Skip to content

Rootstech 2017 Day 1

Today, the first day of RootsTech  was the Innovation Summit, a day devoted to innovators in the IT industry to showcase their latest ideas and plans.  The keynote speakers were leadership expert, Liz Wiseman and  FamilySearch CEO, Steve Rockwood.

The alarm went off in the early hours of the morning, and, very bleary eyed, I climbed out of bed to watch the live stream. I was soon wide awake as I listened to the vibrant Liz Wiseman, president of The Wiseman Group, speak to the audience in such a natural and authentic way, that I was hanging on her every word.

Liz was talking about leadership and causing leadership in others. Her message was very fresh and alive, and included her speaking directly to the audience, and having them speak back. The session was more like a conversation than a lecture and I loved every word of it.

Steve Rockwood spoke about family search and it’s new innovations. One of those new innovations is involving prisoners in indexing. We saw how that task was impacting the lives of prisoners in a positive way.

from Rootstech website:

liz-wiseman-photoLiz Wiseman teaches leadership to executives and emerging leaders around the world. She is the President of the Wiseman Group, a leadership research and development firm headquartered in Silicon Valley. Some of her recent clients include: Apple, Disney, eBay/PayPal, Facebook, GAP, Google, Microsoft, Nike, Roche,, and Twitter. Liz has been listed on the biennial Thinker50 ranking for 2013 and 2015, and named as one of the top 10 leadership thinkers in the world. She is the author of three best-selling books: Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work, Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter and The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius Inside Our Schools. She has conducted significant research in the field of leadership and collective intelligence and writes for Harvard Business Review and Fortune and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Inc. and Time magazines. She is a frequent guest lecturer at BYU, the Naval Postgraduate School, and Stanford University.

stve-rockwoodSteve Rockwood’s experience, natural business sense, and entrepreneurial spirit have made him the perfect fit for FamilySearch. Serving as President and CEO since October of 2015, Steve has made it his mission to emphasize the emotional side of family history work, make family history exciting for everyone by involving people of all ages, and encourage the sharing and development of new technology to make records, photos, and memories more accessible.




RootsTech 2017

This time last year, I was heading to Salt Lake City in the United States, to attend RootsTech the largest genealogy conference in the world. What a time I had! It was a huge learning experience for me, being the largest conference I had ever attended. I met so many people, including many fellow genealogy bloggers. Many I knew from social media, but met face to face for the first time at the conference.

Unfortunately, this year I am unable to go, so will be watching very enviously from afar. Many of the sessions are being live streamed this year, so my plan is to watch as many as are available. There is so much to learn and RootsTech is the perfect place for picking up new information. I know it won’t be the same as being there, but I am still very much looking forward to my RootsTech experience

I will also be keeping a lookout on Facebook and Twitter for reports from the conference center.  For the next few days, I will be living vicariously through fellow geneabloggers who are attending.

Following are a listing of the live streams that are available. These are also available after the sessions have been completed.


Innovator Summit General Session
Speakers: Steve Rockwood, Liz Wiseman

Industry Trends and Outlook
Speakers: Craig Bott and Guest Panel

Innovation—Best Practices and Applications
Speaker: Cydni Tetro


 RootsTech General Session
Speakers: Steve Rockwood, Jonathan and Drew Scott

Getting Started in Genealogy
Speaker: Kelli Bergheimer

DNA: The Glue That Holds Families Together
Speaker: Diahan Southard

DNA Matching on MyHeritage
Speaker: Dana Drutman

Jewish Genealogy: Where to Look and What’s Available
Speaker: Lara Diamond

Family History Is Anything but Boring
Speakers: Crystal Farish and Rhonna Farrer


 RootsTech General Session
Speakers: Levar Burton, Special Guest Panel

RootsTech Innovator Showdown Finals

Mothers, Daughters, Wives: tracing Female Lines
Speaker: Judy Russell

Censational Census Strategies
Speaker: Mary Kircher Roddy

Big 4: Comparing Ancestry, findmypast, FamilySearch, and MyHeritage
Speaker: Sunny Morton

Cross the Atlantic with Religious Records
Speaker: Jen Baldwin


RootsTech General Session
Speakers: Cece Moore, Buddy Valastro

Journaling Principles That Work
Speaker: Steve Reed

Don’t Just Be a Searcher, Be a Researcher
Speaker: Crista Cowan

Creating Google Alerts for Your Genealogy
Speaker: Katherine R. Wilson

If you think you might like to follow along, check out the Streaming Schedule and don’t forget that times given are US time. You will need to  convert to Australian time



Today is my birthday

Today is my birthday. Usually I wouldn’t be so self indulgent and post about myself, but today I have had a win and would like to share it.

For a few years, I’ve been looking for two photos that were taken of me when I was a small child. I particularly was after one photo that showed me with my bike. As an avid bike rider, as I have been as an adult, I was keen to see this photo. Today I was searching for something else and there they were, in the bottom of a box, lying side by side. I recently also found another photo of me that I had forgotten about.  These are probably the only photos in existence of me as a child.

