WOW Moments In Genealogy: 78 Genealogists Can’t Be Wrong!

Dr. Eric Schmidt, President and CEO of Google, addressed the Republican Governor’s Conference, 9 Dec 2006. The subject of his speech was WOW Moments in Information and Knowledge! As I watched from my sick bed (see below), he described the current strength of the internet–over 1.8 billion online sites worldwide; only a 20% increase in the U.S., but for the first time, women outnumber men as users and consumers.

He called this the democratization of knowledge–and warned the governors of multiple consequences of a world market and a new media totally driven by users and consumers. Blogs have sprouted up in huge and uncounted, unknown numbers where the average reader is 1 person, perhaps only the writer of the blog. Yet all writings are indexed and accessible by everyone.

No longer is it possible to learn all there is to know–we must become fast learners: literacy is expanding, expression is expanding, information is offered with an open, if not always a stated, invitation for instant feedback. There is an increased need for NEWS. And Google’s role will include development of tools to determine and measure truth–what is true and what is fraud, what is real and what is fantasy, what is quality and what is not. Too often truth is dependant upon human assessment. Computers must adapt to aid us in this assessment.

Schmidt also described Google Earth and their Rosetta Project developed to translate knowledge simultaneously: English-Chinese/Chinese-English and English -Arabic/Arabic-English are first. (My ears pricked up immediately, for I have been working on two Lebanese family histories and some very important family history sources are only available in Arabic.) Eventually, all languages will be available.

Can you call being sick a bonus–when you can hear, first-hand, a message as powerful as this is for genealogsts? This is a genealogy WOW moment in time! And a part of the whole concept of Indexing the World (see post of 7 Aug 2006–Indexing the World.)

78 Genealogists Can’t Be Wrong!

I’m back at my computer desk–the week-long Salt Lake Christmas Tour is over (formerly called the Heritage Creations Christmas Tour). And what a week it was: The first WOW Moment occurred when several staff, including myself, and attendees went down with a wicked flu bug–strong enough to fell an elephant. We still aren’t sure if it was flu or food poisoning. Donna Potter Phillips recoved faster than the rest of us. And my current diet of chicken broth and milk toast barely calms the nausea after 5 days.

The Salt Lake Christmas Tour is a full-flavored genealogy event:

  1. 34 seminar and workshop sessions to teach you the latest search strategies and little-known sources available at the Family History Library
  2. a dinner with a keynote address
  3. special presentations by important genealogy vendors
  4. hands-on digital camera sessions with the Lights on Temple Square
  5. personal research help from 10 professional genealogists available all day and into the evening during the whole week. We also help you find call numbers, copy and duplicate records, and organize your notes. Help is available, as part of your tour package in U.S. and Canada, British Isles including Ireland, Germany and France, Italy, and Eastern Europe
  6. Saturday night we gather for an old-fashioned Ice Cream Social with homemade cobbler and a chance to sign-up for next year–at a special returnees discount

This year we had over 15 newbies–most of whom signed on for 2007. One dear lady was disappointed, I overheard her say, “I have been coming to the Family History Library for a long time, and this is the first time I did not find anything new.” I tapped her gently on the shoulder and said, “You didn’t come to me for help. You will never go home empty-handed if you come to me for help.” “No I didn’t,” she replied. “That’s why we’re here–to help you find what you seek as quickly and as easily as possible. We want you to go home with as many new ancestors as we can possibly help you find.”

Most attendees have been coming back year after year–some as many as 15 years– yeah, building genealogy WOW moments upon WOW moments. And the last day, they look up the call numbers and plan their return for the following year.

Why don’t you join us for Salt Lake Christmas Tour 2007?

You can register ahead of time, plan your vacation around a wonderful, memorable genealogy trip. Several people come the week ahead so they can get a jump-start on the main group. We stay next to the Library at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel with one of the best restaurants in downtown SLC to keep us stoked with energy. You can walk to the Gateway Shopping Experience, and take in historic Temple Square, ride the train to Trolley Square or other nearby eating-shopping places for free in the evenings.

And go home with a suitcase full of new ancestors and pages and pages of documentation from computer printouts, books, periodicals, microfiche, and microfilm. Or, you can transfer your images onto CD’s for processing on your own computer. You can improve your digital camera skills and take home Christmas memories to share with your whole family. You can buy the latest books and CD’s to aid your research efforts for the coming year from the genealogy bookstore–this year provided by The Genealogy Bookshelf.

The weather is usually in the 20-32 degrees range with sun and blue-sky. Once in a while we have snow. This year, the snow came early and the cold departed on Monday leaving us with blue-sky and sun by day and twinkling stars by night. Do come share this great time with us in 2007! Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

P.S. Usually we do not get sick. This was a different year!

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One Response to WOW Moments In Genealogy: 78 Genealogists Can’t Be Wrong!

  1. Lmeitzler says:

    The 2007 Tour will be held December 2 through 8. For information on the 2007 Salt Lake Christmas Tour, visit the website at We are currently in the process of updating the site, so new information will be posted over the next few weeks. If you would like to be added to the free tour email newsletter list, send an email with the words “Subscribe 2007 Christmas Tour” in the subject line to:

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