14th Unlock the Past Cruise: Days 4-5 Paw Chocolates, Icebergs, a Whale and an Aurora...

Continuing on my report of the Unlock the Past Alaska cruise … and we’re up to day 4, and there was more exciting happenings! Monday – 10 September 2018 (Skagway, Alaska, USA) It was another super stunning weather day with blue skies all round. I heard a fellow cruiser say that they never expected to get sunburnt in Alaska … but they did! We docked at Skagway early and those on tours made their way off. Many went on long train rides which certainly was one way to see the place. I didn’t have any tour booked, so wandered ashore, then took a shuttle bus to the town for a walk around with my mum. To say that this town looks like it’s out of a western movie is an understatement. It really, truly does! You can totally imagine gun fights happening in the streets. Well I can anyway! One thing that fascinated me was the painted rocks near where we docked. They were painted with a ship name, and usually the captain and often a date. So there’s me thinking what a fabulous (but rather unusual), genealogical source they would be. Proof that your seaman captain was here at that date! Now if I could just find one that related to my seaman ancestor dating back to the early 1900s! Hmmmm. Anyway the town of Skagway was full of little shops, most selling jewellery (despite what the vintage sign outside said – obviously they were just for looks). I did find a little store selling chocolates, and each variant was a different “paw” type. I bought a few but then remembered I wasn’t meant to bring food back on board, so had to eat them quickly! As it was...

A Day and a Conference in Seattle...

Tuesday the 4th of September was the longest day ever (well for me anyway). I was up at about 3am, ready for a 6am flight – and my long trip to the US for my latest adventure began. After after 3 plane flights, bad food, and no sleep, 30 or so hours later, I was at my hotel in Seattle, USA. By this time it’s Tuesday mid-afternoon and a lovely blue sky day, much to my amazement … as my only prior knowledge of Seattle (other than that’s where Nirvana were from), was that ‘it ALWAYS rains’. I must say that I’m very impressed that I was proved wrong. Anyway I was there primarily for Unlock the Past’s Alaska cruise, which I will report on in a later post, but prior to the cruise I had two days in Seattle. So in this post I’m writing about that. Wednesday 5 September 2018 This was my “free” day. A day to sleep (which I reckon I needed), or a day to tourist. I opted for a bit of both. A quiet morning at the hotel, followed  by some touristing courtesy of the hop-on-hop-off bus in the afternoon – and another perfect weather day. While the bus has 18 stops or so I want to show you just 2 places I saw – the Space Needle and the Chihuly Glass Garden and Exhibition. Both were certainly something worth seeing. While I dd take plenty of photos, I found videos of both, which shows the scale of them far better than my pics do.  If you want to see more of the Glass Garden, click here for a longer video. For more on the Space Needle, check out this link. After...

Unlock the Past in Seattle Live … and Livestream...

If you’re lucky enough to live in (or near) Seattle, Washington, USA, and are totally into genealogy you probably already know about this event, and already have your tickets. But for the sake of those who don’t, please bear with me. Australia’s Unlock the Past are heading to Seattle for their Alaska genealogy cruise shortly, but before they board, they’re holding a one day genealogy seminar in Seattle with four of the world’s best genealogy speakers: – Blaine Bettinger (USA) – Cyndi Ingle (USA) – Maurice Gleeson (England) – Wayne Shepheard (Canada) The conference is divided into two streams with a total of 10 talks on throughout the day. There will be DNA, Irish and General topics, and Wayne Shepheard, author of “Surviving Mother Nature’s Tests: The Effects Climate Change and Other Natural Phenomena have had on the Lives of our Ancestors” will be talking about the “Genealogy and the Little Ice Age ” You can view the full program here. Now obviously, not everyone can get to Seattle, but you can pretend you are, as Unlock the Past have just announced that they will be LIVESTREAMING the conference, so you and everyone else around the world can tune in live (or at a later time) to watch the talks. And as they will be available to watch for a while after the event, for those in Australia you don’t have to stay up to stupid o’clock to watch. As I am going on the Alaska cruise, I will be at the Seattle conference, so will write about it in due course. But I hope that some of you take the opportunity to tune in and hear these world-class speakers as well. ATTEND IN PERSON: Cost: US$45 Date: Thursday, 6 September 2018...

