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Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category

Every June in my hometown of Portland, Oregon the Rose Festival Fun Center rises up from the edges of the waterfront and spills out across the city like a pioneer Mardi Gras (albeit sans beads and breasts).  As a child, the Fun Center was an intoxicating cacophony for my senses – sailors in fresh whites, sticky children, late spring mud, great maned Clydesdales, warm buttery popcorn, and bits and pieces of conversation flying past on smooth heeled shoes and short skirts.  But I remember clearly that at the end of the day, I had to find a place to steal away and process the experience.

I feel like that right now.

Since the moment the vendor floor of the National Genealogical Society Conference opened its doors in Salt Lake City this morning at 9:30am, a river of bright, enthusiastic faces from all corners of the United States and beyond flowed by and around me. By noon, I had talked with family historians from corners of Florida and Missouri, Texas, Maine, New Jersey, and Illinois. I’m told that there is at least one attendee from New Zealand. (If you’re out there, dear Kiwi, come by our booth – I have a prize for you as “the one who traveled the farthest.”) It is amazing – all these people.

What is more amazing is how many souls all these family historians represent, both living and deceased. The numbers are staggering to consider.  Consider too the time, the talent and the resources so dedicated to preserving the past for the future.  It is awe-inspiring.  I am humbled.

Next Time: Class Notes

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I spent some serious time today poring over the schedule for next week’s National Genealogical Society Family History Conference [NGS] in Salt Lake.  WOW!  It lists roughly 200 classes, workshops, luncheons, and dinners for attendees to choose from, plus another hundred-plus demonstrations in the new GENTECH area.  If you’re a first-timer, such abundance can be a little overwhelming, so I thought I’d offer my top picks for the photo-historians in the crowd.

Wednesday, April 28

2:30pm
Your Genealogical Bucket List
Ann Carter Fleming
She had me at “Bucket.”  The course description promises to provide attendees direction and motivation to organize, analyze, publish, and prepare to distribute your collection.

11:00am
Photo Editing Software Tricks, Tips and Applications for Genealogical Novice to Expert (Try to say that three times fast!)
Barry Ewell
Barry does a great job of detailing the newest and best software trends for family historians, and his classes are well worth the time.

Thursday, April 29

12:00-12:20pm [Demonstration]
Family Photoloom: Hanging Pictures on Your Family Tree
Scott Huskey
Come learn about what’s new and what’s just over the horizon for Family Photoloom.   (GENTECH Demonstration Area A)

2:30pm
The Power of Community and the Web 2.0 Tools to Foster Collaboration and Community (These people LOVE their long titles!)
Jim Greene
When I read the description for this course, the theme from Cheers started playing in my head…

♪ ♫ Sometimes you wanna go
Where Everybody Knows Your Name
And they’re always glad you came…♪♫  (now it’s in your head, too.  You can thank me later.)

Collaboration is an amazing thing, and I’m so grateful that Family Photoloom is a part of this movement.  I’m looking forward to hearing what Jim has to share about all of the cool tools out there that are weaving the family history community together in ways we could only dream of a decade ago.

Friday, April 30

2:30pm
Kodak Moments and Technicolor Dreams:  Twentieth –century Photos in the Family Archive
Maureen A. Taylor
Better known in the genealogy circles as The Photo Detective, Maureen Taylor is a consummate expert of family history photographs.   Attend this class to learn to date recent photographs and moving images,  techniques for stopping the destruction of color photos, and low-cost storage solutions.

3:00-3:50pm [Demonstration]
Family Photoloom: Hanging Pictures on Your Family Tree
Scott Huskey
Well, of course I’m going to include my favorite photo-historian!   Come see what’s new at Photoloom.  (GENTECH Demonstration Area B)

4:00pm
Digital Photography for Genealogists
Barry Ewell
I’ve taken this one before, so I can tell you that this solid, well-organized presentation will give you all the information you need to acquire and preserve documents using your digital camera.

Saturday, May 1

8:00am
Immigrant Clues in Photographs
Maureen A. Taylor
I love a good mystery, so I’m really excited to attend this class to learn more techniques for reading the clues that photographs hold for a curious researcher like me!

I’ll be TWEETING from the conference, so whether you are there or sitting at home in your easy-chair, be sure to follow me on Twitter @Photoloom.  (Use hashtag #NGS for the latest conference news.)

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The 32nd annual National Genealogical Society Conference is just around the corner and we can hardly wait to go!!  Scheduled April 28th through May 1st at the Salt Palace Conference Center in Salt Lake City, the conference offers a vast, almost staggering, array of workshops and classes for genealogists and family historians of every ilk.

