Friday, July 30, 2010

Midwest Family History Expo - Day 1

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This day started early and I have been going non-stop. Keynote speaker from the NARA - KC Archives began at 8 AM, regular sessions began at 9:30. With half-hour breaks between sessions, to visit the exhibit hall, and an hour for lunch the day flew by!

First impression? I am very impressed with the Expo as a whole. The facilities are very nice with plenty of room for the sessions, exhibit hall and lobby area. The Family History Expo team have done a great job with the arrangements, scheduling and management of the Expo.

I have attended interesting and informative sessions and can't wait to review and start visiting some of the new research sites I am now aware of. I will have more details on specific sessions after the expo when I have the opportunity to review what I have learned.

Looking forward to Day 2!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

One week until the Midwest Family History Expo

Only one week left and I know that week will go by very quickly.  I've spent some time looking at the agenda as well as the syllabus that has now been published.  I will say again that I am very impressed with the variety and number of sessions there are to choose from.

Initially, when looking through the agenda, I was looking for classes that relate to states, regions or countries that I have done, or need to do, research in. I've been to national and state genealogical conferences in the past and always used this same strategy. I have German heritage, so I would sign up for the German research classes, same for English, etc. After thinking about this more, I've decided to change my strategy a little.

I am spending more time looking at the speaker's credentials and experience rather than the topic or title of the session. While German research is very important to me, I believe the opportunity to learn something of value, that may help me in many areas, may be with a speaker presenting on a topic that does not directly tie to any of my ancestors. If nothing else, I will be broadening my horizons while listening to a great presentation. Truth be told, I am sure during some of the time slots I will utilize the ole "eeny, meeny, miney moe" strategy too! :)

I am looking forward to meeting the other Blogger's of Honor as well as Holly and her team.  Putting voices to the faces and posts will be interesting and entertaining I am sure.

See everyone next week!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Did you know that Kansas City... called the City of Fountains? home to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum? the only city in the US with a National WW I Museum? the host city for the Midwest Family History Expo?

And you thought the only thing we had to offer is cows and barbecue! While we do claim to have some of the best barbecue in the country, we have come a long way since our "cow-town" days! Kansas City has grown into a destination all it's own, particularly for those who have an interest in history.

The inaugural Midwest Family History Expo will be held July 30-31, 2010 at the KCI Expo Center. You may register for one or two days worth of sessions, which will include time in the exhibit hall and valuable networking opportunities with other researchers just like you.

If you are not able to commit the time of attending a full day of conference activities, or you are not sure that a Family History Expo is right for you, come for the opening session which is free. Also, at no cost, you can visit the vendors in the exhibit hall and see what they have to offer. I think you will be impressed with what you see and how technology is being embraced by the genealogy field.

I hope to see you at the Expo!

Monday, July 12, 2010


Now that I have been reminded of this momentous occasion (thanks tweeps) I've had a little bit of time to think about my past year in the blogosphere.

I started out with little (ok, no) planning and little (ok, no) direction of where I wanted to go with this blog. I had been reading several genealogy blogs for a few weeks and was really very interested in the whole concept. I figured if nothing else, I would learn a new technology. With Blogger being free to use, I felt I had nothing to lose and might enjoy myself.

Turns out that I have enjoyed myself tremendously! Had I had any idea of the wonderful group of people I would meet through blogging I would have done this years ago!! Supportive, knowledgeable, funny and simply enjoyable are how I've found my Geneablogger friends to be. I have watched and learned (a little) and aspired to be better because of them.

I have found that there is an informal leadership at work here that is behind the wonderfully successful genealogy blogs. Thomas is the King Pin and fM is the Grand Dame for sure. The energy, style, enthusiasm, grace, tenacity and creativity they exude is never ending. We are all a little bit better because of them. Thank you!

It's been great fun working on my blog, thank heavens for the prompts (I love you Wordless Wednesday) they have gotten me through some dry spells. Seeing that I have comments on my posts makes me feel like I've received a present and I can't wait to open it! Thank you to my visitors for taking the time! A professional redesign may be in the wings waiting to be unveiled. I figure since I made it a whole year with at least one post a week, I can justify polishing the place up a little.

I'm looking forward to my next year of blogging. Thank you to all my Geneablogger friends, you are a great group that I'm proud to be a part of!

Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Midwest Family History Expo

For more information:
Holly T. Hansen
FHExpos Founder/President

For Immediate Release
July 8, 2010
Info at a Glance:
What: Midwest Family History Expo
LDS Feature Tour: July 29, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Free Keynote Address: July 30, 8:30 a.m.
Family History Classes: July 30-31 all day
Screening of “The Forgotten Ellis Island”: July 30, 8:30 p.m.

