NEW! Nova Scotia and South African Genealogy Records on FamilySearch

Among the 3.7 million+ records new on FamilySearch this week are two updates that caught my eye for international regions that need more record sets online:

Nearly 1.4 million images are now browsable in a newly-posted collection of Nova Scotia, Canada, probate records dating from 1760-1993.  According to FamilySearch, “This collection includes records of probate proceedings from Nova Scotia. The records include estate files, inventories, wills, administrations and other records related to probate. Most of the records are dated from 1800-1940, but coverage varies by area.”

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Nearly 400,000 digitized parish registers for the Church of the Province of South Africa (1801-2004) have now been indexed. FamilySearch describes the collection as “digital images and partial index of parish registers of the ‘Church of the Province of South Africa.’ Since 2006, the church has been officially known as the ‘Anglican Church of Southern Africa.’ Original records are contained within the collection of the William Cullen Library, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. The Church presently includes dioceses in Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Saint Helena, South Africa and Swaziland. Availability of records is largely dependent on time period and locality.”

I hope these datasets can help your South African genealogy or help you find your Nova Scotia kin.

Sacramento Handout

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You May Already Have the Makings of a Family History Video

Think it’s too hard to create your own family history video? Think again! You may already have the foundation already poured!

Video is one of the best ways to tell your family’s story. Imagery, text and music comes together to quickly capture the attention of all ages. But whether it’s a blank computer screen or a blank page, getting started is often the hardest part of any creative project.

That’s why when I wanted to whip up a tribute video to my husband’s father’s Naval service, I didn’t start from scratch. Instead, I turned to small book I created over ten years ago for inspiration and content. My research of his military career has certainly evolved since I first put those pages together. Creating a new video on the subject gave it a nice facelift in a modern medium that everyone in our family loves!

The Foundation

Back in 2006 Kodak Gallery offered one of the first print-on-demand services to the public. It was a tantalizing idea to think of being able to create my own full color, hard cover book. And what would I write about? Family history, of course!

My husband’s father’s military service records had recently come into our possession, and one afternoon I sat down and scanned all of the photographs and documents at a fairly high resolution (about 600 dpi). I created my first book that day using that imagery, and added text where I had more details. The end result was a mighty nice coffee table styled book. Just 20 full color glossy pages double sided, for a total of 40 pages. This was just about all I could expect of the average attention span of my non-genealogist relatives. To my happy surprise, the book was devoured, with many exclamations of “I’ve never seen that!”, and “oh, isn’t that great!

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Fast forward to today. Kodak Gallery is long gone, and today’s relatives rarely have the desire to sit and even flip through pages of a book. What are they willing to spend time on? Video! Brief video, albeit, but video is the book come to life. And so, when in search of a new project to get family history out in front of the clan, I decided to do just that: breathe life into that book I created 11 years ago.

The Process

First, I located the computer file folder containing all of the original scanned images, both photos and documents. I renamed the files to start with a two-digit number so that they would appear in chronological order in the folder on my hard drive. Before I knew it, the story began to emerge on my screen.

(Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I appreciate you using these links because that compensation helps make the Genealogy Gems blog possible. Thank you!)

Then it was off to Animoto, the online video creation tool. Animoto doesn’t require any special skills to create professional looking videos. If you can click, drag and drop you can create fabulous family history videos.

I started by selecting choosing to create a “Slideshow Video” and selecting the video style called Old Glory. Being a patriotic theme it already included the perfect music called Presidential Welcome. If I had wanted something a little different, it would have been easy enough pick another tune out of their vast music library, or upload one of my own.

Next, I dragged and dropped the images into my new project. I already had about 25 images from my original folder, and I was able to add 5 newly discovered scanned documents and photos that really fleshed out the story. One click of the Preview button showed me that I already had an awesome video in the works. All that was left was to add a bit of text to the storyvideo project in Animoto

The Video Text

The text part of this project actually turned into a great way to pull my youngest daughter Hannah into family history a bit. She loves making videos on her phone, and during a recent visit she became intrigued by my project. I asked her if she would help me out and use the book as her guide and type captions onto the video images. She obliged, and the next thing I knew she was in the family room, computer in lap, talking with her Dad about his Dad. (This genealogist’s dream come true!) It was easy to add the text to tell the story by adding titles and captions to the video in Animoto.

Time to Produce Your Video

With all the content added, we hit the Preview button, and were amazed how Animoto timed everything to the music nearly perfectly. After a few final tweaks, we hit the Produce button. I must say, I’m really pleased with the results! Watch below, and then leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Make Your Own Video Project

What do you already have lying around the house that would make a terrific video? A scrapbook, or a drawer full of letters and photos? Click here to try out Animoto. I’ve been so thrilled with what I’ve been able to create for my family, that I proudly accepted Animoto as a sponsor of my free Genealogy Gems Podcast, and I happily recommend them. I think you’re going to love how quickly and easily you can bring your family history to life with video too.

