Thursday, February 9, 2017

An Interview with NERGC 2017 Speaker Thomas MacEntee

I first met Thomas MacEntee back in 2011 at the Southern California Genealogy Society Jamboree.  Since then we have met up at several conferences across the United States, but this will be Thomas’s first time speaking at a conference right here in New England.  Many people know Thomas from conferences, workshops and his work with online with Geneabloggers, social media, webinars and his business High Definition Genealogy.  You can read more about Thomas online at page 3 of the NERGC 2017 conference brochure, where he will be a featured speaker.    Thomas will be the Thursday luncheon speaker, the Saturday night banquet speaker, and also give three lectures.

Here are the questions and answers:

1.  It will be your first time speaking at NERGC (I know you were supposed to be at NERGC 2013 but had travel problems).   How would you like me to introduce you to the New England genealogy community?

Thomas:  I was so disappointed to miss NERGC 2013 but we experienced severe flooding on a near-Biblical scale that Spring so I couldn't make the trip! Although I am fairly active on social media and in the online-genealogy community, I realize some attendees may not know me. Basically, I'm a genealogy author and educator trying to make sense out of current technology and how it can be leveraged for family history research. I try to curate the best tools and communicate them in "easy to understand" terms to genealogists.

2.  Your ancestry is from New York, where you grew up, but do you have any New England ancestors, too? (So close geographically!) Why did you decide to come to NERGC?

Thomas:  I do have many New England ancestors - mainly in the North Kingstown area of Rhode Island - I am a descendant of Robert Austin born about 1628. NERGC has always been on my list of conferences to attend since I've heard other colleagues rave about not just the presentation content, but also the energy created by the attendees. I love attending genealogy conferences in different parts of the country!

3.  Two of your lectures are “The Genealogy Do-Over” and “Jumpstart your Genealogy”.   I expect that lots of your New England “Do-Over” followers will be excited to hear these talks. Is that your new push for genealogy lately as you travel to the conferences?

Thomas:  I've seen a rise in popularity among genealogists in some sort of "review" or "do-over" project. With all the new technology available PLUS a new emphasis on source citation and evidence evaluation, many of us are revisiting the research we did 20 or 30 years ago. This makes perfect sense especially if you have not been making any real progress as of late with your genealogy research. The "Do-Over" concept is all about picking up new skills and habits and making real progress in your search for ancestors.

4.  The titles of your talks at NERGC are intriguing.  They are written like click bait for one of your genealogy blogs.  Did you learn this from blogging? Or did your lecturing influence your blogging?  [The titles of Thomas’s lectures are:  “Genealogy Do-Over: A Year of Learning from Research Mistakes, “They’re Alive:  Searching for Living Persons” and “Ten Ways to Jumpstart Your Genealogy”]

Thomas:   When I started my genealogy business in late 2008, I had no experience in either running a small business or in marketing. People say that I've taken to marketing and sales very easily; however it hasn't been without lots of hard work and research.  I go out and look at what other "parallel industries" such as quilting and scrapbooking are doing and try to emulate their success.  I also do quite a bit of business book reading over at Amazon Kindle to keep tabs on the latest business and marketing trends.

5.  I’m looking forward to hearing you speak at the luncheon and Saturday night banquet.  What would you say to encourage day tripping conference goers to stay late and attend the banquet? 

Thomas:  The topic of my banquet talk - "How to Deal with Other Genealogists without Going Crazy" - is one that I hope speaks to genealogists of every level. Unfortunately, in today's world where our interactions with each other are marked by division and differences, we have even seen this creep into the genealogy community. My talk shares tips on how to navigate the genealogy sphere not just to get the information you need for research, but also how to be in "right relationship" with other genealogists and improve interactivity among researchers. Plus, there is nothing better than unwinding at the end of a conference with other genealogists and socializing!

Thank you, Thomas!  I can’t wait to meet up with you again here in Springfield, Massachusetts during NERGC 2017 [The New England Regional Genealogy Conference, April 26 – 29, 2017 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.  See the website for more information, for the conference brochure, schedule and online registration at 

Thomas's presentations at NERGC 2017:

Thursday T-103  noon Luncheon "Scarce New World: Will Privacy Kill Genealogy?"

Thursday T-116  3pm  "Genealogy Do-Over:  A Year of Learning from Research Mistakes"

Thursday T-120 4:30pm  "They're Alive!: Searching for Living Persons"

Friday F-205  8:30am  "Ten Ways to Jumpstart Your Genealogy"

Saturday- S-303 8:30am "Managing the Genealogy Data Monster"

Saturday Banquet "How to Deal with Other Genealogists without Going Crazy"

Thomas MacEntee's website Hi-Definition Genealogy

Geneabloggers website   


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "An Interview with NERGC 2017 Speaker Thomas MacEntee", Nutfield Genealogy, posted February 9, 2017,  ( accessed [access date]).

1 comment:

  1. An entertaining interview and one-stop shopping to mark the NERGC program for Thomas's NERGC sessions. Thanks, Heather!