Where: KCI Expo Center 11730 N. Ambassador Drive, Kansas City, Missouri.
Register: Online at or call 801-829-3295

Family History Expos Debuts in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, MO--Nationally acclaimed Family History Expos will make its debut Midwest appearance in Kansas City, Missouri, July 30-31 with a special feature tour on July 29. The Expo will feature more than 100 family history-related classes taught by national experts at KCI Expo Center 11730 N. Ambassador Drive, Kansas City, Missouri.

Keynote speaker Lori Cox-Paul, director of Archival Operations for the National Archives at Kansas City (serving the Central Plains Region) will address family history enthusiasts from throughout the nation on July 30, 8 a.m., at the Exhibit Hall Classroom. The keynote address is free to the public and will be based on the theme, “Finding Your Family: Turning the Spotlight on Resources from the National Archives at Kansas City.” The opening session is free and opened to the public.

“We’re so excited to bring our services to family historians and genealogists throughout the Midwest,” Family History Expos Founder and President Holly T. Hansen said. “This event is a dream come true. We’ve had so many requests to hold a Family History Expo in the Midwest and now watch out, here we come!”

Family History Expos has held events to teach patrons techniques and technology to trace their roots throughout Western states for seven years. Hansen said this event is a result of natural growth and progression. “Family history research is so exciting, healing, and enlightening. We want to help everyone become more successful in their research quests,” Hansen said. The Expo promises more than 100 classes for beginning through professional genealogists.

This event is sponsored by Family History Expos, FamilySearch,, AGES-Online, RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, Generation Maps, and Mid-continent Public Library.

LDS Tour Precedes Expo
For the first time ever the Family History Expo will be preceded by a LDS Historic Sites Tour featuring tour guide Glen Rawson, Thursday, July 29, 8:30 a.m.—4:30 p.m.

This eight-hour tour will take participants back in time to experience history at historically significant sites like:
  • Mormon Church in Independence Missouri’s newly remodeled center honoring the past and the present, with exhibits depicting experiences of Mormon settlers in Missouri between 1831 and 1839
  • Community of Christ Temple
  • Liberty Jail
  • Far West
  • Haun’s Mill
  • Adam-ondi-Ahman
The cost of the tour, $65, is in addition to registration for the Expo. Please register separately for the tour at our website,

Enjoy a Moving Movie with Family History Expos
Forgotten Ellis Island: The Extraordinary Story of America’s Immigrant Hospital by Lori Conway will be the feature film Saturday afternoon in the Exhibit Hall. 

Register Early and Save
Register online at or call 801-829-3295.

·   Pre-registration (by Thursday, July 29, 6 p.m.): $65.00
·   At the door: $75
·   One day: $40
·   Single class: $12
·   Opening session and exhibits are FREE to the public
·   LDS Historic Sites Tour, Thursday, July 29: $65 (in addition to the general cost of registration)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

International Research via the Midwest

From Cork to Glasgow, London to Frankfurt, Belarus to the Ukraine and from Rome to Stockholm, tracing our international ancestors can be a challenge, to put it mildly.

We not only have to research using records from many different countries with differing governing bodies holding the records but also in foreign languages. This can be an overwhelming and daunting task. But, with education and an outline of steps to follow, completing this task is within our reach.

Within the list of presenters for the Midwest Family History Expo, you can find educators with a wealth of knowledge in international research. The only problem you may have is deciding which session to attend!

Are your Italian ancestors hiding from you? Baerbel Johnson has a lesson on finding them. Think all the Irish records were destroyed? Marci Despain will set the record straight on that subject. Do your Eastern European ancestors have you going in circles? Lisa Alzo will help you find those elusive folks.

If you are ready to tackle international research for the first time, or just need a refresher and maybe a few new tips, you have many sessions to choose from. Review the agenda here and start your journey towards finding your international heritage.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Blogger of Honor - Midwest Family History Expo

I am excited to announce that I am a Blogger of Honor for the Midwest Family History Expo. You may have noticed that I've mentioned the Midwest Expo will be held in Kansas City. I may actually have mentioned it once or twice or three or four times on Facebook and Twitter, but who is counting! I am looking forward to having an Expo in my hometown that is so highly regarded in the genealogy community.

The agenda is filling up with quality speakers on topics that cover genealogy around the world.  There are currently 110 sessions on the schedule!  Take some time to review the presentation schedule.  I am sure you will find multiple presentations that will appeal to your area of research.  The exhibit hall will be host to local as well as national libraries, archives and commercial genealogy service companies.  There is time set aside each day to visit the exhibit hall.

I will be posting in the coming weeks with more specifics on the speakers, their presentations and the exhibit hall vendors.  I will even give you some highlights of what Kansas City has to offer in the way of tourism close to the Expo site.  I hope to see you in Kansas City!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Challenge 26

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy – Challenge 26

Take a stroll through Google Books. Most of us have probably used Google Books in our genealogy research, but have you really taken the time to explore what’s there? Look at the magazines and featured books. Check out the subjects offered. By taking the focus off research for a bit, your mind is open to see other ways this tool can be used.

