28    Jun 20110 comments

Jamboree 2011: Education, technology and fun

The Southern California Genealogical Society’s annual Jamboree is one of the best-run large regional events in the United States.  MyHeritage chief genealogist Daniel Horowitz and myself again attended and presented at this year's conference, held June 10-12, 2011, in Burbank, California.

Conference co-chairs Paula Hinkle and Leo Myers, in addition to their large team of volunteers, always make this an excellent experience.

Some highlights:

Some 70 genealogy bloggers – a record number at any gen conference - blogged, tweeted and Facebooked throughout the event, as well as participating in social events, including an ice cream party and a piñata smashing, among others.

There are many good sports among this friendly group whose conference get-togethers are like a family reunion. A blogger media island enabled the bloggers to continuously tweet and Facebook over the three-day event.

More seriously, there were outstanding sessions to attend, ranging from breakfasts to evening dinners and everything in between. Among those attended by Daniel and myself were:

  • A free Kids' Camp attended by many young people, including Boy and Girl Scouts.
  • World table discussion, where Daniel and I headed the Jewish table at two sessions, answered questions and directed visitors to many resources for their individual quests.
  • An informative breakfast presentation on using social media for societies by Thomas MacEntee, and
  • A full-day family history writers conference.

Read on for more details.

Continue reading "Jamboree 2011: Education, technology and fun" »

8    Jun 20110 comments

Back to the US

I’m heading back to the US for the largest West Coast genealogy conference - and the largest number ever of participating genealogy bloggers (70) – at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree 2011.

I just finished a short visit home after a long trip covering the East Coast. Here are some highlights of that trip.

At the end of March, I ran the MyHeritage.com booth at the Ohio Genealogical Society regional conference in Columbus. I reunited with old friends and colleagues, met new friends and also gave some lectures for local genealogy groups in Dayton and Cleveland.

The New England Regional Conference - in Springfield, Massachusetts – was next.  I tried to find the Simpson family, but it seems it was the wrong Springfield. There were some very interesting lectures and the opportunity to work on my personal research with a lecture about genealogy repositories in Romania and Ukraine. A later conversation with the speakers discovered some previously unknown resources.

David Ferriero and MyHeritage Chief Genealogist Daniel Horowitz

David Ferriero and MyHeritage Chief Genealogist Daniel Horowitz

Continue reading "Back to the US" »

17    May 20110 comments

Gen conferences: Information for all

Three genealogy conferences in two countries were on my schedule over the past 10 days.

Each conference provided food for thought, learning opportunities and practical information. Additionally, each event offered networking opportunities, and chances to meet others with the same interests.

On May 7, the Society of Genealogists (London, UK) held their Centenary Conference, a major event for this group founded in 1911. The world of family history and how we research hadn't changed much over the decades until rather recently.

Continue reading "Gen conferences: Information for all" »

9    May 20110 comments

New feature: Links We Like

Links We Like is a new feature of the MyHeritage Genealogy Blog.

We'll be providing periodic round-ups of interesting links to family history-related resources. These may be books, articles, personalities, new online resources and much more across the spectrum of family history.

So much happens that it is difficult for most readers to read everything that is out there, so we hope to help you advance your research by collecting links with information that may help.

And now for our first edition of Links We Like:

-- Searching your Irish roots? Ireland is helping families to understand the lives of their immigrant ancestors with three tourist attractions. These include the Guinness Storehouse's archives (if any of your ancestors were ever employed there), a replica of an 1847 famine ship and the Cobh Heritage Center. Read about them in an Okahoman article.

If you're trying to trace your Irish ancestry, these new interactive exhibits make getting to the root of your family tree both easy and fun.

-- Researchers often have trouble locating the maiden names of female ancestors. One Tennessee woman has discovered 11 generations of maiden names in her family tree. 

-- Readers in Charleston, South Carolina and environs will have a chance to visit the largest genealogy conference in the US, May 11-15, run by the National Genealogical Society. A Kids' Kamp is set for Friday morning as well as special Saturday sessions to help local residents improve their research skills. Click here for more information.

-- Roots travel is featured in the Wall Street Journal. While many of us use the Internet to trace our families, more and more family history researchers want to walk in their ancestors' footsteps by visiting ancestral towns.  Here are some tips on how to get started:

According to those in the field, a growing number of travel companies and genealogical experts are offering "ancestral" or "heritage" trips. Former emigration hot spots, including Ireland and Nova Scotia, have recently begun promoting genealogical records on government-sponsored tourism websites. And hotels and resorts, including the Lodge at Doonbeg in County Clare, Ireland, and the Sheraton Grand Hotel; Spa in Edinburgh, Scotland, have hired genealogists.

"Genealogy is almost trendy," says Elaine Bostwick, tour coordinator at Ancestral Attic of Carp Lake, Mich., which arranged for 42 genealogical tours last year, almost double the number five years ago.

-- Learn something about the Roma - known also as Gypsies - and their origins and migrations in this Times of India article.

The Romani gypsies in Europe trace their ancestry to the nomadic communities in India. During the medieval period, gypsies in India began migrating westwards because of incessant foreign invasions. From India to West Asia and gradually to Africa and Europe - that is, from Rome and Barcelona, they spread to France, Germany and England. They were initially called Egyptians; apparently Europeans believed that they came from Egypt and were travelling under papal patronage. Later, Egyptians was shortened to gyptians and finally the word 'gypsy' became the moniker for these nomads.

