Handout from Kathy Nielsen’s Connecting with Cousins meeting

Last night, Kathy Nielsen gave a talk at the MoCoGenSo General Meeting via Zoom. A handout was distributed to those in attendance. The talk and handout are about CONNECTING WITH COUSINS: REUNIONS, ROAD TRIPS, AND ZOOM!.

Kathy has made the handout available for downloading by all. Having this file is almost as good as having been there!

To get the file, Click here.

If you see Kathy out and about, give her a big thanks.

Membership Renewal Time is Here!

Spring has come and it is time to remind everyone that MoCoGenSo memberships will expire soon, and it is time to renew. The dues will remain the same at $20.00 for individuals and $25.00 for families (add $7.50 for paper copy).

An important way to learn more about your ancestors and their lives is to join a genealogy society that focuses on the area in which your ancestors lived. Genealogy societies conduct research and preserve information about a specific area, and most publish some sort of newsletter, journal, or other periodical. The articles offer insight into the area and the people, and can provide help in conducting your research in an area. There are genealogy societies at the national, state, county, parish, province, and other levels. Annual membership fees are reasonable and the benefits are considerable.

The Monterey County Genealogy Society is one of these organizations right here in your own back yard. It serves its members in many ways. The board of directors is made up of members just like you.

Remember our society is only as strong as our membership, and those who get involved.

OUR MEMBERSHIP YEAR RUNS FROM APRIL 1 TO MARCH 31 OF THE FOLLOWING YEAR. For renewing members, you can renew using the membership form in your recently received newsletter. New or renewing members can download and print a copy of the Membership Application by CLICKING HERE. There will always be copies of this form at our monthly meetings.

Join me by staying with MoCoGenSo and getting the E-Newsletter.

Thank you for being a supporter!

Getting FamilySearch website help

To get help from the FamilySearch website, go to FamilySearch. In the upper right hand corner, there is a “Get Help” (a little circle with a question mark in it) icon. Clicking on “Get Help” will produce a drop-down box listing the various ways to find answers to questions and links to “Contact us“. “Contact us” includes Call Us, Live Chat, Send Message or Finding Local Help.

For those who only want to make a quick voice call: Family History Customer Service 1-866-406-1830

There are also new Virtual Research Strategy Sessions available where you can get guided help for research questions which are 20 or 40 minutes sessions via ZOOM with a FamilySearch Research specialist. Genealogical research strategy sessions are free, virtual meetings designed to provide you with research guidance, methodology, and next steps.

Read more here: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Virtual_Research_Strategy_Sessions

There is always the Family History Guide for free online self training:  https://thefhguide.com/index.html

“In theory I’m anti crastination, but in practice I find I’m often pro.” – Nicholas Gruen

DNA explained blog has listed all 129 Rootstech sessions

Now here is something to talk about at our DNA Discussions SIG on Wednesday!

Tonight, Roberta Estes in her DNAeXplained blog has listed all 129 sessions at Rootstech that related to DNA. And she has included their Youtube addresses. You can watch these free for the next year!

Go to her blog to see the list. Hers is a must-read post if you are interested in genealogy and DNA.


I will post the links to our Discussion group in the morning…..

Sorry if I sound excited, but I am. I can’t wait to cut her table into an Excel spreadsheet with hot links so I can work my way through these videos. Thanks to Roberta Estes.

Lists of some Rootstech 2021 sessions

I went looking for lists of Rootstech presentations yesterday and found some lists. There are plenty more in the Expo Hall. Here are pointers to two lists of presentations. For each, there is a pointer to the actual URL within Rootstech in case they make changes and there is a pointer to a static PDF stored here for simplicity sake.

Rootstech Connect 2021 Sessions: A list of most of the Sessions. Does not include the Expo Hall sessions nor the Keynote presentations.


DNA Basics Learning Center Presentations: This is a list of the live sessions. The conference is over, this list is primarily useful for the name of the presenter. You can use the name to search with in the current site.


“I wish you could record silence and then play it on loudspeakers on full blast to make the whole room quiet.”

Rootstech 2021 presentations will be available for a year!

Rootstech 2021 was loaded with great presentations that I really enjoyed. I have added a few to my Playlist so I can go back and review throughout the year!

But… the site had some difficulties. I follow the blogger Roberta Estes and she kept talking about places I couldn’t find! First, there is no overall search function. And some things were buried under tiers or levels that were not obvious. There is no site map.

For example, Roberta mentioned a place called “DNA Learning Center”. I simply couldn’t find it in Rootstech. So, I signed in to Rootstech in one tab of my browser. Then I opened a new tab and did a Google search for “where is dna learning center in rootstech”! Google located it for me, I opened the url in a third tab and finally, I was there.

Through inspection of the url, I learned that the DNA Learning Center is located in a folder called “Expo Hall”. Geeze… How was I to know this?