I remember having this photo taken at the Shepparton Showgrounds, where my grandfather was caretaker. I would have been about 7 years old.  My grandparent’s house was on the grounds and we visited often, so the showgrounds was my backyard as a child. It was a great place for a child to ride. It was  away from the traffic and very quiet. Usually the only people around were workers and horse trainers. Don’t you love the bow in my hair?


I really don’t know anything at all about this photo at all.

This photo was taken at Nagambie swimming pool, where we occasionally went for day trips to swim. I would have been about 9 years old.







Great Grandparents Wedding Anniversary

My great grandparents Ernest Welfare Waters and HILDA MARY BEATRICE GILMOUR were married at Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia, on 29 January 1902.

The photo below was a portait photo taken on their wedding day. My great grandfather is holding his beloved cornet which he played in the Salvation Army Band. When I think of  my memories of him, my mind goes to the cornet, as I often saw him with it when I was a child. It seems that he was very attached to the instrument which still exists, in family archives.

Ernest Waters & Hilda Gilmour Wedding Day

The photo below was taken on my great grandparents 60th wedding anniversary. I do very clearly remember being there for the photo, and feeling excited that were going to have our photo in the paper.Wedding Anniversary

Transcription – Sixty years wed: Surrounded by members of their family on their diamond wedding are Mr and Mrs E.W.Waters, of St. Georges Road. Mr. Waters holds his most prized personal possession, a cornet given to him as a youth, which he still plays. With them are: (front) Ross and Leanne with Mrs. Smith, and Ms. T. Jones with baby Kristen, and Lynette Smith. Back row: Merna McDougall, Cheryl Sly, Jennifer Jones, Leona McDougall, Mrs. T. Morrisa, Mrs. A. McDougall, Chris and Ian Mcdougall.

*note: some names in this article are mis-spelt. Corrections are Merna McDougall should be Myrna, Leona McDougall should be Leola  and Mrs. T. Morrisa should be Mrs. T. Morrison.

There are four generations in this photo: Mrs. T. Jones is my mother, and Mrs. L. Morrison is my grandmother.


Jealous Man’s Revenge Wales 1911

I do enjoy reading items in  Trove reporting on events that occurred in the city of Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales, the birthplace of my paternal ancestors.   Often they are sad, and very often they are funny. Occasionally they make me both laugh and cry, as did the item below.

from: The Sun, Kalgoorlie, WA,  Sunday 17 September, 1911, page 16


A shocking tragedy is reported from Cuckoo Village, near Haverfordwest, in Wales. John Vaughan, a cripple, recently became jealous of his wife’s supposed relations with another man, and on (Sunday night he exploded a quantity of blasting powder beneath the bed ‘ in which his wife and her ten-year-old son were sleeping. The explosion blew the woman and  the boy to pieces and unroofed the house. Fragments of the bed were hurled into the fields a considerable distance from the house. The remains of the two victims were subsequently extracted with difficulty from among the ruins of the building.  The explosion took place at midnight, and the neighbors attributed the disturbance to an earthquake. Next morning Vaughan, whose jaws had been blown away, was discovered outside the house. He died shortly afterwards.




Launch of “Hollow”

I have posted the  story of the Three Lost Children of Daylesford many times. You can read the tragic tale of these children here.

This year is the 150th anniversary of The Three Lost Children story. I am pleased to say that Tripwire Theatre Inc.are presenting the story in the form of a play at the Daylesford Town Hall in June 2017. I have read the script and can confidently say that the story and the families involved have been treated very respectfully. I can’t wait to see the story and the characters come to life on the stage.

There will be a launch of the play called ‘Hollow’ at the Daylesford Town Hall on Thursday February 9 at 7pm.

Hollow square social media

The play, an original script by Megan Riedl, uses the true story of the three lost children of 1867 as background to a harrowing personal drama. The play is about broken promises and investigates how the marginalised are used as pawns – intentionally and inadvertently – in other’s games of power –

All are welcome to attend the launch. If you have been reading about this story, here, over the years, and you would like to attend, just go to the link below for tickets. Tickets are free for the Hollow launch.

TryBooking | Hollow Project Launch

I am very much looking forward to attending the Hollow launch. Please let me know if you plan to attend as I would love to see you there.



Pandora Archive

Earlier this week, I received great news that really made me feel like doing a happy dance.

I received an email from the National Library of Australia asking permission to archive this blog to the Pandora Archive. I feel very very honoured and am thrilled to have my blog archived and available to assist researchers in future years.

Here is the exact explanation of Pandora from the National Library of Australia:

“PANDORA, Australia’s Web Archive was established by the National Library in 1996 and is a collection of historic online publications relating to Australia and Australians. Online publications and web sites are selected for inclusion in the collection with the purpose of providing long-term and persistent access to them”