RootsTech Presentation: ‘Facts, Photos & Fugitives – Using Online Newspapers’

Are you attending the upcoming RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, 3-6 February, 2016? If so, be sure to check out tomorrow’s genealogy presentation:

  • Title: “Facts, Photos & Fugitives – Using Online Newspapers”
  • Speaker: Scott M. Spencer, GenealogyBank VP, Customer Experience
  • Time & Place: Wednesday, February 3, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM, Room 155D
montage of newspaper articles

Source: GenealogyBank.com

Objective: Newspapers are one of the most underutilized resources in family history research – and yet they can be one of the most valuable. Attendees will learn more about how newspapers can take them far beyond the names and dates of their ancestors by enriching their research with unique stories and details that can only be found in newspapers.

Whether the challenge is overcoming a brick wall or learning more about the life of an ancestor, this class will teach you practical tips on how to discover articles of all types including birth, marriage, death, military, passenger lists and more!

Participants will hear inspirational stories and learn about the more than 7,000 online newspaper titles, published from 1690-today, in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives – while walking away with knowledge and resources that will allow them to immediately begin making discoveries of their own. Examples will be taken from www.genealogybank.com.

Uncover the facts…

Newspaper birth, marriage and death notices provide much more than just a name and date. They can often provide more information than a vital record itself. Learn tips and tricks on how to discover these on your own.

Discover the photos…

In addition to names, dates and other facts contained in articles, newspapers provide invaluable images of our ancestors, their homes, and the towns in which they lived. Come see examples of photos you can find in newspapers.

Find the family fugitive…

Newspapers contain a treasure trove of stories and details that helped shape the lives of our ancestors, some of which may have involved a run-in with the law. Learn how uncovering the past by using newspapers can help you understand the future.

Are you attending the RootsTech Genealogy Conference?

GenealogyBank is helping to sponsor the upcoming RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, 3-6 February, 2016. If you’re attending, come visit us at booth #523 to discuss genealogy in general, or any specific questions you have about your own family history research.

For more information about RootsTech, visit the website at: http://www.rootstech.org/?lang=eng

Related RootsTech Articles:

Genealogy Conferences, Such as RootsTech: What to Expect

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this blog article, Mary – who has attended many genealogy conferences – provides some tips to prepare for and enjoy the next genealogy conference you attend.

Are you planning on attending the upcoming RootsTech genealogy conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, 3-6 February, 2016? Or perhaps another genealogy conference later this year? If so, this article provides some tips to help you get the most out of whatever family history conference you attend.

Photo: RootsTech genealogy conference

Source: RootsTech.org

There are a few pilgrimages diligent genealogists take. Among them are:

  • Visiting cemeteries
  • Touring ancestral homelands
  • Researching at renowned libraries
  • Researching at state and national archives
  • Attending national genealogy conferences

All of these are exciting options, but the last choice is high on my list. Genealogy conferences are always exciting to attend. My experience is that they leave me refreshed and enthused about tackling portions of my family tree that need to be addressed.

If you’ve never attended a genealogy conference, this list is typical of what you can expect:

Preregistration

Register early, so that you can take advantage of early bird discounts. Information may be sent electronically or in the mail. Hotels may fill too, so if you wish to find one in close proximity do not delay. Many attendees reserve rooms a year in advance. They also reserve special events, such as dinners and classes.

Registration

Once you have arrived, get in the appropriate line to register. You’ll be given a name tag or other ID to get you into the event and exhibits. Some provide a holder and strap so it will hang around your neck.

Name Tags

If you subscribe to, or are a member of, a well-known genealogy organization, you may be given labels to attach to your credentials. Don’t be surprised to see people adorned with a half dozen or so examples of genealogical bling (i.e., things to attach to the name tag).

The Keynote Speech

The opening gathering will feature one or more keynote speakers. This is where you’ll hear first hand what’s on the mind of the great minds.

Not every keynote speaker will be a genealogist – but expect someone prominent. It may be a historian, CEO or renowned author. Sometimes there will be more than one, so arrive early to get a good seat. Sometimes you will be treated to exciting announcements and information about the latest trends affecting family history research.

Handouts

Most national conferences offer a syllabus. It may be printed, recorded on a DVD or thumb drive, or downloadable in advance. If you are fortunate to receive it in advance, do your homework so that you can decide which presentations you wish to attend.

Speakers are required to create their handouts well in advance, but occasionally there will be changes. Be prepared to take notes and gather any additional materials within each setting.

Presentations

This is where you’ll have to make some tough decisions. Smaller conferences may require you preregister for a presentation, but larger ones generally do not. The more popular speakers will be placed in the larger rooms. Many fill up and doors may be closed promptly once they reach standing-room-only capacity, so do not be late.

Regional Considerations

Some conventions follow themes. Others offer in-depth looks at regional issues, which is a real boon if held in an area of ancestral interest.

