#RootsTech 2017 – Have you attended RootsTech?


Have you attended a RootsTech conference? The first one I attended was 2015 when it was a joint conference with the Federation of Genealogical Societies. It was a family history experience! I had never been to a conference like RootsTech before. The number of attendees was the first thing you noticed. Then it was the variety in the marketplace and the technology that was being promoted. We had several groups that met up. One that was particularly fun was the Commonwealth dinner where genealogists from around the British Commonwealth got together. I finally got to meet people who wrote blogs that I was following. It was so nice to put a face to a name.

In 2016 I couldn’t attend in person but I did attend virtually. I watched all the live streaming and communicated with others who were attending virtually or in person via Twitter. I wrote about my experience in a blog post entitled “The Experiences of a “NOTatRootsTech Attendee.” Again I got to learn new things and meet new people.

This year I am attending RootsTech again and have the distinct pleasure of being a RootsTech Ambassador for the first time. I have followed Ambassadors from previous years on social media and this year I get to share their experience.


Several announcements have already been made. Keynote speakers include: Levar Burton, Buddy ‘Cake Boss’ Valastro and Jonathan and Drew Scott (HGTV’s Property Brothers) who just happen to be from Canada. CeCe Moore will be one of the keynote speakers on Saturday. I have heard her speak before and she is great.

The Innovation Summit semi-finalists have been announced. There is a wonderful selection and I look forward to learning more about them. You can read more about the semi-finalists and other entries on the Innovator Summit page. There is a Canadian in the semi-finals.

I’ve looked at RootsTech from both sides now. I enjoy attending in person and virtually. There is a social aspect to both ways. I enjoy attending in person because you get to see so many new innovations and learn new ideas. You have the ability to get to know your social media connections in person and meet unlimited new friends from around the world. Hopefully even a cousin or two!

The RootsTech Opening event is “Music, It Runs in the Family.” The event will feature “music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and special guest soloist Dallyn Vail Bayles and memories by Rogers and Hammerstein, with narration by Oscar “Andy” Hammerstein III.” This event sounds like a great experience. There are other events being held during the conference and you can find out more on the Events Page.

Please join us at RootsTech 2017 in February! You can learn more on the website and check out the program schedule. There are some interesting labs and I have signed up for one. This is a chance to learn something new and get new tips on using technology.

I hope to see you all there! Come and look for me in the media hub as I would love to meet you!


© 2017 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

What I Did This Summer

Do you remember the essay you usually had to write the first week of school about what you did this summer? Well I thought I would fill you in on what I did this summer.


The summer started with completing client work.  I enjoy client work because it provides me with the opportunity to do research. Each project is completely different and there is always an element of surprise. Next it was preparing for the speaking engagements that were coming up in September, October and November. Lectures had to be created/updated, syllabus material had to be sent in and travel details organized.


While my client work and lecture preparation did keep me fairly busy I did manage to squeeze in a holiday this summer. Those that know me will understand that it was a trip to a genealogy conference. Every holiday I take has some element of genealogy be it a conference, research or both.


My conference buddy and I traveled to Minneapolis Minnesota to attend the Celtic Connections Conference co-hosted by IGSI (Irish Genealogical Society International) and TIARA (The Irish Ancestral Research Association). It was a two day conference and the featured speakers were: John Grenham, Dr. Bruce Durie, William Rouslton, Brian Donovan, Brian Mitchell and a good selection of local speakers. I went to hear these experts speak and wasn’t disappointed.


The lectures were informative and entertaining. Topics included: Irish place names, landed estate records, land valuations, Scottish research, records at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and many more. It was an information filled weekend. We attended the banquet on Friday night and heard Kieran Folliard speak on “The Changing Face of an Irish Immigrant.” He is an Irish immigrant who lives and works in the Minneapolis area.


Minnesota Genealogical Society Library and Research Center

Minnesota Genealogical Society Library and Research Center


Minnesota Genealogical Society Library and Research Center

Minnesota Genealogical Society Library and Research Center


Minnesota Genealogical Society Library and Research Center

Minnesota Genealogical Society Library and Research Center

The day before the conference started we went to visit the Minnesota Genealogical Society Library and Research Center in the morning. Their collection includes a large Irish and Canadian section.


