What is GeneaSpy?

GeneaSpy is an amateur genealogist who attends national, regional, and local genealogical conferences, who likes to take photos and meet people.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Little Thing That Went Viral... #MyColorfulAncestry

The other day I created a 5-generation colorful spreadsheet using Excel that literally went viral on social media the last few days. I saw hundreds of charts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and blogs. A lot of them were my friends, but then I started seeing friends of friends, and their friends.

 It all started with an idea that popped into my head (from the GeneaGods) late Wednesday afternoon, 23 March 2016, while I was at my desk at work. I wanted to see a family tree pedigree chart that listed ONLY the birth places. I decided also just to list US states (or countries), not counties or towns. Then I thought, why not color code those states so I can visually tell them apart more easily at a glance. And voilĂ !

 I posted my chart on my Facebook feed and it immediately started to get “likes”. I then thought, why don’t I send my excel spreadsheet to my Dropbox account and make a public link and share it. Then, people could make their own charts. To my surprise, not only did they do that, but they also “tagged me” and thanked me for the idea. That’s when more and more people started to see these charts and more and more people joined in.

 By Thursday morning until noon, it literally went viral. All day Thursday and then all day Friday. I checked Twitter feeds and saw them, I checked Instagram and saw them, I checked G+ and saw them. What have I created! Such a small simplistic chart with just a small tweak of information from what you usually see. I believe the simple colorful chart and the DIY link just made it irresistible to people.

 Then, friends started elaborating the idea, adding a 6th. generation, like DearMYRTLE’s post. I saw even more generations being added, even an hour glass chart by a gay couple showing both sides of their families. Jay Fonkert added flags! Meagan Smolenyak Smolenyak reminded me about her “cause of death” chart from a blog post way back in 2013 that she said she got from Judy G. Russell’s post, who in turn got it from a post by FamilySearch blogger, Nathan Murphy. Another viral chart!

 This was great! I like how friends were coming up with all kinds of new ways to use this! Friends were talking to each other about their ancestry and asking questions, me included! Every time I saw Alabama mentioned I would ask that person, where in Alabama are you researching? The conversation between people was so inspiring.

Viral messages and friend requests on Facebook.

 As of late Friday, I have added 95 new Facebook friends and several Twitter and Instagram friends. Some people were asking me what’s next? Who knows, but I do have some ideas. But, this was truly an irregularity in the social GeneaSphere which I think won’t be seen again for a while.

A special thank you to Crista Cowan of Ancestry.com for the special hash tag #MyColorfulAncestry. She said if everyone used it when all this started, we probably would have trended on Facebook. Wow!

 There is too many people to list and I gave up on counting all the posts, but I will list a few friends that have posted their charts across some social platforms.

Too many.


@genealogyisfun (Jana Last)
@ChrisMPaton (Chris Paton)
@genkracke (Timo Kracke)
@HVSresearch (Helen V Smith)
@GenealogyLadyCA (Deborah Sweeney)
@leprchaunrabbitt (Sir Leprechaunrabbit)
@CarolinaGirlGen (Cheri Hudson Passey)
@Lonetester (Alona Tester)
@ancestryjourney (Jen Baldwin)
@fh_data_project (DM_Walsh)
@AncestryAnne (Ancestry Anne)
@rjseaver (Randy Seaver)

Darcie Posz
Jill Ball
Jana Last
Cheryl Palmer
Elizabeth Handler
Miriam J. Robbins


And much, much more!!!

Let’s keep the conversation going!

Link to a blank spreadsheet: https://bit.ly/3dvsbkK

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Escondido Family History Fair 2016

 Last Saturday, I attended the 2016 Escondido Family History Fair put on by the LDS and held at the North San Diego County Family History Research Center in Escondido, California (Where I live). This is the third or fourth time I have attended the local event. A lot of San Diego area genealogical and historical societies had representatives there handing out information. My friend Ken Robison and I represented the San Diego Genealogical Society.

 I saw lots of friends there from other societies and met new ones. The keynote speaker was Barry Ewell of MyGenShare. I attended several classes also - gotta keep learning! I can't wait til next year!

