Showing posts with label genealogy conference. Show all posts
Showing posts with label genealogy conference. Show all posts

Monday, October 06, 2014

Photo Consultation with Maureen Taylor

I spent yesterday afternoon with Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective.

Well, actually, it was part of an afternoon and we spoke on the phone – she at home in Rhode Island and me at home in British Columbia. I should also add that Maureen had been scheduled to speak last weekend at the Kelowna and District Genealogical Society’s conference (in Kelowna, British Columbia), as well as do photo consultations during that time. (See Off to Kelowna for a Genealogy Conference.) Unfortunately, she had to cancel her appearance almost at the last minute. Instead, she offered to do phone sessions for those who had pre-booked with her. I still wanted my photos looked at, so I emailed her and we picked a day and time for us to meet on the telephone.

I chose three family photographs and emailed digital copies to Maureen ahead of time. There were a picture of my grandfather Fred Belair (possibly in the 1920s), one of his father Pierre (possibly in the 1870s), and one of my grandmother Julie’s siblings (about 1920).

Maureen started with the photo of my Pépère Fred. (I’ve already featured this particular photo on my blog about two years ago; see Sepia Saturday: 3 November 2012.) I gave her some background information about when and where he worked during his early years, and told her that the picture was a photo of a rather small photo.


Fred Belair
Fred Belair (centre, in light overcoat and hat)

Maureen explained that the men in it were of various ages, that they were well dressed, and that although the flat caps some of them wore stayed in fashion for a long time, the fact that they were oversized and “big floppy hats [made them] common in 1918”. She felt that these were average people who had possibly “been out and about” when they were photographed. It was difficult to say if the picture was taken in Canada or in the USA. (I told her that Fred had once told me that he had worked in Wisconsin and Minnesota shipyards during World War I.) As for why they might have posed among logs, she said that people were photographed in all kinds of places.

Maureen then spent a good amount of time analyzing the next two photos. I loved how she pointed out bits of details that were obvious to her but that I had missed whenever I had looked at them.

I don’t know if Maureen could tell that I had big smile on my face as she spoke and that I found everything she shared with me so fascinating and helpful!

I really got my money’s worth during the consultation. I highly recommend Maureen Taylor and her photo expertise!

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Off to Kelowna for a Genealogy Conference

Kelowna & District Genealogical Society logo

K&DGS logo courtesy of www.kdgs.ca.


Our suitcases are ready, the car is fueled up, and my iPad and cell phone are charged.

My husband and I leave tomorrow morning for three days for the “Harvest Your Family Tree 2014 Genealogical Conference & Marketplace” hosted by the Kelowna & District Genealogical Society. The conference takes places this weekend, September 26 to 28, in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.

It's going to be an exciting weekend, being with other genealogists and learning about topics ranging from Eastern European genealogy, to coroner's records, to Canadians in World War I, to how to think outside outside the box for brick walls.


I had pre-booked a personal consultation with photo detective Maureen Taylor (she was going to be available for a few hours on Friday afternoon, plus give lectures on Saturday), but unfortunately, she had to cancel her appearance in Kelowna because of illness in her family. However, she's very generously offering to still do consultations (for example, by phone, Skype, etc...), or get a refund, if we prefer. (I'm going to book a phone chat, so, thank you, Maureen, for this long-distance option!)


For more information about this great conference weekend, see the Kelowna & District Genealogical Society.

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

SCGS’s 2014 Jamboree

SCGS 2014 Jamboree poster

Poster courtesy of SCGS.

The Southern California Genealogical Society is celebrating its 45th Annual Jamboree this weekend, June 6 – 8, 2014.

I’m not a member of SCGS, but I enjoy their terrific webinars that the Society regularly hosts throughout the year.

For 2014, SCGS Jamboree is “offering a record number of streamed sessions this year -- fourteen sessions over the three days. More important, these sessions are being offered absolutely free of charge.”

That last part is correct – 14 free sessions for you and me, members and non-members!

I’m not attending Jamboree, but I will be there in spirit, because I’ve signed up for five sessions. Here are my choices:

Friday, 6 June:

"DNA and the Genealogical Proof Standard", with Blaine Bettinger.
"Proof Arguments: How and Why", with F. Warren Bittner.

