Exploring the Expo Hall at RootsTech/FGS

A quiet Expo Hall...for now.

A quiet Expo Hall…for now.

I’ve done the serious and the sightseeing… now it’s time for a quick synopsis of my explorations of the Expo Hall.

Last week I mentioned how the bloggers had a privileged tour of the Hall before Thursday’s Keynote Speeches. From then on it was busy, busy. I had looked at many of the companies’ websites, prepared a checklist, and highlighted a map of booths I didn’t want to miss and that worked well.

Find My Past and the Irish

I confess I didn’t spend time listening to the mini-presentations in the Expo Hall as there never seemed to be enough time. I do have membership with most of the big geneaproviders so have a good idea of where they’re at. However I did come along to hear the Find My Past speaker telling us what they were planning for Irish records, and let me tell you, they will have us dancing jigs when they arrive. I’ve been with FMP since way back, and totally enamoured of their recent Friday releases. It’s plain they don’t intend letting their game down.

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Here is a copy of the slide which they showed listing upcoming Irish resources in coming months (and yes, I did ask permission to use it). Just imagine what might be in there for the Irish diaspora.

Loved their badges with Kiss me, my ancestors were Irish/English/Scottish/Immigrants etc.

Quirky but enlightening

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Nancy Douglas from WriteMeaning.

Nancy Douglas from WriteMeaning.

I had Write Meaning on my checklist and was lucky enough to find Nancy Douglas free, thanks to a mistake I made with scheduling. Nancy gave me a specific piece of text to handwrite in cursive, plus a couple of images to draw (I am so not an artist). She then analysed my writing and drawings using her experience as a certified handwriting analyst. Initially I was a bit nervous but the experience was very positive, though with a couple of family surprises. It was well worth my $US20 investment. The business also offers the opportunity to have your ancestor’s writing analysed which I think would be both fun and helpful – just need to find something I am certain they personally wrote…for those who could write.

Thanks Nancy for a fascinating interview.

Education

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Tahitia McCabe who was representing the Uni of Strathclyde.

I wanted to look at three stands: Board for Certification of Genealogists, the University of Strathclyde, and the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. I know friends who are doing NIGS units but no one so far who’s doing Strathclyde’s program. At present I’m not in a position to commit to any of these – family obligations – but I will be giving them some serious thought.

I was also interested in the Association of Personal Historians – another to consider.

DNA

I decided to purchase an Ancestry DNA kit while I was in the Expo Hall and have returned it, as I believe we can’t yet get them opin Oz. Apparently the results will be ready in 6-8 weeks. It will be interesting to see how it compares with my Family Tree DNA tests. I hope it was worth the sacrifice of not buying that nice coat from Macy’s <smile>.

You can read what I wrote about my RootsTech/FGS genetic genealogy learning here on the Worldwide Genealogy blog.

StoryWorth

Hope and team from Story Worth.

Hope and team from StoryWorth.

Of course I’ve already mentioned StoryWorth and what a pleasure it was to meet the team, especially Hope with whom I’d been in email contact. I’ve got my other half signed up with their program. I think it’s an easy way to get answers to questions in bite-sized chunks.

Books and resources

Foolishly I didn't write down this young lady's name, though I did ask if I could publish her photo.

We had a good chat with Laura and I got her permission to use this photo. Thanks Laura!

I promised myself “no books”, after all I’m trying to declutter, but there were a few I couldn’t resist. I bought Zapping the Grandma Gap (Janet Hovorka), Mind Maps for Genealogy (Ron Arons), and Maureen Taylor’s Family Photo Detective. I could have bought the latter as an e-book but my photo books are among my most-used resources so I went for a hard copy.

I just had to check out Eneclann which publishes great Irish books and CDs, more and more of which are available as downloadable e-books once purchased.

Genimates

Lisa Louisa Cooke from Genealogy Gems was on my visiting list and she kindly agreed to be photographed with me. I had already been to a couple of sessions she presented.

Of course I had to visit with Alan and Alona at Unlock the Past Cruises.

Flying the flag at Unlock the Past Cruises.

Flying the flag at Unlock the Past Cruises.

