After the excitement of Wednesday, Thursday was going to be more of the same, albeit with a slightly later start. The Keynote was to start at 8:30am. At 8:15am there was a loooooooooong line of many hundreds of people still waiting to get their name tags and paraphernalia from the Registration Booth.

The keynote started off with a senior vice-president from Family Search making some introductions. Then the faces of “Genealogy Roadshow” – FGS President Josh Taylor, Kenyatta Berry and Mary Tedesco appeared on stage to talk about Federation of Genealogical Societies and the Preserve the Pensions project, which Josh proudly announced has now reached 50% of the $3,200,000 needed to complete this project.

Dennis Brimhall from FamilySearch then gave a presentation on some of the exciting new things that FamilySearch are doing, and demonstrated the “Museum of Me” which uses a lot of new technology to help people be interested in researching their families. This is well summarised in this article.

The highlight of the keynote was undoubtedly the presentation by Tan Le – a co-founder of the company Emotiv Systems – an Australian electronics company developing brain–computer interfaces based on electroencephalography (EEG) technology. She didn’t talk much about this, but instead told the completely spellbinding tale of her escape from Vietnam as a girl aged 5 years in 1982 with her younger sister, their mother and grandmother, the perils of the journey in a small boat, and eventual arrival in Melbourne, Australia where she grew up and went on to become Young Australian of the Year in 1988 – just wow!!!!! Continue reading »

 

Dateline Wednesday 11  February 2015…

Our 5th day in Salt Lake City (counting the Saturday we arrived), FGS Society Day, and the day before FGS 2015 / RootsTech gets underway.

Up earlier than normal today since I had to get to the Salt Palace in time to check in as an FGS Volunteer, and then be ready to attend the opening session “Focus on Societies Day Opening Session: Successfully Embracing the Future” at 8a.m. That was all accomplished and I took my place in Room 355E with several hundred others to hear what Curt Witcher, Deena Coutant, and Jen Baldwin had to say about ideas for societies. Prior to the speakers, there was an introduction from Josh Taylor and then the presentation of some FGS Awards. There were awards to a number of the people who have put on previous FGS conferences as well as to Illinois and Indiana genealogical societies for their contributions to the War of 1812 Pensions Project and to a couple of groups from New York – the German and Italian genealogy societies. Then a very nice surprise – an award for Me!!! A “Distinguished Service Award to Roger Moffat in recognition of exemplary and outstanding service to FGS Member Society, the Western Michigan Genealogical Society”.

FGS Distinguished Service Award to Roger Moffat in recognition of exemplary and outstanding service to FGS Member Society, the Western Michigan Genealogical Society

FGS Distinguished Service Award to Roger Moffat in recognition of exemplary and outstanding service to FGS Member Society, the Western Michigan Genealogical Society

Then Deena, Jen and Curt made their presentations about the health and growing of societies with some very interesting points made (which currently are several pages of chicken scratch in my notebook). Continue reading »

 

I’m here in Salt Lake City for the combined FGS 2015 / RootsTech with Lisa (and many hundreds of our closest friends). We arrived a few days early so that we could do some sightseeing, and spend time researching at the Family History Library.

Into the second day of research at the Family History Library at Salt Lake City, and things hadn’t been going too well. I had set one mission for this research – to try and prove or disprove Grandma’s assertion that her brother John Robert Dewar “married Gladys Kathleen Plunkett, a relative of a former Governor-General of New Zealand“. Previous research had determined that John Robert Dewar had married Gladys Kathleen Plunkett in Tasmania, Australia in 1911, Gladys’ parents were Robert James Plunkett and Ellen Rogers, who had married in Hobart, Tasmania in 1879. Attempts to find the parents of Robert James Plunkett had been unsuccessful in the past.

The books in the 994.6 section of the Family History Library about Tasmania contained a lot of indexes and listings of records, but nothing helped. Online searches revealed a death date for James Robert Plunkett of 24 March 1931, and I was able to find an indication of his burial in cemetery and undertaker records, but still any hint of his parents remained elusive. They were not named on his marriage certificate or the burial records.

Jenny Joyce of Australia suggested looking at FindMyPast.com since they had digitised some of the vital records from Australia, and sure enough there was a database for “Tasmania Deaths 1803-1933“. But it didn’t turn up the death of Robert James Plunkett. There were death records for 11 people called “Plunk*” (to cover Plunket, Plunkett, Plunkit etc), but none of them were after 1900.

11 Plunket(t)s shown in the Tasmanian Deaths 1803-1933 database. The highlighted line shows the pay dirt line.

11 Plunket(t)s shown in the Tasmanian Deaths 1803-1933 database. The highlighted line shows the pay dirt line.

So I took a look at the entries for these 11 people to see what other information, aside from their name and age might be included – e.g. who was the informant. Starting at the top of the list, the first 5 showed that the informant was the Undertaker (and this was very common on the multiple records on the page. But the 6th image revealed the answer I had been seeking – the death of Jane Plunkett, born 1828, died 1898 was “Robert James Plunkett – Son”. Whoo Hoo!!!!!!!

ANZ_BMD_TAS_007368150_00419

The highlighted entry shows the death of 70 year old Jane Plunkett in 1898. The informant on her death was her son Robert James Plunkett

Robert James Plunkett - Son, Informant

Robert James Plunkett – Son, Lisdillon (a place in Tasmania, Australia).

Image from FindMyPast.com “Tasmania Deaths 1803-1933” http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=anz/bmd/tas/007368150/00419&parentid=anz/au/tas/bmd/d/0000100361

So this adds a generation to what was known. Jane Plunkett is almost certainly Jane Pritchard, who with Robert Plunkett had 3 children:

  1. Eveline Plunkett born 19 Jun 1850
  2. Robert James Plunkett born 10 Mar 1853
  3. Ada Cora Plunkett born 29 Feb 1856

I’ll update the database with details and sources when I get a chance.

The Death Entry shows Jane was born in Liverpool, England in 1828. Now to find out who and from where Robert Plunkett came from.

Whoo Hoo!!!!

 

Dear WordPress Blog

Well it’s been a while since we had a new roof put on our house in October 2012!!! For much of the past several years my “blogging” has been carried out on Facebook where it’s so easy to write a quick status, link up a couple of photos and post it, or to create a photo album in iPhoto and then post that directly to Facebook.

Saturday 7 Feb 2015 saw us on what is becoming a familiar drive – the 3 hours to Chicago O’Hare airport to fly away somewhere – it’s much cheaper to do this than to fly out of Grand Rapids. This time we’re off to Salt Lake City for research in the Family History Library and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 2015 conference being held in association with RootsTech put on by Family Search (the genealogy and family history part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).

Having left home with about 12″ of snow covering the ground, it was somewhat surprising to see much of the middle of the country devoid of snow – even the mountains around Salt Lake City only have snow on their upper reaches – not a good scene if they were trying to run a Winter Olympics here right now.

Upon arrival, picked up a rental car so we’d have a car for Sunday to be “bloody tourists” and headed off to the Radisson Hotel. Got checked in there and met up with Australian genealogist and blogger Jill Ball and headed out for dinner. The Red Iguana gets great reviews so we walked the mile or so (downhill) to there only to find it was standing room only out on the footpath of people waiting to get in – wait time at least an hour. So we caught the Trax back into town and went to the Blue Lemon for a delicious very reasonably priced meal.

Next up is Sunday. We’re going in the aforementioned rental car to head out of town, on a couple of trips – up in to the mountains to the south to the Timpaganos Caves area and then to Antelope Island – the “island” you can drive to that’s out in the Salt Lake. Stay Tuned!

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