The Final Day of the 46th Annual Conference on Family History and Genealogy

Friday marked the final day of the 46th annual Conference on Family History and Genealogy at Brigham Young University. Many of the vendors were gone, the book scanning moved back to its West Valley facility, and family history consultants were invited for a day of free training. There was no keynote speaker, just the choice of five classes throughout the day from the 8 different tracks offered. Maybe it was just me, but it seemed that all of us were a bit exhausted!

Family History Consultants WPOne of the goals at FamilySearch is to provide training to family history consultants who serve in their local areas, including the many family history centers throughout the world. Although there are many resources online, the opportunity to ask questions was a bonus to conference participants. There was standing room only for the first session titled Family Tree Primer for Consultants. I happened by a wonderful question and answer segment on the policies for submission in From Tree to Temple. Consultants were also instructed in ways to encourage individuals to record their history in the My Family booklet. The final session of the day for consultants was one of the most popular sessions last year as well, Facebook for Family History Consultants.

The youngest family history consultant present was 13 year old Ruby Baird. Ruby Baird and Her GrandmotherHer grandmother, Marsha Hartmon, describes Ruby as an old soul in a very young body. Ruby was named for her great grandmothers, one from each side of the family. Ruby researches her ancestral lines, prepares names for the temple, and gifts the ordinance cards to family members so that they can complete the temple work; she also helps others pursue their ancestors.

There were about 750 participants at this year’s conference and an additional 50 youth. Among them were many great family stories to share. New this year, the FamilySearch computer lab was well used during the course of the conference. Many personal photographs were scanned for the benefit of participants. About 100 books were donated to be scanned; these books will be placed on-line at books.familysearch.org in about a month.

Although the sessions were not recorded, the address from Elder Paul E. Koelliker, Family the Fabric of Eternity, and the presentation material from David E. Rencher, The Role of FamilySearch in a Worldwide Community, are on-line for review. The syllabus will continue to be available at a cost of $20 for the CD and $35 for the printed edition. This syllabus contains 588 pages of helpful material, including links and bibliographies to further your research. You may order by calling 1 (877) 221-6716.

It is impossible to acknowledge all of the wonderful people I met during the course of this conference, but I put together a slide presentation of some of the highlights from this year’s event. I hope that you will enjoy it! I would also like to acknowledge the conference planning committee, including Stephen Young, FamilySearch project manager; Kathy Warburton, FamilySearch project coordinator; Michael Provard, FamilySearch conference logistical coordinator; and Kelly Summers, Church History and Doctrine, BYU. I would like to thank John Best, assistant program administrator, BYU Conferences and Workshops, and his staff, especially Jon Collier, event planner, for an excellent conference. In addition I would like to thank all of the instructors for their presentations and the participants for their many contributions!

The BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy invites you to set aside July 28-July 31, 2015 for the 47th annual conference to be held next year on the BYU Provo campus!

Copyright ©2014 Lynn Broderick and The Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

A Global Perspective: the Role of FamilySearch in a Worldwide Community

The 46th annual Conference on Family History and Genealogy is coming to a close. Today, in addition to those who registered to attend the full conference, family history consultants have been invited to receive a full day of training. The consultants will be instructed in their core responsibilities to help others find their ancestors. There will also be classes on United States, British, LDS ancestral, and professional research, methodology, FamilySearch compatibles, and computers & technology.

From left to right: Frederick E. Moss, legal advisor to the Federation of Genealogical Societies, David E. Rencher, and Glenn Kinkade of Dallas, Texas

From left to right: Frederick E. Moss, legal advisor to the Federation of Genealogical Societies, David E. Rencher, and Glenn Kinkade of Dallas, Texas

Yesterday, David Rencher, chief genealogical officer for FamilySearch International, gave the closing keynote address, The Role of FamilySearch in a Worldwide Community. Mr. Rencher outlined the journey of growth and phases of FamilySearch International. Sometimes by looking back we may achieve a clearer vision of the future.

FamilySearch invites everyone, especially members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to search for their ancestors. As people accept this challenge, there are going to naturally be more beginners. He asked those present to remember when they first started their family tree and to be patient with the errors made by those new to this endeavor. He encouraged participants to manage this learning curve by mentoring them in their pursuit. He spoke about “pain points” and acknowledged that mistakes have been and will continue to be made.

