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.


Legacy Genealogy Cruise - We're Back!

We have returned from our 11th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise and had the time of our lives. Besides the genealogy classes, alone-time with my wife, and the yummy food, the highlight of our trip was learning about and participating in the cultures of Japan, Taiwan, and China. While we enjoyed the trip, it's also great to be home. I sure missed my four "descendants." I've also returned with:

  • 6 additional pounds
  • many new genealogy friends, and one new cousin
  • hundreds of fun digital photos (633 of them)
  • a severe case of desynchronosis (jet lag)
  • even greater enthusiasm for what we are doing here at Legacy Family Tree

So before I officially get back to work, I'll write a little more about our adventures below.

My first experience with Japan came in the hotel's bathroom. Never before had I seen so many controls on a toilet. Thanks to your encouragement on my personal Facebook page, I gave the bidet a try. All I'll say is that now I can say I gave it a try....

2014 10 25_0601

In Tokyo we visited Tokyo Station City and explored the city's underground malls. It was here that I had my first-ever Japanese food. While I loved every bite, the restaurant staff had a chuckle at my use of their chopsticks. They must have felt really sorry for me, and brough me a fork. I was determined, however, and finished the meal without the fork.

2014 10 25_0639

We visited waterfalls:

2014-10-26_0563

 

...and temples:

2014 11 01_0426

...ate even more food:

2014 11 01_0449_edited-1

...visited WW2 memorials:

2014 11 03_0329_edited-1

...saw cemeteries:

2014 11 03_0351

...and visited this cemetery which they called their "ancestors' homes":

2014 11 07_0065

...and at sea were taught by the best:

2014 10 29_0498

We ended the classes as we always do by drawing more names for door prizes. Dave (Legacy's President) announced that the winners would get a free annual webinar membership to www.familytreewebinars.com and a free upgrade to the next version of Legacy. Thanks again to Steve Salisbury, Dave Berdan, Ken McGinnis (and myself I suppose) for the great classes! Thanks to all of you who joined us! Thanks to 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 coodinator, Christy, for all she did for us too!

Next year's cruise to the Western Caribbean

It's not too early to begin thinking about next year's cruise (our 12th annual) to the Western Caribbean with Lisa Louise CookeClick here for the details of where we're going.

Back to work

Now that I've officially announced our return, it's back to work! And although by body still thinks it's 17 hours ahead of Idaho time, and it really wants to go back to sleep, I've got a lot of catching up to do. See you Friday for our next Virtual Legacy User's Group webinar!


Bon Voyage - 11th Annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise begins

2013 09 24_0308Tomorrow we leave to begin our 11th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise, this year to Asia. We will depart from Tokyo, Japan and visit Mt. Fuji, Japan; Kobe, Japan; Kagoshima, Japan; Nagasaki, Japan; Shanghai, China; Taipe, Taiwan; and conclude in Hong Kong, China. We will sail on Celebrity's Millennium. We've also got lots of genealogy and Legacy classes planned and lots of time for one-on-one and small group sessions.

Just because I will be gone for 18 days enjoying the food (I promise to spend time in the gym) and time alone with my wife (oh how I will miss my four kiddos at home) doesn't mean I will forget about all of you. I hope to keep you updated - here on this blog, and probably over on our Facebook page too with pictures and play-by-play accounts of what we're up to.

And by the way, even though we won't have our weekly webinars, I have unlocked the entire "Watch Geoff Live" series for the duration of our trip. Look for them here. I also just had an idea. Why don't we issue a Bon Voyage 10% off-anything-in-the-store coupon code? Here's the code:

bonvoyage

It's good for 10% of annything at www.LegacyFamilyTreeStore.com or www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com through Monday, November 10, 2014.

While you are wishing you were with us, check out next year's cruise to the Western Caribbean. From June 20-27, 2015 we will sail on Royal Caribbean's "Oasis of the Sea" and visit Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Labadee, Haiti; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Cozumel, Mexico. Lisa Louise Cooke will be joining us as our featured speaker. Visit http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/CruiseInfo_2015.asp for more information.

Cruisespeakers2015

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 Ron, Jim, Sherry, Brian, Michele, Sarah, Bryan, Marian, Jairmie and Leonard for keeping us afloat!

