I LIVE for This Kind of Learning! RootsTech 2022 has ended … sort of.

RootsTech 2022 is now officially over … well, not really!

It is still possible to watch classes, review what happened on the Main Stage, you can still visit vendors tomorrow, and there are Relative Connections to make (you have to register for a free account at FamilySearch – but it is SO worth it!), and so much more.

I think I spent about 9 to 10 hours online today – live presentations, recorded classes, practicing where to look in the various DNA sites (how many tabs can you have open on your computer!!!), and listening along as I tried out some of the sites and offerings that were shared.

While ALL of the classes, vendor presentations and Main Stage offerings were great, I have to give a shout out to Roberta Estes at DNAeXplained who gave a series of presentations on finding out if you have Native American DNA and from whom, a sequence of DNA presentations that showed how to use the various companies’ (Ancestry, MyHeritage, FamilyTreeDNA, FamilySearch, etc.) DNA and family tree tools to help you with your research. She had a great presentation style and offered a lot of information – and I’m STILL working through all those open tabs on my computer!

And, while I’m exhausted and my brain is about to explode, I am SO happy that I dedicated myself to this time for the last three days. While I miss everyone in person in Salt Lake, the learning and comfort of doing this from home was not something that I would have passed up. SUCH a great gift for ME! I figure that I’ll be learning for a while, doing more with the tips, tricks and resources that were shared, and I’m really happy with the time spent.

Yes, your story and that of your family matters – please take the time to share it! Make a video, a book of ancestry, or share pictures from an ancestral location. I have such a deep appreciation for what I learned …. and I hope that if you are reading this, you will make every effort to research and share your family’s history.

After a bit of rest and processing, watch for more as I grow in understanding what I learned … I have TONS of ideas and websites to go through and analyze on my family. Wish me luck!

Whew …. BUSY Day at Roots Tech 2022

RootsTech 2022 – SOOOOO much to do, see, learn!

What a day! The Friday of Roots Tech is always a busy one for me – I’ve been to RootsTech three times in person and as a presenter. The last two years of course have been virtual which certainly saves on costs but the learning is still a bit overwhelming! There are SO many courses – over 1,000 in English alone! And I know there were hundreds in other languages – French, German, Spanish, Polish … I don’t know all of them, but truly a bit overwhelming.

So today I watched the live Main Stage sessions and learned about peoples’ journeys in their own families; I learned about the upcoming additions to some of the popular websites to help us with our DNA, building our family trees, learning about how to find the origins of our families, and SO much more. My brain is about to explode!!

I’ve taken notes, printed out items offered by vendors, tried my hand at some of the DNA tools that I heard about from classes, took time (while I listened) to add to my own family tree and figure out some next steps. And I spent ‘way too much time sitting in this chair at the computer when there was actually sunshine outside – but I couldn’t help myself. THIS. IS. WHAT. I. LOVE. Gads, I can’t get enough.

OK, so it’s time to get to bed and get ready for tomorrow – the “last” day of the event. That’s for the “live” content – as the class recordings are available to us for a while and I plan to take advantage! So … bedtime……

Babies are always cute sleeping …. me, not so much!

ROOTS TECH 2022 is ON!!!

Roots Tech 2022 is on, open ….. ready, set, GO!!!

SOOO excited, I can’t stand it! Yes, Roots Tech 2022 – FREE and VIRTUAL – is open and there is much to do, see, hear and experience.

FIRST – Pace Yourself! Here’s a marvelous post from Miles Meyer that I found to be really helpful (thanks, Miles!) – you may want to check this out: https://milesgenealogy.blogspot.com/2022/03/rootstech-2022-day-1-pace-yourself.html?fbclid=IwAR3bbDsaAn0A5ltCL11NRrkRW0CJ_kgvXwHp5dJmkv2OY0bgS5kIobfifes

Some easy explanations on Miles’ page that will help. AND be sure to go through each days’ offerings and create your own list of presentations to watch, Keynotes, Main Stage and the Expo Hall. In the Expo Hall there is an opportunity to not only learn so much, but also an opportunity to win! Yes! If you visit 20 booths and do a variety of activities (chat, watch a video, explore their presentations), you can be entered to win a prize. It’s fun AND an opportunity to get more.

