It’s Not Easy Typing on a Train!

Today’s newsletter articles come to you from on board the Amtrak Auto Train. It is the world’s longest train (according to Amtrak).

autotrainIt also is a mixed-use train, transporting both passengers and freight. In this case, the “freight” is limited to automobiles and motorcycles that belong to the passengers. It operates non-stop service for 855-miles (1,376 km) from Lorton, Virginia (near Washington, DC) to Sanford, Florida (not far from Orlando) and return. See the details on Wikipedia at

As I write these words, I am in a two-level Amtrak passenger car and my mini-van is (hopefully) safe and sound in a specially-designed auto-carrying freight car a few hundred yards behind me. Right now we are all traveling at about 75 miles per hour through the Virginia countryside, southbound to Florida.

2016 Genealogy Cruise by Cruise Everything

It is getting late. Most cruises need to be booked 6 to 12 months in advance. However, cabins are still available for the 2016 Genealogy Cruise by Cruise Everything. The 7-night western Caribbean cruise will start January 16, 2016, in Miami, then make stops in Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Coco Cay, Bahamas. The cruise on board the Celebrity Reflection will end in Miami on January 23, 2016.


The presenters on this cruise will be the hosts, Gary and Diana Smith, along with Donna Moughty and myself. Combined, these speakers have more than 150 years experience with both writing and teaching in the genealogy field.

Announcing the 3rd Annual Heritage Books Genealogy Conference and Cruise

I have to admit that I love genealogy cruises. They are both fun and educational. Besides that, cruises are one of the few genealogy events where the entire family would love to come along! Now Heritage Books, Inc. has announced the company’s next cruise will be held on September 18 to 25, 2016. Here is the announcement:

Click on the image below to view a larger version.

My Trip to Indianapolis

I must say that I had fun on Saturday in Indianapolis, Indiana. I spoke at an all-day session sponsored by the Genealogical Society of Marion County. I found the society to be a very active and enthusiastic group. It was fun.

The Genealogical Society of Marion County has offices in the former offices of Memorial Park Cemetery. The building is on the grounds of the Cemetery at 9370 East Washington St. The offices have been expanded and now offers an accessible library, as well as the ability to host educational programs, special interest groups and educational meetings. The Genealogical Society of Marion County publishes both Indy Lineages, a bi-monthly newsletter, and Family Quest, a quarterly journal.

If you have ancestry in Marion County or if you live in the county, you need to check out this society! You can read more at

On the Road Again

Well, it is time to travel again. After all, I have been home for five days since my last trip and I am getting restless.

As usual, I will be travelling with an iPad and a laptop computer, a wireless cellular modem, and wi-fi networking. I should be connected wherever I am. When it comes to posting articles in this newsletter, connectivity should not be an issue. Time available is usually the gating factor. I may not post as much as usual for the next week or so.

Book Your RootsTech Hotel Today

If you are planning to go to RootsTech in Salt Lake City February 3–6, 2016, here is a bit of advice: make your hotel reservation now! The nearby hotels usually are sold out many weeks before the conference.

Four Salt Lake City hotels are now taking reservations for RootsTech 2016. The Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek, Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, Hilton Salt Lake City Center, and Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown will offer reduced rates to RootsTech conference attendees. Each hotel is conveniently located near the Salt Palace Convention Center.

The 2016 Genealogy Cruise by Cruise Everything

If I may engage in a bit of shameless self-promotion, I will be one of the presenters on the second annual Genealogy Cruise to the sunny Caribbean aboard Celebrity’s Reflection, the newest ship in the fleet. I’d love to see you on board as well. If you are thinking of taking a cruise, or if you would like to do something “different” from the usual genealogy seminars and conferences, a cruise in the Caribbean with hosts Gary and Diana Smith, presenters Donna Moughty and myself, and accompanied by bunch of other genealogists might be exactly what you want.

In the ship’s private meeting rooms, there will be three days of Genealogy activities on this seven-day cruise. The featured speakers will be Dick Eastman, Donna Moughty, and Gary and Diana Smith, with each of these guest genealogists presenting on their specialties. Combined, these speakers have more than 150 years experience with both writing and teaching in the genealogy field.

Planning a Roots Trip?

The summer vacation time is upon us, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. Millions of people are planning vacations. If you are a genealogist, what better trip could you take than one that allows you to walk in the footsteps of your ancestors?

Writing in the MyHeritage Blog, Schelly Talalay Dardashti says, “Whether you stay at home or plan an international trip, the basics are the same: Decide where you are going and what information you would like to find. Contact local historic or genealogical societies in the area for more information, and see below for even more suggestions.”

