December 9, 2017

Photo + Story Competition: RootsTech 2018 Contest

A new Photo + Story competition will be part of RootsTech 2018! If you can take a story-filled picture and caption it meaningfully, you should enter. Check out these tips for creating winning family history photo and story combinations. Winners will receive prizes from Canon and Dell–so start putting together your best photos and stories.

Photo + Story Competition

RootsTech 2018 Photo + Story Competition

“A good photo tells a good story. And behind every good photo and story is a photographer who recognized the moment the two had come together and snapped the shutter.” So says the press release announcing RootsTech 2018‘s Photo + Story Competition. Here’s how to enter:

“Participate by finding or capturing a photo and story, past or present, of you or a family member. Unlike standalone photo or story competitions, we want you to use the power of both photo and story to share, persuade, inform, inspire, connect, and belong.” In fact, some of those verbs are the four categories in the competition:

  • Connect
  • Belong
  • Family
  • Heritage

Winners will awarded prizes from Canon and Dell, which will certainly help your future family history storytelling! Selected entries will appear in an exhibit at RootsTech 2018.

photo + story competition RootsTech 2018This contest complements the appearance of RootsTech 2018 keynote speaker Humans of New York photographer Brandon Stanton. His personal glimpses into the lives of ordinary people in New York has set a standard for quality photo stories.

Details You’ll Want to Know

Here are several must-know details if you’d like to enter the contest–or encourage someone you know to enter:

  • Entrants can submit one photo and story in each of the categories.
  • Entrants must be at least 18 to apply.
  • No professional qualification, licenses, certificates, or certification is required.
  • If you didn’t take the picture, you must have permission or rights to use the photo (if it was taken after 1923). Agreeing to compete places full liability on the participant.
  • Go to RootsTech.org for contest entry details.
  • The deadline for entries is December 31, 2017.
  • Selected entries will be notified by January 15, 2018, with more information on their intent to exhibit.

Family History Storytelling Tips for You

At Genealogy Gems, we’re all about helping you to discover, preserve and share your family history. If you’re thinking of entering this contest, consider how the following tips, adapted from a Genealogy Gems article on family history storytelling, can help your Photo + Story competition entry:

  1. Create vivid “characters.” Photos can capturing someone’s expressions, body language, mood, unique clothing or a moment of intense personal drama. They can also create compelling portraits of the heirlooms or objects that store family memories. Your stories can do the same. Choose unique, meaningful details–both in words and pictures.
  2. Paint the backdrop. What’s going on in the background of your picture? The “setting” and any background action should help tell the story, not distract from it. In your story, add essential details that the image can’t communicate. Is the exact date or place important? What else?
  3. Tell why this story matters. Call it what you will: a meaning, a moral, a message–the best stories and photos say something about life. Something more than skin deep. Think about why the picture and story matter to you. Share it clearly, concisely, with humor or feeling or whatever tone best works for you and the message.

Genealogy Gems will be at RootsTech 2018 to help you discover and share your family stories! Click here to learn more.

 

RootsTech 2018 Pass Giveaway (and More Exciting RootsTech News)

Our RootsTech 2018 pass giveaway is underway! Enter by November 15, 2017 to win a chance to attend the world’s biggest genealogy event for FREE. Meanwhile, there’s more RootsTech news: the class schedule is posted and two keynote speakers have been announced. We think you’ll want to go! The real question is, will you get in for free?

Rootstech 2018 pass Giveaway

It’s time to give away a RootsTech 2018 pass to one lucky Genealogy Gems fan! This is a great prize: all-access admission to the world’s biggest genealogy event at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, UT, February 28 – March 3, 2018. It’s a $279 value! Keep reading to see how to enter. But first, a quick update on RootsTech 2018.

The Latest RootsTech 2018 News

RootsTech is:

  • A conference. Choose from more than 300 classes on traditional research skills, DNA, tech tools, photos, stories, and organizing.
  • A convention. The biggest names in the genealogy industry share a huge Expo Hall with hundreds of other vendors, societies, and services. All want to answer your questions and show you the latest and greatest tools and resources to help your research.
  • A party. There’s no denying the fun, festive atmosphere of RootsTech. There are world-class keynote speakers (Olympic figure skater Scott Hamilton and “Humans of New York” Brandon Stanton) and dazzling evening entertainment (love the 1940s extravaganza this year!).