Classes

To come up to speed on a special topic, look for a class. Some are elementary and others are at the advanced levels.

Generally, classes are taught by accredited or certified genealogists who are at the top of their field. Some may charge for classes and most require preregistration. My recommendation is that the price is generally worth it if you want to become knowledgeable in a topic.

Families, Languages and Ethnic Considerations

Some conferences are limited to specific age groups, but a growing trend is to include family-friendly days. Genealogy is also becoming more diversified, so don’t be surprised to see programs with a multicultural approach or even in a foreign language.

Entertainment, Tours, Parties and Dinners

Entertainment and tours of local venues may be offered. I’ve been treated to choirs, scanning demonstrations and tours of industry headquarters. These can be a highlight of your event.

Not everyone will be invited to invitation-only parties. However, if you are an officer of a prominent organization or well known in your field, you may receive an invite – so pack proper attire.

During the day, there will be a limited amount of food for purchase in the exhibit halls. A nicer option would be to attend a banquet or dinner with a speaker program. Reservations will be required, as well as advanced fees. Many sell out early, as attendees tend to find these enjoyable.

Vendor Exhibits

One of the most fun places in a conference is the exhibit hall.

Here is where you will network with known and unknown companies, watch sales demonstrations, learn about the newest and greatest innovations, enter drawings for freebies, and purchase books and other materials.

You never know whom you’ll run into on the floor. You might just meet one of your favorite bloggers, an interesting author, or the CEO of a well-known genealogy company.

Closing Presentation

Due to flight schedules and long drives home, many elect to miss the closing ceremony – but if possible, stay to the very end. There are often interesting recaps and information that was not shared earlier. And don’t forget to go back into the conference hall. Vendors may not wish to take everything back with them!

Conference Tips

  • Take comfortable walking shoes. The exhibit hall may be hard concrete and you can expect to walk long distances between presentations.
  • Wear a backpack or carry a durable tote bag.
  • A notepad & pencil, tablet or laptop is essential for taking notes. A thumb drive, smart phone or camera may also be useful.
  • Some attendees will pull a roller board behind them to accommodate all of the materials.
  • Even if you are not connected with an organization, personal business cards are handy to exchange info or to use in a drawing.
  • Take along a snack and water bottle. Food choices may be limited and the fast food lines may be long.
  • If you are attending a winter conference, there may be a checkroom for coats and other items.
  • WIFI may be available, but if everyone is online at the same time, you may have issues.
  • Some venues offer shipping services. This is a great idea to keep your luggage manageable.

Can’t Make the Conference?

Many genealogy conferences allow family historians to attend sessions virtually via a home computer – and if they are recorded, many sessions are available for purchase. It’s always great to revisit a favorite presentation or review a class you weren’t able to attend in person.

Are You Attending the RootsTech Genealogy Conference?

GenealogyBank is helping to sponsor the upcoming RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, 3-6 February, 2016. If you’re attending, come visit us at booth #523 to discuss genealogy in general, or any specific questions you have about your own family history research.

For more information about RootsTech, visit the website at: http://www.rootstech.org/?lang=eng

Related RootsTech Article:

A Preview of RootsTech 2016

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog article, Gena previews some of the speakers, classes and events for the upcoming RootsTech 2016 genealogy conference.

Are you going to RootsTech 2016, the genealogy conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 3-6? It can feel intimidating to go to a conference whose attendance last year included 23,000 people from 49 states and 39 countries. If this is your first time at the yearly genealogy conference, you may want to start making some plans now, before you step foot into the Salt Palace. With the crowds of people and all kinds of presentations, events, and activities planned, where do you start?

Photo: Expo Hall at RootsTech

Photo: Expo Hall at RootsTech. Credit: FamilySearch; RootsTech.

Keynote Presentations

Keynote presentations at conferences are different than classes or lectures. Keynotes are meant to start or end the conference. They are meant to provide inspiration and motivation. The overall idea is to take that energy and knowledge you’ve experienced at the conference and maintain it as you travel home and go back to the routine of everyday life.

Inspiration and motivation can be found in the seven keynote presentations provided during the three days of RootsTech. This year’s keynotes feature authors, innovators, and experts. You can look forward to presentations all three days by:

  • Steve Rockwood. Managing Director of the Family History Department and President/CEO of FamilySearch.
  • Paula Madison. Chairman and CEO of Madison Media Management, LLC in Los Angeles.
  • Bruce Feiler. Author of “This Life” column for the Sunday New York Times and six New York Times bestselling books.
  • Josh and Naomi Davis (Taza). Naomi Davis, also known as Taza, is the blogger behind “Love Taza” who shares information about her family’s New York City life and “life’s simple joys.”
  • David Isay. Broadcaster, author, and founder of StoryCorps, an “organization that provides people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve their life stories.”
  • Michael O. Leavitt. Previous three-time elected governor of Utah and current founder and chairman of Leavitt Partners.
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin. Presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize winner. Her latest book is The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.

