October 4, 2015

RootsTech 2016: Open for Business!

Are you ready for RootsTech 2016? It’s ready for you! Registration is now open. The Genealogy Gems team will be there, and here’s what we’re teaching.RootsTech 2016

Registration for RootsTech 2016 is now open! RootsTech has staked its territory as the most-attended annual genealogy conference in the world. It caters not just to seasoned researchers but beginners and even entire families. So mark your calendars and make your reservations: RootsTech 2016 will be held February 3–6 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

According to FamilySearch, “Attendees can expect a full lineup of inspirational keynote speakers, over 200 educational classes, exciting hands-on activities in the expo hall, and entertaining evening events, all designed to help celebrate families across generations!”

What’s new for RootsTech 2016?

RootsTech 2016 dashboardHere are some highlights for what to expect this time around:

  • Classes will now start earlier in the week, on Wednesday February 3, with the first class beginning at 1:30 p.m.
  • Attendees can now use a new scheduling tool to build, edit, and print their class schedule at RootsTech.org after they register (shown here). You can keep editing your schedule as you please. The online tool will sync with a mobile app that will be available later this year.
  • The Innovator Showdown will be back and even bigger than before. Innovators of all kinds in any industry are invited to compete with their latest hardware and software apps and services. The top six finalists will be invited to demo live onstage for over 23,000 people. The audience and a panel of renowned judges will decide the winners!

Genealogy Gems at RootsTech 2016

Future Panel LisaGenealogy Gems listeners and readers will see some familiar names on the speaker’s list, including Genealogy Gems owner, producer and podcast host Lisa Louise Cooke, Contributing Editor Sunny Morton and our resident DNA expert, Diahan Southard. Watch for more announcements of the sessions we’ll be teaching, both formal sessions in classrooms and “Outside the Box” sessions at our booth in the Exhibitor hall.

What else to know

Early-bird pricing is available now for full passes starting at just $149 and $169 for the RootsTech plus Innovator Summit pass. Passes for the Getting Started track start at $19 for a limited single day and $39 for a limited 3-day.

Registration for Family Discovery Day is also now open. “The event takes place on Saturday, February 6, 2016, and is designed for families and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Members of the LDS Church are invited to register as families and  groups up to 10 at a time. This free one-day event includes devotionals, classes, interactive activities, and entertainment to help families and members discover, preserve, and share their family connections. Event details, including speakers and classes, will be made available soon at RootsTech.org.”

Resources for Your Family History Trip to Salt Lake City

Use Your iPad for Genealogy Research at the Family History Library

New Interactive Family History Exhibit in Downtown SLC

Genealogy Conferences: Live or Virtual? Which is Better for You?

Must-Have Tips for Visiting the Family History Library in SLC

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Think Outside the Box at NGS and Jamboree

NGS Outside the box schedule

Click this image for a crisp downloadable version to print and keep

Major genealogy conferences like NGS and Jamboree can be both invigorating and overwhelming! It’s tough to catch all the classes I want by my favorite lecturers on the topics I need most. But at some point each day, I’m also done sitting in a boxy classroom for a little while.

We at Genealogy Gems suggest a proven “fix” for these problems: Outside the Box Sessions! We partner with favorite fellow exhibitors to schedule short live presentations on our hottest topics at our extra-large shared exhibit space. Those who attend any Outside the Box session can sign up to receive a free e-book of handouts from all the sessions.

From what you’re telling us, Outside the Box works for you! Bonnie wrote to us: “I attended several of your [Outside the Box] sessions, at least one from each of you and often more. They were terrific, at least as good and often better than conference  sessions. And the e-book of session notes, with the myriad of internet  links, is frosting on the cake. Thank you.”

Ad_RevisionA packed and lively schedule of Outside the Box sessions will run at the following upcoming events in the free exhibit hall:

National Genealogical Society conference (13-16 May)

Southern California’s Jamboree (5-7 June).

Click on the conference names above to see the full scoop on each, including classes on:

  • Google searching,
  • family reunion ideas,
  • DNA,
  • German research,
  • Google Earth for genealogy,
  • identifying and caring for old photos,
  • Evernote for genealogy,
  • using your iPad for family history
  • and more!

Since the exhibit hall is free, this is a wonderful opportunity to stop by and see what genealogy conference are all about, and pick up some excellent free training sessions while you’re there!

