South Australia’s History Festival 2017 is Coming!!...

May is the month that all South Australian history-lovers look forward to, as it is South Australia’s History Festival, which really is just a month-long history-fest! To say that I was excited to get a copy of the SA History Festival program guide last weekend is an understatement. I’ll admit that I’ve already gone through it all (only once so far), and have put post-in notes on a heap of events, and even printed out a calendar for the month so I can keep track of what’s on when, and hope that not too many double up. South Australia’s History Festival is presented by the History Trust of South Australia, and it began its life as South Australia’s History Week back in 2004, and changed to a month-long event in 2011. This proved to be a good move, as it has grown in popularity every year since. And with over 600 events from 340 organisers this year, the interest continues to grow. With events held not only in Adelaide city, but also Adelaide Hills, the Barossa and rural regions of the state, even Kangaroo Island, more people are learning about the history of this beautiful state of ours. There’s an absolute overload of events on for history-lovers, and even non-history lovers. From talks and seminars, to guided walks, and bus tours. There’s workshops and exhibitions, open days at various places, and more. From making jam the old way, to walks in cemeteries and Adelaide’s old buildings. From learning how to create audio and visual presentations with oral history recordings, to learning the stories of South Australia’s pioneer settlers, seriously there is something for everyone. I have so many events I hope to get to, but unless I can take...

RootsTech 2017 – The People You Meet...

For me the best part of RootsTech is the people. Yes, were are many, many, MANY thousands of people who attended (around 30,000 they say), and no, I didn’t meet them all … but I did get to catch up with quite a number of friends, as well as meeting a bunch of wonderful people for the first time. This is a collection of photos of some of the people I met. Some were were taken at lunches, others at dinner, a number at RootsTech itself, and a few at after parties. Please note they’re in no particular order. Enjoy! As someone told me, “RootsTech brings us together from around the world”, and it’s true, with people from around 40 different countries attending this year. The geneablogger community, as well as the wider genealogy community is such a wonderful group to be a part of. So friendly and so welcoming. And thank you for allowing me to be a part of it. Well that’s all for RootsTech 2017 from me. But for a whole heap more reports, be sure to check out Randy Seaver’s compilation of other bloggers reports...

RootsTech 2017 – A Few Words From the Autograph Book...

Wherever I went during RootsTech 2017 (and even the few days prior), I made sure I had my autograph book with me. Putting it simply you just never know who you’ll meet, where. And that proved very true. I tried to make the most of my opportunities. I had such fun meeting people and asking if they’d like to sign my book. And surprisingly not a single person refused. All up I had 95 people from 11 different countries sign my book (Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, England, Ireland, Israel, Norway, France, Germany and Poland) which is awesome. And there’s so many beautiful comments that people have written, I wanted to share a few of them with you. Note for privacy reasons I have chosen not to include the names of those who wrote them. Thankyou for your wonderful friendship. Hope you are enjoying America and Utah. have fun hunting for your ancestors. Thrilled to have a visitor from so far. Thanks for making our day brighter. I always enjoy spending time with you, so this is a bonus. Have a wonderful RootsTech. Do you know the difference between inlaws and outlaws? Outlaws are wanted! We live as long as long as we are remembered – keep on remembering those ancestors! We’ll have to stop meeting like this – people will talk! Alona, so great to meet you. Looking forward to many more fun adventures here @ RootsTech 2017. To my genimate, Alona. So thrilled to be sharing the RootsTech experience with you once more. Happy ancestor hunting. I wish you the very best in your genealogy work – you’re quite the beautiful, energetic, friendly & vivacious personality. It’s so great that RootsTech brings us together from all over the...

RootsTech 2017 – An Overview...

RootsTech came, and RootsTech went. And that’s it for another year. It kind of reminds me of Christmas. There is so much excitement and buildup to it, then the crazyness of it all while it’s on, and suddenly it’s all over, and everyone heads on home, back to their own part of the world. And then the post-RootsTech blues set in. So while I can’t convey the whole vibe that RootsTech has, I’ll do my best by sharing a few pictures with you of my experience there. I’ll be honest I can’t give you any report on the keynote sessions, or even a single talk as I didn’t get to any. My RootsTech experience was in the Expo Hall. Since I went as an exhibitor, that’s where I hung out. Everything about RootsTech is BIG. Actually it would be more technically correct to GIANT. The venue (the Salt Palace Convention Centre) itself is massive. The banners were massive, the room the keynote talks were in is big enough to hold 10,000 people. The Expo Hall is the size of several football fields, with hundreds of exhibitors. It’s a massive event, unlike any other genealogy event in the world … and I know I’ve said it before, but if you EVER get the opportunity to go, DO IT! This quote did the rounds on Twitter, and it most certainly is true. “RootsTech is Disneyland for Genealogists!” The Expo hall not only had hundreds of exhibitors, big and small, there were also places to get one-on-one research, the comfy lounge chair area for the demo theatre, numerous mini-theatres within stands to learn more about something specific. You could get heirlooms valued, tell a family story in the ‘story booth’, get photos...

