Legacy Genealogy Cruise - We're Back! and Day One

2012-05-29_0529We're back from our 9th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise. I finally made it to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, saw the Queen of England, participated in 21 hours of Legacy and genealogy classes, biked down the mountains of Geiranger, Norway; and ate way too much food. While we had the time of our lives, it's also great to be home. I sure missed my four "descendants."

While gone I wrote about each day and tried so hard to publish it here. I tried on the ship, but the 60-cents-per-minute-Internet was soooo sloooowww, and the free Internet at McDonald's in Liverpool worked but my blog software's Publish button wouldn't work. So in the next few days I'll publish the articles and pictures here. And so it's time to get back to work. But I don't feel like I've worked a day in my life - I love my job!

Saturday, May 12

After a much needed nap I’m finally able to write my first report from our cruise. There’s just been no time in between eating, touring, and visiting with our Legacy guests. The funny thing is that I’m not even exaggerating. During my nap I even heard my room’s telephone ring – I’m certain it was Luc wanting to go play shuffleboard again. But we’ve had such a great first 3-4 days so far!

2012 05 12_0491_edited-1My Day One got off to a great start. We had a few hours to play with before we boarded the ship so I walked around the city of Oslo. Guess what caught my eye? A cemetery of course. This wasn’t any ordinary cemetery. Situated just behind the city hospital, was the cemetery with all kinds of sizes and shapes of tombstones – calling my name. We found what we thought was the entrance but the gate was locked. After taking a few distant pictures we crossed the road and browsed an old Norwegian bookstore. I found a book of the history of Ole Rasmussen. When we came out, we looked again at the cemetery’s locked gate and noticed just to its left, but around the thick column, was an opening – not even a gate – it was wide open. I think there’s a good metaphor there. Nonetheless, we explored one of the most beautiful cemeteries I’ve seen, both from the ground and its second level.

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Later we boarded the Vision of the Seas, ate some lunch, and got set up to meet our Legacy guests and distribute name tags and schedules. Many of them looked very tired – most had been awake for at least 30 hours traveling but were happy to be there.

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Luc and I played a little shuffleboard, but it was already time for our first sit-down dinner. Our group had 20 tables reserved for the 170 or so of us. Our travel coordinator, Christy, arranged with the head waiter to let us sit round-robin style throughout the cruise (usually you are assigned a table number and must remain there) so we are able to meet and get to know everyone in our group. After dinner, my wife and I skipped dessert and went to the evening show where we were entertained with music, dancing, and even some acrobatic ballet. At the end of the day, I put the finishing touches on my classes I would give the next day.


Legacy Genealogy Cruise - Paris

Two years ago Tanya and I were on our way to Paris with our friends. It was the day after our European cruise ended and we stayed an extra day because Paris was so close to London. On the subway Ken asked, “does everyone have their passports?” Everyone did – except for us – they were still in the hotel. We bid our adieus as we got off on the next stop to make our way back to the hotel with the hope of catching up in time to take the chunnel to Paris. I think we would have had better luck had we known what stop our hotel was nearest. Instead, our search for the hotel turned into a self-guided tour of London. Although we had a great time together we knew we missed this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Today we checked and rechecked several times to make sure we had everything we needed. About sixty others from our Legacy grouped joined us on the 2 ½ hour bus ride into Paris from LeHavre. Here’s a picture of our first view of the Eifel Tower.

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We saw many of Paris’ famous landmarks and ate lunch at Chez Jenny’s. Our first course was a plate of sliced tomatoes in a delicious olive oil dressing. Delicious:

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Dave, who has spent his life cursing tomatoes, didn’t think so. His plate ended up looking like this:

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Our main course was duck and potatoes. The last time I had duck I was a child – I remembered liking it as much as I like squash or spinach. This time, to be brave in front of our guests, I ate it and it kind of tasted like – chicken.

