On the Road Again, This Time to London

This is a quick notice to let you know there may not be as many articles as normal posted in this newsletter in the next week or ten days. I will be in London, England attending the RootsTech London genealogy conference on October 24 through 26. See for details about the conference. I will then add a few days “personal time” both before and after the conference so that I can be a tourist in the country and travel around a bit.

I have been to England many times and every time I leave I always have ideas on what I want to do on my “next visit.” In the next ten days, I plan to follow up on some of those ideas.

RootsTech Exhibits Hall

I also hope to write about the conference events that I see at RootsTech London and I also suspect I will also post a number of photographs of the conference in this newsletter while I am there.

Hotel Reservations Now Open for the National Genealogical Society’s 2020 Family History Conference

I just made my reservation.

The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

FALLS CHURCH, VA, 15 AUGUST 2019—Starting 15 August 2019, you may reserve accommodations for the National Genealogical Society’s forty-second annual Family History Conference, Echoes of Our Ancestors, which will be held 20-23 May 2020 at the Salt Palace Convention Center (SPCC), 100 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah.

The NGS conference will feature more than 150 genealogy lectures on a wide variety of topics including DNA, ethnic sources, historical migrations, immigration, research techniques, specialized collections at the Family History Library, and more.

Update: the Genealogy Cruise to Bermuda 2020

The following email message from Diana Crisman Smith provides the latest details on the planned genealogy cruise to Bermuda in July 2020. (I will also be on that cruise as cohost, along with Ann Staley, who also is a speaker on the cruise.) While Diana sent this email message to everyone who has previously enjoyed genealogy cruises sponsored by Diana and her late husband Gary Smith, I believe the message also may be of interest to potential “first timers” who are interested in a relaxed genealogy cruise to Bermuda. Here is the message:

Hello Genealogists!
I’m ready for a genealogy at sea adventure. Are you?

You may have heard that Gary Smith passed away in February 2018. Although he is terribly missed (especially by me), he wanted the genealogy adventures to continue, so I am working on a cruise to Bermuda in July 2020. Our friend Dick Eastman will serve as cohost.

Airbnb Partners With 23andMe to Make It Easier for People to Get In Touch With Their Roots

I am not sure I understand the logic of this. Perhaps Airbnb wants to promote genealogy research trips under the assumption that many of those traveling will stay in Airbnb-advertised guest facilities and also might have their DNA tested by 23andMe.

In any case, Airbnb and DNA-testing company 23andMe announced on Tuesday the two companies have partnered to help people “connect with their ancestry” through a heritage travel program.

An announcement by Jennings Brown on the Gizmodo web site cautions:

Update: a Genealogy Cruise to Bermuda and to Newport, Rhode Island in 2020 with Cruise Everything

In the May 6, 2019 newsletter, I published an article entitled Announcing a Genealogy Cruise to Bermuda and to Newport, Rhode Island in 2020 with Cruise Everything. In it, I describe a genealogy-themed cruise that Diana Crisman Smith, Ann Staley, and I are taking in 2020. We are inviting other genealogists to join us as we offer genealogy presentations while at sea, plus shore expeditions, excellent food, a world-class spa, and lots of things to do for the entire family.

The article may be found at

In that article, I mentioned that the cruise web site was not yet updated with the latest information but I also promised that it would be updated soon. That has now happened.

Announcing a Genealogy Cruise to Bermuda and to Newport, Rhode Island in 2020 with Cruise Everything

It’s time to start planning next year’s vacation!

Yes, even as the northern hemisphere is just entering the major vacation time of this year, it is a great idea to start planning next year’s vacation, especially if you want to take a cruise. Cruises often require advance planning in order to get the cabin, the dates, and the other amenities you want. Luckily, next year you can combine a great cruise and a genealogy conference all in one. You may want to enter July 19 through 26, 2020 in your calendar now. Yes, that’s 7 days of sightseeing, learning, great food, entertainment, sunbathing, and a cruise ship’s spa!

Why take a genealogy cruise? See my earlier article, Genealogy Cruises versus Convention Centers, at for many of the answers.

Click on the above image or click here to view a larger brochure.

My Helicopter Trip to the Grand Canyon

NOTE: This article is definitely off-topic. That is, it isn’t related to genealogy. If you are looking for genealogy articles, you might want to skip this one. However, I suspect a few people will be interested in my photos of today’s trip.

After the recent RootsTech conference, I decide to fly to Las Vegas for a few days’ rest and relaxation. While I never gamble in the casinos, I do enjoy many other activities in Las Vegas: shows, restaurants, people watching, and other entertainment. While in the city, I decided to take a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon.