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


2015 Legacy Genealogy Cruise to feature Lisa Louise Cooke!

LisacookeThe 2015 Legacy Genealogy Cruise – an annual event in its 12th year – is pleased to announce that Lisa Louise Cooke, producer and host of the popular Genealogy Gems Podcast (and popular webinar speaker at FamilyTreeWebinars.com) will be joining the event as its featured speaker. The genealogy cruise takes place beginning June 20, 2015 and visits the Western Caribbean on the luxurious Royal Caribbean’sOasis of the Sea ship.

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! She will join Legacy Family Tree’s Geoff Rasmussen and others who will offer classes on Legacy and other genealogy technology.

The cruise starts and ends in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and visits Labadee, Haiti; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Cozumel, Mexico.

For more information, or to register, visit http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/CruiseInfo_2015.asp. Or call our travel coordinator, Christy, at 1-800-557-8601 or send an email to LegacyFamilyTreeCruise@gmail.com. Not only will you have the vacation of a lifetime, but you will do so in good company with other genealogists.

Hope to see you all there,

Dave, Ken, and Geoff


Legacy Genealogy Cruise 2015 announced! Western Caribbean - June 20-27, 2015

Cruise2015MapThe 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're a little early to be talking about 2015 when we haven't left for our 2014 cruise to Asia yet, but pricing is so good right now. We will visit the following ports:

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

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

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.


Cruising with Legacy Family Tree in 2014! Free webinar about our Asia Genealogy Cruise now online

LogowhiteIf you are interested in learning about a genealogy cruise, watch the recording of today's webinar, "Cruising with Legacy Family Tree in 2014!" by our cruise coordinator, Steve Downing. He got me that much more anxious for our October 2014 cruise to Asia.

View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 56 minute recording of "Cruising with Legacy Family Tree in 2014!" is now available to view in our webinar archives for free. Visit www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com to watch.

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

  • Searching for Surnames: Challenges, Pitfalls and the Downright Ridiculous by Kirsty Gray. February 26.
  • Genealogy and Technology - State of the Union by Barbara Renick. March 1.
  • Using Google Earth for Genealogy by Lisa Louise Cooke. March 5.
  • Sources and Citations Made Simple, Standard, and Powerful by Geoff Rasmussen. March 7.
  • Some Lesser Known Irish Resources by Judy Wight. March 12.
  • 50 Most Popular Genealogy Websites by Kory Meyerink. March 19.
  • 7 Habits of Highly Frugal Genealogists by Thomas MacEntee. April 2.
  • Get Organized Using the FamilyRoots Organizer Color-Coding System by Mary Hill. April 9.
  • Estate Records - More Than Just Wills by Linda Woodward Geiger. April 11.
  • Genealogy Evidence and Online Family Trees by Karen Clifford. April 16.
  • The Homestead Act of 1862 by Thomas MacEntee. April 23.
  • Google Glass and Family History by Devin Ashby. April 30.
  • Legacy Family Tree - Virtual User's Group Meeting by Legacy Family Tree Panel. May 2.
  • 50 Year View - What I've Learned Climbing My Family Tree by Tom Kemp. May 7.
  • Photo Apps for Android, iPhones or iPads by Maureen Taylor. May 14.
  • I Had My DNA Tested - Now What? by Ugo Perego. May 21.
  • Using Tax Lists to Solve Genealogical Problems by Linda Woodward Geiger. May 28.
  • German Internet Research: A Launching Place for Your Research. June 11.
  • 10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Family History Narrative by Lisa Alzo. June 13.
  • Copyright Mythconceptions by Judy Russell. June 18.
  • Documenting Native American Families in 19th and 20th Century Records by Angela Walton-Raji. June 25.
  • Thinking About Becoming a Board-certified Genealogist? by Elissa Scalise Powell. July 9.
  • Legacy Family Tree - Virtual User's Group Meeting by Legacy Family Tree Panel. July 11.
  • When Freedom Came - Documenting the Family's Freedom Story by Angela Walton-Raji. July 16.
  • Researching Your Illinois Ancestors by Thomas MacEntee. July 23.
  • Researching Your Tennessee Ancestors by J. Mark Lowe. August 6.
  • Research Recharge - Turning Old Clues into New Leads by Lisa Alzo. August 8.
  • Find A Grave - The World's Largest Cemetery Database by Russ Worthington. August 20.
  • Researching Your Italian Ancestors by Ruth Merriman. August 27.
  • Researching Your Jewish Ancestors by Jennifer Alford. September 3.
  • Legacy Family Tree - Virtual User's Group Meeting by Legacy Family Tree Panel. September 5.
  • Success with Manuscript Sources by Barbara Renick. September 10.
  • Evaluating Evidence and Resolving Discrepancies by Kory Meyerink. September 17.
  • A Library at Your Fingertips - the Internet Archive by Maureen Taylor. September 24.
  • The Fair Court: Records of Chancery Courts by Judy Russell. October 1.
  • Overcoming Destroyed or Missing Records by Karen Clifford. October 3.
  • Welcome to FamilySearch Indexing! by Devin Ashby. October 8.
  • Researching Your War of 1812 Ancestor by Thomas MacEntee. October 15.
  • Tracking Migration Using the Draper Manuscripts by Mary Hill. October 22.
  • Legacy Family Tree - Virtual User's Group Meeting by Legacy Family Tree Panel. November 14.
  • Using Evernote for Genealogy by Lisa Louise Cooke. November 19.
  • Family History for Kids by Devin Ashby. December 3.
  • Look Ma, No Hands! Using Dragon Naturally Speaking for Your Genealogy by Ivan Baugh. December 5.
  • Researching Your North Carolina Ancestors by J. Mark Lowe. December 10.
  • Bagging a Live One - Connecting with Cousins You Never Knew You Had by Mary Kircher Roddy. December 17.

