Connecting at Conference

I was lucky enough to attend the Ontario Genealogy Conference that was recently held in Ottawa. A few of the reasons I LOVE attending:

  1. Deals. The vendors are there in spades and they offer great deals, DNA kits at unheard of prices, renewing your subscription to sites again at reduced rates, books, scanners, and more.
  2. Networking. Talk to societies, archives or other organizations face-to-face. They are there to help and answer your questions.
  3. Learning. The speakers, oh the speakers, their informative talks help to give you focus and direction in your research.
  4. Volunteering. You can put your own knowledge to work by volunteering at these events or by helping out. I was a part of the Social Media Team and they were a truly fun group to work with.
  5. Access. Did I mention the research room? FREE access to many great genealogy sites. The access given allowed me to research and locate many records that I didn’t even know were out there. Genealogy Quebec is the site where I found many new discoveries. The room also had free access to Find My Past, My Heritage, Ancestry, and others. This is a great way to ‘try them out’ and see if they would be a worthwhile purchase for you.
  6. Excursions. I had never been to Library and Archives Canada and felt a little intimidated about visiting. I shouldn’t have been, the tour was quite informative and I was able to ask questions when I wasn’t sure about something. It was a day well spent.

One thing I did this year was showcase my own surnames. I had a T-shirt printed and I was a walking billboard. My t-shirt received a lot of comments and because it was tweeted so many times I was contacted by people who matched my Gedmatch number! Goal achieved.

 

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Photo creds to LDC

 

I think we may see more of these shirts at future conferences.

You may wonder why I would travel so far (Alberta) to attend and there is really one over-riding reason, the people. The new-found friendships, renewed and strengthened are really the reason I keep coming back.

 

 

My Genetic Communities

This morning Ancestry DNA has rolled out their new feature called Genetic Communities. I have done the majority of my DNA testing at Family Tree DNA so I do not have very many tests I can check at Ancestry.

My mother is grouped into two communities. The first one is the Connacht Irish which is no surprise to me as that is the area her McMahon line is from, but the person that is highlighted within her circle is her great grandmother Mary Loftus.Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 7.19.59 AM.png

The other group my mom falls into is the English Midlands. I immediately realize that it has picked up her Harrop line. Lewis Harrop was born about 1800 in Lancashire, England. Little is known about Lewis’ life other than he married in the USA about 1835 and came to Canada with his wife and kids in the 1850s.

 

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Genetic Community – English Midland

A look at my results include the Connacht Irish like my mother but I also have Munster Irish. I thought my Donegal roots would show up but neither my brother or my results picked that up. I have two ancestor groups that fall into the Munster community, the Hodgins family from Tipperary and my Melody family from Galway.Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 7.38.03 AM

 

I think my brother’s results were the biggest surprise. His first community like me and my mother show Connacht Irish. The surprise is the second community, Southern English. Our Norton family from Great Yarmouth is the connection to this area and my brother is the great great grandson of the immigrant ancestor!

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Very cool to see this line show up. Once you have processed the results you can then explore your Genetic Community matches!

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Well done, ancestry for giving us this added tool for exploring where our DNA takes us!

My only wish is that all the people I have tested at Family Tree DNA could somehow access this amazing new Genetic Community feature!

 

Charting Religion in Your Tree

After learning about the focus by Find My Past on Catholic records while watching the live-stream at RootsTech, I started to mentally calculate who in my family I may find in these new records. One by one I was eliminating people that this new record set won’t include, but quickly felt I needed to have a tool so I could visually my ancestor’s religion.

How To Make Your Own Chart

And aha! I remembered the genealogy sensation that was caused when J. Paul Hawthorne created and shared his birthplace chart. It was a great visual tool people quickly started using to see birth locations of people in their pedigree chart. I also recalled a blog post by Miriam J. Robbins at AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors which walked us through the process of creating our own chart.

My Chart

After following her how to guide I filled out my chart in with the different religions of each ancestor in my pedigree chart.

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Now I can easily see which family line I need to focus on for these Catholic records, or for other records sets as well.

 

Ontario Genealogy Conference 2017 Adds Another Day of Learning

Ontario Genealogical Society’s 2017 Conference that will be held in Ottawa  June 15-18, has added an aptly named Ancestry Day to take place on June 19th.

The Conference already has a full weekend of genealogy learning starting with their excursions on Thursday (* the trip to Library and Archives Canada is already full) followed by three days of sessions. The fourth day will take place on Monday the 19th.

The Ancestry Day schedule covers

  • Getting the Most Out of Ancestry 1&2
  • DNA: Testing Everything You Need to Know
  • Adding Genetic Evidence to Your Family Tree
  • Sharing Your Story

This great line up of talks will be given by speakers Crista Cowan and Anna Swayne and they will also have Ancestry DNA kits on sale.

For those that have already registered you will have to go in and register separately for this added day. To register or find out more about Ancestry Day it is on the Conference Page under Special Events.