This short highlights video captures it all. Check it out:

RootsTech 2018 passThe RootsTech class schedule has been published. I’m super excited about classes being taught this year by the  Genealogy Gems team. Just one example: Google Earth guru Lisa Louise Cooke and Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard are teaming up to deliver a powerhouse talk about putting your DNA matches on the map. Click here to see the full Genealogy Gems lineup.

RootsTech 2018 Pass Giveaway

We have a RootsTech Full Registration Pass to give to one lucky winner! This pass includes* access to over 300 classes, keynote/general sessions, the Innovation Showcase, Expo Hall and evening events. (Click here for more info about RootsTech 2018.) All you have to do to enter is take our 5-question survey by midnight (CT) on November 15, 2017.

Can’t attend Rootstech? Enter anyway for a chance to win a 1-Year Genealogy Gems Premium Membership!** Everyone who completes the survey below will be automatically entered to win.

We want your input: We know many people are not able to attend RootsTech in person, and that’s why we hope to make several of our booth classes available on video. Tell us which topics you want to see, and help us continue to make Genealogy Gems the best it can be.

Rules: Must complete survey by 12:00 am CT on November 15, 2017 to be eligible. No purchase necessary. Winners announced and notified on November 16, 2017. *RootsTech 4-Day Pass only covers registration (does not include airfare, hotel, or other expenses). If the winner has already registered for RootsTech 2018, the original registration fee will be refunded. **Premium Membership prize eligible for both new members and renewals. Non-transferable and no cash refund.

RootsTech 2018 Registration Is Open! First Look at 4 Full Days of Genealogy Fun

RootsTech 2018 registration is open! Travel plan alert: you won’t want to miss Wednesday, February 28, the new official opening day. Wednesday is all about technology, and it’s aimed at all of us (not just the techie crowd). We are a little bit giddy at the thought. Here’s our “first look” at what to expect for RootsTech 2018.

RootsTech 2018 registration

The buzz has already begun for RootsTech 2018! Here’s our synopsis of what’s going to be great about RootsTech 2018:

RootsTech 2018: “Connect. Belong”
Where: Salt Lake City, Utah
When: Wednesday, February 28 – Saturday, March 3, 2018
Hosted by: FamilySearch.org
Registration: Register online ASAP for early-bird pricing

RootsTech 2018: Don’t Miss Wednesday!

Technology day for everyone

Lisa Louise Cooke at RootsTech 2015

Big news: RootsTech 2018 will run for four full days! The dates to mark on your calendar are Wednesday, February 28 – Saturday, March 3. Don’t miss the first day! In the past, Wednesday technology sessions have been targeted at industry movers-and-shakers. This year, Wednesday is still all about technology, but the day’s events have been expanded and broadened for all audiences. There will be an opening General Keynote Session, a new Innovation Showcase, and classes that will appeal to all audiences.

The Innovation Showcase has replaced previous year’s competition. It looks more like a high-tech “show and tell” of even more of the best-and-brightest stars in family history technology. Companies from around the world–from small startups to large organizations–will have a shot at presenting their newest product or service on stage before a large online and in-person audience. The audience will select a “People’s Choice award” via live text voting. (Click here by October 15 to nominate a product or service.)

Wednesday Expo Hall Preview

Make plans to come say hello to us on Wednesday evening at the Expo Hall Preview from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Genealogy Gems will be there with another ultimate Exhibitor Hall experience (click here to get an idea of what’s coming). The Expo Hall is a stunning, not-to-miss experience, whether you love the energy of the crowd, the glamorous displays, or the chance to talk one-on-one with people from your favorite genealogy companies and services.

RootsTech 2018 Registration: Plan Early for the Best Experience

In addition to what’s new, many great RootsTech traditions promise to continue this year: expect dazzling keynotes, over 300 official RootsTech classes, and world-class evening entertainment. (Click here to watch my 2017 “Genealogy Giants” RootsTech lecture or click here for the recently-released 2017 keynote by LaVar Burton.) More details about this year’s keynotes and performers will be announced in the coming months, so check back with us often. We are official RootsTech Ambassadors and we’ll have the inside scoop on all the latest information and updates.

RootsTech registration is now open! There are lots of registration options–from a free Family Discovery Day experience on Saturday to a budget-friendly “Getting Started” four-day pass ($69 early-bird price) to the full RootsTech Pass ($169 early-bird price). Click here for a comparison of what each pass offers. And here’s a tip from a RootsTech veteran: Make your hotel reservations early! Those downtown hotels fill up so quickly.

Going to RootsTech for the first time? Click here for a RootsTech Q&A with Lisa Louise Cooke.