Saturday, 7 June:

"The Internet: A Genealogist's Printing Press", with Cyndi Ingle.

Sunday, 8 June:

"Dirty Pictures: Save Your Family Photos from Ruin", with Denise Levenick.

By the way, I’ve been informed that seats are still available for the free live-streamed sessions. So, if you want to take advantage of this offer and “experience the skill, knowledge, and expertise of some of the best speakers in today's genealogical community”, then head over to the SCGS website and register at Jamboree Live Streaming Schedule.

Also still available, are seats for the pay-per-view Family History and DNA live-streamed sessions on Thursday, June 5th. You can register for those classes here.

For more information about the upcoming Jamboree weekend, see 2014 Southern California Genealogy Jamboree.

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

NGS 2014 Conference & Live Streaming

LVH, venue of the NGS 2013 Conference

Last year at this time, I was in Las Vegas, Nevada attending the National Genealogical Society’s annual Conference. It was my first time at such a high-caliber conference and I was super excited about being there.

This year, it’s a different story. I’m at home and not at the NGS 2014 Conference that’s currently happening in Richmond, Virginia. But, not to worry, because a couple of months ago, I registered for one of two live streaming tracks that NGS is offering.

It’s the first time that “NGS has provided a portion of the conference to NGS members and others across the United States and overseas”, so I’m thrilled at this opportunity.

I signed up for “Track One: Records and Research Techniques” happening tomorrow afternoon and Friday morning. (“Track Two: Virginia Resources and Migration Patterns” was also available, but not having Virginian ancestry, I didn’t sign up for it.)

On Thursday May 8, Elizabeth Shown Mills talks about “Using Evidence Creatively: Spotting Clues in Run-of-the-Mill Records”, and Thomas W. Jones talks about “Can a Complex Research Problem Be Solved Solely Online?”.

On Friday May 9, there’s “Using NARA’s Finding Aids and Website” with Pamela Boyer Sayre, followed by “Disputes and Unhappy Differences: Surprises in Land Records” with Sharon Tate Moody, and then “’Of Sound Mind and Healthy Body’: Using Probate Records in Your Research” with Michael Hait.

Many thanks to NGS for being so forward-thinking by providing (and at a reasonable cost, in my opinion) the chance to enjoy some of the 2014 Conference from the comfort of my home!

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Society Saturday: Kelowna & District Genealogical Society 2014 Conference


K&DGS logo courtesy of www.kdgs.ca.

Recently, Kelowna & District Genealogical Society announced their “Harvest Your Family Tree 2014 Genealogical Conference & Marketplace”. It will be held this fall from September 26 to 28 in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.

I attended my first KDGS conference two years ago in September 2012 (I wrote about my experience here) and am looking forward to returning to Kelowna this year.

Some of the weekend’s highlights include the KDGS Library Open House, meet the speakers reception, 24 speaker-led workshops (beginner to advanced levels), and personal photo consultations with international photo expert Maureen Taylor.

Here are my Saturday workshop choices:


  • “Identifying and Dating Family Photographs” (with Maureen Taylor)
  • “Murder and Mayhem – Coroner’s Records & their Genealogical Importance” (with Ann ten Cate)
  • “Thinking Outside the Box” (with Dwight Radford)
  • “Canadians in the First World War” (with Dave Obee)


I’m also taking an additional workshop on Friday titled “Ten Steps to Smash through Brick Walls in Eastern European Genealogy” (with Xenia Stanford), and I’ve pre-booked my timed ticket for a photo consultation with Maureen Taylor.

If you want to know more about KDGS’s 2014 Conference, its speakers, workshops and more, visit Kelowna & District Genealogical Society website, where you can download the conference brochure.

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

2 Down, 4 To Go: My Genealogy Bucket List

According to Urban Dictionnary, a “bucket list” is a list of things to do before you die.

green bucket

When I compiled my genealogy bucket list last year, I didn’t realize how soon I’d get to complete two items on my list. I can now check off two wishes and work towards the remaining four.

Yvonne’s Genealogy “Bucket List”

1. I want to visit the places where my Dad lived as a child. I want to see if the streets he lived on still exist in Ottawa and Montreal. I also want to visit Chapeau, Quebec where his mother Julie was born and where her parents had a farm.