Click here to register. Or click here register for multiple webinars at the same time.

Print the 2014 webinar brochure here.

See you online!


Register for Webinar Friday - Cruising with Legacy Family Tree in 2014

LogowhiteThinking of joining us for our 11th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise this October? Join us this Friday, February 21, for a free webinar to get an overview of the cruise and have any of your questions answered.

Join us for the live webinar Friday, February 21, 2014 at 2pm Eastern U.S. Register today to reserve your virtual seat. Registration is free but space is limited to the first 1,000 people to join that day. Before joining, please visit www.java.com to ensure you have the latest version of Java which our webinar software requires. When you join, if you receive a message that the webinar is full, you know we've reached the 1,000 limit, so we invite you to view the recording which should be published to the webinar archives within an hour or two of the event's conclusion.

Registerbut

Or register for multiple webinars at once by clicking here.

Test Your Webinar Connection

To ensure that your webinar connection is ready to go, click here.

Can't make it to the live event?

No worries. Its recording will be available for free indefinitely. Webinar Subscribers have unlimited access to all webinar recordings for the duration of their membership.

About the presenter

Steve-100Steve and Christy Downing own and manage Trekalot Travel, a cruise destination specialist, specializing in group cruisers. For the last 11 years they have organized the cruise destinations for our Legacy Family Tree groups. They have a passion for helping people fulfill their dream cruise experiences.

Learn more about the cruise here.

Add it to your Google Calendar

With our Google Calendar button, you will never forget our upcoming webinars. Simply click the button to add it to your calendar. You can then optionally embed the webinar events (and even turn them on and off) into your own personal calendar. If you have already added the calendar, you do not have to do it again - the new webinar events will automatically appear.

Webinar time

The webinar will be live on Friday, February 21, 2014 at:

  • 2pm Eastern (U.S.)
  • 1pm Central
  • 12pm Mountain
  • 11am Pacific
  • 7pm GMT

Or use this Time Zone Converter.

Here's how to attend:

  1. Register at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com today. It's free!
  2. You will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the webinar.
  3. You will receive a reminder email both 1 day and 1 hour prior to the live webinar.
  4. Calculate your time zone by clicking here.
  5. Make sure you have the latest version of Java installed on your computer. Check at www.java.com.
  6. Check your GoToWebinar connection here.
  7. Click on the webinar link (found in confirmation and reminder emails) prior to the start of the webinar. Arrive early as the room size is limited to the first 1,000 arrivals that day.
  8. Listen via headset (USB headsets work best), your computer speakers, or by phone.

We look forward to seeing you all there!


Legacy Genealogy Cruise 2014 to Asia announced!

