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# Tuesday, 31 January 2017
Watch 19 RootsTech Genealogy Conference Sessions Free Online
Posted by Diane



FamilySearch's giant RootsTech genealogy conference is almost upon us: It happens Feb. 8-11 in Salt Lake City, and you'll want to stick around for this blog post whether or not you're planning to go in person.
  • If you're not attending Rootstech in person: RootsTech will livestream 19 sessions so you can watch them online at home. Those include the Property Brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott, Cake Boss Buddy Valastro, Diahan Southard on DNA, Judy Russell on tracing female ancestors, and lots more. The RootsTech livestreaming schedule is here; just be sure to translate the session times into your own time zone so you don't miss your favorite speaker.
Keep an eye on Family Tree Magazine's Facebook page and here on the blog, where we'll be sharing news from RootsTech.

You'll find a day-by-day list of RootsTech classes here. Click the day at the top of the page, then below that, click the type of pass you have.

ConferenceKeeper.org has a handy list of RootsTech exhibit hall booths—it's a great opportunity to learn about new genealogy websites, databases and products, and to ask questions about the sites and products you already use.

Conferences are fun, inspiring and educational, but they also can be exhausting, so here's a "pre-loved" blog post with some tips on preparing for a successful genealogy conference.

You'll also want to visit the spectacular Family History Library, where you can use FamilySarch microfilmed records that aren't digitized and consult print books (which don't circulate to local FamilySearch Centers). The place will be hopping, so search the FamilySearch online catalog ahead of time and decide which resources you'll use. Here are some tips on searching the FamilySearch online catalog.


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Genealogy Events | RootsTech
Tuesday, 31 January 2017 12:53:59 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, 24 January 2017
A New U.S. Budget Blueprint May Affect Genealogists
Posted by Diane

This blog is written by guest blogger and Associate Editor of Family Tree Magazine, Madge Maril

The new administration’s federal budget blueprint—a sort of planning document in the budgeting process—would eliminate the National Endowment for the Humanities. If this line item manages to make it through to the final budget for fiscal year 2018, its genealogical impact might surprise you.



The National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) was created in 1965 as an independent federal agency funding humanities programs in the United States. NEH grants help fund many genealogy staples, such as museums, archives and libraries as well as public television and universities.

The NEH’s grants also support historical records digitization and access projects including the free Chronicling America newspaper search website. Chronicling America was sparked by The United States Newspaper Project, which microfilmed and cataloged 63.3 million pages of American newspapers. Chronicling America lets you search and view digitized American newspaper pages from 1789 to 1924, as well as a directory of all U.S. Newspapers published from 1690 to present.

Genealogists use newspapers to find key details about their ancestors. Diane Haddad wrote this article about her experience finding a 1924 article about her grandfather. She also shares how Chronicling America helps genealogists find old newspapers.

It’s early in the budgeting process. The blueprint isn’t an official proposal, just a starting point. You can give your input about the preservation of NEH funding by following the instructions on the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) website.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017 14:09:15 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Thursday, 12 January 2017
Findmypast Allowing Free Access to 1.9 Billion Genealogy Records
Posted by Diane

How does four days of free access to 1.9-billion genealogy records sound?

Findmypast announced today that they would be making all birth, marriage, census and death records free to access, starting today and ending January 15th, 2017. A happy weekend for genealogists, indeed!



If you have Irish ancestry, you will want to check out their collection: their free records include over 10 million Irish Catholic Parish registers. Many of their parish records are not available anywhere else.

Also available are 703 million United States and Canadian Census records, 538 million UK BMDs, over 338 million United States and Canadian BMDs, 140 million United States marriage records and millions of other documents.

If you haven’t used Findmypast before, download our Findmypast Web Guide. This easy-to-use instant download will show you how to search and use Findmypast with step-by-step guides. It also includes handy shortcuts and details about major records you will want to check out.

In their official statement, Findmypast explained why they were allowing free access to the genealogy records: "By providing four days of free access to these essential records, Findmypast hopes to encourage fledgling genealogists to start building their family tree and discover at least one new ancestor through their records. Researchers will also be provided with daily getting started guides, expert insights and useful how-to blogs over the course of the free weekend."

- Madge Maril, Associate Editor of Family Tree Magazine

Thursday, 12 January 2017 12:25:09 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Tuesday, 10 January 2017
How to Get Better at Genealogy Without Leaving Home
Posted by Diane



We're really looking forward to bringing you the Family Tree University Winter 2017 Virtual Conference, coming up March 3-5!

If you haven't been to one of our Virtual Conferences, here's what's terrific about it: It brings the learning and camaraderie of a genealogy conference right to you home.

No need to book a hotel, take time off work and spend your retirement fund on airline tickets and eating out. Your computer and all your research materials are right there, so you can immediately use the genealogy tricks you learn.

Your conference registration includes 15 video classes (yours to download and watch again and again), daily live chats with genealogy experts, networking via exclusive conference message boards, and a digital swag bag of genealogy goodies from ShopFamilyTree.com.

This year's Virtual Conference classes will
  • introduce you to genetic genealogy tools like DNALand
  • help you organize your research in manageable bursts
  • show you how to convert paper research to digital research in Evernote
  • provide strategies for researching World War I ancestors (this April 6 is the centennial of the United States' declaration of war against Germany)
  • help you find ancestors from Prussia
  • ... and more. You can see all the classes at FamilyTreeUniversity.com.
Participating is easy: Your emailed registration confirmation will give you instructions for setting up a Family Tree University account (if you don't already have one). Then, just log into your account anytime during the Virtual Conference weekend. Live chats happen at designated times, but the video classes and message boards are ready whenever you are.

