Legacy Genealogy Cruise - We're Back!

We have returned from our 13th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise and had the time of our lives! We sailed on board Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas for 7 days throughout beautiful Alaska.

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We saw glaciers...

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...and waterfalls.

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We saw wildlife in the ocean...

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...and in the sky.

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We enjoyed pool...

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...and lots of ice cream.

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We found cemeteries...

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and of course learned lots in classes...

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And to top it off, I made an exciting genealogy discovery while waiting for my flight home.

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We ended the classes as we always do by drawing lots of names for door prizes. We then announced that all Legacy cruisers would get a free annual webinar membership and a free copy of Legacy 9 (whenever it's released...). Thanks to all of you who joined us! Thanks to all the rest of our Legacy Family Tree staff who kept our Support, Customer service, and Shipping departments open while we were away. And thanks to our cruise coordinator, Christy, for all she did for us too!

Next year's cruise

It's never too early to begin thinking about next year's cruise (our 14th annual) to the Pacific Coast. Registration is not yet available, but save these dates: September 22-29, 2017. We will visit:

  • Seattle, Washington
  • Astoria, Oregon
  • San Francisco, California
  • Victoria, British Columbia

Write to Christy for more information at legacyfamilytreecruise@gmail.com.

Back to work

Now that I've officially announced our return, it's back to work! We've got great things planned for our Legacy Family Tree software and for our webinar series. I LOVE my job!


Legacy Genealogy Cruise Day 4 - Rappelling in Skagway

Whew. We're alive!

Today, in Skagway, Alaska, the 4th day of our Legacy Genealogy Cruise, has gone down as the day that I faced one of my biggest fears head on, and I was triumphant. There honestly was a little part of me that questioned if I would be here afterwards and wow does it feel good to have accomplished what we did.

I'm certain that somewhere in my recent DNA test it shows that I have an extraordinary fear of heights. After today, I'm convinced that I must also have a courage gene, and it took every bit of that courage to do what we did.

As my wife and I stood together at the top of the 200-foot cliff and were preparing to step over its edge and rappel down its face, I didn’t think of my kids back home. My life didn’t flash before my eyes. I thought of nothing other than how scared I was. I tried to keep a smile on my face though as I got to face this fear with Tanya by my side.

Tanya volunteered to go first. She bravely turned around, stepped over the edge, leaned back, and made her way down. I wasn’t quite as graceful. I crawled out to the edge, turned around, grabbed on to my guide’s shoulders, then his legs, and slowly straightened my legs and leaned back. My confidence grew when the guide verified that the rope was holding my weight. Not looking down once, I slowly rappelled down, stopped for a picture about halfway, and then celebrated when my feet touched the ground.

I won’t say that I’ve overcome my fear of heights, but I accomplished something that I never thought I would. If my body didn’t hurt so much tonight, I’d probably be standing a little taller than I normally do. So, kids, if you’re reading this, just know that not everything in life comes easy. In fact, the most worthwhile things in life take tremendous effort – and they should.

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Legacy Genealogy Cruise Day 3 - Juneau

There is a chance that this may be the last blog post I ever write. In about an hour I will leave for my rock climbing and rappelling excursion in Skagway, Alaska. It's been a fun ride everyone, and I'm glad I "did genealogy first!" While I'm a little (a lot) nervous about today's trip, yesterday's whale watching excursion was a "blast"!

We first found a colony of stellar sea lions. Most were bathing in the warm Alaskan sunshine, but a few were wrestling in the water. So fun to see.

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We also caught up with a family of humpback whales.

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Next stop was the amazing Mendenhall Glacier.

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All along, Alaska's mountains seemed to be showing off to us. Truly remarkable scenery!

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Returning to the ship, my quick 15 minute nap turned into 3 hours, so we missed the nightly formal dinner with our group. So we made our way to the buffet on floor 11 and enjoyed curry chicken on rice, ham salad, and chilled strawberry soup. Yum, yum.

The evening's entertainment consisted of a medley of instruments and singers. My favorite was a violin and guitar duet medley of songs from "The Sound of Music." Once again I was reminded of my mother who introduced music to me. It's been one of the joys of my life.

