Sunday, April 06, 2014

Writing My Own History

I'm often wondering when I could 'make' time to write up some of my own personal history - not that it's been that exciting so far but there are certainly some things I'd like to make clear to my descendants and the odd thing or two I think I might be the only one to know about now - or, at least, the only one who can remember.

Reminiscing about my university days yesterday I was realizing I could likely start a good chunk of my personal history beginning...I remember when.

So just 'for fun' here are a few things here - (in no particular order at all).


Following John (Diefenbaker's) footsteps on a Vancouver sidewalk (perhaps to my mother's embarrassment. She was then pretty much a capital L Liberal, federally speaking, meaning for the national Liberal Party, and not Diefenbaker's Progressive Conservative Party).

When Vancouver area pedestrians crossed the street first, and vehicles had to wait

My first British Columbia history project

Thrills Gum! 

And later joining in the Nestle boycott

Nickel candy (I don't think I'm really old enough to remember penny candy.)

Vancouver fogs (Now known as pollution.)

When boys were boys, and girls (some anyway) were cross about it

'Party line' telephone service

When I was planning on having 6 kids

My son telling someone,'Mum reads even the small print'.

Thinking I might have been adopted

Gidget films

My first computer

When I had (and occasionally even signed) a nickname

Baking my first chocolate cake (it 'bounced'.)

Wearing a hat (and gloves) to church

My Grandma and Grandpa Rogers (I do wish I remembered them so much better though.)

Strawberry tarts at Woodward's store in downtown Vancouver

When my very favourite thing was reading (That's NEVER changed!)

Wringer washers

My 21st birthday present from my father (a bottle of Kahlua)

Getting a new outfit for Easter

Separate basement recreation areas for girls and for boys in school.

Singing songs from The Merry Widow while dancing out of Vancouver's Stanley Park after a Theatre Under The Stars show (1956)

Elevator operators

When my favourite colour was blue. (Before that, green; never pink.)

My dad answering the private business line as 'City Morgue'. Grandma Scott (my Na) didn't appreciate that!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Walter Scott - 52 Ancestors

This is a photograph of my great grandfather, Walter Scott (1827 Scotland-1892 Ontario, Canada), as identified by my grandmother, Amy Estella Scott. Private collection.

Since Walter Scott was my mother's paternal grandfather, but died before she was born, she was very interested in him and his family in Scotland. Mum knew some information but had a number of questions, about what happened to his brother John's son, for example, which I worked on early in my family history research. Many of these questions resulted in some interesting discussions and some great genealogy trips!

The interesting part (for me) was that Walter Scott had been granted a divorce from his first wife in 1877 in Canada, something my mother only learned accidentally as a young adult and never told me till I started researching the family when, as she said, "You'll find out anyway."

I have posted a brief summary and some other photographs of our Scott family on a Tribal Pages site, SCOTT family: Muiravonside, Dalmeny, Tushielaw, Galashiels, Grangemouth, in Scotland:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Rootstech - Day 4

Saturday, sponsored by Ancestry, felt different right from the start. Far more people were about, several thousand more in fact, and many of these were very young and carrying their new colourful day packs as on the left here. This gave the day an even happier, more energetic buzz, I thought.

Ancestry's introductory remarks at the Opening Session were few, and to me too close to previous DNA testing promises from Ancestry - spelling F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-O-N for many. The speakers though were Todd Hansen of the Story Trek TV programme and Stephanie Nielsen of NieNie Dialogues. Their talks were both quite emotional presentations meant to point out that "everyone has a story", and that ordinary people can do extraordinary things when necessary.

The first session I attended was Tim Janzen's on Using Third Party Tools to Help You Get More from Your DNA Test Results. Tim shared many, many examples and a number of genetic genealogy's other notables were in the room and contributed as well. A great session, packed with solid information. I did attend as many DNA sessions as I could fit in and this was certainly the most important one for me.

And as pointed out at the session, if you are interested in DNA testing for genealogy, think about attending the first Institute for Genetic Genealogy Conference this August in Washington, DC, USA.

Part of Ancestry's display area at RootsTech 2014.

After that came another tasty lunch, this time sponsored by the New England History Genealogical Society. My genealogical society subscribes to the NEHGS website, - such a useful research website. The talk was a well organized presentation on what's new with NEHGS on the web which I was very glad to listen to. I sent info home about the new NEHGS blog,, during the lunch.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society's display area, RootsTech 2014.

Next up was a talk on Using Mocavo by Michael Leclerc. This session was marked as for all levels, but as he said, his was a 1,000 foot view of Mocavo, more for beginners, but since I often use and recommend it, I stayed hoping to learn some tips and hear what's new.  I did get some tips, but Michael didn't let much slip about what might be coming. One strong message though was Mocavo's committment to add 1,000 databases a working day (each could be what I'd call one record, like a book, or a set) to total 5,000 a week.