Genealogy Gems Hard at Work

The Genealogy Gems team can’t wait to see you at RootsTech 2018!

Going to RootsTech for the First Time: Questions Answered

Going to RootsTech in Salt Lake City, Utah for the largest genealogy conference in the world can be a bit overwhelming! First-time RootsTech attendees have questions and we have answers. Learn what to expect, where to go, and other must-know details.

RootsTech questions answered

RootsTech Questions

Recently, Lisa received a message from a Gems listener who was concerned about navigating RootsTech for the first time. Vicky writes:

I am excited to say that my husband and I are going to Roots Tech 2017. I want to be prepared as much as I can be.

I’m sure Vicky isn’t the only newbie seeking answers to make her first trip to RootsTech smooth sailing. I too had questions my first time out about the venue, the classes, transportation, and even the weather! Lisa has taken the time to answer Vicky’s questions and we want to share it with you:

RootsTech Answers from Lisa Louise Cooke

 

  1. Lisa answers your questions

    Lisa Louise Cooke answers your questions about Rootstech

    Will you be selling your book about “Google” at Roots Tech? Will you be there so I can have you sign the book?

Yes, absolutely!

  1. What are your thoughts on Evernote? I think I saw you give a classon this. Is it worth using or is there another program that does about the same thing? Would it be worth going to the Evernote class or going to “Beyond Digitization: How to Index & Search Your Own Records”?

I think Evernote is great. Here’s a link to a few videos on my YouTube channel about Evernote. I plan on teaching a session in our booth at Rootstech about Evernote, as well. We will announce the schedule in our weekly newsletter and on our webpage for RootsTech here.

  1. Will there be maps of the Convention Center, so we know where we are going?

Yes, there will be a map on the RootsTech website in January, as well as on our Genealogy Gems RootsTech page. Additionally, you will have a map provided to you when you pick up your things at registration.

  1. Are the labs in a different building or the Convention Center? Are they worth $19?

The labs are in the same building as the Convention Center. If this is your first year, I think you will be more than busy (and happy) with all the sessions included in the regular registration and the exhibit hall. Personally, I would save the extra cost of labs for a return visit.

  1. Does it sound correct that classes are not held on Wednesday until 3:00 PM?

Yes, because they want people to also consider attending the Innovator Summit. The Innovator Summit is a one-day event being held on February 8th, 2017. The Summit is designed for innovators, entrepreneurs, and developers interested in giving their creative ideas a spotlight in the industry. RootsTech encourages attendees to enjoy the Innovator Summit and learn and support the new technology being developed for the genealogy community. For additional information about Innovator Summit, click here.

  1. Do they have vendors to purchase food (not the $32 meal) or must you leave the Convention Center?

Yes, there will be a food area with several meal options. There are also a few small vendors with sandwiches, coffee, and candy, just outside the hall. You might also like to know that there are several nice restaurants just across the street or within minimal walking distance. Though the lines are a bit long at times, you will find there are several options.

  1. How long are the classes? How much time do you have to get from one class to another?

Classes are 1 hour and there’s typically 30 minutes between.

  1. Could you tell me if the syllabus contains info on the class if I cannot attend the class?

As an attendee, you will receive a digital syllabus with outlines for all the sessions, regardless of which ones you actually attend. You may wish to print your desired class outlines before coming so that you can take notes on them.

Looking forward to seeing you there, Vicky!

Lisa

We hope this has given Vicky, and you, a little more confidence and insight in attending RootsTech. It really is an amazing experience. For even more information about RootsTech, view their website and our Genealogy Gems RootsTech page. While you wait, here’s a link to several video interviews Lisa has done over the years at RootsTech. See you there, friends!

RootsTech questions regarding expo hall

RootsTech Expo Hall

 

LaVar Burton to be Keynote Speaker at RootsTech 2017

RootsTech 2017 is already wowing us with their recent announcement of Friday’s keynote speaker, LaVar Burton. Not just known for favorites like Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: The Next Generation, LaVar has been known by millions for his role as Kunta Kinte the 1977, ABC mini series, Roots.

2017 RootsTech keynote speaker

I can hardly wait until Friday, February 10th, 2017 when LaVar Burton is introduced on stage as a keynote speaker at RootsTech! One of my childhood favorites, I grew up listening to him share his love of reading in Reading Rainbow and teaching his best friend, Data, how to be more ‘human’ in the popular TV show, Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Mr. Burton is excited about the opportunity to speak at RootsTech where he plans to share personal stories about Roots, Star Trek, and his Reading Rainbow foundation. He also plans on sharing stories of his mom and her commanding influence on him. He says,

“The story of Roots traces a family’s journey from Africa to America and back. At RootsTech, I’ll share some of my own journey of family, storytelling and the influence of African culture on my American Experience.”

