my sweet mom and i were able to attend the family history conference at byu this year and though it completely wore us out, and overwhelmed us, i learned an incredible amount and am so, so glad that i was able to miraculously go. (i wrote about getting some unexpected financial aid here to help pay the $180 admission.)
the conference went from tuesday-friday, 8 am to 5 pm. we never made it at 8 for the keynote speaker, but besides that, had a jam-packed week!!
i have no idea how to summarize a weeks worth of classes into one blog post (i took pages of notes!) but in case anyone is reading this who may be interested in family history, here are a few gems of knowledge:
+ start with indexing! i went to a panel discussion with a bunch of youth who are family history consultants in their wards (how awesome is that?!) and this is what a lot of the youth are focusing on. it's fairly easy (deciphering old handwriting is the hardest part) and super quick! do it!
+ family history work can help with: understanding & emotional healing, realizing potential (love this one!), spiritual power, wisdom & perspective, and gratitude.
+ one of the presenters i went to does the majority of her research on google earth! she was a little extreme, but i've never thought about looking up locations of ancestors on google earth and checking out the area that they used to live. kinda cool.
+ "nobody ever lived in the past." --david mccullough (to our ancestors, it was the present.) when putting together your family's story, ask yourself as many questions as possible (what was ____ like?, how did that affect ____?, what is significant about___?) and you'll slowly find their story coming together.
+ if you think "everything has been done on my family line!" (i hear that a lot!) think again. dig deep and do "descendancy research" where you locate all of the siblings in your relatives family. i just found a lot of information on the mckinley line by searching for our direct relative's brother, laughlin. i found WWI and WWII draft cards for almost all of the brothers in the family! jackpot!!
+ one of the days, my mom and i were feeling a little burnt out so we took a field trip to the byu family history center to check out their new photo scanner. it is AMAZING!! we took in over 300 pictures and had them all scanned, and saved to a cd in one hour!! that is unheard of people. they also are getting a new slide scanner (which they probably have by now), so if you are in the area, and have lots of pictures/slides that you want digitized, go to the family history library at byu!! plus, it's free!
+ and lastly, this tip has helped me a ton: when searching for people on either familysearch or ancestry, i haven't had the best of luck. i learned you can use "wildcards" in place of specific letters in a name. for example: normally, i would search, "david mckinley" but there can be a lot of discrepancies in the recording of names. SO, try searching for "david mck*" and it will search all last names with the beginning of "mck". this could bring up an entirely new set of results! or, if you think only one letter may be in question, you can use a question mark, like this: "david mc?inley" (someone may have mistook the "k" for a "g" or something else).
this may not make sense to anyone (it's much easier to explain in person!) but let's just say i learned a lot. and i loved it all. thanks to my mom for being my conference buddy. i love you mom!!
and i love family history work with a passion!!
along with all that, my mom and i got started on project life! we didn't get as much accomplished as we wanted (when we got home at night, we ate, and lounged around! we were beat.) but i am so excited about it. i'm going to do K-12 in one binder and it's gonna be awesome. prepare yourself for lots of #tbt's on instagram :)
by the end of the week, i was ready to be home with my own family and i think my kids were ready too! saturday, i gave them each a "gift" from my conference and it was a huge hit! max especially loved it and drew in every single member of our family. he still has it hanging above his bed and is so very proud of it (as he should be).
so that's that.
to top it all off, i just barely got a new calling in my ward:
family history consultant!
and i couldn't be more excited!!