Time Flies!!!

I can’t believe it is April 2014 already.  It seems like we just finished wrapping up the fall workshop.  Time flies when you are having fun, or so they say.  Hope y’all had a great holiday season, have enjoyed the snow, glad to see the tulips blossom, and are ready to enjoy another learning and research week with us at FEEFHS.

Once again, FEEFHS has elected to hold its annual conference in Salt Lake City, at the Plaza hotel, conveniently located next to the world’s largest genealogical library, the Family History Library or FHL.  The format has changed a bit, in an attempt to offer more classes.  Pre-conference workshops will also be offered.  The schedule at a glance is almost up.  We hope to see you there!


Prize Winners Announced

Judy Shappee with 2014 Registration Certificate

Judy Shappee with 2014 Registration Certificate

First of all, of the almost 80 people at the banquet, only five read the note on the banquet announcement page about deciphering the meaning of the Cyrillic script in the title of Thom Edlund’s keynote address title.  Not that this surprises me. After all, I posted it so long ago, that someone had to remind me along the way as well.  Still, the challenge was on –  written thus:

Door Prizes:  Thom Edlund’s closing keynote presentation is likely to both educate and entertain.  But can anyone tell me what that Cyrillic script says?  Figure it out, write it on the back of your banquet ticket, and you will be entered into a drawing for one of several great door prizes to be given out at the closing banquet.”

Congratulations to Judy Shappee and Kathe Richards for a successful translation. In the title,  “Это Я?”- Genealogical Research 
and the Road to Self-Discovery, “Это Я?”pronounced “eta ya”, means “This is me?”   The winner of a certificate good for full registration to the 2014 workshop was Judy Shappee.  Congrats Judy!

And a special thanks to Judy and Kathe as well as Vicki Orem, Lisa Dittmer, Nicole Schimke, and Dave Dowell for actually reading the website thoroughly enough to find this little gem of a challenge.  I think I’ll create another one next year – that was fun!

And the rest of the door prize winners are:

Peg Ivanyo presents door prize to Anne Norris

Peg Ivanyo presents door prize to Anne Norris

Leslie Evanoff – winner of One Year World Explorer Membership to

Anne Norris – winner of FamilyTree Maker 2012 software donated by

Maria Eppich – winner of a $25 gift certificate from Family Chartmasters

Rick Tischler – winner of a certificate good for a four-night stay at the Plaza Hotel

Thanks to our door prize donors!

State Winners:  This year FEEFHS was host to participants from 24 states and two Canadian provinces.  The first to register from each state or province (speakers, committee excluded) were announced at the banquet.  Each will receive a certificate good for one digital FEEFHS journal from our archives.  Congrats to all!


Workshop Wrap-up

I started this post right after the summer workshop ended, and here we have just opened registration for the new fall “Finding your Immigrant Ancestor” workshop.  Time flies when you are having fun.  Unfortunately, this post was stuck in draft mode waiting for my return from a busy life.  I have decided not to add to it, and just post it as is.  Enjoy.

I can never quite believe its over when its over–it always goes so fast.  This year, however, with the pre-workshop events, the banquet on Friday night and the optional “research on your own” Saturday, it left me feeling just about right.  Time well spent – much learned, new acquaintances made, and a few “tickle my bones” highlights.  What more could anyone want?

Let’s start with the “tickle my bones” part.  It is always fun when you are able to surprise someone.  This year being our 20th Annual Conference, we had several special guests.  We honored those who helped found this organization, like John Alleman; those who have supported it for many years, like Joanne Sher, Joe Everett, Daniel Schlyter; and those who have served in the capacity of President, like Dave Obee.

We also awarded Thom Edlund, current President, a plaque for twenty years of support and service.  He is the only one who has literally participated in one form or another in every single conference over the years.  Of course, I personally had to have a little enjoyment, so I put his absolute favorite FEEFHS logo (we seem to have several) on the plaque – one I don’t understand and probably never will since he won’t seem to tell me the significance.  But Thom doesn’t like to be in the spotlight, or receive accolades, so the fact that I pulled this off as a total surprise to him just tickled my bones.  Thom has dedicated many years to this organization, currently serving as President,  previously as Journal Editor for many years, and providing many years of presentations and other support.  Thanks Thom!


Featured Speaker: Joe Everett

A quick look at the Program-at-a-Glance and one will notice Joe Everett’s name appears repeatedly.  There is good reason for that.  So, I decided to ask him to share a little bit more about himself through an online interview.

