Wednesday, July 23, 2014


I don't know how they did it!

My friend in genealogy DearMyrtle (Pat Richley-Ericson) and her Cousin Russ (Russ Worthington) should be singing in best Dora the Explorer style "We did it, we did it, we did it, Hooray." but I suspect that they are sleeping after hosting the 24 hour Geneasleepover Hanagout on Air.

I cannot thank them enough for hosting this feast of learning and collaboration from which I learnt so much. It was fortuitous that Mr GeniAus was away on business so I was able to participate or tune in to the Hangout during my waking hours. I spent around 7 hours on the panel and another two hours viewing the proceedings from the DearMyrtle community.

As I am having trouble writing a coherent report on this event I will use my fave PMI (Plus, Minus, Interesting) thinking tool toorganise the thoughts I have about the event.

* It was a worldwide event open to all members of the DearMyrtle Community on Google+ and invited guests to join the panel.
* Community members watching the show live could participate by making comments in the community.
* Anyone with access to the internet could watch the live show on Youtube.
* Dovetailing with the Familysearch indexing event was a brilliant idea.
* Myrt's relaxed manner makes panelists and viewers feel as though they are all taking part in a fireside chat.
* Myrt and Russ don't take themselves too seriously. They are willing to make and learn from their mistakes.
* Panelists from countries all around the globe joined in to share local knowledge.
* People from Familysearch joined in to keep us updated with latest statistics from the indexing event.
* I got to talk in real time to fellow genealogists I knew from the online genealogycommunity.
* I got a chance to spotlight and talk about "Australian Royalty". Thanks for the invittion Myrt.
* I had opportunities to talk about several topics as Myrt deferred to members of the panel.
* There was a huge range of topics for discussion - something for everyone.
* The online indexing demos were helpful.
* Being a panelist gave me an opportunity to ask questions of other experts. Thanks for the answers.
* Seeing young genealogist, Caitlin, online and representing Australia gave me a buzz.
* It was heartening to see Australians commenting in the community about their indexing efforts (Alex Daw springs to mind).
* My fave activity was watching and hearing Sherri, a Familysearch indexing arbitrator, demonstrate and discuss arbitration.
* My internet connection remained stable for most of the day.
* I completed and uploaded 5 batches of indexing to Familysearch.
* Russ will be timestamping the videos so we can go right to the sections that interest us.

* Poor Myrt and Russ were sleep deprived.
* I was sleeping when my mate Sonia from Spain was on the panel.
* I had trouble minding my manners, it was hard not to interject but I tried to keep myself muted.
* I think that only two Australians took the opportunity to join the panel.
* My kitchen chair was uncomfortable. I dragged my office chair out for the last couple of hours.
* I probably won't find the time to watch the whole 24 hours of video.
* I only managed to index five Familysearch batches because I was enthralled y the Hangout content.

* I can't fathom why more people didn't join the panel. When I was participating there were spaces left for others to join the panel.
* Perhaps in future 24 hour Hangouts so that Myrt and Russ can take a nap the reins can be passed over to various people with  just one of Myrt or Russ online at a time to co-ordinate proceedings.
* My internet connection became flaky around 6:00pm - peak time in Australia. I will reconsider the times I hold my GeniAus Hangouts on Air and may schedule them for times when the internet is more reliable.
* Perhaps I could hold a 6-8 hour GeniAus #hoa with guest speakers on different topics.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Worldwide Indexing Event

Congratulations to all of the indexers who collaborated to create a record in the Familysearch Worldwide Indexing Event. The final numbers for the activity will be available in the coming days but Familysearch reported just now on Facebook that an estimate of 66,417 indexers took part in the event.

Familysearch Indexing Facebook post
Initially indexers had some issues connecting to the Familysearch servers as they were overloaded but as the hours passed it became easier to download batches for indexing and upload completed batches for arbritation. It was lucky that I had prepared by downloading a couple of batches on the day before the activity so I was ready to begin indexing once the event kicked off.

For my small part I uploaded five batches (I think). As there were no Australian records available when I looked I indexed project records in English birth : records from the Phillipines, marriage records from Virginia in the US and US army draft cards from Arkansas. Some of the records were typed and some were handwritten. Although these records were in the Beginner category I found that some of the handwriting and foreign names created challenges for me.

I am a beginner indexer who finds that this activity fits in with my lifestyle. It enables me to give back to Familysearch who do so much for the genealogy community, I am able to volunteer in my own time fitting in the activity around the needs of my family.As I transcribe records from other countries I am learning about names, places and records from those lands so indexing alaso is a learning activity for me.

If you haven't tried indexing for Familysearch give it a go. You will find it a rewarding experience.

Familysearch Indexing Page:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Your internet connection is unstable...

...was a message I got when I was setting up the GeniAus Hangout on Air this afternoon but I wans't deterred.

I went ahead with the hangout not realising that my video feed was missing. This really didn't matter until I sharee my screen and started to demonstrate how to use a resource. It wasn't until the polite panelists told me that they couldn't see my screenshare and that they hadn't been able to see my smiling live face that I realised I had an issue.

In spite of this we had a good Hangout, thankfully the video feeds from the other panelists were available. In parts my audio was patchy but the panelists came through loud and clear.

So what will I do in future?

* As well as doing sound checks prior to the show I will ask the panelists to let me know if there are issues with my video feed.

* I will use another room in the house that is closer to our modem/router for my hangouts.

* I may connect to our modem/router with an ethernet cable.

Thanks to Hilary from Wales, Michelle from Stockton NSW and Sandy from Illinois, USA for joining me on the panel today. Should you wish to meet these ladies and hear what we had to sa you can watch the hangout recording right here:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Rootstech Countdown

Just realised that it's less than six months until I board The Flying Kangaroo for my journey to Salt Lake City for Rootstech 2015. This year I will be travelling by myself (unless Mr GeniAus changes his mind), I will miss Mr GeniAus my fetch and carry personal assistant but am confident I can go it alone.

I remember just how nervous I was when I travelled to Salt Lake City in 2011 for the first Rootstech. I had never been overseas by myself  and I was so petrified about not knowing anyone once I hit Salt Lake City.

I did make a couple of errors on the first day. I got lost and missed the bus for a tour that had been arranged for the Official Bloggers. The instructions included some north, south, east or west directions, well as there was no sun in evidence and I was from south of the equator I was totally flummoxed. I wrote about this here.

Thankfully when I took a wrong turn en route to the bloggers dinner that evening I was able to phone Paul Nauta from Familysearch who set me on the right course. Once I arrived at the dinner all my fears of loneliness flew out the window as I was welcomed by Geneabloggers Amy Coffin and the late Joan Miller. Shipley Munson from Familysearch was a dinner companion who entertained us with stories of his role as Tenor 13 in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I wrote about that here.

What I realised after that first evening (and the helpful hints I got from other bloggers before I left Australia) was that I should have had no concerns about being overwhelmed. I was warmly welcomed by the geneablogger and genealogy community I met during my stay and have forged lasting online and in person friendships with many of them.

I met Thomas MacEntee for the first time at Rootstech 2011
If you are considering making your first trip to Rootstech DO IT. You will be assured of a warm welcome by the many people you will meet there.

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