Friday, 16 February 2018

Conferencing It Up!

I'm writing this from my Grandparent's living room in Midland, Texas, USA. I arrived in the USA on the 4th of February. I've been staying at a friend's house in Dallas and also went to New Orleans for the first time and experienced my first Mardi Gras. This week I'm with my Grandparents. Next week, with my Uncle - we're doing genealogy! The weekend of the 23rd-25th, I'm going to a family reunion! Yay! It's for the descendants of my 5x Great Grandparents John Gowan and Edith Faulk. 

On the 26th of February, I fly to Salt Lake City for my second ever RootsTech (Feb 28th - Mar 3rd)! I'm so excited! I can't wait to catch up with the friends I've made through genealogy. I've been going through the schedule and selecting the classes I might like to go to - most of them revolve around DNA and American research. If you have not got the app on your phone yet, download it! It is a must! You can see your calendar/schedule of the classes you have selected. It's so easy.

It's going to be a wonderful genealogy week!

The main stage. [Photo taken by me, Feb 2015]

I'm also excited for the huge Expo Hall! Ahhhh! [Photo taken by me, Feb 2015]

But that's not all.

I arrive back in Sydney on the 7th of March. On the 8th of March, I have to check into a hotel in Sydney for the Australasian Conference on Genealogy and Heraldry (9th to 12th March). It will be my first Congress. When I tell people what Congress is, I say it's the Australian version of RootsTech.

I'm so thankful for this quiet week with my Grandparents as from next week it's going to get busy.
Genealogists do like to party!

Can't wait! Going to be so much fun!

Monday, 27 November 2017

We have a winner!

My competition for a RootsTech Pass closed on Thursday, 23 November, and we have a winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered the competition by sending a response to the question: If you could have been born in any other year, what would it be and why? I loved reading your answers.

I wish I had passes to give all of you, however, I only have one. And the winner is...

Marian Wood! 

Congratulations Marian! You've won a 4-Day RootsTech Pass valued at $US279!

Marian's response to the question was:

If the genealogy genie could grant me this wish, I would choose to be born in 1886, the year that the Statue of Liberty was unveiled in New York harbor. She made her official debut on Oct 28, 1886, so my wish is to have that be my birthday, too. Imagine being born in the same year, as this icon of freedom and hope was presented to the country, with a million people watching.

Marian is a RootsTech first timer and is very excited to attend next year. I look forward to meeting you Marian! You will have an awesome time!

How is it that we are already only 3 months anyway? 

An excited group of genealogists at RootsTech 2015.
L-R: Hilary Gadsby (UK), Me (AUS), Roger Moffatt (US), Sharn White (US),
Cheryl Hudson Passey (US) & Alona Tester (AUS)

As an Ambassador for RootsTech, I have kindly been given free registration. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, 13 November 2017

GIVEAWAY - RootsTech Pass!

One of the perks about being an Ambassador for RootsTech 2018 is that I have a 4-Day RootsTech pass to give away!

That's right, you read correctly.

A 4-Day RootsTech Pass valued at US$279!!!

The awesome pass includes
- over 300 classes
- Keynote/General Sessions
- RootsTech classes
- Innovation Showcase
- Expo Hall
- Evening Events

You will have to fund your own travel to and from Salt Lake City, the conference, hotel, and food, but I promise you it is worth it!

If you win and you have already paid for a RootsTech pass, you will be refunded.

Now that all the minor details are out of the way, how do you win said RootsTech pass?

Easy peasy.

Answer the following question:

If you could have been born in any other year, what would it be and why?

No lengthy responses required -  a couple of sentences will do.

Here's my answer: 1970 - My maternal Grandmother passed away in 1980, ten years before I was born. She was the genealogy queen in our family. 1970 would give me ten wonderful years with her.  

E-mail me your response to by COB Thursday, 23 November.  

My mother will draw a name randomly from the responses and the winner will be notified via e-mail, and if applicable, social media.

I can't wait to read the responses!

As an Ambassador for RootsTech, I have kindly been given free registration. All opinions are my own. 

Sunday, 29 October 2017

RootsTech 2018 - I'm going!

I'm heading back to Salt Lake City in February, 2018, for my second RootsTech! I am so excited! I have been given the wonderful opportunity of being an Ambassador too. Never thought that would happen. In 2018, RootsTech is being held at the end of February from 28 Feb to 3 Mar.

Ambassador for RootsTech, 2018.
I can't believe it will have been three years since my first RootsTech in 2015. I'm so keen to catch up with all my friends and meet new ones. The socializing at genealogy conferences is one of the best things ever.

Valerie, Caitlin, and Cheryl at RootsTech 2015
Asides from that, the speakers and classes are awesome.

Two of the keynote speakers have been announced -

Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton

Humans of New York creator, Brandon Stanton

I will be honest. I've never heard of Scott Hamilton, but I have heard of Brandon Stanton. I have been an avid follower of Humans of New York for a few years now. I can't wait to see him live.

The RootsTech stage! Taken by Me, Feb 2015. 
RootsTech is a must attend bucket list item for any genealogist/family historian, regardless of whether you're a beginner, amateur, or professional. They have classes dedicated to beginners! How neat is that?! And then there's the Expo Hall. Oh my, the Expo Hall. All your favorite genealogy brands in the one place! It's huge and amazing.

The schedule for the classes has already been released (subject to change) and I have spent this morning browsing through it. I'm just so excited!

If you need any more persuading about why you should attend, have a quick read of this.

The RootsTech Pass is currently available for the promotional price of US$199, but be quick, because it will go up to the full price of US$279.

However, keep an eye on my blog and social media channels the next couple of days because I have a RootsTech pass to give away, valued at US$279. Stay tuned!

