@AJJacobs, @LoveTaza, & @StoryCorps @RootsTechConf

Friday, February 5, 2016

At the Friday keynote session, RootsTech attendees were greeted with some exciting news. First, onsite registration surpassed 26,000. Second, those in attendance were from all 50 states and more than 35 countries. Finally, Thursday night’s Freedmen’s Bureau index-a-thon exceeded its goal. The goal was to index 900 batches in 90 minutes; the result was that participants indexed and arbitrated over 1860 batches! Indexers onsite and virtually participated. As Steve Rockwood said in his opening remarks, “we come to RootsTech to DO family history!” What a great example and contribution Thursday night’s index-a-thon was of this declaration. It speaks volumes :)

One aspect of RootsTech that I love is the live streaming that allows anyone with an internet connection to be included throughout the majority of the conference. The RootsTech theme is “celebrating families across generations.” It also connects time zones and distance through this technology and it is offered free of charge.

Our cousin A.J. Jacobs returned to the stage this year to report on the Global Family Reunion held on June 6, 2015. He affirmed that Sister Sledge had it right, “we are family.” DNA has helped him discover hundreds of cousins, including his wife. He admits that she is a distant cousin and assures us that their children are all okay. He said that although some cousins had previous commitments, 3700 attended the Global Family Reunion in New York with 40 simultaneous satellite reunions around the world totaling 10,000 more cousins in attendance. The event broke several world records, including biggest worldwide family reunion. One of the purposes of this event is to garner interest in family history. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, People magazine & Good Morning America provided coverage and the reunion will be featured on the season finale of Finding Your Roots. Jacobs announced another family reunion in 2017 so you might want to keep your 2017 summer calendar free from other commitments until the date is set. He closed by saying he believes that “we are all related, and it’s not us vs. them. It’s just us; there is no them. We’re in this together.”

Jacobs then introduced Josh and Naomi Davis, fellow New Yorkers who author the blog Love Taza. As a couple, they took center stage to share their journey of blogging as newlyweds to blogging as the parents of 3 children. They now have over a million people throughout the world interested in their family adventure. Recently returning from Australia, they admit that theirs is an ordinary life. Besides photography, Naomi likes to capture moments with her children by recording “-isms.” She calls them “Eleanorisms” and “Samsonisms” after their authors. One example Naomi shared was when their daughter Eleanor was “looking at [her] pregnant tummy and asked, “[s]o, is the baby just swimming around in there? … Is she wearing a swimsuit?”                                                            Love Taza WP

As we heard throughout the conference, Josh and Naomi reiterated that “everyone in this room has a story!” and encouraged all of us to “become a part of a global community of storytellers” because “it’s not a story if it’s not told.”

This was the perfect transition to the next speaker, David Isay, founder of StoryCorps. StoryCorps was founded in 2003 when a recording booth was established in Grand Central Terminal. The premise is that a person brings someone that they want to honor to the booth and he or she then has the opportunity to record a 40 minute interview. StoryCorps provides a facilitator and, if desired, a list of questions. After the interview concludes, one copy of the interview goes to the Library of Congress and another copy is given to those who interviewed.

Isay played for those in attendance a number of excerpts of these stories. In my opinion, no one can tell their story better than themselves so, if you’d like to hear these stories, watch the RootsTech keynote address below or listen to a number of examples on the StoryCorps website. StoryCorps expanded its reach by having mobile units that are dispatched throughout the United States. Schedules fill up quickly. Most recently, StoryCorps released an app that allows an individual to record his or her story and send it directly to the American Folklife Center of  the Library of Congress where it will be archived. [Note: the StoryCorps app requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It is also available for Android on Google Play.]

David Isay closed with a quote from Mary Lou Kownackiz, a Philadelphia nun who said, “it’s impossible not to love someone whose story you’ve heard.” He went on to quote Mother Teresa saying, “we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” He thanked the RootsTech audience for asking the important questions, for honoring our families, and for listening.