When you are at a conference, it can be tempting to sleep in and miss the keynotes. These presentations set the tone for the day. Make plans to be in attendance – you’ll be glad you did.

Classes

During RootsTech 2016, 213 speakers will be presenting 288 sessions on a number of family history and technology topics. Sessions center on using websites such as FamilySearch and WorldCat, or they may focus on mobile technology and apps. Some sessions concentrate on genealogy methodology such as naming patterns, geography, and DNA.

Don’t forget to schedule some time to learn more about newspapers and genealogy from GenealogyBank. Come visit us at booth #523 to discuss genealogy in general, or any specific questions you have about your own family history research. Staff member Scott Spencer will be presenting on “Facts, Photos & Fugitives: Using Online Newspapers,” and staff member Ross Allred will present on “Researching Newspaper Obituaries.”

You can read more about these sessions and speaker bios on the RootsTech website at https://rootstech2016.smarteventscloud.com/connect/search.ww.

Expo Hall

There are many reasons to attend a conference and invest in your genealogical education. Attending classes and networking with other researchers are just a few reasons. Visiting the Expo Hall during RootsTech 2016 is another. The Expo Hall is where exhibitors come together to promote new products, answer questions, and teach small classes. In the Expo Hall at RootsTech you can expect to see booths from familiar genealogy subscription websites, publishers, archives and libraries, booksellers, technology companies, and more. In addition to exhibitors’ booths you will also find a Demo Theatre, Cyber Café, Family Discovery Zone, and the new Innovation Alley where you can check out the latest technology and tools for genealogy.

Carve out some time to stroll the entire Expo Hall. (I recommend visiting the Hall at least several times during the conference.) If you own a smartphone or mobile device, consider using the camera to take photos of booths or information you want to check out later. In some cases you may also come across QR codes (short for Quick Response codes) at booths which you can scan with your device for more information (you will need to download a special QR reading app first from you device’s app store).

Events

There’s more to RootsTech than just classes and learning experiences: there’s also fun. Several different events are scheduled featuring music by the groups Crescent Super Band and Lower Lights.

If you’re into the technology side of genealogy, don’t forget to check on Friday’s Innovators Summit Events. There’s the annual Innovator Showdown where 6 of 12 semi-finalists will take home a cash prize. This is a great opportunity to see what new creative products genealogists will be using in the not-so-distant future. On Wednesday you have the opportunity to take part in a new event. A hackathon sponsored by FamilySearch invites everyone to “Come participate in a unique social coding and brain-storming event where you will have the opportunity to discuss and solve industry problems as you network with the best entrepreneurial minds the genealogical industry has to offer.” You bring your laptop – and Wi-Fi, food and a meeting room are provided.

The Countdown Begins!

RootsTech is an excellent opportunity to energize your genealogy passion. The conference will be here before you know it and there’s a lot to look forward to. While you’re waiting, plan out your schedule, download the app, and start making plans.

GenealogyBank is helping to sponsor the upcoming RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, 3-6 February, 2016. If you’re attending, come visit us at booth #523 to discuss genealogy in general, or any specific questions you have about your own family history research.

For more information about RootsTech, visit the website at: http://www.rootstech.org/?lang=eng

We look forward to meeting you at RootsTech!

RootsTech 2016 Registration Is Now Open!

Early bird registration is now open for RootsTech 2016 – the largest genealogy conference in North America. This year’s RootsTech conference is expected to draw well over 23,000 attendees to Salt Lake City, Utah.

photo of the audience at the RootsTech genealogy conference

Source: RootsTech.org

Register for the upcoming 2016 Rootstech conference >>
Book your room at the RootsTech Official Conference Hotels >>

More than 200 live genealogy sessions will start on Wednesday, February 3rd, and continue through Saturday, February 6th.

Stop by and visit us in person at our GenealogyBank.com booth.

RootsTech 2015 Presentation: The Future of Genealogy – Indexed Obituaries

Are you attending the RootsTech 2015 genealogy conference this upcoming Thursday-Saturday, February 12-14? GenealogyBank.com and FamilySearch International are teaming together to present a class on the power of indexed obituaries, and we’d like to invite you to join us!

The one-hour presentation, intended for all audience levels, will be this Thursday, February 12, at 4:30 p.m. in Ballroom B at the Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah. The co-presenters will be Ross Allred, GenealogyBank Director, and John Alexander, FamilySearch Manager.

photo of the RootsTech genealogy conference

Credit: mormonnewsroom.org

Whether you are going to RootsTech in person or following along at home, there’s an important first step you can take to get the most out of this important family history event: download the free RootsTech 2015 App. With the RootsTech conference app you can create your class schedule, learn more about the presenters and exhibitors, follow the conference via social media channels, and network with others. The RootsTech conference app is available for Apple, Android, and other mobile devices.