As an Influencer (that’s the title for those of us who are writing and sharing about our experiences at Roots Tech), you will see posts from me every day with my thoughts about what I’m hearing and seeing. My first experience was to check out the Expo Hall and the sponsor booths. Did you know about all the cool stuff at the Family Search site? Yes, the site – the one that you can access from home, put your family tree on, find documents and SO MUCH MORE!!!

https://www.familysearch.org/rootstech/expohall/familysearch

Exploring around this site, you can watch a bunch of great videos, learn about new features on the FamilySearch website (amazing stuff … I hadn’t been on it in a while and WOW!) and find out about your family in new ways. I checked out “Where am I from?” and “Famous Relatives” (yes, I’m related to royalty!! ) and there is also the really fun Roots Tech tool “Relatives at RootsTech” which helps you to meet your relatives who are signed into the RootsTech event – showing your relationship to them (check it out here) – I have 9,045 relatives today and I know from previous RT experience that it will grow! SOOO Cool!!!

Well, I’m off to do more exploring! Join me?

IT’S LIVE – RootsTech Connect 2021 has begun!!!

Find cousins, check out the Expo Hall vendors, take classes and see Keynotes!

IT’S LIVE – IT’S FREE and it’s going to be awesome!!! There are over 500,000 (YES, you read that right!) from all over the world – 226 countries and counting! There are well over 11 languages for presentations but there are people representing WAY more languages in the world that are participating.

This is EPIC!! While RootsTech has been the largest genealogical conference in the world when we could meet in person at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, going virtual and FREE means that anyone/everyone, in whatever timezone or location – as long as they can register (FREE – here) and have internet access – can listen to classes, Keynote speakers, find cousins and so much more.

Here are some recommendations:

First – check out the Home page (https://www.familysearch.org/rootstech/rtc2021) where there is a video presentation to help you figure out what to do at RootsTech Connect – where classes are, the schedule of Keynote Speakers, how to find relatives and more.

Second – Look at the course offerings and save them in your own list, called “My Playlist” – and …. wait for it …. the HUNDREDS of pre-recorded sessions are available now … FOR A YEAR!!!! Yes! Fill your Playlist with everything that you want to learn and take you time looking at them. However, for those of us who are speakers, if you want to use the Chat feature to reach out to us, you MUST do that during the event – today through Saturday! Then that feature closes. However, all of us (at least as far as I know) have attached PDF handouts to our talks and those have our website and email information. Please reach out as we are happy to help!

Third – Look for cousins! I have over 5,000 cousins and growing, now that it’s open and live! It’s called “Relatives at RootsTech” – and you MUST have a FamilySearch tree to participate. But look at all of the cousins who are registered that you can connect with! Save a copy of how they connect to you to use perhaps to break through that brick wall you’ve been working on. You can “friend” them and then maybe meet up during RootsTech to talk about family, records and more!

Fourth – Have fun! The Expo Hall is FULL of vendors wanting to connect with you, join Chat rooms to learn more or connect with speakers, ask questions. When you are on the RootsTech site there are people there to help you too! In the lower right corner of your screen is a button CONNECT (white with red) that will get you to someone live who can help you if you get lost.

Wow – take advantage of the whole thing!!! There is much to do, many to connect with, lots to learn and it’s just day one!!! Have fun!

New Ancestry and MyHeritage Tools Announced!!

Wow, could the genealogy world have received more exciting news than the latest updates in technology and the use of DNA?! Both Ancestry and MyHeritage announced here at RootsTech, that they have developed new tools and techniques to help genealogists find their families!

New AncestryDNA tools
If you haven’t seen the improvements on your own AncestryDNA, you will want to click on the Extras tab in the black bar at the top of your screen. A drop-down menu appears so scroll down the menu and select Ancestry Lab.

You will see the new design, color-coding, custom label options, and other new tools allowing you to sort, group, and view your DNA Matches many ways. You can create up to 24 custom family groups with custom labels (and there are some labels that they offer), assign a color and apply to your DNA Matches. Here’s a picture from my page:

The filters are different (you lost the ability to filter by geography or region) but gained some new items:

And from DNA Circles (a version of triangulation that groups those who share a common ancestor and matching DNA) to ThruLines, where relatives are suggested and you may find connections in a new way.