-- Do you live in Scotland and would like to learn more about family history? On May 14, there's the Tayroots Genealogy Fair in Edzell.  Some nine local and other history and genealogy groups will assist attendees. In addition to a lecture on the Guild of One Name Studies, an archivist will speak on old photos. Attendees are invited to bring their family photos along for identification. Admission is free.

“In the past people moved across the country following their trades or searching for work – so we often find that visitors in the East need information on the West!”

Let us know if these links have provided clues or suggestions for your own research. We look forward to reading your comments.

7    Apr 20112 comments

Leaving on a jet plane – again!

Just like one of the songs from "Barney," one of my children's favorite TV shows, I’m on a plane again, for my second trip to the US this year.

The genealogy conference schedule began very early in February for the 2011 genealogy tour – as I like to call it – at RootsTech, the first technology conference dedicated to genealogy, or perhaps vice versa.  Family Search achieved its goal to bring together genealogy users and the technology developers who produce the wonderful tools we all use to trace, save and share our family memories and data.

The event was unique, and also allowed us to see old friends such as DearMyrtle, Thomas MacEntee, Dick Eastman and Lisa Louise Cooke. It was also an opportunity to make new friends, such as Ami, A.C. and Joan Miller - just to mention a few of the bloggers present.

Continue reading "Leaving on a jet plane – again!" »

26    Feb 20111 comment

London: Who Do You Think You Are LIVE 2011

Who Do You Think You Are Live will welcome some 20,000 visitors over this three-day event.

Our MyHeritage team has been busy! The first day of the family history fair was Friday, and we were very busy from the minute the show opened. Today (Saturday) will be even more crowded.

Here's famous genealogy blogger Dick Eastman with MyHeritage's chief genealogist Daniel Horowitz as Daniel demonstrates some of our new features.

Blogger and podcaster Lisa Louise Cooke dropped by yesterday to record short segments with Daniel and myself.

Today is expected to be even more crowded than yesterday and many people are dropping by to learn about the software, family sites, memory card game and other features such as SmartSearch, SmartMatch and more.

I'm preparing for my talk this afternoon on creating online sites for ancestral communities.

On Thursday evening, Daniel and I spoke in a double session for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain. He spoke on SmartSearch, while my talk focused on genetic genealogy and DNA.

The MyHeritage team is very busy and includes Mario, Daniel, Robert, Laurence and mysef.

These conferences and fairs are always exciting, as we get to meet so many people. Many come up to us and announce that they are happy MyHeritage users. Others may have a small problem with a feature and Daniel is able to assist them, so they are also happy.

It's even more fun explaining about what we do to newcomers.

20    Feb 20110 comments

New Mexico: Taste of Honey

Talk about busy!

As soon as RootsTech ended, Daniel Horowitz and I flew to Albuquerque (New Mexico) to participate in A Taste of Honey, a community-wide education event, sponsored by MyHeritage.com.

Here we are at the MyHeritage display:

A Taste of Honey - 13 February 2011 - Albuquerque, NM

Genealogy is a popular subject here, even though there were many sessions on on completely different topics.

My presentation focused on Genealogy 101 - how to get started and, more importantly, why - while Daniel's presentation encouraged family history researchers to utilize all of MyHeritage.com's features.

Continue reading "New Mexico: Taste of Honey" »

20    Feb 20110 comments

RootsTech 2011: Fabulous first

This was the first year for RootsTech, a new technology and genealogy conference sponsored by FamilySearch.org, attended by some 3,000 people.

The Salt Lake City, Utah-event was described by some as "a candy store" for genealogists, genealogy bloggers and technology creators, developers and suppliers.

As it brought together technology people and consumers of family history products, it also provided opportunities for genealogy bloggers to  meet face-to-face with the movers and shakers.

Each day featured excellent presentations on many topics by well-known speakers. To see the speaker line-up, click here.

With so many exciting talks by industry leaders and speakers, it was hard to plan our days. MyHeritage Chief Genealogist Daniel Horowitz and I staffed the MyHeritage booth and were also scheduled speakers.

Continue reading "RootsTech 2011: Fabulous first" »

2    Feb 20118 comments

Family History: Learn from experts

2011 provides a great opportunity for family history enthusiasts and genealogists to learn from experts who might be visiting their communities.

MyHeritage's own Daniel Horowitz has a daunting tour schedule in the coming months, and I will also be speaking in numerous venues. We will both be speaking at the major genealogy events as well as staffing the company's booth.

We invite MyHeritage.com users to stop by and say hello at the conferences or to attend the other programs at the conferences.

We are especially looking forward to greeting our UK users at the upcoming Who Do You Think You Are? Live family history fair in London.

Here's Daniel's upcoming tour. His topics cover information-packed talks covering a broad range of topics - from MyHeritage features, technology, genealogy school projects, resources and more.

Continue reading "Family History: Learn from experts" »

28    Sep 20100 comments

MyHeritage: At a family festival

For two days, MyHeritage has been at a family festival with 50 computers and a team of 15 experts.

We are a major presence at this three-day event - the "One Family, Many Faces" family festival.

I spoke to quite a few families yesterday to learn why they visited to set up a family tree. The answers were interesting, as we all knew they would be.

This post originally appeared on the MyHeritage Blog (English), but here's some of it and a link to the complete

The team has been here for two days - a great experience - as MyHeritage is all about uniting families, whether it is discovering new relatives or building a family tree together.

Every computer and chair was filled about an hour after the festival opened (see photo above).

Crowds of people - families with many children - were learning how to start a family tree and how to begin researching their family history during 30-minute consultations.

This morning several families shared their stories:

Click here to read the complete post.

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