Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Night before Rootstech

'Twas the night before #rootstech and all through the palace the genies were stirring... 

Each year on the evening before  Rootstech officially kicks off Familysearch and Rootstech host a Media Dinner for Sponsors, VIPs and  Media (including Rootstech Ambassadors).

This veteran Ambassador has attended 7 out of 8 of these functions where we are treated to some fun activities, fed a nice 3 course meal in congenieal company, have opportunities to win some fab prizes and hear about the conference from important or famous folk (most of whom I don't know because I am Australian).

Tonight there were some people from a local TV show Relative Race who emceed  and spoke about the program, Then Jen Allen, Rootstech Director shared some Rootstech statistics and news, she told us that up until today 14,200 people had registered for Rootstech. These included folk from all the US States and more than 40 countries. There are 60 new vendors out of a total of 197 - that's a lot of geneastuff to explore!

Of course, like many fellow attendees I had my phone camera poised during the proceedings.

The Conference Theme - Phones at the ready

Table Settings

Beaut Tucker

Congenieal Company
Big Crowd
Visitors from all over the globe
I won a beaut prize

Scenes from the Salt Palace - Rootstech Day -1

After a morning of rest I crossed the road to the Salt Palace to register for Rootstech. On my way to register I met many genimates and members of the Familysearch team from  previous Rootstech conferences. Loved seeing so many familiar faces in that sea of people.

The conference organisers had sent out a message that the first 4,000 to register for the event would get a special gift - from the size of the lines I think about 5,000 people took this opportunity. I was so grateful that as an Ambassador I got to register via an express line. I hear that it took some people over two hours to make their way through the queue.

While at the Salt Palace I took a few pics to give you a taste of the Rootstech venue.

The main entrance/exit

Play by the rules

A long queue

Nearing the end
Surprise for the first 4,000
What's on

This place is HUGE

Not quite ready

Abseilers at Rootstech

Registered at last- Main entrance

Monday, February 26, 2018


I blame the atmosphere in Salt Lake City for the scratchy throat I seem to suffer each time I visit  but perhaps it is because my vocal chords get a good workout while I am here.

Yesterday started with a breakfast date in the hotel with Jan Brandt, a genie from California, whom I  first met at Rootstech in 2012. Jan, a committed genie,  has very strong British roots as well as links to Australia so we had plenty to talk about. The time we spent together just flew - can't believe I missed an opportunity for a selfie. The pancakes I devoured were a nice change from the muesli bars and breakfast drink I usually have in my room.

Fluffy blueberry pancakes - I may treat myself to these again before I depart
As my mouse had died prior to leaving for Salt Lake I wandered up to the Microsoft shop and bought a new blue mouse. I didn't realise that it was a Bluetooth one until I unpacked it. The good news is that by having a bluetooth connection it frees up another USB port on my laptop. I bought a few things at Macy's but was disappointed to find that there wasn't much stock in my favourite fat ladies department.

Afternoon was nap time as my poor old body clock had fought sleep on the previous evening.

Highlight of my day was a dinner at Red Iguana 2, a Mexican restaurant with  some of my genimates. Our wonderful friends Roger and Lisa from Michigan collected Sharn White and I and ferried us to the restaurant. I particularly enjoyed meeting online genimates Ursula Krause and Dave Robison, in person for the first time. I won't bore you with details of our evening - the photos I am sharing below will tell the story. (Apologies for fuzzy photos - I exported them at too low a resolution - I have my L plates on in my new image management program).

Strawberry Daquiri
Red Iguana combination - I don't know what was in it but it tasted good

Dave and Karen Robison

Roger Moffatt and Ursula Krause

DearMYRTLE and Gordon

Roger and Lisa

Sharn, GeniAus and DearMYRTLE

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Just one small green leaf

Yesterday I wrote that I was having some "me research time" and looking at those little green leaves on Ancestry that I have been ignoring.