After David Isay’s address, it was time for the Innovator Showdown where 6 finalists competed for $100,000 in cash and prizes. TapGenes took 1st place, followed by STUDIO, and Twile. Twile was also the recipient of the People’s Choice Award.

Although I planned to attend a number of sessions, my schedule permitted only one. It was a panel discussion on ethical dilemmas in the genealogy community. Copyright, plagiarism, compensation, and other issues were addressed. To summarize the wisdom of the panel: if it’s a violation of law or of a moral conscience, don’t do it; if it’s considerate of another, such as reimbursing a volunteer for out-of-pocket expenses incurred on one’s behalf, do it.

One final thought: at the end of a RootsTech day, there is a choice between the opportunity to network at the evening events or sleep. The choice is always yours, even if you have a looming deadline.

[Today’s title consists of the Twitter handles of Friday’s keynote speakers or their organizations.]

Copyright ©2016 Lynn Broderick and The Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Storytelling Opens Thursday’s Session @RootsTechConf

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Rockwood Ties 2016-The Single LeafSteve Rockwood opened Thursday’s session of RootsTech with a few of his family stories. One story he told was when he was a young boy who, although he need heart surgery, didn’t want anyone “messing with [his] heart.” The doctor didn’t gain Steve’s trust by his medical degrees and training. He gained his trust by wearing cool and funny ties. Although the doctor’s expertise was essential to young Steve’s care, it was the ties that won Steve’s confidence. And subsequently, Steve’s doctor did not try to turn him into a heart doctor.

The same is true with family history. A family member may need the outcomes of family history: love, peace, joy, happiness, belonging, etc., but may not need to become a genealogist. Steve encouraged conference attendees to consider someone in their family who would benefit from sharing a family story. He suggested that a different approach may be necessary and encouraged everyone to make it fun, in small doses, to build trust and relationship.

Rockwood introduced his neighbor, Kathy Tarullo, a stay-at-home mom who recently graduated with a bachelor of general studies degree with an emphasis in family history and genealogy. Rockwood and his wife Jill were invited to Kathy’s graduation party where she served refreshments associated with her ancestors decoratively arranged with a story behind each one. Kathy also mentioned another project she is working on where she is taking an ancestor’s story and turning it into a children’s book written in poetic form. These are some of the ideas shared to inspire attendees to consider ways of making family history part of everyday life.

RootsTech began to trend #4 on @Twitter during the opening session of RootsTech Photo credit: Wendy Smedley

RootsTech began to trend #4 on @Twitter during the opening session of RootsTech Photo credit: Wendy Smedley

Next up was the host of BYUtv’s American Ride Stan Ellsworth. He surprised the crowd by entering the hall on his classic Harley-Davidson. I’ve been to RootsTech, even before it was known by its new name, and I have NEVER seen anything like it! Ellsworth shared his passion for the American story that is our collective story. Nevertheless, “every American family has its own unique heritage, traditions, its own roots ’cause all of us came from somewhere before we came here,” Ellsworth said. He continued, “every American family has its own story to tell … [T]hese people want their stories remembered; they want their stories to be celebrated. You can begin your own journey. You can start your own exploration. You can find your heroes. You can find your heritage. You can find your roots. So kick a leg over and begin to discover your family’s own unique American ride.”

After his impassioned speech, Ellsworth was delighted to introduce Paula Williams Madison, a successful businesswoman who retired in 2011 to pursue the story of her maternal grandfather Samuel Lowe. Madison thanked FamilySearch for helping her find her Chinese family. She credits FamilySearch and the individuals who index for solving this mystery in her family. If you are a volunteer and ever wondered if what you do makes a difference, Paula Williams Madison wants you to know that you do.

Before RootsTech I listened to her memoir, Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem. I chose the audio book so that I could listen to Madison’s story in her own voice. It made a difference. I encourage you to watch her keynote address, read or listen to her book, and watch the documentary. It is an amazing family journey.