Sp_smallThe 11th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruises will feature two back-to-back cruises beginning in October 2014. Join us for one or both. The first begins in Tokyo, Japan and ends in Hong Kong, China. The second begins in Hong Kong and concludes in Singapore. Join Geoff Rasmussen and other Legacy developers during the first cruise for personalized Legacy and genealogy technology classes.

1st Cruise - Japan, China, and Taiwan

October 26 through November 9, 2014:

  • Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan
  • Mt Fuji (Shimizu), Japan
  • Kobe, Japan
  • Kagoshima, Japan
  • Nagasaki, Japan
  • Shanghai (Boashan), China
  • Taipe (Keelung), Taiwan
  • Hong Kong, China

2nd Cruise - China, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore

November 9 through November 23

  • Hong Kong, China
  • Hanoi (Halong Bay), Vietnam
  • Hue / Danango (Chan May), Vietnam
  • Ho Chi Minh (Phy My), Vietnam
  • Bangkok / Laemchabang, Thailand
  • Singapore

Feel the exhilaration of Asia as you pull into port

Celebrity adds Asia to their list of exciting destinations. From bustling, modern cities to quiet, mist-shrouded jungles, the Far East is a place of beauty, history and mystery. Celebrity Millennium will now transport you to Asia in magnificent, luxurious style. Celebrity explores this graceful and mystical area of the world for the first time. She’ll visit twelve breathtaking locations if you travel with us on both sailings including Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, China and more. Sail between Singapore and Hong Kong with overnight calls in Bangkok, Thailand; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and the majestic Halong Bay, Vietnam. Each stop will take you about as far away from the everyday as you can get. Each destination is special and varied with its own rhythm, cuisine, culture and flavor. 

Genealogy Classes at Sea

While at sea attend classes taught by the Legacy Family Tree developers, Geoff Rasmussen, Dave Berdan, Ken McGinnis, and others. In addition to the classes, you will benefit from the small-group sessions and lots of time to learn from each other.

The Ship

Luxurious accommodations and intuitive service consistently place Celebrity Millennium at the top of the rankings among large cruise ships. A favorite of many vacationers, Celebrity Millennium was "Solsticized" in May of 2012 and emerged with many award-winning Solstice® Class features. She's been renewed with spa-inspired AquaClass® staterooms, the AquaClass signature restaurant, Blu, and the addition of verandas to her chic Celebrity Suites. We can't think of a better way to experience the exotic beauty of the Panama Canal than aboard Celebrity Millennium. Out of the ordinary? Definitely.

Reservations or questions

Prices begin at $1,806.87 per person for the first cruise and $1,963.38 per person for the second cruise, based on double occupancy. The price includes:

  • Genealogy classes
  • Shipboard accommodations
  • Ocean transportation
  • Meals
  • Some beverages
  • Most onboard entertainment
  • Port charges
  • Government fees/taxes

Airfare, gratuities, 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.

Register for the webinar.

Click here to register for "Cruising with Legacy in 2014." In this webinar we will give an overview of what to expect from this year's cruise and answer any questions you may have.

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_2014.asp.


Legacy Genealogy Cruise - We're Back!

We have returned from our 10th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise and had the time of our lives. Besides the genealogy classes, alone-time with my wife, and the yummy food, the highlight of our trip was probably our day in Costa Rica where we rode horses, saw monkies in the forest, got close to crocodiles, and zip-lined through the tree tops. I also enjoyed shuffleboard with Randy Seaver. I've also returned with:

  • 6 additional pounds (I've lost 3 of them already...)
  • many new genealogy friends
  • hundreds of fun digital photos
  • 1 less cell phone (borrowed/stolen in Columbia...)
  • even greater enthusiasm for what we are doing here at Legacy Family Tree

So before I officially get back to work, I'll write a little more about our adventures below. Click here to read my first report.

October 2 was our day through the locks of the Panama Canal. I couldn't believe that this big ship...

2013 09 24_0308

...would fit through the locks of the canal:

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It was an amazing experience. We also saw the construction of the new locks along the way.

