Friday, February 28, 2014

Family Tree University - Winter Virtual Conference

For those of you who, like me, have been grounded from attending conferences in person I have the perfect solution... a virtual conference!  Family Tree University's Winter 2014 Virtual Conference has just kicked off and its not too late to start!   Full disclosure... I am presenting a class at this year's conference!  So if you ever wondered if you could find your Indian ancestors on the Dawe's Rolls, sign up and you'll get the full scoop!

Friday, February 14, 2014

StoryPress 2.0

One of my very favorite apps on my iPad is my StoryPress app. The developer, Mike Davis, built it to give his grandmother a way to easily share and record her stories. He made it purposely to be easy for an 85 year old to use. FINALLY! Someone who gets how confusing this brave new world of technology is for people who grew up in the age of radio and rotary phones. Most recording apps are too complicated for seniors. If they don't have a family member smart enough to take the time to interview and record them, their stories are lost forever and that is a tragedy. Enter StoryPress.  Its design is friendly and clear. A couple of taps and seniors can record their own stories without any help from the youngsters. In my day job I see more and more seniors with tablets and smart phones, usually given to them by their children.  So heads up kids....before you give them that iPad install the StoryPress app. They can take it from there.

Back in the day (think mid-1960's) my father took his kids and a reel-to-reel tape recorder on a visit to his grandmother, and preserved for posterity her stories of growing up on a farm in the 1880's and of her Civil War veteran father. A few years ago one of my cousins transferred the interview to CD and I digitized it to my Mac. Now my grandsons can actually hear their 3rd great grandmother talk about their 4th great grandfather!  Astounding! One of the many reasons I love technology.

If my dad can haul a heavy reel to reel recorder on a four hour trip to his hometown, what kind of excuse do we have? I'll tell you what kind....none.

In a few weeks StoryPress 2.0 will be released with all kinds of new features. Take a look at the trailer below for a sneak peak.  I'll let you know what I think when it's released.
Oh and by the way, I have no connection financial or otherwise with StoryPress. They had a booth at RootsTech 2013 and  I was impressed with both the app and it's young developer.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

RootsTech Speaker Favs

There have been so many great speakers at this year's Rootstech. So I thought I'd share some interviews with some of my favorites. (These are all available on the FamilySearch YouTube channel.)   First up: my Osage County peep Ree Drummond.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

RootsTech Day One

While I'm not there in person this year, I was able to watch some of the online streaming sessions today. Thank goodness for online streaming. Kudos to FamilySearch by the way. The streaming video was high-def awesomeness and the audio crystal clear. I know that's what we've all come to expect these days but its not always so easy to achieve. You have to work really hard to make it look that easy!

FamilySearch has declared this The Year of the Obituary. Now that's a slogan only a genealogist would love! The announcement was made with the help of a somewhat cheesy pirate in full regalia...Captain Jack "Starling".  But hey, its all in good fun. And the idea of indexing obituaries is genius. I haven't done any indexing since the 1940 census so this is a good motivation to get back in.

I was looking forward to hearing Ree Drummond speak at the general session this morning. Like I've said before, Ree and I are from the same county in Oklahoma. (I'm always proud to see a fellow Okie make it big.) And she didn't disappoint. She sounded just like her blog reads...funny, informal and not taking anything too seriously. Especially herself.  Her husband's family have deep roots in Oklahoma and every genealogist watching was envying her leather bound family history book!

I also loved Tammy Hepps session immediately following the general session. Tammy is the  founder of Treelines and winner of the 2013 RootsTech Developer Challenge. She packed so much good stuff in her presentation that I'm going to have to go back and watch it again when its posted on the RootsTech site. If you didn't see it live, be sure to watch it.  I haven't been to Treelines in awhile (shame on me) and I have some stories to finish there!

I'd much rather be in Salt Lake City but that being said, watching from afar has its perks. 
  • I can watch tomorrow's sessions in my jammies.
  • Its much easier to tweet from a computer or tablet than the little smart phone I was using last year.
  • Its not nearly as exhausting!
See online tomorrow!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Fifty Years Since The Sixties!

The other day I was at physical therapy for my new and improved knee when the oldies station they were playing in the room came on with a Beatles song. I started telling my therapist, who is about the same age as my kids, how every other song on the radio during the winter of 1968-69 was either Hey Jude or Revolution.

And then it hit me. My adolescence was becoming history. Its a very unsettling realization to come to!

I can only imagine how my 85 year old father, Gene Allen, must feel. His childhood and now his young adulthood actually ARE history.  I was looking around the Oklahoma Historical Society website the other day (by the way they have fantastic genealogy and American Indian resources) when I saw that they have digitized archived films from a local Oklahoma City television station.
The same station where my father (who started working there in 1950, the year after they went on the air) wrote and produced a series of award winning documentaries.  Remember, these are all on film not video and the audio has that shaky quality people of my generation remember from school education films.  Nevertheless, if you can look past the early '60's production values..primitive by 21st century get an amazing slice of Oklahoma history.

Credit: Oklahoma Historical Society

 I was too little to have watched them at the time so this was my first look at most of them.  When I asked my dad if he knew about this he casually said "oh yes, they gave us a tour when they announced it". Really dad? You're in the freaking historical society!!  Also if you're interested in early television in
Oklahoma, Dad did an interview about his experiences during the time when radio was slowly but surely being superseded by the new technology of television. It's pretty fascinating stuff but then I might be just a tad biased....

And speaking of the Beatles and history, this month is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. I was only 7 at the time but even at that young age I was aware of the tidal wave of the British Invasion. I don't remember whether or not I watched the show that night...probably not since my parents had a firm control on the TV remote dial. Even so, Paul McCartney, I will love you forever.

Oh yeah, and Dad...I love you too.

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