I always have a list of takeaways when I attend Genealogy Shows/Conferences and THE Genealogy Show 2019 is no different.
Disclaimer – I am on the board for THEGenShow and have a slightly rosie view on how things went down. No Canadian GG’s lost appendages (arms, fingers, pounds) from attending this event.
THE Take Away? THE Peoples Show
From the very beginning, in the very informal conversations for THE Genealogy Show, in its acorn stage, the show director, Kirsty Gray, used the words “a peoples show”. How do you make a recipe for The Peoples Show?
You start by building a team who are known to each other but in most cases, don’t “know” each other. Throw them together for a year and let them bounce international, accessible, open, teaching and researching ideas off of each other. Then, with a light, guiding hand, morph those ideas into the Show Directors vision and you come out with a show that is for “every genealogist”.
Plenty of Seating Spacious Floor Plan Accessible Speakers Great Stands Large, enclosed Wizard Consults Stand Engaging and Friendly Volunteers (some of which were the Accessible Speakers) Engaging and interactive Tags Station A Coffee/Tea Stand in the Hall ….mix, stir with… Thousands of wonderful attendees
Takeaway – THE People
As a personal note, it was my first time for more than a stopover in England. I got to try some local brew, foods I have only heard of my whole life, attempt to be competent in British currency, meet more than a few incredible brits, experience british weather and enlarge my ever-growing circle close friends – thousands of you.
Then there was this amazing wall of ORANGE…My WikiTree family was out in full force as well.Just…Amazing!
Roots Tech 2019 was an absolute blast this year. It had a whole different vibe with fewer complaints about lines and how to find things and well, just about anything I heard complaints about from last year was fixed. The Roots Tech folk must have done some good listening to their visitors from last year. Good job all the way around!
At the start of my adventure I was amped-up for an incredibly busy long weekend in Salt Lake City. The Expo Hall was open on Wednesday night from 6-8 and I flew in at 5. Swooosh to the hotel to change into some WikiTree Orange and off to endure the carpet covered concrete floors of the Salt Palace – wait, I just complained. Apologies to Roots Tech because there is absolutely nothing they can do about the floors in the Salt Palace. Of course we could have purchased an upgrade in the floor covering of our booth (this is a discussion between we WikiTree Volunteers EVERY year at Roots Tech).
The Booth was really an intensive “how to connect” to our great big ole shared tree with people this year. We had life-sized cardboard cut-outs of King Henry VIII and Elvis pelvis himselvis. People were all GaGa over both
of them! I got to do a demo-stage presentation on WikiTree and connections. W etook the cut-outs over for the stage but kept Elvis turned so he couldn’t be seen until a big reveal. We had connection issues – note to self, order a macro HDMI connector – The Big Reveal of Elvis caused a few screams from the crowd. Of course, the MC for the Demo Stage had to say, “Elvis has left the building”.Love doing the Demo Stage presentations for WikiTree at Roots Tech.
We all networked, which makes Roots Tech a frenetic place for Professional Genealogists. Different breakfasts, lunches, coffee hours, cocktail hours and dinners were planned every single day. Every single minute was a meeting of some kind, whether it be with a booth visitor or with another Professional Genealogist or Freind.
WikiTree’s total membership grew by 343 since Wednesday. WikiTree Volunteers who never see each other or have never met got a chance to collaborate at the WikiTree booth. It was great fun AND exhausting. I heard that some of our Volunteers stayed up chatting to the wee hours of the morning. Me? My roommate and I were both east coasters and were asleep by the wee hours of the evening – every evening!
I spent a lot of time not promoting Grandma’s Genes, but just being Grandma’s Genes because that is who I am. Many of you came by the booth or stopped me in my wanderings to get selfie’s or a quick question or a wee chat or a hug. I also got some inspiration for a couple of future Grandma’s Genes Blogs. Thanks very much to everyone who suggested blogs or reminded me that I wanted to write about something. Loved seeing you!
I spent a lot of time not promoting mitoYDNA. But we did have a presence at Roots Tech. DNAGedcom and Genetic Family graciously let us have cards and information at their booth. Rob, Gale, Peter, Jamie and I suggested mitoYDNA to people who had questions about our work to provide a crowdsourced, free and accessible mitochondrial and YDNA database. Gale was a great promoter all weekend and had an opportunity to mentioned mitoYDNA in his lectures. Gale created a bit of a buzz as well as being a walking billboard.
If you missed the announcement, we have added two superstars to our team: Jonny Perl (DNA Painter) and Kevin Borland (Borland Genetics).
It’s exciting to see interest in mitoYDNA increase. We are just as excited as you are to move on to matching and beta testing. If you are interested in keeping up with mitoYDNA check out our mitoYDNA Facebook Users Group.
