Maegan Kasteler | Dec 17, 2018

Beginner Classes at RootsTech 2019

Are you a genealogy newbie getting ready to attend your first RootsTech conference? Are you a RootsTech regular looking to get back to basics? Or maybe you are tagging along with a RootsTech fanatic, but you don’t quite know where to start.

Wherever you are in your family history journey, the beginner classes offered at RootsTech offer great insights for every level. Here are a few beginner level sessions to consider when planning your RootsTech schedule. Don’t forget! RootsTech 2019 happens February 27–March 2, 2019, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Wednesday, February 27

Cluster, Huddle, or Flock: Strategies for Research Problems

Everyone has brick walls in their genealogy research, like people who appear to have been dropped out of the sky, or women whose maiden names seem to be unknowable. Cluster research will give you new avenues to break down those brick walls by researching their family members, their neighbors, and anyone and everyone they were associated with. Explore methodologies that will help you uncover additional information about your family.

Presenter: Anne Mitchell
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location: Room 150

Using Facebook and Twitter for Genealogy

Social media is more than just posting photos of food and checking into places. Learn how to effectively use Facebook and Twitter for collaborating, learning, and researching your family history.

Presenter: Christine Woodcock
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Location: 355 F

You CAN Take It with You! Mobile Genealogy Tools

New and improved from 2018!!! Utilizing the mobile tools of Ancestry.com, RootsMagic, Legacy, Evernote, and more, you don’t have to take your huge notebooks of family genealogy with you to the library when doing research. There are many tools that you can take on your computer, tablet, or smartphone!

Presenter: Judy Muhn
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Location: 155 F

Doing the History Eliminates the Mystery

Researching all the details of each ancestral family group and line, as well as the history of areas ancestors lived, can pay substantial research dividends. Histories of geographic areas, ethnic and religious groups, migration patterns, and occupations can provide the genealogist with important data as well as pointers to other information.

Presenter: Curt Witcher
Time 3:00 p.m.
Location: Onyx Room

Thursday, February 28

Getting Started with Research in Brazil

Attendees at this session will learn about the various record types used in genealogical research in Brazil, as well as how to locate them. Research strategies and methodologies will be taught so that attendees will be able to formulate a research plan for their ancestors based on the information known about them. Sites for immigration to help searchers locate the country of origin of a Brazilian immigrant will also be shown. For those who may not read or understand Portuguese, various online aids for reading the records will also be highlighted and demonstrated.

Presenter: Debbie Gurtler
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location: 250 F

From Mountains to Megabytes—Organizing and Archiving Your Stuff

Many family historians have collected (or inherited) boxes full of family history “stuff” that they don’t know what to do with, and yet they can’t throw it away. The weight of this responsibility is overwhelming and can cause real stress in the lives of those who care about preserving history. This session will show you a step-by-step process to sort quickly through the boxes, properly preserve and store your valuable family history assets in a digital archive, and reclaim your dining room table. We will discuss 1) Professional organizing tips for sorting, selecting, and culling your family history assets; 2) Best practices for preserving important original documents; 3) Best practices for digitizing assets so that your files can be used for multiple purposes; and 4) How to create a digital archive that can be easily shared, uploaded, and stored for future generations.

Presenter: Alison Taylor
Time 1:30 p.m.
Location: 355 C

Conducting Research Using Roman Catholic Church Records

The local church was a central part of our ancestors’ lives. This session will explore how to use Roman Catholic church records to find out more about the story of your ancestor, including baptism records, marriage registers, death registers, and confirmation records.

Presenter: Melanie McComb
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: 155 C

Creative Ways to Honor Heritage and Celebrate Family

We often think that doing genealogy means sitting alone in front of a computer for hours or digging through dusty books in the cold basement at an old cemetery, but it’s so much more than that, and it can actually be FUN! This fast-paced class features tons of exciting ways you can honor your heritage in creative ways and even get your kids interested in joining you! Twin authors of Climbing Family Trees: Whispers in the Leaves and their big sister share inspiring stories, cool project ideas, and travel tips to help you think outside the coffin box!

Presenter: Trina Boice and Tracey Long
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Location: 251 A

Friday, March 1

Landlords and Tenants: Land and Estate Records for Irish Family History

Ireland was the most surveyed part of the British Empire, and the surviving maps and records of land occupation are a core resource for tracing your ancestors. Given the absence of census records, these documents have become an essential tool. But until recently these sources were poorly understood, difficult to access, and hard to interpret. Most researchers are now familiar with Griffith’s Valuation, but many still fail to get the full value of the source. Moreover, a wealth of data has been recently released online which transforms access and how we can use these records, especially the Landed Estate Court Rentals 1850-85, the Valuation House and Field Books 1830-60, and the Cancelled Volumes 1850-1950, along with many other records—right back to the Cromwellian surveys in the 1650s. Understanding why these records were created is the key to getting a successful research outcome.

