OGS 2016 Toronto

Wow! Going to a Genealogy Conference sure does make ones furnace burn bright with the fires of impetus, drive and determination!

Grandma’s Genes is at the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2016 in Toronto this weekend (June 2016). We participated in a workshop on running a genealogy business where we learned great strategies for moving Grandma’s Genes into the stratosphere of our niche market (Genetic Genealogy – General, Adoption and First Nations Peoples). It’s Amazing to have this kind of a workshop available to us this weekend and furthers our desire to offer insights and resources to our clients and to the genealogical community as a whole.

Even before we got here, our drive to Toronto from our home base in Ottawa, was incredibly productive. It’s good for Marc and I to be able to banter, talk and formulate ideas to further our vision (without annoying our spousal units and family). From the beginning (since Marc said to me while shoveling over 2 feet of snow from the laneway – driveway for those who don’t speak Canadian – “So I hear you are into Genealogy?!”) we have had a pretty singular vision. But, attending a conference together gives us an opportunity to sharpen that view and reinforce for us that our vision is correct.

From the colorful, the energetic and shameless self-promoting Thomas MacEntee to Maurice Gleeson and his wonderfully self-deprecating presentation of DNA, surnames and one name studies to Dr. Judy Russell’s playground metaphors for the rules we should all follow as genealogists (and everyone else really) to…well we still have another day to go.

Networking with like-minded people is great too. There are other bloggers and hobbyists and Genetic Genealogists, and legal Genealogists and Passionate Genealogists and a more than a few organizers and roving help people, in their green shirts, who are fun to talk to as they scurry from one help request to the next. We have had elevator talks which have lasted a few seconds, we have had break talks that have lasted for a few minutes, we have had late afternoon social talks that have lasted for half an hour. Like the talk Marc and I had with former Speaker of the House, the Right Honorable, Peter Milliken, PC OC FRSC (so many post-nominals – don’t ask me to explain what they mean). Everywhere you turn there is learning and sharing going on – from professional to professional, hobbyist to professional, hobbyist to hobbyist and most definitely from Organizer to all of us.

My favorite time at conferences like this, though, is the time I spend early in the mornings, lining up with my fellow attendees for a breakfast (this morning the line was 20 long at Starbucks). There are so many others with so many great stories to tell about their search for ancestors, and in the case of genetic genealogy, their search for descendants. Spending that time chatting together, hearing personal stories and ending up spread across a few tables engaged in 3 or 4 conversations at once? It’s the best time for me.


Oh it is good to be a part of this great world-wide community. I have heard a lot of the speakers this weekend talk about how we as genealogists, since the advent of the internet age, have welcomed the ability to collaborate and share. We have certainly seen it –  all the that collaboration, learning and laughing and growth.

Thank you OGS for putting on such a great event!

Shamless plug of our own…Your next opportunity to see Grandma’s Genes is coming up June 18th at the Ottawa Stake Family History Center, 1017 Prince of Wales Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Phone: 613-800-4250. Mags will be presenting, “WikiTree and Family Search, Oh, The Connections You’ll Make”. Please call the Ottawa Ottawa Stake Family History Center, at 613-800-4250 for more information.

Roots Tech 2016 Take Away

My Travel? Good, despite a rough start of sitting through prolonged de-icing and a missed connection (and lunch with an old friend) to Los Angeles. Re-routed through San Francisco, I eventually arrived 16 hours after I started.

The start was great at breakfast on Thursday morning with the WikiTree Gang and bonus guests in Randy Seavers (http://www.geneamusings.com/) and his delightful wife. There, that’s it – the conference surely can’t top having breakfast with genea-guru and WikiTreer Randy Seavers, right?!

Au contraire! I visited the Genealogy Bloggers Mosh Pit with all of it’s various, colorful bloggers, hermetically connected to the net by Wire. “WE ARE BLOG you WILL be educated”. Oh they are individuals, but you can’t help but imagine they might be sharing thought through that umbilical. Took in a presentation at Find My Past (http://www.findmypast.com/) and chatted with the folks at HP who were touting the ability to scan images from your home HP printer straight to a Family History Center.

The Venders/Exhibiters were numerous – more numerous than last year. You could print a gigantic Fan Chart (the largest Family Tree Wall Chart was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records before our eyes!), scan your books and precious files, listen to vender centric lectures, buy tree jewelry, tree sculptures, and even find a place to stay for next year.

The Classes were full. Too full for some who were turned away after arriving late. I missed a class as I was flying around the United States. I did get in to see Kitty Munson Copper’s (http://www.kittycooper.com/ and yes she is a WikiTreer) class on DNA triangulation which was packed with eager genealogists hoping to learn how to prove their paper trails. Aside from some technical difficulties, the class was well presented, with WikiTree’s Kitty Cooper Smith offering a helping hand.

I met too many people to count and gave too many hugs to remember. I joined the Surname Society (http://surname-society.org/) and Ancestor Cloud (http://ancestorcloud.com/#/). I ate Mexican. I watched presentations. I got my picture taken in Orange.

Phtograph of Mags and AJ Jacobs
Mags (Grandmas Genes) and AJ Jacobs

I was attacked by an over-sized stuffed bear.

Bear Attack!
Bear Attack!

I Created a McElmoyle DNA Project on FamilyTree DNA (thanks Jim – https://www.familytreedna.com/projects.aspx). I met new friends/cousins. I ran into old friends/cousins that I met last year, who came by the WikiTree booth to see me (always fun) again. AND? I went to my hotel room exhausted after dinner every night.

It was only right that I would finish my time at Roots Tech the way I had begun it – Breakfast with Randy Seavers and his wife.

My Take away? It was fun, informative and exhausting. I have a year to rest – can’t wait til next year!

Photo’s courtesy of Michelle Hartley and Julie Ricketts.