Regrettably, Paula Williams Madison’s uncle, the youngest son of Samuel Lowe, passed away in China the Sunday before RootsTech. As her American family members returned to China to gather to attend the funeral, Paula determined that she would give her keynote address at RootsTech. It’s the way her uncle would have wanted it. After briefly meeting with the media, Paula began the long journey to China arriving with 4 hours to spare before her uncle’s funeral. My personal condolences to Paula Williams Madison and her extended family in Harlem, Jamaica, and China at the loss of such a wonderful patriarch. I am so grateful that Paula found her family and reconnected with them during the last few years.

Next, Bruce Feiler took center stage. He began his remarks by saying that he felt like RootsTech is the “Super Bowl of storytelling.” [This may be true but just an FYI, “Super Bowl” is a registered trademark of the NFL.] He told the stories of his adventures in his keynote address:

Feiler says the “secret sauce” of a happy family is that they TALK, they talk a lot, about what it means to be a family. He recommends 3 things that families can do to be happier:

  1. Write a family mission statement.
  2. Do storytelling games in your family.
  3. Tell your family history; use pictures.

Feiler said that the single most effective idea for a happy family is to tell your family’s story. It is the same for biological and/or adopted families. It is the family narrative that is critical for the resilience of its individuals. He recommends that a person grounds their story in the oldest stories ever told, find a way to make it part of everyday, and don’t keep the story to self, but share it! He mentioned that his New York Times article, The Stories That Bind Us, was the most emailed article for an entire month and, out of the 850,000,000 articles saved to the Pocket app, it was the second most saved article on the entire planet for the entire year. It’s worth the read.

He also encourages seniors to tell their story. He is working on another book and made a request that attendees write to him and tell him their experiences of how to accomplish this work.

Feiler was diagnosed with cancer a number of years ago. On the one year anniversary, he asked his doctor what advice the doctor would give Feiler’s daughters if they came to him. The doctor replied, “I would tell them what I learned. I would tell them that everybody dies, but not everybody lives. I want you to live.” As a family historian I would add, make the time to record it.

Bruce Feiler closed his keynote with great counsel for all of us: “Every now and then find a friend, take a walk, and share a story.” I witnessed a lot of this as I went about my day at RootsTech.

RootsTech is a massive conference with many opportunities throughout the day, including the event organized to index the records of the Freedmen’s Bureau that was established in 1865 by Congress to help former black slaves and poor whites in the South in the aftermath of the U.S. Civil War. Although RootsTech is an unique experience to each person, it is almost universally a very long, engaging, exhausting day for all!

Copyright ©2016 Lynn Broderick and The Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Entrepreneurs, Industry Leaders & Interested Genealogists Gathered for the Climb @RootsTechConf

A conference is a time of anticipation, a time of gathering, a time of seeing old friends and meeting new. It’s a time of learning and teaching. It’s a time of ideas, a time of product evaluations, and purchase considerations. It’s a time of networking, a time of connection, and a time of celebration. RootsTech is a celebration of “families across generations!”

RootsTech, with the Innovator Summit, is the largest conference of its kind. In 4 days, with 200+ sessions, and 26,000 on-site conference attendees, time is limited and moments are embraced. Nevertheless, when it’s over, there is not one person who could experience all that RootsTech has to offer: 26,000+ people on-site — 26,000+ unique life experiences!

The month of February hosts a favorite holiday of mine, Groundhog Day. Since the movie by the same name was released in 1993, Groundhog Day has come to symbolize repetition, at least until one gets it “right.”

In honor of this idea …

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The day began as entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and interested genealogists gathered for the climb at the Innovator Summit. Steve Rockwood opened the conference with his first public address since his appointment as CEO of FamilySearch International.