Mr. Rencher compared FamilyTree to the recent renovation of the LDS Ogden temple where he realized that “scraps will be left over when building a temple” and that the same is true when reconstructing the pedigree of the human family online. He addressed the debate of quality vs. quantity and shared his experience of completing work that was a duplication in his earliest days in this field. He said that, “why all that I did was completely disposable, I had an experience that turned my heart.” In essence, the time he spent was never “wasted,” yet FamilySearch is “trying to have the most accurate lineage-linked system” as organized by man. “Let’s focus on the work that we are to do and do the best work possible.”

Mr. Rencher outlined the role that FamilySearch has taken, from its earliest days of negotiating access to the world’s records to a point of agreement and signed contracts. Microfilm is still being used by the request of a few repositories. In addition, there are 189 cameras in the field capturing digital images, while microfilm is being scanned from the vault to be placed online. “The films I wanted were converted first; the ones you wanted — last, not really, but there must be some executive privilege,” he joked. Mr. Rencher discussed how FamilySearch has improved its quality check. “You know the image skipped is the one you want.” Amazingly, FamilySearch provides 1.6 million new searchable names each day, so “if you did not find your people yesterday, check today.”

Once FamilySearch International was “the only game in town.” Now there are major for-profit companies and FamilySearch “welcome[s] them to bring their resources to the table.” He said, “we are not in competition.” He mentioned the free access members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints received to ancestry.com, findmypast.com, and myheritage.com. He says that it is about a $700 savings for members each year. However, “these members fund all that is free on familysearch.org.” He said that he is also very excited about FamilySearch’s partnership with BillionGraves and shared an example of his contributions to this project. He said, “I have no teary-eyed videos today. You are stuck with my humor,” as he pointed out a discrepancy between a vital record and a cemetery stone he used as an example from his personal research.

FamilySearch also collaborates with non-profits, such as the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). One current project is the Preserve the Pensions from the War of 1812. FGS “took point on that” and the images will be offered for free on fold3.com. He showed examples of the plethora of documents found in these files, including “that torn page out of the family bible” from the days when duplication services were not available. There are 7.2 million pages related to this project. Each dollar that is donated will preserve two pages; this becomes four pages with ancestry.com’s commitment to match donations dollar for dollar. These files are being digitized alphabetically and the records are currently digitized to about the letters G-H and are available online. For the month of July there was a goal to raise $1800 a day to preserve these records. Although it is now August, your monetary support to this project is still greatly appreciated!

Mr. Rencher admitted that “there is an element of independence that must be given up to collaborate and sometimes it is painful … [but, the goal is to] connect people to their ancestors.” His presentation slides, The Role of FamilySearch in a Worldwide Community,  are available on the conference website. Elder Paul F. Koelliker keynote address, Family the Fabric of Eternity, is also available on the conference website.

Copyright ©2014 Lynn Broderick and The Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Settling in at the 46th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy

Christine Baird talks with T.C. Christensen

Christine Baird talks with T.C. Christensen

Wow, the power of stories! This was the response to many who attended the keynote address on the second day of the 46th annual Conference on Family History and Genealogy. T. C. Christensen, a writer, director, and producer, shared his experience in the creation of the movie Ephraim’s Rescue to a full house. His remarks were titled, “I Am Ready Now — Lessons from the Life of Ephraim K. Hanks.” If you haven’t already heard, this man’s story is amazing! I won’t reveal the plot, but I will say that this man wrote two personal histories and both are lost. It is only because a man named Andrew Jenson interviewed Ephraim in June of 1891, and other fragments of recorded history, that we can know Ephraim’s story.

T. C. Christensen remarked that, “in making a film, the research is everything!” Journals that were kept are the reason we know about this man. He also shared how the demographics of the time period brought power and impact to the story.

Besides the cast, Christensen recruited descendants of the rescued pioneers as movie extras. He said that they filmed one winter scene in the summer for safety reasons and even then the waters were treacherous. “We can’t do in the movies what they did in life. We are wimps!” He said that those descendants would say during filming, “if my ancestors did this for real, I can do this for five hours.” The excerpts we viewed brought many to tears. The legacy of Ephraim’s story testifies that great things can happen when preparation meets opportunity.

As for today, conference participants will have the opportunity to hear from David E. Rencher, chief genealogical officer for FamilySearch International, on “The Role of FamilySearch in a Worldwide Community.” After his keynote address, participants will have the choice of seven tracks with classes that will discuss United States, British, Scandinavian, Canadian, Estonian, and French research, methodology, digital tools, and FamilySearch products and programs.

