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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Entries in family history expo (8)


    Honored to be Blogging About the Immigration Family History Expo

    Thank you, Holly Hansen, for the opportunity to be a Blogger of Honor for the upcoming Immigration Family History Expo to be held in Salt Lake City, March 18. Although I am unable to attend in person, I am excited to be able to participate by spreading the word about another outstanding Family History Expo event.

    The one-day conference will be held at the Historic Masonic Temple in Salt Lake City, and will feature an opening address by World Trade Center Utah President and CEO Lew Cramer and the Center’s Executive Vice President and COO, Elizabeth Goryunova.

    A host of notable speakers will be featured throughout the day, including

    • Lorie Conway author, producer and director of the documentary, "Forgotten Ellis Island: The Extraordinary Story of America's Immigrant Hospital"
    • Arlene Eakle, PhD, president and founder of The Genealogical Institute, Inc.
    • Holly T. Hansen, Family History Expos, Inc. Founder and President
    • Kory L. Meyerink, MLS, AG, FUGA, vice-president of ProGenealogists, Inc. in Salt Lake City
    • Fred E. Woods, Brigham Young University Professor, Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding since 2005

    I will be passing along news, tweets, and updates in support of Holly and the entire Family History Expo team; watch for the hashtag #fhexpo. If this Expo is anything like St. George or Mesa, it promises to be an outstanding event.


    Highlights -- A Good Time Was Had by All at the Family History Expo St. George

    Holly Hansen and the entire Family History Expo team have to be the most unflappable folks I have ever met. Only one week before the St. George Expo, a glitch with the fire suppression system at the Expo’s web hosting provider brought down their website and email, but Holly and the entire Family History Expo team accepted the challenge and moved forward to present an enthusiastic and rewarding event for the hundreds of attendees.

    I had a great time as one of several Bloggers of Honor, tweeting about the various sessions and meeting other bloggers and genealogists under the Beacon of Bloggers tent in the exhibit hall.

    From the outstanding keynote address by Bernie Gracy on Friday morning, to the fun banquet Friday night, to the grand-prize drawing finale on Saturday afternoon, it was obvious why Family History Expo has a reputation for presenting an outstanding event.

    In case you missed the tweetline #fhexpo during the conference, here are a few highlights of my experience.

    I’m glad I caught on to the time difference (Utah is Mountain Standard Time!) and made it to the 8 a.m. keynote address by Connecticut researcher Bernie Gracy who addressed a standing-room-only crowd at the Dixie Convention Center in St. George, Utah on Friday, February 26. His topic focused on the conference theme, “Let Your Light Shine,” and included Bernie’s inspirational story of his own beginnings in genealogical research and his commitment to sharing his expertise by speaking and writing. He talked about what motivates people to become interested in their family history, and what the average genealogist can do to “pay forward” what he has learned. From Family Search indexing, to Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, to transcribing cemeteries, genealogists can contribute to their field.

    Bernie also spoke about the ways that the lives of our ancestors can touch us today as they help us to understand previous generations and shed light on how to manage our own life. These lessons from the past, he said, can show us how to handle crises of all kinds.

    Following Bernie’s address, the Exhibit Hall opened to attendees with scores of vendors, exhibits, and demonstrations. The hall also featured tech access and a place for bloggers to meet and answer questions about blogging and social networking. I had a good time showing off Twitter and encouraging new users to give it a try.

    At the Generation Maps booth Janet Horvaka, The Chart Chick, demonstrated the brand new web software, FamilyChArtist. This new online program prepares beautiful family tree charts for printing at home or by custom order. The elegant graphics and custom features are going to be great fun to work with.

    Bruce Buzbee and the Roots Magic team held short instruction mini-courses during the thirty minute break between sessions that were a huge hit with attendees. Screen images were projected on a large screen and Bruce spoke with a portable microphone so everyone could hear and follow along. The twenty-five or so chairs were filled every session, and throughout the day as Bruce answered questions and demonstrated features of RootsMagic. This is a great idea and made it simple to learn more about using this easy and intuitive genealogy software.