Diverse titles like “Iron Rails Across America” and “The ABC’s of DNA” encourage attendees to expand their knowledge base, and with nearly twenty different class “tracks” to choose from, there’s something for everyone (even an “I’m NOT a genealogist, I’m just married to one” type like me).

Exciting news for Photoloom: This year, NGS is expanding the “genealogy and technology” experience at the conference with a new addition: the GENTECH Hall.  Sponsored by FamilySearch, the GENTECH Hall is an expansion of the main exhibit hall of nearly 100 booths and will house exhibits all focused on “genealogy and technology.”  If you are attending, please look for us in the GENTECH Hall across from New FamilySearch at Booth 927.

I’ll be tweeting from the conference, so follow me on Twitter to get all the latest NGS Conference news!  And be sure to  check in tomorrow for my short list of must-attend classes for Photo-historians.

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As we travel and spread the word about Family Photoloom, Scott and I attend a number of family history conferences, many of which are hosted by our good friends at Family History Expos: it is in large part because of Holly Hansen (FHExpos President) and her crew that that we feel so welcomed and supported by this amazing community.  Now it’s our turn to offer support.

On February 20th, Family History Expos experienced a hard blow when their website was destroyed by a fire suppression accident in the data center that housed their servers.  They are now rebuilding, and (as Paul McCartney once put it), “Every day, in every way, it’s getting better and better.”   We invite you to visit their new website, a beautiful work in progress, and register to receive their free E-news and Tips.

To register, just go to the Family History Expos website, and click “Register” in the “My Account” box on the right hand side of the page.

As an added incentive, Family History Expos is offering a free digital copy of their very popular interview book “Life in Your Town” to anyone who registers.   I signed up a few days ago, and received my e-book this morning.  It comes as a MS Word .doc, allowing you to enter details and pictures of an individual’s life right into the document. I plan to pass a copy on to my 18-year old who has recently been conducting life-interviews with her grandma.  (I don’t know how long this free e-book offer will last so sign up today!)

P.S.  One of the things I love the most about Family History Expos is that they offer something for everyone, from the hard-core DNA-tracking genealogist (not me) to the journal-writing picture preserver (me!).   Consider attending one of the many Expos sponsored by Family History Expos.  This year there will be Expos from California to Atlanta and many places in between.  For more information, see their website at http://www.fhexpos.com/.

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We just returned from an amazing couple of days in St. George, Utah, where we attended the Family History Expo last Friday and Saturday. As one of a small cadre of “Bloggers of Honor,” I spent much of my time Tweeting and taking notes, but I also made it a point to get to know a little more about my fellow geneabloggers. Let me tell you – I’m in pretty great company.

The Friday night banquet offered me a good opportunity. Themed The Wizards of Blogz,** banquet attendees heard from a handful of bloggers who spoke on the amazing family history resources to be found via social networking – there has never been a better time to be researching the past.

“Where else [besides the Internet] can you reach 50,000 people in a few seconds?” Arlene Eakle (Arlene Eakle’s Genealogy Blog) reminded us of the days when folks would post a surname in the hometown newspaper and wait, just hoping someone would find it and take the time to reply. Now, finding long lost cousins often takes nothing more than setting up a Facebook page dedicated to that surname, and boom! Tons of distant relatives are out there, ready and waiting to help, and hoping you can help them. It is no hyperbole to say that the Internet has changed the face of genealogy forever.

Our Master of Ceremonies, Jean Wilcox Hibbin (Circle Mending) entertained us with altered renditions of Oz classics and told us all about the care and feeding of a genealogy blog. I have an affinity for Jean because, though she is a dedicated genealogist, her passion is preserving music, and I love that. We all record the data for one reason or another, but when we keep the music and the stories and the images alive, we save the heartbeat of our people to pass along. There is something pure and beautiful in that.

Blogger AC Ivory (Find My Ancestors) also spoke. In a crowd where even I end up on the younger end of the age spectrum, AC is a baby. But he’s savvy about genealogy and media, and he offered solid advice and encouragement to family historians about how to get started blogging and tweeting. (If you want to follow Family History Expo blogger comments on Twitter, just do a search for the #fhexpo hashtag.)

During the dinner, I had a lot of fun sitting with Gena Ortega (of World Vital Records and Gena’s Genealogy Blog). She attended dinner with her two boys, and between them and Scott, at least a gallon of pink Kool-aid was consumed! Among her many responsibilities, Gena maintains GenealogyWise, a site she described in her remarks to the banquet crowd as “Facebook for genealogy.” That intrigued me, so one of the first things I did when I got home was join and set up a page for Photoloom. The site is very easy to use, and a nice alternative for family historians who want to avoid the Farmville/Mafia/Pirate crowd (which, by the way, you will only understand if you are already involved with the Farmville/Mafie/Pirate crowd). One of the cool features of GenealogyWise is its Chat Room, where you can ask questions, visit with fellow family historians, or attend a scheduled chats on a variety of topics and hosted by experts in the field. This Sunday I’m planning to attend a chat hosted by Jean that will focus on breaking into the genealogy lecture circuit. (Click here or on the sidebar to join the Photoloom group on GenealogyWise.)