We next took a boat ride where we saw more of the sights, including the bridge of padlocks. A new tradition in Paris, couples attach their padlock to the bridge and throw the key in the river, thus locking their love in Paris. I’m a romantic and I like the idea.

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The guide then pointed out the “most romantic bridge” in Paris and suggested that we do something about it. So Tanya and I did, which was fun, but looking at the pictures afterwards I discovered for the first time that I had the beginnings of my first bald spot. Grrrr….

Finally we made our way to the Eifel Tower which was really, really, really tall. We didn’t have time to climb it. But thinking back, it would have been fun to miss our ride out of Paris and have an extra day or two there.

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Legacy Genealogy Cruise - First Day of Classes and Shuffleboard

Sunday, May 13

This morning my wife and I were wide awake at 4am. I guess our bodies were still on Arizona time. We watched the sun rise at about 4:30, got dressed, and were first in line when the continental breakfast opened at 6. After enjoying some orange juice, pastries, and fruit, we checked out the conference center. It was already set up with about 100 chairs, a projector, and screen. Good to go! We then admired the art gallery and made our way back to the buffet for our second breakfast. The omelet, crispy dark bacon, and another tall glass of orange juice got me ready for a morning of teaching Legacy classes.

Dave Berdan, Legacy’s co-founder, spoke first. He officially welcomed everyone, introduced our Legacy team, and answered a few questions. Christy had a nice presentation and small gift for all the mothers in room. Happy Mother’s Day to everyone! I was a good boy this year. Because I would be gone on Mother’s Day, I ordered flowers to be sent to my mother, mother-in-law, and even our babysitter. I surprised my wife with her first-ever pearl necklace and earrings. The day was off to a great start, and it kept getting better. I spoke on the use of timelines, events, sources, Research Guidance, the To Do List, and a few miscellaneous topics. I was surprised when later that night, I had two non-genealogists  (supportive spouses) comment that they really enjoyed the classes. Judy Wight taught an excellent class on tips for finding our English ancestors.

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After lunch Luc and I began our shuffleboard tournament. This is a yearly tradition of ours dating back to our first Legacy genealogy cruise nearly ten years ago. We’ve played in the sunshine, torrential rainstorms, and today in 50-mile-an-hour wind. After our first two games Randy Seaver appeared. We invited him to play, he seemed hesitant at first, but then accepted the invite, with the qualifier that he hadn’t played in years. After the first game we knew that couldn’t be true – he has some real skills.

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Since it was formal night tonight I had to put an end to today’s tournament and put on my suit and tie. My wife was beautiful – I love formal night! Dinner was great, but the highlight was that both Christy and Tanya had the same dress. I think this usually bothers women but after the initial surprise, they laughed about it. What a coincidence. Better get some sleep, Paris is tomorrow.


Bon Voyage - Legacy Genealogy Cruise begins

Tomorrow we leave to begin our 9th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise, this year to the British Isles. About 200 of us will cruise together, departing from Oslo, Norway and visiting Le Havre (Paris), France; Cherbourg, France; Dublin, Ireland; Liverpool, England; Edinburgh, Scotland; Arhus, Denmark; Bergen, Norway; and Geiranger, Norway. We will sail on Royal Caribbean's Vision Of The Seas. We've also got 22 hours of personal Legacy and genealogy instruction from six different instructors, including Irish expert Judy Wight and blogger, Randy Seaver. I'm looking forward to the one-on-one and small group sessions we have planned also.

Just because I will be gone for 17 days enjoying the sun (well, actually the snow and rain...), 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) - nearly every day, with pictures and play-by-play accounts of everything we're up to.

And by the way, even though we won't have our weekly webinars and their traditional coupon codes while we're gone, watch these articles for special coupon codes. In fact, I just had an idea. Why don't we issue a Bon Voyage 10% off-anything-in-the-store coupon code? Here's the code:

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It's good for 10% off anything in the online store through the first day of our cruise, Saturday, May 12, 2012.

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, Ron, and Sarah for keeping us afloat!

