Sunday, February 26, 2012

Report on the St. George Family History Expo

 What a great refreshing weekend I have had. My husband Bill and I took a 4 hour trip from our home in American Fork to St. George, Utah. The weather was beautiful. It was a perfect trip going and coming back. We got a late start leaving since my husband had court on a traffic violation. (It was reduced which was good.) We didn't start for St. George until 3:30 pm Friday. 

Upon arrival in St. George we checked into our hotel. We stayed at the Americas Best Value Inn on Bluff St. It was the perfect location for us.  Not far from the Dixie Convention Center and near enough for my husband to attend a Model Airplane Competition. This was the first time we've gone on vacation and both of us had two separate things to do. I do recommend the hotel, the price was good. I got the room for $51.00 a night plus tax through Expedia. Rooms were clean, no bed bugs we checked, modern furnishing, nice white towels and sheets. Plus you have a microwave and refrigerator in the room. They offer a nice breakfast, but we ate oatmeal in our room. Yup, we are staying there again next year.

There was time after checking into the hotel for me to run over to the Dixie Convention Center. I wanted to check out the vendors since the hall didn't close until 9:00 pm. My hubby didn't want to come and didn't want to go out in the dark.  Sounds weird there's nothing scary in St. George. Instead I spent the evening watching Ghost Adventures.  I guess I was just in one of those moods. I didn't get over the St. George Family History Expo until Saturday morning.

The Dixie Convention Center is one of my favorite places for a conference. Everything is on one level and the walk to classes is easy on you. One of the smartest things Holly Hansen has done with the FHExpos is build in break time to give attendees a chance to get into the vendors hall.  I didn't have to skip any classes to check them all out.

The vendors hall was busy and not overly crowded. I didn't have any trouble getting one on one time with the various vendors.  I noticed several non-genealogy type vendors there, emergency preparedness, essential oils, health and nutrition.  Since I only go to genealogy conferences it was convenient to get a chance to speak with them. I got a sample of peppermint from doTERRA that calms you. From Wind Sonnets I got a sample grapefruit inhaler, that gives you energy and decreases appetite.  I think it really worked I missed lunch because I was talking to vendors and didn't feel hungry.

Of course, many of our standard genealogy vendors were there - Ancestral Quest, Legacy Family Tree, Easy Family History, Life Story Productions, MyHeritage, RootsMagic, Utah Genealogical Association, etc.

I heard the Friday keynote address by Susan Easton Black was fabulous.  I wouldn't have expected anything less from Susan. I was really sad to have missed it because of all the great reviews I heard.

I attended four great classes.

1. What Do I Do Now?: Tools for Effective Family Tree Analysis by Ruth Ellen Maness

This was the first time I had attended a class by Ruth Ellen Maness.  I had heard great reviews of her as a teacher but now I know that's true.  She knows her subject. I learned something I had wondered about for years, but never thought to ask anyone. Ruth told how she will underline information that is true or proven correct, that might appear questionable. I have seen this underlining in text before but never knew that is what it was implying to me.  Now I know!

2. The Genealogy of Temple Record Keeping by Ruth Ellen Maness

One phrase Ruth used caught my attention. That a sealing to a parent or spouse is a "Claim on eternal righteous parentage or partner".  She told of people that didn't want to be sealed or have parents sealed together because they were not good to them during their life. It's not the sealing to the person that matters it's the "claim on a eternal righteous partner" that they will have in the next life.  They are free to choose in the next life who they will be with for the eternities, and they will not be with someone unrighteous for eternity.  So if a person never had another spouse during their life time you do want to seal them to the one they didn't like just so they will have their claim or ticket for a righteous spouse in the next life.

Ruth gave a great history of temple record keeping.  She ran out of time to give the last few years much detail. Since I don't have early pioneer ancestry it was more interesting to me to hear about early processes such as the keeping of family temple record books.  The class helped you understand the continuing need of preventing duplication of temple work and how past processes had contributed.

3. FamilySearch Online: A Wealth of Resources by James L. Tanner

James in the author of The Guide to FamilySearch Online and blogger of Genealogy's Star. I have James' book but haven't read it yet. I was hoping this class would be an overview of it.  He didn't mention his book in class, I did come in a little late, but it was evident James knew his material well.  He did stress the point in the historical records to make sure you are looking in two places. One places is the search engine. The second place is in the collections themselves.  Not everything is indexed.  That is very important for people to understand.  They could be missing so much otherwise.

James said the FamilySearch Wiki is growing by 1,000 pages per month.  Wow, I didn't realize it was going that fast.  Right now it's about the size of 66 volumes at 1,000 pages each. I know every time I look in the wiki things have changed. I just didn't realize how big it had become.

James also showed a little bit of the wiki style Family Tree that is on, for some users. It will replace new FamilySearch by the end of the year. It is also the version that will be available to the general public.

4. Records Are the Darnedest Things by The Ancestry Insider

It's always a fun way to wrap up a day of classes with a little humor.  The Ancestry Insider gave us more than humor in those records he showed.  He used them for teaching examples of things we need to look for in records, pointing out the need to understand records in their context. Just because a record refers to someone as a son-in-law we shouldn't assume it has the same meaning as today.  A son-in-law also included a person's step-son years ago.  Great little gems of wisdom sprinkled richly over some humorous observations.

The St. George FHExpo ended way to soon for me. Holly Hansen, president of Family History Expos, gave a closing keynote address. I am always touched by her story and passion of bringing the FHExpos to us.  I didn't realize this was the 8th year of the Expo/Jamborees she has put on there.

Now that I've had a safe trip from St. George and back I'm already planning on going back next year.  In the mean time I have the CD containing the syllabus from classes I wasn't able to attend to hold me over.

See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day.

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