RootsTech Keynote Speakers and More

Lbooth_imageaVar Burton is the first RootsTech Keynote Speaker to be announced for 2017. More speakers will be announced over the coming weeks.

If you haven’t heard, registration has already started for the RootsTech genealogy conference in Salt Lake City. Visit www.rootstech.org to register or learn more.

Be sure to come by and visit the entire Genealogy Gems team in the Expo Hall. We have some very special things planned for the event. Stay tuned!

RootsTech 2017 Open for Registration

It’s that time of year again! RootsTech 2017 is officially open for registration.

RootsTech 2017

Each year, eager genealogists around the world excitedly wait to get the message that RootsTech registration is officially open. Well, here is your special announcement: As of September 15th, registration for RootsTech 2017 is now open!

What is RootsTech?

RootsTech is an annual family history and technology conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Speakers and attendees from all over the globe descend on the Salt Lake Valley to learn and share innovative and new tools in genealogy.

In 2016, the event attracted more than 28,000 attendees in-person from all 50 US states and 30+ countries. RootsTech 2017 will be held February 8–11 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The popular Innovator Summit and free Family Discovery Day are also open for registration. The website for registration can be found at RootsTech.org. Early bird pricing is $159.00, so don’t delay! Early bird discount pricing is available for a limited time on 4-day passes at just $159 and $189 for the RootsTech plus Innovator Summit pass. Passes for the Getting Started track start at $49 for a single day and $69 for a limited 3-day pass. All passes include access to the popular expo hall and morning keynote sessions.

The 4-day conference will offer over 200 lectures from top instructors in the field, including four of our Genealogy Gems team members, Lisa Louise Cooke, Sunny Morton, Amie Bowser Tennant, and Diahan Southard.

In addition to lectures, some hands-on computer labs and interactive activities can also be enjoyed.

Other Events at RootsTech 2017

RootsTech is for everyone, young and old. The expo hall and other entertainment events are just the beginning!

You and your entire family may enjoy Family Discovery Day. This event takes place on Saturday, February 11, 2017 and is designed for families and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a free and fun day event including messages from Church leaders, engaging classes for all ages, and evening entertainment. Family Discovery Day attendees will also have access to all the interactive activities and exhibitors in the RootsTech expo hall. Registration is required.

If you make it out to RootsTech in February, be sure to come by the booth and see us. As always, we have some really special things planned as we do a little celebrating of some of our Genealogy Gems milestones. Stay tuned!

Gems at RootsTech 2017

rootstech-2017-ambassador-badge

Family History for Kids: 3 Ways to Interest Young People in Genealogy

family history for kidsLisa Louise Cooke’s daughter Lacey Cooke shares tips on family history for kids: how to share it with them successfully. (Ignore the eye-rolling!)

At RootsTech 2016, Lisa Louise Cooke took a few moments to chat with her daughter, Lacey Cooke, a recent addition to the Genealogy Gems team. Lacey grew up hearing her mom’s family history stories but never appeared to be “bitten by the bug” in the same way her mom was. Now that she’s a little older and taking more interest, Lacey responds to all those childhood stories and offers some advice to other genealogists.

Check out their video conversation here:

Lacey tips for reaching millennials and the next generations:

  • Bait us with something cool we can discover more about on our own.
  • Keep it short. Tell us one short, interesting story at a time.
  • Don’t give up! We are listening, even if we don’t act like it.

More Gems: Family History for Kids

Secrets of Happy Families Include Family History (free video)

How to Share Family History with the Non-Genealogists in Your Family

A.C. Young Talks about Being Young in Genealogy (Premium website membership required to access)

Grand Prize Winner RootsTech 2016

grand prize winner RootsTech 2016One lucky winner has claimed the RootsTech 2016 Genealogy Gems Think Tank Grand Prize! See what was won–maybe there’s something you’d like to award yourself.

The Genealogy Gems booth at RootsTech 2016 was a hopping place. Thousands of people stopped by to say hello, check out products, ask questions and get selfies with Lisa.

Hundreds of those who came by entered to win a fantastic Grand Prize, with more than $275 worth of prizes contributed by those who delivered Think Tank talks in our very own mini-theater. Congratulations to the winner, Eric Youngberg!