 

RootsTech 2020 SLC Opens Registration

It’s time for genealogists to start making plans for the RootsTech 2020 conference to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah.

I’ve been attending and speaking at RootsTech since 2011, the second year that the conference was held. It’s been so rewarding to be a part of the evolution of this event! This 10th anniversary in 2020 promises to top them all. 

Lisa Louise Cooke at Rootstech 2019

I’ll be delivering four presentations this year: 

  1. Reconstruct Your Ancestors’ Stories with Google
  2. Genealogy in Your Ears: Podcasters Talk Podcast 
  3. 3 Cool Cases Solved: How to Identify Your Photos (premiering at RootsTech!)
  4. The 2020 Genealogist’s Google Search Methodology

Lisa Louise Cooke is a speaker at RootsTech 2020

Each year holds new surprises and opportunities to connect with your fellow genealogists. Below is the recent RootsTech press release providing all the details on registration. And here’s a tip: If you’re travelling from out of town, book your accommodations right away. Some hotels have already sold out. 

RootsTech crowds enjoy the many attractions of the popular annual event.SALT LAKE CITY (18 September 2019)—

FamilySearch International has announced that registration for RootsTech 2020 Salt Lake City is now open.

RootsTech is a popular 4-day annual family history and technology conference where individuals and families are inspired to discover, share, and preserve their family roots, heritage, and stories.

The 2020 conference will be held February 26–29, 2020, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. For more information, visit rootstech.org/salt-lake. Discounts are available for early registrations.

In 2019, RootsTech attracted over 20,000 attendees from 38 different countries and all 50 states.

RootsTech 2020 will celebrate its 10th anniversary and the distinguished honor that it is the largest genealogy conference of its kind in the world.

The conference will feature a full lineup of inspiring and well-known keynote speakers, over 300 informative sessions, including hands-on computer workshops taught by industry professionals; interactive activities and helpful exhibitors in the expo hall; and entertaining events—all designed to inspire and empower personal family discoveries.

RootsTech 2017

Conference Details

The theme for RootsTech 2020 will be “The Story of YOU.” Many of the classes, keynote address, and venue décor will reflect this theme.

“At RootsTech, we believe that the stories we’re creating and preserving today are just as important as the stories of our ancestors,” said Jen Allen, event director. “Reflecting on and celebrating each of our personal journeys is an important part of family history that we are excited to explore at the 2020 conference.”

RootsTech 2020 will also introduce learning forums—new class sessions covering a variety of specialized topics including: records access and preservation, innovation and technology, and DNA. One of these forums will be offered on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

RootsTech 2020 will officially begin on Wednesday, February 26 with class sessions beginning at 8 AM MT. Wednesday’s general keynote session will begin on the main stage at 4:30 p.m. Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, will be the featured keynote speaker.

General keynote sessions on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will begin on the main stage at 11 AM MT and will lead directly into the lunch hour.

Read more about what’s new at RootsTech 2020.

International speaker Lisa Louise Cooke at RootsTech

RootsTech Conference Pricing

Early bird discount pricing is available for a limited time on 4-day passes at just $169 (a $130 discount on regularly priced passes). Single day RootsTech passes are also available for $99. Both one-day and full conference passes include access to the popular expo hall and keynote sessions. Early bird pricing ends October 11, 2019.

Family Discovery Day at RootsTech 2020

Registration for Family Discovery Day is also now open.

The event takes place on Saturday, February 26, 2020, and is designed for families and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This free 1-day event includes inspiring messages from Church leaders; engaging classes for families, youth, and young single adults; and evening entertainment to inspire and help families make family history connections.

Fun at Rootstech

My kids and their friend having fun at RootsTech

Family Discovery Day attendees will also have access to all the interactive activities and exhibitors found in the RootsTech expo hall. Event details, including speakers and class sessions, will be made available soon at RootsTech.org.

The event is free, but registration is required.

Considering Going for the First Time?

If you’ll be attending RootsTech for the first time, we’ve got loads of tips that will help make your experience awesome. Read my article RootsTech questions: Tips for attending world’s biggest genealogy event. 

rootstech guide first-timers

Looking for a Smaller Genealogy Event?

If you enjoy a more intimate genealogy event setting, consider joining me at Genealogy Roots. It’s two days of genealogy education with me and my special guest Geoff Rasmussen of Legacy Family Tree Webinars. It’s coming soon: October 10 & 11, 2019 in Sandy, Utah, just 25 minutes south of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Learn more and get the early-bird special on tickets here

Genealogy Roots 2019

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