Sunday, February 15, 2015


Saturday, February 14th was the third and final day of the RootsTech and FGS 2015 Conference.

Motivational keynote addresses from entertainer and Utah native Donny Osmond and journalist A.J. Jacobs who is organizing a Global Family Reunion. Jacobs, spoke about his efforts to organize a "Global Family Reunion: based on the idea that all living people are cousins to one another.

He was followed by Donny Osmond, who spoke of his 50-plus year international career in show business that began with his brothers in Ogden. He sang some all time hit songs, paid tribute to his father; said to document the stories of your family. We are products of our ancestors.

The following are the classes I attended on Saturday:
Extra! Extra! Utilizing Newspapers to Locate Obituaries taught by Kris Rzepczynski, MLS, MA. I liked this session, he had a good handout and covered the topic of how to locate print and online indexes for local newspapers, and take advantage of online resources.

Before You Click: Creating Your Online Research Plan taught by D. Joshua Taylor.
I picked up a great tip from his handout, "Keep a research log for every site you search - including subscription websites, search engines, or other resources."

Nifty and Powerful Technologies for Genealogical Analysis and Documentation taught by Ron Arons. He had an excellent handout with links to various website programs. Some I heard of, some I hadn't.

Family Food & Fun: Making a Family Story Cookbook with Recipes taught by Alison Taylor. I missed this the first time it was on the schedule. Luckily, there was an encore session. My sister and I had a similar idea to put all our family recipes in one cookbook with photos and a bio of the cook. This class is just want I needed.

There were many sessions I didn't get to but having the syllabus handouts after the conference will help. The entire conference was a huge success, glad I was able to be apart of it!

Copyright 2015, Gayle Ficarra Wolcott

Friday, February 13, 2015

FGS/RootsTech Conference - Day 2

The second day of the FGS 2015 Conference has been fun packed.
The RootsTech keynote speaker at this morning's general session was former first lady Laura Bush. During her speach she emphasized the importance of family. Joining her for a Q & A session was her daughter Jenna Bush Hager. Jenna also talked about the importance of her family, recalling her grandfather, George H.W. Bush, babysitting she and twin sister Barbara the night before his debate speech.

When I registered for FGS I also paid for the RootsTech pass. Today I moved from one end of the building to the other to attend various RootsTech or FGS classes. Well, I got in plenty of exercise. The following are the classes I attended:

Creating a Digital Genealogy Album taught by Barb Groth.

Blogging Your Research, Memories, and Family Stories taught by Laura Hedgecock.
(I later purchased her new book Memories of Me which she signed.)

I popped into the Exhibit Hall and watched one of the 30 minute of Outside the Box Sessions in booth 1140.  Heirloom Roadshow: How to Archive Family Keepsakes taught by Denise Levenick. Ms Levenick has been a past speaker at my Ventura County Genealogical Society (VCGS) monthly meeting.

Using Tax Records for Genealogical Problem Solving taught by Michael Lacopo, DVM.
I liked his lecture. I know the title sounds dry and boring, but Mr. Lacopo kept my interest. I haven't dipped my research toe into tax records yet but I'll be ordering some microfilm when I get home.

I met up with Jen Baldwin at the Find My Past booth. I was able to have a short one-on-one time with her about social media. She told me about tutorials on the FGS Education page. If I had ANY questions I could email her any time. She gave me a snack bar and a small gift for being one of the "early birds" to come to the booth. I also was able to say hello to fellow blogger Randy Seaver and his lovely wife Linda.

A fellow VCGS member and I had a nice dinner together. It was the first time we were able to connect in the past three days. It was great to hear about the classes she attended and I talked about my classes. It's always fun to share with a like-minded friend.

Copyright 2015, Gayle Ficarra Wolcott

FGS/RootsTech Conference - Day 1

Yesterday was the official kick-off of the FGS Conference. The conference 
committee expect well over 22,000 people to attend before the weekend is 
through. I had a full day of traipsing up and down the halls of the Salt Palace 
Convention Center looking for the correct room my session was to be held. 
I've overheard more than once a remark of how many steps a person was 
using. Well over 10,000.

Here's a look at the classes I attended.

Thursday General Session

Took a spin in the Exhibit Hall as soon as it opened.

Organization for the Genealogist taught by Billie Stone Fogarty, M.Ed.

Attended the MyHeritage Sponsored Lunch.

60 Minutes --60 Ideas: Workshop to Jump Start YOUR Personal or Family 
History taught by Tom Taylor.

Problem Solving with Probate taught by Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, 

Build and Manage Your Family Tree with My Heritage Mobil App taught by 
Daniel Horowitz

Took another spin through the exhibit hall, talked and asked questions with 
several vendors. By the time I left to go back to my hotel, I was literally 
dragging my bag behind me. So tired and pooped. Can't wait until morning!

Copyright 2015, Gayle Ficarra Wolcott

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


I'm the FGS Delegate for the Ventura County Genealogical Society in California.

This morning I picked up my registration packet for the FGS/RootsTech Conference at the Salt Palace Convention Center. I attend the FGS Focus on Societies Day Opening Session. Keynote speakers were Deana Courant, Jen Baldwin, and Curt Wicher. Listening to just one of them would have been a great session but seeing all three was awesome! I hope to take in other sessions with them later in the week.

My first class was taught by C. Anne Staley, The Policy and Procedure Manual: Preventing "I Didn't Know That".
Second class was taught by D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS, New Kid on the Block: Embracing Your Society's new Volunteers.

The following are the classes I took after lunch.

Technology Initiatives for Genealogy Societies, taught by Thomas MacEntee.
Organizing and Carrying Out a Society Project, taught by C. Anne Staley.
Tradition and Technology: Finding Your Society's Balance, taught by D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS.

Lots of great ideas to take back to the VCGS board.

After dinner I went back to the Salt Palace and attended the FGS 2015 Opening Social: Behind the Scenes: Family History & Television. We saw selected clips from "Finding Your Roots," "Who Do You Think You Are," and "Genealogy Roadshow." The Genealogy Roadshow clips hadn't aired yet, we were getting a sneak peak before the rest of the country, really cool.

Afterwards there was an in-depth panel discussion featuring Kenyatta Berry (Genealogy Roadshow), CeCe Moore (Genealogy Roadshow and Finding Your Roots), George E. Ott (Who Do You Think You Are?), Jennifer Utley (Who Do You Think Your Are?), and of course Josh Taylor (Genealogy Roadshow).

All-in-all, a great way to end the day. Can't wait for tomorrow to see the Exhibit Hall and attend all those amazing sessions.

Copyright 2015, Gayle Ficarra Wolcott