30 January 2012

D. Joshua Taylor and brightsolid

This is a press release that I am honored to share. It represents wonderful news about a good friend and colleague and someone I thoroughly enjoy working with on projects and research.

January 30, 2012


• He's helped stars find their roots on TV's "Who Do You Think You Are?" Now, he's helping brightsolid's US launch as business development manager and media spokesperson
• Taylor is one of several new appointments to the new US operation of UK's major online genealogy business

SANTA MONICA, CA. brightsolid, a leading online provider of historical and genealogical content, today announces that top genealogist D. Joshua Taylor has joined its new US office with immediate effect, as business development manager and media spokesperson.

D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS is one of America’s most prominent genealogists – a prolific genealogical researcher, speaker and author, who has also received numerous awards for his work. Adept at media interviews, he has twice been featured on the NBC series 'Who Do You Think You Are?', helping both Sarah Jessica Parker and Ashley Judd trace their family trees.

"We’re thrilled to have recruited such a dynamic and talented genealogist to represent us both to the media and the wider genealogical community", says Neil Curtis, brightsolid’s new Senior Vice-President (SVP) of North America.

Speaking about his appointment, Taylor says: "Having seen what brightsolid has achieved on the UK genealogy scene, I'm excited about helping them fulfill their huge potential in the US."

British-owned brightsolid has itself been at the forefront of technological innovations in family history for over three decades. It hosts over a billion genealogical records across its family of brands and was this month voted Best Genealogy Organization in the online Gene Awards.

As part of its move into North America, brightsolid is sponsoring RootsTech 2012, the major family history and technology conference, taking place in Salt Lake City from February 2-4 2012, where Taylor himself will be giving three talks. They will cover, respectively, the need for a universal standard in online digital archiving; best practices for using Cloud computing in family history research; and a forecast for future genealogy software developments.

Other new appointments to brightsolid's new US operation:

D. Joshua Taylor is just one of several new appointments for brightsolid, following the opening this month of its new US operation, based in Santa Monica, California.

• Neil Curtis moves from his role as brightsolid Corporate Development Manager to focus on the US market as Senior Vice President (SVP) of North America.

• Rachel Denning joins as the General Manager of North America, after 14 years experience in the IT and web industries.

• Brian Speckart join as Marketing Manager of North America, after a varied 15-year career in marketing and public relations, including teaching New Media Marketing at UCLA Extension.

• Katy Curtis will focus on North America as Finance Manager, after previously working as a director at KPMG.

28 January 2012

FGS Radio Show and the CAAGS!

I am listening to the Federation of Genealogical Societies My Society radio show right now as I sit in the Family History Library. The earbuds and computer work just fine for this. Why not tune in? http://www.Blogtalkradio.com/mysociety/2012/01/28/email-marketing-solutions-for-your-genealogy-organization 

The featured FGS Members society today is the California African American Genealogical Society based in Los Angeles. That's the society where I will be presenting a day-long seminar on February 18th!  http://www.caags.org

Do you appreciate the SSDI?

What family historians call the Social Security Death Index has been under assault from a number of directions in recent weeks. Now it's the subject of a hearing that may jeopardize our access to it or access as we have known it.

"U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security announced today that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the accuracy and uses of the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File.  The hearing will take place on Thursday, February 2, 2012 in B-318 Rayburn House Office Building, beginning at 9:00 a.m.

In view of the limited time available to hear witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only.  However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Subcommittee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing."

Check out the full details here and make sure your voice is heard:

I have used the SSDI in many ways. These include sorting out land ownership issues, researching enrollment issues for sovereign American Indian tribes, locating details needed in court cases, establishing ancestry in matters of medical issues, and many other ways. Would a big change affect my business? Definitely. Would it affect the business and personal matters of my clients? Definitely. One of the things I don't understand about the "threat" of identity theft is why banks, credit card issuers, employers, insurance companies, and others don't simply verify Social Security numbers against the SSDI (Social Security Death Master File) to see if the number is listed there.

Back to blogging about family history research

Yes, I have been missing in action. The past month has been dictated by client, writing, and lecture deadlines plus some family time. Some of my upcoming seminar presentations are listed in the right hand column complete with live links for more information. I would love to meet readers at these places.

I just completed a week of intense teaching at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. I coordinate and teach the two part Intermediate American Records Course. In January 2013, the second half of the course will be offered. Registration will open this coming June and between now and then the full lineup of courses, classes and other details will appear on the Utah Genealogical Association website. www.infouga.org

27 January 2012

RootsTech Conference Will Broadcast Select Sessions Free Online

Can't join us in Salt Lake City for RootsTech next week? Some of the sessions will be live on the Internet!

