Tag Archives: FGS2015

FGS2015, day 2 / RootsTech2015, day 1: Lent is coming

So, confession: I haven’t started my genealogy do-over. However, I haven’t really done much on genealogy in general since deciding to do-over. I’m going to justify that by saying that I’ve decided that the first stage of my do-over was some time to detach, to take a step back and intentionally decide how I’m going to move forward.

That said, I’m in Salt Lake City for the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference (FGS2015 ), which is being held in conjunction with RootsTech 2015, the largest genealogical conference in the world. This year they are expecting 14,000 people in the Salt Palace Convention Center with thousands more joining via remote locations around the world. Quite something!

But like I said, I’m in Salt Lake City. And no trip to Salt Lake is complete without a trip to the Family History Library. I had a list of things I wanted to look up already in place when I discovered the do-over. So, confession again, I violated the do-over in that I continued my research. HOWEVER, I’ve decided that in the spirit of the do-over I’ll put all that I find this week aside with the rest of my research as I begin (ahem, continue) the do-over.

My first session yesterday was the obligatory Evernote class with Lisa Louise Cook. I sat in on some of her sessions last summer in San Antonio, and came away an Evernote convert. Then I got home and started trying it myself. Not as easy as she made it seem, just sayin’! Yesterday, though, I was quickly sucked back into that space of “I HAVE TO DO THIS!”

Then she said something that cemented it for me. She initially was reticent to use Evernote herself, even after singing its praises and interviewing the VP of the company. Then she committed herself to seven days using only Evernote. After about four days, she was ready to tear her hair out! But, she said, around day 5 it suddenly started to click, and now she uses it for everything.

I realized that Lent starts this coming Wednesday, and there’s no better time to commit to a new good habit. So, I hereby declare that I will be learning to use Evernote this Lent, and integrating it into my genealogy do-over.

I was also planning to give up alcohol during Lent, so the two may just result in a disastrous collision of cosmic proportions for me. Fortunately, Sundays during Lent are considered Feast Days and don’t count. 🙂


FGS2014 Redux

It’s been a week since returning home from the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2014 Conference. It was the first genealogical conference I’ve ever attended, and it really changed my outlook about what I’d always considered a passionate hobby.

For one, the conference was filled with people just like me–people passionate about genealogy. Some were a little unsure of themselves, like me, wondering if I had jumped into the deep end without really knowing how to swim. Soon, though, I realized that I was in exactly the right place. These are my people!

In the end, here’s my takeaway from FGS2014.

1. Research, research, research! No matter how sure you think you are about your conclusions, keep researching until you’ve exhausted all options. This is part of the genealogical proof standard: a reasonably exhaustive research. I’m realizing that I’ve done good research, but far from “reasonably exhaustive.” So I’m taking a harder look at what I’ve done, and thinking about what other records may support (or negate) my conclusions.

2. German research is not as intimidating as it seemed (I hope). Dr. Michael Lacopo is my hero! His seminars on breaking through German brick walls made me want to start really digging into my German ancestors again. I’ve researched them up to their arrival in America, but no farther. Crossing the pond, especially to Germany, was just scary. I have a bit more confidence that I can do this now, plenty of ideas about where to look, and a new friend to advise me when I’m stuck. (Did I mention that Michael Lacopo is my hero?)

3. A renewed love of my iPad Mini. Lisa Louise Cooke gave an excellent seminar about turning your iPad into a genealogical powerhouse. So many great tips and tricks! I’ve always felt tied to my laptop simply because that’s where EVERYTHING is stored related to my genealogy. Now I can forget about dragging it with me everywhere I go because of her best tip ever: Splashtop! Put it on your iPad, and remotely access your desktop or laptop from anywhere. Essentially, I can have my laptop with me anywhere I have my iPad. Love it! Lisa is full of information about how to put technology to work for you in genealogy. Check her out at genealogygems.com.

4. You never know who you’re going to run into, so you better be there and ready when you do. I blogged last week about discovering a fourth-cousin while she was teaching a seminar at FGS2014. So glad I happened to be in that place at that time!

5. Most of all, I can do this! I have always dreamed of doing genealogy professionally, or becoming a certified genealogist. Going to FGS2014 showed me that it doesn’t have to be just a dream. As intimidating as it seemed at first, I discovered a huge support network eager for me to join them. It was a very validating experience, and one that has changed my entire outlook on how I do genealogy. It’s not just a hobby anymore; it’s serious business.

So, it should come as no surprise that I’m already registered for FGS2015, which happens to coincide with RootsTech 2015. I’ve never been to RootsTech before, so it ought to be very exciting! Plus, as D. Joshua Taylor said in his opening remarks, “What good genealogist wouldn’t want to spend Valentine’s Day in Salt Lake City?”