Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Enhance your Rootstech Experience

Sorry there aren't any pretty pictures on this post. Blogger won't let me upload any!

In the recent contest I held to give away a Rootstech 2018 Free Pass I asked entrants to "please tell me three things a Rootstech attendee needs to take to Rootstech to enhance his/her experience."

I had promised to collate the advice I received from entrants into a blog post and here it is. I hope these suggestions help you in your Rootstech preparation. Some of the suggestions were made multiple times.

The most popular suggestions related to footwear

  • Good, comfortable walking shoes to get around the big convention center.
  • Tennis shoes will be my best friend when walking from class to class or through the exhibit hall. 
  • Comfortable flat shoes. Not joggers as I like to look more professional than joggers make you look. (I have to agree about the joggers)

A full four day pass.  Who wants to miss any of this

Many were concerned with comfort
  • Comfy clothes, (maybe ever a blanket so I use all my focus)
  • Layering clothes is also a good idea.
  • A warm coat so you can go out at night with all my genie friends for lunch, dinner or to go up to the Family History Library when it is old outside.
  • Food (and water), so I can concentrate.
  • A water bottle and snacks.
  • A body that is rested,refreshed  and ready for Rootstech.
  • Friends 

Technology was mentioned a lot
  • Your favorite tech tool to take notes.
  • My laptop! For taking notes and looking up my tree quickly! and everything else I would need.
  • Portable battery for cell phone/laptops so you can take pictures, notes, etc. 
  • A camera or phone camera - one must take lots of photos (and selfies)
  • Your smartphone, because you'll want the Rootstech app
  • Connect on social media.
Some people preferred traditional tools
  • Lots of colored pens to write notes.
  • Lots of note paper - with so much to learn, one will need to take so many notes to remember all of the inspiration received!!
  •  A good notebook and pen.
Attitude is all important
  •  A great ATTITUDE
  • Desire - one needs a passion and desire to do familyhistory. Then it is easy to get addicted.... 
  • Open mind and heart - to listen and learn ways to research families, preserve families now and to feel our family love.
  • Eagerness to learn and absorb all of the information available from various presentations.
There will be lots of shopping opportunities at Rootstech

  • Largest enough suitcase to bring back all the goodies you'll find in the exhibit hall.
  • Credit Card that give the best airline miles for purchasing deeply discounted DNA Test Kits and other deeply discounted genealogy tech items and cool things available at the expo.

Some people are more organised than me
    • Map of conference center.
    • Make a list of vendors you wish to visit.
    • Create a personalized class schedule ahead of time.
    • Plan to spend time at the Family History Library.
    • Upload any documents/software you may need while in Salt Lake City.

                  Monday, November 27, 2017

                  A Visit from Ancestry

                  At the last meeting of the Lake Macquarie Family History Group the guest speaker was Jason Reeve , Ancestry's man in Australia.

                  Jason kindly posed for me
                  Jason, a passionate genie, chose to focus on the Ancestry DNA product in his talk to the members. Jason was a lively and personable presenter. I was impressed by his knowledge of the product and his honest answers to questions posed by the audience. It was also pleasing that Jason didn't try to do a hard sell on his product.

                  As I was impressed by Jason's presentation I will be inviting Jason along to talk to the members of another FHG with which I am involved. I look forward to hearing him speak again.

                  Sunday, November 26, 2017

                  Thwarted by a Dodgy Connection

                  Update: (Thanks to my genimate Shelley from TwigsofYore)
                  Why I am able to access these extra search functions is because I have the AncestryDNA Helper extension installed on my Chrome Browser. I didn't realise that this was giving me the extra search functions - Worth having.

                  Yesterday in response to a question put to me in a Facebook Group I decided to provide a response by video.

                  The Question
                  Firstly I spent an hour or so trying to get my Logitech webcam to work to no avail so I had to resort to the webcam on my laptop that provides a mediocre image. As my webcam is 5 years old I hopped online, read a slew of reviews and purchased a new model. I was wanting to broadcast screenshots so I wasn't so worried about my blurry image that appeared at either end of the broadcast.

