Jan 292015
Conference pass

Conferences are for eager learners

No matter what your interest, conferences can be fun and informative. Assuming the topic is related to your vocation or avocation, conferences often provide great networking and brainstorming opportunities. For instance, I know several authors who found the San Francisco Writers Conference enormously helpful in their paths to publication.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be attending the joint Rootstech and Federal Genealogical Societies Conferences in Salt Lake City for the reasons listed below. If you share some of these motivations, I hope you consider attending one or both of these conferences or another family history conference.

Here’s why I’m going.

Feed Two Birds with One Feeder

House Finch

Gratuitous picture of a house finch on the feeder, completely unrelated to said conference.

I really dislike the “two birds with one stone” analogy. It goes against my love of birds and birdwatching. Watching the local house finches flock to the feeder a few feet outside my window, I made up a new one.

Partly due to limited funds and looming tuition payments, I choose to attend the joint conferences of the Federal Genealogy Society and Roots Tech. But, there’s another advantage. I can “feed” my need for increased know-how in two ways. I can brush up my genealogy skills and put a spit and shine on the techy stuff. Besides, I just like knowing things.

Self-taught only takes me so far

I’ve been dabbling in family history since 2006. Up until recently, I had my aunt, an expert in genealogical research, to mentor me. She learned things the hard way—traveling to court houses and cemeteries. Now, it’s time for me to take the reins of the family’s history cart and I want to do it right. I went to a local conference here in Detroit and found it was well worth the time. Now I’m stepping it up.

Salt Lake City is hosting the conferences.

FGS 2015 Conference runs with RootsTech

Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference 2015

At first thought, you’d wonder why a conference is scheduled for Salt Lake City in the bleak mid-winter. Why not, say, Houston? Then I saw last week’s Facebook posts from Texas where it was snowing. An “ah ha” moment followed.

Salt Lake City is home to the Family History Library. If you do any kind of family history research, you’ve probably dreamed of going there. Holding two Family History conferences a few blocks away from the ultimate repository of genealogy resources increases the draw.

Plus, Salt Lake City is used to winter, and they have mountains. They do it well, minimizing the bleak part.

I’m presenting at RootsTech.

rootstech 2015 meet me there

RootsTech Conference

In the interests of full disclosure, I admit I’m a presenter. But that’s not why I’m going. I applied to present because I wanted to go to the conferences. Just in case you’re interested in blogging about family history, I encourage you to check out my session (RT1527).

I want to connect with others.

I’m hoping to meet other Geneabloggers and other techies. Internet friendships are nice, but I long to put a face to my virtual friends.

Jan 262015
precious moments as a group

Precious moments don’t always make for perfect poses. **Troublemakers not identified to protect the fun-loving.

It’s been years since the phrase “precious moments” came to mind. Until recently, I associated “precious moments” with the figurines that became virtually ubiquitous when I was in high school. To my teen sensibilities, they weren’t sweet. They were saccharine.

Now that I’ve crossed the half-century mark, I’ve learned to appreciate the subtleties, not to mention the value, of sweetness. In fact, sometimes it’s a whole lot more elusive than drama and excitement. There’s a whole spectrum of things that are sweet before we cross over to anything close to smarmy.

And, it’s not just the figurines that are collectible. Continue reading »

Jan 192015
The rest of the story is missing

Stories are not meant to start or end in the middle.

Readers complain when they finish a book and the author hasn’t provided them with a series. They want to know how life continues for the characters. But that’s not the only time we’re missing the rest of the story. We miss it every time a stranger waltzes into our lives and touches us in some way, then quickly exits.

I used to love listening to Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story radio vignettes. His ability to take a fact that we all knew—took for granted even—and present it with renewed and fresh meaning captured my imagination. It even altered my teenage know-it-all Weltanschau a little too. Continue reading »

Jan 122015

setting goals and resolutions at new years As I hear complaints that the gym parking lot is too full and watch my friend fill her grocery cart with kale, I marvel at the magic of January. The benevolent mass hysteria of setting goals and resolutions seems to hold such power. At first.

