Monday, October 25, 2010

2010 History & Genealogy Expo at Parramatta - Friday

The first session of my crowded timetable was Discover Scottish Family History by visiting Scottish expert, Chris Paton. In his first couple of minutes Chris connected with his audience with a relaxed speaking style peppered with humorous asides. Chris' informal style was in contrast to the depth of information he presented in the 45 minutes allocated. After the presentation someone commented that "he went so fast", I love this style of presentation where the presenter can pack plenty of information into a short time. This talk told me so much more than I have heard from other presenters in Australia talking on a similar topic. Thank you, Chris, for not turning your talk into an infomercial for your book but for simply mentioning it in your final slide. I bought a copy!

Chris' blog, Scottish Genes, is one of the best in my RSS feeds, it is an essential read for those with Scottish links. presented Social Media for Family Historians

Carole Riley, a SAG Councillor and professional genealogist from Sydney presented Social Media for Family Historians. Although this talk was targetted towards beginners I was interested in hearing how Carole approached this topic for which I have a passion. In the time allotted Carole gave an overview of a number of products that she uses to enhance her research and maintain family connections. It was evident from the number of questions from the floor that the family historians in the audience had little knowledge of the tools. This talk certainly hit the mark with the majority of audience members.  I must agree with Carole's statement " I think social media is the best thing since the personal computer was invented." Carole did not plug her book ad nauseum - so I bought a copy.

Geniaus meets Chris Paton
I nabbed a front seat for Chris Paton's second talk " Discover Scottish Land Records. Chris made this dry topic interesting  with his clear summary and explanations; I took copious notes but think these are not necessary as all of the information is in Chris' book. Listening to the man in person was far more enjoyable than reading his words on a page.

At the last minute I purchased a ticket to Megan Gibson's "How to get more family tree time: tips for the time poor!" Megan only had a thirty minute slot to share her tips. Unfortunatley her introduction and promotion of her book took up the first fifteen minutes of this time so she was not able to share many tips with her audience. Megan did give a handout of a proforma for documenting a day's activities.

In contrast Shauna Hicks in her presentation "Family History on the cheap" packed a lot of content into the time allocated. Shauna talked to a great number of slides as she showed the audience sites and places where they could research for little outlay. The best tip I got from this talk was on how to search www.findmypast.com.au. I had been disappointed when I had my free trial, that I could not find many ancestors in this database. I had been searching for them in the surname field. Shauna said that many of the documents in the database are in .pdf format and that one must search by the keyword  field to get some hits as surnames are not separately indexed. Now I'd like another free 24 hour trial to test this out. I would add to Shauna's list the GenealogyWise site as a wonderful way to network with other genealogists with similar interests.

I enjoyed most of these talks and took away many ideas from the speakers to help me with my research. One suggestion I have for all of these speakers is to provide a handout or link to a webpage with the slides from the presentation or a summary of the references given.

I usually take a few notes  on my smartphone and take digital photos of the presenter's slides which I paste into the notes. Unfortunately, as I am 5 foot nothing, I could not see the screen when the rooms were crowded and I was beyond the fourth row so I was unable to record some of the URLs given by the presenters. I just hope they are in Chris' book!

See my post on Saturday's talks here

1 comment:

Chris Paton said...

Thanks again Geniaus - I think one of my favourite quotes has always been "I am serious in what I do, but not necessarily in the way I do it!" It was a great expo, and I met some great folk there.

Viva Australia! :)

Chris

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