    Renee and Scott Huskey gave me a great tour of their Photoloom family photo sharing website. I hadn't known much about the program and am looking forward to trying it out with the FREE account. It looks like an easy and attractive way to share my grandmother Arlines' heritage photos with the rest of the family. I have many more than 200 photos, the free account limit, but the subscription fee is still very affordable.

    I also enjoyed the opportunity to speak with Allison Stacy, Editor / Publisher of Family Tree Magazine and thank her for naming The Family Curator to the Family Tree Magazine’s 40 Best Genealogy Blogs. Family Tree Magazine has some great articles planned for future issues; stay tuned for more!

    I enjoyed visiting booths and chatting with vendors throughout the hall, and saw lots of new and interesting products.

    It was tough to decide which sessions to attend each day, many were on topics that I was eager to learn more about but they were scheduled in the same time slot. In the end, I decided to split some sessions and was at least able to hear part of many different presentations. Highlights included --

    Kory L. Meyerink of ProGenealogists who gave a polished and informative talk on “Genealogical Fallacies: Poor Methods That Lead to False Conclusions.”  He discussed fallacy vs. myth and how to determine historical truth, vital processes for genealogists.

    I also enjoyed hearing Beau Sharbrough of RootsWorks speak on “Scanning and Restoring Family Photos” using consumer equipment and simple software. Beau emphasized the process, or workflow, of digitizing and retouching photos and gave several examples for improving images.

    Genealogy Gems host Lisa Louise Cooke wowed her standing-room-only audience with the genealogical possibilities of “Solving Family Tree Mysteries with Google Earth.” I left the lecture itching to login to the program and “fly” back in time. Lisa is an engaging speaker who makes technology friendly and do-able, and she now offers a Google Earth CD to walk you through the program at home. I showed it to Mr. Curator first thing, and he was impressed too!

    I was even more inspired to get researching after hearing Gena Philibert Ortega speak on “Journals, Store Ledgers, and Letters to Aunt Mary: Using Manuscript Collections.” Gena blogs at Gena’s Genealogy and is obviously an experienced researcher and speaker; she talked about how to find obscure manuscripts and the many kinds of documents that may hold information about our ancestors. She explained how to use finding aids and showed several entertaining examples of manuscripts that revealed helpful information.

    Gena, Genealogist Arlene Eakle, and Blogger A.C. Ivory joined Jean Wilcox Hibben of Circlemending  in presenting the program for the Friday evening banquet. Jean was the consummate “Wizard of Blogs” coordinating a clever multimedia presentation showcasing all forms of social networking and encouraging genealogists to try new media as an avenue for connecting with family and locating ancestors. Jean and husband Butch also entertained the guests with their musical renditions of some of Oz’s best numbers. Gena wrote a great review of the evening at Gena’s Genealogy,  “The Wonderful World of Blogs.”

    In between attending sessions, tweeting, and touring the exhibit hall, I also spent some time at the scanning station with my archival box of old newspapers. But that’s a tale for another post . . .

    Thank you to Holly Hansen and Family History Expo for including me as a Blogger of Honor at this outstanding event.


    Note: Bloggers of Honor received complimentary conference registration and one ticket to the Friday evening banquet. In the spirit of Bloggers of Honor who conscientiously made careful disclaimers, I should also say that I was not asked to say wonderful things about the Expo. All comments and reviews are made freely; I was not asked to do anything more than “share” the event with readers and followers. I hope you enjoyed the coverage as much as I enjoyed attending the event.




    Only 2 Days 'til St. George Family History Expo 2010 #fhexpo


    In just a few days I will be joining hundreds of genealogists at the Family History Expo in St. George,

    Utah for two full days of genealogy, Friday and Saturday, February 26-27/ I am excited to meet the speakers and other Bloggers of Honor who will be attending, but I am especially looking forward to meeting Holly Hansen and crew who orchestrate the Expo events throughout the country.