Rockwood says that powerful, positive core feelings about family history are universal. These feelings are the catalyst for action. FamilySearch International will focus on the following five categories of experiences that invoke these feelings to grow the family history audience:

  • Discovery — it can be as simple as a story at the dinner table, or as complex as the algorithm that provides hinting
  • FamilyTree — growing the tree that binds and connects us together
  • Searchable Records — search faster, more effectively, “a huge nut to crack” for the benefit of the Google generation
  • Memories — stories and photos,  projected to involve more people in the industry than any other category as millennials are seen as “a journaling generation like the world has never seen”
  • Contextual Help — provide help where millennials are and in the way that they want to receive it

Rockwood closed by saying, “[l]et us continue to focus in on how to help family historians do their wonderful thing and grow that space, but at the same time, how could we then work with the partners here at RootsTech to maybe bring family history out and become part of the fabric of everyday life? My name is Steve Rockwood. I look at things inside out, upside down, and backwards. When I look at you, I get pumped. I’m excited. And we thank you for coming here and we hope this will be a very fruitful four days for you here at RootsTech. Thank you very much.”

Ken Krogue, president and founder of InsideSale.com, is an industry leader and a self-proclaimed family history and genealogy nut. “When you talk about your passion, good things happen.” I highly recommend you watch his presentation.

If you don’t have time, you may glean a tidbit or two from this summary:

Principles of InsideSales Marketing

  • Innovation — applying what works in other worlds to your own
  • Go Sell Something — according to one study four experiences increase one’s ability to sell: 1) a background in competitive sports, 2) being an LDS (Mormon) returned missionary, 3) being an Eagle Scout, and 4) a background in Microsoft Office, particularly Word and Excel
  • Keep a Fresh Perspective — new people bring vision
  • Find What Works Then Focus, Focus, Focus — 5 Things Business Can Learn From A Tree
  • Provide Crazy Value — Price, Quality, Speed (e.g. Costco)
  • “Divert a river … don’t dig a well.”
  • Swim with the Sharks
  • Does one person really matter? — The Currency of Digital Media: Views, Shares, and Comments
  • Research Marketing — speed at which to respond = 5 minutes or less
  • Only Raise Money When You Don’t Need It
  • Find Investors Who Invest In You
  • Manage By the Numbers — use science and statistics to make decisions
  • Digital Media Rules — take the lead
  • Content + Distribution = Results
  • Give Back Along the Way
  • Tell Your Own Story
  • Mobilize Your People

Krogue also provided a list of things to watch in family history and genealogy:

  • Apps converging to platforms
  • From growth to profitability
  • Results focus
  • Wearable tech (e.g. life management)
  • Predictive analytics
  • DNA discoveries

Ken Krogue shared an amazing story about an exchange student who came to stay 2 blocks away from his home. He was up against a proverbial wall in pursuit of his Krogue lineage but one night Ken awoke with the realization that the exchange student, Tanita Sode, could be related to the Sode married to Krogue’s ancestor. She asked her grandmother who revealed that she had 210 pages directly relating the Krogue lineage! Krogue asks, “how did that happen?”

Krogue outlined some activities he is involved in such as family history and social media events on Facebook. On Saturday he was going to show conference attendees how to hold a Family Reunion Event on Facebook. Unfortunately, with assignments looming, I was unable to stop by in the Expo Hall. If anyone would like to share what they learned from Krogue in the Expo Hall, email me or leave your nuggets of knowledge in the comments below. :)

FamilySearch executives from multiple departments were available to discuss the latest and greatest from FamilySearch as well as receive some feedback. For more information, see the article titled Partner Town Hall with FamilySearch Executives that I wrote for the FamilySearch blog.

One last highlight of the day was the Innovator Showdown. The field of 12 presented to a lunchtime crowd as they competed for $100,00 in cash and in-kind services. The winners were announced at a Media Banquet that evening. Ancestor Cloud, JRNL, STUDIO, The History Project, TapGenes, and Twile all made the final cut to Friday’s Innovator Showdown.