RootsTech Hits the Road! RootsTech Family Discovery Days Coming Your Way!

overhead_freeway_custom_sign_16324Were you among the record-breaking audience of 23,918 attendees at RootsTech 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah? Even if you were, chances are you didn’t catch all the top talks.

RootsTech staffers have announced that over 1000 FREE regional RootsTech events, called RootsTech Discovery Days, will be hosted around the world throughout 2015. “Select sessions and planning resources from RootsTech 2015 have been recorded, translated in 10 languages, and made available online to support…local volunteer organizers,” says a media statement.

“By the first week following the conference, 65 local family discovery day events had already been held, including 27 in Latin America, one in Korea, and another in the Philippines. Over 1,000 more events are expected to be held throughout 2015, significantly extending the reach and impact of this popular conference.”

Click here to search for a RootsTech Family Discovery Day event near you. We notice that there plenty of options across the U.S. and in England, Canada, Australia and South Africa. Where do YOU want to look for an event?

Lisa speaks to a packed audience at RootsTech 2015.

Lisa speaks to a packed audience at RootsTech 2015.

You Don’t Have to BE a Pro to Train with Them: APG 2015 Professional Management Conference and SLIG

SLIG APG 2015Two back-to-back opportunities for professional-level genealogy education will take place in Salt Lake City in January 2015 (not too long before the RootsTech – FGS joint conference).

The APG 2015 Professional Management Conference takes place January 8-9. The Association of Professional Genealogists hosts, but includes all who want to learn from and alongside the pros. Here’s the skinny:

  • It’s January 8-9, 2015 at the downtown Hilton Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • 16 sessions include DNA, genealogical standards, adoption research, how to cite your sources and more.
  • The theme is “Professional-Grade Genealogy,” and you’ll definitely be learning from top experts in the field.
  • Early-bird registration is open at www.apgen.org/conferences. Registration for virtual access to select sessions (Virtual PMC) will open later this year.

The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy kicks off the following week, with week-long, in-depth instruction on more than 10 genealogical subjects. More details available at www.SLIG.ugagenealogy.org.

Get Outside the Box at NGS 2014!

Get outside the boxYou know how it is – you head to a big conference, and you end up running for one 1 hour session to the next.  Wouldn’t it be nice to sit for just a 1/2 hour, take in some really usable tips, and still have time to stretch and walk the exhibit hall and really see the displays?

It’s easy to get stuck in the “genealogy” box (both in our research strategies and our conferences), so this year we’re going to shake things up.

At the National Genealogical Society (NGS) conference 2014 you will have a chance to get outside of that box, and enjoy 30 minute sessions on the topics you’ve told me you want most at my booth in the exhibit hall.

I’m excited to announce that I’ve teamed up with The Photo Detective Maureen Taylor, and the Chart Chick Janet Hovorka to offer “Outside the Box Sessions!”

Outside the box genealogy session

As presenters we don’t get to have the final say on which of our presentations is selected for the main conference, so it’s really exciting to have this unique way of offering the topics you ask us for. It’s a smaller intimate setting, and the sessions will be packed with tips you can start using right away. Participants can sign up to receive a free ebook of all the sessions handouts, we’ll have great prizes, and we will even have some treats to nibble on. I am really excited about this, and I think you’ll find it refreshing, fun and informative.

I’ll be holding four sessions – one each day of the conference:

  1. Ancestral Time Travel with Google Earth
  2. Evernote Quick Tips for Genealogists
  3. Tablet Tips and Tricks for Genealogists
  4. Google Search Strategies

And, my dear friends Maureen and Janet will join me and present some of their most popular topics too! All in all, you’ll have eleven ½ hour sessions to choose from to reinvigorate your genealogy research.

If you want to get outside the box, come hang out with us, get the ebook, nibble on some treats and break away from the crowd!

Outside the Box Session Schedule: 


I’ll be at FGS 2014 in San Antonio: Will you?

FGS 2014 San Antonio TexasNow that I’m a proud Texan, it’s even more exciting that I’m speaking at “FGS 2014!”

The annual meeting of the Federation of Genealogical Societies is in San Antonio, Texas, this year on August 27-30. Online registration is now open: register here by 1 July 2014 for an early-bird discount.

This year’s conference theme is “Gone to Texas. “This conference will offer over 160 educational sessions on records, strategies, and tools for genealogists of all levels,” says Josh Taylor, FGS President. “Sessions will be presented by some of the leading genealogists from the United States. Ten different sponsored luncheons will provide opportunities for networking.”