    I learned through Twitter updates from Holly that the FHExpo website and email servers have been down since last week, but the St. George Expo is still underway and everyone is looking forward to the conference. I don't know the status of our internet access at the conference, but I am sure that you will be hearing from the bloggers throughout the event.

    Highlights for Bloggers of Honor -- courtesy of Holly and Family History Expos -- include a special blogger lounge area where we can talk with attendees about blogging, tickets to the Friday evening banquet with speaker/musician Jean Wilcox Hibben, and internet access for sharing conference highlights via Twitter, Facebook, and blogs.

    Use the links at the right to follow The Family Curator this week at Family History Expo St. George, and watch for the hashtag #fhexpo.


    The Adventures of Miss Penelope Dreadful -- Penny Plans a Journey



    As readers will recall, Miss Penelope Dreadful may be a woman of refined and respectable sensibility, however, she does not always exhibit what might be called "good common sense." This quality, or lack thereof, has been the cause of many unintended adventures. Fortunately for Penny, her determined pluck and ingenuity has kept her from true harm.

    Consider last spring's frightening little episode, otherwise known as "The Incident of the Perishing Petrol," an experience where proper prior planning would have gone a long way in calming jangled nerves.

    In light of Miss Dreadful's impending journey to attend the Family History Expo in the lonely desert country of St. George, Utah as Intrepid Independent Observer and Chronicler of genealogical and historical events, one cannot help but wonder what adventures await the fearless reporter . . .

    The bedside clock jangled its harsh chime waking Penny from a deep slumber. Her bright green eyes looked round the room, making out dim shapes in the dawn's early light. A sturdy valise stood open on a small table, articles of clothing neatly folded lay ready for final dispatch. A light split skirt, blouson, and jacket hung over the back of a chair with boots standing at the ready on the floor. The hooked handle of an umbrella was caught handily over the back of the same chair.

    Next to the valise stood a small lumpy object, covered with gay red bandana scarf.

    Penny smiled and thought, Lovely. I have planned for everything.

    Little did the young woman know what Fate had in store for the hours ahead.

    Western History/Genealogy Department, Denver Public Library

    The sun shone with all the energy it could muster for the late February morning. Penny pulled her short jacket close and rubbed her gloved hands together. My, it was cold this morning.

    She sat behind the wheel of her little roadster waiting for a woman who approached the auto carrying a leather suitcase and a wicker hamper.

    "Good morning, Penny," she chirped, "settling the luggage in the back seat and herself in the passenger's seat. "It's a wonderful day for a desert drive. Are we ready to go? Do we have enough gasoline? I've brought lunch."

    Penny laughed and bent to kiss the woman's cheek. "Always worrying about the details, sister dear. But, never fear, I have everything under control."

    Penny engaged the engine and the small machine jumped to the road like a rabbit, streaking off toward the east.

    The two women chatted amiably and the miles sped by quickly. Houses and businesses gave way to lonely farms, until the roadside was empty and lonely, broken only by scrubby bushes and tall telephone poles marching across the miles and miles of desolate desert.

    "Mother will be so happy to see us," Penny said. "I never let a word slip that we were planning this visit. It will be a delicious surprise."

    "Let's hope so," replied her sibling, a tone of skepticism in her voice.

    Any further comments were cut short by Penny, however, who had spied a roadside mercantile ahead and was already slowing down to examine the prospects.

    "I don't think we should take the time. . ." began her companion. But her words disappeared in the air as Penny turned the wheel hard and directed the automobile to the front of the gaily painted store.

    "Just a quick look," Penny promised, jumping out of the car, stretching, and pulling her sister inside the shop.

    An hour later, the women emerged back into the light, blinking at the bright noonday sun. Each carried a box wrapped in paper and twine and wore a gay new hat.

    "Definitely worth the stop," murmured Penny's sister, with a pat to her hair.

    "Definitely," Penny agreed. "And since we are stopped, we may as well have our luncheon."

    What was a brief respite turned into a longer hiatus as the girls enjoyed a cold meal of ham sandwiches and potato salad, eaten from the hood of the auto.