Doing DNA Right!
Flying with a Cello
On one of the flights home we had a delay in our flight by 30 minutes because of weather and another delay in forty minutes for a Cello. Yes a Cello. What?! You’ve never flown with your Cello?
Well, you can’t put your Cello into the baggage hold of an aircraft. You must purchase a seat for your Cello. You can’t just buckle your cello to the seat, the airline must cargo net your cello to your seat. The cargo netting is installed by removing all surrounding passengers, then an airline baggage specialist crawls all over all the area seats to get the cargo net applied correctly. Fascinating.
I would have taken a picture, but I didn’t want to get mobbed for being insensitive. Not sure I would have gotten away with the, “but I need this for my blog” excuse.
Roots Tech London
Apparently, I will be hoping the pond again in October of this year to be at Roots Tech London! How about that! Can’t wait.
Mags will be presenting, The Power of DNA, to the Merrickville and District Historical Society Annual General Meeting. She will discuss the nuts and bolts of how DNA and genealogy can move family histories forward. The DNA of one of Merrickville’s founders may make a special appearance during the talk.
Please contact the Merrickville and District Historical Society for more on the Annual General Meeting.
Genealogy with a Canadian Twist, hosted by Looking 4 Ancestors Genealogist, Kathryn Lake Hogan, U.E, is a weekly chat about all things Canadian Genealogy. On this particular episode Kathryn will be chatting with Mags Gaulden, a member of the Canadian Casualty Identification Team. The Program identifies newly found remains of missing Canadian war dead prior to 1970 and gives them proper burials. The work Mags is doing is working the identifiable information from the graves, including DNA, to identifying living family members.
If you have ever asked me how I got interested in Genealogy, you know that I claim my grandmother caught me as I was being born and started telling me, “Your Grandfather is…”. If you have ever read my bio, you know that in addition to and in a much more stick to my brain sorta way, another cousin, an influencer, gave my some Hunt Family Papers when I was in High School,
As a Child, my mother, grandmothers, and grandfather would often tell me about my family. Who we were, where we came from and how our family came to be. As a teen I was given some unpublished papers by a Hunt cousin. I scanned them, as teens do, but I kept them. Years later I went back to them and entered the information into Family Tree Maker. Soon after I started my hunt, pardon the pun, in earnest for the rest of my family. – WikiTree Profile Page
This Influencer, Helen “Honey” Hunt, is a distant cousin. I could, in A. J. Jacobesque style, roll – out of our connection, “she is my mothers fathers grandfathers brothers great grand daughter…
More than that and in spite of being a distant cousin she was always in my life because she is also a very good family friend. Always around at parties and gatherings. Although I talk about Honey’s influence on me often I haven’t really had it sink in – the depth of that influence – until I heard of Honey’s passing this morning.
Really, if I think about it, if I had not been given those family papers my interest in Genealogy and in Genetic Genealogy would not have been piqued. Today I have a growing Genetic Genealogy Business, I am an international Genetic Genealogy Lecturer and a leader at WikiTree. My second career is because of something Honey did for me when I was young. To say I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for Honey is an understatement.
This passion I have for genealogy was introduced to me by my Grandmother. My cousin Honey gave me the tinder upon which to start a lifelong passion and a second career. Honey is one of the greatest influencers in my life and will continue to be one of the greatest influencers of my life.
Your favorite Blueberry loving Genetic Genealogist will be presenting Workshops on Friday June 1st at the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Guelph, Ontario.
Have I mentioned how much I enjoy giving lectures, presentations and Workshops? I do. I do! On June 1st, 2018, at the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Guelph, ON, I will be doing a double Whammy! Two DNA Workshops!
The first one, which already has it’s own post will be in the afternoon, DNA and the Global Family Tree. Then, Just when I thought I could sleep in after the fabulous Sleeman Brewery Tour on Thursday (list of all the Thursday OGS Conference 2018 Tours), I hear I have to get up early to present a workshop on DNA Matching, Working with your living limbs.
Here is the description: “DNA is the newest tool to the Genealogists tool box. In this workshop we’ll take the DNA matching tools out and work with them. How do I find my DNA matches? How do I figure out how they are connected to me? We will work the matches to find your living limbs. From tests to third part matching sites. You’ll have all the latest developments on matching in the Genetic Genealogy Community at your finger tips and in your Genealogy tool box by the time we are finished.”
It’s nothing near a stretch to say that Genetic Genealogy is the Ultimate Crowd Source Project. Genetic Genealogists are often called citizen scientists. To say someone is a citizen scientist means, in my book, that they, them, you and me, us are not associated with multi million dollar corporations in any financial way.
We work to share our work. It’s the new paradigm in Genealogy – collaboration.