FGS 2014 Conference Highlights

I’ll be giving three talks at FGS 2014 and I’ll be in the vendor hall, too. Here are the session numbers and descriptions. I hope you’ll come by and say hello!

FGS 2014 San Antonio Texas Lisa Cooke

Here’s more of what you’ll find at FGS:

  • Conference Sessions:  A wide variety of genealogy-related lectures and workshops for all experience levels. Attendees will be able to learn about Texas and neighboring states research, African-American and ethnic origin research, military research, genetics, technology, migration, methodology and more.
  • Exhibit Hall: The large exhibit hall will feature the latest software, books, maps, databases and gadgets on the market for genealogists and family historians, as well as information about genealogical organizations. Representatives of FGS member societies will staff their booths in the special Society Showcase area.
  • Special Events: On Wednesday evening, local hosts San Antonio Genealogical and Historical Society and Texas State Genealogical Society invite registrants to an evening at the Institute of Texas Cultures, an amazing museum located directly behind the convention center. On Friday evening, The San Antonio Conservation Society hosts a festive evening with strumming guitars, shining horns, a capella voices of mariachis and local artisans at work at La Villita. The Conservation Society only hosts 10 of these events each year and FGS is excited to able to offer this. Details can be found at www.fgsconference.org.
  • Focus on Societies: On Wednesday, August 27, 2014, sessions are jam-packed with ideas and tools to help societies promote themselves, increase membership, and develop sources of revenue.  The day kicks off with a first ever, half-day workshop to develop a plan and tools to use to enhance and guide their society forward.
  • Librarians’ Day: On Tuesday, August 26, 2014, ProQuest will sponsor a full-pre-conference day of sessions designed for librarians, archivists, and other information professionals serving family history researchers.

Midwestern Roots Registration Starts Today!

Midwestern Roots Genealogy Conference 2014I have roots in Indiana and have longed to travel to Hoosier state to conduct some much needed genealogy research. So you can imagine how happy I was to be invited to keynote at the upcoming Midwestern Roots 2014: Family History and Genealogy Conference being held August 1 and 2, 2014, Indianapolis, IN, at the Indianapolis Marriott East.

This year’s theme is a timely one: Exploring Frontiers: What Would Your Pioneers Have Tweeted? This conference promises to be a glorious melding of old and new with deep history sessions and the latest technology.

Here’s the scoop on the Midwestern Roots Conference:

Registration Opens March 26 with a $99 registration special price March 26-29, 2014.

Includes the two day conference and lunches.

Additional fee for banquet and some pre-conference activities.

Register online at www.indianahistory.org/midwesternroots or

call (317) 232-1882 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday during the special offer.

The Midwestern Roots 2014 Conference is your chance to get updated on the latest technology changes in family history research, resources and methodology, and I’ll be exploring that in my keynote  Future Technology and Genealogy: 5 Strategies You Need. You’ll also experience:

• More than 30 stimulating lectures from nationally known speakers Warren Bittner, Lisa Louise Cooke, Joan Hostetler, Amy Johnson Crow, Thomas MacEntee, James H. Madison, Anne Gillespie Mitchell, Daniel S. Poffenberger, Curt B. Witcher and more

•  The Great Google Earth Game Show presented by Lisa Louise Cooke (this will be an interactive, FUN, outside the box kind of session topped off with prizes!)

Hoosiers and A New History for the Twenty-First Century presented by James H. Madison

A Guided Tour of Ancestry computer lab taught by Amy Johnson Crow and Anne Gillespie Mitchell from Ancestry.com

• Genealogy Resources Library Workshop

• Writing, document preservation and photo preservation workshops

• Family History Market and Book Fair – open to the public

See you at the Midwestern Roots 2014 Conference!

NGS 2014 App Available for Conference Attendees

NGS 2014 logoAre you attending the National Genealogical Society (NGS) conference in May in Virginia, USA? You’ll want the new 2014 conference app, now available for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and web-enabled devices. (Need a 5-minute video tutorial on using the app? Click the link above, then click on the App Video Tutorial.)

With the NGS 2014 app you’ll be able to receive breaking news, synch your schedule across multiple devices, connect with other attendees, plan which vendors to visit and more. Speaking of the vendor hall, stop by my booth (#618) early, say hello, and pick up my exclusive schedule of quick classes I’ll be offering free at the booth!