                  I got set up made a first attempt at recording my response. On replaying this effort I discovered that the images of my screensharing were not displaying. The ADSL connection at our new home is dodgy. I moved my gear into the living room to be closer to the modem in case that helped. Attempt two wasn't any better.

                  I then went back into my geneacave and tried again. This effort was slightly better but there were still patches of the video where I am prattling on unsupported by my screenshared images. I think anyone who watches this video right through should be able to grasp what I am on about. I mulled over whether I should delete this recording or make it public. I opted for making it public in the hope that it may be of use to someone even though it is mediocre.

                  View it here:

                  Friday, November 24, 2017

                  Initial Frustration

                  I realise that many folk who undertake DNA testing want an element of anonymity. While I find this difficult to understand this I respect their wishes.

                  It would be so helpful if these folk could exercise a little creativity in assigning names to their kits. This morning I was doing a little tidying on the spreadsheet I use to record details of matches when I realised I hadn't filled in the column for shared centimorgans for one of my matches. So I logged into AncestryDNA and did a search for my D.W. match.

                  Surprise, Surprise! I found that I matched with 13 kits named D.W. This was both good and bad - I found a few new D.W. folk with shared matches but, as I was trying to focus on one closer match, I had to spend time going through each one to find which the one I wanted (I am easily distracted).  Some of the matches were helpfully labelled as D.W. (managed by Mickey Mouse) or some other name thus giving them a user name that was closer to a unique one but some were just plain D.W. (Grrr). Dare I risk going down some rabbit holes by searching for my S.G., S.L. and S.M. matches?

                  By the way I am pleased to report that D. W. is a confirmed 4th cousin with a match of 19.8 centimorgans shared across 2 DNA segments.

                  Might I suggest that testers who wish to remain anonymous put a bit more thought into their kit names and try to come up with something that makes their kits more easily identifiable by hapless potential cousins like me. Perhaps use initials and a few digits from a phone number  eg D.W. 1888 or an old number plate BRO040, or an old student number DW667234. The possibilities are endless.

                  And while I am at it might I also suggest that you fill out a few fields in your Ancestry profile that may give potential cousins a few clues about yourself. A geographical location would be good for starters.

                  Tuesday, November 21, 2017

                  New Interactive Local Resource

                  Last night Mr GeniAus and joined several other local history history enthusiasts at a function at Hornsby Central Library where a new interactive online digital resource, Hornsby Shire Recollects, was launched. I was attending as a representative of the Hornsby Shire Family History Group.

                  The database claims to "provide easy online access to a rich store of heritage material relaitng to Hornsby Shire, its people, and events."

                  Hornsby Shire Recollects Home Page
                  The three speakers, Hornsby Mayor Phillip Ruddock, Associate Professor Carol Liston and Hornsby MP Matt Kean each spoke briefly about the importance of local history and heritage and then Mayor  Ruddock cut the celebratory cake.

                  Reference and Local Studies Librarian, Neil Chippendale, and Library staff member, Karen Richardson, then got to the good bit, a demonstration of this new tool which provides a user friendly platform to access Hornsby's collection of digital resources supplemented with new additions from community organisations and local history enthusiasts. The new platform certainly appeared easier to search than the collections it replaced but I needed to try it out myself.

                  This afternoon I gave the database a run through. Logging on and creating an account was a simple process. Navigating the site was a breeze and the search mechanism was intuitive. I give it a thumbs up. Having heard the presentation and tried out the tool I am keen to add some resources from our family collection to the database.

                  The promotional material for the resource states " you are also able to contribute your own knowledge and memories about the holdings, as well as create personal collections of your own." If  community members embrace this resource and share the photos and documents they have squirrelled away Hornsby Shire Recollects will be a valuable resource, not just for people from the Hornsby Shire but for many with an interest in Australian history and heritage.