The Future of Genealogy – Indexed Obituaries

The presentation Ross and John will be making is Session ID RT1913 and entitled “The Future of Genealogy – Indexed Obituaries: Learn How FamilySearch and GenealogyBank Have Partnered in Creating an Indexed Obituary Collection.” You can download the class syllabus here: http://bit.ly/1DATW5B.

Attendees will learn about the massive collection of obituaries (projected 500+ million obituaries in the U.S.) that are currently being indexed and published through the partnership of GenealogyBank and FamilySearch.

Obituaries tell the stories of people’s lives with a “treasure trove” of precious family information “locked away” in newspapers. Obituaries, unlike any other resource, have the ability to add incredible dimensions to an individual’s family history research. The unique life stories written, dates documented, and generations of family members mentioned are often only found within an obituary. The average obituary can contain the names of over 10 family members of the deceased – parents, spouse, siblings, children, grandchildren, and other relatives and friends.

Ross and John will present actual obituaries and show the number of familial relationships they contain, examine the multi-generational family tree information, and illustrate the life stories behind the names. They will demonstrate that through the power of obituaries, genealogists can find clues to help overcome the brick walls they encounter in their genealogical research. Examples will be taken from GenealogyBank and FamilySearch Current and Historical Obituary collections.

Speaker Bios

photo of Ross Allred, Director of GenealogyBank.com

Photo: Ross Allred, Director of GenealogyBank.com

Ross L. Allred is currently serving as Director of GenealogyBank.com at NewsBank, inc. Ross currently manages Content Enhancement and Business Development at GenealogyBank and is Director over ObitsArchive.com. Ross has also served in additional roles in Marketing and Product since joining NewsBank in 2010. Prior to joining NewsBank, Ross was Interactive Marketing Director at WorldVitalRecords.com, a FamilyLink.com company, and held multiple positions at Ancestry.com including Self-Publishing Sr. Marketing Manager, Sr. Cross-Sell Manager and E-Marketing Campaign Manager. Ross holds an Interactive Marketing Communications Certificate from the University of Utah and B.S. in Accounting from Brigham Young University.

John K. Alexander heads the Newspaper and Obituary Publication efforts for FamilySearch. John has been with FamilySearch for over four years working as a Project Manager on Records Publication. John received an MA in History from the University of Utah in 2009 and a MLIS from the University of Washington in 2013. He is also a certified PMP. John worked at the University of Utah’s Marriott Library from 2006-2009.

Company Overviews

GenealogyBank.com, a division of NewsBank inc., is one of the largest and fastest growing exclusive searchable newspaper archives online for genealogy research. GenealogyBank.com is home to over 6,700+ fully-searchable U.S. newspapers from 1690-today and more than 1.5+ billion genealogy records. Our online newspaper archive is one of the most comprehensive genealogy websites in the United States helping people discover, preserve and share their family history. It provides information on millions of American families, with newspaper articles that provide first-hand accounts of your ancestors’ lives that simply can’t be found in other genealogy resources: obituaries, birth and marriage notices, photographs, hometown news and more. In addition to its newspapers, GenealogyBank features more than 380,000 historical books and documents from 1749-1994 that include military records, widow claims, orphan petitions, land grants, casualty lists, funeral sermons, biographies and much more. Discover the stories, names, dates, places and events that have shaped your family story at GenealogyBank.com.

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Come Join Us!

Whether you’re able to attend in person, or will be following presentations online from your home, we hope you can join Ross and John for their presentation this Thursday. Come see for yourself the power of indexed obituaries!

Also make sure you drop by booth #1129 and say hello to our friendly staff. See you there – or online!

Related Articles:

Come Join GenealogyBank at RootsTech 2015! (Conference Tips for Those Attending—and Those Watching Online)

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog post, Gena gives advice on how to get the most out of RootsTech 2015, the largest genealogy conference in the U.S.

RootsTech is the largest gathering of family historians in the United States and promises to be THE place to be, even virtually, in February.

announcement that GenealogyBank will be at booth 1129 during the RootsTech 2015 genealogy conference

Last year, 13,000 genealogists gathered at the Salt Palace Convention Center representing 31 countries. And for those unable to attend in person, there were 150,000+ views of live-streaming conference sessions. This year’s conference, 12-14 February 2015, promises to be bigger and better than ever with an estimated 18,000 in attendance and 50,000 “attending” online. Plan to join in for one of the biggest genealogy events of the year!

photo of the Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah

Photo: Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Luana Darby.

GenealogyBank will once again be at RootsTech, staffing a booth to greet you and answer your most pressing genealogy questions.

Whether you are going to RootsTech in person or following along at home, here’s how you can get the most out of this important family history event.

Download the Free RootsTech App

Prepare for attending RootsTech by downloading the free RootsTech 2015 App. With the RootsTech conference app you can create your class schedule, learn more about the presenters and exhibitors, follow the conference via social media channels, and network with others. The conference app is available for Apple, Android, and other mobile devices.