2 Months Until Alaska … Are you Ready?...

The months are flying by, and there’s now just two months until we set sail on Unlock the Past’s 14th cruise to Alaska.  61 days allowing for the timezone changes. If you need proof … check my countdown app … So after flying to Seattle, Washington, USA and having a full-on genealogy seminar the day before … we’ll be boarding on the 7th of September. Myself and all the other geneacruisers then get 7 fun-filled days of genealogy learning combined with seeing the incredible sights that Alaska has to offer. Don’t you think that’s an awesome combination? The itinerary takes us from Seattle, to the Inside Passage, to Juneau, Skagway, and Tracy Arm, then to Victoria, Canada before we head back to Seattle. The ship we’re cruising on is the magnificent Explorer of the Seas from Royal Caribbean. Great ship, and great conference room facilities. So we have a great ship, great itinerary, and trust me it’ll be a great conference as the range of conference presenters is incredible. THE PRESENTERS Susan Brook (USA) – Chasing Your Ancestors Dick Eastman (USA) – Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter Dr Janet Few (England) – The History Interpreter Dr Maurice Gleeson (England) – DNA and Family Tree Research Jan Gow (New Zealand) – Hooked on Genealogy Tours Caroline Gurney (England) – Historical Research Services Shauna Hicks (Australia) – Shauna Hicks History Enterprises Cyndi Ingle (USA) – Cyndi’s List Eric Kopittke (Australia) – German Family Matters Rosemary Kopittke (Australia) – Rosemary Kopittke Genealogy Kae Lewis (USA / New Zealand) – Goldrush Online Mike Murray (Australia) – Time Trackers Michelle Patient (New Zealand) – The Patient Genie Pat Richley-Erickson (USA) – Dear Myrtle Teri Schaller (USA) – History Speaks, a division of Mile High Transcripts...

Genimates at Congress 2018...

One of the big pluses for me attending a genealogy conference is that I get to catch up with my genimates. Australia is a big country, and we don’t have many ‘national’ (big genie events), so therefore we don’t see each other often. But Congress brought people from interstate, and even some from overseas as well, and it was great to catch up with them all, and meet some others as well. Some who I’ve known through social media, and others I know of by name. As I was an exhibitor at Congress and didn’t get to any of the talks, I can’t write any report on those for you… but based on what the other geneabloggers have written they were awesome. GeniAus (Jill Ball) is collating a list of all Congress related blog posts, and you can check them out here. So for me when I wasn’t at my stand, I was off chatting to other exhibitors and asking them if they’d be kind enough to sign my autograph book (yes, I did take it with me), and also catching others for a quick pic when they were nearby. So my post here is simply pics of some of the genimates that I caught up with there. So Congress came, and Congress went. It was a busy 4 days. It was a fun 4 days. And let’s hope that a group takes on Congress for 2021, and then we’ll see you all again in 3 years...

Congress 2018 – It Begins...

Three long years after we were all in Canberra, and an even longer week this week (don’t ask, it’s a long story) … Congress (Australia’s big genealogy event) is finally here. It’s no RootsTech by any means. But then again NOTHING is like RootsTech other than RootsTech. But Congress is THE BIG genie conference for Australia. It’s the event that brings people from all across the nation, and even across the ditch, together to, as Mr Lonetester says, “geek out on genealogy” for 4 whole days. The conference began on Friday, so I arrived Thursday afternoon, which was timely as I was able to have a very lovely afternoon tea with my roommates (Helen Smith and Judy Russell), and then headed out to dinner with a bunch of others for a pre-Congress get together. It was great to catch up friends who I’ve not seen for ages, and make some new ones too. There was laughs, there was photos, and there was ribbons, beads and geniecards. Friday started early for me, as an exhibitor we had to get in early to set up! And even at that time of day (just on “light-o-clock”) the International Convention Centre (ICC) was packed. Was this a heap of eager genies? Well yes … but not that many. It turned out that there were a number of other events being held at the ICC on that day as well … an aromatherapy conference, a tattoo expo, an orthodontic conference and more. So yes, there were literally thousands of people around for a while, till all the events started. So after 2hrs of lugging boxes in, and setting up the our stand, the exhibition opened at 9am, and for a change we (the Gould...

#NotAtRootsTech, But I Want to Be...

The world’s biggest genealogy event, RootsTech, has just begun, but I’m not there. To say I’m missing it, and my friends is an understatement. Why am I not there? Well I did go in 2017, and there is a lot of sea between Australia and the US, so it takes time to save dollars for those big plane trips … not to mention that Congress (the big Australian genealogy event, but not even in the same league as RootsTech), is on the next week in Sydney … and I’ll be going to that. So I look at my Faceboook feed and see so many friends who are there enjoying the sights, sounds and catch-ups of it all. Sigh … next year! I will get there next year! Anyway, so what makes RootsTech THE. MUST. ATTEND. genealogy event for so many from around the world? For me it is the socialising. The breakfasts, the dinners, even lunch if you’re lucky enough to get some (yes, it gets that crazy). Even the drinks after the day has finished. It’s the time where you get to catch up with friends (and make new ones) from all around the world. It’s the time where you’re not racing from one talk to the next, or trying to make your way around the expo hall … but the times when you can just sit and chat to someone one-on-one or just a small group of people. I have made great friendships from meeting at RootsTech. Don’t get me wrong, there are many, many awesome talks, and SO much to learn from the awesome speakers. And the Expo hall is something like you wouldn’t believe. It’s a place that seriously takes days to work your way around it all,...