Google Books is in my Top 5 of must search sites when doing genealogy research.  I search for surnames, place names and events, and have had great success with the results.  I have been able to get a feel for some of my ancestors lives as I've found them listed in university yearbooks, fraternal organizations and professional association publications.  Those have provided clues about their occupations, interests and community involvement.  Of course, the full view book returns are the best and I have used up a lot of megabytes downloading a few of those books!

My best find to date was a publication by my Grandfather Baudermann's fraternity that had a section called "Our Brother's At The Boarder" with a list of names.  That cued me into looking for military records for my Grandfather during the Mexican Expedition.  Before finding that article, I had seen nothing that mentioned any type of military service for him.

This challenge is asking us to step back from our usual usage of Google Books and approach it with an open mind to see what's out there.   One of the first things I noticed is in the subject list there are no listings for History or Genealogy.  Yet, when you type "genealogy" in the search box, there are over 1million returns.  How many are needed for a subject listing Google?

I do love all of the magazines, but this is one of those areas that will get me off into a tangent that takes hold of me for hours!  I currently subscribe to six magazines, I love em!  Probably overkill because I can get backlogged a couple of months before reading my issues.  Google Books magazine collection could greatly expand my magazine exposure at a fabulous cost of nothing, in the way of dollars, but I don't think I can afford the time! 

The "interesting" category is just that, very interesting.  If you want to expose yourself to books you would never normally pick off the shelf, click through this category.  You may find only a preview of the book, you may get a snippet view with a few pages from throughout the book, or get lucky and hit a full view return.  If you do find something interesting with only a snippet or preview, just copy and paste the title into your library's card catalog search feature and see if you can get a copy at the local library or through inter library loan.

All in all, Google Books is a great resource for any subject, be sure you have it bookmarked and on your list of regular websites to use for research.



Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sometimes we forget to use the simple tools

Wordle: Life of a Genealogist

I admit it, my memory gets worse every year.  Never was I in need of lists like I am now.  These are not reminder lists I'm talking about, such as:
  1. Request death certificate for Grandpa Baudermann
  2. Request SS-5 for Grandma Lucking
Although I do have those types of lists, the lists I refer to are filled with bits and pieces of information that I want to remember, but know I won't, hence the lists.

What brings on the need for lists?  No, I will not give an credit to "you are getting older."  My reasoning, or more likely, my excuse is that never before have I had so much information at my fingertips!  How can I take it all in, process it and remember it all?  I use tools designed to help gather, store and organize information, that's how.

I love the Internet, FaceBook, LibraryThing, Twitter, Google, podcasts, wikis, message boards, mailing lists, blogs and YouTube.  I love gadgets, widgets, toolbars and apps.  I love them all!!  And it is these very things I love so much that fuel my information overload and lead to my forgetfulness.

Now, I could get more tools to manage all my information gathering tools, but that will only add to my problem, won't it?  Because you know just any free down-loadable tool managing tool will not work.  Once I have downloaded and installed the tool to manage my tools, it would need to be customized to my liking, with a creative background and cool fonts and graphics.  The tool most likely would have capabilities to manage tools that I currently don't have.  Of course, I would need to add these new tools to my arsenal (I can't miss out on the latest and the greatest) and then the circle would start again.  I would begin asking myself "what was I using Feedly for and why, doesn't Google Reader do the same thing?  Do I really need TweekDeck and Hootsuite?"

Now you see my dilemma.  I am a fairly early adopter of technology and realize how all things tech can enhance our lives.  But, my first passion is genealogy not technology.  How great those two "ologys" can work together...and one can certainly get in the way of the other.  Time and again I find myself distracted from my research because some tweet came through that sounded so interesting I had to click the link right then.  A half hour later I might get back to what I was originally doing.  So, will I dump all my tech toys?  Absolutely not!  Will I continue to use these tools to support my genealogy research?  Absolutely!

How will I address my forgetfulness and wandering web browsing, in the wake of this time of information overload I find myself in?  Very simply, I have a notebook, with paper and I write in it with pen or pencil.  I have it with me all the time and I call it my "Gem Keeper" (after my favorite genealogy podcaster).  The notebook is 4"x6" so it fits in my purse and goes where I go.  Anytime I run across a website, article, blog or document or task that I want to remember I jot down the "gem".  I don't have to visit the site or read the article right then because I've created my reminder.  Once or twice a week I'll flip through my notebook and pick something out that interests me.  Some items get marked off as completed and some items stay "open" forever.

I'm composing this post in my notebook right now and I will leave the pages in here, scribbles, cross-outs, arrows and all.  Some other genealogist down the line will find this notebook and probably say "too bad she had to use pen and paper."  That's OK, I'm going to stick with this simple tool.