Stop by the GenealogyBank Booth #1129

A must for any conference experience is a stroll or two around the Expo Hall, and RootsTech will be no different. It’s in the Expo Hall that you can view new products and services, ask questions, and learn what’s new in the world of genealogy.

While you’re in the Expo Hall, stop by the GenealogyBank booth (#1129) and say hello. We will have computers and friendly staff to help you learn more about using GenealogyBank.com, help you search for ancestors, and give you genealogy tips and tricks to help you succeed.

Enter Last Name

Set a Conference Course of Action

One of the comments I hear most at conferences is how exhausting it can be. It can be exciting to have the opportunity to learn so much over the course of a weekend but it can also be overwhelming.

Make a plan before you get to the RootsTech conference and decide on your priorities. What are your must-attend lectures, who do you need to speak to in the Expo Hall, and who do you need to network with? And while you may feel like you want to “get your money’s worth,” make sure to schedule down time (time to reflect and rest).

Don’t forget to plan out your meals and bring snacks and water with you. In the excitement of being around all that genealogy, it can be easy to forget to eat. Make a plan for meals before you get there and decide whether you are going to eat from the snack bar or one of the conveniently located restaurants within walking distance of the Salt Palace. For those who are not from Utah, Salt Lake is a dry climate so make sure to drink lots of water to keep hydrated.

photo of Assembly Hall, inside Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah

Photo: Assembly Hall, inside Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Gary W. Clark.

To learn more about where to dine, as well as attractions to see and things to do in downtown Salt Lake City, see the Visit Salt Lake website.

photo of the Handcart Pioneer Monument, inside Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah

Photo: Handcart Pioneer Monument, inside Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Gary W. Clark.

Follow the RootsTech Social Media Buzz

Not able to attend RootsTech in person? Whether you are physically there or participating from home, use Twitter to follow along. The RootsTech Twitter account is @RootsTechConf. Participants will be tweeting and tagging images on Instagram using the #RootsTech hashtag. You can also follow along on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RootsTech.

One of the innovative aspects of RootsTech is their commitment to provide free video streaming sessions so that more people around the world can benefit from their family history and technology conference. From their website you can watch selected conference presentations live. Not able to watch the presentation at the scheduled time? No problem, each streamlined presentation is archived so that you can view it at your convenience. To learn about what presentations will be viewable from home see the free online broadcast schedule. Currently, you can view presentations from the 2014 conference.

Did You Know Salt Lake Has a Library?

Obviously the answer to that question is “of course!” Probably one of the biggest benefits of attending a conference in Salt Lake City is the opportunity to visit the Family History Library in person. I’ve written previously about visiting the Family History Library in my GenealogyBank Blog article Planning a Trip to Salt Lake City for Your Family History Research?

My biggest piece of advice about going to the Family History Library is this: do your homework before you leave home. Utilize the Family History Library Catalog and look up what you want to research so that you can be more efficient while you’re at the Library. If you have limited time to search during your visit, stick to resources that do not circulate to Family History Centers such as books and some microforms.

Going to RootsTech 2015? Have a great time! Genealogy conferences are exciting and energizing. You will definitely come away with ideas and resources to help you in the search for your ancestors. And be sure to stop by and say hi at GenealogyBank’s booth #1129. We look forward to seeing you in Salt Lake soon!

4 GenealogyBank Search Tips from 2014 SCGS Jamboree Conference

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post, Gena—who gave two genealogy presentations on behalf of GenealogyBank at the recent Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree—describes some of the search tips she discussed at the Jamboree.

We are back from the recent Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree. It’s always great to meet with GenealogyBank members and hear about their newspaper discoveries. If you weren’t able to attend 2014 SCGS genealogy Jamboree, that’s ok—many of the presentations are available online. For example, I made two presentations on behalf of GenealogyBank, “Using America’s Ethnic Newspapers to Find and Document Your Family” and “GenealogyBank Inside and Out,” and these were recorded and are now available from Conference Resource.

photo of Gena Philibert-Ortega and Duncan Kuehn staffing the GenealogyBank booth at the Jamboree genealogy conference

Photo: Gena Philibert-Ortega and Duncan Kuehn staffing the GenealogyBank booth at the Jamboree conference. Credit: from the author’s collection.

One of the benefits of a genealogy conference is the opportunity to learn new tips to search and make family history discoveries. I thought it would be helpful to share some of the genealogy tips we provided at Jamboree for you to try at home.

Also, remember that you don’t have to attend a conference to have us help you with your GenealogyBank searches. The GenealogyBank Blog constantly provides genealogy tips, and you can always give us a call (1-866-641-3297) and we will work with you to help you trace your family tree.