Instead of DNA Circles – check out ThruLines …… I saved screen shots of my DNA Circles, but I’m still exploring this new tool so I may find no need.

Not to leave out the new developments at MyHeritage, here’s a great easy image of what they are offering us – really fun! A version of other methods we’ve been learning ……

Look familiar??

I’ll admit to be both overwhelmed AND excited about these new tools and I’m still exploring. No dinner out here at RootsTech for me tonight – playing with this is on my agenda!!!

A Day Focused on DNA – RootsTech Day 3!

The double helix of DNA

Today’s theme for me here at RootsTech today is DNA!!! It began early – a “Power Hour” with Christi Lynn Jacobsen, Dana Leeds, and Diahan Southard – You CAN Do DNA. An excellent and well-taught overview of why DNA is important for genealogists. They used great examples, kept it simple and honed in on the important points. Of COURSE! They are all professionals working with DNA for years, so they have explained it over and over to clients. Great job!

Dana Leeds explaining the Leeds Method of color-coding your DNA matches to create clusters.

Then a series of classes with Blaine Bettinger (found out he’s my cousin! Well, it’s pretty distant – 8th cousin – but that matters, right?!). He too, a long-time professional with DNA, offered two presentations – the first on Essential Considerations for DNA Evidence, explained the pitfalls and potential issues in working with or utilizing DNA evidence to find family relationships. He is great with explaining complex information in easy-to-understand terms. His second presentation – Chromosome Mapping Tips and Techniques – shared about the DNA Painter tool and how it can be utilized with data from FamilyTree DNA, GEDMatch, 23AndMe, and MyHeritage (not Ancestry). Step by step, Blaine led us through the reasons to do chromosome mapping while also giving advice and his own experience about what works best. VERY helpful!

Blaine makes DNA understandable, easier to consider when doing genealogy. He explained DNA Painter (below).

My brain is fried – and NOT because the presenters didn’t do an awesome job of explaining DNA and using it with “paper” genealogy. It was just a lot to take in but I am so energized to dig into this when I return home. Very exciting way to help me make some potential breakthroughs in my family research, and to offer to clients in my Lineage Journeys work.

Ethnicity, Race and Pie Charts

Yes, it’s the new year … and how many DNA testing kits did you get as a gift? Yes, it’s a current fad and yes, it is also fun. But let me help to frame some of the issues with DNA, genealogy, testing, ethnicity vs. race and those pretty pie charts.

First, I’m a genealogist AND a scientist. I have two degrees that stress the importance of data, replication as a tool of quality and refinement, and control groups and more. And I value documentation, and proof – more than one document that provides information confirming or refuting what another document says, and a “reasonably exhaustive search” – a standard of utilizing everything that we can access to prove/disprove facts.

Second, let’s be clear – DNA testing is in its early stages. Yes, it has come a VERY long way from the 1980s when it was first used with genealogical information, and tools now available to us is far more extensive, detailed, scientifically-based that ever.

And third, there is NO biological basis for “race”. From a chemical, DNA, or cellular level, we are all 99% the same and we share chemistry, DNA and cellular structures with bananas, trees and other living things. We are carbon-based organisms that have evolved over millenium. To state, because of DNA data, that we are a particular race is just wrong – scientifically, genetically, socially and otherwise. There are plenty of research-based studies and writings that trace every human living on the planet back to Africa…..thousands and thousands of years ago. AND those pretty pie charts – with percentages and lovely colors – stating this or that percentage of DNA from Western Europe or the Iberian peninsula or wherever …. that information is based on a testing database of samples that place the same or similar DNA in a particular geography at a point in time (most of the DNA sites will offer that this ancestral DNA is from approximately a 500 to 800 year old time frame).