By ten o'clock, the night was still young so we took in "The Jungle Book" in the cinema with our friends Chris and Trini. I tried really hard, but the movie watching turned into the second nap of my day, and so afterwards I was refreshed enough to go outside for a view of the northern lights. By 12:15am or so we hadn't seen any and so we tucked ourselves into bed. This morning Chris told me that they went back out at about 12:45am and got some great pictures of the lights.

This is the last-ever blog post before I do the scariest thing I've ever done. It's been a good ride, I've loved nearly every step of my life's journey, and I have a great family. I hope to be writing here again tonight, but if not, life is indeed short - do genealogy first!


Legacy Genealogy Cruise Day 2 - Classes and Hubbard Glacier

The sun has set on the waters of Alaska and I'm truly thankful for the beauty of this part of the world and for the experiences of today.

My day began early. While most of the 2,500 passengers were still sound asleep, Ken, Diane, and I were preparing the conference center for our first day of Legacy classes. After setup we had a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, corned beef hash, fruit, and orange juice. I love breakfasts on cruise ships. Introductions were at 8:30 where we learned from each attendee how long they've been using Legacy and where they came from. Our furthest-away attendee was all the way from Australia, wow!

My first class was on "Researching with Legacy" where I related my recent experiences with DNA testing, how I used Legacy to organize my findings, and how to best keep track of research-in-progress. Then I showed the split screen tool (View > Split Screen) and learned something really neat. Using this tool you can compare multiple parts of your family file at the same time. On the left I displayed Griffin Brown's Descendant View and on the right I displayed Asa Brown's ancestors. We noticed that by comparing the two families in this way that we could see naming patterns - in Griffin's Descendant View we noticed many of the same names that were displayed in Asa's Pedigree View. I've never considered using this tool for this purpose until today. Legacy's so great! We also learned how to add pictures to Legacy, display them in charts and reports, and how to handle missing media using the Gather Media and Media Relinker tools. We also looked at Google Photos, its backup capabilities, and its facial recognition. For the final class of the day Ken taught us about locations, mapping, and the need for standardization and clean up of our data. Everyone left with some new ideas. Here's Ken:

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Lunch today was a delicious salad and lamb-filled pita, followed by a small bowl of...you guessed it...ice cream. Towards the end of lunch we started noticing small chunks of ice in the ocean.

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This meant we were getting closer to one of the wonders of Alaska - the Hubbard Glacier.

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From a distance, I guessed the ice was about ten feet high. My wife guessed thirty. Boy did we ever misjudge the magnitude of what we were about to see up close. Hubbard Glacier is about 700 feet high and measures 76 miles from its source to the sea. We learned that the ice at the sea was more than 400 years old. The highlight of our trip to this point was the massive chunks of ice that crashed into the water. This glacier calving roared like thunder. It was beautiful seeing how active nature was.

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Later we found the ship's pool table which had a built-in leveling device. I don't think it was working very well though as we scratched on the opening break, followed by the eight ball ending the game much too early. Fun nonetheless.

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After a short nap (cruising is hard work) we learned that it was formal night, and so I quickly hung up my clothes in the shower, steaming them to get the wrinkles out, and then learned that I forgot my tie. Oh well, there were others without a tie at dinner, and the food still tasted good. I surprised myself when I ordered the "catch of the day". This is when I realized how much my taste buds have grown up over the last 12 years of Legacy cruises. I used to be a hamburger and steak guy at every meal, but I'm now taking risks with my palette. It goes without saying that once again, the meal was delicious. At desert time, I couldn't decide if I wanted the lemon pie or the strawberry cheesecake, so I ordered both.

On our way to the evening performance we discovered that the ship had a cinema on board so we stepped in to check it out and ended up watching a great comedy - Mother's Day. So we missed the main show, but made up for it by finding the 24-hour pizza bar near the pool. After a slice of chicken and a slide of pepperoni, and a coconut cookie, we called it a night. And now that it's well into the wee hours of the morning, I'd better get to bed. We've got a big day of whale watching ahead of us.


Legacy Genealogy Cruise Day 1 - Seward, Alaska

Day one of our 13th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise has come to a close. I'm now in my 22nd hour of being awake, and my wife says I've done some of my best writing when I'm half asleep, and I promised you a daily report. Tonight's will be brief.