Classes I attended:

  • Barry Ewell - Keynote Address
  • Dee Sallenbarch - Understanding DNA
  • Jean Wilcox Hibben - BEWARE the Enchanted Forest: Perils & Pitfalls of On-Line Trees
  • Jean Wilcox Hibben - RootsMagic 7 -- Live Tour
Some photos I took below.

2016 fair welcome sign.

Barry Ewell was the Keynote speaker.

Ken Robison & myself represented SDGS.

I put out some flyers for the upcoming SCGS Genealogy Jamboree & the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy 2017.

My good friend Bob from the Photo Darkroom was there too!

Barbara Wickham (far left) President of EGS.

The SAR were greatly represented. Good friend Ray Raser on far right.

Hispanic Heritage Project.

Lunch Break.

Jean Wilcox Hibben giving a quick shout-out about her and Genea Philibert Ortega's Genealogy Cruise before her talk.

Jane Strawn (left) with the Italian Genealogical Society

SCV & UDC were there also.

The Yankees made an appearance too!

Good friend John Finch, a military expert.

The Pioneer Room at the Escondido Library. They have a huge book on Crosby County, Texas, where my maternal grandparents lived!

The San Diego Mayflower Colony. Good friend Gail Raser represented along with friends.

CVGS - (L-R) Jane Strawn, Gary Brock, Virginia Taylor.

Randy Seaver, what was so funny? I forgot...LOL

Randy Seaver, Gary Brock, and Virginia Taylor.

North San Diego County Genealogical Society (NSDCGS), long name, great society. Jean Tempke and Marge Kealey on right.

Until next year...

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

SLIG 2016: A Photo Recap; Day 6

Well, it’s the final day. Nooo! Let’s have another week of learning! Today was the last day of researching the South. It turned out that our course co-coordinator, Kelvin Myers, was having a birthday today! Kelvin was surprised with fresh made birthday cupcakes (The best I’ve ever had). I think Anne Mitchell arranged all that. Also happening during our class sessions, Angela McGhie won a one year subscription to Ancestry World Explorer from Anne Mitchell of Ancestry.com.

 At the end of our classes for the day, we were presented with our certificate of completion by Kelvin. Very nice indeed! I have to say, this has been well worth every penny and I’d do it again. Oh, wait, I am next year!

 Later that evening I attended the pre-dinner party followed by dinner with the most moving talk by Judy G. Russell that I have ever heard from her. During dinner, SLIG board members thanked a lot of people for their support and even recognized me for my efforts in setting up a private Facebook group for students and teachers to talk to each other. Thanks Peg & Mary Jane! Oh, they approached me during the pre-dinner and asked if I would consider helping out with social media for next year. Wow! I was caught off guard. After about 5 seconds, I said, “Sure!” What have I gotten myself into now! I better step up my game.

Photo highlights from Day 6: Final Day of Classes, Certificate, Pre-Dinner Get-together, Dinner.

Friday, 15 Jan 2016

Happy Birthday, Kelvin!

Lunch at my desk. Nice and quiet.

The view outside during lunch. I want more snow!

Classroom candid photo.

Anne Mitchell presenting the Ancestry World Subscription to Angela McGhie.

I think I'm the third one down. Sorry for taking a picture of your slide Anne. Shame on me!

Yes, I'm a happy camper!

Now on to the festivities!

Jessica Taylor & Dick Eastman

Leslie Carney ready for picture time.

I'm representing my Viking DNA

People do the funniest things with hats on.

The Three Amigos - Myself, Amy Urman & Leslie Carney

The Four Musketeers - with Susan Petersen keeping it real.

Dave McDonald & Rick Fogerty

Debbie Abbott & Warren Bittner

John Colletta & Craig Scott

My Heroes - DearMYRTLE & Dick Eastman

The rush to get into the main event.

Very nice indeed!

Very nice lapel pin for each of us too!

Yvette Hoitink & Sue Hawes (sorry for not cropping).

View from the back.

This dinner was absolutely full!

Recognition of my SLIG Facebook group!

Dick Eastman taking a picture of all of us!

Dick Eastman receiving the UGA Silver Tray Award.

Thomas Kent Edlund came out of the shadows for the UGA Fellow Award.

Peg Ivanyo & Brett Petersen of UGA

Peg Ivanyo introducing Judy G. Russell.

Judy G. Russell - Best ever!

Until next year!!!