The helicopter company picked me up at my hotel in a black stretch limo and whisked me to McCarran International Airport. Instead of going to the airline terminal, we were dropped off on the other side of the airport where the helicopter services are found. After a briefing, four other visitors and I climbed into a helicopter with our pilot, Alex.

My Photos and Videos from Bangkok

If anyone is interested in the photos and videos I took on my recent trip to Bangkok, Thailand, take a look at Google Photos at:

You can click on any image to see a larger version of it.

A Report on My Recent Travels: Around the World in Eight Days

In case anyone is interested, here is an update on my recent travels.

Around the World in Eighty Days is an adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne, published in 1873. In the story, Phileas Fogg of London and his newly employed French valet Jean Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager set by his friends at the Reform Club. Traveling around the world in 80 days was quite a feat in 1873!

Luckily, today’s travel is easier and faster. Yesterday evening, I returned from an eight day trip around the world. I spent 5 days in Bangkok, Thailand plus a day and a half traveling to that city and another day and a half returning home. In any case, I am now back home and am working on new articles for this newsletter.

Making a Genealogical Journey to Québec City

Québec City is rich with history, artifacts and documents – all of which make the search for French Canadian ancestry relatively straightforward. Searching records online through the Monastère des Augustines and sites like PRDH are highly recommended, and, of course, so is a trip to Québec City.

Jean-Pierre Gendreau-Hétu did exactly that. Luckily for the rest of us with French-Canadian ancestry, he was interviewed by Pamela MacNaughtan who then wrote about the trip, describing the genealogy journey. If you have French-Canadian ancestry from the Quebec City ancestry and would like to research the archives where those ancestors lived, you might first want to read the article in the Quebec City Tourism’s Website at: and also watch the video below or on YouTube at:

Uttarakhand Genealogy Tourism Packages Announced

If you have ancestors from Uttarakhand, a state in the northern part of India, you may be interested in the new ‘Gotra tourism’ packages offered to tourists. (Gotra is the Hindi word for “clan lineage.”)

Announcing the plan a few days ago, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Trivendra Singh Rawat, said that the idea is to encourage visitors to come to the Himalayan state to update their family records and also visit places associated with the sages after whom the principal gotras are named.

Genealogy Cruises versus Convention Centers

Several genealogy cruises take place every year. Cruising genealogists get to enjoy genealogy talks about doing research in different countries, software demonstrations, “how to” presentations describing effective 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 RootsTech conference attracted more than 22,000 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! used to be held in England every year and often attracted close to 15,000 attendees. The accompanying Who Do You Think You Are? television series about genealogy, now in its tenth season, remains popular in several countries around the world. Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. continues to attract millions of viewers and is now in its fifth season on U.S. television.

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!

A Report from Unlock the Past’s Genealogy Cruise to Alaska

I returned home early Saturday morning after a 7-day genealogy cruise to Alaska, sponsored by Unlock the Past. I have to say that it was a very successful cruise.

About 160 genealogists from the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, New Zealand, and Australia (I hope I didn’t overlook anyone!) converged on Seattle, Washington, to board the Explorer of the Seas on Friday, September 7. It was the most international genealogy cruise I have ever attended.

Unlock the Past CEO Alan Phillips extended the cruise with a day of pre-cruise seminars conducted at the Seattle Public Library. Covered topics included DNA testing as well as Irish and general genealogy research. These ten seminars were also offered to non-cruising genealogists in the Seattle area and online. They were also livestreamed and recorded; I will write about this offering in a separate article, but you can see the day’s program at

Unlock the Past CEO Alan Phillips addresses the genealogists on board the genealogy cruise. This photo only shows some of the attendees. I couldn’t squeeze in everyone with My camera lens.

Once underway, we made our way to Juneau, Skagway, and the Tracy Arm Fjord, all in Alaska. On the return trip back to Seattle, we stopped for a day in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

On the Sea Again

Hello from the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of Alaska! This is a quick notice to let you know there may not be as many articles as normal posted in this newsletter in the next week or so.

If you have been reading this newsletter for some time, you already know that I often travel to genealogy conferences. I am presently on board the Royal Caribbean cruise line’s Explorer of the Seas for the Unlock the Past’s genealogy cruise to Alaska on September 7 through 14, stopping in ports in Alaska and British Columbia. See for the details of the cruise.

Here is a picture taken a few minutes ago from from the cruise ship as we entered the Tracy Arm Fjord in Alaska:

Yes, those are icebergs floating in the water and you can see snow and glaciers up on the mountains. This isn’t a cruise to sun-drenched tropical islands! However, it has been fun.

We have genealogy presentations every day; many presentations are made by a number of today’s genealogy experts.

Hotel Reservations Now Open for the National Genealogical Society’s 2019 Family History Conference

These rooms usually sell out quickly. If you are planning to attend the NGS conference next year in St. Charles, Missouri, you probably want to make your hotel reservations NOW. I made my reservation this morning.