1) Locations: Location, Location, Location—or Not

Family history researchers are accustomed to searching through a genealogy database by entering an ancestor’s name, date, and location. In a previous blog article, Genealogy Search Engine Types & Tips: OCR vs. Indexed Databases, I discussed how searching indexed content is different than content that is being searched using Optical Character Recognition (OCR), like newspapers. While narrowing down a location is essential in researching other types of information, such as a census return, in newspaper research a specific location may be less important because a newspaper article can appear in multiple newspapers and locations—sometimes on the other side of the country from where your ancestor lived.

As you prepare your search on GenealogyBank, take some time to plan out different types of searches.

Enter Last Name










For example, if I’m searching for John C. McNeil who lived from 1823 to 1909 and spent time in Arizona, I would want to conduct searches that would include his name, date range, and place. But then I may want to a search with just his name (with or without the middle initial) and a date range. Because he lived in several different states, I don’t want to always limit the place because I will miss mentions of him in other localities. Even if your ancestor didn’t move around a lot, they can still be mentioned in other newspapers outside of their immediate area. In the case of ethnic newspapers, the newspaper can be aimed at a group from a larger geographic region. Remember that some newspapers may serve a county area, and not just a city. And in the case of a tragedy or even a human interest story, the article can be picked up and printed in newspapers across the United States.

So the bottom line is: don’t include the name of the place or the newspaper location in every search you conduct.

2) Keywords: What Words Do You Include in Your Search?

One of the great features of the GenealogyBank search engine is that you can include or exclude words. So let’s say the surname you are researching is also a noun or a verb, like Miller or Walk. Use the exclude keywords box to exclude certain words. If I’m researching on the surname Baker, I may exclude the word “bread” or “bakery” because I do not want results about bakers, I want results about people with that surname.

screenshot of GenealogyBank's search page

Have multiple words you want to exclude or include? Just place a comma in between each word. But don’t try to include or exclude too many keywords or you may unnecessarily narrow your results.

3) Hacking Genealogy Searches: Type outside the Search Box

The GenealogyBank search engine has a place for a last and first name, but that doesn’t mean you have to enter those names in those boxes. The search engine is looking for whatever characters you have typed—it doesn’t know what words are names and what words are other keywords, so you could enter all of those characters (keywords) in the “Include Keywords” box.

However, it might help you organize your searches if you enter your ancestor’s last and first names in those boxes, then keep changing terms in the “Include Keywords” and “Exclude Keywords” boxes as you continue trying to find as many articles as you can about your target ancestor.

The search engine also allows you to use wildcards (such as the characters ? or * ) to substitute for letters. Say your ancestor’s first name is Alexander. You could try a search on Alex?. This way you would find results that list him as Alexander or Alex.

One additional genealogy search tip: conduct an “exact phrase” search. Try searching on “John C McNeil” (quotation marks around the words indicate it’s an exact phrase) instead of just John C McNeil (and remember this entire phrase can be typed into one search box). By putting the phrase in quotation marks, you are telling the search engine to search for that exact phrase, and not articles that contain a John, a C, and a McNeil somewhere in the text.

But remember; don’t limit your search to only exact phrase searches, or you will miss results where the name is slightly different than what you have entered.

Enter Last Name










4) Major Life Events & Gatherings

One of the biggest “aha!” moments I had during the Jamboree was talking to the staff at the GenealogyBank booth and learning this search tip: try searching on an event your ancestor was involved in without adding their name. When an event is reported in the newspaper (think car crash, natural disaster, or other tragedy), names associated with that event (such as survivors, victims, witnesses, and rescue personnel) are not always mentioned in the initial reports. The event will most likely be reported in articles over a period of time, and as those articles unfold, names may be added.

Say for example you know that your ancestor was involved in a ship accident. Don’t search on their name initially; instead search on the name of the ship or the date the disaster happened. Gather all the newspaper articles you can find about that event to learn more about this incident that affected your ancestor’s life—but don’t limit your initial searches to your ancestor’s name because you will miss important information, especially in some of the first reports about the event. You can later do a search using your ancestor’s name to see if there was a report specifically focusing on your ancestor.

Those are some of the genealogy search tips I explained during my Jamboree presentations, as well as some lessons I learned by attending the Jamboree, listening to other presentations, talking to the audience, and discussing genealogy with the staff at the GenealogyBank booth. I hope they help you with your own family history research.

See You at the Jamboree Next Year!

Going to a genealogy conference? Good chance GenealogyBank will be there. Make sure to stop by the GenealogyBank booth and let us help you search for your ancestors. Not able to visit us at a particular conference? No problem—give us a call (1-866-641-3297) and GenealogyBank’s helpful support staff will assist you with your family search questions. You can also find genealogy search tips on our site’s Genealogist Q&A section.

Preview to Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post, Gena previews the upcoming Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree, including the genealogy talks she will be presenting there on behalf of GenealogyBank.

Do you have an event you look forward to every year? There are certain genealogy conferences that family history researchers look forward to year after year, and one of those is the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree being held at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel June 5th-8th. After all, what’s not to like? Four days of genealogical education in the beautiful Southern California sunshine.