First Avenue Club

First Avenue Club


First Avenue Club Wall of Fame

First Avenue Club Wall of Fame


In the afternoon we went on a tour of Minneapolis/St. Paul so that we could see a bit of the area. This included Minnehaha Falls, The First Avenue club where Prince got his start and the house from the Mary Tyler Moore Show. The tour was a good way to see Minneapolis/St. Paul. I had never visited Minneapolis before and wanted to see some of it. It was also the first time I saw the Mississippi River.


Mississippi River

Mississippi River


Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls


We spent most of our time driving to and from the conference but it was a lovely drive through Northern Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota and the weather cooperated. I hadn’t been that far North in Ontario since the mid-1970s so it brought back some memories.

Standing in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario looking at Sault Ste. Marie Michigan.

Standing in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario looking at Sault Ste. Marie Michigan.



I love conferences. It is a chance to learn new things and meet new people. It was a small conference so the chance to meet and chat was easier than some of the bigger ones. My conference buddy and I even got a chance to get to know the speakers who kindly shared their knowledge with us.


It was a great time. This was the second time this conference has been held. It is shared between Minnesota and Massachusetts and will be held in Massachusetts in 2018.


If you have a chance to go to a genealogy conference then I would recommend giving it a try. If some of the bigger conferences are out of reach then attend a regional one. Every conference is a learning experience and you never know who you might meet.


© 2016 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved



#OGS2016Toronto Conference – Blogging Beads

The Ontario Genealogical Society Conference was held from June 3rd to 5th. I also attended the OCAPG pre-conference on June 2nd.

As many of you who read this blog already know I handed out “Blogging Beads” to those who write a genealogy blog. I wasn’t sure how many I would get. My blog and Twitter promotions highlighted a few people who were bloggers and attending conference. A few found me during the conference and I found a few others.

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This tradition was started by Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers. I asked him if I could start the same tradition at the OGS 2015 Conference in Barrie and he kindly agreed. We had the pleasure of Thomas’ attendance at the conference as a speaker for both OGS and OCAPG. I like to make sure I give him the first set of beads so he got his on Thursday. Then I started hunting for bloggers!

If you received beads and are not on the list please contact me and you will be added to the list. If you were at conference and our paths never crossed please leave a comment below with a link to your blog and I will update the list.

Here is a list of bloggers who received beads this year. You will also find a link to their blogs so please go and visit them.

Thomas MacEntee Geneabloggers

Lisa Louise Cooke Genealogy Gems

Lynn Palermo The Armchair Genealogist

Maurice Gleeson DNA and Family Tree Research

Daniel Horowitz My Heritage Blog

Alan Campbell The Ontario Genealogical Society Blog 

Elise Cole Librarians Helping Canadian Genealogists Climb Family Trees

Patricia Greber My Genealogy Life 

Gail Dever Genealogy à la carte

Cindi Moynahan-Foreman My Moynahan Genealogy Blog 

Louis Kessler Behold Genealogy

Mags Gaulden Grandma’s Genes

Daniel Heidt Waterloo Innovations

Kathryn Lake Hogan Looking 4 Ancestors

Janet Isles Janet the Researcher

Jane MacNamara Where the story takes me… 

Mike Quakenbush

Ellen Thompson-Jennings Hound on the Hunt

Jo Stanbridge Storydello

Nancy Trimble Durham Region Branch Ontario Genealogical Society

John D Reid Canada’s Anglo-Celtic Connections

Marian Press It’s My Ancestry

© 2016 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

June Speaking Engagements

Photo Courtesy of Heritage Mississagua

Photo Courtesy of Heritage Mississagua


On June 2nd I will be presenting a lecture at the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Toronto. The topic is “Using 21st Century Technology to Search for Canadians Who Served in the First World War.”


On June 18th I will be presenting a workshop at Heritage Mississauga and the topic is “Organizing Your Genealogy.”


© 2016 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

OGS Conference 2016 – Calling all Bloggers! #OGS2016Toronto

There are over 700 of you registered to attend the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference, “Genealogy on the Cutting Edge,” in Toronto from June 3rd to 5th.

Do you blog about your family history? Well if you are going and do blog then keep an eye out for me. I will be handing out beads to all the bloggers I find at Conference this year.

If you are going to conference and have a blog then please leave a link in the comments below. Let’s see how many new genealogy blogs we can find and follow.


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If you don’t blog but are considering it, then come and have a chat. I will be happy to give you some tips and ideas to help you start blogging.


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If you haven’t registered for Conference please consider joining us. It is a wonderful gathering of people who share the passion of family history research.


© 2016 Blair Archival Research

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