RootsTech 2017 – Behind the Scenes Set-up...

For most who attend RootsTech, they arrive, go to talks, and wander around the Expo Hall, but they may not realise just HOW MUCH effort goes into the event. As I work for a company that does organise genealogy events, I know that months of planning is required to make it happen. I also know that our events are not even comparable in any sense of the word to RootsTech, so I imagine that years of planning is what’s required for even just one of these. Just setting up the RootsTech Expo Hall is a mammoth task. With hundreds of exhibitors, there were probably over a thousand people who were busy for several days getting set up. And as an exhibitor (this time with Unlock the Past/Unlock the Past Cruises), this is a sight I’m familiar with, but figured most wouldn’t be, so I thought I’d share a few pics of the set-up. You’ll see crates, cases and pallets of supplies delivered, as well as forklifts, cherrypickers, and giant ladders everywhere. Not to mention the big team of people from the convention centre itself who have been busy laying carpet and making sure each booth has the right tables and chairs, as well as power. That’s an incredible job in itself! So for those who attend RootsTech, or even those who see photos of it from afar, you’ll see how lovely they all look (and they really do). Just take a moment to think of the exhausting amount of work that went into the set up, even before the exhibition opened! Next up three crazy days of...

RootsTech 2017 – Scenery, Socialising and Finding Ancestors...

Having arrived in Salt Lake City a few days ago in preparation for RootsTech, my time has so far been spent wandering around the city, catching up with friends (and making new ones), and researching. Not a bad way to spend my time, eh? Salt Lake City is gorgeous. I’ve say that each time I visit. It’s kind of like my hometown of Adelaide in South Australia in that it’s laid out in nice straight streets, so is very easy to find your way around. And while there was snow at SLC last week, and there’s still plenty on the mountains, so far there’s none here in ‘downtown’. But I did see some of the leftover snow, including piles of muddy snow, which was a new sight for me. Actually it’s been nice weather (cool but sunny) here so far, though rain is coming. The socialising part is half the reason I come. It’s when you get to meet and actually chat to others and aren’t rushed like you are when the conference is actually on. DearMyrtle’s “Monday’s with Myrt” hangout was broadcast live from the the Family History Library, and I took part in that, as well as meeting up with others I knew there who were there to watch and take part too. Monday night was Jill Ball’s Commonwealth Dinner, and this year 28 people (29 with Louis Kessler making a late appearance), from 4 countries (Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and New Zealand) made it which was awesome. It’s an informal thing, and that is what’s so nice about it. And it seems to grow every year. During dinner I caught up with some Canadian friends from last RootsTech, and made new Canadian and UK friends. Great...

RootsTech 2017 – Counting Down...

The countdown to RootsTech is most certainly on. In just a few days I’ll be heading to the wintery (and hopefully a little snowy) Salt Lake City, USA. I will be just one of the many, many thousands who will converge on the city, to attend the RootsTech conference, the biggest genealogy conference in the world. While most people go to RootsTech for the conference and will visit the exhibition, I will be attending as an exhibitor. For those who don’t know, I do work for Gould Genealogy & History (a retail/webstore company in South Australia), but at RootsTech I will be exhibiting as our sister company, Unlock the Past. So if you’re attending, please stop by, and say hello. So getting down to the nitty gritty of stuff to do, and what to pack … both Jill at GeniAus, and Pauleen at Family History Across the Seas have great checklists which are totally worth a look.  And while I’ve scanned over them, I did decide to write a little checklist for myself myself … General stuff … – Flights booked (obviously) – Travel insurance done (always a necessity) – ESTA (visa) done (so they’ll let me into the country) – Hotel booked (booked ages ago actually, but rechecked to confirm booking) – trip from airport to hotel sorted – Bank advised (you really don’t want a stop put on  your account while travelling) – Got some US dollars (I didn’t have to do this before I left, but decided to) – Got my watch out ready to take  in case my Fitbit decides not to change to US time – RootsTech app installed (not sure I’ll even get to look at it though) – Copied latest version of...