Not familiar with the SCGS Jamboree conference? Each year over 1,000 genealogists from California, other states—and yes, even other countries—converge upon Burbank to take in lectures, historical tours, special events, and displays in an exhibit hall to learn more about genealogy and genealogical services.

photo of a  lecture from last year’s Jamboree genealogy conference

Photo: lecture from last year’s Jamboree. Credit: Used with permission, Southern California Genealogical Society <http://www.scgsgenealogy.com/>.

45th Annual Jamboree

This year will be no exception at “the 45th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, featuring over 50 speakers, nearly 150 sessions and about 70 exhibitors, software and data providers, and societies.” National speakers at Jamboree this year include: John Philip Colletta, Ph.D.; George G. Morgan; Dick Eastman; Lisa Louise Cooke; Judy G. Russell; and yours truly, just to name a few.

photo of a discussion group from last year’s Jamboree genealogy conference

Photo: discussion group from last year’s Jamboree. Credit: Used with permission, Southern California Genealogical Society <http://www.scgsgenealogy.com/>.

For the second year in a row, a special DNA conference will be held in conjunction with Jamboree on Thursday, June 5th. Family History and DNA: Genetic Genealogy in 2014 brings experts from the field of genetic genealogy, presenting on such topics as autosomal DNA, DNA studies, and DNA testing.

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To learn more about attending the upcoming 2014 Jamboree conference, see the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree website. Special events can be added to your registration and offer additional experiences. I’m especially looking forward to the Sunday morning Scholarship Award Breakfast where I will be presenting on Of Elephants, Gold, and Dashed Dreams: Researching the California Gold Rush. Join me as we honor the 2014 winner of the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant.

GenealogyBank at the Jamboree

Do you love GenealogyBank and want to know how to make the most of your subscription? Come visit us in the exhibit hall where we will be answering your questions and helping researchers search our archival collections. Take advantage of this opportunity to talk to us and learn how to master GenealogyBank and find your ancestors.

photo of blog authhor Gena Philibert-Ortega (left) with Judy G. Russell (The Legal Genealogist), from last year’s Jamboree genealogy conference

Photo: Gena Philibert-Ortega (left) with Judy G. Russell (The Legal Genealogist), from last year’s Jamboree. Credit: from the author’s collection.

To learn even more about GenealogyBank, plan on attending my presentation “Using America’s Ethnic Newspapers to Find and Document Your Family,” Saturday morning at 8:30. On Sunday afternoon at 1:00 I’ll discuss “GenealogyBank—Inside and Out,” where we will discuss how to search on GenealogyBank’s collection of 6,500 newspaper titles and one billion family history records.

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Can’t Make It to California?

Not able to attend Jamboree in person? That’s ok, you can attend virtually! Jamboree will be providing free streaming sessions.

In addition to the streaming sessions, social media provides the opportunity to attend a conference from home. Follow Jamboree on Twitter by monitoring the hashtag #SCGS2014 or the Southern California Genealogical Society account @scgsgenealogy. Don’t forget to also follow the GenealogyBank Twitter account at @GenealogyBank.

Start Thinking about the 2015 Jamboree

If you can’t join us in person at the Jamboree genealogy event this year, start making plans now to attend in 2015. Besides the conference, there’s so much to do for those non-family historians in your family. (Disneyland, anyone?)

For the family historian, plan on spending a few extra days in the area to research at area libraries and archives such as the:

I hope to see you at Jamboree next week!

Come Join GenealogyBank at RootsTech 2014! (Conference Tips for Those Attending—and Those Watching Online)

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post, Gena gives advice on how to get the most out of RootsTech 2014, the largest genealogy conference in the U.S.

RootsTech is the largest gathering of family historians in the United States and promises to be THE place to be, even virtually, in February.

graphic announcing GenealogyBank's booth #817 at RootsTech genealogy conference

An estimated 10,000 genealogists will gather at the Salt Palace Convention Center this February 6-8, 2014, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Another 20,000 worldwide are projected to watch streaming video of this premier genealogy conference from their homes.

photo of the Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah

Photo: Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Luana Darby.

GenealogyBank will once again be at RootsTech, staffing a booth to greet you and answer your most pressing genealogy questions.

Whether you are going to RootsTech in person or following along at home, here’s how you can get the most out of this important family history event.

Download the Free RootsTech App

Prepare for attending RootsTech by downloading the free app. With the RootsTech conference app you can create your class schedule, learn more about the presenters and exhibitors, and network with others. The conference app is available for both Apple and Android mobile devices. Don’t have a mobile device? No problem! You can use the web version of the app on your desktop PC or Mac.

Stop by the GenealogyBank Booth #817

A must for any conference experience is a stroll or two around the Expo Hall, and RootsTech will be no different. It’s in the Expo Hall that you can view new products and services, ask questions, and learn what’s new in the world of genealogy.