The vender prize drawings, which in the past have been held on Friday, will be held TODAY at 1:00 p.m. in room 2254 of the conference center. Participants MUST be present to win.

FamilySearch Computer Lab WPThroughout the day FamilySearch will continue to provide scanning opportunities for photos, and collect books that will be scanned and made available online after the conference.

The computer lab will be open with a dozen computers provided by FamilySearch for use by those attending the conference this week.

Incline Software, the makers of Ancestral Quest, and Heritage Makers, a publishing program, will demonstrate their wares from 5:15 – 6:15 p.m. in rooms 2254 and 2295, respectively. Added to the program is a demonstration by Ancestor Cloud, a social media program for genealogy, that will be held in room 2267.

Copyright ©2014 Lynn Broderick and The Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

So Many Stories … The 46th Annual Conference on Family History and Genealogy

So many stories, so little time … this is how I feel as I try to capture the essence of the first day of the 46th annual Conference on Family History and Genealogy. I met so many wonderful people who shared so many wonderful stories!

The Koelliker Family and Me[1]

The Koelliker Family and Me[1]

Yesterday’s opening keynote address was given by Elder Paul F. Koelliker, an emeritus member of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has served as executive director of the Temple Department and as assistant director of the LDS Family History Department. His remarks centered on the purpose of family history and genealogy and the motivating factor for all we do – LOVE! He encouraged participants to think beyond the charts and find the stories that touch the hearts of those around us. He commented that we should think more about the future of our children than we do of the past and asked, “What stories have you written down to teach the generations to come?” He challenged participants to determine five actions they can take from ideas presented at this conference and implement them into their lives. He encouraged participants to think of family history in a forward direction. “Cousins is the new buzz word” and he suggested we find ours and take them to the temple. He shared a story of finding one of his cousins in Africa. Elder Koelliker who is of Swiss descent said, “who would have thought?” I had the opportunity to visit with the Koelliker family after the session ended, and well, all I can say is that they make you feel like one of their own.

Hannah Z. Allan Teaching Youth about Using Social Media in Family History

Hannah Z. Allan teaching youth about “Using Social Media in Family History”

There was standing room only during the opening session of the Youth track. Hannah Z. Allan discussed using social media for family history. So many youth commented about how much they enjoyed her presentations! I even noticed a few adults trying to disguise themselves as youth so they could attend these sessions :)

Joan Enders had the youth actively engaged in The Military Life of Joshua H. Bates, a Camp Lewis Soldier

Joan Enders had the youth actively engaged in “The Military Life of Joshua H. Bates, a Camp Lewis Soldier”

Throughout the day FamilySearch provided scanning opportunities for photos and began to collect books that will be scanned and made available online after the conference.

There is also a computer lab with a dozen computers provided by FamilySearch for those attending the conference this week.

Today, the keynote address, “I Am Ready Now – Lessons from the Life of Ephraim K. Hanks,” will be given by T.C. Christensen who wrote, directed, and produced the movie Ephraim’s Rescue” After his keynote address, participants will have the choice of seven tracks: Beginner, DNA Research, United States Research, Immigration and Migration, Photos, Youth and Genealogy, and the FamilySearch Family Tree. There is definitely something for everyone interested in pursuing their ancestors!

Incline Software, the makers of Ancestral Quest, and Heritage Miniatures will demonstrate their wares from 5:15 – 6:15 p.m. in rooms 2254 and 2295, respectively.

[1] Photograph courtesy of Alfonso J. Flores, BYU Marketing and Communications

Copyright ©2014 Lynn Broderick and The Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

 

It’s the First Day of the 46th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy

John Best, second from the left, and his staff are ready to greet conference participants :)

John Best, second from the left, and his staff are ready to greet conference participants :)

The BYU conference center staff was on hand yesterday to distribute badges, syllabi, and guides from 3-5 p.m. By the time I arrived at 3:15 p.m. lines were formed and participants were excited to begin a week dedicated to increasing knowledge and sharpening skills in the field of family history and genealogy.

One of my favorite aspects of conference attendance is the opportunity to meet new people who share the same interest. This year was no exception.

