Friday, December 23, 2011

Early-Bird Deadline Approaching for APG Professional Management Conference

WESTMINSTER, Colo., December 13, 2011− The early-bird registration deadline is rapidly approaching for the upcoming APG Professional Management Conference (PMC). The one-day conference will be held February 1, 2011 at the Radisson Hotel, Salt Lake City. Members who sign up before December 31, 2011 will receive $25 off of the registration fee. The conference is also open to non-members. PMC is being held one day before the RootsTech Family History & Technology Conference (

The conference, themed “Techniques, Tools, and Technology,” will feature lectures from top genealogists, including J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA; Paula Stuart-Warren, CG; Thomas MacEntee; Teresa Koch-Bostic; Melissa A. Johnson; Laura G. Prescott; Kory L. Meyerink, AG; and Diane L. Giannini, CG. Lectures will provide strategic and practical advice for genealogists, from research planning to earning a living.

The conference is open to professionals, aspiring professionals, and anyone interested in networking with professional genealogists. Lecture topics and registration details at

About APG:

The Association of Professional Genealogists (, established in 1979, represents more than 2,400 genealogists, librarians, writers, editors, historians, instructors, booksellers, publishers and others involved in genealogy-related businesses. APG encourages genealogical excellence, ethical practice, mentoring and education. The organization also supports the preservation and accessibility of records useful to the fields of genealogy and history. Its members represent all fifty states, Canada and thirty other countries. APG is active on LinkedIn, Twitter ( and FaceBook (

Monday, December 19, 2011

2012 Free Jamboree Extension Webinar Series Announced for Genealogy

The Southern California Genealogical Society just announced the return of the popular Jamboree Extension Webinar Series, which provides web-based family history and genealogy educational sessions for genealogists around the world.
I am excited to once again be one of the speakers for the 2012 Series.  It's a jam packed schedule with lots of names you'll recognize. 

Join me on Saturday April 7, 2012 at 10:00 am PST / 1:00 pm EST for Turn iGoogle into Your Personal Genealogy Research Homepage.  Space is limited for this free webinar.  REGISTER HERE
Here's the rest of the scoop from the Southern California Genealogical Society:
"Sessions are held on the first Saturday and third Wednesday of each month.  The first 2012 webinar on Saturday, January 7, 2012, will be led by Linda Geiger, CG, CGL. Linda's presentation is "Me and My Laptop: Getting the Most out of your Laptop while Researching Onsite."  Linda will share tips for making onsite research more efficient and productive using DropBox (or similar cloud) in conjunction with spreadsheets, word processing programs, genealogy software, and more.

The Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) launched its Jamboree Extension Series (JES) webinars in March 2011. SCGS was the first genealogical society to offer regularly scheduled webinar sessions. The series was developed to fulfill the Society's mission "to foster interest in family history and genealogy, preserve genealogical materials, and provide instruction in accepted and effective research techniques."  

Webinars help extend awareness of SCGS and Jamboree around the world. In 2011, the webinar series reached genealogists from 48 US states and 7 Canadian provinces, as well as England, Wales, Ireland, France, United Kingdom, Algeria, Uganda, Australia, New Zealand and Israel.  

The live webcast is offered free of charge and open to the public. "We offer these webinars as part of our educational mission," said SCGS president Heidi Ziegler, "but are always grateful for contributions to offset our costs." Donations can be made by PayPal, through the SCGS website or by check. 

SCGS members are able to review archived sessions at any time by accessing the SCGS members-only section of this website.  

To join a webinar, most participants attend via computer with audio speakers or a headset. Those with a fast Internet connection (either broadband or DSL) will have the most satisfactory experience. It is possible to phone in to listen to the presentation. Long-distance charges may apply. 

Jamboree Extension Series presentations will be scheduled on the first Saturday and third Wednesday of each month. Saturday sessions will be held at 10am Pacific time / 1pm Eastern time; Wednesday sessions will be scheduled at 6pm Pacific time / 9pm Eastern time.

Full details and registration information for each session can be found on the SCGS website at"

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Solve a Family History Challege and Win $5,000!

Here's an exciting opportunity from FamilySearch:

Have you recently been doing something family or genealogy-related and thought, "There should be an app for that!"? Now is your chance. Solving that problem and entering the RootsTech 2012 Developer Challenge could earn you $5,000.

Tens of millions of people around the world are interested in some facet of family history. These people need software solutions—whether on the desktop, online, or through mobile delivery—that help them engage and succeed in their efforts to discover, preserve, and share their family history.  RootsTech will reward developers who introduce the most innovative new concepts to family history with $10,000 in cash rewards and increased visibility. 
Visit the Developer Challenge page on to find out more about rules, prizes and deadlines.  Developers wishing to enter the challenge must register by January 1, 2012 but actual submissions are not due until January 15.  Spread the word and register today!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Update for Those Seeking Family History Documents