Right now, there's an early bird discount that'll save you $40 on your Winter 2017 Virtual Conference registration--just enter EARLYVCWINTER when you check out at FamilyTreeUniversity.com.

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Family Tree University | Research Tips
Tuesday, 10 January 2017 11:27:27 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Friday, 06 January 2017
Writing Your Life Story: How to Bring Back "Lost" Memories
Posted by Diane


Library of Congress

"Recording your own stories" is one of Family Tree Magazine’s list of 17 genealogy habits for success in 2017 (part of our hot-off-the-presses January/February issue). 

How many of us spend months or years tracking down every possible record of an ancestor’s life, the whole time wishing he or she had left a journal revealing personality, opinions, interests, hopes and pet peeves?
 
But then we neglect to record all those things about ourselves—whether for our own children or for children from other lines who may one day wish to really know us.

FamilySearch has launched the #52Stories Project encouraging you to write one brief story about your life each week. Find motivation, weekly writing prompts and links to others’ stories on the #52Stories home page.

Sunny Jane Morton's book Story of My Life has in-depth guidance on writing your life story, as well as fill-in forms and questions that help you organize and tell your stories. Her helpful tips and exercises for remembering the details of your life events, which will make your stories more meaningful to you and to others, include: 
  • Free associate. Start with a blank page and write a person, place or event at the top. Then begin with "I remember" and write anything that comes to mind, even if it’s not a complete thought. For example, if my page was titled “Grandma,” I'd might write “sewing” (she was a skilled seamstress), “potbelly bear” (she gave me one for Christmas when I was 6), “purple” (her favorite color) and “Wellesley” (the street where she lived). Keep going until you run out of memories.

  • Immerse yourself. Go to a place related to a time in your life you want to recall. Visit your childhood neighborhood, walk around your high school, have a drink at the dive bar where your friends gathered when you were young singles. Listen to the music and eat the food you liked.

  • Read about the places and times you want to remember. Books, contemporary news articles and photos detailing events and eras like the assassination of President Kennedy, Summer of Love and the turn of the millennium will bring back mental images and memory snippets of what you were doing at the time.

  • Reach out. Ask folks who knew you when what they remember about the junior high class trip to Washington, DC, or the day of your father’s funeral. Their memories might fill in where yours gets fuzzy.
Here's where to view all 17 habits for genealogy success in 2017, here's where to pick up the January/February issue, and here's where to get the book Story of My Life.
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Genealogy books | Research Tips | saving and sharing family history | Writing about your family history
Friday, 06 January 2017 08:41:46 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Sunday, 01 January 2017
Exercise Your Genealogy in 2017
Posted by Diane

Need some motivation to jump-start your research in 2017? Online Community Editor and Family Tree University Dean Vanessa Wieland shares her journey from hapkido newbie to black-belt expert:

A few years ago, I joined my sister and several other people in our first class to study hapkido—a form of martial arts. We’d been taking my nephew for years and watched as he developed into a confident, successful leader in his classes. But for my sister and me, the first class was rough. Never much of an athlete or physical person, I usually exercised by lifting stacks of books and walking around libraries. So even during warmups in this first class, I felt like I was in over my head, given that I couldn’t do a single pushup on my own.

Like other forms of martial arts, hapkido has a series of belts that chart your progress: 11 in total, from white (the first) to black (the last). Six weeks after I started classes, I tested for my first belt. In those six weeks, I’d learned how to fall without breaking my arm or hitting my head, how to break someone’s hold on my wrist, and, yes, even do some situps and pushups.

It takes a lot of work to get to the black-belt level, and only two people of the 10 who I started with earned their black belts. I tested for and earned mine in February 2015. By then, not only could I do push ups, but I could also break any kind of hold an attacker would attempt, immobilize and flip my opponents around, and break boards with a swift kick, punch, or jab of my elbow.

I also learned a lot about myself: that I can face my own fears, that I’m not that fragile or clumsy, that I’m strong, and that I'm capable of pushing myself further than I ever thought possible without breaking. Most importantly, I learned that I can accomplish just about anything when I put my mind to it, and take it one step at a time.

That’s the key to achieving any goal or resolution, whether it’s starting a new fitness program, organizing your genealogy or learning a new skill.

We’re starting off 2017 with the Family History Fitness Challenge. Each day in January, we'll provide a new task that will help you whip your genealogy into shape! If your New Year’s resolution is about researching and organizing your family history, this challenge will start you off on the right foot and set the tone for the whole year. You can find each day's prompts on our homepage or on the Genealogy Monthly Challenge landing page, so follow along with us there or on Facebook and Twitter.

And while you're setting genealogy goals for the year ahead, we'll be here to help you accomplish them. Check out the Family Tree University calendar of classes and workshops to determine which opportunities you want to take advantage of. We'll be offering plenty of new resources and techniques for researching your family history.

Here are three educational events I’m particularly excited about:

  • Research Logs Made Easy, January 16: In this class, you'll learn the benefits to using research logs to guide and organize your genealogy research, the elements of a good research log, and the various types of research logs you can use.
  • Analyze Your DNA Results Workshop, February 20: This workshop will put you well on your way to learning just what your DNA test results can tell you.
  • 2017 Winter Virtual Conference, March 3–5: This weekend-long conference contains a plethora of new tools, techniques, and strategies for researching your family history.

So get working! There's no black belt in genealogy, but you can still become a master of your family history.

Save
organizing your research
Sunday, 01 January 2017 14:19:46 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]