Cruisers flew into Anchorage, Alaska from around the globe. We met at the Alaska Railroad Depot where we boarded the train for the 4.5 hour scenic journey to Seward. Not having studied my itinerary very closely, this additional excursion was a surprise to me, but a very welcome one. We saw mountains, glaciers, lakes, and even some traveling salmon. I kept a careful eye out for moose, bears, and whales, but didn't see any yet.

It was wonderful seeing so many old friends we've cruised with previously, and it was fun meeting many of our Webinar Wednesday viewers in person.

Arriving at the ship, it was just as majestic as expected, although I wish I would not have packed my winter coat in my suitcase. Going from the 90s in Idaho to the windy 50s in Alaska was a big change, but the warmth of the dining room with its unlimited buffet and, of course, ice cream and hot chocolate, warmed us up.

Early tomorrow morning we begin our first day of classes where I will first teach "Using Legacy as a Research Tool". I'm looking forward to this brand new class where I will introduce my recent experiences with genetic genealogy and then show how to best use Legacy to keep track of the findings and link the DNA tests to the Media Galleries. Next, I will teach "Digital Pictures and Legacy" where we'll explore all of Legacy's multimedia capabilities including reports, charts, and locating missing files. I'll also get to show how I utilize the brand new Google Photos to backup and share my digital images via the cloud. For our last morning class, Ken will be teaching "Locations, Mapping, and Legacy". He always has some great insights and I'm looking forward to learning from his perspective as one of Legacy's developers.

As much as I'm looking forward to teaching, eating, exploring, and eating some more, I am honestly even more excited about the divorce case papers of one of my Brown ancestors I received the day before I left. They had so much more than I hoped for - I'm finally going to be able to find Marsden Brown's children and their families. I'm already planning for a new Watch Geoff Live episode for when we return.

That's all for tonight. I hear the northern lights are visible tonight, so I might sneak up to the top deck before retiring to bed. And to my mother and father-in-law who are home with our children - thanks so much and give them kisses for us!

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Bon Voyage - 13th Annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise begins

image from media.royalcaribbean.comTomorrow we leave to begin our 13th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise, this year to beautiful Alaska. We will depart from Seward and visit Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, Ketchikan, and Vancouver, British Columbia. We will sail on Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas. We've also got lots of Legacy classes planned and time for one-on-one and small group sessions.

Last time we sailed through Alaska (2006) I did so without my wife. She gave birth to our 3rd child a few days before we left. Some timing, eh? Before we were even engaged, we decided that a trip like this to Alaska would be something we wanted to do together some day, and nineteen years later that day is finally here!

Excursions

I'm looking forward to most of the excursions we have booked. But since on prior cruises we've already bicycled down mountains (Norway), zip-lined through rain forests (Costa Rica), paddled down rivers (Jamaica), and snorkeled in the ocean (Hawaii), we, or should I say, my wife decided that we would give rappelling a try.  Normally, this would be the last thing on earth that I would ever try as my fear of heights is incredible. Yet I agreed. I may, or may not get off the ship that day.

Daily Blog

I'll let you know all about it, either here on our blog, or over on our Facebook page (or both). If you see lots of great articles and pictures, and then they all of a sudden stop on the day of our rappelling trip, then you'll know that the first part of my new genealogy t-shirt, "Life is short..." may have come true. I may even try out the new Facebook Live broadcasting tool.

Follow the ship

You can also follow the ship online. Always know where the Radiance of the Seas is here.

Webinars Unlocked

While we won't have our weekly webinars while we're gone, I have unlocked the entire "Watch Geoff Live" series for the duration of our trip. Look for them here.

Discount Code

As has become tradition, I've also issued a Bon Voyage 10% off-anything-in-the-store coupon. Here's the code:

bonvoyage

It's good for 10% off anything at www.LegacyFamilyTreeStore.com or www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com through Friday, September 9, 2016.

Thanks!

Our sincere thanks go out to our entire technical support and sales staff who will continue to provide sales and support services while we are away. Thanks Dave, Pegi, Ron, Michele, Sarah, Bryan, Marian, Jairmie, John, Debbie and Leonard for keeping us afloat!