Danielle Johnson, and her son, Jedidiah, will enjoy the week at the 46th Annual Conference on Family History and Genealogy

Danielle Johnson, and her son, Jedidiah, will enjoy the week at the 46th Annual Conference on Family History and Genealogy

Yesterday, at the counter purchasing registration was a mother, Danielle Johnson, and her son, Jedidiah. He is one of our youth who was registering to attend the full week of instruction. Jedidiah has an interest in DNA research, a track scheduled to be taught on Wednesday :)

This morning and throughout this week, John Best and his staff will be ready to greet and assist conference participants. Mr. Best will also host a student meeting at noon today in room 2295 for those who registered to receive university credit.

This is THE DAY for the FREE YOUTH TRACK, for those 12 – 18 years of age. Topics include advice on how to help adults with genealogy and how to use social media for family history. If you are a youth or know a youth who would like to attend, you may register on-site at the BYU Conference Center any time today :) The last presentation is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.

The first keynote address of the week, “Family, A Pattern of Heaven,” will be given at 8:30 a.m. by Elder Paul F. Koelliker, who has served as the executive director of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Temple Department as well as the assistant executive director of the LDS Family History Department.

After the keynote address, courses will be offered in methodology, online research, and writing and publishing family histories. United States, German, Spanish, and Italian research will also be discussed. There is an entire track dedicated to the specifics of FamilySearch including “Insider Tips and Tricks” :)

A vendor demonstration will be given at noon by Family Chartmasters and an evening vendor demonstration will be given by Legacy Family Tree from 5:15 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. These demonstrations will be held in room 2265 of the conference center.

I confirmed yesterday that the Harold B. Lee Library is open from 7 a.m. to midnight and computers will be available during these hours; however, research assistance will only be available at the BYU Family History Library from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and until 6 p.m. on Friday. The library has subscriptions to many noted genealogical websites and houses a large collection of microfilm. Scanning, printing and other services are available. The BYU Family History Library is located on the second floor, which is downstairs and to the right of the main entrance. For more information contact the BYU Family History Library at (801) 422-6200.

Copyright ©2014 Lynn Broderick and The Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

It’s Time for the 46th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy

BYU Conference Center SE WPIt’s that time of year when Brigham Young University will host the 46th annual Conference on Family History and Genealogy. For those who may be unfamiliar with BYU, it is located in Provo, Utah approximately 45 miles south of Salt Lake City. This year participants hail from 29 of the United States, the District of Columbia, and from Canada, Australia, and the Ukraine.

The conference will be held July 29 through August 1, 2014 at the BYU Conference Center, 770 East University Parkway, Provo, Utah. There is still time to register if you would like to attend. Remember, sometimes the airlines have great last-minute deals :-)

C. Lynn Andersen and granddaughter WPThe BYU conference offers participants a choice of 160 classes categorized into about two dozen tracks. The syllabus is a treasure trove of additional information, bibliographies, and links to further one’s study of any of the presentations.

This year the opening keynote address will be given by Paul E. Koelliker, who has served as executive director of the Temple Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and as assistant executive director of the LDS Family History Department. On Wednesday, David E. Rencher, AG, CG, will be the keynote speaker. Mr. Rencher is the Chief Genealogical Officer for FamilySearch International. On Thursday, T.C. Christensen, a writer, director, and producer for the movie Ephraim’s Rescue and other films, will address the conference. For the remaining part of each day and on Friday, classes are offered for those new to genealogy and those with more experience. For a complete schedule of presenters and their topics visit ce.byu.edu.

New this year FamilySearch will be offering free scanning services to conference participants. FamilySearch is bringing four high-speed photo scanners that can scan up to 80 photos per minute. So, if you are coming to the conference and would like to participate bring your photos and a portable USB drive with sufficient memory. Stop by room 2285 to schedule a time to scan your photos. This service will be available every day of the conference.

FamilySearch will also be scanning books for participants. Beginning on Wednesday, July 30 through Thursday, July 31, FamilySearch will scan books on a first-come, first-serve basis. FamilySearch is especially interested in the following:

  • Autobiographies and biographies containing genealogical material
  • Family histories with genealogical information
  • Indexes to records
  • Local and county histories
  • Yearbooks

Robert Dickey demonstrating book scanning WPFamilySearch is recommending that books be brought to room 2285 Wednesday morning and they plan to scan as many as possible. If FamilySearch is unable to meet the demand for these services, unfinished books will be returned Friday morning or, with permission of the owner , FamilySearch will scan each book at their Salt Lake City facility and return each book to its owner by mail.

