Friday, March 16, 2018

I just ran out of puff

I had a ball at #Congress_2018.

Up front and eager to learn
By the time Day 3 - Sunday and my second presentation rolled around at 4:45pm I was breathless from exhaustion and excitement. I thought no-one would turn up to hear me on the graveyard shift but I was delighted to have a nearly full room.

I was out of puff by the time Jennie Fairs (L) introduced me on Sunday
I had a wonderful five days in Sydney catching up with genimates at the two day pre-Congress registration and at the first three days of the event.

Three happy young genies at Congress
On Day 4 - Monday I gave in to my asthma, called my doctor, attended the first morning sessions and left for home. I was sentenced to bedrest for a few days. This is quite frustrating as I have so much to share but I need to recuperate for our next travel adventure which is just around the corner.

I want to shower accolades on the Congress organisers for having the courage to select a world class venue to showcase our event. The marvellous volunteers, the exhibitors, the speakers and most of all my genimates came together in friendship to make the experience so memorable for all involved.

The standouts for me were Kerry Farmer with her DNA stats, Paul Milner on 17th and 18th Century Research, Liz Rushen on Mr Marshall's Immigrants and Judy G Russell on Copyrights and Copywrongs. For energy and enthusiasm Thom Reed from Familysearch took the cake. I was disappointed that while some of the speakers had valuable information to convey their fumbling with notes distracted from their talks. I was disappointed to miss Lisa Louise Cooke's final keynote as I know this would have been a knockout.

Paul Milner - a confident engaging speaker
I have gained much new learning to apply - when I finally get around to putting it into practice I will blog about it here.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

For those who missed the show

Only 620 genies were able to attend the main event on the Australasian geneacalendar last weekend in Sydney. Those of use who attended #Congress_2018 (or the15th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry) were treated to an educational extravaganza by a bevy of the best local and overseas speakers.

Quite a number of genies have blogged or shared videos about their experiences at Congress. In this post I will share links to those public posts I have found so that you can learn about what happened at Congress.

Genies at the Opening Ceremony HIgh Tea
I made a few little videos and posted them on my Youtube Channel here.

Queensland Family History Society posted a video here:

Lisa Louise Cooke shared her Animoto video

These bloggers have already written reports and, as the dust settles, I expect more to write. I will continue to add to this list.

Alona Tester at Lonetester HQ
Congress 2018 – It Begins

Chris W and Martyn Killion - The Killion, Quinn and Hand Families of Port Macquarie and Kempsey
The Killions go to Congress 2018

Emily Peace at Diary of a Young Genealogist
Preparing for Congress
Congress 2018 from a Newbie's Perspective

Gayle at GY Genealogy

Jill Ball at GeniAus
A Sense of Community
A True Introvert
I just ran out of puff

John at OZ John's Genealogy (New blog started at Congress)
The 15th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry

Lilian Magill at Lilian's Tree
My Congress 2018, Days 3 and 4
My Congress 2018. Dinner
My Congress 2018, Days 1 and 2.
My Congress 2018. Pre-Congress.

Lilian Magill at Research by Lily
Congress 2018.

Maggie at IwiKiwi
Congress 2018 is here!
Congress 2018 ~ the good, the not so good, and the even better

Mel - Just do it Blog (New blog started at Congress)
Three W's - who, what and why

Shauna Hicks at Diary of an Australian Genealogist

Shelley Crawford at Twigs of Yore
Congress 2018 wrap-up

Sue Wyatt at O'er the seas we go
Congress Day 1
Congress Day 2

If you know of any other Congress reports please let me know and I will add them to this list.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A True Introvert

Those people who saw me leaping around the podium at #Congress_2018 would say "there goes an extrovert".
In Extrovert Mode at Congress

They are wrong. If I have a role to play like welcoming people to an event or addressing a crowd I am in my element but when I am "Just Jill" I am a rather shy old girl, I don't like big parties and  occasions where I am thrown into groups of strangers. I love my own company and can happily spend days by myself.

