal gatherings at Rootstech provide ample opportunities for this hat to get an airing.

Presenter - I am leaving this hat behind this year. The nerves associated with it do nothing to enhance my Rootstech experience.

Rootstech Ambassador - I am honoured to wear this hat which requires me to promote and discuss the event in my Reporter hat.

Shopper - I am a great fan of Macy's, Ross Stores and online shopping with Amazon.com. The US is a shoppers' paradise where things are so cheap! A sojourn in Salt Lake City provides opportunities to support the US economy.

Society/Group Member - I share the good news about the Groups to which I belong especially The Society of Australian Genealogists and The Surname Society.

Tourist - Over the years I have visited many sites around Salt Lake City and further afield in adjacent States. While at Rootstech I try to include some touristing on my agenda.

A warm tourist hat for GeniAus in Snowbird, Utah 2017







Thursday, February 15, 2018

Getting Conference Ready

In just a week I will be jetting off to Rootstech in Salt Lake City. I will return home for one short night to ditch my cold weather clothes and grab some more suited for Sydney's pleasant March weather where I will attend Congress_2018. In 2018 I am once again an Ambassador for Rootstech, Congress_2018 does not have any formal Ambassadors so I am trying to do my bit by hosting the Genimates at #Congress_2018 Facebook Group.

Genies at Congress 2015 in Adelaide
The last time I was subjected to this geneaoverload (thanks for that new word Hilary Gadsby) was in 2015 when I was both an Ambassador for Rootstech and Congress 2015. At that time I wrote a series of posts under the banner Getting Conference Ready.  Some of the info in these may be outdated but there are still quite a few tips and links for those attending.

FYI I am posting the links below.

Monday, February 12, 2018

DNA Progress

I feel that I should reflect on my progress (or lack thereof) periodically.

This post is an evaluative exercise for me. There are just not enough hours in the day to do justice to the amount of $$$ I have invested in DNA research.  So how am I going?

To date I have tested several family members:

Myself at Ancestry, FTDNA (autosomal and mtDNA) and MyHeritage and uploaded to Gedmatch
My mother at FTDNA and uploaded to MyHeritage and Gedmatch
My daughter at Ancestry and uploaded to MyHeritage (Must upload to MyHeritage)
My grandson at FTDNA and uploaded to Gedmatch. (Must upload to MyHeritage)
My granddaughter at FTDNA (Waiting on results)
My double first cousin at FTDNA and uploaded to Gedmatch
My paternal first cousin at FTDNA and uploaded to Gedmatch
My mother's second cousin at FTDNA.
My husband at FTDNA and uploaded to Gedmatch
My husband's first cousin at FTDNA
My son-in-law at FTDNA (waiting on results - tested because granddaughter wants to know about both sides of her tree).

As an only child with no living aunts and uncles my options for testing close family members are limited but I do have some more distant cousins on my radar. I take kits in my handbag when I visit potential victims.

So far I have confirmed just 65 matches to myself, 53 of these are via Ancestry the remainder from FTDNA, Gedmatch and MyHeritage. Of the matches from people unknown to me I have 1 second cousin, a few second cousin's once removed and the majority are in the 3rd and 4th cousin range. It is interesting to note that I have only had 4 new matches at FTDNA in 2018. I had 84 new matches in my top 2000 on Gedmatch in the past month. There were so many more on Ancestry.

Testing my mother, first cousins and Mum's second cousin has lead me to other distant cousins who do not match my tests but match theirs so I am committed to having others test.

I have been lax with my husband's side but aside from his first cousins and our descendants I have confirmed only a handful of matches for him.

I record my communications with and details of matches in spreadsheets (one for my side and one for my husband). I will start up one for my granddaughters' paternal side when those results come in. I am happy with this method. I also make notes in the notes section of Ancestry and FTDNA matches).

After attending umpteen lectures, reading loads of articles and joining online DNA groups I feel I have a good basic understanding of DNA and could even give an introductory talk on DNA.

I am still dabbling with tools to help me investigate chromosome matches. I just need to hide in a padded cell for a day or two to concentrate and learn. I have had a little play with DNA Painter and think I can handle that. Shelley Crawford's Visualing Ancestry DNA matches enabled me to identify more Ancestry matches but I did find the setup challenging even though Shelley's instructions were excellent. I must redo that as I have many new matches.