Well I didn't get past the first hint that was offered. For years I have wondered what happened to Ellen D'arcy, sister of my 2xGreat-Grandmother Elizabeth D'arcy. I knew that she married a Henry Holmes but that was all. My first green leaf directed me to a death notice for Helen Holmes (had I ever thought to search for a Helen?) which looked promising. I looked at the NSW BDM Indexes and found that the father mentioned in the index was named as Michael not John as expected but the deceased's age was close to the mark. I kept digging and found the marriage entry for Helen D'arcy and Henry Holmes. The time and location were right so I continued exploring in Ancestry, on Trove , Familysearch and the NSW BDM indexes. Yes, that little newspaper clipping was for my Ellen.

1903 'Family Notices', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 26 October, p. 6. , viewed 24 Feb 2018,

My explorations on Ancestry took me to a Holmes tree that, although it had a mistakes, listed a number of descendants for one line of Ellen and Henry's children, these clues were of great assistance. I have since spent a few hours adding descendants to Ellen's tree using the online resources at my disposal. As Irish Catholics they were prolific breeders so I have quote a task ahead of me.

I am thrilled to have located this line as, I know having a few more cousin surnames in my tree will help me solve some more of my DNA matches.

Call me a cynic but I think that was a "first time lucky" hint. I wonder what else Ancestry has in store for me!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Snowy Day

In Ezra Jack Keats picture book "The Snowy Day"  that I read many times to my children, the main character, Peter, goes outside to enjoy the delights of new fallen snow.

Today I find myself preparing for the Rootstech Conference in Salt Lake City where the snow has been falling steadily all day. When I announced on Facebook that I was going to stay in my hotel room all day one of my genimates commented "The hotel? When you could go to the Family History Library?"

Well I'm not Peter so I have stayed indoors and passed on the opportunities to play in the snow. Hopefully the weather will improve and I can visit the library tomorrow or next week. Thankfully I don't have many items on my lookup list this year.

From the hotel window
So what have I been playing at?

I have set up my calendar for the next week. I have dinners arranged for Saturday- Tuesday with various groups of genimates. I am interviewing some of the keynote speakers at Rootstech so I have done a bit of homework on them so that I don't appear like a complete ignoramus. So far I am interviewing the CEO of Familysearch, the CEO of, Keynotes Scott Hamilton and Henry Louis Gates, some bods from Findmyast and Living DNA and CeCe Moore.   I'm also hoping to catch author Nathan Dylan Godwin and  DNA Painter hero Jonny Perl. 

I have written a couple of welcome posts for new members of the GeneabloggersTRIBE, filled out a survey (you can do it too) for the Rootstech people and responded to many social media messages.

I searched Amazon for the Whitelines notebook that my clever Genimate Shelley wrote about in her recent post and ordered one to try out at the conference.

Now I am going to indulge in some me research time and take a look at my hints on I don't accept these on face value. If they are from user submitted trees I don't pay much attention to them but if they relate to documents I look at them carefully, evaluate them and if they are a match that adds value to my tree I add the details to my own Family Historian database as well as my Ancestry tree. 

Perhaps I'll have some startling discoveries to share in the coming days.

I am pleased to have had a Snowy Day that has allowed me to indulge my geneaself. 

That's ice outside my wondow

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Please Provide Soft Copies...

Sharing my post from September 2013.

Five years down the track I understand that presenters are concerned about genies onsharing handouts they are given at Conferences. Somehow, as well as providing soft copies, we must educate our audiences to respect our intellectual property.

It is easier for organisers if they put the handouts in a secure area from which they can be downloaded by attendees but sadly some still haven't got this message.


Please Provide Soft Copies...

A simple system - Fling it in the folder
...we might even save a few trees.

I am trying really hard to cut down on the amount of paper I keep in my Geneacave.

This morning finds me scanning handouts from a conference I recently attended. Only one of the presenters in the sessions I attended (thank you Cora Num) at that conference offered handouts in a digital format. At the beginning of her talk Cora gave us the URL for her handouts, I was able to download the handout onto my tablet and annotate it as Cora proceeded with her talk.

I must say that I prefer a hard copy handout to no handout at all but soft copy is the way to go in the 21st century.

I don't keep hard copies of handouts, I scan them and file them into the Family History -
Presentations folder on the external hard drive where I keep all my genie stuff. (I have previously discussed my filing method in the Fling it in the Folder and subsequent posts).  The hard copies then find themselves in my recycling bin.

