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Research Notes 2019-1-28

It’s conference season again.

This year’s RootsTech conference kicks off on Wednesday, February 27th. This year, in addition to the free LiveStreaming sessions RootsTech is also offering a virtual pass. You can watch 18 online recorded sessions from the conference whenever and wherever you want. The cost for a virtual pass is $129. Learn more at the RootsTech blog.

There are other ways to take advantage of RootsTech that won’t cost you a dime. A number of live presentations will be broadcasted live online and you can watch them for free. You can also get into conversations with others watching these presentations via social media using the #NotAtRootsTech tag. Visit the Streaming Schedule page to see which sessions will be broadcasted each day. Reminder . . . the times listed on the schedule are Mountain Time. That’s two hours difference for us.

You can watch these presentations from your web browser – desktop or mobile – but you will need speakers or a headset to hear the presentation on your desktop.

One last goodie . . . download the free RootsTech app (available from Apple’s iOS store and Google Play). You can watch the streaming sessions in the app and, if this year’s app is the same as last year’s version, you will also have access to the speaker handouts from every session.


Closer to home is the North Florida Genealogy Conference on March 9th from 8:30am to 4:00pm. The list of presentations is smaller than RootsTech, but these sessions cover a broad range of topics. In addition, the Family History Center will be open throughout the day for walk-in help with research questions. The Amelia Island Genealogical Society is also offering Brick Wall help to attendees. If you need help breaking through a brick wall, check out the Brick Wall Help page to see how to register for a session.


More newspaper goodness from Kenneth R. Marks at The Ancestor Hunt. This time he is focused on ethnic, language, religion and topic-based collections. You just might find some nuggets about your ancestors not available anywhere else!

You might also want to look at the Newspaper Links tab on his site to find links for geographically oriented collections and others.


Book Review: My Surprise Family by SAGS member Margaret M. Nicholson Paperback – $14.95 via Amazon

A chance comment from a friend and a sale on DNA test kits would initiate a family history adventure for Margaret Nicholson filled with wrong turns, dead ends and many fascinating discoveries that finally led to learning who her parents were.

My Surprise Family is unique. Not only does she document her efforts using DNA matches and traditional genealogical research techniques to discover her ancestry, she also tells the story of her family. The book is full of photographs, notes, letters and other ephemera – all of it quite fascinating.


Are you familiar with the FamilySearch Research Wiki? If not, you are missing out on an impressive and informative research resource. For example, the Online Genealogy Records by Location section offers articles on U.S. and international countries. Do you need help researching your ancestors in Mississippi? Click the Mississippi Online Genealogy Records link and you will see an impressive amount of resources. The screenshot below shows about a third of the topics available for Mississippi.

Click any link and you will be taken to that resource. The index also tells you information about each resource. The dollar sign show after some items means that information will be found in a commercial database like where you will need a paid account to access.

You don’t need a FamilySearch account to access the wiki, but you will need an account to view many of the outside resources listed in the wiki. FamilySearch accounts are free and Family History Centers have free access to many commercial archives like, FindMyPast, Newspaper Archives and more. The Research wiki also includes a section so you can find a Family History Center near you.

Final Notes

Each new post published at SAGS Support is automatically emailed to member subscribers and/or delivered to their newsreader. Research Notes is published every Monday morning and other articles are posted during the week. Subscribers have the option to control how often these updates are delivered. Look down at the bottom of this message and you will find a Manage Subscriptions link in the fine print as you see in this example. Click it and you will be taken to the Subscription Management page. Use the Delivery Frequency column to change your delivery options from “Immediate” to either “Daily” or “Weekly”.

Sample of the “fine print” at the bottom of each post.

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