Remember that permission must be obtained from the author or copyright holder of any published book before books can be scanned. Generally, a book published before 1923 is in the public domain and does not impose this additional requirement. There is no scanning limitation on the size of a book. The participant’s publications will be added to the current 140,000 books found online at familysearch.org.

BYU Family History Library WPThe BYU Family History Library, located on the 2nd floor of the Harold B. Lee Library, will be open from 7 am to 12 midnight Tuesday through Friday for those who may want to dedicate part of their days and their evenings in Provo to family history research. Don’t forget to check out the great collection of maps and periodicals that are housed in this university’s library!

Family Chart Masters and Genealogy Wall Charts are giving away free fan charts to conference participants. You must order them online and they will be available for pick up at the conference. Visit the conference website for more information.The conference will also have exhibitors present to display their newest products and services. Come check out the newest offerings in the field of genealogy.

Once again the youth track will be offered on Tuesday. It is FREE and does not require pre-registration. Noncredit registration for the four-day event, including a CD syllabus, is $180. Family History Consultants, who may attend their specific track for FREE on Friday, may register for the full conference and receive a $50 discount on general registration. The credit option cost for the conference (2 credits of History 481R – Family History Directed Research and a CD syllabus) is $484. To register, call 1-877-221-6716 or visit familyhistoryconferences.byu.edu.

Men’s and women’s housing, which includes meals each day of the conference, is available on the BYU campus for $170. (That’s four nights lodging and 12 full meals.) Married housing is not available. (See the conference website about hotel accommodations.) Conference participants who are not staying on campus may purchase a $35 debit card for lunch each day at the Morris Center during the conference. Lunch includes a choice of two entrees, salad, fruit, desserts, and drinks. It’s all you can eat! For more information about the conference, visit the website or call 1-801-422-4853.

Follow the conference on Twitter, #BYUFHGC, and visit the conference home page on Facebook for the latest updates.

Copyright ©2014 Lynn Broderick and The Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Three Wishes on St. Patrick’s Day :-)

St. Patrick's Day WPI’m dancing the Irish jig this year! I caught a leprechaun on a whim and he granted me three wishes! Since the details of my Irish ancestors have been elusive, I just had to have his help in locating the final resting place of two of my immigrant ancestors. Wouldn’t you know it, they are found in a commonly named cemetery in unmarked graves! Nevertheless, I have found them in the first of seven likely places :-)

For those who may have missed my post last year, I found a resource, available for download, that is a treasure trove of information on seeking those elusive, and not so elusive, Irish ancestors. It is entitled Tracing Your Ancestors in Ireland. It includes step-by-step instructions, including a number of websites, a bibliography, and information directory.

Other sites have created resources to assist those seeking to discover their Irish ancestry as well. The FamilySearch Wiki is a perpetual resource for international research guidance. Ancestry.com has created a 3-page guide available for download entitled “10 Places to Find Your Irish Ancestors in America.” A number of paid sites have made collections relating to one’s Irish ancestors available today at no cost. Check out ancestry.com, myheritage.com, and, as always, familysearch.org. Rootsireland.ie has the “largest database of family records in Ireland.” Findmypast.com has a large Irish collection. They offer a 14-day free trial if you are not a current subscriber.

With so many records available on-line today and throughout the year, others may be green with envy! What about my last leprechaun wish? My wish is to place headstones on my immigrant ancestors’ graves so they will be remembered by the generations to come!

So, on this St. Patrick’s Day, “may you always have a clean shirt, a clear conscience, and enough coins in your pocket to buy a pint!”[1] For me, it’s a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream :-)

1. IslandIreland.com. http://www.islandireland.com/Pages/folk/sets/toasts.html. accessed March 2014.

Copyright ©2014 Lynn Broderick and The Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

RootsTech 2014: Is It Over?

RootsTech 2014 Elevator WPThe story is told of a recently wedded young woman who turned to her mother and with a smile proclaimed, “Oh mom, I’m finally at the end of all my troubles!” The mother wisely responded, “I know dear, but which end?” [1]  Similar statements are made after events like RootsTech 2014, and beg the question, is it over, or has it just begun? The perspective one takes about an event can make all the difference in the outcome.