                  Saturday, November 18, 2017

                  A Question of Paternity

                  Something that has frustrated me and some of the 2000+ descendants that I have identified of my convict ancestor Elizabeth Phipps  is that we don't know the paternity of the children she bore. The likely fathers are fellow convicts James Westbrook (her partner in crime) and William Magick.

                  DNA has confirmed my line of descent from Elizabeth. It has also enabled me to connect to around twenty 2nd, 3rd and 4th cousins on that line (some previously unknown to me), add more branches to my tree and include more of Elizabeth's descendants in my database. This is rather useful when trying to fathom out those treeless matches on Ancestry and FTDNA. I keep a list of Elizabeth's descendants surnames close by and if a new match has one of those surnames I have a starting point for communication.

                  Just recently I have lopped a branch off my tree and added another one because of a conversation I am having on Facebook with others who are also curious as to Elizabeth's relationships. One of my 3rd cousins set up, in August, a Facebook page for Elizabeth's descendants who are interested in solving our mystery. As I have been having a break from research I only found the page about a week ago.

                  This closed group, ELIZABETH PHIPPS - London to Richmond, New South Wales, Australia 1814, only has 28 members about 6 of whom are engaging in discussion and sharing resources, thoughts and ideas. Membership of the group has made me revisit my research with a critical eye.

                  William Magick had a family in England before being transported to New South Wales. I am hopeful that as more people take DNA tests we may be able to compare results from William's first family descendants and Elizabeth descendants to solve this paternity problem. What do you think of our chances?

                  One of my purposes in writing this post is to let other Phipps descendants (some of whom I know follow this blog) about the Facebook Group where they may discuss this issue with fellow descendants.

                  Friday, November 17, 2017

                  Lucky Lisa

                  I am thrilled to announce that geneablogger Lisa Gorrell from California, USA, is the winner of my Rootstech Pass Giveaway that was drawn on Wednesday in front of members at the monthly meeting of the Hornsby Shire Family History Group. 

                  Hornsby member, Jenni (Left), drew Lisa's name out of the envelope.
                  Thanks to all those who entered my competition by telling me three things a Rootstech attendee needs to take to Rootstech to enhance his/her experience

                  Lisa suggested these: 
                  1. Lots of colored pens to write notes
                  2. Good walking shoes to get around the big convention center
                  3. Largest enough suitcase to bring back all the goodies you'll find in the exhibit hall.
                  In the coming days I will compile a list of all the entrants suggestions that may assist those who are coming to Rootstech 2017.

                  I look forward to meeting Lisa in the flesh at Rootstech.

                  Wednesday, November 15, 2017

                  Ancestor's Geneameme reborn

                  I was flattered when US geneablogger, Linda Stufflebean, asked me if she could expand on and publish my 2011 Ancestors' Geneameme.

                  Last week Linda published her 70 question version of the Geneameme and her responses to the questions.

                  With 70 questions to ponder I think the geneameme may be a bit too arduous task for me at the moment. However, if you have the time I encourage to respond to Linda's meme.

                  It is a good tool for reflecting on your ancestors and reviewing just what you know about them.

                  Mum and her brother

                  Wednesday, November 8, 2017

                  101 Reasons to Attend #congress_2018 - Thom Reed

                  I am one of the lucky ones who has met Thom Reed from Familysearch when I have been in Salt Lake City for Rootstech. I have gotten to know Thom through our Facebook friendship, he has struck me as a fun-loving and happy chap who is committed to his family and Family History. I can't wait to hear Thom present at Congress in March next year.

                  If you are coming to Congress in 2018 you too will have an opportunity to hear Thom present. Meanwhile you could follow him on Twitter, https://twitter.com/iamthomreed and watch his videos on Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqwfeKAMsc7C-zChXaYZxFw/videos.

                  In the interim take a look at Thom as he makes his Grandma Theora's Sweet Potato Pie.

                  Sunday, November 5, 2017

                  Rootstech Pass Giveaway

                  One of the perks of being a RootsTech 2018 Ambassador is that I receive a free pass for myself and one to give to one of my genimates. I need to run a little competition to select a winner.