The scans are filed by presenter name and title eg Num, Cora Research tools for the digital age. If I was really organised I could add some tags but I find that I can usually find a document I need via the Windows search facility. I find it much easier to file a soft copy than to have to go through the whole scanning process.

There are many options for sharing handouts in various formats on the internet:  one's own website, Dropbox, Facebook, Google DrivePrezi, and Slideshare are just some options.

I realise that presenters may be concerned about the intellectual property of their work and not want to post in a public forum. In this case they could collect the email addresses of those who want a soft copy and send it out; this could be rather tedious if several hundred people want the presentation. They could offer to send copies of the presentation by return email to those who request it. Handouts could be saved to a private page on Facebook. Where there's a will there's a way.
Organisers of large conferences should make provision for the storage and delivery of  presentation notes to attendees. Smaller local groups and societies may not have the resources or expertise to manage this; presenters need to be mindful of this and ensure that their audiences can easily access digital copies of presentation notes.

I am wondering if other genies prefer hard or soft copy handouts.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Trove Tuesday - Recycling Salt Lake CIty

When I originally penned this post five years ago I was in Salt Lake City preparing for the Rootstech Conference. Today I am once again preparing for Rootstech  but my task is packing my bag for my annual pilgrmage to Rootstech  -  The Greatest Geneashow on earth.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Trove Tuesday - Salt Lake City

Today finds me in Salt Lake City, Utah researching in theFamily History Library prior to the Rootstech Conference.

It was fitting then that my Trove Tuesday Post should centre on this city and genealogy. I put the search string "Salt Lake City" genealogy into a Trove newspaper search and was rewarded with   16 hits.

The article I have chosen to share comes from a 1947 edition of the Cairns Post: 1947 'MORMONS SEARCH WORLD FOR DATA.', Cairns Post(Qld. : 1909 - 1954), 20 December, p. 9, viewed 4 March, 2013, (you can read the whole article here)

The article states that the microfilmed records "may be examined by anyone interested" and that is what I am doing today sixty-six years after this article appeared in the newspaper in Cairns, Australia.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Checking off the Checklist

I'm a fly by the seat of my pants type of girl but in the case of Rootstech I have a checklist that I consult prior to taking off. If I forget something I won't be making the 12,816 km journey home to collect it.

My 2017 post  has provided the basis for this 2018 list.

  • Hotel at Sydney airport for night prior to flight - Booked
  • Longterm Parking at Sydney Airport - Booked
  • International return flight Australia to SLC - Booked 
  • Airport transfer in SLC - Staying first night at SLC airport hotel - it has a free shuttle 
  • Hotel Accommodation - Booked at the Marriott Downtown City Creek - most convenient hotel to Salt Palace and City Creek shops. Had to book first night elsewhere as Marriott was full 
  • Passport - Already in handbag 
  • ESTA (Visa) - Still valid
  • Travel insurance - Renewed
  • Make copies of all docs and save on phone and laptop - Another job for this afternoon.
  • Pills and potions - packed an emergency 'just in case' kit of favourites.  
  • Get US dollars from bank - especially $1 notes - Done
  • Conference Registration - Done 
  • Respond to invitations - Done 
  • Download the Rootstech App - Done, classes selected and friends made. If more people made their profiles public I would be able to make even more friends 
  • Download Rootstech syllabus papers of interest - May have to do this in SLC. 
  • Compile list of research tasks for Family History Library - In progress in my Family Historian Database.
  • Make list of shopping to be done while in the US.
  • Find out names of Aussies who are travelling to Rootstech - only a small group this year - wonder if I have missed anyone? 
  • Set a date for a casual pre-conference dinner for members of the British Commonwealth attending Rootstech - Done. Details here.
  • Aussie pins/stickers/badges to hand out -  Done
  •  GeniAus Business Cards to hand out - New ones have arrived
  • GeniAus ribbons - Awaiting pickup on Salt Lake City. Thanks DearMyrtle
  • Purchase breakfast bars and healthy snacks for quick meals - already packed.
  • Start gathering up my Geneabling to wear at the event - can't find it since moving house. Will have to start up a new collection. 
  • A light day bag for conference - no-one else will have a bag like mine.
  • Organise my technology for the trip - A mammoth task for this afternoon.
  • Pack my Bags - Halfway there - need to take stuff out rather then put stuff in.