One final blogger I wanted to be sure to mention is Denise Levenick, of Family Curator. What a nice lady! Like me, she’s a writer in her real life, and “slips on a hat and veil and may be found writing classic tales of romance and suspense as Miss Penelope Dreadful (for the Shades of the Departed online photography magazine.) The focus of Family Curator dovetails nicely with Above the Trees, so if you are reading us, you may want to check it out. I’m hoping to persuade Denise to write a guest blog for us.

That’s it for today. In the coming weeks, I’ll be making some big announcements about new Photoloom features and affiliates, adding a couple more installments to follow up the St. George Expo (On the Vender Floor; Class Notes), and gearing up for our first National Genealogical Conference, which happens at the end of April in Salt Lake City.

** The banquet couldn’t have been a more suitably themed – by the time we arrived in St. George, Holly Hansen and her crew at Family History Expos had survived a doozy of a twister – a fatal server failure that brought their website and email to a screeching halt just a week before the event. And yet, Holly emerged from the storm pressed, polished, ready for a world filled with interesting characters and face new challenges.

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We are gearing up to attend the St. George Family History Expo at the end of February, and in conjunction with that, I am pleased as punch to announce our first ever (da-da-da-dahh!) Family Threads Contest!!!

The Winner will receive these awesome prizes:

  • Two free registrations for St. George Family History Expo ($140 value)
  • One-year Premium Family Photoloom Membership ($39 value)
  • Publication of your photo & story

To enter, simply send a family history photo (.jpg or .png files only, please) along with a short personal essay, memory, or story about that photo to renee(at)photoloom(dot)com.  Be sure to include “Family Threads Contest” in the subject line of your email.

Check out our Family Threads series if you want to get a better idea of what we’re looking for.

Nuts & Bolts:

  • Entries may be 100-500 words in length, and must include both a picture and a story.
  • Entries must not have been previously published.
  • Submission deadline is midnight February 16. Winners will be announced February 21.
  • No prize substitutions will be made.
  • Winners will be determined by highly unscientific, subjective methods, but if your story makes us laugh or cry, you’ll have a better chance. The decisions of the judges are entirely their own, and are final.

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I have a lot of opportunities to talk with folks about their family photos, and one commom lament is, “I don’t have anything. It was all lost in a (fire/flood/tornado).” Or, “My third cousin ‘borrowed’ them all years ago, and we haven’t seen them since.” Or simply, “My family didn’t keep any family photos.”

Then we get to talking a little more, and I ask, “You have a picture of yourself, right?”

“Of course I’ve got pictures of myself.”

“What about your parents? Do you have any pictures of them? Or your children?”

“Well, yeah, I’ve got lots of pictures of them. But I mean family history pictures. I don’t have any OLD pictures.”

Let’s stop right there. Remember, the first word in family history is FAMILY. That includes you, and it includes now! And, as with anything, when you are just starting out, the best approach is start simple, and go from what you know (or what you have) to what you don’t know (or what you don’t have). So let’s start with what you do have:

Start your Pictorial Family History:

  1. Make a list of your immediate family members – parents, children, spouse – and look to your own pictures to find an image of each person on your list. You don’t need to start with a lot of pictures – in the case of family history preservation, one picture is infinitely better than none.
  2. If the images you have chosen are not already digitized, scan them, or have someone to scan them for you.
  3. Add your grandparents and their other children (your aunts and uncles) to your list. Do you have photos of them? Scan those too. Also, make a list of what you don’t have. (We’ll discuss how to deal with that in an upcoming installment.)
  4. Create a file on your computer labeled “Family History Images” (or something like that). Copy all of your family history images into that file. (If you have a lot of images, you may need to create sub files.)
  5. Upload your images onto your free Family Photoloom account, and tag all the individuals. Then go into the “Relationship View” and drag each individual into the relationship setter. You now have a 3-generation chart complete with pictures on your screen, with the potential for literally infinite family lines and relationships.

Each of these steps should take you fifteen minutes or less. Do one a day for a week (with weekends off!) and you will be on your way!

Next week: Protecting Your Precious Family Photos

Free genealogy tutorials and classes for beginners:

Do you have a great idea for our 15-Minute Family History series? Email it to me at renee at photoloom dot com. I’d love to hear about how you are getting your family history done, one bite at a time!

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