Thursday, February 25, 2016

Judy sailed in ....

....and blew us away.

The small but enthusiastic audience that gathered at SAG for the Unlock the Past Event in Sydney yesterday were winners in the genealogy stakes. Those who didn't take the opportunity to join fellow enthusiasts missed out on two exceptional talks by Judy G Russell, a chance to win some valuable prizes and an opportunity to network with genimates. I can't understand why more folk didn't attend and can only surmise that perhaps the cost or location of the event put them off.

As I entered SAG's grounds I didn't know who to say g'day to first, as quite a number of my pals were already waiting in the garden. It was beaut to see Dot who had travelled down from Narromine and Janelle and Sharon from The Central Coast. It was good to see interstate members of the Unlock the Past  team too. I won't name everyone I saw as I may forget someone.

I was pleased to see representatives from our Hornsby Shire Family History Group in attendance and  I was chuffed when one lady said she came along because she had seen my video interview with Judy at Rootstech

Hapy Genies at UTP event
It is rare that I lavish praise on genealogy presenters but Judy is excellence in presentation personified. She knows her subject, she looks professional and acts professionally (although we casual Aussies encouraged her to discard her jacket in the 36c heat), she oozes passion and enthusiasm, injects humour into her presentations, involves her audience : she delivers on all counts.  I am sometimes concerned at the quality of presenters that are sent down under, Judy (and a couple of others are exceptions). I do hope the organisers of our 2018 Congress consider inviting Judy (who has family connections to Australia) to be be a keynote (Hint, Hint).

Judy will be performing at two more venues in Perth and Brisbane. I suggest you get along and see her at one of them.

Judy presented two talks yesterday that encouraged me to think and inspired me to act, I was entertained into the bargain.

After this talk I feel equipped to convince family members to consent to taking DNA tests without resorting to bullying.

I thoroughly enjoyed the second talk which I had heard before. In a practical exercise with the audience Judy demonstrated how family facts and stories can disappear in just three generations. I am pleased that I blog some of my personal anecdotes and thoughts on another site but I realise that I need to do so much more. I want my grandchildren and their descendants to know their Gummy.

After these two sessions Judy skipped off with Helen Smith to explore our city. We had a break for lunch at the local sandwich shop and reconvened for the prize draw. There were several generous prizes from sponsors, I won a 75% discount off some UTP resources while Sue,  another Hornsby Shire Family History Group  member, won a subscription to MyHeritage worth over $300.

Alan Phillips (R) from UTP draws the prizes  while Paul Blake (L) prepares for his presentation.
The afternoon presentation consisted of two talks by Paul Blake, another presenter on the present Unlock the Past Cruise, who was onshore for the day. I was extremely disappointed (and have heard from a few others that they agree with me) in Paul's presentation on Irish Records. I am sure that many of those present in the audience would have done a better job with this topic. Thankfully one audience member was able to correct a couple of errors and add supplementary information.

Paul's second presentation was on a topic I know little about, The History of Photographs, so I did learn something.  My time after lunch would have been better spent on personal research.

Then it was time to network. I wandered down to The Rocks with Jenny and Lilian where we stopped off at The Argyle for some long, cold drinks and a natter before heading to The Glenmore to reunite with Judy, Helen and a few other genies for some more cool refreshment and some Aussie tucker. Although we had hoped to get a spot on the Rooftop we couldn't so we managed to score The Glenmore Lounge where we sat around a large round table to chat and dine.

And the good news is that I think Judy likes Australia so far, so she may come back.

Our dinner group minus shy Jenny who acted as photographer


Lilian's Tree said...

Well said Jill.

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

I'm really looking forward to hearing Judy talk in Brisbane...I heard her in Salt Lake last year, and agree she's inspirational. We're all doing our best to tempt her to come back :)

How lucky to be able to meet up with genimates...haven't seen Dot since the 2014 UTP cruise when we were table mates.

GeniAus said...

So Judy is returning in 2018


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