The Media Hub was in the midst of the Expo activity and there always seemed to be a genimate to wave to. Thanks Thomas MacEntee for my fab ribbons!

And the (free) Soda Fountain had great lemonade to wet one’s whistle, and was always popular.

Fun

DSC_3128 editOne of the American traditions, which doesn’t happen in Australia, is the supply of ribbons and buttons to add to one’s bling. It might look a bit silly from the outside but is good fun.

The Geneabloggers’ beads, provided in 2015 by Dear MYRTLE and Cousin Russ, got comments from lots of people and made it easy to identify fellow bloggers. I was surprised how small a drop we were in the ocean of attendees. I was tickled to bits when a coincidental conversation revealed the lady had read my Worldwide Genealogy post thanks to Randy Seaver’s Best of the Geneablogs 18-24 January 2015.

The Aussies contributed their own bling to the event with people taking Aussie stickers, koalas, tourist pins, and pens/keyrings with Aboriginal patterns. The recipients were really surprised and enjoyed sharing a bit of Down Under.

All over, red rover

That’s a wrap from me for Roots Tech. There’s so much more I could share but other commitments are calling. Don’t forget to check out the RootsTech Video Archive and consider purchasing a couple of FGS audio recordings (click through the 51 options). I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Randy Seaver, blogger extraordinaire at Genea-Musings, is keeping, and updating, a consolidated list of all blog posts relating to this record-breaking event. Thanks Randy for making it so much easier for us all to check our people’s experiences and learn from them.

It was such a lot of fun, especially catching up with my genimates, and meeting new ones.

Incidental Sightseeing Part 2: Salt Lake City

After my intense post this morning on ethics, genealogists and conferences, I hope you enjoy the light relief from my about-town photos of Salt Lake City.

The Zions First National Bank is such a pretty building. I'd have liked a better shot, but time was short and traffic was tricky.

The Zions First National Bank is such a pretty building. I’d have liked a better shot, but time was short and traffic was tricky.

This awning on a semi-derelict building near the Hilton Hotel kept catching my eye.

Check out the faces framing the awning.

Check out the faces framing the awning.

They make 'em big in the USA.

They make ‘em big in the USA. My friend Sharn is dwarfed by this Ford 150.

We had a lovely meal at PF Chang's and met up with Linda Robbins and hubby.

We had a lovely meal at PF Chang’s and met up with Linda Robbins and hubby. Linda writes at http://hollingsworthrobbinsfamilytree.blogspot.com.au/

Salt Lake Temple in Temple Square.

Salt Lake Temple in Temple Square.

Collage of mountain scenery.

Collage of mountain scenery.

I made these two collages with Pic Collage, having been shown it by my new friend Laurie from Confuse the Dead (and also an FGS Ambassador). Thanks Laurie, it was as easy as you said, and good fun as well. I now have it on the iPad and the smart phone.

Socialising in Salt Lake.

Socialising in Salt Lake was interspersed with serious research and learning.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little detour from serious genealogy.

 

Ethics, Genealogists and Conferences

Ethics and equity and the principles of justice do not change with the calendar.
(DH Lawrence) from http://www.brainyquote.com/

family-history-back-to-basicsSometimes we need to be reminded that this genealogical passion of ours isn’t just about vacuuming up as many names, dates and data as we can track down, wherever we find them. We are also obligated to act responsibly, with respect for family (especially living family), ownership of information, and with accountability to those who share their expertise with us.

With the upcoming AFFHO Congress in Canberra, all attendees need to become mindful and informed of ethical standards which should guide our family history research and how we disseminate it. Let’s get back to basics with these issues.

One of the earliest sessions I attended at FGS/RootsTech was one entitled The Ethical Genealogist, by highly regarded speaker Judy Russell – click to see an interview with her by James Tanner of Genealogy’s Star blog. (Although her session wasn’t video-taped, you can purchase the audio-recording here for $US10).

I’d never heard Judy speak before, though I follow the wisdom she shares on her blog, The Legal Genealogist. Only minutes into the presentation it was obvious that her excellent reputation was entirely deserved…she’s an engaging and informative speaker. Aussie genealogists who are planning on taking the 11th Unlock the Past Cruise from New Zealand to Australia will have the joy of hearing her present.

