The 24-Hour Genealogy Webinar Marathon is on Next Week

The 4th annual 24-Hour Genealogy Webinar Marathon is coming, and it’s on NEXT WEEK, for those in the northern hemisphere is on 13-14 April, for us down south, it’s on 14-15 April! Pop in for a session or two, or stick around for the full 24 hours – it’s completely up to you. And thanks to MyHeritage and Legacy Family Tree Webinars, the entire event is free.

It begins on Thursday, 13 April, at 5pm EST (US time), which translates to Friday, 14 April, 7am (Sydney time), and runs for 24 hours.

Over that period there are 25 presentations from so many well-known genie presenters, including some Aussies and New Zealanders, and the talks cover a wide range of topics.

To make life easy for you, I’ve put the whole schedule below, with both the US time, and the Australian (Sydney) time. But if you’re in a different timezone, use a timezone converter tool, such as Time and Date, or others similar.

Legacy Family Tree Webinars writes …

Just like every year, the entire event is completely free and open to all. You can attend just a few of the webinars that interest you most, or challenge yourself to attend all 25 lectures back to back! Live Q&As will take place during the lectures and there will be door prizes available as well.

Can’t make it in real time? No worries: all sessions will be recorded and made available for free during the week after the event. Beyond that, you can always find them and view them anytime when you purchase a membership to Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Eastern Time (US)Sydney Time (Aus)SpeakerTitle
Thu, 5.00pmFri, 7.00amMichelle LeonardSolving Unknown Parentage Mysteries with MyHeritage DNA
Thu, 6.00pmFri, 8.00amDaniel HorowitzSpanish & Latin American Records on MyHeritage
Thu, 7.00pmFri, 9.00amPaul MilnerLiverpool: The Central Hub for Northern Europe’s 19th and 20th Century Emigration
Thu, 8.00pmFri, 10.00amJanice NickersonThe Secret to Finding Your Ancestors’ Stories
Thu, 9.00pmFri, 11.00amMevin J. CollierThe FAN Club Methodology, DNA, and Genealogy Lead Back to Lunatic’s Plantation
Thu, 10.00pmFri, 12.00pmThomas MacEnteeGenealogy A to Z: A Trivia Adventure
Thu, 11.00pmFri, 1.00pmGena Philibert-OrtegaAncestral Ink: The Social History Behind a Tattoo
Fri, 12.00amFri, 2.00pmMichelle PatientWe Remember: Researching, Remembering and Commemorating Those Who Served
Fri, 1.00amFri, 3.00pmFiona BrookerSlow Down – Planning Your Research
Fri, 2.00amFri, 4.00pmKinga UrbanksaPolish cemeteries online
Fri, 3.00amFri, 5.00pmFran KittoThere is more at MyHeritage than family trees and photos
Fri, 4.00amFri, 6.00pmHelen V. SmithTo Have but No Longer to Hold: Divorce in Australia
Fri, 5.00amFri, 7.00pmShauna HicksAustralian indexes online for family history research you might not know
Fri, 6.00amFri, 8.00pmAndrea BentschneiderDifferent calendars in German genealogy
Fri, 7.00amFri, 9.00pmZbigniew StettnerUsing MyHeritage to research Polish family history and to find living relatives in Poland
Fri, 8.00amFri, 10.00pmNatalie BodleUnearthing the Treasures in the Irish Registry of Deeds
Fri, 9.00amFri, 11.00pmJudy G. RussellWhen Enough is Enough
Fri, 10.00amSat, 12.00amNicka SmithGiving Them Their Glory: First Kansas/US Colored Troops 79th Regiment
Fri, 11.00amSat, 1.00amLisa A. AlzoTell Better Family Stories with MyHeritage
Fri, 12.00pmSat, 2.00amJill MorelliScandinavian Moveable Feast Days Explained
Fri, 1.00pmSat, 3.00amUgo PeregoAn Introduction to Investigative Genetic Genealogy
Fri, 2.00pmSat, 4.00amMichael D. LacopoThe “Forgotten” Immigrants: The Swiss to America
Fri, 3.00pmSat, 5.00amJ. Mark LoweFinding the Original Record When the Index is Unclear
Fri, 4.00pmSat, 6.00amCyndi IngleOff the Shelf: The Unexplored Potential for eBooks in Genealogy
Fri, 5.00pmSat, 7.00amElizabeth Shown MillsElusive Ancestors: Never Too Poor to Trace