I’ll  also be teaching these classes:

  • Google Search Strategies for Common Surnames
  • Tech Tools that Catapult the Newspaper Research Process into the 20th Century
  • Find Living Relatives Like a Private Eye

Looking for more info? Here are some helpful URLS:

Conference blog

Guide for 1st-time NGS attendees  

Up-to-date hotel info

SCGS Jamboree 2014 Lineup Announced!

I’m pleased to return this year to speak at the 45th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree. This popular conference, hosted by The Southern California Genealogical Society, runs June 6 to 8, 2014 in Burbank, California, USA.

Jamboree 2014The theme of the 2014 Jamboree is Golden Memories: Discovering Your Family History. It promises to pack tons of fun into a long weekend, as it always does. According to the press release, “Our heritage focus will be on European ancestors. Class sessions are scheduled for German, Irish, English/UK, Scotland, Eastern Europe, Italian, Mennonite, Swedish, and Russian, as well as African American and Jewish classes. Jamboree will be the culmination of a year-long celebration of the Society’s 50th Anniversary, and special activities will commemorate the Decade of the 60s.  Dust off your tie dye tees and pillbox hats and take part in our Sunday noon ‘fashion show.’  Winner by popular vote will receive a free registration to the 2015 Jamboree.”

My classes on Friday and Saturday include:

  • “Who Needs Google Reader? Flip Out Over Genealogy Content with Flipboard!” Learn how to use the free Flipboard app to turn your favorite genealogy web content into your own free customized digital magazine. You will flip over how fun and easy they are to create and share. Perfect for genealogists and societies!
  • “Ultimate Google Search Strategies for Genealogists.” Learn Google search techniques, tricks and tips to achieve better genealogical search results, and then elevate your search to a strategic level. Finally, see how all of this applies across the spectrum of free Google Tools.
  • “How to Create an Exciting Interactive Family History Tour with Google Earth.” Learn to tell your ancestor’s story in a captivating multi-media way in Google Earth. Incorporate images, videos, genealogical documents, and historic maps and bring it all together in a virtual family history tour for sharing and research analysis.

SCGS Jamboree 2014 welcomes 55 speakers, over 60 exhibitors, 134 class sessions for a variety of experience levels, and special events. Online registration is open on the Jamboree website, and the Marriott’s website is ready to take your reservation. Hope to see you there!

Here’s Where You Can Get the RootsTech 2014 Conference Schedule

Registration is now open for RootsTech 2014, which will be held February 6­-8, 2014 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Here’s all the info hot off the press including links that reveal classes and computer labs plus a coupon code you can use for early bird pricing:

This annual family history conference, hosted by FamilySearch, is a unique global event where people of all ages learn to discover and share their family stories and connections through technology. Over the past three years, RootsTech has grown in popularity with attendees to become the largest family history event in the United States!

Rootstech Whether attendees are just beginning their family history, an avid hobbyist, or an experienced researcher, RootsTech has something for everyone:

  • Classes and Computer Labs —Over 200 classes and computer labs taught by knowledgeable experts and enthusiasts in family history.
  • Getting Started Track —A track of over 30 classes designed to help beginners start their family tree. Passes start at only $19.
  • Developer Day —A preconference event on Wednesday, February 5, for developers to innovate and collaborate with other engineers and family history industry experts.
  • Expo Hall —A huge expo with over 100 informative vendors and interactive booths where attendees can record a family story, scan a book or photo, or create a visual family tree.
  • Family Discovery Day —New! A day of free inspirational classes for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn more about strengthening family relationships across generations through family history.

Pass Pricing and Discounts

Various pass options are available, with pricing set to make RootsTech an affordable experience. Early Bird pricing discounts for a Full Access Pass ($159) and a Getting Started Pass ($39) are available until January 6, 2014.

An additional $20 discount is available for a limited time. Attendees can get a Full Access Pass for just $139 simply by using the promotional code RT14EXCLSV before September 9, 2013.

To get more information and register, visit rootstech.org.

I’ll be there conducting a brand new computer lab: Flipboard for Genealogy: Create an Incredible Mobile Magazine of Your Favorite Genealogy Web Content
NOTE: Computer labs fill up VERY fast so don’t delay!

Also look for my other classes:

  • Panel Discussion: Self-Professed Uber-Organized Freaks Talk Genealogy Tech Organization
  • Become an iPad Power User
  • How to Use YouTube for Family History: Setting Up Your Own YouTube Channel