A Developer's Challenge session had been announced at the morning's Opening Session. Although several of us were there on time waiting, nothing ever happened and I never heard or saw an explanation. Very, very disappointing. The attention given to the Developer's Challenge was much better than last year, but!

Consequently I did spend a bit more time in the Expo Hall (bought another book or two!) and watched a few presentations in the Demo Theatre. The Olympics were on many people's minds even there. And Canada was doing very well! Comfy seating in the Demo area (seen on the left) and free popcorn too,  all thanks to BackBlaze, the backup company.

The last presentation I attended was by Brandi Burns, on Using Prezi to Visualize and Reinvent Your Family Tree. I've played with Prezi a few times and was interested to see how someone else would use it. Brandi had a number of good ideas and showed a variety of options. Although Prezi wouldn't be good for all presentations, I can now envision using it for a talk I had in mind on our Swedish families. This session would be good as a lab as Brandi had originally intended.

Brandi's fun example, XOXO Boise, included a mention of bronc rider Mary Ellen 'Bonnie' (née Treadwell) McCarroll. I hadn't realized her first professional event was in Vancouver, BC, Canada where I live and I will have to have a look at the old Vancouver area newspapers to see what was said about her. I have a friend who is big on cowgirls. Perhaps she's done that research already?

But no doubt about it, Saturday's RootsTech highlight was the after party held by DearMYRTLE and Mr. Myrt and the family. A great international gathering of geneabloggers! Are you on Facebook? There are photos there to prove it. I was especially happy to meet Miriam Robbins, of AncesStories, who is from Spokane, Washington and another Northwest America blogger. She has a good photo of most of us on her blog.

The timing isn't the best for me, but I plan to see them all again in 2015, February 11-14, we hope along with our cruising blogger 'cousins' like Thomas MacEntee and Jill Ball.

Over the next few days I'll be sharing about some of the services and products I found most interesting at RootsTech 2014 and I'll be writing a summary of my overall impressions of the conference itself too.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Rootstech 2014 - Day 3

 The Rootstech fountain - now an accustomed spot for people to meet. Photographs in this post, M. Diane Rogers

Yesterday was a great day - from the very first moments - as Judy Russell (The Legal Genealogist) and Spencer Wells (The Genographic Project) were Thursday's opening speakers. Can't top these two!

Judy's energetic talk made her point that a family's oral history can be lost (or confused!) in just 3 generations unless we analyze it, document it and preserve it, (No, I didn't know the answer for her first question - what was your mum's first childhood illness - not even for myself (!) but I do remember Mum's story of the time her appendix burst and of the time I 'ate' her glass horsies. Those aren't written down, yet. but they will be very soon, Judy. I'm not sure if I could document my childhood 'accident' but Mum's I likely could as she was apparently in the hospital for a while.)

And Spencer Wells entertainly introduced his own family history and his reasons for becoming interested in population studies, explained the concepts, then took us on a whirlwind tour back to our very beginnings. And he saluted the new citizen scientists who are participating and funding in these projects, and have enhanced the research with their own questions and analysis.

I've signed up for a sponsored lunch each day. Wednesday's  was with Find My Past. I can say I liked it better than last year, but I'll likely write more later. I feel their 'message' is confusing to people. Great product(s), but then I've 'known' them as a consumer for years, and I don't need convincing. (Although I do have FMP questions I'd like answered!)  But FMP still seems to be an unknown quantity here in the US.  They have a lot to offer, and have had great success in English projects, with member groups of the Federation of Family History Societies, for instance, not to mention that their technical expertise has to be above the norm. Why not capitalize on that? (Maybe if they had relaunched in Canada first they'd be better known by now. Oh, wait, they'd have to learn French first. Maybe that's a problem. )

Thursday my lunch was with My Heritage. I do think this is the company to keep your eye on if you are looking for future trends, and I was not disappointed with the lunch talk. (Although it was hard to hear everything, and I don't think the speaker ever gave us his name?) More about this talk later.

The rest of the day went very quickly, a session on Google Analytics (webmistresses love Google!) and 2 labs, one with DearMyrt on Google Hangouts on Air (Google again!) and one with Lisa Cooke of Genealogy Gems on Flipboard. I do plan to use this for the British Columbia Genealogical Society. Later I attended 2 unconferences for on-line Facebook groups I belong to. So nice to really meet the people behind the photos.

Of course, I bought a few more books and the new version of Legacy which is my own main genealogy software now.

 Leland Meitzler of Family Roots Publishing, in his booth. Note the poster for his famous annual Salt Lake City Christmas Tour.