We'll either see you here or on the ship!


Legacy Genealogy Cruise 2016 announced! Southbound Alaska - September 2-9, 2016

Alaska Cruise

 

The 13th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise, to be held September 2-9, 2016, departs from Seward, Alaska aboard Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas ship and will feature top genealogy speakers including members of the Legacy Family Tree staff. We will cruise Alaska's Inside Passage and visit the following ports:

  • Seward
  • Juneau
  • Skagway
  • Ketchikan
  • Vancouver, BC

Optional 6-Day Pre-Cruise Tour

If this is your first (or last) trip to Alaska, you'll love the optional pre-cruise tour we have arranged. Here's some of the places we'll visit between August 27 and September 2:

  • Riverboat Discovery Boat
  • Transfer Fairbanks to Denali
  • Denali Discovery Program
  • Denali Natural History Tour
  • Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
  • Anchorage
  • Seward Wind Song Lodge
  • Resurrection Bay Cruise

Genealogy Classes at Sea
While at sea attend classes taught by some of genealogy's finest educators, Legacy Family Tree webinar speakers, and Legacy developers. In addition to the classes, you will benefit from the small-group sessions and lots of time to learn from each other.

The Ship

Hungry for a dazzling at-sea experience that combines sleek swiftness, panoramic vistas, and an array of our best new dining options? Look no further than Radiance of the Seas®. With acres of glass enclosing the nine-story central atrium, elevators facing the sea, and floor-to-ceiling windows throughout, you'll never be at a loss for an incredible view. Plus, you can choose from eight different dining experiences, ranging from casual eats at Boardwalk Doghouse, to the family-style Italian fare at Giovanni's Table, to the sizzling skewers of Samba Grill Brazilian Steakhouse.

Reservations or questions
Prices begin at $640 per person, based on double occupancy. The price includes:

  • Genealogy classes
  • Shipboard accommodations
  • Ocean transportation
  • Meals
  • Some beverages
  • Most onboard entertainment

Transportation to Seward, port charges, gratuities, government fees/taxes, and optional tours are extra.

Pricing for the pre-cruise tours + the cruise begin at $4,058 per person (above exclusions apply).

Click here to learn more or to securely book your cruise online.

To reserve a cabin, or ask questions, contact our travel coordinator, Christy, at 1-425-222-6222 or send an email to LegacyFamilyTreeCruise@gmail.com.

More Information

For class descriptions, frequently asked questions, descriptions of the places we'll visit, or pictures of our past cruises, visit http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/CruiseInfo_2016.asp.


Legacy Genealogy Cruise - We're Back!

We have returned from our 12th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise and had the time of our lives! We sailed on board the largest cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas

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It was my kids' first cruise and it lived up to all of their expectations.

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Am I a bad Dad for watching my second oldest down 8 ice cream cones in one day?

Our first day at sea was Father's Day...

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...and our first day of classes. We heard from Lisa Louise Cooke (wow, was she ever terrific!!)...

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...Steve Salisbury, Dave Berdan, Ken McGinnis, and myself. And it was fun sailing with about 200 friends and genealogists in our group.

In Jamaica we enjoyed a relaxing river cruise down the Martha Brae River.

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We also visited the Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza. Such an amazing place!

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In addition to all the good food on board (my kids were impressed that they could even have macaroni and french fries in the formal dining room)...

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...we had fun on the carousel...

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...and even on the zip line...

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I was even spotted next to this billboard...

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We ended the classes as we always do by drawing lots of names for door prizes. Dave (Legacy's founder and President) then announced that all Legacy cruisers would get a free annual webinar membership to www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com. Thanks again to Lisa Louise Cooke, Steve Salisbury, Dave Berdan, Ken McGinnis (and myself I suppose) for the great classes! Thanks to all of you who joined us! Thanks to all the rest of our Legacy Family Tree staff who kept our Support, Customer Service, and Shipping departments open while we were away. And thanks to our cruise coordinator, Christy, for all she did for us too!

Next year's cruise to Alaska

It's never too early to begin thinking about next year's cruise (our 13th annual) to Alaska. Registration is not yet available, but save these dates: August 27-September 9, 2016. Write to Christy for more information.