So what are you waiting for? Head to the 24-Hour Genealogy Marathon page on Legacy Family Tree Webinars, and click on the talks you’re interested in and ‘register’. Remember it’s free, and if you don’t get a chance to watch them live, you still have 1 week afterwards to watch it free. Alternatively take out a Legacy Family Tree Webinars membership (it’s only US$49.95/year), and you’ll get to watch all of these whenever you choose, along with over 1900 others.

My “Mad March” Begins Early

Here in South Australia we have a term called Mad March, which basically means that there are so many events going on throughout the month of March around the state, that it really does get crazy, hence the term “Mad March“.

In reality I avoid Adelaide city during March as it is chaos, and just too busy for me … however tempt me with genealogy and that’s another thing, and now my February and March calendar is booked up.

From not having travelled much in the last year or more – suddenly I have three trips almost back-to-back over the period of about a month. I’m excited, but exhausted before it starts. But looking forward to it all.

First up I’m off the the United States to ROOTSTECH. It’s been three years since I was there, and I’ll be awesome to get back there and catchup with friends, meet new ones, have a big long wander through the exhibition hall (getting everyone’s autograph of course), and going to some talks as well. It’ll be a fun, exhausting four days of conferencing. Bring it on!

Shortly after I get back, I’ll be heading off on UNLOCK THE PAST’S 17TH CRUISE to Tasmania. It’ll be nice to not have to travel prior to heading off, as this one leaves from Adelaide, then goes and visits Kangaroo Island (that’ll be nice to visit there again), and then on to Tasmania and back. Cruising for 8 days with great genealogy speakers and friends on board, it’ll be a wonderful conference, and great to see the places along the way. I just hope I’m not too jet-lagged to take it all in.

And then shortly after I finish that, I’m heading off to Brisbane to help out at the BEYOND BMDs conference featuring Else Churchill and Alec Tritton. They are the keynote speakers from the UK who are on the cruise, but after finishing it, they are doing a mini-tour afterwards, and I’m heading to Brisbane to help out at the seminar there …

… and by then we’re pretty much at the end of March!

Like I said it’ll all be fun, but it’ll be busy, and I’ll totally be playing catch-up when I’m back on South Australian soil.

And I promise I’ll report on it all when I get a chance.

Getting Ready for RootsTech 2020

So the “end of year crazy season” has been and gone, added to that Australia’s insane bushfires, the Christmas that didn’t happen, as well as New Year – it’s no wonder I haven’t even bothered to think ahead to my upcoming trips until just a few days ago, and I have suddenly realised that there’s only 5 weeks till I leave for the US to go to RootsTech, and only 38 days till it starts. Seriously how did that happen??

So I actually sat down and got to work on listing what I need to do before heading off to the airport.

Before I get to that, let me start off by saying that in my 30+ years of going to genealogy conferences (I started young thanks to my family’s business), this will be the VERY FIRST time I will be going as a delegate, rather than an exhibitor … and I must say it feels very, very weird! Anyway I know I’ll enjoy it, and I look forward to going to some talks, and catching up with friends.

So here’s a list of some of the things I came up with (in no particular order).

1. Downoald RootsTech app
This one I have just DONE! Woohoo, one thing cross off my list.

2. Look at app
I have started looking at it, but I’m going to need more time to browse through the 300 or so talks, shortlist those I’m interested in, then go through the big list of exhibitors. Or I could just wing it and get to what I do!! We’ll see …

3. ESTA (immgration visa)
Before I do either of the above I really should do my ESTA application, as that’s needed to allow me to get into the US. For this I just need to head to US Customs & Border Protection website (, fill in the details, pay their fee, and I should have it soon afterwards.

the Family History Library, Salt Lake City

4. Research
I’m actually going to the US a couple of days early. Partly so I not so jet-lagged when RootsTech starts, but also hoping to get a day or two of research in at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City (ie. you know, the Mecca for genealogists), so I need to work out what I want to research and come up with some plan, or else I really will just be wasting my time.

here’s what I was researching at the FHL, last time I was there, in 2017

5. Research – part 2
In reality I’ll probably pick up the research I did when I was these 3 years ago. But I need to find it, review it, and work out specifics of what else I’m looking for. Oh an enter it into my genealogy program. That’d be useful if I actually did that.

