Why Everyone Should Attend a Family History Fair

When New Year’s resolutions are made, everyone should include a resolution to educate him or herself in some way. Education is defined in many ways – it could be a gardening class, it could be online learning, it could be a vacation to someplace you’ve never been. It could also be genealogically related and, if it is, Family History Fairs are a great way to add to one’s researching skills.

The Tucson East Stake Center held their annual Family History Fair yesterday. Tucson is not a very big place – not even close to the size of the metropolitan Phoenix area – but the talented volunteers presented five session choices for five hour blocks, totaling 25 sessions. In addition to the regular sessions, there were also five youth sessions.

What topics were offered? A little of everything. There was a session first thing in the morning for beginners, followed by an entire beginners’ strand. There were several sessions on the FamilySearch Family Tree, including how to get started and how to enter sources.

I was pleased to see an hour devoted to the FamilySearch Wiki. That wiki is a fabulous resource regardless of where you are researching. There are tons of live links to maps, records and further information related to the main topic. Anyone who hasn’t searched the wiki is missing out on a lot of information. A friend attended the session and said she learned so much about FamilySearch resources and how to access them.

There were sessions on getting more out of Google and Google Earth Magic. Friends who attended the Google sessions (not Google Earth) said they were excellent, too. I went to Google Earth Magic and, since I am only a beginner using Google Earth, I learn something new (or relearn something I’ve forgotten) with each session I attend.

Separate sessions were held on Immigration and Naturalization, well planned complements that had good reviews.  I had meant to listen to the  DNA and Family History presentation, but Scandinavian research won out (which was very well covered considering there was only one hour devoted to four countries.) However, there was an excellent, easy to understand five page handout accessible for the DNA and Family History presentation, which I downloaded and saved.

I now have RootsMagic and a subscription to MyHeritage.com so I attended the MyHeritage session to learn to navigate the website more efficiently. The room was packed full and, while lots of good information was shared about the website and its partnerships with FamilySearch and RootsMagic, this session was a little too basic for me. However, it was well received by the many beginners there. MyHeritage will undoubtedly gain some new subscribers because of this presentation.

Two sessions covered searching Ancestry Trees and efficiently using Ancestry Searches. I heard only positive comments about these sessions from attendees, too.

There were also special interest sessions covering German Research presented by a couple who travel there yearly and are well versed in genealogical research. There was even a session on Using Evernote, which I also attended. I am as much of a beginner with Evernote as I am with Google Earth so I not only learned some new tips, there was a great handout, downloadable with lots of live links.

The first session began at 8:30, there was a lunch on our own break for an hour and ten minutes. The last session ended at 3:10.

All in all, everyone had a great time. I attended with three friends and, in spite of the fact that in terms of genealogy expertise, we range from beginner to advanced, we all learned something new and had thoroughly enjoyed the day.

A bonus came with this Family History Fair as it not only had session handouts for this fair, it even included links on line for all the handouts at the 2013 and 2014 Family History Fairs that they hosted.

Oh, I knew I forgot to mention one thing – how much did it cost? It was FREE!

If you have never attended an LDS Family History Fair and/or don’t know where your local Family History Center is located, you can find out more here.





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