I recently read this excerpt from a blog post that describes me - I am a true introvert.

  "A true introvert is not a "shy person".  No.  Introverts often have very vibrant personalities, and can appear to be the life of the party.  The difference is that we need plenty of "alone time" to recharge.  Once our energy is spent there needs to be some solitude in which to build our social energy back up.  Also, we like to get to the point.  This means that we love conversation- as long as it isn't "small talk".  If we aren't interested in the weather or some sporting event, we check out."

Friday, March 9, 2018

A Sense of Community

My past two days have been so busy and so rewarding.

I spent my days connecting with genimates at they took advantage of the #Congress_2018 pre-registration offered by The Society of  Australian Genealogists. The registration event took place right next door to to the home of the Society, Richmond Villa in the historic Glover Cottages.  Society President, Martyn Killion, had organised beautiful weather and Executive Officer, Heather Garnsey, organised some catering. While fellow volunteers from the Society dispensed conference badges and bags my role was a social one. I was on hand to offer a cuppa and cake and to chat with those who had tramped along Kent Street to the Cottages.

Several folk who had other things on their agendas popped in, grabbed their registration paraphernalia and took off but most lingered for the chat, cuppa and cake. Some even stayed for a few hours because the atmosphere in the courtyard was so convivial. The sense of community was evident as people who came along as strangers made new friends. I could see my aim of this Congress being a friendly affair being fulfilled. It made this old genie's heart sing.

I loved being on hand to reconnect with genimates some of whom I hadn't seen for a few months or years and to meet in person so many of my online mates from our Congress Facebook Group. A personal highlight was meeting for the first time a 3rd cousin I had connected with via DNA.

Meeting my third cousin for the first time
Of course I had my phone on hand to take some happy snaps to capture the atmosphere.

President Martyn holding court
Executive Officer, Heather, busy listening

Volunteer Coordinator, Tiphanee

Brenda and Charlie B.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Back to sea level

Salt Lake City just takes me breath away. 

I didn't climb this set of stairs
Each year when I attend the Rootstech Conference I find myself short of breath. Salt Lake City has an average elevation of 4,327 feet(1,319 m) above sea level which is high for this old girl who lives by the sea. This year the elevation combined with the minus temperatures really hit me.

Although it is only a couple of hundred metres up the road from my hotel I only visited the Family History Library once, I only visited, Macys, my other US temple once as well. I was just too puffed to visit each of these a second time. 

Thankfully I had my asthma meds with me and was able to start a course of treatment that kept me awake and hopping.Thankfully my hotel was directly across the road from the Rootstech venue at the Salt Palace so I was able to get to the conference within a couple of minutes.  This year I didn't attend many classes as I didn't have the energy to walk the long distances or stand in long lines that these required. I spent most of my conference in the Media Hub with regular forays out into the Expo Hall.

As I was feeling poorly I only attended one keynote session in person. For these sessions the Ambassadors have to be in their reserved seats by 8am and, if one finds oneself behind a tall person (as I invariably do), it can be difficult to see the speaker on the stage. It has only taken me seven Rootstech Conferences to realise that I can set my alarm for 8:20am (thereby gaining an extra hour of valuable shuteye), watch the livestreamed keynotes while I dress and eat breakfast and actually see the whole presentation in comfort. Then when the session is over I wander over the Media Hub in time to interview the VIPs that are on the list for the day. Avoiding the crush of  people leaving the keynote sessions is a bonus.

The people that you meet
The people that I meet and the interview opportunities that I am given are the reasons that I keep coming back to Rootstech . One of  my goals is to be an Ambassador for Australia at Rootstech  and an Ambassador for Rootstech  for the people back home. It takes my breath away that I am given opportunities to share via Youtube my chats with  geneastars at Rootstech that my genimates would not otherwise meet.

