Honoring Passover and Easter

How is this night different from all other nights?  One of the four questions of the Passover Seder …. While I’m not Jewish, I am reflecting on this weekend beginning with Passover tonight and its story, and what I have learned about the Seder from dear friends who have shared some of the traditions and foods of this important event.  As a genealogist, I’m recognizing that in the long history of my ancestors over thousands of years, I have Jewish ancestors.  My AncestryDNA results also indicate that I have Ashkenazi Jewish heritage – a low percentage (<5%) indicating a distant connection – but nonetheless, it doesn’t surprise me as early Christians were Jewish.  And, because of my Eastern European DNA, it is likely that it comes from there.

So I’m celebrating the beginning of an ancient commemoration.

Earlier this month, we celebrated the spring Equinox, honoring our relationship to the Earth, the changing of seasons and our Native heritage, family and friends.  AND I will be celebrating Easter in my faith community and with mom on Sunday.  

Whatever your beliefs, faith tradition or thoughts about all things spiritual or religious, wishing you the beauty and freshness of the spring growth, earth awakening and return of green grass, baseball and flowers.  May you have love, peace and beauty in your life!

What Death Notices Might Be Used For

For those of us “of a certain age”, membership in AARP gives us access to their great publications.  In the recent AARP Bulletin, an article entitled Death Notice Double-Cross https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2018/scams-using-obituaries.html provides a perspective that we genealogists need to think about and talk with our families about.

As many of us, when a loved one dies, write (either ourselves or with the help of a funeral home) an obituary that often contain birth date, death date, names of family survivors and more information about the deceased’s life, there is an opportunity for scam artists.  As genealogists, we find obituaries to fill in gaps in  information that we otherwise haven’t found.  A mother’s maiden name, birthplace of the deceased, names of descendants and more are usual items that I know have helped me personally in looking for ancestors in our family.  However, the AARP article cautions against using these pieces of information in obituary notices because of the potential scam opportunities.  While those of us still living and mourning a loss want to honor a lifetime (and I can admit to wanting to document their life for future family historians),  there are immediate concerns here to consider.  Scams of course are becoming more and more creative and brazen.   There is good advice here!

Perhaps the answer for us in these modern times is to consider how and where we share this important information.  Maybe consider sharing the deceased person’s age without giving the birth date or place.  Don’t provide mother’s maiden name or the address of the family.  And maybe provide instead what the person’s great works were or the legacy of the volunteer roles they had – items that enrich what is known about a person.  My concern about this is that the incredible value to us in the obituary, as family historians, is often the information that is only source of some key pieces of fundamental facts of birth, marriage or death.  As a researcher, I’m dealing with obituaries well out of the reach of scammers, but protect yourself in the present so that there isn’t an additional story of sorry if a scammer takes advantage of your loss.

French-Canadian Migrations into the Midwest and Beyond

The time is coming soon – the National Genealogical Society’s Family History Conference is coming in May 2018!!  Can’t wait – AND I’m presenting two sessions:  French-Canadian Migrations into the Midwest and Beyond and Native, First Nations, Indian: Research Indigenous Peoples.   Here’s the recent post from the NGS Blog – http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/french-canadian-migration-midwest-beyond/R

The French-Canadian session is Thursday, May 3 at 11 a.m. and the Native session is Friday, May 4th at 4 p.m..

Registration is open AND volunteer positions are available – you can get in free to the conference, based in how/where you volunteer.  There is information here to guide you …. http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/volunteer/  There are opportunities still available and the vendor hall is open to you as well, where you can learn about new programs, mobile apps, obtain books and software and network with other family histories, speakers and professionals across the field.

Join me?!  And please be sure to find me and say hello!

Arrived at RootsTech … wow!

OMG …. this is AMAZING!!  RootsTech 2018 … I made it and I’m so excited!!!

While it is just Tuesday night, I’m attending the Media Dinner, sponsored by FamilySearch, and an opportunity to get an advance look at what will be happening during the week.  In addition to being an Ambassador ( you post stuff on social media), as a Speaker and participant, I want to be “in the know” about it all as a First-Timer!!!

Meeting up with friends is a big, fun part of the conference and having some time to settle in was great.  The lines, while long, at registration moved fast AND I got to go to the really short (no one ahead of me!) VIP line to check in.

Then the Media Dinner!!  Some tools here at the conference are the overall conference app – guides you to the workshops, helps with what is in Expo Hall, and more!  You can see a list of attendees and connect with them if you are tracking someone down …. and who the keynote speakers are, where there is food, the day’s happenings, alerts and more!!!

A REALLY fun thing this year – using your family tree from FamilySearch to link to all of the attendees at the conference who have linked their trees – and you get a list of everyone attending who is your COUSIN!!!!!  OMG!!  I have over 200 people here who are related to me (mostly through my French-Canadians!) and I’ve reached out to see if we can meet …. stay tuned for possible pictures of “Cousin Connections”!!

We saw a teaser film of Relative Race too!!!  It’s from BYU TV … while you can get it easily here in Utah, the rest of us can view it on Google TV and other programs that pull from around the country.  The show is based on four teams of two family members.  They provide their DNA which is tested.  Family members from around the country then are found and the teams are given clues and maps (NO GPS allowed!!) to find the locations of relatives in the United States and must drive there the fastest to win.  When they knock on the door at the address provided, the person that opens the door is a previously-unknown relative!  It kinda got me choked up watching it as some of the meetings were very impactful.  I’m looking for this when I get home!

Well, that’s it for day one at RootsTech 2018!!!  Watch for more!