RootsTech is an event that requires a lot of planning. Registration begins toward the end of the summer and, as anticipation builds, would-be participants arrange their schedules, book hotel reservations, and make travel plans. It’s all part of the story. Finally the time arrives and attendees happily fill their days with classes, presentations, networking, socializing, and performances. When it’s over, everyone involved leaves exhausted, armed with new information, new skills, and new friends. Is it over or has it just begun? If you participated this year, are you back to your routine? Did your participation in RootsTech 2014 make a difference in your life? If so or if not, what’s your RootsTech 2014 story?

Depending on your genealogy and family history goals, RootsTech 2014 was a treasure trove of information and ideas. All of us have our routines to get back to and all of us have genealogy and family history goals. I hope that attending RootsTech 2014 made a difference in your life, whether you attended at the venue or virtually. If you did not attend the conference this year, why not begin today? A number of sessions, including the general sessions from each morning, may be viewed on-line at your leisure and the syllabus, which you can download, covers many other sessions that were not recorded.

RootsTech 2014 Conclusion WPEvery story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The young woman getting married was actually in the middle of a journey that she hoped would last forever. For all of us involved in genealogy and family history, I hope that the conclusion of the RootsTech 2014 conference was not an end, but somewhere in the middle of an incredible year of genealogy and family history discoveries that ultimately will be preserved and shared.

By the way, if you plan to attend RootsTech 2015, reserve February 11-15 on your calendar. This conference will be held in conjunction with the conference for the Federation of Genealogical Societies at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah and is conveniently located within walking distance of the Family History Library. Reserving extra days for research is advisable.

[1] Adapted from Hafen, Bruce C. “Covenant Marriage.” October 1996. Accessed February 23, 2014. http://www.lds.org/general-conference/1996/10/covenant-marriage?lang=eng.

Copyright ©2014 Lynn Broderick and The Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

RootsTech 2014: Reaching the Summit with New Mountains to Climb, Part 2

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Genographic ProjectJudy G. Russell opened Friday’s General Session, like a typical Scotch-Irish, with a story. She referred to an article that stated that oral history can disappear in three generations and stressed that it is important that our history be passed down purposely and accurately. After Judy G. Russell, Dr. Spencer Wells addressed the audience. Dr. Wells is in charge of the National Genographic Project that studies the deep history of humankind. Wells shared his introduction to family history and genetics. His name is not really Spencer Wells; it’s Russ Spencer Wells, IV and as a boy he wanted to know the first Russ, a great grandfather. This was only the beginning. I highly recommend watching this session at RootsTech.org.

There were a number of sessions on Friday. I attended D. Joshua Taylor’s presentation entitled “Capturing and #SharingStories in 140 Characters or Less”  where he gave an overview of the many social media options for sharing stories. It may be a bit overwhelming to someone just beginning their family history quest so Taylor cautioned attendees to choose one or two possibilities and consider those options in more depth.

Friday Night at the Library Pizza Party

Friday Night at the Library Pizza Party

In the evening, conference participants had an opportunity to attend Friday Night at the Library and the pizza party on-site for those who pre-registered. The delayed broadcast of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games was televised for for those in attendance.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

RootsTech hosted three different sessions on Saturday with alternate schedules: the General Session, the Family Discovery Day,  and the Youth Discovery Day. Although there were many more youth and adults, the larger venue and alternate schedules helped control the crowds.

Todd and Koreen Hansen

Todd and Koreen Hansen

Saturday’s General Session included Todd Hansen of the BYUtv series The Story Trek and Stephanie Nielsen of the NieNie Dialogues. Although I had seen commercials advertising The Story Trek, I had never watched an episode. I was delighted to know that every story told is aired on the show. Todd Hansen believes that everyone has a story. He said that he has found that the person who thinks he has the least compelling story is the most interesting. The Story Trek is the ultimate reality show. As far as his own story, the one he chose to tell the audience was how he arrived on stage at RootsTech. Although incomplete, it included generations of decisions and he told it from present day to the historic beginnings. A novel approach. He made the point that with the current world population and only one of him, with four stories per show, it would take him four million years to record every person’s story. He commented that the chances of him knocking on a specific door are “ridiculously slim.” His message was clear. Tell your story. Take one step at a time. If you only have a piece of paper, make it a goal tomorrow to buy a pen.