Back to work

Now that I've officially announced our return, it's back to work! We've got great things planned for our Legacy Family Tree software and for our webinar series. I LOVE my job!


Bon Voyage - 12th Annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise begins

OasisTomorrow we leave to begin our 12th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise, this year to the Western Caribbean. We will depart from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and visit Labadee, Haiti; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Cozumel, Mexico. We will sail on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas. We've also got lots of genealogy and Legacy classes planned and lots of time for one-on-one and small group sessions.

And for the first time, I'll be bringing along my four young budding genealogists. Our kids have heard about our cruises all their lives, and now it's their turn to explore other countries and eat as much ice cream as they can handle. Yep, they're excited, and so am I!

Webinars Unlocked

While we won't have our weekly webinars while we're gone, I have unlocked the entire "Watch Geoff Live" series for the duration of our trip. Look for them here.

Discount Code

As has become tradition, I've also issued a Bon Voyage 10% off-anything-in-the-store coupon. Here's the code:

bonvoyage

It's good for 10% off anything at www.LegacyFamilyTreeStore.com or www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com through Monday, June 29, 2015.

Thanks!

Our sincere thanks go out to our entire technical support and sales staff who will continue to provide sales and support services while we are away. Thanks Jim, Sherry, Brian, Michele, Sarah, Bryan, Marian, Jairmie and Leonard for keeping us afloat!

We'll either see you here or on the ship!


Legacy Genealogy Cruise 2015 - there's still time to join!

Cruise2015MapIn just 5 months we will depart from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for our 12th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise. I've just been told that our discounted group pricing is good through February 1. If you're thinking about joining us in June, contact us soon to take advantage of our rates (currently lower than what Royal Caribbean offers). All the information is below. Oh, my four kids, each a budding genealogist, will be joining us for the first time this year. Yep, they're excited, and so am I!

The 12th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise, to be held June 20-27, 2015, departs from Fort Lauderdale, Florida aboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Sea ship and will feature top genealogy speakers including members of the Legacy Family Tree staff. We will visit the following ports:

  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Labadee, Haiti
  • Falmouth, Jamaica
  • Cozumel, Mexico

Genealogy Classes at Sea
LisacookeWhile at sea attend classes taught by some of genealogy's finest educators, Legacy Family Tree webinar speakers, and Legacy developers. In addition to the classes, you will benefit from the small-group sessions and lots of time to learn from each other.

GenealogyGems.com's Lisa Louise Cooke will be our featured speaker. You've enjoyed her many webinars, now meet and learn from her in person! During the seven-day period, Lisa’s presentations will be focused on getting quality genealogical results, quickly. In her sessions you'll receive loads of strategies and tips you can start using right away, from high tech solutions to busting brick walls. What an opportunity you will have to learn in person from such an expert!

The Ship

Royal Caribbean International innovation and imagination rule supreme on the groundbreaking Oasis of the Sea. A new adventure waits around every corner on this Deluxe world-class cruise ship. Featuring seven incredible neighborhoods, packed with first-at-sea experiences. Also enjoy the Oceanside Aqua Theater, Starbucks, Broadway hit musical Hairspray, 3D movie theater, a daring zip line that passes over the fun below, a real carrousel, Johnny Rockets old fashioned hamburgers, handmade milk shakes and bottomless fries, giant rock climbing walls, Surf Rider, putt putt golf, designer shopping at COACH and GUESS stores, and much, much more. This is truly the most awe-inspiring and award-winning cruise ship in the world.

Reservations or questions
Prices begin at $943 per person, based on double occupancy. The price includes:

  • Genealogy classes
  • Shipboard accommodations
  • Ocean transportation
  • Meals
  • Some beverages
  • Most onboard entertainment

Airfare, port charges, gratuities, government fees/taxes, and optional tours are extra.

Click here to securely book your cruise online.

To reserve a cabin, or ask questions, contact our travel coordinator, Christy, at 1-800-557-8601 or send an email to LegacyFamilyTreeCruise@gmail.com.

More Information

For class descriptions, frequently asked questions, descriptions of the places we'll visit, or pictures of our past cruises, visit http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/CruiseInfo_2015.asp.