Sunday, September 8, 2013

Review of Midwest Family History Expos

This last weekend I went to the Midwest Family History Expos. It seemed like a smaller crowd this year, and maybe a few less presenters, and a few less displays. No one was selling shirts or bags. I wore my "I seek dead people; I'm a genealogist" shirt on Friday and several people commented on it. I could've ordered these from the company and sold several! Note to Fun Stuff for Genealogists (.com), please come next year.

Okay so here is what I picked and attended. At least my genealogy friend from my town who also attended only picked one of the same ones I did!

1. Friday afternoon: Since I have a Flip-Pal Scanner, I started with Philipp Mayer's presentation "How to use the Flip-Pal Scanner to Document your family in 5 easy steps". This course was marked "all levels" but should've been marked as beginner. Anyone who has owned and used their Flip-Pal pretty much knew what was in this presentation. So I didn't learn much, other than I need to update my software and what one accessory does. I don't think this is the fault of the presenter; he did a fine job.

2. Next was James Tanner's "Exploring the Resources of MyHeritage and". I went to many of James' presentations as I liked them and I usually learned a lot or at least something. Last year I went to his library presentation which was very informative so I thought I would learn a lot from this one. I was right, as I didn't know much about MyHeritage. MyHeritage has family trees from all over the world in 40 languages, and it has things like smart match, super search and record matches. It sounded like full access costs about $200 a year but it might be worth it if it finds ALL your Findagrave matches in your tree, etc. I think it could be better than Ancestry. I'm going to have to check out MyHeritage. I did download the app while in the class but need to use it.

3. After supper, I took in another of James Tanner's presentations "Setting Goals to Focus Your Research". This was marked as "Experienced" and I'm nearly positive I was the youngest one there, so the others probably wondered HOW I could be "experienced". Well I never got lost, so I think I was in the right place. Some of these tips were familiar, but some were new. The main one I have trouble with is "work on one family at a time". I tend to bounce around, but sometimes I work on one family line one day and another the next so I think that's what he meant.

4. Last on Friday I went to Arlene Eakle's "Basic Sources 1775-1815" class. She mentioned how this is the toughest time period and gave some helpful hints on the order to find records and strategies. For the most part I agreed, other than she says try marriage records first and census records second. I nearly always start with census records as access to them is usually easier (less expensive too). Maybe she can find a lot of marriage records online but states I research usually require ordering them. I enjoyed her class too, although some of this was probably familiar to me.

That was day one. Hopefully I will blog about day two tomorrow. If you want to know more about the presenters, Arlene Eakle has a web site with her blogs, and James Tanner blogs and is on Twitter (@genealogysstar).

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