Presenter: Brian Donovan
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location: 355 C

20 Hacks for Interviewing Almost Anyone, and Getting a Good Story

Have you ever gone to interview someone and could not get them to talk? Are they video shy? Are they reluctant to share? Do they have memory loss? Is their story a difficult one to tell? Personal historian Karen Morgan and speech-language pathologist Joanna Liddell share tips for quickly building rapport with your subject. You will learn how to prepare for the interview, maximize the environment, put your subject at ease, use story prompts, listen actively, handle difficult topics, and discover how the role of an audience affects the stories the subject tells. With 34 years of combined experience, Karen and Joanna offer tried and true techniques for interviewing almost anyone . . . and getting a good story!

Presenter: Joanna Liddell, MS, CCC-SLP and Karen Morgan
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Location: Ballroom J

How to Start a Family History Blog and Why You Might Want To

Join more than 3,300 genealogists already blogging their family history; it has never been easier for you to get started! The president and vice-president of GeneaBloggersTRIBE discuss the most popular, free, and easy blogging platforms, as well as where to find writing prompts and inspiration. This session will cover:

• A basic overview of how blogs work

• How family historians can use a blog to share family stories, engage the extended family, compile research findings, and even find new-to-you cousins eager to collaborate

• Blogging versus sharing on social media

• Practical reasons to blog

• Blogging versus other writing

• The sharing options offered by blogs—from keeping stories in the immediate family to publicizing through social media

Learn how to get up and running with your own genealogy blog, and start casting your own “cousin bait!”

Presenter: Laura Hedgecock and Elizabeth O’Neal
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: 155 F

Saturday, March 2

Trace the Story of Immigrant Ancestors in 3 Steps

This session is sponsored by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Searching for your immigrant ancestors? Explore 3 key steps to unlocking the story of your immigrant ancestors with the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. An interactive discussion of key U.S. records for immigration kicks off this power hour, followed by a session outlining customs and passenger lists, a session devoted to exploring naturalization records and the pathways of immigrants after their arrival, and ending with a question and answer period. This power hour will address immigrants to various ports from the colonial period up to the 1950s.

Presenter: Susan R. Miller, D. Joshua Taylor, and Frederick Wertz
Time: 8:00 a.m.
Location: Ballroom G

The Genealogist’s Google Search Methodology

Google guru Lisa Louise Cooke will show you the proven methodology that dramatically improves genealogical searching with Google and its free associated tools. Think you know how to Google? Think again! This class will cover: 1) Understanding the science behind Google, 2) Letting the past aid in the present: web history, 3) Creating a plan of attack, 4) Using the right tools for the job: search operators, 5) Analyze the results, 6) Expanding into the Google toolbox (case studies), 7) How to leverage Google’s strengths, and 8) Putting Google to work for you.

Presenter: Lisa Louise Cooke
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location: Ballroom G

Artificial Intelligence in Photo Management (and How It Can Boost Metadata)

Artificial Intelligence is becoming an important tool to help you tag and interpret your image collection. AI services can help you recognize people and tag them automatically. Buildings, landmarks, and other geographic locations can also be tagged automatically. Readable text found in images can be turned into searchable metadata, letting you search through scrapbooks, newspapers and other digitized documents. And best of all, this can often be done for a fraction of a cent per picture. In this presentation, we’ll see some practical applications of Artificial Intelligence that you can make use of right now, without needing a computer expert to set up.

Presenter: Peter Krogh
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Location: Ballroom J

Using Spreadsheets to Track and Organize Your Research

Spreadsheets are valuable tools to help researchers track, organize, and correlate their data. This presentation will teach attendees how to create spreadsheets and the basics of entering data into Excel and Google Sheets. Spreadsheets can be used to build research logs, time lines, census logs, research plans, chronologies, and much more. In this presentation, attendees will learn how tracking their data in spreadsheets can help them research more effectively.

Presenter: Lisa Stokes, AG®
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: 355 F

Do you have the RootsTech app on your phone? Download the app today on the Apple Store or Google Play Store and use the built-in schedule feature to calendar your time at RootsTech.

Maegan Kasteler

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