2. I want to visit the Quebec cemeteries where some of my ancestors are buried, like the ones in Ste-Cécile-de-Masham (for the Belair side) and Chapeau (for the Vanasse side).

3. I want to research at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, because it has genealogical material from around the world in that one location.

4. I want to meet Elizabeth Shown Mills, one of today’s distinguished genealogists and historians.

(On May 8th, I attended Miss Mills’ “The GPS in Action” lecture at this year’s NGS Conference, and afterwards went up to the podium to ask her a question.)

5. I want to attend a national genealogy conference like the National Genealogical Society’s annual conference. Doing so would give me a chance to meet with other people who share my interests, to hear professional speakers, and to learn about new techniques, methods and resources.

(My husband and I flew to Las Vegas, Nevada on May 7th to attend our first (and hopefully not our last) NGS annual conference. It was everything I thought it would be – I met lots of people, I heard awe-inspiring speakers, and learned current and valuable information. I enjoyed my time there so much (we were there until May 12th) that I didn’t want to leave!)

6. I want to move back to Ontario in eastern Canada so that I can be close to the towns where my parents lived, close to important libraries and archives where I could research, and close to where I grew up and lived.

Tell me ... what’s on your genealogy bucket list?

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Scenes from the NGS 2013 Conference

The following photos were taken by my husband Michael during our stay at the LVH Hotel & Casino for the NGS 2013 Conference.

Attendees checking in at the Conference
Attendees at the Conference check-in desk

Waiting for the start of the Opening Session
Waiting for the start of the Conference's Opening Session

Family Chronicle and Internet Genealogy booth
Family Chronicle and Internet Genealogy magazines booth (I'm on the right)

View of Las Vegas from our hotel room on the 19th floor
A view from our hotel room on the 19th floor looking southwest

Dick Eastman presenting door prize to Michael
Dick Eastman (left) presenting an iPad Mini (door prize) to Michael
at Dick's EOGN Saturday night dinner

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Monday, May 13, 2013

My Impressions of the NGS 2013 Conference

I’m back from the NGS 2013 Conference!

It’s been 24 hours since my return home and I’m still on a “genealogical high”. It was an exhilarating experience and my mind is full with all manner of information and details.

From the moment my husband Michael and I arrived Tuesday afternoon at the LVH Hotel and Casino where the Conference took place to when we left Sunday afternoon, I felt like I was home, among my own kind – me and about 2000 other genealogists and family historians.

I met attendees from Canada, like Ruth Blair of The Passionate Genealogist and Louise St-Denis of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. (Louise and I are both originally from Timmins, Ontario, Canada. It was a lot of fun reminiscing with her about our old home town.) I also met people from all over the US, from California, Colorado, Florida, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

Here is my by-the-number summary of the Conference.

Thirteen Sessions
I planned on attending twelve sessions, but added an extra one (“Cloud Genealogy” with Shamele Jordon) once I was at the Conference.

Ten Books
As well as purchasing magazines, booklets and miscellaneous items from the exhibitors and vendors, I bought ten books (including Mastering Genealogical Proof, graciously signed by Thomas W. Jones, The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy, by Val D. Greenwood, First Metis Families of Quebec 1622-1748 (Vol. 1), compiled by Gail Morin, and The Forts of New France in Northeast America 1600-1763, by Marc Picard).

Six Tips
These are some of the best (paraphrased) tips I picked up during the lectures.

1. Don’t make genealogy harder than it is.
2. Don’t assume; keep an open mind.
3. Don’t blindly trust what you read (not even things written by experts, says Elizabeth Shown Mills).
4. Consider the whole record or document, not just the portion of interest.
5. Work systematically and efficiently.
6. If you can’t get to the records or documents you need (say, because of distance), find someone reliable who can.

Five Photos
A selection of photos that my husband took during the Conference:

Entrance to the Exhibit Hall
Entrance to the Exhibit Hall

Randy Seaver and Yvonne Demoskoff
Randy Seaver (of GeneaMusings) and me

Mariachi Los Bravos
Mariachi Los Bravos, who performed after the Opening Session

Randy Seaver on the left and Leland Meitzler
Randy Seaver and Leland Meitzler (of GenealogyBlog)

Dick Eastman's Saturday night dinner
Dick Eastman (top right) with some of his guests at his Saturday night dinner

Four Speakers
It wasn’t possible to meet and chat with all the speakers during the Conference, but I had the chance to ask questions and say how much I enjoyed the presentations of four of them: Elizabeth Shown Mills, Thomas W. Jones, Judy G. Russell and Warren Bittner.