 

 

Making a Plan for 2017

I first started researching my family tree in the basement of my home which was located in a very remote place in Northern Alberta. I was a stay-at-home mom with two young children and was a tad lonely. I found I could research in small quick moments during the day and sometimes in the evening once the kids were tucked in. I was looking for some way to channel my love of family history and took a class offered by the local genealogy society, and I haven’t been able to stop since. I have to say it was very slap-dash and as I have learned not the most efficient way to approach this hobby.

What I didn’t know when I started researching my family tree –

  • how this hobby would branch out and become a full-time interest that would change the scope of family holidays, my free time, and my budget!
  • how important it is sourcing my information is! 
  • how much I wish would have focused more on writing in my English classes…
  • how much information would come on-line
  • that paper-less was an option
  • how much genealogy travel I would want to do

Now that I have gathered a fair bit of material, my goal with my research is to share it. And I don’t mean make my family tree public, what I am envisioning is a family history book with photographs, anecdotal stories, and some social history for context when I really don’t know all that much about an ancestor. With this in mind, I am setting my goal for 2017 to produce a family history book. How will I make this goal my focus for the year?

  • when selecting courses/webinars I will make choices with my goal in mind
  • the same can be said when selecting what sessions I will attend at conferences
  • join Facebook groups with writing as the focus
  • set specific writing goals – to sit down to work on my project three times a weekscreen-shot-2016-12-30-at-12-34-45-pm

This doesn’t mean I will stop researching but the thought of having a finished product to show the next time my family gathers is a vision that I cannot get out of my head!

Setting a goal with my genealogy research was not on my radar when I first started. Now I can see how it will help me to stay the course and have a focused plan for the year.

Have you set your 2017 genealogy goals? I would love to hear what you have planned.

3 Ways Genealogy Conferences Rock

Why attend a conference? That’s a good question and one it took me a bit to answer.

  1. Learning! Do you know it all? No? Me either, so a conference is a great way to learn from speakers face-to-face. And do you know what? I think every speaker I listened to at OGS 2016 gave out their e-mail addresses, told people to write to them with questions, and…they stuck around their session, just to answer questions!
  2. The expo hall is full of resources, books, genealogy groups who are there to help. And they are happy to!
  3. Networking!! Huge! You meet people, and they may be researching where your ancestors lived. They might have access to resources that aren’t on-line, and fingers-crossed, may offer to do a look up or two for you!

This happened to me at the Ontario conference. I had a friend who had a friend… who has access to the archives in Quebec, and she offered to help me with some research. I sent her an e-mail when I arrived home and Bingo – she’s going to see what she can find.

Needless to say, I may have gotten a little carried away when I first sent her an e-mail and gave her the information I had on Richard Lee Norton. And while I was looking through his records I was reminded that his mother-in-law owned a house in Quebec City at 43 St. Ursule Street in the 1850s…so I told her about her. Oh but then I also remembered that her brother-in-law owned the London Coffee House in Quebec City in the 1860s, so I asked how I would access any records from that. There may have been a couple other people I had some questions about as well. Too many questions? YES! I was so excited I couldn’t stop myself, and I didn’t want said genealogist to say later that she could’ve looked for that record has she known. So I laid it all out, well not all but a lot! (I actually did hold back some questions). I also was very clear that she could just point me in a direction and I would be very happy to do it myself. It is very satisfying to be able to ask specific questions to someone who knows how to access the records!

Back to the idea of going to a conference, I would say GO, hurry and GO. Who knows what you will gain from it? What I know is it may lead me to getting answers to  questions I have had for about ten years!

Maybe there is a trip to Quebec in my future and with some guidence may finally make some progress on this family!

P.S. I don’t want to name names in case she gets bombarded with questions but a huge shout out to Gail and Sharon, you know why!

Create Family History Videos

One of the things I learned while attending the OCG 2016 Conference in Toronto was to continue to work on using video to share family stories. Thanks to a session given by Lisa Louise Cooke on How to Create and Leverage Your Own You Tube Channel for Genealogy and her suggestion of Animoto as user-friendly I took the time to play with it. The video took about 20 minutes to create with most of my time spent gathering the photographs and adding the text. Animoto is quite easy to use, they do put a watermark on the video unless you upgrade, which costs $13 a month. This is not a bad a bad price but if I subscribe I would have some projects already prepared in folders and do more than one at a time.

Once on the Animoto site and create an account you can pick a theme from the choices offered. Next up is adding the photographs, drag and drop style. There are also text boxes that you can use to proceed the photographs, caption each one or both. Animoto even adds the music for you! I am sure there are more options but these are a few I used in my creation. I was then able to download my video which I uploaded to my You Tube channel. It was very seamless!

Animoto does put a watermark on the video unless you upgrade which has different options but runs $13 for a month. Although not a bad price I think if I subscribe I will have some projects gathered in folders ready to go and create more than one at a time. My reasoning for a month at a time is I seem to go in waves as far as what I am working on and what my time allows. All in all it was an easy experience and I can see where I can improve and expand my video.  Let me know if you give it a try!