Stephanie Nielsen of the Nie Nie Dialogues and Heaven is Here addresses her audience at RootsTech 2014

Stephanie Nielsen of the NieNie Dialogues and Heaven is Here addresses her audience at RootsTech 2014

Stephanie Nielson is the wife of Christian, mother of Claire, Jane, Oliver, Nicholas, Charlotte, and the author of Heaven is Here and the NieNie Dialogues. Her courage, faith, tenacity, and many prayers brought her to the RootsTech stage to share her story. It is a story about love. It is a story about a horrific accident that claimed the life of one. It is a story about her desire to be a mother. It is a testimony of God’s blessings. I could write more, in fact I will, but I encourage you to watch the video broadcast at RootsTech.org and read her memoir.

I listened to Evan Carroll lecture on “What Happens to Your Digital Assets After You Die?” He raised significant issues concerning our digital life, areas for consideration, and suggestions for a plan of action. Read more about it in the coming days on FamilySearch.org and check out his book, Your Digital Afterlife, which was recommended by Chris Dancy during the keynote presentation at the RootsTech 2014 Innovator Summit.

I ran into this family on their way to see Studio C. They were so excited!

I ran into this family on their way to see Studio C. They were so excited!

Saturday seemed like my busiest day as conferences collided. As day three of the full-access conference continued, I ran into many attending the Family Discovery Day and Youth Discovery Day. Bright orange and lime green backpacks helped youth identify their assigned groups.

Along with all the classes families and youth attended, BYUtv’s Studio C made an appearance for autographs and a presentation that contained highlights from the upcoming season beginning April 7th. The RootTech 2014 audience was one of the largest the cast has ever addressed. The youth clamored for the t-shirt give-a-ways that were part of the program.

The crowd waiting for autographs from the Studio C cast

The crowd waiting for autographs from the Studio C cast.

Why is Jeremy showing me his watch? You'll have to read the post to find out :)

Why is Jeremy showing me his watch? You’ll have to read the rest of this post to find out :)

Studio C all lined up greeting their public!

Studio C all lined up greeting their public!

Three generations!

Three generations!

The Jeremy Warner showed me his watch displaying a picture of his darling newborn Felix and, during the presentation, displayed a three-generation photo of himself with his father holding his son. Another photo showed little Felix with a mustache :-) Congratulations to Jeremy and his wife on the birth of their son only one week before this event. In addition, those in attendance at the Studio C event were allowed to tweet questions to the cast. My question was simply, ‘Why was Jeremy coming between Stephen and Whitney on stage?’ It was the impetus for a tender moment of Stephen and Whitney holding hands over Jeremy’s lap, a prelude to Valentine’s Day. Jeremy claimed to be a marriage counselor. I checked. No, he’s not, but he is an actor, which is close enough :-)

Dune, a service dog in training, and her family. It was a delight to meet so many furfriends and their families at RootsTech 2014!

Dune, a service dog in training, and her family. It was a delight to meet so many furfriends and their families at RootsTech 2014!

For the closing session of Youth Discovery Day, Elder Neil L. Andersen encouraged the youth to find their cousins. He introduced a new song, which was partially performed live, and demonstrated Puzzilla, a program that shows not only direct progenitors, but their children, too. This program attempts to show a possible missing child or marriage of a child and assists with descendancy research. If you would like to learn more about this FamilySearch Certified program click here.

RootsTech 2014 was a wonderful conference that had so much to offer anyone interested in genealogy and family history. You may still download the syllabus and watch the recordings of over a dozen sessions at RootsTech.org. I would like to extend a personal thank you to the leaders, staff, and volunteers who planned, organized, and executed such a splendid conference. RootsTech 2015 is scheduled for next February! Local hotels are already accepting reservations. Besides having the Family History Library nearby as a local distraction during next year’s conference, the Federation of Genealogical Societies will also be in town. If you’re passionate about genealogy and family history you may just find that Salt Lake City is where you will want to be February 11th through the 15th in 2015.

Copyright ©2014 Lynn Broderick and The Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

RootsTech 2014: Reaching the Summit with New Mountains to Climb, Part 1

With Captain Jack Starling

With Captain Jack Starling

RootsTech 2014 offered participants an expanded view of all that is available to the family history and genealogy community. There were wow moments for many of those who came from 49 states and 32 countries! If anyone else knows someone from South Dakota, the lone holdout state, we’ve been asked to bring them along next year.

