Monday, September 9, 2013

Day 2 of Midwest Family History Expos

Day 2 of the Midwest Family History Expos:

First I attended James Tanner's "Family Tree has replaced the New Family Search. Are You Ready?". I wasn't quite sure what Family Tree was so this was good and I learned quite a bit. Family Tree is a "program" on FamilySearch's web site where there can be unified individual data, photos and stories, and sources from web sites. So Family Tree is a wiki. It is NOT YOUR family tree; it is EVERYONE's family tree. Everyone can make changes, but you get notified about people who makes changes on your people. You need a login and email to use this, but otherwise it is free. This was introduced in February 2012.

After that I attended two sessions on New York Research by Arlene Eakle. Since I am stuck on my client's New York ancestors, I thought I might get some help. Apparently New York is the hardest state to research as they appear not to have much online. And apparently Irish is the second hardest demographic to research (after African-American), and guess what? There are A LOT of Irish who immigrated to New York, including my client's! The first session focused on early 1700's Western New York research which didn't help me at all. The second session helped slightly more as she gave a couple of web sites that might help, as well as some Family History Center microfilms that might help. No revelations, and no huge New York web site I've been missing so that was a bit of a bummer. But maybe that means I'm thorough.

The last session I attended was James Tanner's Family Search Wiki. Those of us on #genchat had talked about the Family Search Wiki some time ago so I was already somewhat familiar with it. At that time, I had even made some small contributions to it. So I didn't learn as much at this one, but again this was not the presenter's fault. This was a packed room, so maybe I was the only one who didn't learn much. I did learn that Mr. Tanner is a moderator of the Wiki so if you make changes to Arizona and Utah, he is probably going to look at them. Of course, he says almost no one does research in Arizona, which makes sense when you think of the population that retire there.

So overall it was a good conference. I may not have always made the best choices in sessions I attended. There were 5 or 6 choices each time. Family History Expos gives you a CD of the syllabus for EVERY class when you register, which is worth it. About 300 pages of genealogy information on a CD is worth the registration fee, and if you want a printed copy then you pay extra. And I didn't win any prizes but maybe next time! It sounds like they are coming back to central Nebraska next year! Contact me if you have questions about this.

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