RootsTech 2017!

Well there’s literally only a month to go until the biggest genealogy show on the planet hits Salt Lake City, Utah! Held yearly, RootsTech has become one of the “must-attend” genealogy events for many around the globe. Each February thousands of genealogists converge on Salt Lake City, to attend this four day event. Organised by FamilySearch, the number of attendees has been around25,000 for the past couple of years, but they are expecting over 30,000 in 2017. And this year I’ll be one of them. When: 8-11 February, 2017 Where:  the Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA I’ve booked my flights, my accommodation, and paid my registration to attend, and can’t wait. This will actually be my third RootsTech, having attended in 2013 and 2015. Both of them were a whole heap of fun mixed with a whole heap of exhaustion. But I’ve made so many new friends from around the world, and had the pleasure of meeting many of the big names in the genealogy industry as well. And I look forward to doing it all again. So now you have the When and Where, but what about the Why? So what’s so good about RootsTech? – Well for a start there are over 200 talks you can choose from, as well as workshop classes you can attend. – There are celebrities like LeVar Burton, Buddy ‘Cake Boss’ Valastro, and the Scott Brothers who will be there to talk about their stories. – There’s an absolutely enormous expo hall, filled with hundreds of exhibitors. – There’s the Innovator Summit and Showdown, which features the latest and greatest in the technology+genealogy field. – There is a Family Discovery Day, so bring along the whole family! – You can...

The Australian Expo 2016: Geneabloggers and Sore Feet!...

It’s been a few weeks since Unlock the Past’s Australian History & Genealogy Expo, so I apologise for the lateness of this, but I’ve been playing catch up ever since. Anyway back on October the 7th and 8th, I was involved with Unlock the Past’s Australian Expo. This was South Australia’s first major genealogy event for a number of years, and it was the biggest genealogy event in Australia for 2016. As part of the organising committee it meant I was up at crazy hours all week getting things ready, not to mention getting to the venue by 6am on Friday morning ready to start setting up. Held in the sports centre at Immanuel College, Novar Gardens, it was a good venue – not too far from the city, not too far from the beach, and quite a lot of parking onsite … and Adelaide even put on awesome weather just for the event (unlike the torrential downpours it had in the weeks leading up to it). As I was there as an exhibitor (on the Gould Genealogy/Unlock the Past stand) it meant that I didn’t get to go to any of the talks which is a shame as there were a heap of fabulous talks … and from reports from those who did go, found them awesome! But that’s the life of an exhibitor. Instead myself and co-workers were kept busy super on our stand. So as I can’t report on the the various talks, or event other exhibitors as unfortunately I barely saw them, I shall tell you about the geneabloggers. I did manage a 5 minute break at Saturday lunchtime, and we got as many of the geneabloggers there as we could for a group photo....

Geneatrippin’ in 2017...

2016 has been a quiet travel year for me, and that’s partly because of a busy work year, but also partly as I’m already planning two big trips in 2017. UNITED STATES First up in February I’ll be packing my cases with all my winter woollies and heading to Salt Lake City, Utah, USA for RootsTech again. I went to RootsTech in 2013 and 2015 and totally LOVED it each time. For those who are unfamiliar with what RootsTech is, it is the world’s largest genealogy conference, with about 25,000 people attending. Held over 4 days, it really is non-stop genealogy the entire time. With so many talks to go to, an exhibition hall the size of several football fields – with hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of exhibitors, and then there’s the after-hours socialising – catching up with geniemates for dinner or drinks etc. (or even breakfast if you’re at the same hotel). It’s exhausting, but totally exhilarating, and I can’t wait! Any family historian will know that Salt Lake City is the Mecca of genealogy as it’s where the Family History Library is, so I’ve timed my visit to arrive a few days early, to get some research time in as well. I mean why would you travel nearly 15,000 kilometers (9000 miles) and NOT go there, right?   FINLAND My second big trip in 2017 is one that I’ve been wanting to do for so many years I still can’t believe that I’ve actually booked. For this one I’ll pack my bags, spend about 40 hours flying (that’s the not-fun bit), and end up at Helsinki, Finland for two weeks in their Summer time. Regular readers of my blog will know that I have Finnish connections...