SALT LAKE CITY—RootsTech, a leading family history and technology conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 2-4, 2012, announced today that fourteen of its popular sessions will be broadcasted live and complimentary over the Internet. The live broadcasts will give those unable to attend worldwide a sample of this year’s conference content. Interested viewers can watch the live presentations at RootsTech.org. The second-year conference has attracted over 3,000 registered attendees.
The free online sessions include the keynote speakers and a sampling of technology and family history presentations. Following are the fourteen broadcasted sessions and speakers. All times are in Mountain Standard Time (MST):
Thursday, February 2
8:30-10:00 am, Inventing the Future, as a Community (Keynote Address) by Jay L. Verkler
11:00 am-12:00 pm, Do I Trust the Cloud? by D. Joshua Taylor  
1:45-2:45 pm, Effective Database Search Tactics by Kory Meyerink     
3:00-4:00 pm, Twitter – It’s Not Just “What I Had for Breakfast” Anymore by Thomas MacEntee  
4:15-5:15 pm, Eleven Layers of Online Searches by Barbara Renick     
Friday, February 3
8:30-9:30 am, Exabyte Social Clouds and Other Monstrosities (Keynote Address) by Josh Coates
9:45-10:45 am, Publish Your Genealogy Online by Laura G. Prescott     
11:00 am-12:00 pm, Optimize Your Site for Search Engines by Robert Gardner    
1:45-2:45 pm, Genealogists “Go Mobile” by Sandra Crowly  
3:00-4:00 pm, Google’s Toolbar and Genealogy by Dave Barney      
Saturday, February 4
8:30-9:30 am, Making the Most of Technology to Further the Family History Industry (Keynote Address) by Tim Sullivan and Ancestry.com Panel
9:45-10:45 am Genealogy Podcasts and Blogs 101 by Lisa Louise Cooke    
11:00 am-12:00 pm, Future of FamilySearch Family Tree by Ron Tanner
1:45-2:45 pm, Privacy in a Collaborative Environment by Noah Tatuk    

16 January 2012

FGS 2012 Birmingham Conference Registration is now open!

January 16, 2012 – Austin, TX. Registration for the 2012 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference, scheduled for August 29 - September 1, 2012, in beautiful Birmingham, Alabama, is now open. This year’s conference theme is “Indians, Squatters, Settlers and Soldiers in the ‘Old Southwest’,” and the local host is the Alabama Genealogical Society (AGS).

This year's FGS conference offers an exciting opportunity for anyone interested in researching their family history. Over 175 educational sessions and 13 luncheons are designed to balance the needs of genealogists at all levels, exploring a variety of records, strategies, and other tools available to those interested in researching their family history. Special sessions include a wide variety targeting members and leaders of genealogical and historical societies. In addition, special events, such as the Alabama Genealogical Society Opening Social at the Alabama Theater, the FGS Evening Social at the historic Sloss Furnaces, Spotlight on Societies, and daily sponsored lectures provide an excellent environment to meet and network with others interested in family history and genealogy. Session sponsors include FamilySearch, Ancestry.com, findmypast.com, the National Archives and Records Administration, and others.

Conference Highlights
  • Librarian’s Day: On Wednesday, August 29, 2012, ProQuest is sponsoring a full day of sessions designed for librarians, archivists, and other information professionals serving family history researchers.
  • Conference Sessions: A wide variety of genealogy-related lectures and workshops for all experience levels.  Topics include Southern research, Settlers and Indians, soldiers, strategies and techniques, technology, and writing.
  • Special Events: Include the AGS Opening Social at the Alabama Theater and the FGS Evening Social at the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark—all providing an excellent environment to meet and network with others interested in family history and genealogy. This exciting week of genealogy closes with a Farewell Brunch on Sunday.
  • Exhibit Hall: Filled with a wide array of vendors and organizations, Cyber Cafe and lounge area sponsored by RootsMagic, and a special Spotlight on Societies area will showcase local and regional genealogical and historical societies.
There are more activities and research opportunities too numerous to list. However, you can learn all about the 2012 FGS Conference and register for this exciting four-day event at http://www.fgs.org/2012conference. Be sure to also visit or subscribe to the FGS Conference Blog at http://www.fgsconferenceblog.org for more information and travel advice.  We look forward to seeing you in Birmingham in August!
Learn More and Stay Connected

14 January 2012

Weller's opens in time for SLIG, RootsTech, and the PMC

You may already know this if you live in the Salt Lake City area. The throngs of people with an interest in genealogy, history, libraries, technology and other things who will visit there in the next 3 weeks might not know it yet.