Anyway, back to my theme. Straight up Judy mentioned that it was okay to take photos for social media (at least that’s what I wrote down). Blind Freddy could work out that she didn’t mean take snaps of every single one of her slides and share the whole content. What’s happened subsequently, for her and other speakers, has caused something of firestorm which is pertinent to any conference we attend, whether wearing our genealogy hats or others.

Image purchased from Shutterstock.com

Image purchased from Shutterstock.com

Judy captured the essence of ethics in the playground rules we learnt in kindergarten:

  • tell the truth
  • play nice
  • don’t tell tales.

I’m not going to elaborate on these here – I think they’re pretty self- evident though Judy’s nuanced discussion of them certainly wasn’t elementary. However, when in the 21st century, with the avalanche of interest in genealogy some of these golden rules seem to have been lost.

I’ve mentioned before in my blog posts, that we should always, always ASK for permission to use someone else’s content, research or images. We should always, always ACKNOWLEDGE the other person’s research (whatever form it takes). I’ve certainly had photos from my website siphoned off and attached to family trees, without either of these happening, despite the copyright notice across the photo.

Image created in Microsoft Office Word.

Image created by Pauleen Cass in Microsoft Office Word.

Just recently, I also found a blog post I’d written (of which I was rather proud) for World Wide Genealogy, “happily” conjoined with a genea-product promotion on LinkedIn. I was NOT a happy camper because in my opinion it inferred that the post belonged to the product-owner. Carelessness or contrivance? Only weeks later the same thing happened with other genimates’ posts. Needless to say this was not a booth I visited in the Expo Hall at RootsTech – the product may be useful but I voted with my feet, and my wallet! Mind you, if the same person had been working I’d have been tempted to shame-job them by visiting.

stop-is-it-yours-ask-acknowledge

Image created with keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

It seems to me that too many of us are getting so absorbed with a belief in entitlement, with the justification that “I’m just sharing”, that we happily forget it’s not actually ours to share, and furthermore when we’ve signed up for programs we’ve specifically stated we will not abuse our membership in this way. These presentations, papers, slides, photos do NOT belong to us. After all if a person works making a chair, for example, we don’t think it’s okay to simply walk off with it and share it with our mates. Why? Because it’s the person’s income stream and also it’s THEFT. Ignorance may be bliss, but it’s no defence.

391 ethical dilemmasBack in February 2015 on the 4th Unlock the Past cruise, Jill Ball aka GeniAus hosted an Ethics Panel which was very interesting. One of the questions was around photographing every slide in a presenter’s talk. The panel was universal in believing this was a breach of their copyright. We have regularly bemoaned that we didn’t tape this session.

There have been some excellent posts written post-RootsTech, which ought to be high on our compulsory reading list.

Credit and Copyright by Judy Russell

Copyright and the Genealogy Lecture by Judy Russell

More Genealogy Copyright Issues by Michael Leclerc on the Mocavo blog.

Genealogy’s Star: James Tanner regularly posts on similar issues, based on his legal experience.

You can read the AFFHO Ethics standards here.

For further reading you might want to look at the following sites referenced by Judy Russell as providing standards for genealogists:

Board for Certification of Genealogists- Standards

Association of Professional Genealogists – Ethics

Thanks Judy Russell for your knowledge, commitment and discernment in raising our performance standards as genealogists and family historians.

Incidental Sightseeing Part 1: Salt Lake City

When you have less than a week to fit in four conference days, three visits to the Family History Library, and lots of socialising, there’s not much time left for actual sightseeing. I notched up some distance to-ing and fro-ing and along the way took shots that caught my eye. Here are some of them. My SLR is playing up at present so I took these with my phone camera.

View from my hotel room - isn't it pretty?

View from my hotel room – isn’t it pretty?

One of the entrances to the City Creek shopping mall...just up the road.

One of the entrances to the City Creek shopping mall…just up the road.

The creek which runs through the shopping complex.

The creek which runs through the shopping complex.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just love fairy lights when it's wintertime overseas. These were a mix of white and yellow.

I just love fairy lights when it’s wintertime overseas. These were a mix of white and yellow.

Looks like it belongs in France to me.

Looks like it belongs in France to me.

