Day out to Durham


We had a girls day in Durham this week.  Firstly we had lunch at Guglhupf an artisan German bakery there.  It was a nice lunch but nothing out of the ordinary as far as food goes.  We talked about history and families which is always interesting.  One of the girls has no ancestors on her grandfather’s side as his father jumped a train from somewhere in America when he was 7 during the depression.  He had no knowledge of his real name, parents or where he came from.  He got off the train in West Virginia and was brought up by a family.  I suggested DNA which they were already looking in to to see if there are any cousin matches.  To make it even more difficult there are no males alive on that line.  We shouldn’t complain about our brick walls!  I also hadn’t thought about or considered about those young children who jumped trains when they were so young and disappeared, too young to keep their memories.


After lunch we drove into downtown Durham past many of the old tobacco warehouses and businesses to the 21C Museum hotel.  What an amazing place.  If you are ever in Durham or one of their other properties visit them to have a look.  We bought drinks in the bar on the ground floor to take around with us while we traversed a number of floors.  On the ground floor at the entrance to the bar and restaurant was the most wonderful installation / waterfall made from plastic spoons.  I don’t think my photo can do it justice.  I just realised I should have taken a short video.

There was an amazing image of the American flag that was made up of plastic soldiers.  Then a picture that you could only see when you took a photo of it with your flash, and a ‘bendy’ Empire state building. Another image ‘moved’ as you walked past it (the black and white man’s torso).


We went downstairs to the old bank vault (this was an old bank), the tiles on the floor were bank notes.  All the safety deposit boxes had been welded in.  Reminiscent of the GSV in Melbourne was the corridor completely around the old safe.

Upstairs where the reception and business centre were were more art and installations.  One had a couple sitting at opposite ends of a table, both on their mobile phones with a wedding cake in between them, complete with mouse eating the cake!  I loved the different cloud images throughout the building and the pink penguins.

Thank you to Kim and Grace for a lovely day.  We finished it off with a drive through Duke University.

Last day of RootsTech and final days in Salt Lake City

Saturday was the final day of Rootstech for this year. The first keynote was given by Mike Leavitt, former Governor of Utah. He recounted some amusing stories from his time as Governor.  He told how the governor’s house had burnt down one Christmas.  The Christmas tree had been put up in the lobby but the lighting was faulty and caught on fire.  The house was ruined.   His family’s visit to homeless shelters that Christmas were  poignant as they themselves were homeless but had been helped by so many people unlike those in the homeless shelters.   He showed a clip of when they found out that Utah had won the right to host the winter Olympics, everyone was jumping up and down, over seats and literally leaping around with enjoyment.

Continue reading Last day of RootsTech and final days in Salt Lake City

McCollier Heritage on Tour day 4

Rootstech, Salt Lake City

What a day, my head is spinning with all the information and probably jet lag and lack of sleep.  No photos of beautiful Salt Lake City today as it was dark when I left the hotel and dark when I returned.  This morning’s first keynote speech was from Steve Rookwood, Company President and Chief Executive Officer of FamilySearch International.  I saw him speak in 2012 and he is a very good speaker.  He spoke of his family and shared photos and memories of them, particularly of his father.  His message was to engage our younger family members in family stories and therefore history by giving them 1 to 2 minute bites of family history.

Continue reading McCollier Heritage on Tour day 4

McCollierHeritage on tour day 2 & 3

Rootstech at Salt Lake City

It is beautiful and cold here, brilliant blue skies and ice underfoot.  Below is the view from my room yesterday morning.  Glorious.  Then below was the view from the other side of the hotel, it was quite the contrast.  The day was like the view from my room although it did snow lightly a few times.

Continue reading McCollierHeritage on tour day 2 & 3

McCollierHeritage on tour day 1

It’s a long way to Los Angeles although my United flight managed to get us there early.  This was after the longest time through Melbourne security ever!  People were queued out the door.  Then it took forever to get through security.  Passport control wasn’t too bad as I was able to go through the new (for me) automated passport aisles.  Very seamless.  But that had taken all the time and there was no one left in the boarding lounge, it was straight on to the plane for me and everyone else.

It was the most modern plane I’ve flown in with nearly all the controls on the tv screen in the seat backs.  There was power, yay I could use my laptop and recharge it, although I think that combined with a movie and two tv shows meant I didn’t sleep.  There were no window shades you had a button to make it tinted – very cool.  We did have to buy our in between meal which I’m not used to.

Customs in LA took a while as it normally does but everyone was pleasant.  They had automated passport screening for some of us which was good but not really any quicker as they don’t have enough kiosks.  It was fine though.  I ran in to Jan from New Zealand standing about 10 people in front of me in the line so we had a bit of a chat.  There were queues then to drop off your bags for connecting flights then I walked to terminal 7 which took about 10 minutes.  I enjoyed it after the flight.  Security didn’t take too long but then my flight was delayed.  I received numerous texts advising me of it which was good, I guess.  The weather was gorgeous in LA, clear sunny skies, very crisp!  Looking back out of the plane window as we ascended it was golden, it was magical.


We left LA just after 11 and after a bumpy approach landed in Salt Lake City.  It looks so beautiful with the snow everywhere.  I decided to take their rail transit in as there was a station opposite my hotel, the Radisson Downtown.  After I bought my ticket, only $ 2.50 I had second thoughts, or some esp, and thought I should have gone and phoned the shuttle.  I should have.  I think the shuttle is so much easier with luggage or when you are on your own.  The station to get off at was incorrect on the hotel’s website so I got off, realized it wasn’t right but had to wait for the next train and it was freezing!  I finally reached the right spot, I could see the hotel, but then it was a  half a block walk with two wheeling bags (one with my laptop, camera etc) which wasn’t much fun on uneven pavements and snow and the blocks here are huge, not the ones we’re used to.  I made it in one piece and have a room on the 15th floor with an amazing view.


I went for a little walk as by that time there wasn’t any point going to the family history library plus I was pretty tired.  It’s open until 9pm tomorrow so I can have a good go at it with a break for the Commonwealth participants dinner.  Looking forward to some research tomorrow and meeting some people.  The photos aren’t great quality as they were taken from my window, love those clouds on the mountain though.