The Sam Weller bookstore formerly on Main Street has now reopened in Trolley Square as Weller Book Works. Check out the full news article in today's Salt Lake Tribune. Be sure to look at the picture that heads the article and be prepared to drool.

SLIG (Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy):  www.infouga.org
RootsTech:  www.rootstech.org
PMC (Association of Professional Genealogists):  www.apgen.org

10 January 2012

U.S. National Archives New Copiers/Scanners/Copy Cards

From the National Archives blog NARAtions I just learned that The U.S. National Archives is replacing "copiers and the copy card system in the research rooms of College Park, MD (Archives II) and Washington, DC (Archives I) in early 2012. The new copiers/scanners will have more features than the current copiers. The new machines produce paper copies and digitized scans that can download to thumb drives."

You may read the entire post here. 

06 January 2012

Listen to genealogy radio online to kickstart 2012.

Yes, sit in your pj's with the libation and snack of your choice at hand and listen to great shows on your computer, iPad, etc. Sign in to join in the chat rooms. They are fun, chatty, and I do learn a lot. I plan to listen to both shows this weekend and to participate in the chat rooms.

Tonight, Friday, January 6th is Geneabloggers Radio. www.blogtalkradio.com/geneabloggers

Hosted by Thomas MacEntee, the special guests  include:DearMYRTLE of DearMYRTLE.com who will have tips and handy information on how to keep your genealogy data and materials organized; Amy Coffin, of the We Tree genealogy blog will discuss setting genealogy goals and resolutions for 2012. And Jan Meisels Allen, Vice President of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) and a member of the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) with important information on how you can get involved with the preservation and access of vital records, especially the Social Security Death Index. And, as usual, you never know what other aspects of genealogy and family history will be covered at GeneaBloggers Radio so tune in! GeneaBloggers Radio is about the most fun you can have with your genealogy on a Friday night!

Tomorrow, Saturday, January 7th is FGS My Society Radio www.blogtalkradio.com/mysociety 

Join us for the next episode of FGS Radio - My Society, an Internet radio show on Blog talk Radio presented by the Federation of Genealogical Societies. This week’s episode hosted by FGS board member, Randy Whited, is entitled New Year, New Board Members. Our guests will include Polly FitzGerald Kimmitt, president of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council (MGC) and editor of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Voice Newsletter. In addition, we’ll be highlighting FGS member society, Clallam County Genealogical Society (Washington) in our weekly Society Spotlight feature. Tune in to FGS Radio – My Society each week to learn more about genealogy societies and join in a discussion of the issues impacting the genealogical community.

03 January 2012

Minnesota has lost a wonderful genealogist

Jean Legried was one of those people you admired. I thought about her last week when I realized I hadn't received her usual Christmas letter. Now I know why, Jean passed away on January 1st and her health had been declining.

I first met her back in the early 1980s. She taught me that a disability or other challenge need not stop a person from living, helping others, or from becoming a knowledgeable professional genealogist who kept up with standards and education.

Jean was a well-known genealogist is the Norwegian research community, in Albert Lea and Freeborn County as well as in Minnesota in general. She served on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Genealogical Society with me. She taught us about the importance of handicapped accessibility at our meetings (and library) and that such access did not mean the dirty freight elevator! She was 200% correct.  People who have been active on the discussion list of the Association of Professional Genealogists and other online lists may remember her posts of past years. Jean was also an associate of the Board for Certification of Genealogists for many years.

Her late husband Peder was a fantastic cook and I remember the chicken salad he made for a meeting of a group of Minnesota professional genealogists many years ago. Jean bragged about her son, daughter-in-law and especially about the grandkids. I met her mother a couple times and she was so nice.

Genealogy has lost a special person.

Thank you to Sandy Thalmann for alerting me to Jean's obituary http://www.bayviewfuneral.com/obits/obituary.php?id=140931  I love the picture her family chose for the obituary.

02 January 2012

Don't ever give up the search

You may have already seen this article or a variation of it. It really touched me. The headline in the Huffington Post reads "Minka Disbrow, 94, Reunites With Biological Child 77 Years Later." The reunion happened several years ago and now Minka is about to celebrate her 100th birthday with the daughter she gave up for adoption in 1928.

It's a real lesson about not giving up the search for family members that you lost contact with through adoption, split family, divorce, or other reasons. The person may still be alive as this article shows.

Click here to read the article.