Genealogy takes a back seat to life

They say that moving house and a death are two of life’s big stressors and I have experienced both this year.

In January my Mum decided to move house leaving our family home of 50 years to move into an apartment. My Dad is in long term care and the house was getting to be too much for her. It was all her decision and thankfully she had cleared out the clutter years ago it was just a matter of downsizing. I say just a matter of downsizing but it was a big job. She donated a lot to charity, family, friends and friends of friends. She was happy just to know things she loved had gone to a home that would love them too.

The work to be done before the house was sold stressed my Mum out as people had to come into the house and move her things for the staging. As soon as the house was sold everything was moved back. I was with her every step of the way. The house went on the market just in time for the Victoria Day weekend in May and was sold before the weekend ended.

She moved out almost 50 years to the day after we had moved into the house. She found a lovely apartment in an area of town she liked so that was half the battle. On the day of moving my brother took over organizing the move and I did the clearing and cleaning after everyone had left. My nephew stayed to help me for a while but work beckoned. I also had the job of doing the final walk through and making sure everything was clean the day before the closing. I always get these jobs and I don’t know why.

Shortly before my Mum moved my Aunt passed away. This was rather sudden but she had been ill for a while. She was my Dad’s sister. My Aunt had no family of her own so the five nieces and nephews took care of everything. We organized the Celebration of Life and started clearing out her home which it turns out was a huge job.

Now when someone moves and someone dies what does the genealogist end up with? A dining table full of photo albums, boxes of photos and various family papers and ephemera. There are four boxes of slides that will have to be looked at to discover the secrets they hold. I have been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to start sorting through them. I did a quick sort through of the photographs as some were needed for the Celebration of Life. Gathering all the photos for the montage was a trip down memory lane.

 

 

I came across some very interesting family documents and some items that had a family connection but were not directly connected to family. There will be blog posts coming with regards to these lovely treasures.

So this is why the blog has been quiet most of this year. My hope is to start blogging more regularly but please bear with me if it takes a while.

Hope your summer was filled with wonderful genealogical finds!

© 2017 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

The Social Side of RootsTech

 

RootsTech is not just a genealogy technology conference. It is THE genealogical social event on the calendar. So many of us are connected through social media and our blogs but we have never met in person. You know names but not faces. You know blog names but not the person behind them. You have heard a speaker present a webinar but never heard them in person. This is the opportunity that RootsTech provides. The chance to put a face to the name and to meet in person.

 

I find it easier to get to know people in person than through social media. There is nothing like sitting down and having a natter about our favourite topic – FAMILY HISTORY! And you will not find a glazed look amongst them! We get excited about each other’s stories. As one is sharing their story you may find some commonality with your own family story. Maybe they came from the same place, have the same name, you may even find a collateral connection – unfortunately I haven’t found this one – Yet!

 

One night all the bloggers from the Commonwealth countries got together. We may be from different areas of the world but our one commonality is our countries connection to Britain.

 

 

The next day all the GeneaBloggers got together for lunch. This brought together people from a wider range of countries.

 

 

The RootsTech Ambassadors were from around the world. The attendees came from around the world as did the speakers and vendors.

 

 

At the “Music – It Runs in the Family” event I was sitting next to a lady from Australia whom I hadn’t met before. There were other people around me that I had just met the day before and some I have known for a while.

 

 

The RootsTech Welcome Party, MyHeritage Party and the GeneaBloggers’ Dinner hosted by DearMYRTLE were similar times when we sat around a table and talked with people we wouldn’t normally get a chance to speak with.

 

 

It is RootsTech that brings us all together. This time I made new friends Marie Cappart from Belgium and Lilian Magill from Australia. I met Jennie Fairs for the first time but I have known her for a while through the Surname Society. Met many new friends and caught up with old friends from the UK, Australia, Canada and the United States.

 

Marie Cappart and Ruth Blair

 

 

Ruth Blair and Jill Ball

 

 

This year we also had a large Canadian contingent at RootsTech. We are hoping for a larger one next year. It was difficult to get us all in one place for a photograph so this is a small part of our group.

 

 

Collecting ribbons for your name badge has become quite a thing at RootsTech. I remember as a Girl Guide collecting and giving away badges during trips. At one time it was the thing to collect pins. We all had our own ribbons to give away and they were flying fast during the dinner and lunch gatherings before RootsTech started.

 

 

I would almost say that the social part of RootsTech is right up there with the keynotes, lectures and expo hall. The world is shrinking and we are trying to make connections with people who may live in another hemisphere. It is easier to socialize without a 16 hour time difference.  Genealogy is a global pursuit and RootsTech is a global conference.

© 2017 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

The FamilySearch Discovery Center Tour at RootsTech

As an Ambassador we were given the opportunity to have a tour of the new Discovery Center in the Family History Library. It is located on the main floor as you walk in the door. You can’t miss it.