Two Best Moments
Even though I got a lot out of all the sessions, I got the most from “Planning “Reasonably Exhaustive” Research" and "Proof Arguments".

It was reassuring to hear Thomas W. Jones explain that it’s not necessary to use an infinite number of sources in order to carry out ‘reasonably exhaustive’ research, as long as all likely relevant or potential sources are used to answer our question or reach our goal.

I also appreciated how Warren Bittner took a step-by-step approach to show how to use logic and common sense when writing a proof argument. (It’s a lot easier than I thought it could be and now I’m looking forward to trying my hand at writing proof arguments.)

One Door Prize
Michael won a door prize during Dick Eastman’s (Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter)  Saturday night dinner: an iPad Mini! Thanks, Dick, for such a generous prize and for hosting a great dinner.

But, what I‘ll remember most about my first NGS conference is
  • meeting people who share my interest in genealogy,
  • attending lectures given by genealogy experts,
  • learning techniques, methods and skills, and
  • feeling validated as a genealogist – even though I don’t have CG after my name.

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, May 03, 2013

12 Sessions in 4 Days! My choices for the upcoming NGS conference

Inspired by Randy Seaver’s post, My Target NGS 2013 Conference Sessions - Wednesday, 8 May, in which he shares the conference sessions he’d like to attend on the first day of the NGS 2013 Family History Conference, I’ve created an outline of my session choices for all four days.

Although I’m not an official NGS blogger like Randy, I'll try to blog an article or two and maybe even include some photos while at the Conference.

My list shows the dates, the times, the track numbers, the session titles and, in parentheses, the speakers.

Wednesday, May 8th

11 AM – W121: Debunking Misleading Records (Thomas W. Jones)

2:30 PM – W142: The Genealogical Proof Standard in Action: Case Building When No Record States an Answer (Elizabeth Shown Mills)

Thursday, May 9th

8 AM – T202: Maximizing Your Use of Evidence (Thomas W. Jones)

2:30 PM – T241: Information Overload? Effective Project Planning, Research, Data Management, and Analysis (Elizabeth Shown Mills)

Friday, May 10th

8 AM – F302: Kinship Determination: Are They Really My Ancestors? (Kay Haviland Freilich)

9:30 AM – F312: Trousers, Beds, Black Domestic, Tacks, and Housekeeping Bills: “Trivial Details” Can Solve Research Problems! (Elizabeth Shown Mills)

11 AM – F322: Strategy for Research Success: How to Analyze Your Evidence and Plan Your Next Step (Sharon Tate Moody)

4 PM – F352: Planning “Reasonably Exhaustive” Research (Thomas W. Jones)

Saturday, May 11th

8 AM – S401: Baker’s Dozen Steps to Writing Research Reports (Elissa Scalise Powell)

11 AM – S421: Proof Arguments: How and Why? (Warren Bittner)

2:30 PM – S443: From Blackstone to Statutes at Large – How Knowing the Law Makes Us Better Genealogists (Judy G. Russell)

4 PM – S451: Enough is Enough! Or is it? (Pamela Boyer Sayer)

That's a total of 12 sessions in 4 days! I hope that's not too ambitious for a first-timer and that my energy lasts the whole Conference!

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Travel Tuesday: I'm Heading to Las Vegas!

In just two weeks, my husband Michael and I are flying to Las Vegas to attend the National Genealogical Society's 2013 Family History Conference.

We're both very excited about attending our first NGS conference and look forward to meeting and mingling with a large gathering of genealogists and family historians.

Most of the lectures I've chosen focus on methodology and research, while my husband chose mostly GenTech lectures.

We arrive in the early afternoon of May 7th, check-in at the LVH (the conference hotel), and then check-in as conference attendees. We spend the next four days absorbing as much as we can from a great cast of speakers, and then return home May 12th.

Our passports are in order, our suitcases are standing by, and the NGS Conference App is installed on our iPhones and on my iPad.