These were the prizes. What do you see that you might want to award yourself? Thanks for using our links to make any purchases: that supports the free Genealogy Gems podcast.

Premium_2016Featured prize: Genealogy Gems Premium Membership

Genealogy Gems Premium website membership brings you a full year’s access to exclusive content by leading genealogy educator Lisa Louise Cooke. Learn family history research strategies and technology tools–delivered in Lisa’s warm, conversational style–from more than 25 on-demand webinars and more than 130 Premium podcast episodes. At $39.95 for for hundreds of hours of genealogy education by Lisa Louise Cooke, it’s a bargain–and a booster for your research!

How to Use Your Mobile Device for Genealogy: Free Video!

how to use your mobile device for genealogyDo you have a smartphone, iPad or tablet? Watch this free video lecture on how to use your mobile device for genealogy!

Lisa Louise Cooke is a leader in teaching the genealogical community how to get the most out of their mobile devices. Her first book, Turn Your iPad into a Genealogy Powerhouse, actually convinced me to buy an iPad–and then taught me how to use it, both for everyday tasks and specifically for genealogy. (Some of us over a certain age don’t automatically “get” how to use our mobile devices!)

mobile genealogy bookLisa has since expanded her “iPad for genealogy” education to include smart phones and tablets, both Android and Apple. She’s packed all her current tips into a brand new book, Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research.

Lisa gave a 30-minute class in the RootsTech Exhibitor Hall with several tips from her new book. She streamed the class live through Periscope, a free app available in the App Store or Google Play! Later she heard from Suzi: “Just wanted to say thank you and how much I enjoyed seeing you via Periscope during Roots Tech. I really enjoyed watching your presentations. You are always so up to date on the tech side of genealogy. It was so cool. I would hear a little whistle (a notification from the app that someone you follow is broadcasting live), click on my iPad and there you were! I am a long time listener to your podcasts and you always inspire me to keep searching. Thank you!!!”

Click on the image below to watch this video. And click here to download the free accompanying handout.

Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems PodcastMore Gems on Using Your Mobile Device for Genealogy

Genealogy Gems mobile friendly website3 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Mobile Device

5 Free Family History Apps You Should Have

The Genealogy Gems Website is Mobile-Friendly: What That Means for You

What’s So Special about US Special Census Schedules?

US special census schedules lead imageWho should pay attention to the US special census schedules? Anyone whose relatives appear in the US census between 1850-1880 (and some whose relatives show up in 1810-1820 and 1890-1910).

Many records about our ancestors point to even more records. Such is the case with the US Census. For many decades, the census records we most commonly consult are actually just “Schedule 1” of several census forms in which your ancestors may appear. Better yet, many of the surviving special census schedules are now online at Ancestry.com and other genealogy websites.

So who should be paying attention to surviving US special census schedules? Everyone whose ancestors:

  • Appear in U.S. censuses between 1850-1880;
  • Worked in industrial occupations in 1810-1820;
  • Were veterans of the U.S. Civil War and still alive in 1890;
  • Were Native Americans in 1900-1910.

Here’s a quick table showing the years for which the following schedules survive (for at least some locations): Agricultural; Defective, Dependent and Delinquent; Indian, Industry/Manufacturing; Mortality; Slave; Social and Veterans Schedules.

US special census schedules

What’s in the US special census schedules and where can I find them?

Depending on the year and the schedule type, you may discover information about recently-deceased ancestors (in the mortality schedules, 1850-1880); disabled or institutionalized ancestors (in the 1880 DDD schedule); enslaved or slave-holding ancestors (in the 1850-1860 censuses); Civil War veterans (1890 only); farmers (1850-1880) and more. Some of what you’ll find may be uniquely revealed in the US special census schedules.

Many of the special schedules have been digitized and indexed and are available online. Especially for 1850-1880, when so many schedules were created and so many different people were included, it’s worth searching  for your ancestors in each one.

The syllabus for my RootsTech lecture, “Whats Special about US Special Census Schedules?” includes a detailed summary of what’s in each special schedule, where to find them (online and offline), and additional tips that may help you get the most out of them.

Remember: for many years, the US census population schedule is just the beginning of the census. Dig into those special censuses and see what you find!

share celebrate balloonsI wish more people knew about the U.S. Special Census Schedules. Will you help me spread the word? Please share this link on your favorite social media site and with fellow genealogists and your society members.