The next day we explored the canal some more, this time off the ship. My wife and I, with others in our group, explored the lakes via a small boat. Midway into the lake, our boat's engine died. It reminded me of the Gilligan's Island theme song. After the spare battery was installed, we sailed near the shores of the many islands where we had an experience with a monkey I will never forget. We pulled up to some over-hanging trees where curious monkeys started appearing from nowhere. One monkey hopped into our boat and was appreciative of the grapes we had ready for him. Another swiped an empty plastic bag and took off with it into the trees. What happened next is hard to believe unless you were there and saw it happen....About a minute later the monkey came back - this time wearing the plastic bag as a diaper! I didn't get a great picture of it, but couldn't believe my eyes. He darted back for the trees. Again he returned, this time wearing the bag on his head like a hat.

2013 10 03_0093

I wrote about the zip-lining in the previous article, but here's one of the pictures:

DSC_1846

Hundreds of feet up we sailed through the tops of the trees. Although I still retain my fear of heights, I would probably do it again.

On our last day of classes we had a couple of surprises for our group. The captain and the ship's executive staff surprised us with an impromptu cocktail party (yummy orange juice for me...) and thanked us for joining them. We ended the class as we always do by drawing more names for door prizes. Dave (Legacy's President) announced that the winners would get their choice of an annual webinar membership to www.familytreewebinars.com or a free Legacy 8 upgrade. After drawing a few winners, he announced that all cruise attendees would get the same choice.

2013 10 06_0001_edited-1

Thanks again to Megan Smolenyak, Karen Clifford, Barbara Renick, Randy Seaver, Steve Salisbury, Dave Berdan, Ken McGinnis (and myself I suppose) for the great classes! Thanks to all of you who joined us! Thanks to 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 coodinator, Christy, for all she did for us too!

Next year's cruise to Asia

While we haven't officially announced it yet, it's not too early to begin thinking about next year's cruise (our 11th annual) to Asia. Click here for the details of where we're going.

Back to work

Now that I've officially announced our return, it's back to work! We're putting the final touches on Legacy 8 so we still expect to release it for you by the end of the year. I'm working hard on finalizing our 2014 webinar calendar and recording the last of the revised Legacy Family Tree training CDs.


Legacy Genealogy Cruise - 1st Report

Wow, I cannot believe we're already halfway done with our Legacy Genealogy Cruise and this is the first time I've posted here. Two explanations - we're having too much fun and the Internet speed on a cruise ship doesn't really exist. Below is a compilation of my journal entries for the first week or so. Wish you were all with us, but we're having the time of our lives.

September 25, 2013 Back home, by 9:15am each morning I have showered, finished breakfast, checked the headlines and a few emails, helped get the kids ready for school, taken them to school, studied, and have planned my work day. At 9:15am today, as I lie in my bed on the Celebrity Millennium on day 3 of our cruise, I started to feel guilty for sleeping in so long. That guilt did not last long as I remembered my cruise slogan, “because I can.”

We have had a terrific start to our 10th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise. I fear to check the scales as I’ve already eaten enough for the entire week. Along with nearly 300 other friends and genealogists in our group, we’ve enjoyed getting to know each other and learning from our speakers. Megan Smolenyak, Karen Clifford, Barbara Renick, Dave Berdan, and myself taught day one’s classes. To accommodate our large group, the ship moved our classes to the lounge in the front of the ship, which had a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean and a large skylight – a beautiful location for nearly any event. The skylight’s sunshine proved too much, however, for the projector during my 11am class, “What’s New in Legacy 8” so I cancelled it and we moved everyone into the conference rooms downstairs. After lunch we resumed and I got to show off the new features in Legacy that we’ve worked on for so long. Lots of “ooos” “aahhhs” and “applause”! You will all get to see it in action before too long.

Yesterday we enjoyed the day in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. My wife and I boarded a catamaran and toured the beautiful ocean rocks, watched the sea life, and sipped cold pineapple juice. Rough life, eh? We then toured the peninsula and took lots of pictures. On the way back I realized I left my cash and credit cards on the ship, which was probably a good thing, but I really wanted to try some authentic Mexican tacos. I hope to get my chance today in Puerto Vallarta, where we will arrive in a couple of hours.

September 26, 2013 We’re getting to that part of the cruise where it is difficult to identify the correct day of the week. Alas, it is Thursday at 8:55am, and as I type this, I am sitting in my room’s balcony watching the waves of the Pacific rush past me – in the middle of a torrential downpour. A bright flash of lightening just struck, the loud thunder followed about seven seconds later. And it is beautiful. I’ve had quiet time this morning to ponder about the state of the world’s genealogy, and about what I could do to help it progress. I look forward to the future!

