Saturday, October 14, 2017

RootsTech Giveaway Contest

This contest is now closed. 

As most of you are aware I'm a RootsTech ambassador. This means that in exchange for blogging and promoting RootsTech before, during and after the event that I receive a free registration for the conference. I'm also provided a free registration for 4 days at RootsTech, held on February 28th - March 3rd, 2018, (a $279 value) to give to one of my readers!

The pass includes access to the following:

■ over 300 classes
■ Keynote / General sessions
■ Innovation Showcase
■ Expo hall
■ Evening events (Thursday and Saturday)

Note: The pass does NOT include transportation costs (airfare, car, etc.), hotel costs, computer labs (these are additional add-ons), meals (including banquets and luncheons), printed syllabus, paid workshops.

Contest Rules:

1. To enter to win a free registration, subscribe to my blog
               a. There is a "Follow by Email" on the right hand side. Enter your email address and Click Submit.
               b. A pop up will appear asking you to type a verification code. Enter the code and click "Complete Subscription Request"
               c. You will receive an email from "Feedburner Active Email Subscriptions". Click the link in your email to activate your subscription. Your email must be verified to have a valid contest entry.

2. Email subscriptions must be completed by October 31st at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be announced in a future blog post in early November.

3. One entry per person (10/18 Update: If you subscribe with more than one email, your entry will not qualify)

4. If you already booked and paid for RootsTech and are selected as the winner, you will be provided instructions on how to obtain a refund of your registration fee.

5. No purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law.

California State Archives Trip

Front doors of the California State Archives

I just returned from my annual work trip to the Sacramento, CA area for department meetings. On the
way back to the airport I scheduled a quick visit to the California State Archives in downtown Sacramento. It's located about a block away from the State Capitol (sadly I didn't stop to get a picture as I was running out of time).

The Research Room is located on the 4th floor of the building. You are asked to show government ID to the security guard before being allowed to go up.  You then need to fill out a researcher request form which asks for some basic information about who you are, address/phone #, and purpose of visit. They have a nice set up for lockers (and they're free!) to store your purse, laptop bag, etc. You're allowed to bring in your phone (just silence it and don't make/take calls), tablet, computer, paper and pencil (they have plenty of pencils and paper that they can give you). No folders, no notebooks to protect their documents from being taken out. Lockers were nice and deep so I could easily fit my laptop bag in, purse, and sweatshirt. The key is on an old microfilm reel.

Registration desk and view of collections on display 
Once you're all checked in and your belongings are put away, you present your researcher request form to the archivist in the Research room and are handed a Researcher badge to wear. I talked with one of the archivists for a few about what kinds of collections they have and asked for finding aids (these were very helpful). I was also pointed toward the Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogy Library on-site, which is a genealogists' dream. Lots of books to peruse. They have a computer set up for you to search their online catalogue. I mostly browsed until one of the volunteers came in. We had a very nice chat about genealogy and exchanged business cards. I find this setup very unique to have a genealogy society library on-site in the archives. The society helps with lookups in their library and the archives.

Research Room (not seen here is the Microfilm Viewing Room)

Lockers on-site with key on microfilm feel

Root Cellar Genealogy Library

Here are my tips to maximize your trip to any archives:

1. Review the collections ahead of time via their online catalogue (if they have one)

2. Prepare a research log of ancestors who lived in the area of the archives and what records you're looking for

3. Before you make your trip, check their rules on where to store belongings (do they have lockers or are you expected to leave in your car), bringing in imaging devices (some will not allow document scanners, only phones), wi-fi access

4. Contact the archives ahead of time for any documents you want pulled in advance of your visit

5. Research if any local genealogy societies operate in or near the archives to help assist. This will be useful when you're not near the archives and need some assistance pulling documents, assisting with research questions. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Let's Get Family History Month/Archives Month Started

It's officially October, which is also known as Family History Month and Archives Month.

There are many ways you can celebrate working on genealogy during the next 31 days. 

1. Visit a cemetery and fulfill Find A Grave and BillionGraves photo requests (bonus points if you have ancestors buried in those cemeteries)

2. Visit a local archives - it could be its own repository like NARA or the DAR Library, a local museum or even a local library that has its own historical room (much like the one I visited in Steuben County, NY)

3. Contribute to an indexing project. FamilySearch upgraded their indexing tool to be web based so you can work on it on your computer and tablet. No more having to download software and hosting on your computer. FamilySearch is hosting a worldwide indexing event October 20th - 22nd

4. Register for an upcoming conference. The conference season is finishing out over the next few months and will pick up again with RootsTech in February. The Shamrock Genealogist will be in attendance at RootsTech as well as the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference

5. Prune your family tree. Find sources where you have facts noted, research women's surnames where their married surnames are used as placeholders, look for each descendant each of your ancestor had. 

6. Keep up with your learning. Legacy hosts free and paid webinars that you can attend. You can find a large amount of genealogical webinars free online through genealogical societies. 

7. Look into submitting your DNA and/or gather family members to test. It's a great tool to use in conjunction with research. I've discovered another line of Corcorans thanks to a DNA match I got in touch with. 

8. Scan your family photographs. With the recent hurricanes in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico we need to make sure we preserve our past. Scan and upload to sites like Ancestry, FamilySearch, etc. 

What are you doing to celebrate Family History Month and Archives Month?

Disclaimer: I am an Ambassador for RootsTech 2018. I provide blog posts (in my own words), and social media coverage from now until after the conference. In return, I have free admission to RootsTech.