Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaack.............

Took a break from blogging - work got crazy, I went on vacation and ...... just took a break.   52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is no longer happening in its original form as well.  I will continue to highlight interesting ancestors - but discontinue the rigid schedule, and will include other family history things too!

So the "think" this week is the 2014 Family Search Family History Conference at BYU.   It started this morning - and goes through Friday.

There are a few things that I see people do that annoy the crap out of me - and it seems like it happens more at family history conferences - perhaps because they are not geared more for business people who attend conferences frequently and know better.

#1 Annoyance.   Ppl pulling wheeled backpacks or briefcases who are totally self un-aware and a danger to everybody in the hallway.  Seriously ppl - KEEP THEM CLOSE TO YOU - not 3 feet back and quit stopping in the middle of hallways for no apparent reason.

Why do you have these things anyway?   Why are you carrying so much crap?    You don't need this much stuff.   Bring something you can carry - what is the most you really need?   Pen, paper, tablet if you have one and something to hold handouts.  You do not need to carry your whole paper file with all your research for all your family in it - nobody is going to ask you to whip out Aunt Bertha's death certificate!!!!

#2 Learn how to use a syllabus.   You do not need to write everything - that is why they go to great pains to get a syllabus to you.  This conference even put it on a DVD!!!    They KNOW that there are going to be lots of details ppl want - web sites, blogs, contact info., etc - it's almost like they prepared this nifty syllabus for you - which is 600 freaking pages - so that you don't have to write all this stuff down so you can pay attention.      Also - it contributes to #1 - Why are you paying an extra $40 bucks to have the 600 page syllabus printed for you - really? It's so convenient and searchable and easy to find what you want in a 3 inch stack of paper.

#3 Learn how to operate your devices.    TURN OFF THEIR NOISES!   That includes rings, message notifications, email notifications, the annoying click every time you take a picture of the slides that are already included in the syllabus (see above), and any other noise the make!!!!!

Now onto the fun part of the conference!    Even though I live about 45 minutes away - I'm staying at a hotel near the conference.   I have a "cheery" hotel room - it's all yellow and orange!   It is, however, a nice hotel and I am enjoying it.   I especially enjoy that I can get Starbucks latte's in the lobby - given that this conference is held on the BYU Campus - so no Coffee, Tea, or other caffeinated beverages are allowed!!!  If you know me - you know this is not my favorite rule!

The thing with these conferences - are that the Mormon church is very involved in genealogy - and this is not a bad thing.   But sometimes those involved forget that that there are reasons beyond submitting names for Mormon ordinances to be interested in family history.   I really find this annoying because so much of the public face and the theme for this year for Family Search is to find the story, yet at this meetings - I feel like ppl forget that part and its all about how many cards have YOU submitted for temple work?  I also think that sometimes ppl - both presenters and attendees forget that not everybody in the audience is a member of the Mormon church and there is no thought to explain what on earth they are talking about to this group of ppl.  

The break outs - so far - have been pretty good.    Here is what I attended today:

Using Records and the Internet to Find Ancestral Homelands:    This was an interesting session that covered the key immigration paths for people to enter the United States through.   Some good good web resources, and methods to use when researching.

Two Soldiers with the Same Name:  Which One is Mine?   This was a very interesting session that included several examples walking us through how easy it is to make mistakes and either find the wrong person without realizing it, or accidentally combine information from more than one person with the same name.     Some of the methods to discover mistakes were very interesting - and when I saw it in action - my first thought was:  "Duh... why didn't I think of that?"

Elementary, My Dear Watson!  Solving Genealogy Puzzles with Clues You Already Have:   This session was interesting - but the examples used were so specific - that many of the methods employed would not be all that helpful.    The examples included people that lived in very (VERY) small villages, and/or had very unique names.    This makes it easier to find information sometimes - where is is only a couple hundred ppl in a village, and you know what the village is - using brute force to look at every record in the church book is possible.   I didn't find anything helpful here to blow through either of my major brick walls - which is what I was hoping for.

Publish Before You Perish:  Leaving a Genealogical Legacy:   This was interesting - in that the presenter had some fantastic stories, but I have some pretty major philosophical differences on this topic.  I.E. when she said - paper will outlast digital copies of things like letters and pictures and records, I had to bite my tongue - literally.    The method she pushed - paper - multiple copies - provided to multiple ppl, and even better if you can find an institution such as a library or museum to take a copy too.     This view just kind of makes me sad.   The small part where she discussed digital records - she recommended sharing with ppl via CD's, DVD's and thumb drive.    Hello - welcome to the 21st Century - have you met the cloud yet??!!??     My own personal opinion on this topic - get it into Ancestry, get it into familysearch.org and get it on something like Google drive and share with any relative remotely interested.

Online Family Trees:  Separating Fact from Fiction:  This one opened a few eyes, but not much that I don't already know.    Ppl really really need to pay attention to these things!!!

OK - that is it for now - tomorrow is another - this one sounds like a less preachy topic, and 5 more break outs!!!!

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