Thursday, February 27, 2014

Of Being Important

This week I was mentioned in an article by Family Tree Magazine as one of the "40 Social Media Mavericks" that new people should get to know.  I don't usually get mentioned in things like that because I don't have time to be on social media full time.  In the family history community there are a lot of hobbyists who are retired, or stay at home moms who become the most prolific, go-to, stay-on-top-of-every-news-item people.  And there are the people for whom genealogy news *is* their business.  Those are usually the Mavericks who get mentioned.  I try to get my message out there over our various social media channels, but I'm also trying to do other things in the genealogy space--run a chart printing company and write books.  And that creates what sometimes feels like a vicious circle.  I've felt really stuck that I can't get the message out about what I am doing effectively and still do the job effectively. I think that is true of alot of small companies.  So thank you to Lisa Louise Cooke as well as Alison Dolan and Diane Haddad, the editor and publisher of Family Tree Magazine.  I really appreciated your acknowledgement of what we do when so many days are hard work and the normal uphill battle life gives us. And I know the other people caught in the wide net you tried to cast were appreciative too.

It made me stop and think about how we are all seeking acceptance in this world.  Even more so now that we are all looking for a few more +1s, comments, or likes.  In some ways I think social media has made us all 13 year olds again, looking for that acceptance from our peers and basing our self worth entirely too much on what other people think of us.  I happened to catch a few minutes of an interview last week--I think I was in the Dr's office, sorry I can't cite where-- and Oprah was being interviewed talking about loneliness and being validated by other people.  She said the most brilliant thing.  She said of all the interviews she's done over the years--politicians, movie stars etc, almost everyone would lean over after the interview and say "Was that ok?  Did I do ok?"  I found that to be astounding.  EVERYONE is looking for validation in this world.  And EVERYONE deserves to be validated.

I saw a wonderful TED talk this week about how to make those connections.  It has made me think. You need to watch it.

There are lots of lists.  Like everyone else, I worry about what lectures of mine are accepted, what events I'm invited to, who mentions me in an article, and how many people are on my social networks and who opens my newsletters and how many people come to my websites.  If you are a hot shot in all those areas now, just wait, you won't be in the future. Life moves that way.

Those are where the most important and long lasting connections are.  Everyone deserves to be validated but the world doesn't have the time or focus to validate anyone for very long.  But, if you don't have a grandmother or a mother who thought you were wonderful, I hope you have a spouse or a child, a sister, a brother, a niece, a nephew, or a grandchild.  Those are the connections that last.  That is where the long lasting acceptance is--probably because they are stuck with you and most people work to make those relationships good over the long haul.  In college I remember hearing about a parable (again--no chapter and verse--this is the blog post of missing footnotes).  It was about a dragon slayer who went to work every day to slay dragons out in the world, but came home to their family every night.  The family bound up the dragon slayer's wounds and healed them for the next day's battle.  Those family relationships, those treasured family stories that give us self esteem, those are the places we find those healing balms.  I think those are the real places that we should be worried about who we are and what people think about us.

On Twitter this week I mentioned that I've been working on ferreting out the fears that hold me back.  Like everyone, I fear not being accepted, and I also fear social networking taking up all my time.  I am so so thankful for this recognition.  It has made my load much lighter.  But I'm also going to make sure I spend enough time with my family today.  I love you all.  I LOVE this genealogy community.  It has been a blessing in my life to have so many wonderful friends here.  But my real worth lies at home.  And so does yours.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I've recovered from RootsTech--finally.

2014 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved
Reprinted from my post on the Visit Salt Lake Blog:

It has taken me three weeks to recover.  What a party.  If you missed it, you'll want to catch the video archive and mark your calendars for next year.  RootsTech has become the biggest family history conference in the world.

2014 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved
Over the past 10 years, I have traveled with my company, Family ChartMasters, to conferences across North America and Europe.  To date, the largest family history conference has been Who Do You Think You Are Live in London, England.  But this year, with the online streaming attendees, and record registrations, Salt Lake City was the host for what has become the largest Family History event in the world.   RootsTech was held at the Salt Palace and was sponsored by FamilySearch.  Attendees traveled from 49 states (if you are in South Dakota you need to come next year) and 32 countries.