It’s not the date, per se. The Times Square ball dropping, like the proverbial shoe dropping in our lives, results in an abrupt awareness of time.

Time (proper noun Time) has marched forward and taken another stronghold. Its consumption of another whole year, causes us to analyze our goals and progress towards them. We resolve, or in my case, re-resolve, to do better. Continue reading »

Jan 062015

rootstech 2015 meet me there  This February I’ll finally be attending the RootsTech and FGS conferences in Salt Lake City. Better yet, I’m a presenter. My session is Blogging Your Research, Memories, and Family History. But more about that later.

Here’s why you should meet me there if you can. Continue reading »

Dec 302014
Breaking through Writer's Block

Five great ideas for breaking through writer’s block

I’m often asked, “Where do you recommend people start when they’re recording their memories.”

Sometimes, however, it’s not the starting that’s the issue. At the beginning, with a little brainstorming, ideas come down like the proverbial cats and dogs in a rainstorm. Then they don’t. That’s the problem. You encounter the “What do I write?” blues.

Breaking through writer’s block is important. Once coming up with ideas is difficult, it’s a slippery slope to procrastination. Continue reading »

Dec 162014

Pinterest is great for family historians Pinterest—the social media “pinning” site, is often overlooked by genealogy buffs. That’s a mistake. Whether you’re a professional or a hobbyist, Pinterest is great for family historians. If you spend any time on social media, consider this one.

What all the Pinterest hoopla is about

Pinterest’s popularity initially soared with the wedding planning and recipe crowd. However, the rest of the world is catching on to what makes it such a powerful and enjoyable tool. It’s a visual search engine and personal collection depot in one.

Continue reading »

Dec 112014
Data Backup hard drive

Don’t trust all your hard work to a two inch long piece of metal. Find a data backup solution that works for you.

My November was rudely interrupted by a hard drive crash. Luckily, I had backed up my laptop on a regular basis, but not quite regularly enough. Please, learn from my mistakes and luck. Whether you’re writing or researching your family tree, have a data backup plan and follow it religiously.

PC Magazine compares backing up data with flossing. And they’re right. Most of us agree that we should do it, but few of us actually have the discipline to do it like we should. Perhaps it’s because the term data backup doesn’t have the emotional overtones it deserves. Think of data backup as the preservation of your hard work, sweat, tears, proofreading, moments of inspiration, and good advice. Continue reading »

Dec 082014
Writing about the past

Writing about the past can help you release the negativity while keeping the memory.

When to let go

Connections to the past matter. A lot. But sometimes sadness, hurt, and anger about the past becomes baggage. Carrying those suitcases around make traveling forward more cumbersome and emotionally expensive. Sometimes we have to emotionally let go of past events to keep a healthy relationship with the present and future. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, writing about the past is a great strategy to keep our What-Could–Have-Been from overshadowing our What-Can-Still-Be.

Just so you know which body part I’m speaking from, I’ll confess up front. I’m not good at letting go.

Writing about the past doesn’t just prevent you from bottling up your feelings. Writing can help process the past, enabling us to embrace the present and future. That’s especially true when we combine writing about the past with solid advice from professionals. Although I’m normally all about sharing, these techniques are also helpful when you keep your writing private. Continue reading »

Dec 042014
Wendy Parmley Shares Hope after Suicide

Author Wendy Parmley shares her story of finding Hope after Suicide — here in this post as well as in her recently released book.

I’m excited to have author Wendy Parmley share her insight with Treasure Chest of Memories readers. Wendy is an advocate for suicide prevention as well as for the support of loved ones left behind after a suicide. In this post, along with sharing her story of finding hope after suicide, she also opens up about the roles of her faith and sharing her story had in her physical and emotional healing.

I began writing my book nearly three years ago following a bicycle accident which left me unable to return to my nursing career because of the continued effects of a traumatic brain injury. During those dark days when I couldn’t get my brain to work, God spoke to my heart. I knew what my new work would be. My new work would be to tell the story of my angel mom – the story of her life, the story of her death, and the story of my healing journey. Continue reading »