14th Unlock the Past Cruise: Alaska – 8 Months Away...

I’ll admit it. I’m a genealogy cruise fan (aka geneacruiser). I’ve been on 5 already with Unlock the Past cruises, and have cruised around Australia, the Pacific Islands, New Zealand, Scandinavia and the Baltic, and the UK. Not only have I seen some amazing places along the way, I’ve also learnt so much from the speakers onboard, and made many new friends as well. All in all, they are a whole lot of fun. Anyway this year I’m off to Alaska on what is Unlock the Past’s 14th cruise. And I’m just a little bit excited? Can you tell? I’ve even got a countdown app on my phone … and it tells me that as of today, there’s just 8 months to go. So what’s a genealogy cruise? Or more to the point I should say what’s an Unlock the Past genealogy cruise? Well, essentially it’s a genealogy conference on board a cruise ship. So just like a regular cruise you get your comfy room, meals included, entertainment onboard, and you get to sightsee along the way, but with a genealogy cruise, during the seas days you can attend a genealogy conference onboard, which sounds perfect to me. They have a whole schedule of talks planned, and you simply pick and choose any you’re interested in, and you can read, swim (ok, maybe not swim on a Winter-time Alaska cruise), chitchat over coffee with friends or whatever else the rest of the time. No pressure. And if you are travelling with non-genie family or friends, there is plenty of ships activities that can keep them amused while you’re busy conferencing with many of the world’s best. So the details …  WHEN: 7-14 September 2018 ITINERARY: Seattle, USA > Inside...

Get Ready for the Congress 2018 Experience...

Ok, so who’s ready for Congress 2018? – You’ve registered as a delegate – booked your accommodation – sorted our your travel to get there – got your tree all up-to-date, and on appropriate devices (just in case you get time to research, or even better, find a ‘cousin’ there) – you’ve got (and packed) your geniecards (I know you won’t forget those) – and now you are eagerly counting down the days … (there’s 118 days for those who were wondering) If you’ve done all of that, awesome! I love that you’re so organised, and so excited about it, but seriously you don’t need to read on, as this is really for those who haven’t booked and are still ‘thinking about it’. Let me tell you that Congress is not “just an event”. Personally I would call it more of an experience. I have been to RootsTech in the US (the world’s biggest genie event), and that for sure is experience, not that Congress is on the same scale, but still. There’s far more to it than just going to some talks. There’s the whole social aspect of it, either as organised ones or spontaneous catchups with a few people. Expect to meet a heap of new people, all who whole LOVE genealogy as much as you do. So trust me you’ll make a heap of new friends. And if you’ve been doing genealogy a while, you’ll catch up with others you’ve met before, or maybe just on social media. You can also check out what’s for sale from the bunch of vendors who will be there, and of course you’ll be learning from many of the world’s best speakers. You will be on a high the whole...

Counting Down to Geneacruising Alaska in 2018...

What’s better than a cruise? A genealogy cruise of course. Well, it is in my opinion anyway, and I’m already looking forward to my next one … Alaska. In September 2018 (7 September 2018 to be exact), Unlock the Past’s Alaska cruise will leave from the docks at Seattle, USA, and head up the coast for a 7 day cruise to Alaska and back. I have seen some amazing places on previous cruises, but I’ve not been to Alaska. But everyone who has, tells me it is absolutely incredible, so I’m looking forward to it. But then combine the amazing scenery with a phenomenal ship that has everything catered for, and a genealogy conference with world-class speakers … what’s not to love? So yes, I’m counting down! WHEN: 7-14 September 2018 ITINERARY: Seattle, USA > Inside Passage, Canada > Juneau, USA > Skagway, USA > Tracy Arm, USA > Victoria, Canada > Seattle, USA SHIP: Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas  COST: from AU$1471 (approx US$1100, GB£870) and includes all onboard accommodation, standard meals, taxes, gratuities and conference cost. PRESENTERS: Chris Paton (Scotland) Dick Eastman (USA), Dr Janet Few (England) Jan Gow (New Zealand) Caroline Gurney (England) Shauna Hicks (Australia) Cyndi Ingle (USA) Eric Kopittke (Australia) Rosemary Kopittke (Australia) Mike Murray (Australia) Mile High Transcripts (USA) Michelle Patient (New Zealand) Pat Richley-Erickson (aka Dear Myrtle) (USA) Helen Smith (Australia) … and more still the be announced! So apart from the awesome group of speakers, and meeting with a great bunch of other genealogists, there are still further benefits of genealogy cruising: – there are no meals to prepare (not even mentioning the incredible buffets on offer) – no housekeeping (your room is tidied everyday by cruise staff) – and you...