Aussies at Rootstech
I can report that I am now back on sea level and breathing normally, I had no trouble walking a couple of kilometres through Sydney yesterday. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Too busy to blog!

I just haven't had time to sit down and blog while at Rootstech. It happens every year.

It has dawned on me that the easiest way to communicate with the greatest number of people at the event and share what they have to say with you while I am there is to get out and about and record some interviews on my phone. So that is what I have been doing.

I have cut off a few heads, had some dodgy sound bites and lost my train of thought in some of the clips. By and large I think that sharing rather than regurgitating in a blog post, the words of my interviewees, gives you a more authentic experience....and it saves me having to type!!!

Some of my interviews have been shared on various social media channels but I am likely to have forgotten to share some. If you head over to my GeniAus at Rootstech playlist on Youtube you can see all the conversations I had with an amazing array of geneafolk.

Thankyou to the team at Familysearch and Rootstech who keep inviting me to return as an Ambassador to Rootstech, the greatest geneashow on earth.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Humans of New York

I enjoyed the livestream of this morning's keynote with Brandon Stanton from Humans of New York from the comfort of my hotel room. Once that was over I grabbed my gear and made for the Media Hub in the Expo Hall at Rootstech because had I an interview with Brandon. Here is what he said.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

A DNA kind of day

It's been a DNA kind of day for GeniAus at Rootstech.

I slept in to nurse my cold so missed the first session I had hoped to attend this morning but I hear that the queue was really long and that I may not have got a seat anyway.

For the second session of the day I listened to Paul Woodbury's talk How close are we really? Evaluating shared DNA. This session was billed as a Beginner session but I am sure that Paul lost many DNA newbies as he packed so much information into his talk. I was pleased that I went as I have a reasonable understanding of the things Paul was discussing. I really liked some of his analogies and the way he explained various aspects of DNA but think the talk should have had an Intermediate label.

The next talk I attended, The Emotional side of DNA testing, was from the vivacious and effervescent Bernice Bennett. While I was waiting for the talk to commence I recorded a quick DNA story from the gentleman sitting beside me.

In her presentation Bernice discussed the various emotions we who undergo DNA tests for various reasons experience before and after we get our results and then as we start to communicate with our matches. Bernice offered advice on the best way to approach our matches.

Bernice Bennett at the podium
After a comprehensive talk Bernice invited members of the audience to join her and tell their DNA stories. Now I am a hard nut to crack but I found myself tearing up as these folk came forward and shared the stories and the emotions they experienced as the results of their DNA tests were revealed. This was a spinetingling, tearjerker of a session.

Next on my program was Introduction to Chromosome Mapping with Tim Janzen. It was obvious that Dr Janzen knew his topic intimately and he was generous in providing a URL to his large powerpoint slide. Unfortunately I did not gain much from this presentation.

DNA figured largely in the 4:00pm General Session. I was intrigued when I heard Hannah Morden, Marketing Director, from Living DNA speak as she had a distinctive Aussie accent.

The Living DNA team 
Jill with Hannah Morden
Later in the evening I was able to interview Hannah and discovered that she, like me, was a native of Sydney and a fellow proud Australian.

Relatives at Rootstech?

One of the fun activities at the Media Dinner last night (and when in the Salt Palace for Rootstech) that ties in with the theme of the Rootstech) conference is "Relatives at Rootstech."  Like a good little Ambassador I made sure I had downloaded a few generations of ancestors to my Familysearch Family Tree and that I had the latest version of the Familysearch mobile app on my new phone.

The idea of this is that when you are within the walls of the Salt Palace you open the app, give it permission to connect with your Relatives at Rootstech and it does a little bit of searching to find cousins for you. All around the room at the dinner people were getting excited. Some of my mates were related to Steve Rockwell and David Rencher from Familysearch, most people had some cousins, some people had many but poor old GeniAus had none.

In spite of not finding any connections via the app when I am at Rootstech I connect with may kindred spirits at Rootstech) and feel that I belong in the Rootstech) family.


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