Sunday, February 22, 2015

Cousin to Cousin and Heart to Heart

My first job is in a kitchen
Too often in these modern times, young adults are too busy with their own lives to make room for slower-paced tasks. I am most certainly speaking for myself when I make this claim. I work two jobs and fill my spare time with research, blogging, socializing, and similar activities. Even as a genealogist, I often prefer the fast-paced, forward-moving methods to the pain-staking and slow-paced ones that I save for an occasional Saturday or Sunday.
            Recently, an event took place that got me rethinking my preference for the fast-paced methodology. As it is February, most people interested in genealogy know of RootsTech, a major conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah this time each year. My opportunity finally came as I registered for the 2015 event. Rootstech facilitated a meeting I arranged with a cousin I had been corresponding with for about a month already.
Ishmael Phillips
            Our common ancestor is my fourth-great grandfather, Ishmael Foote Phillips. After looking over the files in my computer I had been gathering sporadically over the past three years, I concluded that Ishmael’s early years in England were severely under-researched. I then reached out online to relatives who knew or had more information and one cousin responded with more exuberance than I anticipated.
            This wonderful lady was a God-send to my present plight. While we were corresponding I had already been conducting background research on the time period Ishmael Phillips spent in England after being baptized into the early Mormon Church. (For more on this story, check out my post on finding his baptism.) Over time, we became more than correspondents with a similar interest in a distant grandfather. Our shared appreciation and love for this man was only the starting point.
            On the Sunday following RootsTech, I arranged to meet with my cousin in her hotel room. What I got from that visit was more than I had bargained for. Not only did she share the findings of her 32-years worth of research, she also told me stories about how she found the information, and she told me about her own family. We truly had a heart-to-heart that many relatives should have with their own family members more often than they do.
            Not only did I find a cousin to stay in touch with, her experiences help me to appreciate more the antiquated methods of research. I too have done my share of scanning microfilms and digging through dusty old manuscripts in archives, but this was her main form of research. The information she had to show was the results of hours of true archive and library hunting. Her interest would envelop more than Ishmael, but she also took interest in his own family: his brothers and sisters, his parents and grandparents. As a result, she has compiled significant information for the American descendants of the Phillips on their British ancestors.

            To my cousin and people like her who labor so diligently in putting together the information she has, I say thank you. I will treasure the information you have shared and use it to add to my own. you also help me to better plan research in the future. From your cousin, God bless you. 

She treated me to dinner

Monday, February 16, 2015

Family Discovery Day-My First Genealogy Conference

At last, my dream came true. After three years of hearing about the experiences of others at RootsTech, I finally had the opportunity to attend. I was late in registering, so all labs were full, but I signed up for the Family Discovery Day to ensure myself a place and at least one day to spend at the Salt Palace. And what a day!

            I pride myself on being an extrovert, but even I was feeling overwhelmed from crowds and noise. The congested Convention Center boasted around 20,000 attendees, and among them the fan-base of Utah’s own David Archuleta.

            Overall, the experience was well worth the trip. It was my first time riding the train, for one. Also, the messages given by LDS leaders were nice to listen to. Church leaders encourage youth and young adults to not only prepare as many names for temple work as they perform ordinances for, but also to help others with this challenge. Also, they shared success stories of youth and young adults in performing the work for their deceased ancestors. 
            The real treat of attending RootsTech was visiting the Expo Hall. I saw many old and current associates among the booths, and learned more about online programs available for training people to become certified genealogists. I felt like my time here was well rewarded. 
We ran into one of our fellow Mocavo employees at the booth for Find My Past
BYU Family History Library employees and volunteers, past and present.
Part of the David Archuleta fan base