Those that attend the Innovator Summit have the opportunity to hear from industry leaders, developers, and entrepreneurs. The evening holds a number of social events and the RootsTech Hackathon, named by TechCrunch as one of the most compelling hackathons! It’s a great addition to RootsTech. Mark Wednesday, February 8, 2017 for the next Innovator Summit!

Copyright ©2016 Lynn Broderick and The Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

The Ascent Begins Today with the Innovator Summit @RootsTechConf

The Salt Palace Convention Center will serve as RootsTech’s base camp this year, beginning today through Saturday, February 6, 2016. Family historians, genealogists, and other interested parties will begin their ascent to greater knowledge and opportunities within the industry starting with the Innovator Summit.

Ken KrogueThe Innovator Summit is the world’s largest family history technology conference. Ken Krogue, a highly successful tech entrepreneur and founder of Insidesales.com, will give the keynote address at 9am followed by 2 sessions of choice.

At 12:15pm, those in attendance will be provided boxed lunches and have the opportunity to attend the 2016 RootsTech Innovator Showdown where 6 finalists will be chosen for the final showdown on Friday, February 5. You may view the video submissions of the 12 semifinalists at rootstech.org/showdown. They’re competing for a total of $100,000 in cash and prizes!

Following the Innovator Showdown, five 30 minute sessions will be offered at the Innovator Summit. RootsTech will simultaneously offer two sessions beginning at 3pm. These sessions will be followed by a networking social and the Innovator Hack-a-thon, an event that is touted “for those with a penchant for late night collaborative coding.”

RootsTech VIPs 2016On Thursday through Saturday, opening sessions will begin at 8:30am. The keynote speakers for Thursday will be Steve Rockwood, Managing Director for the Family History Department and President/CEO of FamilySearch International; Paula Williams Madison, Chairman and CEO of Madison Media Management LLC, a Los Angeles based media consultancy company with global reach and the author of Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem; and Bruce Feiler, “one of America’s most popular voices on contemporary life” and author of The Secrets of Happy Families and other notable books.

On Friday, attendees will hear from Josh and Naomi Davis of the blog Love Taza and David Isay of StoryCorps. Michael Leavitt’s keynote address will be streamed live on Saturday. He is a former governor of the state of Utah and the founder and chairman of Leavitt Partners. He will be followed by Doris Kearns Goodwin, a world-renowned presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize–winning author.

In addition, those in attendance will have the opportunity to explore the Expo Hall and attend numerous other social events, including concerts by Crescent Superband with Ryan Innes and Lower Lights. One event that I would like to highlight is the opportunity to view the documentary Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China at 2:00pm on Saturday in Room 151 of the Salt Lake Convention Center.

RootsTech 2016-FDD-with Sheri Dew and Wendy NelsonFamily Discovery Day will begin at 1pm on Saturday with an outstanding team recruited to inspire those who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to get into the game of family history and genealogy and provide temple ordinances for their ancestors. Elder Dale G. Renlund and Sister Ruth Renlund with their daughter Ashley will open this event in Hall D, followed by Sister Sheri Dew, Sister Wendy Watson Nelson, Sister Rosemary M. Wixom and Brother Stephen W. Owen. It is my hope that although Taysom Hill and Britain Covey play for opposing in-state rivals, Taysom will connect with Britain to score a genealogical touchdown by inspiring families and youth at this year’s event!

If you are unable to attend this year’s conference or watch the live streaming of select sessions, including Family Discovery Day, follow #RootsTech on social media and the FamilySearch blog. You can receive automatic notifications of the latest posts by visiting familysearch.org/blog and providing your email address. If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to The Single Leaf and I will do my best to keep you posted.

For those new to the family history and genealogy community and those who are seasoned, let us remember:
“Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.”
― Barry Finlay, Kilimanjaro and Beyond

Copyright ©2016. Lynn Broderick and The Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

It’s Groundhog Day Again!

Genealogists are a lot like groundhogs — they come out from the libraries and archives long enough to assess if they will have six more weeks of relatively uninterrupted winter research.