With only two more sleeps to go I had better stop blogging and attend to packing.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

How's your brand?

This morning I read an interesting post from a school librarian who was talking about social media and branding. So much of what she said is also true for genealogists and family historians.

Ashley Cooksey said in her post Social Media Profile and Branding  "One of the most important things a #ConnectedEducator can do is to build a stellar profile and create a social media brand. You may currently be thinking, “a brand is for a company, fast food restaurant, or shoe, not for a teacher.” Well, my friend, I disagree. Your profile gives followers a quick snapshot of who you are as a professional (and a person). Your posts will develop your brand. Think of this as your digital footprint."  The same goes for a Connected Genealogist.

In the article Ashley answers to three questions:
  • What do you need to include in your profile?
  • What should you post? And how often?
  • Why is it important to brand yourself?
I cannot think of many family historians whose content I instantly recognise. Some that I recognise are those with unique usernames/aliases (or as I call them AKAs) like The Chart Chick, Dapper Historian, Lonetester and ScotSue. These unique names have much more meaning than Mary Brown or John Smith. When I enter the search term GeniAus into Google the majority of the results that are returned are about or by me, ie relevant. I imagine that DearMYRTLE has a similar experience but I am sure that poor Mary Brown and John Smith aren't so fortunate. Do you consider the person who may be trying to find your pearls of wisdom via a simple search?

I am astounded when I visit blogs while writing welcome posts for the GeneabloggersTRIBE blog that quite a number of bloggers don't have a Profile or About Me statement. If we want to connect with our readers we must give a little. Have you checked your profile lately? Does it give the reader a hint of your personality and background. Readers like to know a little about those whose ramblings they are reading.

Some genealogists have one photo or graphic across all of their social media channels. Do you recognise these? 

This is a slide from a presentation I am giving at #Congress_2018
EXTRA added an hour later. If you are going to use a photo (unless it's one of you as a child) make sure it is recent and an accurate representation of the everyday you.

The Legal Genealogist has all of this branding stuff sewn up. She has a recognisable AKA, uses the same photo regularly and even wears her pink coat to many geneaevents. I hear that the coat is now threadbare and that Judy has commissioned a replica.

Does your branding need a makeover? Perhaps you should read Ashley's post Social Media Profile and Branding.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Your Hatstand at Rootstech

I am a hatstand!

Finding an analogy to describe myself at Rootstech has been difficult...but I just had a lightbulb moment. I don't have as many hats as the Dr Seuss' character Bartholomew Cubbins but I will be wearing a few.

I am listing hats in abc order because they are all important.

Australian - I love my sunburnt country and, as an unofficial ambassador, relish being able to spread the good news about our land downunder.

Blogger - I first came to Rootstech as an Official Blogger in 2011 and I keep coming back to share the joy of Rootstech via my blog. I find lots of fodder for blog posts at Rootstech. Meeting fellow bloggers is a highlight.

Facilitator - As part of my Rootstech Ambassador role  I encourage Australians to visit Rootstech and while they are there provide them with on the ground support.

Family Historian - I arrive early in Salt Lake City so I can put on my Researcher hat and head for Level B2 at the Family History Library where I can freely use all their magnificent facilities and resources.

Friend - I came to Rootstech as a stranger in 2011. Now I go to catch up with the friends I have met and made there.

Leading some Aussies and friends on a merry dance through Salt Lake City in 2017.

GeneabloggersTRIBE AdminRootstech gives me an opportunity to meet many GeneabloggersTribe members under one roof and to share tales of Blogging.

Interviewer - Chatting with fellow genies and celebrities in the media hub allows me to record and share conversations with those unable to attend Rootstech.

Lifelong Learner  - I love to learn and avail myself of the learning opportunities at Rootstech that no other event in the world can provide.

Party Girl - This odd, eccentric old girl loves to party. I'm a people person and the formal and informal gatherings at Rootstech provide ample opportunities for this hat to get an airing.

