Unleashed at a Genea Expo

Well, not really ‘unleashed’ maybe, but I had fun!

After an almost uneventful drive to the Expo in Brisbane from Northern NSW, (we missed one turn as we were too busy chatting), @IrishConvict and I made it to the Unlock the Past Queensland Expo 2012 in time to register and browse the Expo before the talks started.

I think I was more excited about meeting up with some of the Aussie geneabloggers I have gotten to know online but had never met in person, than the talks themselves. Happily the talks were very informative and worthwhile as well so I came away with some new knowledge I need to test out.

I finally got to meet Jill Ball of Geniaus fame who I connected with when I first started using Twitter and has been a wonderful source of genea information. I also managed to meet and chat to Cassie Mercer from Inside History and Sharn White of Sharn’s Genealogy Jottings. I had very brief chats to Judy Webster, Carole Riley, Shauna Hicks, and Alona Tester who I met earlier this year when I was visiting Adelaide. Unfortunately I missed Helen V Smith of From Helen V Smith’s Keyboard who was very busy assisting people with their research, Pauline Cass of Family History Across the Seas and Fi Basile of Dance Skeletons, but hopefully I will catch up with them another time. Some happy snaps were taken and appear on Jill and Alona’s blogs.

I enjoyed the talks I attended, although found it a little difficult fitting everything in that I wanted to see because there wasn’t an official break for lunch. Audrey Collins’ talk ‘Online newspapers and periodicals for family history’. Audrey is obviously knows her stuff and spoke directly to audience without reading from a script which I always appreciate in a speaker. She was also amusing and passed on quite a few tips and new websites to investigate. Next I listened to Cassie Mercer talk about her ancestor Harry Readford, or Captain Starlight. I enjoyed hearing Cassie give an overview of his life, although I think I was the only person in the room who hadn’t heard of him! (I had heard of him, but knew nothing of what he had done during his life). I also went to Kerry Farmer’s talk on convicts which was fantastic and has given me some great ideas for further research on my one and only convict, (I wish I had more in my tree!!). Kerry has so much knowledge of convicts and were to look for records, and was able to get a lot of details across in the short 50 mins that her talk went for. I found her to be an engaging and amusing speaker as well. The other talk I went to was Dan Lynch’s talk on Google via a Google Hangout. Apart from a few technical hitches it was an interesting presentation that has given me some new ways of searching for ancestors and possible family connections.

I look forward to trying some of these new ideas and techniques I picked on Tuesday at the Expo, although with my studies resuming this week after semester break I am not sure how soon I will get around to having a go at them. Thankfully I took notes and will be able to look back at them when time permits.

My experiment of taking only my iPad for notes worked well. I tweeted during Audrey Collins’ talk using my smartphone as wifi hotspot, but the battery got a bit of a thrashing from that and as a result I decided not to tweet for the rest of the day. I recently broke my car-phone charger and had no way of charging my phone on the way home and wanted to be able to use it in case anything happened in the 2 hour drive home that evening. I find typing on the iPad extremely easy and make no more mistakes than I would on my laptop. I took notes in OneNote and so am able to sync them with the account I also use on my Laptop and can therefore access wherever I go.

All in all it was a good day and has given me a taste of genealogy and family history events and the knowledge you can glean from them. My favourite part of the day though was meeting all the wonderful geneabloggers I have met online over the last couple of years – so lovely to see some of them in person!

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Going to a Genea Expo

I am excitedly preparing for my first genealogy expo tomorrow, the Unlock the Past Queensland Expo 2012 in Brisbane.

I am updating online records of a couple of my ‘brick walls’. I had found further details but had not gotten around to adding the new details to my genealogy database, so if I have the chance to ask an expert their opinion I will have all the information I need at hand. (In theory anyway.) I also have scanned copies of all relevant and important docs saved to my Dropbox account in case I need to access them.

I have my online ticket, accessible through the Eventbrite app for Android and iPad, just in case something goes wrong with either. I thought about printing a copy of my ticket but as I had also decided to try going paperless tomorrow, taking a printed ticket does not start me off very well.

I am taking my new iPad which is wireless, but not 3G, so I will run it off my Android phone using a Wifi Hotspot app if I need to connect to the Internet for any reason. I have tested this out a lot recently and it has worked very well so far. Hopefully it does so again tomorrow. My phone, or my partner in crime’s (@IrishConvict on Twitter) phone, will also serve as the GPS guide to hopefully get us to the Expo in time to have a quick browse around before the talks begin.

I will try to Tweet during talks, but do find I don’t take as much in if I tweet while a talk is on so may not be all that successful. I would rather take the information in and write a blog about it later after I have had time to fully digest it all.

As for taking notes, I intend to do that on my iPad and hopefully my typing can keep up or at least make sense.

I have a few more things to do before bed, it will be an early morning tomorrow because it is at least a 2 hour drive from where I live in Northern NSW, (although not as far as @IrishConvict who lives another 1 1/2 hours south of here!). If I have forgotten anything, please let me know!