So, to keep it simple, if you decide to use the DNA test kits (please at least be sure to use the companies that work very hard to maintain scientific standards, privacy rights, testing protocols and ethics – these are Ancestry, 23 and Me, MyHeritage, FamilyTreeDNA, and FindMyPast), there are some things to consider: 1) Please know that virtually everyone will get a surprise from their results. It may be as simple as “I didn’t know we had Scandinavian ancestors!” to as emotional as “My dad isn’t my dad??!!!” Yours truly is working her way through what a really big revelation means, so don’t take this lightly. 2) The pie chart is the LEAST of it! The database that is used for the testing is always growing and changing, refining and developing. I’ve already seen as least two updates that have changed my results – in the first one, I was Ashkenazi Jewish, then from the Iberian peninsula, and now it’s Scandinavian. The Scandinavian one actually makes sense as I know that my ancestors (from the years of doing research in the paper trails my ancestors left) were from Normandy – a region of France heavily impacted by Norman or Viking invasions … hence “Scandinavian”. THE most important part of your results is the COUSIN matching!! You will find people related to you through the DNA that you didn’t know about (I found someone a half hour from my home!) and you will have a really fun time getting to know them! Trust me – the COUSIN CONNECTION is the BEST part of DNA testing. 3) Follow the instructions. It’s easy, and perhaps a bit yucky, but it’s important. The science is built on a clean sample and your results will make sense. 4) AND know that there is a paper trail that will help you to sort it all out, with lots of helpful people to show you how to look at what you find in your results.

And don’t let anyone tell you what RACE you are – because they can’t! The results can tell you a bit about where geographically your ancestors traveled through on their way to where you are today. It will tell you a bit about ethnicity – the culture of our families, such as customs, favorite foods, holidays, dances and music, clothing styles, and possibly eye and hair colors. The testing information is based in finding clusters, clumps of DNA that reappear over and over again in a particular region, geography, locality in people in that area. I know, for instance, that on my mom’s side, our people were Native, French-Canadian, and Scottish because – and this is important – others with our similar DNA were from these identified groups because of records, documentation, and more. But it doesn’t tell me WHICH tribe, or WHERE in France or Scotland, or that level of detail. At least yet …. as more and more people are tested and can document specifics about these ancestors, we can begin to narrow down migratory trails, immigration routes and track back into time.

So please look beyond the pretty pie charts. Take time to look for the paper trail that your ancestors left to find out about their lives …. their religion, foods, homes, jobs and what made their lives worth living. You are the product of pairs of people who had a relationship that created a child …. I was going to say “pairs of people who loved” but I know that many children were born of affairs, rape and incest. In the context of their lives, the child lived and had children ….. down to you. Think about the blessing of two parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, 16 great-great-grandparents, and more going back into time. Learn about that and don’t worry about whether they wore kilts or lederhosen, a sari or animal skins … find a cousin and learn about your common ancestors’ lives and the courage, stamina, and strength that helped them to thrive. Let me know if I can help ….

RootsTech 2019 – CONTEST for a PASS!!! Enter now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As many of you know I again have the honor of being a Speaker AND an ambassador for the RootsTech 2019 Conference. It is the largest genealogy conference in the world! What an opportunity to see amazing speakers plus be surrounded by those who appreciate the hard work, joy and fun that comes from researching your family’s story.  People who will listen to you talk about your research and NOT have their eyes glaze over – tee hee!!!!

One of the benefits of being both a speaker and an ambassador is that I get to grant one of my lucky winners a FREE 4 day pass to RootsTech to be held from February 27 through March 2, 2019 (a $299 value)!

Pass includes the following:

  • Over 300 classes
  • Keynote/General Session
  • Expo Hall
  • Evening Events

Pass does not include the following:

  • Transportation to and from Salt Lake City, Utah and/or the Salt Palace Convention Center
  • Lodging and Food
  • Paid Lunches
  • Paid Labs

If you have already purchased your ticket, please still enter! You will be reimbursed your ticket price. A great chance to WIN!!!!

To enter my giveaway??  Please just provide your email on my website Lineage Journeys!!!   I will randomly draw a winner’s name from the submitted emails (if you are already following my blog and have submitted your email, just let me know that you want IN!) – drawing on Tuesday, October 30th!  The winner will be notified by email (and then I want to talk with them!) and everyone else will find out here in a post.  So sign up to win!!!!  Yes, YOU!!

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!