As long as I'm not too overwhelmed and in awe at being at such a high-calibre conference, I plan on posting a few blog articles while there.

Hope to see you in Las Vegas!

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Monday, October 01, 2012

My Genealogy Conference Weekend

My husband Michael and I are back from our weekend in Kelowna, British Columbia. It was our first time at one of Kelowna & District Genealogical Society’s annual conferences. This year’s theme was “Harvest Your Family Tree”. Excellent speakers (Canadian and American genealogists), a good turnout (about 200 attendees), a convenient location (Okanagan College campus), and sunny weather all contributed to a great experience for us.

We arrived early Friday afternoon. While Michael checked in at our hotel, I was at the public library where KDGS had an open house and three workshops. About 40 people (myself included) listened to Donna Potter Phillips’ “Leave a Legacy and Not a Mess”. Donna, who’s from Spokane, Washington, is the president of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society. She’s a dynamic speaker who uses humour, common sense information and personal artifacts in her talk. For me, three pieces of advice stood out in her presentation:
  1. tell the stories of our items and information to our families so that they’ll know why these things are important to us;
  2. it’s our job to put order in our stuff, because we care the most about our research; 
  3. start organizing now, not later, because we never know what tomorrow will bring.
Saturday was a busy day. It began at 8 a.m. with registrations and didn’t end until about 5 p.m. with the last of the draws taking place. (There were numerous prizes, like the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner, as well as a one year premium membership to Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems. Michael and I didn’t win anything.)

View of the conference marketplace.

We each had four workshops: Michael's were "Introducing Family Tree Maker 2012” with Rick Roberts, “Google Earth” and later “Google Search Strategies & Tips” with Lisa Louise Cooke, and “USGenWeb: Finding help and resources in the US” with Donna Potter Phillips. Mine were “Canadian Genealogy on the Internet” with Dave Obee, “Researching Your Ontario Roots Using Traditional & Online Resources” and later “Organizing, Preserving and Sharing Physical Documents, Pictures, Printed Charts & Reports” with Rick Roberts, and “Research Plans that Work!” with Lyn Meehan.

Michael with Lisa Louise Cooke.

In between workshops, we looked at the displays, including a personal family tree that was about 1m x 2m (3’ x 6’) and created by Legacy Family Tree genealogy software. We also had lunch, talked to some of the speakers, chatted with other attendees, and took photos. I bought two books for my personal library: Genealogy in Ontario: Searching the Records, 4th edition (2008) by Brenda Dougall Merriman and Counting Canada: A Genealogical Guide to the Canadian Census (2012), by Dave Obee, who graciously signed his book for me. As well, I bought society journals and a couple of books (Numbering Your Genealogy, by Joan Ferris Curran and Managing a Genealogical Project, by William Dollarhide) to donate to my local genealogy club. (We’re a small group and can use good resources like these ones.)

Michael and I were impressed with the conference. It was well organized and reasonably priced. The speakers were knowledgeable, helpful, relaxed, and approachable. The workshops, geared for beginner and intermediate researchers, featured topics on technology, sources, and resources. All in all, it was good value for money.

Well, now it’s time for me to look over the notes I made during the talks, start reading those newly bought books, and put into practice what I learned this weekend.

Copyright © 2012, Yvonne Demoskoff.

Friday, September 28, 2012

I'm off to a genealogy conference

I'm heading off to a genealogy conference in a couple of hours and will be gone for the weekend. I’ve signed up for "Harvest Your Family Tree 2012", which is organized by Kelowna & District Genealogical Society of Kelowna, British Columbia.

My husband Michael and I are driving to Kelowna in the beautiful Okanagan Valley; it should take us about three hours. We’ll meet a couple there from our local genealogy club.  

It's the first time I'm attending one of KDGS's annual conferences, and I'm really looking forward to it. I've signed up for five workshops (one this afternoon and four tomorrow) given by Donna Potter Phillips, Dave Obee, Rick Roberts and Lyn Meehan. (Michael’s signed up for 4 workshops of his own on Saturday.) Other speakers include Lisa Louise Cooke and Dwight Radford. There will also be vendors and exhibitors, as well as door prizes. Sounds like fun!

I won't post for the next couple of days, but should be back early next week. See you then!

Copyright © 2012, Yvonne Demoskoff.