Presenter - I am leaving this hat behind this year. The nerves associated with it do nothing to enhance my Rootstech experience.

Rootstech Ambassador - I am honoured to wear this hat which requires me to promote and discuss the event in my Reporter hat.

Shopper - I am a great fan of Macy's, Ross Stores and online shopping with The US is a shoppers' paradise where things are so cheap! A sojourn in Salt Lake City provides opportunities to support the US economy.

Society/Group Member - I share the good news about the Groups to which I belong especially The Society of Australian Genealogists and The Surname Society.

Tourist - Over the years I have visited many sites around Salt Lake City and further afield in adjacent States. While at Rootstech I try to include some touristing on my agenda.

A warm tourist hat for GeniAus in Snowbird, Utah 2017

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Getting Conference Ready

In just a week I will be jetting off to Rootstech in Salt Lake City. I will return home for one short night to ditch my cold weather clothes and grab some more suited for Sydney's pleasant March weather where I will attend Congress_2018. In 2018 I am once again an Ambassador for Rootstech, Congress_2018 does not have any formal Ambassadors so I am trying to do my bit by hosting the Genimates at #Congress_2018 Facebook Group.

Genies at Congress 2015 in Adelaide
The last time I was subjected to this geneaoverload (thanks for that new word Hilary Gadsby) was in 2015 when I was both an Ambassador for Rootstech and Congress 2015. At that time I wrote a series of posts under the banner Getting Conference Ready.  Some of the info in these may be outdated but there are still quite a few tips and links for those attending.

FYI I am posting the links below.

Monday, February 12, 2018

DNA Progress

I feel that I should reflect on my progress (or lack thereof) periodically.

This post is an evaluative exercise for me. There are just not enough hours in the day to do justice to the amount of $$$ I have invested in DNA research.  So how am I going?

To date I have tested several family members:

Myself at Ancestry, FTDNA (autosomal and mtDNA) and MyHeritage and uploaded to Gedmatch
My mother at FTDNA and uploaded to MyHeritage and Gedmatch
My daughter at Ancestry and uploaded to FTDNA (Must upload to MyHeritage)
My grandson at FTDNA and uploaded to Gedmatch. (Must upload to MyHeritage)
My granddaughter at FTDNA (Waiting on results)
My double first cousin at FTDNA and uploaded to Gedmatch
My paternal first cousin at FTDNA and uploaded to Gedmatch
My mother's second cousin at FTDNA.
My husband at FTDNA and uploaded to Gedmatch
My husband's first cousin at FTDNA
My son-in-law at FTDNA (waiting on results - tested because granddaughter wants to know about both sides of her tree).

As an only child with no living aunts and uncles my options for testing close family members are limited but I do have some more distant cousins on my radar. I take kits in my handbag when I visit potential victims.

So far I have confirmed just 65 matches to myself, 53 of these are via Ancestry the remainder from FTDNA, Gedmatch and MyHeritage. Of the matches from people unknown to me I have 1 second cousin, a few second cousin's once removed and the majority are in the 3rd and 4th cousin range. It is interesting to note that I have only had 4 new matches at FTDNA in 2018. I had 84 new matches in my top 2000 on Gedmatch in the past month. There were so many more on Ancestry.

Testing my mother, first cousins and Mum's second cousin has lead me to other distant cousins who do not match my tests but match theirs so I am committed to having others test.

I have been lax with my husband's side but aside from his first cousins and our descendants I have confirmed only a handful of matches for him.

I record my communications with and details of matches in spreadsheets (one for my side and one for my husband). I will start up one for my granddaughters' paternal side when those results come in. I am happy with this method. I also make notes in the notes section of Ancestry and FTDNA matches).

After attending umpteen lectures, reading loads of articles and joining online DNA groups I feel I have a good basic understanding of DNA and could even give an introductory talk on DNA.

I am still dabbling with tools to help me investigate chromosome matches. I just need to hide in a padded cell for a day or two to concentrate and learn. I have had a little play with DNA Painter and think I can handle that. Shelley Crawford's Visualing Ancestry DNA matches enabled me to identify more Ancestry matches but I did find the setup challenging even though Shelley's instructions were excellent. I must redo that as I have many new matches.