You can read all of Schelly’s suggestions at

Genealogy Cruises versus Convention Centers

Several genealogy cruises take place every year. Cruising genealogists get to enjoy courses, software demonstrations, “how to” presentations describing the latest genealogy techniques, good food, gorgeous scenery, and adventurous shore excursions. What could be better?

Occasionally we hear claims that interest in genealogy is declining. These claims are based on the fact that attendance at some genealogy conferences is less than that of a few years ago. Yet everywhere else we look, we see proof of the opposite. The combined RootsTech and Federation of Genealogical Societies conferences attracted about 22,500 people this year. While it is held in the “genealogy Mecca” of Salt Lake City, that’s not bad for a mid-winter event! Who Do You Think You Are? Live! held in England every year typically attracts close to 15,000 attendees. The accompanying Who Do You Think You Are? television series about genealogy is popular in several countries around the world. Genealogy Roadshow and Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. are U.S. television shows that also attract millions of viewers.

Thousands of genealogy web sites also attest to the current level of interest. The number of genealogy programs available for mobile computing devices is increasing faster than ever before, and the latest growth is in cloud-based genealogy programs. Several of the software producers are reporting record sales. Finally, genealogy “theme cruises” attract more and more people every year.

I’d say that genealogy is alive and more popular than ever!

Announcing a Guided Genealogy Research Trip to Dublin, Ireland

The following announcement was written by Donna Moughty:

Sarasota, FL — Donna Moughty, a professional genealogist and specialist in Irish research, will again be taking a group of researchers to Ireland from October 18 – 25, 2015. The repositories scheduled on this trip include the National Library of Ireland, National Archives, General Register Office, Valuation Office and Registry of Deeds. Dublin based professionals will also be available to assist participants at various locations.

Restaurant Builds Over Graveyard, Leaves Tombs next to Tables

The New Lucky Restaurant in Ahmedabad, India has a rather strange decor. In fact, it is a very creepy, very weird eating experience. The restaurant isn’t only built on top of an old graveyard, the graves are actually in the building.

The restaurant started as a small tea stand just outside the cemetery. Little by little, the walls of the tea house were expanded until they completely enveloped the graveyard. The tombstones are still in place inside the restaurant. Patrons have to walk past tombstones to reach their tables.

Heritage Books to Sponsor the 11th Annual Genealogy Conference and Cruise

Genealogy Cruises seem to be popping up everywhere! The newest announcement comes from Heritage Books. The 11th Annual Genealogy Conference and Cruise is to be the successor to the earlier Wholly Genes Software cruises. Now under the leadership of professional genealogist Craig R. Scott, the Annual Genealogy Conference and Cruises have always been very popular. I suspect the 2015 edition will be the same.

The 11th Annual Genealogy Conference and Cruise will occur October 18–October 28, 2015. Quoting from the announcement:

Join us for an educational and fun-filled voyage from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Aruba then on to Cartagena, Colombia; Panama Canal and Colon, Panama; Limon, Costa Rica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; and back to Ft. Lauderdale, while we learn about DNA from some of the foremost experts in those fields.

The same announcement also states:

Genealogy Cruise by Cruise Everything is a Success

Another genealogy cruise finished yesterday. A group of genealogists on board the Celebrity Silhouette arrived in Fort Lauderdale, sun tanned and full of new genealogy ideas to try. I was fortunate enough to be one of the presenters on board the seven-day cruise, along with Gary and Diana Smith and Jana Sloan Broglin. We made 24 presentations, spread over three days at sea. We also had informal in-person discussion periods, one-on-one consultations, and group breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. There was a LOT of genealogy discussed on this cruise!

Announcing the 2016 Genealogy Cruise by Cruise Everything

Cruise Everything is not resting on the company’s laurels. While the 2014 genealogy cruise has just finished, the company has already announced a new genealogy cruise to be held 13 months from now.

The 7-night western Caribbean cruise will start January 16, 2016, in Miami, then make stops in Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Coco Cay, Bahamas. The cruise on board the Celebrity Reflection will end in Miami on January 23, 2016.

You can click on the image to the right to view a larger version. Additional details will also become available as the date approaches at

Unlock the Past Cruises Schedule 2015–16

Want to take a genealogy cruise? Unlock the Past Cruises has many available to choose from. The following was written by Unlock the Past Cruises:

Adelaide, South Australia, 1 December 2014 – Unlock the Past Cruises announces its 2015-16 program of seven history and genealogy cruises – all now booking. Discover more about your family history in great company while visiting great destinations. All who book a cruise during the remainder of 2014 and 2015 are in a draw for $6000 worth of prizes. In addition there are more great prize opportunities on each cruise!

From Fremantle, Western Australia on the Astor, 19-24 January 2015, a cruise commemorating the departure of the convoys carrying the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and New Zealand Expeditionary Force (later to be known collectively as the ANZACs) in late 1914. Noted Irish and military historian, Richard Reid, will be the lead presenter.

Baltic cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse, 11-25 July 2015, visiting northern Europe, St Petersburg and Scandinavia – departing Southampton and visiting Bruges (Belgium), Berlin (Germany), Tallinn (Estonia), St Petersburg (Russia), Helsinki (Finland), Stockholm (Sweden), and Copenhagen (Denmark). Apart from fantastic ports of call learn from a great team of presenters including Cyndi Ingle and Paul Milner (United States), Chris Paton and Janet Few (UK), Shauna Hicks and Carol Baxter (Australia) and many more.

2015 Legacy Genealogy Cruise

Genealogy cruises are a delightful way to relax, visit exotic ports of call, and to learn more about genealogy, all at the same time. Several companies produce such cruises. The Legacy Family Tree cruises have been popular for some years and the 2015 cruise looks to be equally good. The following was written by Dave, Ken, and Geoff of Legacy Family Tree:

The 2015 Legacy Genealogy Cruise – an annual event in its 12th year – is pleased to announce that Lisa Louise Cooke, producer and host of the popular Genealogy Gems Podcast (and popular webinar speaker at will be joining the event as its featured speaker. The genealogy cruise takes place beginning June 20, 2015 and visits the Western Caribbean on the luxurious Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Sea ship.

Genealogy Cruise December 7 through 14, 2014

I wrote earlier (at about a 7-day genealogy cruise on board the Celebrity Silhouette in the Eastern Caribbean that starts on December 7, 2014. The cruise starts at Fort Lauderdale, makes stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Basseterre, St. Kitts; St. Maarten; and returns to Fort Lauderdale on December 14. I will be one of the speakers on the cruise.

Celebrity has now extended the Early Booking Special for the drink package or onboard credit for anyone who signs up between now and August 31.

Unlock the Past Cruises Publishes a Catalogue of Genealogy Cruises for 2014-2016

If you have never taken a genealogy cruise, I strongly recommend you try one. It is educational for the genealogist and any family members you bring along will also find plenty of entertainment as well. Unlock the Past Cruises has now published a new catalog of its forthcoming cruises schedule from mid 2014 to mid 2016. Some of the cruises visit European ports of call, one is a river cruise along the Rhine River, some are in and around Australia and New Zealand, and one is trans-Atlantic, departing from England, visiting Boston, New York, Bermuda, Port Canaveral (Florida) and ending in Miami. Cruises range from 2 nights to 15 nights.

You could also win a free cruise.

Cruising genealogists get to enjoy “how to” presentations and courses, software demonstrations, presentations describing the latest genealogy techniques, good food, gorgeous scenery, and adventurous shore excursions. What could be better?

On the Road Again: Heading to the Genealogy Jamboree

By the time you read these words, I should be en route to Burbank, California to attend the 45th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree and a separate, one-day conference: Family History and DNA: Genetic Genealogy in 2014. These events are both held in the same conferences center on June 5-8. The DNA conference is organized by the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) while the Genealogy Jamboree is organized by the Southern California Genealogical Society.

This year’s Jamboree theme is Golden Memories: Discovering Your Family History. The focus is on European ancestors. Class sessions are scheduled for German, Irish, English/UK, Scotland, Eastern Europe, Italian, Mennonite, Swedish, and Russian, as well as African American and Jewish classes.

Announcing the 8th Unlock the Past Genealogy Baltic Cruise

Unlock Your Past is an Australian organization that sponsors genealogy cruises in many areas around the world. The latest announcement concerns a 14-day Baltic cruise in the Baltic. The cuise will leave Southampton, England on 11 July 2015 and make stops in Bruges (Zeebrugge), Belgium; Berlin (Warnemunde), Germany; Tallinn, Estonia; St Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; Copenhagen, Denmark; and then return to Southampton, England on 25 July 2015. This sounds like a great event!

Plans are still evolving but presenters already confirmed for this cruise include leading international presenters from 3 continents : Cyndi Ingle (of Cyndi’s list fame), Carol Baxter, Paul Milner, and Chris Paton. The genealogists on board can select from more than 100 topics offered in 50 sessions. Other offerings include Research Help Zone times (one on one or small groups with experts), special interest groups and help from experts as well as networking with others with the same interest.

Of course, the Celebrity Eclipse cruise ship will also offer a lot of entertainment. Then there’s the food…


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