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


Legacy Genealogy Cruise to the British Isles and Norwegian Fjords - last week to sign up before prices change

I just got a note from our Legacy cruise coordinator - this is the last week to sign up for the British Isles and Norwegian genealogy cruises before the prices go up. So if you've been on the fence, give Christy a call (1-888-505-6997) or send her an email. Or watch the webinar to learn all about it.

In case you missed the announcement, Ireland specialist, Judy Wight, will be our featured speaker. Click here to read more.

See you in Oslo in May!


Legacy Genealogy Cruise 2012 to feature Judith Eccles Wight

Sp_smallThe 2012 Legacy Genealogy Cruise – an annual event in its 9th year – is pleased to announce that professional genealogist and educator Judith Eccles Wight (and popular webinar speaker for Legacy Family Tree) will be joining the event as its featured speaker. The back-to-back genealogy cruises take place beginning May 12, 2012 and visits the British Isles (first cruise) and the Norwegian Fjords (second cruise, immediately following the first) on the luxurious Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas ship.

Judy-100During the first nine-day period, Judy will offer presentations related to the key resources for Irish, English, and Scottish research, including the best websites and details about the various record repositories in these countries that you will visit. An Accredited Genealogist, Judy is one of genealogy's best researchers of these countries - what an opportunity you will have to learn 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 first of the back-to-back cruises starts and ends in Oslo, Norway and visits the following ports: Le Havre (Paris), France; Cherbourg, France; Dublin, Ireland; Liverpool, England; and Edinburgh, Scotland. The second leg starts and ends in Oslo, Norway and visits Århus, Denmark; Bergen, Norway; Geiranger, Norwegian Fjords.

For more information, or to register, visit http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/CruiseInfo_2012.asp. Or call our travel coordinator, Christy, at 1-888-505-6997 or send an email to info@trekalot.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!


Legacy Genealogy Cruise 2012 - British Isles and Norwegian Fjords

Our 9th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise, to be held in May 2012, will visit Norway, France, Ireland, England, Scotland, and Denmark. You'll get to visit your ancestral homelands AND attend genealogy and Legacy classes on the days at sea.

If you are interested in attending, you need to act quickly. Since this is Royal Caribeean's only British Isles sailing in 2012, it is nearly sold out. Here's how you can learn all about it:

  • Watch our Cruising with Legacy in 2012 webinar. In this webinar, our cruise coordinator, Christy Downing, shows all the places we will visit, and gives an overview of a cruise experience.
  • Read all about it on our cruise website.
  • Call our cruise coordinator, Christy, at 1-888-505-6997.
  • Email Christy at info@trekalot.com.

Hope to see you on board!

Cruise 1: May 12-21, 2012

Cruise 2: May 21-27, 2012


Legacy Genealogy Cruise 2011 - We're Back!

This year I gained way more than just the four extra pounds I accumulated on our 8th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise. I found several new ancestors, learned that my long-time friend is a cousin, had a fantastic serendipitous experience at the cemetery, took 284 pictures, and came home with lots of memories and new friends.

While I gained so much, the day before the cruise departed, I lost my grandmother. She lived a good long life, and although I was unable to make it home for the funeral, I was doing what she loved so much - genealogy. I wonder if she had anything to do with the unbelievable experiences I had in locating my ancestors in Maine. I will write about this soon.

Besides the beautiful cemeteries we visited, the best parts of the cruise were the classes and our attendees. There was something different about the 170+ that accompanied us this year. It seemed as if we already knew each other so well. Everyone commented about how wonderful the speakers were. Between Thomas MacEntee, Steve Salisbury, Luc Comeau, Dave Berdan, Ken McGinnis, and myself, we presented about 16 hours of genealogy and technology classes. We were even able to squeeze in a few extra hours of personal one-on-one time before and after the classes. One of the highlights was our group excursion to the oldest genealogy society in America - the New England Historic Genealogical Society. There, we were given a tour, had time to research, and some were given free personal consultations from professionals. Thanks Thomas MacEntee for setting this up! I was delighted to personally meet Marian Pierre-Louis, our Connecticut webinar speaker. Thanks Marian for making the trip. I tried to get her to spill the beans on Nathan Brown's parents, but I'll still have to wait for our November 2 webinar.

