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.
While the world today knows all about the tragic aftermath of the earthquake in Japan, there were a few days when we were in the dark - literally.
We attended a conference in Colorado last week. After a five-hour drive through magnificent scenic vistas ranging from desert to snow-capped peaks, we had only a few hours to prepare and get to the venue.
The conference was busy, our colleagues focused on presentations, and we had not obtained Internet connection codes due to the heavy schedule. There wasn't time to read a newspaper or turn on the television - we were in a cocoon where the outside world didn't exist.
Finally, after two days, we managed to get online to check email, and we saw the terrible news about Japan's earthquake and the immense suffering of the people.
As a former Californian who has been through a few earthquakes, but nothing as bad as what the people of Japan experienced, all those thoughts came rushing back. The shaking, rocking and rolling is hard to describe to those who have not experienced such tremors. I can't imagine what it feels like to go through an earthquake of that magnitude, and our hearts, thoughts and sympathies go out to all those impacted.
No matter where you live, at some point you may be impacted by a natural disaster, be it a hurricane, earthquake, tsunami, blizzard, flood, rain storm, tornado (or cyclone) or fire.
How do you prepare for such an event which can forever change the lives of inhabitants in a certain place?
To prepare for such disasters, contact local emergency organizations for lists of what families should keep on hand - just in case - as protection of life is always the most important element.
In addition to protection of life, we also might think about protecting our precious family possessions, such as photographs and research.
How can you protect those items against loss?
There are various methods. Scan photos and documents to CDs and send copies to relatives who live in other areas. Photograph family objects and distribute those copies. Prepare copies of family history and supporting documents and send them to relatives in other areas. No matter what happens where, copies of your research will be available.
While we all need to be prepared to protect our lives in the face of a possible disaster, take some time now to protect your research.
Here are two questions for readers:
- Has the earthquake in Japan changed the way in which you will personally plan for a possible disaster?
- What have you done to protect your research?
I look forward to reading your comments.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Did your ancestors receive treats of whale blubber as a Christmas delicacy?
If they did, they must have come from Greenland.
Learn more about holidaycustoms around the world - which may be quite different from your experiences. It may help you understand your ancestors' traditions.
Santa Claus - who has many names - doesn't always wear his traditional red suit, fly around in a sleigh pulled by reindeer, or pop down a chimney.
In Hawaii, he wears a red Hawaiian shirt, and arrives in an outrigger canoe, with elves in aloha shirts.
In some countries where the main religion is not Christianity, there are also interesting traditions.
When we lived in Teheran, I was surprised to see that one could buy Christmas trees, and many stores sold all types of brightly colored lights and decorations. There was a large Armenian community (both Protestants and Catholics) along with Iranian Nestorian Christians.
In India - in the former Portuguese colony of Goa - there are nine days of fireworks and parties to celebrate the Wise Men's arrival. Christians and Hindus celebrate together on January 6, the Feast of the Three Kings. Young boys from prominent families are chosen to play the kings, wear bright costumes and ride in on white horses.
Some other traditions: