International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies Conference to be Held in Orlando on July 23–28

Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Henry Louis Gates Jr., host of the PBS hit series “Finding Your Roots,” will be the featured speaker on “Genetics and Genealogy in America” on Thursday evening at the International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies (IAJGS) Conference, to be held at the Disney World Swan Resort in Orlando, Florida. I will also be at the conference and expect a huge crowd will be there as well.

Sunday evening will feature “Alexander Hamilton, the Jews, and the American Revolution,” presented by Dr. Robert Watson, professor, historian, author, and media commentator.

Wednesday evening, there will be a special showing of the 2016 acclaimed documentary “Aida’s Secrets” (sponsored by MyHeritage). This documentary is a story about family secrets, lies, high drama and generations of contemporary history. The international story begins with World War II and concludes with an emotional 21st century family reunion. Izak was born inside the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp in 1945 and sent for adoption in Israel. Utilizing the resources of Yad Vashem and MyHeritage, secret details of his birth mother, an unknown brother in Canada and his father’s true identity slowly emerge in this extremely personal investigative film.

A Weekend at the Auckland (New Zealand) Family History Conference

I must say that I had a pleasant 3-day weekend in Auckland, New Zealand. I attended the annual conference of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists and even had the opportunity to make several presentations myself. This was a major conference. I never heard the final headcount but I estimate that 500 or maybe 600 genealogists were in attendance.

I must say this is an enthusiastic group! They are both enthusiastic and knowledgeable genealogists.

I was especially impressed with the international “flavor” of this conference. In addition to myself, conference speakers included:

Announcing the 14th Unlock the Past Genealogy Cruise (Alaska 2018)

The following announcement was written by Unlock the Past:

Adelaide, South Australia, 17 May 2017 – Unlock the Past Cruises announces its 2018 cruise – an opportunity to discover more about your family history while in great company and visiting great destinations.

The Alaska cruise, 7-14 September 2018 on Royal Caribbean‘s Explorer of the Seas will leave from Seattle, visiting Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska and Victoria, British Columbia over 7 days.

The conference program will feature 40–45 talks in three streams from an international team of 12–15 speakers. No talks will occur when in port or during scenic cruising. An optional full day extra seminar is being considered the day before the cruise to offer additional value to the many who will travel from a distance. This will feature leading North American speakers and a different program.

The featured presenters on the cruise are:

FGS 2018 Call for Presentation Proposals

The following announcement was written by the Federation of Genealogical Societies:

2018 FGS National Conference ​Call for Presentation Proposals
Deadline for Submissions is 14 July 2017

16 May 2017 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announces that presentation proposals are now being received for the FGS 2018 Conference, “On the Three Rivers—Past, Present & Future” to be held 22-25 August, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The conference will be held in conjunction with the Allen County Public Library as local host. Outstanding nearby research facilities and attractions will enhance the conference experience. The deadline for submission of lecture proposals is Friday, 14 July 2017.

The program committee specifically seeks new and dynamic proposals that will provide exceptional and unique educational experiences for conference attendees. Proposals for workshops and sponsored talks are also encouraged. Categories for submissions include:

Lisa Louise Cooke will be a Keynote Speaker at Congress 2018 in Australia

The following announcement was written by the organizers of Congress 2018:

The Society of Australian Genealogists announced today that Lisa Louise Cooke will be one of the keynote speakers at Congress 2018. Lisa is a US based genealogist who will be presenting in Australia for the first time.

About Lisa Louise Cooke

Lisa Louise Cook is the CEO of Genealogy Gems, a genealogy education company featuring the Genealogy Gems Podcast. Lisa is the author of books on topics such as using Google and Evernote for genealogy.

Lisa will be presenting on the topics of apps and maps for genealogy.

About Congress 2018

Congress 2018 is being held at the new International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour, Sydney from Friday 9 to Monday 12 March 2018. Congress is the largest family history event in Australasia and is held every three years under the auspices of the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO).

Who Do You Think You Are? Live! Conference to Cease

Sad news. One of my favorite genealogy conferences will not be held again. The Who Do You Think You Are? Live! conference that was held every year is shutting down. This is the conference that was held lately in Birmingham, England, although in earlier years it was held in London.

NOTE: This has nothing to do with the Who Do You Think You Are? television programs that appear to be very successful in a number of countries. Only the 3-day, in-person conference is being terminated.

You can read more in the Who Do You Think You Are? magazine at:

The following announcement was released today by the Society of Genealogists:

A Report from the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium’s 2017 Conference

NOTE: I took a lot of photographs of this year’s NERGC conference. Most of them are available in an online photo album. Scroll down to see the photographs.

The 14th annual New England Regional Genealogical Conference was held last week (26-29 April 2017) in Springfield, Massachusetts. I was lucky enough to attend the conference and must say that I enjoyed it. I think all the other conference attendees enjoyed themselves as well. I have attended most of the NERGC conferences in the past ten or fifteen years and must say this was one of the best, perhaps the best, one that I ever saw. The theme of this year’s conference was Using The Tools Of Today & Tomorrow To Understand The Past.

This year’s conference was the biggest New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC) conference ever held. More than 1,000 people registered for the conference even before the doors opened. A few more were “last minute walk-ins” who registered at the conference. I never heard the final attendance numbers but it obviously was more than 1,000 people. Not bad for a regional genealogy conference! I have been to some national conferences in past years that were smaller than that.

Who Do You Think You Are? Live! Show for 2017 is a Success

I just returned from the 2017 edition of the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! show, held in Birmingham, England. I know it must have been a good show; I am so exhausted I can barely move! That’s my indiction of how successful a genealogy event was: measuring the exhaustion levels of myself and other show attendees.

One small example of the crowds at Who Do You Think You Are? Live! 2017

The Who Do You Think You Are? Live! conference was held for three days, April 6, 7, and 8, at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), in Birmingham, England. The NEC is an ideal venue for genealogy events as well as for many other shows and conferences. It is huge, modern, and is easy to access. The NEC is located near junction 6 of the M42 motorway, and has huge car parks. It is also adjacent to Birmingham Airport. Attendees arriving by commercial airlines, such as myself, can ride a free shuttle train connecting the airport terminal directly with the Exhibition Centre. A very active railway station and a bus station are also located at the Exhibition Centre. Finally, several hotels are located either at the National Exhibition Centre or within walking distance.

I have never been to any other genealogy conference that has as many easy access options as the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) just outside of Birmingham.

My Pictures from the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! Show

I posted a lot of pictures from the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! Show for 2017 at

Click on any image to view a larger version.

You can watch a slide show of all the images by clicking on the AutoPlay icon (second icon from the right).

FGS 2017 Conference Registration is Now Open

The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) Federation of Genealogical Societies:

4/10/2017 – Austin, TX.
Online registration is now open for the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ 2017 National Conference.

The conference will be held August 30 – September 2, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA. This year’s local host is the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society and the theme is “Building Bridges to the Past.” Register by July 1, 2017 for the early-bird discount at

Attendees can look forward to strengthening their research abilities no matter their skill level or area of interest. The program is available online at An 8-page pdf download is also available at

Announcing the 2017 British Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah on 18-22 September 2017

The following announcement was written by the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH):

Don’t miss out on this amazing educational experience!

Choose one of the four tracks by prominent genealogists focused on British Isles research.
The Institute strives to further your education about the records and locations that are important to your genealogical research. Classes are intentionally small so that you can experience individual instruction, both in class and in the Family History Library.

“DNA as a Genealogical Tool”

Understanding DNA is the cutting edge of genealogical education. Maurice Gleeson, MB, genetic genealogist, based in London, will delve into the world of DNA and explain the various scientific resources available to the family historian with specific focus on British Isles research. This course of instruction is suitable to all persons wishing to understand the complexities of DNA and how it is applied to family history research.

“English Genealogical Research Before 1837”

Who Do You Think You Are? Live! Show at the NEC in Birmingham, England Next Month

One of the largest genealogy events in the world will be held in a few weeks in Birmingham, England. I believe it is the largest genealogy conference in the UK and is the second-largest in the world. (RootsTech in Salt Lake City appears to be the largest.) This show typically attracts about 13,000 family historians and others with an interest in history and in researching their family trees.

You can see my report from last year’s Who Do You Think You Are? Live! event at

Who Do You Think You are? Live! will be returning to Birmingham’s NEC from Thursday April 6 to Saturday April 8, 2017, and budding genealogists as well as experienced family historians are invited to attend. They will have the chance to discuss their family history research with a range of genealogy experts and industry leaders.

The event will also see more than 130 of the top exhibitors and local family history societies descend on the NEC from all over the world to share their expertise and provide access to their billions of genealogy records.

Winter Genealogy Cruise is a Success

Diana and Gary Smith annually organize one of the more interesting genealogy cruises of the year. While a bit smaller than some of the other genealogy cruises, it is noted as being one of the friendliest. The camaraderie amongst the “cruisers” needs to be seen to be appreciated. Luckily, I was one of the genealogists on board and had a chance to talk with most everyone while at sea. This year’s cruise ended last week and the genealogists on board all seemed to be wearing smiles when they departed the Celebrity Silhouette.

Photo courtesy of Harry Benson.
Click on the above image to view a much larger version.

MyHeritage’s Party at RootsTech

One of the major events at the recent RootsTech was the party on Friday evening hosted by MyHeritage. It was loud. It was raucous. There was music. There was Karaoke. There were games. And more.


I cannot begin to describe the party but you can see lots of pictures in the MyHeritage blog post at:

One of the major events at the recent RootsTech was the party on Friday evening hosted by MyHeritage. It was loud. It was raucous. There was music. There was Karaoke. There were games. And more.

RootsTech 2017 Session Videos NOW Available


Videos of select RootsTech sessions are now available for you to enjoy at home, free of charge.

They are organized by day. Start at and then click on the day that interests you.

A Report from RootsTech2017, with Pictures

rootsfinder_treeRootsTech2017 was held in Salt Lake City on February 8 through 11. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend. I can also state that I am exhausted. It must have been a great event!

Wednesday kicked off with a one-day focus on the Innovator Summit, a one-day event that focused on new family history-related software development. The sessions included presentations for entrepreneurs, marketing, development, start-up funding, and also presentations for any conference attendees interested in the development of future family history services, presented by an elite group of industry experts. You can learn more about the Innovator Summit at You might want to watch the short introductory video on that page as well.

Of course, the big news is the winners of the Innovator Showdown, a major contest with $199,000 in cash and other prizes! OldNews USA took top honors in the 2017 Innovator Showdown, walking away with $95,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. OldNews is an Android app designed to help users quickly discover their family in historical US newspapers. The app uses the Library of Congress “Chronicling America” collection of more than 11 million newspaper pages from 1789 to 1922 to deliver its results.

Other winners were:

Update: A Few Tickets are Still Available for the EOGN Dinner after the RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City

But the tickets must be purchased by Monday evening, February 6, at 12 midnight Mountain Time.

Are you planning to attend this year’s RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City? Do you think you will be hungry after the conference closes on Saturday evening? Would you like to have dinner with a large group of genealogists? If so, join us for dinner!

Reservations are required. Only those with advance reservations will be admitted. Payment must be made in advance. The charge is $55 per person and payment may be made with VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card, or PayPal. I have to call the restaurant and give them an exact final headcount first thing in the morning of February 7 so the restaurant can order enough food and schedule enough staff to handle our group.

Details are available in the earlier announcement at

RootsTech 2017 Live Streaming Schedule

logo-rootstech-2017RootsTech is the largest genealogy event anywhere in the world. It is being held next week, February 8-11, in Salt Lake City, Utah. With more than 20,000 attendees expected and more than 200 breakout sessions covering a wide variety of family history topics, this should be an interesting event! However, if you are unable to attend in person, you still may attend “virtually.” Many, although not all, of the sessions will be broadcast live on the Internet via streaming video. You can stay at home and watch the more popular sessions.

The streaming sessions will be available online at No registration is required to view the live streams.

You are Invited to the EOGN Dinner after the RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City!

Are you planning to attend this year’s RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City? Do you think you will be hungry after the conference closes on Saturday evening? Would you like to have dinner with a large group of genealogists? If so, join us for dinner!

You are invited to join other genealogists for dinner on Saturday evening, February 11, after the close of the RootsTech 2017 conference. Rumor has it there will also be a few door prizes.

You can make a reservation now at

You are invited to join us if:

You subscribe to the Plus Edition newsletter or…
You subscribe to the Standard Edition newsletter or…
If you occasionally read the newsletter online or…
If you have heard of the newsletter or…
If you promise to read the newsletter in the future or…
If you are a genealogist who has no other place else to go Saturday night.

You also may bring your spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend (or both!) or anyone else who would like to join us.

Announcing the 2017 Ukrainian Genealogy Workshop — Rediscovering Your Family Stories

The following was written by the Nashi Predky Family History Group:

The Nashi Predky Family History Group goes “on the road” to Carnegie, Pennsylvania for the Spring 2017 Ukrainian Genealogy Workshop — Rediscovering Your Family Stories.

ukrainian-genealogy-workshopJoin fellow genealogists on May 6th, 2017 for a full day of informative talks and networking opportunities. Speakers will include Justin Houser, Rich Venezia, Michael Buryk, and Michelle Chubenko, and will feature talks on:

  • The Basics of Ukrainian Genealogy
  • Finding and Using Church Records for Your Ancestral Village
  • The Aliens Are Coming: USCIS Record Sets
  • History of Lemkos, Boykos, and Hutsuls
  • Using Gazetteers, Directories & Schematisms for Eastern European Research