Yesterday’s trip to Puerta Vallarta will be difficult to top. Shortly after our arrival we boarded a boat and crossed the bay for a visit to a private beach getaway. Waterfalls, angelfish, and a delicious buffet welcomed our arrival. I had been hoping for an authentic Mexican food experience and I got it, topped off with a glass of my now-favorite pineapple juice. We were then taken on a guided snorkeling tour. I enjoy exploring the water underworld although this morning I wish I would have remembered sunscreen for my back. We also toured the sub-tropical rain forest, learning about the vegetation and shaking fingers with the monkeys. We also spent time in the hammocks, listening to soft music and enjoying the sounds of the waves. Paradise – yes! Could I spend my life there? Probably. I’d have to check into Internet speeds first.

September 29, 2013 I’ve had too much fun these past couple of days to write until now. Thursday was a sea day which meant genealogy classes! I had the pleasure of speaking in the morning, beginning with our small group and 1-on-1 sessions – I had a blast answering Legacy questions, and even found a couple of dangling Legacy 8 bugs while doing so. Dave’s been in his room programming every day, putting on the final touches before our release. After lunch Megan Smolenyak taught her two DNA classes, and we learned about the story behind her Smolenyak2 name and got new ideas on DNA’s role in our genealogy. What a fascinating topic and wonderful speaker!

Yesterday we visited the country of Guatamala – somewhere I never imagined I would visit. We decided to take our own tour instead of booking through the cruise ship’s excursion, and next time we’ll probably stick with the excursion desk. We hoped to see the old Mayan ruins which our tour guide promised. We did see them, but it was at a museum instead of the real thing. Oh well – I did see things in Guatamala City that I’ve never seen before. The mountains and rolling hills were amazing, but the poverty and living conditions were unlike anything I have imagined. The freeways were crowded with so much traffic that street vendors walked between the lanes of cars selling cotton candy, iPhone chargers, and dried bananas. We stopped at a park where I ate an authentic tamale and had some roasted corn. That was fun!

Today I’m looking forward to spending more time with our genealogy group as Karen Clifford, Randy Seaver, Steve Salisbury, and Megan Smolenyak speak to us. I think I might break down today and purchase an hour’s worth of Internet use – I haven’t read or composed even one email for over a week now. It’s kind of refreshing, but I’m also wondering what’s going on back home.

October 1, 2013 Yesterday in Costa Rica now sits at the top of my cruise favorites. Firstly – what a beautiful country! Only the size of Virginia, it is home to 4% of the world’s wildlife. And we saw lots of it, beginning with gigantic crocodiles which we viewed from the safety of our little boat. The river which we navigated was home to 25 crocodiles per mile. Next, my wife and I saddled up and went on a horseback ride through the jungle. Watching the monkeys in the trees was something I won’t forget. Something I hope to forget is that my horse was the slowest, and no matter what I tried, he liked hanging out in the far, far back. I don’t think he understood my English, and I didn’t speak enough Spanish. It was enjoyable nonetheless. After a buffet of authentic Costa Rican food, we went zip-lining through the rain forest. I’ve been nervous about this adventure for months as my fear of heights has not yet been conquered. Oh the compromises we make in a marriage. :) It turned out to be one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. From the tops of the trees (must have been hundreds of feet up) we could see everything – rivers, jungles, the ocean, monkeys, and even their beautiful macaws. The platforms upon which we stood at the tops of the trees was the scariest part. They were narrow and without railings. The only thing keeping me from falling was my safety rope which I hoped was really strong. My legs felt like they had heavy weights attached to them as I tried to gain the confidence to move them one step at a time. Once I had jumped off the edge I truly enjoyed gliding through the tall jungle.

And so this morning, I am happy to be alive and happy to have experienced what I did with my wife and fellow adventurers. Today we are at sea for another full day of genealogy classes. We’ll begin with one-on-one and small group Q/A sessions, but I’m thinking of starting out the session by sharing some new ideas about how Legacy can help solve brick walls. Tomorrow we travel through the Panama Canal.