Now THAT's an Apple shop!

Now THAT’s an Apple shop!

Abravnel Hall, Centre for the Arts. I liked the sun on the red art work and the rather Expo-ish street art.

Abravnel Hall, Centre for the Arts. I liked the sun on the red art work and the rather Expo-ish street art.

The impressive entry to the Salt Palace Convention Centre - site of RootsTech and FGS.

The impressive entry to the Salt Palace Convention Centre – site of RootsTech and FGS.

Liked this quirky construction.

Liked this quirky construction framed by the mountains.

I was surprised how quiet the streets were in SLC. You can see the Trax arriving in the centre of the road.

I was surprised how quiet the streets were in SLC. You can see the Trax arriving in the centre of the road.

Do join me for Part 2 of my Incidental Sightseeing tomorrow.

Congress 2015 meets RootsTech/FGS

DSC_2845My genimate Jill Ball (GeniAus) was generous enough to invite me to participate in an interview with Congress 2015 speaker, Josh Taylor at the combined RootsTech/FGS conference in Salt Lake City. It was my first experience of being interviewed, and interviewing, in a proper sound booth so that was fun…and slightly intimidating at first. Jill will be sharing the Josh Taylor video on her blog in the near future, so I won’t share any spoiler info with you.

UPDATE: Here is the link to the interview Jill and I did at RootsTech.

Josh Taylor’s RootsTech presentation: Tech tools

However, I did want to whet your enthusiasm further for Congress by sharing Josh’s online RT/FGS conference presentation about “30 pieces of tech I can’t live without”. I wonder how many of them you use and what you (and I) will try after viewing the video?

One of the things I like about the blogisphere is the sharing of tools, tips and techniques we use for our genealogy – so many of Josh’s tips were among my favourite tech tools. Having said that, there were quite a few other tools I want to try: mood board, flipboard, reddit, trello, some WordPress widgets, snag it and Archive Grid. Oh, and wouldn’t a Hovercam be nice <smile>, As Josh says himself, you have to choose the ones that work for you. I especially enjoyed his comment about why you save five minutes in a library – I could certainly relate to that <hint – about the 8 minute mark>.Tegxedo cloud

What I particularly like about listening to Josh is that he’s so passionate about his family history and he “gets” what we’re on about. I was also impressed that he mentioned JSTOR, which we can access through the National Library of Australia with our library cards – make sure you allow time in Canberra to visit the Library.

Sharing the learning online

RootsTech has some of the presentations online here and more are expected in coming days.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies has their recorded sessions available to purchase for $US10 which I think is a pretty good bargain. I’ve downloaded a couple I didn’t get to and two I did: one on long-distance membership, something of great relevance to me, and a genetic genealogy one I thought was very helpful. More about the latter on my Worldwide Genealogy post today.

Join us at Congress 2015

Congress 2015So if you’ve been feeling left out when following the Twitter, FB and G+ feeds of the 15 Aussies who went to what Jill calls “the greatest (genie) show on earth”, there’s still plenty of opportunity for you to get a taste of the experience. And of course, since you’ll be coming to Congress 2015 in just over a month, there’s lots more ahead for you, including enthusiastic keynote speaker Josh Taylor.

Jill Ball has stocked up on blogger beads for the Aussie bloggers so there’ll be plenty of fun in store, as well as all that learning.

Don’t forget you can read about all our expert speakers through their interviews on this blog and my fellow official bloggers Jill Ball and Shauna Hicks.

We’re looking forward to meeting you at Congress and renewing friendships with those we’ve met elsewhere.

 

Reviewing RootsTech 2015: The highlights

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As I sit in the lounge at LA Brisbane airport waiting for the Qantas “bus”, it seems quite surreal to think of all that has happened in the short space of a week. Let me see if I can capture the highlights for you.

MOST EMOTIONAL

Hands down this was the keynote by Vietnamese-Aussie expat, Tan Le, a former Young Australian of the Year. Her speech was a testament to the resilience and courage of her family. She spoke so evocatively of her life’s transitions and challenges and the strength and influence of family. It was also a powerful testimony to the value our refugees have brought to Australia. Her talk should be compulsory viewing in schools (and parliaments!) around the country.The live stream is here now.  You can now click here for an extract.

