News Release

RootsTech Ambassador Helps Australians Discover Family History Via Social Media


Jill Ball, known in the world of genealogy as GeniAus, an amateur genealogist, blogger and social media enthusiast from Australia recently returned from the worldwide RootsTech conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah USA.

Though thousands attend, with the conference theme being “Connect, Belong,” Jill feels right at home after attending on seven occasions.

“I went as a stranger and now I go as a welcome friend” says Jill. “I’m able to reconnect with people and converse with genealogists about issues and resources through informal learning opportunities.”

Mrs. Ball is an active member of the Society of Australian Genealogists and the Communications Officer of the Hornsby Shire of Family History Group. She enjoys collaborating with others through social media and is the author of three blogs.

“My interest in family history began during the Australian Bicentenary over 30 years ago but I was a busy mother of four children. What began as an interest, moved to a hobby, became a passion and now is an obsession,” chuckles Jill.

As a RootsTech Ambassador, Jill interviews keynote speakers, presenters and prominent heads of family history organisations and then shares what she learns with her fellow Australians via social media.

“We don’t have a family history conference of this magnitude in Australia, so I arrange for and source people from RootsTech to present webinars to those in remote areas of Australia. I was able to interview 20 people this year.”

 “Going to the conference is a little like going to a rock concert,” exclaims Jill. “The atmosphere is infectious and the people I interview are like celebrities to me.”

While at the conference, Jill invites and connects participants from the Commonwealth nations – Australia, Canada, Scotland, England, and Wales to a dinner where they can converse and share experiences. “For those first-time participants, going to the conference can be a bit daunting so I act as a kind of mother hen to the Australian delegation,“ comments Mrs. Ball.

“I’m familiar with Salt Lake City and can help people feel comfortable. I try to ‘jolly’ them along and make it an enjoyable time. The RootsTech conference is a safe environment because I’m surrounded by my friends,” reflects Jill.

Through her research, Jill discovered that she has 10 convict ancestors who arrived in Australia from 1813. She’s learning that DNA research sorts out new cousins and confirms to her that she’s on the right track with her paper-based findings.

 Genealogy, the study of one's ancestors is one of the most popular hobbies in the world.

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