As an Ambassador for RootsTech, I have kindly been given free registration. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Genealogy Roadshow: Researching Abroad, Day 2

Wednesday, August 9, was day two of Unlock The Past's Genealogy Roadshow - Researching Abroad: Finding European and British Isles Ancestors. Day two was all about researching European Ancestors with German genealogist Dirk Weissleder taking the lead.

Dirk's talks focused on primary and secondary sources in Germany, researching European ancestors in general, and Archives, Libraries and Genealogical services in Germany. I have not discovered any European ancestors in my family thus far, so I have not had to do any research using European records. However, I recently started doing my best friend's family tree, and he's got a few German ancestors. I thought it would be great to listen to Dirk's talks and figure out what on earth I'm doing with European records. Even if I wasn't doing my friend's family tree, I definitely would still have gone. Regardless of whether you have ancestors from the area or not, I think it is always great to go to seminars because you never know what you might learn.

Genealoot [Source: Personal photo]
I walked in having very basic knowledge of German history, and at level zilch with European genealogy. I walked out with a significantly improved understanding of both.

Did you know that Germany has states? I did not! I always thought it was a country that was one big country, with no states - just hundreds of towns and suburbs. Dirk really stressed the fact that when you are researching German ancestors, or any European ancestors for that matter, you need to know what you are searching, where and when. Are you researching in the former east or former west Germany? Before 1871, there was no Germany - it was made up of different kingdoms. Currently, Germany has 16 different states. But was the town you are researching, in the same state 50 years ago?

These are a few things Dirk mentioned that we should be thinking about, and can easily be applied when researching ancestors in other countries - the place of interest, most recent knowledge on an area, churches/archives in the area, what information is already accessible, local societies, experts and translators, cemeteries, and the social life in the area.

There was something that Dirk mentioned which I thought was important, and that is we need to Think Geneaglobally.

Think Geneaglobally
[Source: GIPHY]
My good friend Helen Smith also took to the stage and talked about DNA and the benefits it has for genealogy. I did an AncestryDNA test in 2015, and I am still learning how it all works. Each time I listen to a DNA talk, it sinks in a little bit more.

All in all it was a wonderful two days full of learning and socializing with my geneafriends. Thanks Unlock The Past for putting on an awesome Roadshow. It is hard to believe it is now over - the team deserves a sleep in! 

As an Ambassador for the event, Unlock The Past kindly gave me free entry.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Genealogy Roadshow: Researching Abroad, Day 1

On Tuesday, Unlock The Past's Genealogy Roadshow - Researching Abroad: Finding European and British Isles Ancestors - began in Brisbane.

Tuesday was British Isles day with Scottish genealogist Chris Paton giving four talks about researching ancestors from that area. As a majority of my ancestors came from England, Scotland, and quite possibly Ireland, I was eager to hear Chris' talks and pick up some new tips. I have been stuck at a Scottish brick wall for a while now...

Click the image for more information
Chris' talks were on British and Irish Newspapers, Scottish research resources before 1800, Irish family history resources online, and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching ancestral crisis. I was most eager for the Scottish resources before 1800, and boy did I learn a lot! I have a long list of websites to check and indexes to search. I feel more confident in understanding Scottish land records too. I also learned that not everything was bequeathed in a Will! I have my Great Great Grandfather William Gow's Will. He died in Scotland in 1874. I will be reading that again with a different mindset. In the final talk, I learned that 'illegitimate' was noted on birth records from about 1855 - 1918. My 2x Great Aunt Jeannie Gow had four illegitimate children (with three different men I believe) between 1889 and 1910.

One of the overarching points of the day was that if you are struggling to breakdown a brick wall and go through it, you might have to go around it...

What we wish we could do. Instead, our ancestors make it
more challenging (and fun!) by sending us on a roundabout.
Aside from the educational aspect, it was great to catch up with my awesome geneamates and meet some new ones. A bunch of us had dinner on Tuesday night and it was wonderful to catch up with Chris. If you have British Isles ancestors and you've got a chance to hear Chris speak - do so! You will learn a lot. Trust me.

Stay tuned for my report on Day 2.

As an Ambassador for the event, Unlock The Past kindly gave me free entry.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Getting Excited for the Genealogy Roadshow

I'm excited.


It's August, which is National Family History Month.

It's August, which means Unlock The Past's Genealogy Roadshow - Researching Abroad: Finding European and British Isles Ancestors - is about to begin! Woohoo!

Two leading international genealogists Chris Paton and Dirk Weissleder are coming down under for a few weeks, visiting most major capitals to talk genealogy.

Click the image for more information.

The roadshow kicks off in Brisbane on the 8th and 9th of August - this coming Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday, Chris will be talking about Scottish and Irish research, and on Wednesday, Dirk will be talking all things German genealogy. Before my ancestors ended up in Australia and the USA, they were predominantly from Scotland, so I am very keen to hear Chris' talks. I am also curious to hear what Dirk has to say about using German records. I do not have any European ancestors...that I know of...but I have started looking into one of my best friend's family history, and he has a few German ancestors. I need all the help and advice I can get. I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to German records.

I am looking forward to meeting Dirk, and it will be great to catch up with Chris who I met at  a previous Unlock The Past event in 2014.

Me & Chris Paton, February 2014.

As with every genealogy event, I cannot wait to catch up with my friends and meet some new ones. I wonder if there will be a dinner on Tuesday night?

Click here for more information on the Brisbane event.

Click here to find out when the roadshow is coming to a major capital near you.

I will be live-tweeting as much as possible (@caitieamanda) so make sure to follow me on Twitter to stay up to date with all the news from the event.

As an Ambassador for the event, Unlock The Past are kindly giving me free entry.