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On a personal note it was such a privilege to be part of her official photograph with the bloggers and ambassadors. I think she was pretty pleased to see some among Aussies among the crowd.

BIGGER THAN TEXAS

I enjoyed meeting up with Hope from StoryWorth as we'd been in touch before the conference. StoryWorth won the Innovation Challenge at RootsTech, and that's a big cheque you see behind us.

I enjoyed meeting up with Hope from StoryWorth as we’d been in touch before the conference. StoryWorth won the Innovation Challenge at RootsTech, and that’s a big cheque you see behind us.

Being a blogger as RootsTech is such a treat…we had a couple of great opportunities. One of them was being given a back-stage tour of the Expo Hall on the Opening Day, before it was open to the public. It was fantastic to have the chance to get your bearings before the cross arrived. A comment was made that RootsTech should be RootsTexas as it was now bigger even than Texas!

Imagine a conference where on one day there’s 20,000 attendees! That was the final day, family day, when the place was huge! It was also the only day I felt somewhat overwhelmed by the crowds….after all that’s about 20% of Darwin’s population in one place!

BUCKET LIST TICK

DSC_2781I guess every genealogist has a visit to the Salt Lake Family History Library on their bucket list, so it felt quite an achievement to get there. Despite spending two full days there and playing hooky from Saturday’s keynote (which I’m told was excellent) I didn’t get beyond the British floor B2. It was wonderful to be able to work through  the books I had on my list and see what I might have missed.

LOTS OF LEARNING

I made a deliberate choice to prioritise genetic genealogy talks and I now feel that I’m more confident in my understanding than I was before. Whether that holds true when I get immersed in my results remains to be seen. My commitment was demonstrated by buying an Ancestry DNA kit rather than a rather nice coat that caught my eye at Macy’s. It was a lot easier to do the test in the States and MAY give me different matches than I’ve got from my Family Tree DNA tests.

I was impressed by the professionalism, skill and knowledge of all the speakers…they were all in the 4 or 5 star range with one exception.

GENEABLOGGERS and TECH

We bloggers are so much part of each other’s genealogy lives it was surprising to see how small a drop we were in the ocean of attendees at the combined FGS RootsTech conference. However it was a quick point of connection as we recognised people from our virtual worlds. Thanks to DearMYRTLE and Cousin Russ we were all bedecked in red and white beads which made recognition easier. Not to mention that the one and only Thomas MacEntee who bedecked us all with an array of ribbons.

Not all the Geneabloggers at RootsTech but a representative sample with keynote speaker . Not sure who took the photo, but thank you!

Not all the Geneabloggers at RootsTech but a representative sample with keynote speaker AJ Jacobs (on the right) . Not sure who took the photo, but thank you! As far as I know we gave each other permission to use photos at will.

Thanks to the wizardry of the RootsTech app it was easy to compare presentations and speakers – though a lot harder to get down to just one choice per session. I was annoyed that I dropped the ball with one session thinking it started on the hour, not the half hour. I used the app comprehensively to locate vendors, choose talks, and assess each talk.

INTERVIEW NEWBIE

It was a whole new experience to be in the media den, being interviewed by Jill Ball aka GeniAus along with Hilary from the UK and Tas from Sydney.

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Thanks Sharn for being out photographer outside the glass room.

Straight after that Jill and I interviewed Josh Taylor who will be speaking at Congress 2015 in Canberra. We’ll let you know when the link is online.

I really admire Jill for her courage on her first trip to RootsTech in 2011 and then going solo in the media room. You’re a trail-blazer Jill, and inspire us all.

AND THE FUN

Needless to say the week of socialising was also a ton of fun from the Commonwealth dinner on Tuesday night to the Saturday night get-together at Dear Myrtle‘s home,  where Myrt also gave us some Hangout on Air tips. Thanks to Myrt and family who made the evening, and RootsTech, so special.

Dear Myrt party hangout

A great gathering of Geneabloggers at Dear Myrtle’s home as a conference finale.

Genealogy Heaven

imageIt’s hard to believe I’m already half way through my weimageek of genealogy heaven in Salt Lake City. It’s already been so much fun meeting with Aussie geneabloggers, face-to-face meetings with overseas bloggers, social events and great learning experiences.