 

 

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Discovery Center so just picked up my iPad from the desk and jumped in. You had to sign in using your FamilySearch account or an email address. I couldn’t remember my password so just signed in with an email address. You also took a selfie with the iPad so your image was on the front page. There were people to help you at each station.

 

 

When we arrived at the first display we attached our iPads and started exploring. You add in your name, year of birth and some timeline information is on the screen. You can learn the meaning of your first and last name and how many people have those names in the United States. There are 521,774 Ruth’s but only 231,608 Blair’s in the United States. I found out the top television shows were the Flintstones and the Andy Griffith Show. The top movie was the Apartment with Jack Lemmon, Fred McMurray and Shirley MacLaine. A first class US stamp cost 4 cents and a US gallon of gas was 31 cents.

 

 

 

 

 


The next station was Picture My Heritage. Here you could have your picture taken in the dress of your ancestor’s country of origin. This was a little difficult because you used hand movements to get the options on the screen to work.

 

 

The Record Our Story rooms were very interesting. Here you can record your life story as a single person, couple or family. There are larger rooms for families. You sit down and touch the screen to start the process. You can start talking or answer questions. I chose to answer questions and they were thought provoking. All this was being recorded on my iPad as it was docked at each station I visited.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a section where you could select a relative and find out more about the times they lived in. I didn’t have my tree there so I picked an ancestor and added some information. Across the bottom are images of the Temple and the world. The Temple will provide an LDS timeline and the world is a general timeline. Part of Jane’s timeline was the first use of insulin on a patient by Frederick Banting and Charles Best. Disposable diapers were invented when Jane was 75 years old.

 


The next section was picking a place or origin for your ancestor and having your picture taken with it in the background. So I chose an Irish background and they had a lovely thatched cottage for my picture.

 

 

The last section was finding out who your famous relatives were and since I didn’t have a tree on FamilySearch this wasn’t available to me. I did watch my friends doing it and they were having a great time. Some even found they were distant cousins to each other.

This is the image you would get if you had a tree on FamilySearch.

 

 

When you are finished you hand back the iPad. I thought since I had used an email to sign in with that I would get the pictures and recordings I had done but that was not the case. Only those who signed in with their FamilySearch account got the images and recordings. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get them but was glad I had taken a few pictures along the way.

This was great fun and it wasn’t just the children in the area who were really enjoying themselves, the adults were having just as much fun.

 

© 2017 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

Share #52Stories from your personal history cards from RootsTech

These cards were part of the gifts we received at the FamilySearch media dinner on Tuesday night at RootsTech. They are a great idea.’

 

 

 

They have questions written on both sides of the card and by answering these questions you begin writing your personal story.

The question may be something simple like “What is your occupation?” You can answer simply or you can expand on it and it leads you to think about other jobs you have had. There are quite a few of us who have had several occupations during our working career.

 

 

Then there is the question “Do you remember how your elementary school smelled? Or where your desk was in 3rd grade? Share some school memories.” This will end up going beyond elementary school. It could even lead to you digging out some old school pictures and report cards that will bring back more memories.

 

These questions are just the start. “What do you look forward to every summer? People, places, things, events, food, hobbies, traditions?” This will be different for all of us. It could involve your family and extended family and lead to talking to cousins, aunts and uncles to find out more. Each of us will have a slightly different memory of the same event.

These small cards with questions on them can lead you down memory lane and to new adventures.

© 2017 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

2017 Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Ottawa

 

 

This year the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference is being held in Ottawa. There is the added excitement of the Sesquicentennial of the Confederation of Canada. The conference is being held from June 16th to 18th at Algonquin College. There are already 383 people registered.

There are lodgings available at the college residence. These are filling up fast so now is the time to make your reservations.

Come a little early or stay a little later to enjoy the city and festivities.

There are tours available on Thursday. The Library and Archives Canada tour is sold out but you can still attend the Canadian War Museum and Ottawa Public Library tours. Sign up early to avoid disappointment.

The British Pub night is already sold out.

On Friday there are workshops being presented in the morning and afternoon. I am presenting “From Canada to Ireland: Researching Here and There” and it is sponsored by the OGS Irish Special Interest Group.

If you are interested in preserving your photographs there is a workshop entitled: “A Snap in Time, A Shot for the Future: History of Photographic Process and Preserving Your Photograph” presented by Kyla Ubbink CAPC

The workshop entitled “Think Like a Genealogist: Creative Research Techniques to Help You Follow the Right Ancestral Trail” is already sold out.

The Keynote Lecture on Friday night will be presented by David Obee.

Saturday and Sunday have four lectures per session. On Saturday the Opening Plenary Lecture is being presented by Danielle Manning. The Banquet Address is being presented by D. Joshua Taylor who is also presenting the Closing Plenary Lecture on Sunday.

A new event this year is called “Using Ancestry Day.” Crista Cowan and Anna Swayne will be coming to OGS to present five lectures on Monday. It is a  full day offering.

Won’t you please consider joining us in Ottawa the third weekend of June for a fun filled family history weekend!

 

© 2017 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

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