The following announcement was written by the  National Genealogical Society:

FALLS CHURCH, VA, 15 AUGUST 2018—Effective 15 August 2018, you may reserve accommodations for the National Genealogical Society’s forty-first annual Family History Conference, Journey of Discovery, which will be held 8-11 May 2019 at the St Charles Convention Center (SCCC), One Convention Center Plaza, St. Charles, Missouri.

The conference will feature more than 150 unique lectures on topics such as census, court, immigration, land, migration, military, and vital records as well as DNA, ethnic resources, government documents, maps, regional topics, technology, and much more.

Announcing the Unlock the Past Genealogy Cruise from Sydney to Singapore

Unlock the Past sponsors several genealogy cruises every year with destinations in many different countries. For instance see last year’s announcement at of a genealogy cruise from Seattle to Alaska to be held a few weeks from now. The Alaska cruise is now fully booked with 158 genealogists from all over the world on board, including speakers from several different countries.

Unlock the Past has now announced a new genealogy cruise for next year: from Sydney to Singapore to be held from 29 March to 13 April 2019.

You can learn more at as well as in the (smaller) announcement below:

Adelaide, South Australia, 2 August 2018 – Unlock the Past Cruises announces its 15th cruise – an opportunity to discover more about your family history while in great company and visiting great destinations.

The Singapore cruise, 29 March to 13 April 2019 is a one-way relocation cruise from Sydney to Singapore on Royal Caribbean‘s Explorer of the Seas. The cruise will visit Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Cairns and Darwin (2 days) during the 15 night cruise.

The conference program will feature 60 talks in a single stream in the main theatre and at least 10 hours of DNA and other workshops and one-on-one help sessions in a second theatre with an international team of 8-10 speakers. No talks will occur when in port.

The featured presenters on the cruise are:

Cayman Islands Search for Ancestors of Welsh Settlers

The search is on for descendants of the first settlers on the tropical Cayman Islands. If your surname is Walters or Bawden it could be you.

If it turns out you’re related to their first inhabitant, the Cayman Islands will fly you to the islands to participate in a celebration of the island’s first settlers.

A Welshman called Walters and a Cornishman called Bawden were the first known people to step foot on the islands in the Caribbean in 1658. Their names subsequently morphed into Watler and Bodden, which remain prevalent family names today.

General Register Building of the National Archives of Scotland

“Every birth, death, and marriage is recorded in these color-coded leather-bound books.”

While you might never get there in person, it would be nice to see what the place looks like. The Atlas Obscura web site has pictures and a description of the building that will be of interest to any genealogist researching Scottish ancestry.

The article states:

“These millions and millions of pages contain MacDonalds, Stewarts, Campbells and Murrays, along with almost as many variant spellings. They may just look like names in a book, but each is a memento of a life begun, ended, or joined to another on Caledonian soil.”

You can view the pictures and description at


Founders, Fishermen, and Family History Cruise Features Genealogy and History

The following announcement was written by Gena Philibert-Ortega:

Sail from Boston to Nova Scotia in August 2019

28 February 2018 – Gena Philibert-Ortega’s Founders, Fishermen, and Family History cruise sponsored by MyHeritage will set sail August 10-17, 2019, from the Port of Boston, Massachusetts. Sailing on the Holland America Line ship ms Veendam, additional stops planned are Portland, Maine; Bar Harbor, Maine; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Genealogists Gena Philibert-Ortega, David Allen Lambert, Daniel Horowitz, and Tami Osmer Mize will provide educational presentations, technology demonstrations, and consultations. In addition, a pre-cruise day (August 9, 2019) at the New England Historic and Genealogical Society includes an opportunity to learn more about the Society holdings and allows time for research. Additional events are being planned, including special presentations and a tour at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

NGS Opens Registration for a Guided Research Trip to Madison, Wisconsin

The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

FALLS CHURCH, VA, 15 FEBRUARY 2018—Explore the Wisconsin Historical Society Library and Archives—one of our nation’s most extensive repositories—and the Max Kade Institute, a notable source of German and German American research materials. Sign up today for the National Genealogical Society (NGS) guided research trip to Madison, Wisconsin, 6–10 August 2018. Registration is limited to thirty participants.

The Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS) Library and Archives’ genealogy and history collections are national in scope, including records of people who lived or passed through its territory as well as throughout the U.S. Its collection of newspapers, journals, magazines, and union and guilds publications from around the country is only surpassed by the Library of Congress. The Society’s Draper collection of 491 volumes (ca. 1775-1815) concentrates on the area known as “Trans-Allegheny West,” including the western Carolinas and Virginia, some portions of Georgia and Alabama, the entire Ohio River valley, and parts of the Mississippi River valley.