I believe that everybody with a strong interest in genealogy should attend one or more events a year. Whether it is a small gathering from your own local society or a big event like RootsTech (Salt Lake City), MyHeritage Live (this year in Amsterdam) or THE Genealogy Show (United Kingdom), all events give you the opportunity to develop your skills and meet fellow genealogists.
As an ambassador of RootsTech London I had the opportunity to give away a free 3-day pass for this major event. It is the first edition that does not take place in Salt Lake City and everybody is excited about it. I wrote about it in a previous post, so I will not repeat all the details here. One month ago I started a competition. People who wanted to win this free pass were asked to like my Facebook page or to follow me on Twitter. They then had to send me a message and explain why they thought they should win the free pass.
I received many entries, mostly from the United Kingdom and Australia. Some of the participants even had a link with the Netherlands. Of course that made me smile. Because I found it difficult to choose a winner myself, I decided to let fate decide. I announced the winner in a short video: Janelle Collins from Australia.
After I congratulated Janelle with winning this free pass, I asked her a few questions. This way I can introduce her to you all.
Janelle, who are you and how much do you like genealogy?
“I’m from the Central Coast, a beautiful region just north of Sydney, Australia. I love my job as a Library Technician, where I get to help people with their family history research. I love to attend genealogy conferences. The last big one was Congress in Sydney last year where we had wonderful local and international guest speakers. I go to as many family history talks and events as possible. I’m married with 4 children, sadly none of them are interested in genealogy yet, but there’s still time for me to convince them 😊. I completed a Diploma in Family History online through the University of Tasmania, and I listen to many genealogy podcasts and webinars. I teach people how to do family tree research and interpret DNA results, as well as being a Search Angel for Search Squad, which helps people locate family, mainly adoptions. I’ve contributed to four genealogy books, which is very rewarding. I love to blog about my family history and I have my own website.“
Did you ever visit London before? Did you ever attend RootsTech?
“This will be my first trip to London, and I’m so excited about it because I have several ancestors who lived there, and some came to Australia as convicts! I’ll be sightseeing with my daughter & sister-in-law, and cramming in as much as possible into my two weeks. This will also be my first (but hopefully not my last) RootsTech. The largest event I’ve been to is the Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry in Sydney last year, but that held 300 people. Having thousands of people at the one event will be mind-boggling! Oh, and I’m an Ambassador for DNA Down Under, which is on all around Australia this month.”
What do you expect from RootsTech London? What are you looking forward to most?
“I’m expecting to be joyfully overwhelmed with the size and scale of the event, and I’ll be thrilled to listen to the excellent guest speakers who I will learn from. I’m looking forward to visiting the exhibitors so I can buy some mementos and see what’s new in the world of genealogy. Also, I will love to catch up with genealogy friends who I usually only get to see at conferences, and to meet new friends from around the world.”
And finally, as a genealogist from the Netherlands, I love to know: do you have a connection with my country?
“None of my ancestors were from the Netherlands within the last 300 years. I visited with my family for the first time exactly one year ago, on a quick trip to Europe for a friend’s wedding in Germany. I adored Amsterdam where we stayed for two nights. My favourite site was Rembrandt’s House, so I could touch what he touched & breathe the same air as he did. Also, seeing the Rijksmuseum was very special, especially Rembrandt’s works. The pancakes were pretty good too! I wish I had more time there to see a lot more of the country because it was so beautiful and the people were so friendly.”
Thank you Janelle for this great interview. Janelle and I both have the same idea: attend (international) events when you can, because they are a good and fun way to expand your knowledge of genealogy!