Everett-BackClass-editedJoe recently returned to the Family History Library after spending seven years at  He manages a team of international consultants who provide research assistance to patrons of the library as well as to people worldwide through online educational tools.  His specialties are Germanic and Slavic research, focusing on the countries of the former Russian and German Empires, particularly Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Germany (including those areas of Germany that are presently in Poland and Russia).  He speaks both Russian and German.

It would seem logical, then he would indicate he has a special interest in Russo-German research.  But one of his favorite things to do is to trace the village of origin for Eastern European immigrants to North America.  I literally put those skills to the test last year by throwing every beginner (village of origin not yet identified) attending the workshop at him in one fell swoop.  While that may not have been the most logical approach (it has been somewhat “refined” this year), his passion for helping new East European researchers did not let me down!

Everett-to-participantJoe has been involved with the FEEFHS organization for many years, having previously served as the Managing Editor of the FEEFHS Journal and subsequently as the assistant webmaster.  This will be his ninth year as a presenter, having presented at various FEEFHS workshops/conferences since 1997.  His bio as published on our website is humbly succinct.  And I didn’t get much more out of him with my interview request.  But I know his expertise and enthusiasm for family history research doesn’t stop with the period at the end his biography.  I’ve seen him dedicate time to the local chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists, and know he is a frequent supporter of conferences and educational events. 

Perhaps his enthusiasm was best expressed in a blog post he created during RootsTech 2011:  “Meeting people and helping them find their ancestors is the greatest feeling.  The first man I assisted (at the booth) said, ‘If I get nothing else out of this conference other than what you have just helped me with, this whole thing will have been worth it.’  I live for that!”

Joe-Hobbit-HoleWhat of his personal life?  He loves hiking, skiing, working on his home, spending time with his family, writing both adult and children’s fiction, and DIY (do-it-yourself) projects.  He and his wife have six children ages 3 to 17. 

You can read more of Joe’s blog posts at  And you can see one of his DIY projects at

Now what child wouldn’t enjoy playing in a hobbit hole or sledding on the nearby grassy hill?  I wonder if he is available to build something for my grandchildren? :)


Visiting Salt Lake in August

Many of the recent emails I’ve received have been questions about what to wear and what to expect in the way of weather.  

What to Wear:  The first question is easy–wear something comfortable.  Business casual is probably the average type of clothing you will see, although you are welcome to wear whatever you prefer, within public reason of course.  The hotel meeting rooms will have more of a tendency to be cold rather than hot, so you might want to bring an extra layer to adjust as necessary.  And since you can literally get to most Salt Lake downtown restaurants and historical sites by walking, you might bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes.  Then again, if you don’t want to venture beyond the workshop, your shoes will only need to get you from the Plaza to the Library, about 1/2 city block.  You will likely walk further in the airport to get from your arrival gate to the luggage claim area.  We are an easy-access city to visit – the visitor’s center is 1/2 block south of, and the TRAX stop directly in front of the Plaza.

Banquet:  As to the banquet, we are not a formal lot.  While you might see everything from an evening dress to shorts, somewhere between is probably the average.  After all, most of us will have just come back from the Family History Library and won’t want to waste a minute changing into more dressy attire for dinner.  Our idea of a good banquet is to enjoy good food, listen to a great speaker, and give away some fun door prizes.  It is a way to celebrate wrapping up one more great workshop experience and visit with new-found friends.  Bottom line – you don’t need to bring your tux.

Weather:  When I lived in Minnesota they used to say “we will have weather today.”  It could literally change at any minute, and no one was about to predict just where it would go.  Utah weather might be a bit more predictable, but I wouldn’t stake my reputation on it.  So, I publish this with a heavy dose of “check the weather forecast the night before you leave” caveat.

At present, the forecast for the week beginning August 4th shows highs in the low 90′s (91-94) and lows ranging from 64 to 70 for the first half of the week, with temperatures dropping a bit into the high 80′s on Friday and Saturday.  It would appear that we might be blessed with a bit of cloudy overcast to temper the heat.

Utah’s is a dry heat, so if you come from a humid climate, you won’t feel it at all.  The few years that I lived in  Austin, Texas, I wore a sweater whenever I came to Utah in the summer.  Coming from Minnesota in August wasn’t much different.  Having finally acclimated after five years here, however, I prefer to just stay out of the heat altogether!

You can check the updated forecast at your convenience at:

Tour Note:  If you are joining us on the pre-workshop SLC tour, the bus will be air-conditioned, as will the State Capitol, the Heritage Park visitor’s center, and the Nauvoo Cafe where we will lunch.  The walking tour of Temple Square, however, will be outdoors following lunch; if the heat bothers you, it is an easy block walk from lunch to the Plaza Hotel.