If that all sounds like too much fun and frivolity rest assured I spent some serious time in the genealogical holy grail, the Family History Library. Given I’ve been reading microfilms in Brisbane or Darwin that wasn’t my primary focus. Instead I opted to prepare a long list of the books held in the library, many of which can’t be found in Australia and which can’t be ordered in through the local family history centre.  With a wish list a mile long I photographed relevant segments of the books which I can digest at my leisure. I was particularly pleased to be able to read Gillespie’s book on researching Irish Local History.

I did take the opportunity to read the microfilm for the Griffith Valuation Revision Books for Courtown Harbour in my pursuit of the Callaghans who I wrote about recently. I’ll post about that in due course but not until I get home.image

I had a brief fishing expedition for one of Mr Cassmob’s ancestors in County Carlow, but the time wasn’t productive and I gave it up. We tend to think (live in hope?) that the release of the digitised Irish parish registers will solve our problems. I think we may be mistaken. This one was so faint as to be totally illegible in the relevant period. I may give it another go one day but it won’t be a quick process.

On Tuesday evening we had a Commonwealth group dinner organised by GeniAus which was great fun and I was able to have a long chat with Tessa Keogh, Hilary Gadsby, Ruth Blair, and Rosemary Morgan (sorry I can’t get links to work on the iPad so see below). There is a real sense of community among the group and such a pleasure to meet in person. Just as exciting was meeting Randy Seaver and Angel Linda in the foyer of the Hilton…isn’t the virtual world an exciting place?!

Yesterday was the start of the FGS Conference and today RootsTech commenced. My schedule has been packed and I can honestly say every speaker has been excellent. More on that anon.

You can read about my genimates on these blogs:

GeniAus: http://geniaus.blogspot.com.au

Tessa Keogh: http://www.geneabloggers.com/introduce-tessa-keoug/

Hilary Gadsby: http://genemeet.blogspot.com

Rosemary Morgan: http://londonrootsresearch.blogspot.com

Ruth Blair: http://blog.familyhistorysearches.com

Randy Seaver: http://www.geneamusings.com

Would you trust this woman? A mug shot among the microfilm stacks.

Would you trust this woman? A mug shot among the microfilm stacks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog themes and memes from the past

Beyond the Internet

Beyond the Internet

Since my blog has now reached primary school level having its 5th birthday recently, I thought it might be an idea to relink some of the series I’ve responded to over the years. I know I often enjoy making discoveries among blogs by genimates who I didn’t know “back in the day”.

In 2012 I wrote a 52 weeks series entitled Beyond the Internet, to explore the varied records which aren’t available online. This series led to the inclusion of my blog in Family Tree Magazine’s Around the World in 40 Blogs2012 Forty best002

I wonder how many of the records have now been digitised? Time moves fast in the geneasphere.

In 2011, Amy Coffin and Geneabloggers offered prompts in the series called 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History. These are my own responses via this link.52-Weeks-Personal-History

In 2010, I also participated in a similar series called 52 weeks of Abundant Genealogy, again by Amy Coffin and Geneabloggers. These were my responses.

I’ve completed two April A to Z challenges. For 2012 I focused on the heritage places for me and my families, writing my posts on this blog. In 2013 I changed tack and introduced my readers to a tour of Australia’s north and some Aussie-isms via my Tropical Territory blog.survivor-atoz

If you’re keen to give the A to Z challenge a whirl in 2015, then here is the link, quite a few geneabloggers have taken the plunge over the years. It works best if you pre-write your posts which leaves you time to comment on others’ posts.

Of course we’ve also had lots of blogging fun with various geneamemes initiated by a range of geneabloggers. You can find them in the drop-down box “Search by Category” on the right-hand sidebar.

I hope you enjoy some of these “blasts from the past”.GLOBE wwg MINE_edited-7

If you haven’t yet encountered the blog, Worldwide Genealogy, a collaboration of geneabloggers around the globe, do yourself a favour and check it out for a wonderfully diverse perspective on genealogy. Worldwide Genealogy is the innovative brain-child of UK blogger Julie Goucher from Angler’s Rest blog.