                  The winner will receive a complimentary RootsTech 2018 4-day pass ($279 value) with access to:
                  • Over 300 classes
                  • Keynote / General sessions
                  • RootsTech classes
                  • Innovation Showcase
                  • Expo hall
                  • Evening events
                  This 4-Day Pass does not include airfare, hotel or the coverage of any other expenses. If the winner has already registered for RootsTech 2018, the original registration fee will be refunded.

                  What do you need to do to be in the draw?

                  In an email to jillballau@gmail.com please use the subject line Rootstech 2018 Pass Giveaway.

                  In the body of the email please tell me three things a Rootstech attendee needs to take to Rootstech to enhance his/her experience. Remember to include your name and contact details.

                  So that all is above board I will draw the winner at the next meeting of my local family history group, The Hornsby Shire Family History Group, on November 15th and will publish the winner's name on this blog.

                  Please forward your entries by noon Monday 13th November GMT time.

                  By entering this draw you give permission for your name to reported on social media.

                  Rootstech 2017

                  A Roller Coaster Ride

                  The last ten weeks or so have been rather hectic in the GeniAus household so genealogy and geneablogging have been put on the back burner.

                  We put our home of 25 years on the market in August and it sold within two days, something we were not prepared for. As we were to go overseas at the beginning of September we had to pack up in haste and move to the new home we had already purchased. A week after moving and leaving many boxes upacked we took off on our eight week adventure.

                  First stop was Ireland where we visited Limerick and Clare to see if we could find any dirt on my convict ancestors Patrick Curry and Ellen Moore. I was lucky to find on microfilm a newspaper paragraph giving details of Ellen's crime in the Limerick City Library.

                  Digging up the dirt on Ellen at Limerick Local Studies
                  It's not all online
                   Unfortunately I was unable to find mention of my ancestors at The Clare County Library.

                  The charming Local Studies building in Clare County Library
                  The archivist we consulted at the Genealogy Centre in Nenagh, Tipperary was very pleasant and helpful but also quite blunt. She reinforced that I would probably not find any further information from the late 18th and early 19th century on my Tipperary ancestors as the records just don't exist. Hers was a realistic approach but I believe in miracles! This centre, housed in an old gaol is worth a visit. There is a free audiovisual presentation about the history of the building as well as a small display of artefacts.

                  The Genealogy Centre and Museum in Nenagh

                  The purpose of this trip was touristing so I removed my genealogy hat as we returned to Dublin where we set out on a Backroads Tour. I really enjoyed our small group tour with an informative and laid back guide who taught us so much about Ireland's history as we explored the backroads of this beautiful country. It was much less stressful than those self drive holidays where I am the navigator.

                  Towards the end of our Irish tour my children were in constant contact as my mother had taken ill.  We decided to forgo our time in London and trip to the Channel Islands and travel back to Australia to be with Mum. Mum's condition deteriorated after we arrived home and she passed away on the 25th September. I am an only child so the responsibility of making arrangements fell to me (with the super support of Mr GeniAus). Although Mum had been suffering from dementia for a few years her passing was still quite  a wrench.

                  We had to wait a week to hold the funeral so in the interim we packed Mum's possessions up (and took them to our new home) and I devoted quite some time to preparing my eulogy and the order of service. I was so proud of the sendoff the family gave Mum, all of her grandchildren, and the great-grandchildren over ten took an active role in the service.

                  When we came home we had not intended returning to our holiday but as things had moved so swiftly we decided to fly to Montreal after the funeral to join our cruise to New York followed by our tour to Cuba. The cruise provided some quiet time for relaxation and reflection prior to our hectic time in Cuba.

                  Autumn colours in Acadia National Par
                  We had a wonderful holiday and  came home exhausted just over a week ago. We have discovered that there are five op shops in our new area and we have already made the acquaintance of three of these as we go through our stuff and Mum's and pass on clothes and household goods to others who may make use of them.

                  Although I am a little lacking in motivation I intend to get back into genealogy and blogging over the next few weeks. 


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