While you’re in the Expo Hall, stop by the GenealogyBank booth (#817) and say hello. We will have computers and friendly staff to help you learn more about using GenealogyBank.com, help you search for ancestors, and give you genealogy tips and tricks to help you succeed.

Set a Conference Course of Action

One of the comments I hear most at conferences is how exhausting it can be. It can be exciting to have the opportunity to learn so much over the course of a weekend but it can also be overwhelming.

Make a plan before you get to the RootsTech conference and decide on your priorities. What are your must-attend lectures, who do you need to speak to in the Expo Hall, and who do you need to network with? And while you may feel like you want to “get your money’s worth,” make sure to schedule down time (time to reflect and rest).

Don’t forget to plan out your meals and bring snacks and water with you. In the excitement of being around all that genealogy, it can be easy to forget to eat. Make a plan for meals before you get there and decide whether you are going to eat from the snack bar or one of the conveniently located restaurants within walking distance of the Salt Palace. For those who are not from Utah, Salt Lake is a dry climate so make sure to drink lots of water to keep hydrated.

photo of Assembly Hall, inside Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah

Photo: Assembly Hall, inside Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Gary W. Clark.

To learn more about where to dine, as well as attractions to see and things to do in downtown Salt Lake City, see the Visit Salt Lake website.

photo of Handcart Pioneer Monument, inside Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah

Photo: Handcart Pioneer Monument, inside Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Gary W. Clark.

Follow the RootsTech Social Media Buzz

Not able to attend RootsTech in person? Whether you are physically there or participating from home, use Twitter to follow along. The RootsTech Twitter account is @RootsTechConf. Participants will be tweeting and tagging images on Instagram using the #RootsTech hashtag. You can also follow along on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RootsTech.

One of the innovative aspects of RootsTech is their commitment to provide free video streaming sessions so that more people around the world can benefit from their family history and technology conference. From their website you can watch selected conference presentations live. Not able to watch the presentation at the scheduled time? No problem, each streamlined presentation is archived so that you can view it at your convenience. To learn about what presentations will be viewable from home see the free online broadcast schedule. Currently, you can view presentations from the 2013 conference.

Did You Know Salt Lake Has a Library?

Obviously the answer to that question is “of course!” Probably one of the biggest benefits of attending a conference in Salt Lake City is the opportunity to visit the Family History Library in person. I’ve written previously about visiting the Family History Library in my GenealogyBank Blog article Planning a Trip to Salt Lake City for Your Family History Research?

photo of the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah

Photo: Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Luana Darby.

My biggest piece of advice about going to the Family History Library is this: do your homework before you leave home. Utilize the Family History Library Catalog and look up what you want to research so that you can be more efficient while you’re at the Library. If you have limited time to search during your visit, stick to resources that do not circulate to Family History Centers such as books and some microforms.

Going to RootsTech 2014? Have a great time! Genealogy conferences are exciting and energizing. You will definitely come away with ideas and resources to help you in the search for your ancestors. And be sure to stop by and say hi at GenealogyBank’s booth #817. We look forward to seeing you in Salt Lake soon!

2013 Family History Expo Conference in St. George a Great Success

Over 700 genealogists packed the lecture halls at the Dixie Center in St. George, Utah, this past weekend to get training and sharpen their genealogy research skills at the 2013 Family History Expo.

Family History Expos logo

Family History Expos logo

James Tanner’s opening keynote remarks, “Top 10 Techniques,” made it clear that newspapers are critical to documenting our family history.

photo of James Tanner

Photo: James Tanner. Credit: Family History Expos.

That same point was made again and again by speakers at this year’s Family History Expo. With conference sessions like: “Newspaper, Critical Resource to Document Your Family Tree” by Thomas Jay Kemp; “Preservation Techniques for Documents, Newspapers and Photos” by Sharon Monson; “Tracing Colonial Immigrants” by Nathan Murphy; and “Obituaries—Clues to Look For” also by Tom Kemp, the importance of newspapers to genealogy research was made clear. All the conference talks were popular and well attended.

Among the dozens of presentations there were some new services announced, like the new FamilySearch Photos service that is available online in a Beta release. This new family tree tool allows users of the free Family Trees on FamilySearch.org to incorporate photos into their online tree. This feature allows genealogists to upload images of their ancestors, tag/identify ancestors in the photos, and associate the tagged ancestors in the photos to the Family Tree.

The family history conference covered a wide variety of sessions ranging from: German, French, Scandinavian and English genealogy research; to preparing your family history, letters and documents for publication in print or online.

One novel approach to genealogy was discussed during Marlo E. Schuldt’s presentation “It’s Time to Do a Slideshow Biography.” The slideshow biography format may be the answer you have been looking for. It’s an easy way to share a life sketch or family history that is online and visual, and can engage people in their heritage in a new way.

Here are links to download the PowerPoint decks Tom covered at the FH Expo:

Newspapers: A Critical Resource to Complete Your Family Tree
Top Genealogy Websites for the 21st Century