Since we are working to share our work and further our research together, we have worked out ways to do that. Many of us have our own blogs. Many of us have Facebook pages or even Facebook groups to share. One great case in point is Blaine Bettinger’s Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques group which has over 40,000 members. 40 thousand people sharing and posting and discussing Genetic Genealogy – crowd sourcing.
GEDmatch stands out as one of the greatest crowd sourced tools in the Genealogy community, offering a database of autosomal and X DNA test results and tools to do analysis and matching. It’s growing rapidly. This growth in new members has occurred since the release of information that the GEDmatch database was used to help identify a man who turned out to be California’s most prolific and elusive serial rapist and murderer. The case has caused an uproar in the Genealogy community with people publicly stating that they will remove their data from this important database because of it’s use in a criminal investigation. But still there is that growth. I certainly have noticed it in the higher count of people on GEDmatch when I login. Good.
Family Search is crowd sourced. Geni is, for the most part, crowd sourced- if you can work around the the many annoying paywalls. We Relate is Crowd sourced. Then there is the ultimate crowd sourced Global Family Tree, WikiTree, with it’s…well with it’s everything.
Recent Crowd Source Losses
Three significant crowd sourced projects closed their shutters this week. Which speaks to growing concerns for privacy and the GDPR (if you have been under the proverbial rock – it’s the General Data Protection Regulations for the EU and UK. Google it. I am so disgusted with it’s fall out I don’t even want to link to it). I know this new regulation will eventually make crowd sourcing better, but it’s a huge hit to lose Y-Search, mitoSearch and World Families.
Thank you and goodbye to you three. I have often been in your data working to solve adoption cases or help a family find their true surname or build a clients sense of family or connect my family to the rest of my family tree through DNA.
Moving “onward and upward”
The “onward and upward” quote is something I see often in Chris Whitten’s (WikiTree’s, WikiTreer-In-Chief) emails and posts to WikiTree. We as a community will move on. Moving on means that we need to do some things to protect our databases from extinction. And we will.
Crowd sourcing will be better with tighter controls on privacy and a mind to even more openness. Yes I said it, privacy and openness. I will say it again and I will follow that advice as I work on my family and friends and clients families on my favorite crowd sourced project (which has taken incredible steps to protect itself and it’s community of crowd sourcing and enthusiastic genealogists) WikiTree.
I will also continue to use and support and lecture about other crowd sourced ventures like GEDmatch.
I love being in this incredible crowd sourced community.
Incredibly honored and pleased to announce that I will be a part of, the Genetic Genealogist for, the Canadian Casualty Identification Team for the Directorate of History and Heritage within the Department of National Defense Canada. The Team will be working to recover, identify and reunite the remains of formerly missing Canadian Service men prior to 1970 with their families for burial.
Here is a link to a Video about this important work:
I am off to Kitchener in the morning and I have been looking forward to this trip for so many reasons that I thought you might like me to outline a few of them.
The Kitchener Public Library Fair isn’t your regular old run of the mill Library Genealogy thing. This library system serves a densely populated part of Ontario and their Genealogy Fair garners crowds with varying degrees of Genealogy knowledge, from beginner to expert and top-notch speakers from the Genealogy field. I get to be a part of it and that is just so cool!
Sharing my passion, Genetic Genealogy, as the Keynote speaker. The Power of DNA is the message. This message will wrap itself nicely around the DNA theme of this years fair. There will be a small guest appearance by my Grandfather during the presentation too. All the way from the hills and foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of South Carolina. I kid you not.
Riding a train for the first time in my life to Kitchener. Yes. I know. Of course I have ridden the subway in major cities and yes I have ridden the Monorail at Disney, but never a train. My poor spousal unit is getting peppered with all sorts of questions from me, “How will I know which car is car #4?”, What do I do with my luggage?”, “Where are the bathrooms?”, “How do I find lunch?” and “Do they have footrests?” I will be a wide-eyed Harry Potter on his first ride to Hogwarts (thanks to Sheila at KPL for making my travel arrangements!).
Everything always happens at the same time for me!
If traveling by train for the first time in my life and speaking at such a great event weren’t enough? The WikiTree Clean-A-Thon is this weekend. Not only do I get to speak, share my granddad and ride a train, I get to help clean-up Wikitree Profiles and do Video Hangouts with fellow WikiTreers while traveling and when I get home.
Another amazingly busy Weekend in the offing! Come see me, or watch for me hanging my head out the train window like a very happy puppy, tongue flapping, ears blowing back and wearing the biggest grin on earth. You can also see me hanging out with other WikiTreers every four hours starting at midnight on Friday and running through Midnight on Tuesday morning during the Clean-A-Thon (NO! Not at 4am and not during the KPL Genealogy Fair).