And I had a little chat with Canadian Louise St. Denis, founder of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies.  I'm thinking of taking an Australian research course or two, and she let me know fees with soon rise, so if you've been putting off taking a course, decide now!

 Louise St. Denis, at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies booth.

Looking forward to the last day, but sad too that this will all end on Saturday. Of course, many times, relationships and learning continue on-line later. We are very lucky in this day and age in that regard. Remember the meetings? One of those groups sprung up after a Rootstech conference and has been going strong ever since. And the other group grew out of the first one. (Sounds like family history, doesn't it?)

(And yes, I am numbering my days here counting from the Innovator's Summit!)

Friday, February 07, 2014

Rootstech 2014 - Day 2

Definitely a different feeling at Rootstech 2014 as many more people joined in. The halls were often packed! Everyone was smiling though.

The geneabloggers had a quick tour of the Expo Hall before the official opening. Here's a photo of Paul Nauta of FamilySearch showing Geneabloggers part of FamilySearch's own highly interactive display where visitors can record a personal story or phone home and record someone else's family story.

 The 'recording history' section of the FamilySearch interactive display, Rootstech 2014. Photographer, M. Diane Rogers

It was amazing to see how fast the Expo Hall displays took shape in the short time till the Hall opened. Lots of opportunities then to ask vendors questions, and in many cases to actually try out websites like Ancestry, Find My Past and My Heritage, Mocavo and the like, getting search tips from staff.  It's really true 'you never know what you might find', it seems. I use these sites regularly, and while checking out the Mocavo booth, I entered a few of my (better) names and found something I never noticed there before. It may be really new as Mocavo is adding thousands of records a day apparently; I made a note to check that out further later.

If you know me, you'll know I was heading for the books pretty quickly and I did buy a few over at Maia's Books, including the newly released Board for Certification of Genealogists Genealogy Standards manual. Like many, she was offering conference deals, something to remember if you attend next year. I'm angling for a sale priced FamilyTree DNA test for Valentine's Day!

Maia's Genealogy and History Books booth, Rootstech 2014. Photographer, M. Diane Rogers.

Randy Seaver is keeping a list of all the Geneabloggers' Rootstech articles here at GeneaMusings. Do check those out. Everyone has a different perspective. Of special interest to many, will be the Ancestry Insider's report from the intimate breakfast that he attended. (Yes, the Insider is a real, and not an always invisible, person.)

Thursday, February 06, 2014

RootsTech 2014 - First Day!

Just a quick note this morning. Lots of excitement as today is the first day of RootsTech 2014! I'm leaving soon as we geneabloggers will have a sneak peak at the Expo Hall before the official opening. The Expo Hall is big! And full of exhibitors with products from cloud services to software to genealogy databaxes and sites, even books! FamilySearch will be there, of course, and, Find My Past and My Heritage, but there are many smaller companies too, including the finalists for the Developer's Challenge.

FamilySearch will be featuring the new Indexing programme and giving all a look at the new software that's coming. And for FamilySearch, this is the Year of the Obituary and so on and off today a special person, the pirate Captain Jack Starling, will be promoting obituary indexing. Obituaries are treasure troves to genealogists, after all!

Lots of opportunities to see new (and old) things demonstrated, record a family story or scan some photos, and purchase some new software, a souvenir, or some books. (Yes, 'real' books.)

Almost ready - let's see: phone, portable charger, name tags, my postcards to hand out, lunch ticket, water bottle, purple blogger beads! Yes, I'm good to go!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Get Ready to Watch Rootstech 2014 From Home!

Over at the British Columbia Genealogical Society website: I've posted the Rootstech 2014 streaming session schedule and information links as we did for last years' conference. You will be able to watch fifteen streamed sessions for free at home starting tomorrow; Wednesday, February 6th, 2014. Handouts for all sessions can be downloaded free now. You'll only miss out on the beautiful snow here in Salt Lake City, Utah.

There will be lots of news on Facebook about Rootstech too. Look for Rootstech 2014 posts and the hashtag #Rootstech there as on on Twitter - and follow the Twitter messages on the BCGS website. You do not need to be signed up to Twitter to see these, just follow this BCGS link above to read what people are saying from and about Rootstech. Many of us will be tweeting live from conference sessions so you will get a real sense of what's going on even in sessions that aren't being streamed. If you are on Facebook and / or Twitter, ask questions and comment as you watch at home. 

And if you want to know more about using Twitter, after you've seen how it works for Rootstech, then come to one of our BCGS Twitter for Genealogy sessions this month. Also free! Just see the Twitter class registration info on the BCGS website.

Photograph, Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah, February 2014, M. Diane Rogers.