Roberta kept saying there were over 1,000 presentations that one could view. She did say that you sometimes had to search by presenter name to find them. Humm…. When I counted the presentations by Keynotes and Sessions I couldn’t find nearly that many. And the darn menu in the right side has now changed since the “live” party is over. Keynotes and Calendar is gone.

Sure, you can now search for topic under the Sessions menu item. And you can search by speaker name under the Speakers menu item. But, I defy you to find easily the presentation by Beth Taylor called “Using DNA To Find Unknown Relatives” or “What Is A Centimorgan” by Robert Kehrer if you hadn’t been attending during the conference using the now defunct Calendar option.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that FamilySearch hosted the Rootstech conference. But a site map was needed along with a global search function. And downloadable lists can be very useful! Someone should send this note to the planners of Rootstech 2022.

Here is a link to one of Roberta’s posts showing her similar comments.


Now I am going to look around in the Innovators Portal in rootstech.org

Go here to discover a bit about your surname.


“Rootstech 2021 was great and is improving with age. Thank you, FamilySearch, for hosting such a wonderful virtual conference.” – James Robeson

Webmaster at MoCoGenSo

Monthly Meeting – March 4, 2021 – “Connecting with Cousins: Reunions, Road Trips and Zoom” by Kathy Nielsen

Our cousins provide so much family history information. But traditional ways of connecting were suspended last year. Family Reunions were cancelled. Road trips were postponed. Thank goodness for Zoom. Join Kathy Nielsen in planning some real life connections with cousins. Kathy will help you start planning that reunion and that trip. And if these plans are not meant to be in 2021, what about a virtual connections? Let’s share ideas!

Kathy Nielsen, MA, MLS, is a reference librarian and an educator. She is currently a popular genealogy speaker on the Monterey Peninsula. She has been featured on Lisa Louise Cooke’s weekly YouTube program, Elevenses. She is a co-founder of the Monterey County Society’s special interest writing group, “Off the Charts”. Kathy incorporates her skills as a historian, storyteller, Librarian in her search for her family’s history.

The Zoom meeting will start at 7:00 pm sharp. Zoom meeting details will be sent by invitation only. If you are not a member and wish to attend, send an email with your email address to our Membership VP, Marilyn Ruccello .

If you are not familiar with Zoom, click here.

” The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” – Albert Einstein

MyHeritage is in the news again!

Oh my gosh, you gotta see this to believe it. MyHeritage has figured out how to animate still photos. Seriously, this is spooky. Called Deep Nostalgia™, this is another free photo option. I tested this new “AI” function on a picture of myself, and it was really weird. One hint — full face pictures work best. The following quote is from the MyHeritage website.

The remarkable technology for animating photos was licensed by MyHeritage from D-ID, a company specializing in video reenactment using deep learning. MyHeritage integrated this technology to animate the faces in historical photos and create high-quality, realistic video footage. The Deep Nostalgia™ feature uses several drivers prepared by MyHeritage. Each driver is a video consisting of a fixed sequence of movements and gestures. Deep Nostalgia™ can very accurately apply the drivers to a face in your still photo, creating a short video that you can share with your friends and family. The driver guides the movements in the animation so you can see your ancestors smile, blink, and turn their heads. This really brings your photos to life!

Go here to see an example: https://www.myheritage.com/deep-nostalgia

Meanwhile, MyHeritage has just been sold! A company called Francisco Partners has acquired MyHeritage for only $600M. Francisco Partners is an American private equity firm focused exclusively on investments in technology and technology-enabled services businesses. Founded in August 1999, it is based in San Francisco and London, while MyHeritage is an Israeli company.

I really hope this is good for MyHeritage. They are really a creative bunch!

Read more here: https://www.franciscopartners.com/news/myheritage-to-be-acquired-by-leading-private-equity-firm-francisco-partners

” People will sit up and take notice of you if you will sit up and take notice of what makes them sit up and take notice.” – Frank Romer

rootstech . org

“one of our followers reached out to the Help Desk at rootstech and received this reply.”

I am so sorry you have not received the marketing emails about RootsTech. We will go live on Rootstech.org at 5:00 am Greenwich Mean Time on February 25th and stay on 24 hours a day for the next three days. You can join at whatever times are convenient for you.

All class sessions and discovery content will be available on demand, so you can watch at whatever time works for you; you’re not confined to watching at a specific time. Main stage presentations will also be available on demand after the second day. The virtual expo hall will be open throughout the event as well. All of the classes and after the second day, all of our keynote speakers will be available on demand, and will stay up on our site until RootsTech 2022.

Below are the links to the classes available and the Main Stage schedule.
Main Stage Schedule: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/bc/content/RootsTech/2021/Main-Stage-Schedule-eng.pdf
Sessions List: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/bc/content/RootsTech/2021/RootsTech-Connect-2021-Sessions-eng.pdf

The following video will give you a sneak peek at the live RootsTech website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a46UyrLyghg

“(PST = GMT -8, therefore go live for PST is Feb 24, 9pm)”