I try to keep up with new matches.  but find it easier to do with Ancestry's Android app than by firing up my PC. I am aware that I can check the MyHeritage results on their app so will start doing that as well. It's so easy to pull out the phone and check a few new DNA results when I am waiting for the doctor, dentist or plane or train. Revving up the computer takes longer.

I contact all promising matches, ie those that have  matches in common and I can identify a family line and those who have some sort of online tree that gives me a clue as to where our match may be. I would estimate that around 1/3 of these folk respond. I probably only receive about one enquiry email per week for all the kits I manage.

The good news is that I have confirmed matches to all of my Great-Grandparents lines, some of my 2x Great-Grandparents and a few of my 3x Great-Grandparents. It is comforting to know that my traditional research is confirmed.

Although I purchased my first kit from FTDNA in 2013 I didn't submit my sample until early 2015 so I have been on the DNA trail for three years. It's been slow progress.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Open Live Writer


As I am away from home with limited internet access I am using Open Live Writer to prepare this post offline. Once I’m done I’ll log on to the internet and complete my post.

In 2016 when genimates like Shelley from Twigs of Yore said that they used Open Live Writer  I hopped on the bandwagon and, after using it for a few posts, went back to drafting my posts using Blogger online.

I have mentioned Open Live Writer as a good free tool in my Managing Frugally presentation that I have prepared for #Congress_2018 and I wanted to brush up on my knowledge before I take to the stage at the conference.

Screenshot_20180209-101405[1]

It appears as though I have a very narrow space in which to enter my text I was able to change the font and font size in my post. I have managed to prepare a draft post and look at its preview, I’ve inserted some hyperlinks and some images – one from my computer and one from my smartphone that is attached to computer via USB. I used the text highlighter to add emphasis to some words in my text – that was nifty.

The spellcheck facility that is on the toolbar found a couple of errors for me ((I can spell) but my typing is punk.

olrtoolbar

I like the subscript and superscript buttons on the toolbar and the wordcount tool will come in handy too.

When I look at the preview of this post the text looks awfully large although I selected font size of 10 when the default was 4. I presumed this measure was in pt (point size) but maybe it is an em measurement. I guess that I’ll find out when I upload my post to Blogger.

I’ve prattled on for long enough so I’ll turn on my hotspot and upload a draft of this to GeniAus (I’m not game to post it directly from here as it may look like a dog’s breakfast.

And what did I find? The post content transferred well but there was no break between my paragraphs. This was easy to fix - I just added some html code (break) to create space between the paragraphs. There were also issues with the font - it was tiny. I was unable to fix this via the Blogger menu so it was back to the code. I'm not too good with html code but as I read through it I found lots of instances of xx-small and x-small font. I gambled and changed these to small and my post became readable. 

Once I learn where I have gone wrong I may go back to using Open Live Writer especially when I need to preserve my data.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Trove Tuesday - Each snippet adds something to the story

It's quite a while since I did some sleuthing on Trove to see if I can add to the story of my 3x Great-Grandfather, Dennis Tierney. His activities are well documented in
The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser but I wanted to see if there was anything new or that I had previously missed.

It is not my usual practice to be organised but, for this search I decided to search for posts containing the word Tierney between 1840-01-01 to 1840-12-31. I figured that there may not be many Tierneys in the colony at that time. 

The first item I came across was this article List of Unclaimed Letters FOR THE MONTH OF JULY, 1840.  It lists an unclaimed letter for  "Tierney Dennis, Carpenter". I guess whoever was writing to Dennis hadn't caught up with the news that he had moved from Sydney to Dungog.

It seemed as though Dennis did nothing in the years that I checked between between 1841 and  1846. I finally found a new result in the Sydney Chronicle (NSW : 1846 - 1848) Wednesday 23 June 1847 p 4 Advertising which told me that  Dennis Tierney was appointed to be agent for Clarence Town and Dungog for that newspaper. His name appeared in several successive editions of that paper.I did not know that Dennis had this role so my sleuthing was not in vain.

I have found many articles in Trove that mention Dennis from 1849 up until his death in 1894. He must have been shy in his younger years!

I am happy with what I found - Each snippet I find helps to fill out Dennis' story.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Mr Familysearch - Steve Rockwood

I note that one of the keynote speakers at Rootstech in 2018 is Steve Rockwood.