6. Autograph book
I must buy a new autograph book. Every RootsTech that I’ve been to, along with a few other major events I’ve attended, I’ve taken an autograph book for people to sign in. And being the introvert that I am, I have used it as a way to meet people, as well as creating a wonderful record of those I met there.

7. Accommodation
I booked my accommodation probably about the middle of last year (you need to book SOOOOO early to stay at the hotels near the Salt Palace), but it’s always best to double-check they have your booking prior to arrival. So I must send them an email to check this.

8. Weather
I must check the temps for Salt Lake City. It’s wintertime over there now and they usually have snow (they did this week), so no doubt it’ll be cold. But after having so many 30C-45C summer days here in my corner of Australia, anything in the 20s now feels cold to me … but I also know their buildings are hot – so wearing layers is always the way to go. Still I’m going to have to dig deep, and dust off my winter clothes I think.

9. Shoes
Comfy (and preferably warm) shoes are an absolute must. The Salt Palace is HUGE and from past experience I know just walking around the exhibiton hall you NEED comfy shoes, let alone going from one end of the building to the other for talks!! So I must head to the shops and get a new pair of sneakers.

There’s plenty more little things I can think of, but this will do for this list. As it is the research part will keep me busy between now and when I leave anyway.

As life has been a combination of busy and tragically sad, I can’t say I’ve been in the mood to get excited about going … but I’m starting to now. I’m really looking forward to catching up with friends from around the world, and meeting others for the first time.

I already feel that it’ll be a week long party of catch-ups and exhaustion, but that’s all part of it, and I will have 24 hours of flying (3 flights) to get home, to try and catch-up on some sleep.

And for those not going to RootsTech, while you don’t get the catchups, you can still enjoy and learn from the talks, as they have just announced their Virtual RootsTech Pass. So for US$129 you can watch 30 sessions from your own home. You can check that out here.


DNA Down Under … an Event Like No Other!!

Welcome …

August has been a big month for me. As part of the organising team for Unlock the Past’s DNA Down Under roadshow, myself along with the others have been busy with the preparation and attending these events.

DNA Down Under truly was an event like no other in Australia. For a start it was an event that went to 6 Australian cities, 5 of which were full one-day events (Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Melboourne), and Sydney which was a non-stop 3-day event. It was also the first ‘DNA only’ genealogy conference to be held, and from the reaction, attendace, and comments – this is just what Australia needed. It catered to everyone from the “I haven’t even tested yet, what will DNA show me?” through to the very advanced genetic genealogy topics.

I made it to three venues: Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney – so I know it all, right? Ha … I’ll admit I didn’t get to a whole lot of talks even over the three venues, which is the downside of being an organiser and exhibitor. Still I did manage to get to some.

Anyway there’s no doubt about it, there was a vibe to DNA Down Under that I haven’t noticed with other Australian conferences apart from the last Congress. People were so excited, they were counting down the days – and I don’t believe that they were disappointed.

Baline Bettinger with the new edition of his book

Blaine Bettinger (aka The Genetic Genealogist), speaker, author, Facebook group convenor, DNA guru, and all round great guy – Blaine has an incredible knack to be able to teach everyone in a room the basics of DNA without losing them with scientific jargon. Not an easy task. There’s no doubt that DNA is a big topic, and I have sat through numerous DNA talks before, and I have seen many walk out at the end more confused. However these talks, not so. People were so excited because they now ‘get it’, and were so eager to learn more.

A quote I noted from the Blaine’s “Introduction to DNA” talk was “use DNA to confirm or support your research”. In otherwords DNA is not a replacement for traditional research, merely an added tool you can utilise, and a powerful one at that. He said that if a major new record set was to suddenly be discovered, genies would go crazy using it to add and verify their current data. That’s how you should think of DNA testing.



the best introduction to DNA talk … ever!