RootsTech here I come

Sitting in the Brisbane International airport lounge I can now believe I’m on my way to RootsTech 2015. It was interesting experiencing the new international digital check-in system ….practice for the U.S. no doubt.

I have been looking at everyone’s preparation lists and have ticked most of them…forgot to tell the bank.

It will be exciting to meet new people and get together with fellow bloggers. I’m sure at times the sheer scale of the thing will be a bit overwhelming with all the razzmatazz.

This is just a trial post to see how I go using the iPad to post. you’ll be hearing more from me once FGS and RootsTech starts. meanwhile I’ll be at the Family History library …every genie’s dream.

FMP’s Clare Electoral Rolls are grand

fmpfridays-homeIn recent months Find My Past[i] have been releasing a wonderful and vast array of records each Friday under the banner of Findmypast Fridays (the image here is their logo for this promotion). It makes for pretty happy Fridays!

Last Friday’s releases included Irish Poverty Loans 1821-1874 and the Clare Electoral Rolls 1858-1989. Sadly I had no joy with the loans records but found the Electoral Rolls to be quite wonderful.

Although I’ve only dabbled slightly in the records I can see they have great potential for family history research and especially for One Place Studies research. Let me give you some examples of what I’ve discovered.

 Relevance to Personal Family History

  •  There is no Martin O’Brien listed on the Griffith’s Valuations 1852 at Ballykelly townland, Parish Kilseily (various spellings), Co Clare. The electoral rolls of 1864 (the earliest available for Broadford polling booth) tell me that Martin resides at Killaderry [O’Brien] townland but has land there and at Ballykelly, with a combined value of £15/5/-.
  • My own Michael O’Brien, at Ballykelly, must be on a property worth less than £10 as he is not listed.
  • Similarly the Michael O’Brien at Kilseily (Kilsiley) townland is also not listed.
  • On some occasions the entries refer to a person by their alias which can also be helpful in differentiating people of the same name.
  • The rolls may also offer clues as to when an ancestor died and who took over the property (again of use in comparison to the revision lists).
  • They may also offer clues to when emigration took place…always assuming the person is on the rolls in the first place.

 Relevance for One Place Studies

I think the real value of these records is shown with One Place Studies. For example I am interested in Broadford (Parish Kilseily) specifically, and East Clare generally.

Over time I can peruse the electoral rolls which are available, year by year, and determine the changes in occupancy and compare them to the Valuation Revisions available on microfilm through LDS Family History Libraries.

I can also:

  • track changes in the use of a particular place name or townland and its spelling and perhaps identify locally-used names.
  •  differentiate between two people with the same name by comparing where they reside and what land is listed for them.
  •  compare when one land owner’s land values increase over time eg my ancestor’s land at Ballykelly finally enables his son to gain a vote much later on.

Much of this research is time-consuming and tedious, but then research wasn’t meant to be easy all the time (to paraphrase on of Australia’s Prime Ministers, and appropriately, Irish poet and writer, George Bernard Shaw).

Cross-Comparisons

By cross-linking the original valuations, the revisions, the electoral rolls, church registers, and other records which come our way, we can slowly come to understand the economic standing of people within the community, differentiate people with the same name, and generally get a clearer picture of the community. I’ve been lucky to be given an “off the back of the truck” source of information from one of my blog readers which I can use in triangulating this information, but even without that bonanza, the Clare Electoral Rolls can perform wonders in clarifying our understanding of communities and our own families.

My guess is that once again those of us with Clare ancestry will be the envy of our genealogical peers!

Resources

And if you have Clare ancestry and are yet to discover the Clare County Library’s proliferation of wonderful genealogical resources and indexes (all cross-checked). You can look through their offerings here. While some counties have been curmudgeonly with records, Clare Library has made it so much easier for us to trace our Clare-born ancestors…they really have been trail blazers.

If you don’t have a personal subscription to Find My Past you may wish to keep an eye on their website and Facebook pages as they’ve had some good specials lately. Meanwhile don’t forget your local family history/genealogy society or reference library may well have a subscription you can access. Why not give it a go? I’ve had wonderful success over the years.

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[i] I have a world subscription to Find My Past.