I try to keep up with new matches.  but find it easier to do with Ancestry's Android app than by firing up my PC. I am aware that I can check the MyHeritage results on their app so will start doing that as well. It's so easy to pull out the phone and check a few new DNA results when I am waiting for the doctor, dentist or plane or train. Revving up the computer takes longer.

I contact all promising matches, ie those that have  matches in common and I can identify a family line and those who have some sort of online tree that gives me a clue as to where our match may be. I would estimate that around 1/3 of these folk respond. I probably only receive about one enquiry email per week for all the kits I manage.

The good news is that I have confirmed matches to all of my Great-Grandparents lines, some of my 2x Great-Grandparents and a few of my 3x Great-Grandparents. It is comforting to know that my traditional research is confirmed.

Although I purchased my first kit from FTDNA in 2013 I didn't submit my sample until early 2015 so I have been on the DNA trail for three years. It's been slow progress.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Open Live Writer

As I am away from home with limited internet access I am using Open Live Writer to prepare this post offline. Once I’m done I’ll log on to the internet and complete my post.

In 2016 when genimates like Shelley from Twigs of Yore said that they used Open Live Writer  I hopped on the bandwagon and, after using it for a few posts, went back to drafting my posts using Blogger online.

I have mentioned Open Live Writer as a good free tool in my Managing Frugally presentation that I have prepared for #Congress_2018 and I wanted to brush up on my knowledge before I take to the stage at the conference.


It appears as though I have a very narrow space in which to enter my text I was able to change the font and font size in my post. I have managed to prepare a draft post and look at its preview, I’ve inserted some hyperlinks and some images – one from my computer and one from my smartphone that is attached to computer via USB. I used the text highlighter to add emphasis to some words in my text – that was nifty.

The spellcheck facility that is on the toolbar found a couple of errors for me ((I can spell) but my typing is punk.


I like the subscript and superscript buttons on the toolbar and the wordcount tool will come in handy too.

When I look at the preview of this post the text looks awfully large although I selected font size of 10 when the default was 4. I presumed this measure was in pt (point size) but maybe it is an em measurement. I guess that I’ll find out when I upload my post to Blogger.

I’ve prattled on for long enough so I’ll turn on my hotspot and upload a draft of this to GeniAus (I’m not game to post it directly from here as it may look like a dog’s breakfast.

And what did I find? The post content transferred well but there was no break between my paragraphs. This was easy to fix - I just added some html code (break) to create space between the paragraphs. There were also issues with the font - it was tiny. I was unable to fix this via the Blogger menu so it was back to the code. I'm not too good with html code but as I read through it I found lots of instances of xx-small and x-small font. I gambled and changed these to small and my post became readable. 

Once I learn where I have gone wrong I may go back to using Open Live Writer especially when I need to preserve my data.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Trove Tuesday - Each snippet adds something to the story

It's quite a while since I did some sleuthing on Trove to see if I can add to the story of my 3x Great-Grandfather, Dennis Tierney. His activities are well documented in
The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser but I wanted to see if there was anything new or that I had previously missed.

It is not my usual practice to be organised but, for this search I decided to search for posts containing the word Tierney between 1840-01-01 to 1840-12-31. I figured that there may not be many Tierneys in the colony at that time. 

The first item I came across was this article List of Unclaimed Letters FOR THE MONTH OF JULY, 1840.  It lists an unclaimed letter for  "Tierney Dennis, Carpenter". I guess whoever was writing to Dennis hadn't caught up with the news that he had moved from Sydney to Dungog.

It seemed as though Dennis did nothing in the years that I checked between between 1841 and  1846. I finally found a new result in the Sydney Chronicle (NSW : 1846 - 1848) Wednesday 23 June 1847 p 4 Advertising which told me that  Dennis Tierney was appointed to be agent for Clarence Town and Dungog for that newspaper. His name appeared in several successive editions of that paper.I did not know that Dennis had this role so my sleuthing was not in vain.

I have found many articles in Trove that mention Dennis from 1849 up until his death in 1894. He must have been shy in his younger years!

I am happy with what I found - Each snippet I find helps to fill out Dennis' story.


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