So...it is back to work for the Legacy development team. It's not so hard for me because I absolutely love what I do. We have some great things planned for the near and the not-so-near future.

Below are just a few of the 284 pictures I took.

The view from the top of the Portland Observatory (Maine) with our ship in the background:

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Our group:

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The Statue of Liberty - one of my favorite symbols of our freedom:

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Dinner with Ken McGinnis and Thomas MacEntee:

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Me with my 6th great-grandparents in "Smart Cemetery":

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Panorama of a town in Nova Scotia:

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Yummy clam chowder in New Brunswick:

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Me, Thomas, and Marian at the New England Historic Genealogical Society:

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Dave Berdan, Ken McGinnis, Geoff Rasmussen, and Luc Comeau:

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Some of our cruisers in class:

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I guess I should conclude this article now. Our 9th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise is just 7 months and 2 days away. We hope to see you next May as we cruise the British Isles and the Norwegian Fjords.


Bon Voyage - Legacy Genealogy Cruise begins

Tomorrow we leave to begin our 8th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise, this year to New England and eastern Canada. About 200 of us will cruise together, departing from Cape Liberty Cruise Port, New Jersey and visiting Portland, Maine; Bar Habor, Maine; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Boston, Massachusetts. We will sail on Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas. We've also got 15 hours of personal Legacy and genealogy instruction from six different instructors, including webinar-favorite, Thomas MacEntee.

Speaking of Bar Habor, Maine - I've just realized that I have four generations of ancestors within an hour's drive of this port. Can you guess what I'll be doing here? I'm sure my wife is as excited as I am to visit these cemeteries on her vacation.

I'm still trying to decide if I will post daily updates to this blog - cruising is very hard work with so little time to relax and write. :) I'm leaning towards adding photos to our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/legacyfamilytree. I hope you'll follow us there.

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, Ron, and Sarah for keeping us going!

And for the first time, I can't wait for this cruise to end - because it means I'm that much closer to our November 2 webinar where Marian Pierre-Louis will announce the identity of and how she found the parents of my ancestor, Nathan Brown. That's right, this is the Brown family that you all know so well through this blog. And she won't even give me any clues until the webinar - you will find out at the same time I do. I hope you'll register for the webinar to enjoy the moment with me as one of my brick walls is solved. Visit www.LegacyFamilyTree.com/webinars.asp to register (free). And of course, I'm looking forward to our two other October webinars: Uncovering Your Irish Family History by Jennifer Geraghty-Gorman and Let Your Voice Be Heard in the Digital Conversation by Drusilla Pair.

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

Thinking about next year's cruises already? From May 12-21, 2012 we will cruise Norway, France, Ireland, England, and Scotland. And from May 21-27 we will cruise the Norwegian fjords and Denmark. Visit http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/CruiseInfo_2012.asp for all the details.


Legacy Genealogy Cruise 2012 - time is running out

Our 9th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise, to be held in May 2012, will visit Norway, France, Ireland, England, Scotland, and Denmark. You'll get to visit your ancestral homelands AND attend genealogy and Legacy classes on the days at sea.

If you are interested in attending, you need to act quickly. Since this is Royal Caribeean's only British Isles sailing in 2012, it is filling up quickly. Here's how you can learn all about it:

  • Watch our Cruising with Legacy in 2012 webinar. In this webinar, our cruise coordinator, Christy Downing, shows all the places we will visit, and gives an overview of a cruise experience.
  • Read all about it on our cruise website.
  • Call our cruise coordinator, Christy, at 1-888-505-6997.
  • Email Christy at info@trekalot.com.

Hope to see you on board!