    Penny congratulated her sister on her cooking skills and expressed her delight when a thermos bottle of hot coffee appeared in the depths of the hamper.

    "I feel positively refueled," Penny remarked as the women cleaned up the remains of their meal and prepared to resume their journey.

    "... speaking of refueling," her sister suggested. "Perhaps we should refuel the auto at that filling station across the road."

    Penny obligingly looked at the fuel gauge, noting the needle at the halfway mark. "Oh not yet, I think. We still have plenty of petrol. We can wait until the next station."

    Woe to those who wait.

    The two women stood beside the car, hot, tired, and as thirsty as their little auto. The weak winter sun was low in the sky. Miles of empty desert spread from them in all directions. The cry of a hawk pierced the air.

    "No, we are most certainly NOT out of fuel," Penny said. "At least, not yet."

    "Remind me then why we are pulled to the verge?" her sister replied quizzically, one eyebrow arched.

    "We need more information before we go on. We need assurance that we are on the right road. . ."

    Her companion rolled her eyes and returned to wait in the vehicle.

    Penny's good nature asserted itself and she smiled at her sister, thinking We only need one person to stop, only one source for more information.

    Just then, Penny discerned the low rumble of an approaching vehicle. She stood tall beside her auto and raised her hands high. What good fortune! The distinctive black and white sedan pulled to the side of the road and a tall, rangy officer emerged to greet the travelers.

    "Well hello, Miss. What seems to be the trouble?"

    Penny composed herself and spoke confidently, "No trouble, Officer. I was hoping for some information, however."

    The young man removed his wide brimmed hat and rubbed his hair, "Information, Maam? Looks to me like you might need more than a library."

    Penny smiled. "A good atlas or map might do the trick," she began. "We have come some way from our last stop, and will need petrol soon. The question is whether to go on, or to return for fuel in the town we passed some forty minutes back. Do you have a suggestion?"

    Muttering something that sounded much like, "This is a good one...", the officer scratched his hair again, trying unsuccessfully to smoothe the cowlick that sprung unbidden from his crown.

    "Well, I am not exactly a gazetteer, Maam, but I think I am a pretty reliable source," he smiled, "and I do know that the gasoline stations 'round here will be closing when it gets dark, even ole' Mr. Tucker's a mile or so up the road, so you had better go one way or the other pretty soon."

    "How dreadful," murmured Penny. "I thought all we needed was more information, and then we would be able to solve the problem."

    "Maam," the officer interrupted. "If you ask me, what you need is that new GPS. Why, two ladies like you would know right where you are if you followed it along."

    "Evidentally," he added as he turned to his vehicle, "it might be time now for a little analysis and action."

    Read more from Penny's Pen at Shades of the Departed Magazine.


    Getting the Most Out of a Genealogy Conference; Countdown to St. George Family History Expo

    #fhexpo is the Twitter hashtag to follow next weekend when the St. George Family History Expo is in full swing. In just one week I will be joining the family historians and Bloggers of Honor for two full days of genealogy education and networking.

    One thing I’ve learned from my years attending all kinds of conferences is that the old Scout Motto says it best, “Be Prepared.” Here’s my own checklist:

    • Conference registration
    • Hotel and Travel reservations
    • Local maps
    • Review Conference Program, highlight sessions to attend
    • Recharge all device batteries, pack chargers

                digital camera
                laptop computer
                cell phone
                iPod Touch

    • Update genealogy database, transfer file to laptop
    • Print out Family Group Sheets, Pedigree Charts
    • Print out list of Books Wanted
    • Think about people I want to meet, talk with
    • Pack daily conference tote with water bottle and snacks, sweater, notepad, pens, business cards

    I am looking forward to attending the sessions and hearing new-to-me speakers like Beau Sharbrough and Kory Meyerink, but I am also looking forward to spending some “off time” meeting other bloggers and genealogists and sharing research ideas. I hope you’ll stop me and say “Hello” if you’re in St. George; or follow along with the event at the #fhexpo twitterstream.

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