Back in 2000 I learned of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and used it to obtain my great grandfather's naturalization file. I was so excited at the amount of material I received (including a never before seen photo of Gustav Sporowski) that I told the director of my local Family History Center about it.  She wasn't aware of the FOIA and it's application to genealogical records and was keen to make a copy of the cover letter to share with other patrons.  She handed the letter back to me and with a smile said "that's a real genealogy gem!" and she proceeded to pin it on the center's bulletin board. 
I remember standing there and thinking, 'it really is a genealogy gem, but there's got to be a better way to tell other genealogists about it so they can benefit.' And so the seed was sown for the future Genealogy Gems Podcast - even though podcasts didn't yet exist!
Over the years genealogists FOIA experiences have varied greatly.  I've heard everything from stories of joy and excitement at the receiving of a document package like mine, to the doom and gloom and frustration of interaction with the federal government bureaucracy that ultimately lead nowhere.
On November 28, 2011 the National Archives Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) - the federal Freedom of Information Act 9FOIA) Ombudsman - launched a new online case management system intended to manage the requests for assistance that FOIA requesters and agencies bring to OGIS. The goal is that the tool will both streamline OGIS's work and increase transparency of its operations.  Here's the scoop from the recently released National Archives press release:
Washington, D.C. . . More than 1,200 FOIA requesters from 48 states and 13 foreign countries turned to OGIS for assistance in its first two years as FOIA Ombudsman. The service that OGIS provides ranges from checking the status of delayed FOIA requests to facilitating resolutions of disputes involving complex database requests. While OGIS has successfully resolved hundreds of cases, the Office recognizes the need for greater collaboration with agencies and a more systematic way of collecting information about its work. The OAS – which is supported by and integrated into a re-launched and expanded OGIS website – will help the Office achieve these goals.
“OGIS was created to resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and federal agencies,” said OGIS Director Miriam Nisbet.  “As we began our work, we realized that we needed an increased web presence to both manage our cases and educate requesters about the FOIA process. Our new OGIS Access System will help us achieve these goals.”
OAS is among the first generation of federal government online services operating in “the cloud.” This approach allows OGIS to launch a number of scalable online services, including:
·         A searchable library of FOIA terms and concepts
·         An online submission process for those requesting OGIS’s assistance;
·         The ability to review the status of a case with OGIS and communicate directly with OGIS staff; and
·         The capability to engage with the public on ways to improve FOIA, which also is within the OGIS mission.
OGIS selected Active Network, Inc as the provider of the OAS integrated software endeavor. The Active Network, Inc. is a leading provider of organization-based cloud computing applications.

Monday, December 5, 2011

New RootsMagic 5 Software Released

You've heard many speak many times about RootsMagic on the Genealogy Gems Podcast.  They've been a terrific sponsor of the show, and I'm very excited to share their big news with you.  They've just released RootsMagic 5 and here's the scoop:

SPRINGVILLE, Utah. — November 28, 2011 — RootsMagic, Inc. today announced the official release of RootsMagic 5, the latest version of the award-winning genealogy software which makes researching, organizing, and sharing your family history easy and enjoyable.  With this release comes an update to the popular “RootsMagic Essentials” free genealogy software.

Family History Made Easy
A July 2009 review of RootsMagic 4 by Family Tree Magazine said, “Probably the best all-around genealogy program, RootsMagic offers a winning combination of features for both casual and serious genealogists.”

Throughout it’s 10-year history, RootsMagic has helped people research and share their family trees with innovative features such as moving people from one file to another with your mouse, a SourceWizard to help you document your work, creating a Shareable CD to give to family and friends, and running RootsMagic off of a USB flash drive when you are away from home.  RootsMagic also received the award for “Easiest to Sync” from FamilySearch for their work in interfacing with that system.

New Features
RootsMagic 5 adds many new features while making existing features even easier to use.  “This release includes something for everybody,” said Bruce Buzbee, president.  “Whether you’re a grandma wanting to share your family history with grandkids or a professional researcher trying to organize your work, RootsMagic 5 has something new for you.” 

New features include:

* Timeline View - put a person’s life in context with events from their own life and from the lives of family members.
* CountyCheck - confirm and correct the existence of a county, state, or country on any given date from a multi-national database.  It can even show you online maps of county boundaries for that date.

* Research Manager - avoid “reinventing the wheel” by keeping track of research goals, sources, and results that you have collected on a person, family, or place

* “On This Day” List - bring your family history to life and view family events along with famous births, deaths, and historical events for any given day of the year.

* Media Tagging - tag your media with people, families, sources, or places.  For example, tag an image of a census record with the people, families, and places mentioned in the record as well as the census’ source citation.

* Plus over 80 other enhancements and features

Free “RootsMagic Essentials”
RootsMagic 5 is also available in an updated, free edition named, “RootsMagic 5 Essentials”.  RootsMagic Essentials contains many core features from the RootsMagic software and the two products are fully-compatible with one another.  “Many people are curious about their family history and don’t know where to begin,” said Michael Booth, vice president.  “RootsMagic Essentials is the perfect way for someone to get started, risk-free.”  RootsMagic Essentials is available for download at

Available Now
RootsMagic 5 is now available online at or by calling 1-800-766-8762.  New users may purchase RootsMagic 5 for only $29.95.  Users of previous versions of RootsMagic and it’s predecessor, Family Origins may purchase RootsMagic 5 for the upgrade price of only $19.95.
About RootsMagic, Inc.

For over 20 years, RootsMagic, Inc. has been creating computer software with a special purpose- to unite families. One of our earliest products- the popular “Family Origins” software, introduced thousands of people to the joy and excitement of family history.

That tradition continues today with “RootsMagic”, our award-winning genealogy software which makes researching, organizing, and sharing your family history fun and easy. “Personal Historian” will help you easily write and preserve your life stories. “Family Reunion Organizer” takes the headaches out of planning those important get-togethers. And “Family Atlas” creates beautiful and educational geographic maps of your family history.

For more information, visit
Source: RootsMagic, Inc.