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

The Innovator Summit was held on Wednesday, February 5th. “RootsTech 2014: Reaching New Heights …” discusses the opening session. The day of the summit, I found myself tweeting, “[s]o many choices, so many friends, so little time!” The result of the larger conference and venue was that I attended a few sessions, not many, saw some friends, not all, and focused on capturing fleeting moments rather than reflective, hence the delay in sharing my experiences at RootsTech.

Find #MyToday at mytoday.co.

Find #MyToday at mytoday.co.

In one session, Cydni Tetro, who is employed as a Disney Imagineer, shared her vision of an app that would allow an individual to gather posts and tweets from multiple social media accounts into story form for preservation on the FamilySearch site. It is called #MyToday and it is in early beta. Cydni invited everyone to access mytoday.co and, using their Facebook account, create a story and provide feedback. Unfortunately, the story created will not be preserved but it will visually allow the creator an idea of the finished product.

In the evening the RootsTech 2014 FamilySearch Blogger and Media Dinner was held at the Salt Palace.

FamilySearch Industry Leaders Town Hall

FamilySearch Industry Leaders Town Hall

For the first time bloggers were invited to participate virtually. Announcements were made, including an introduction to The Year of the Obituary and FamilySearch’s Captain Jack Starling. The goal is to create an index of 100,000,000 obituaries because “dead men tell no tales, but their obituaries do.” FamilySearch is partnering with many organizations and volunteers to make this happen. The project will begin with obituaries from the United States and expand to other nations. Although an obituary is only as good as its source, obituaries provide vital and biographical information important to genealogical research. Sometimes they even include a story or two.

By the way, there was a town meeting held with some of the top executives from FamilySearch International. It was a great opportunity to ask questions. All were invited.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Please welcome to the stage ... Shipley Munson!

“Please welcome to the stage … Shipley Munson!”

Shipley Munson welcomed RootsTech attendees to this year’s conference. He introduced Dennis C. Brimhall, the CEO of FamilySearch International. Brimhall had four important points:

  1. The power of stories
  2. FamilySearch.org enhancements, including an attempt to create a texting app so that those who do not have access to computers and smart phones can participate via this technology
  3. The role and importance of records, including the importance of indexing
  4. The importance of partnerships to accelerate online record access. At the current pace, it will take an estimated 11 generations before the records at FamilySearch will be digitally preserved. With partnerships, it is estimated we can reduce this to one!

After Brimhall’s remarks Josh Taylor introduced his boss Annelies van den Belt, CEO of DC Thomson Family History. She introduced herself by sharing part of her own family history and her vision for the partnership entered into by the leading genealogy companies. Finally, Ree Drummond, The Pioneeer Woman, shared her introduction to family history and her blogging journey. She encouraged others to start blogging or writing their stories using the medium of their choice.
Expo Hall RootsTech 2014. WPThe Expo Hall opened shortly thereafter with vendors prepared to greet attendees. This year RootsTech provided free Expo passes to those who wanted to walk the hall. With presenters taking the stage at the BackBlaze theatre, the Expo Hall was a continual education hot spot. I must admit that I only caught a quick glimpse of all that was going on. I needed another day to devote to investigating everything available!

Dr. Spencer Wells, Kenny Freestone, Dr. Tim Janzen, and Benett Greenspan

(From L to R) Dr. Spencer Wells, Kenny Freestone, Dr. Tim Janzen, MD, and Bennett Greenspan

I enjoyed two sessions on DNA. CeCe Moore presented her strategies for “Using Genetic Genealogy to Discover the Ancestry of Adoptees (and Scale Recent Genealogical Brick Walls).” As an expert genetic genealogist, she moderated the session that allowed attendees to ask questions to the experts representing the leading DNA companies. One of the benefits of physically attending RootsTech is the opportunity for an attendee to receive an answer to his or her specific question from top experts in the field.

Vocal Point at RootsTech 2014 Opening Social

Vocal Point at RootsTech 2014 Opening Social

In the evening, attendees were treated to light refreshments and a concert by Vocal Point, who opened with “Footloose.” Vocal Point performed songs for all generations and shared a few anecdotes related to their own experience with family history.

RootsTech 2014 had so much to offer whether attending in person or virtually, so I have a musing question: how long do you think it would take to apply all that one could learn from RootsTech 2014?

Copyright ©2014 Lynn Broderick and The Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.