2014 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved
Speakers presented workshops on a wide range of family history topics including social networking and archiving photos, DNA and storytelling and etc, and etc,.  The presentations included a wide range of beginner to more advanced topics.  Computer labs gave attendees hands on experience with the latest technologies.  And the keynote presentations each morning came from a wide range of popular presenters.  My favorite lecture was the keynote Friday with Judy Russell.  She is a crowd-pleasing genealogy speaker who talked about how quickly family history information is lost and how important it is to effectively pass it down.  Follow the link to listen to her inspiring presentation. 

2014 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved
On top of the great classes, the vendor's hall was the biggest I've ever seen--and so much fun.  With a demo theater, free giveaways and lots of hands on exhibits, you could spend the whole day in the vendors hall and learn enough to keep you busy throughout the next year.  Experts from genealogy companies around the world were on hand to solve your family history problems and help you learn more about your ancestors.

RootsTech continues to grow and improve each year and I'm sure next year will be even better.  Mark your calendars for February 12-14th 2015 and plan to join us and have lots of fun learning about who you are and where you came from.  You'll be able to register this fall at  I'll see you there.

Thanks to Paul Nauta at FamilySearch for the great pictures.  I was so busy I only got a few.  It was such a whirlwind I was only able to post to facebook a little.  It was so fun to see everyone and we never get enough time to talk during the short three days.  But it is so much excitement packed into such a short amount of time I don't know that I could do it for much longer.  For more info on my lecture and my son's lecture see my post over on my Zap The Grandma Gap Blog. We had a great time.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

RootsTech Preparations

So the biggest conference we've ever experienced in North America is coming next week and we are SO excited.  The registrations for RootsTech are looking really good and we are getting prepared.  We've been working on a new booth and special offers and freebies.  My 15 year old son is speaking and my lecture and demos are all ready.  Can't wait.

Here's a sneak peek at some of the charts we've been putting together to show off our expertise in printing.
The Teenager Chart

A Family Masterpiece

A Fan for Blended Families
Extra stories and information

There is no longer standing company that has more experience and expertise in displaying your family history than we do.  No matter what you are dreaming up, we are the only company that can create any style of chart and print it for you at an amazing price.  Send your ideas in for a free consultation and we'll look forward to seeing you at the conference.

Upcoming lectures and events

We're geared up with the new booth and ready to go. Here's what we have so far.  Looking forward to seeing you there: 
  • Rootstech February 6-8th. "Zap the Grandma Gap: Leave a Heritage Workshop." “Abracadabra: Design Your Own Family History Chart Demo,” “Presto Chango: Turn Your Family History Into A Coloring Book Demo,” “Get To Know Your Geezers (for Youth)” with my son Matthew Hovorka 
  • Eastern Idaho Family History Conference March 15th. “Creating a Culture of Family History in Your Family and Your Home.” “Where to Start When Your Genealogy is all “Done” and “Playground Rules for Genealogy on the Internet.” 
  • Orange County Family History Fair April 19th Keynote: “Grandma’s Bullet Proof Vest: Why Your Children Need You To Do Family History,” “Mom & Pop Culture: Creating a Culture of Family History in Your Family & in the Home,” “Grandpa’s on My iPad: Sharing Your Family History Using Social Networking,” “Where to Start When Your Family History Is All ‘Done’”
  • Southern California Genealogy Society Jamboree June 6th to 8th “Back to Basic Research Practices in the Age of Internet Genealogy,” Panel Moderator for “Rebranding Genealogy and Engaging the Next Generation,” “Abracadabra: Interactive Family History Charts With Prezi.”
Attending as a vendor but not speaking (doing some more writing so I haven't submitted as many proposals this year)
  • Utah Genealogical Association Spring Conference April 25th and 26th
  • National Genealogical Society Conference May 6th to 11th
  • Brigham Young University Family History Conference July 29th to Aug 1st.
Others in our company will also be attending
  • Genealogy Now Expo March 14th and 15th.