Blaine was just one of a fantastic group of presenters who taught people about the various aspects of DNA and genetic genealogy including: the myths of DNA testing, how to interpret your results, how to use GEDmatch and DNA Painter, finding matches, using DNA to solve old family mysteries, as well and genetic genealogy standards and ethics and more! There was even a few special talks in different states: Perth was lucky enough to have the Producer of ‘Every Family Has a Secret’ show talk about that, while Sydney had talks from the Police Forensic Department, along with other talks on adoption, genomics and more!

Apart from everyone being able to understand the basics of genetic genealogy and DNA testing, one other thing that struck me were the ethics talks. The topic wasn’t new to me as I’ve heard the amazing Judy G. Russell talk on the topic, but I think it was an eye-opener to so many, with so many facets to consider.
– we need to inform testers of the risks BEFORE they test
– we should get consent from testers in writing
– we cannot transfer data to a different site without their consent (ie. take an Ancestry DNA test, but then also upload those results to GEDmatch and/or MyHeritage DNA)
– if you are managing a test for someone, before testing ask if they want to know about any ‘surprises’ or ‘unexpected results’ if they show up
– respect the wishes of those who don’t wish to test
– respect the privacy of those who have tested (ie. don’t share their results with others)
and a whole heap more!!

Louise Coakley spoke on the topic at most of states, while Blaine covered it in Sydney. Thanks to both of them, many have gone away much wiser and now understand the potentional ethical and legal ramifications of what DNA testing can mean.

not suprising, this talk was packed!

The last talk of both Day 2 and Day 3 in Sydney were panel discussion. The first was on DNA Ethics and again this brought up lots of interesting (and thought provoking) questions (and answers) from the panelists.

The second panel discussion was on DNA: A Look at the Future … again very interesting, and as someone said, it’d be interesting to have that recorded and play it back in 1-2 years time, and see what has and hasn’t happened in the ever-changing DNA world.

the panel L-R: Michelle Patient, Helen Smith, Brad Argent, Blaine Bettinger and Louise Coakley. Chaired by Kerry Farmer.


One of the best parts of a genealogy conference is meeting friends – old and new. This happened to some degree at the one-day events. After an intese day of learning, some stayed and had dinner together, but it happened a lot more in Sydney with three days for people to catch up! And of course there was the geneablogger photo is Sydney.

Official geneablogger photo, DNA Down Under Sydney
Back Row L-R: Susie Zada, Janelle Collins, Fran Kitto, Melanie Dunstan, Chez Leggatt, Kerry Farmer
Middle Row L-R: Patsy Daly, Sue Wyatt, Heather Clarey, Shelley Crawford, Pauleen Cass, Veronica Williams, Fiona Tellesson, Margaret Moxon, Jennie Fairs, Shauna Hicks, Judy Lofthouse, Maggie Gaffney
Front Row L-R: Sharn White, Alona Tester, Helen Smith, Blaine Bettinger, Jill Ball, Lilian Magill
Other geneabloggers at DNA Down Under Sydney, but who missed the photo: Maureen Trotter, Michelle Patient, Jan Gow, Louise Coakley, Diane Smith, Jenny Joyce

You know you’ve been to a good conference when everyone leaves absolutely exhausted, but also so disappointed that it’s over. There’s no doubt that was so many of us at DNA Down Under – particualarly after Sydney. But you also know it’s been a conference when people are asking when’s the next one. To that one I say … maybe 2021 … so stay tuned!!

There’s so much more I can say about the conference, but plenty of other bloggers have written as well, so take a moment to read those if you get a chance. But here’s just a few photos from the conference.

DNA Down Under Brisbane [photo credit: Alan Phillips]

the crowd in Adelaide

and Sydney is READY. TO. GO!!

I got a front row seat

pic with my ‘big sis’ and roomy, Helen Smith

awsome to catch up with these lovely ladies
L-R: Shelley Crawford, little ol me, Jill Ball and Shauna Hicks

I finally got a photo with Blaine!!

Alan Phillips, the organiser, and man who made DNA Down Under happen
[photo credit: Dorothy Arms]

love these bags!  [photo credit: Dorothy Arms]

Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques Facebook Group – click here
The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy – click here
Shared Centimorgan tool – click here
International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) – click here