Dennis Brimhall and Jill 2012
I would guess that nearly all of my genimates use the resources of Familysearch but they probably wouldn't recognise the name of the man at the helm, Steve Rockwood or of his predecessors Jay Verkler and Dennis Brimhall.

One of the perks of being a Rootstech Ambassador is that I get to interview some of the stars who attend the annual Rootstech Conference. There are pop stars, sporting stars, tech stars, people with a strong social conscience and geneastars. I have been fortunate to conduct personal interviews with all three of the Familysearch CEOs since the first Rootstech in 2011,  Steve Rockwood and his predecessors Jay Verkler and Dennis Brimhall. That's a pretty big deal for a little old granny from downunder.

Jay Verkler and Jill - 2011

What has impressed me is that, although these three very tall individuals have brought different emphases to Familysearch during their time at the top, they are genuine nice guys who are passionate about family history and their mission as the Familysearch CEO. Although they have been super busy they have been most gracious in spending time chatting with me.

Steve Rockwood suggests that when people engage with genealogy they experience feelings “They’re feelings of the heart. I don’t care where you are; people tell you what feelings they felt. . . . They’ll tell you, ‘I feel love; I feel joy; I feel peace.’ These are powerful, core feelings that everyone has.”

If you use Familysearch and don't know Steve Rockwood please take the time to get to know him in this interview I recorded  at Rootstech 2017.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Monday Geneapourri

So I started this post on Monday and here it is Friday!

I borrowed the Geneapourri theme from Randy Seaver a,s on Monday, I had a geneaday where I devoted myself to geneatasks but, by the time I got to writing this post, I was tired and ready to take to my bed with Ernest Hemingway.

When Mr GeniAus asks me how I fill in my days I sometimes struggle to find an answer so, on Monday, I took a few notes.

As is my daily practice I started with a cup of coffee and read through emails and social media on my smartphone prior to rising. I responded, commented on and shared some posts to my new GeniAus page on Facebook. Because I prefer to do most tasks on my computer I had to leave my bed and get myself comfortable in an upright position at my desk.

With my GeneabloggersTRIBE admin hat on I sent out some welcome to the Tribe emails and wrote a couple of welcome blog posts like this one.

As I have a busy few weeks ahead I wrote and scheduled some posts for the Geneadictionary. While that blog doesn't have a huge readership it has created quite a bit of interest in the geneacommunity. I regularly get suggestions for inclusion via social media from genimates.

I need to be equipped for Rootstech and Congress two geneaevants that I am attending so I did a spot of shopping at Vistaprint. My new contact cards and bag are already on their way to me.

I shouldn't lose this bag

Someone who had found my online tree via a Google search had emailed me with a correction so I noted this in my tree and responded. I must remember to upload the corrections to my website.

On Sunday evening I had a run through with Martyn Killion (President), Heather Garnsey (Exec Officer) and Danielle Lautrec (Education Officer) of the webinar I was giving for SAG on Thursday. I had taken lots of notes so, as a result,  I spent quite some time modifying my powerpoint slides for the gig. All through the day I monitored the Genimates at Congress 2018 Facebook page that I administer, I try to respond to comments/questions there in a timely fashion.

Webinar Powerpoint
I am the administrator of a Facebook page for a family history group so I answered two local questions that came via that platform. All one required to find a comprehensive answer was a simple Google search using a person's name!

Realising that I hadn't been keeping the Presentations page on my GeniAus blog up to date I tried to fill in some gaps. As I am speaking on Beaut blogs at Congress I need to tart mine up!
As a Rootstech Ambassador I like to promote that event and I am taking particular interest in their mobile app. What amazes me is that there are many folk spruiking the benefits of the app but only a handful who are making their profiles public and using the collaborative features of the app. So every so often I took a look at my phone to see who else had shared their profiles. Not many - go figure!

Whenever I want to pat myself on my back for completing my geneatasks I let myself indulge in a bit of  Tangential Genealogy. My wanderings took me to my Ancestry DNA matches and four new 4th-6th cousin matches. I was able to work out where two fitted in but the others are in my mystery pile. Fingers crossed that they respond to my messages. It has taken me ages to get to 52 confirmed matches on Ancestry, passing 50 this week was quite a milestone. My lowest confirmed match, an adoptee,  shares just 7.5 centimorgans shared across 1 DNA segments with me.  By the time I came up for a breather my day was done.

Today, Friday, I have another Geneaday all to myself. I'm sure that it will be different from Monday. Do your days resemble mine?

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