Of course, in the spring it’s time to visit the cemeteries. :-)

HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY!

[Groundhog Day Explained was created by C.G.P. Grey. Check out his website @ http://www.CGPGrey.com.]

Copyright ©2016 Lynn Broderick and The Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Global RootsTech Conference Announces Free Online Broadcast Schedule

Global RootsTech Conference Announces Free Online Broadcast Schedule
For Immediate Release from RootsTech

SALT LAKE CITY, 29 January 2016—RootsTech, the world’s largest family history and technology conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 4-6, 2016, announced today that 15 of its popular sessions will be broadcast live and complimentary over the Internet. The live broadcasts will give those unable to attend in-person worldwide a sample of this year’s conference content. Interested viewers can watch the live presentations at RootsTech.org. The Family Discovery Day sessions will be broadcast on LDS.org.

The streamed sessions include the general sessions and a sampling of technology and family history presentations. Following are the broadcasted sessions and speakers. All times are in Mountain Standard Time (MST):

RootsTech Streaming Schedule (RootsTech.org Thursday, February 4; Friday, February 5; Saturday February 6, 2016)

RootsTech Straming Schedule

Family Discovery Day Streaming Schedule (LDS.org Saturday, February 6, 2016)

RootsTech 2016-FDD-Live Straming
About RootsTech
RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.

1WR + 1QB = .20 of FDD @RootsTechConf

RootsTech 2016-FDD-with Sheri Dew and Wendy Nelson

Since genealogy + football = my game, you can only imagine how pleased I was to hear that Britain Covey of the University of Utah and Taysom Hill of BYU will be joining RootsTech this year for Family Discovery Day! This announcement is not to intercept the outstanding team recruited for this year’s event! Read the following press release from RootsTech for full details. I hope to see you there!

Announcement: Full lineup of Speakers Announced for Family Discovery Day

SALT LAKE CITY, 28 January 2016—RootsTech, the largest family history conference in the world, announced today the complete lineup of speakers for its free Family Discovery Day event, which will take place Saturday, February 6, 2016, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. This incredible opportunity is specially designed for families and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ages 8 and older.

The free one-day event will feature inspirational messages, instructional classes, interactive activities, and exciting entertainment designed to teach LDS families how to find their ancestors, prepare names for temple ordinances, and teach others to do the same. Attendees will also receive access to the Expo Hall, where hundreds of exhibitors will showcase the latest technology and tools. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and FamilySearch will host the event. Families are encouraged to register online at RootsTech.org.

This year’s event will kick off with an exciting opening family general session featuring newly called apostle Elder Dale G. Renlund and his wife, Sister Ruth Renlund. Their daughter, Ashley Renlund, will join them for what will be an inspiring and candid moment with the entire Renlund family. This 45-minute opening session starts at 1 p.m.

Sheri Dew and Sister Wendy Watson Nelson will speak during the family history discussion, which will be an exclusive conversation between best friends. Sheri Dew is the executive vice president of Deseret Management Corporation and the CEO of Deseret Book Company. Sister Wendy Watson Nelson is the wife of President Russell M. Nelson and was a professor of Marriage and Family Therapy. They will share their life experiences with family history during this 45-minute session, which starts at 2 p.m.

Britain Covey Photo:Steve C. Wilson, University of Utah ©2105 All Rights Reserved

Britain Covey Photo:Steve C. Wilson, University of Utah ©2105 All Rights Reserved

Primary General President Sister Rosemary M. Wixom and Young Men General President Brother Stephen W. Owen will speak during the family session. Sister Wixom will share how the plan of salvation and family history provide a taproot that anchors our children. Brother Owen will speak about the role of families in the plan of salvation. This uplifting 30-minute session starts at 3:15 p.m.

Taysom Hill Photo: Elisa Adamson,BYU © BYU PHOTO 2012 All Rights Reserved

Taysom Hill Photo: Elisa Adamson,BYU © BYU PHOTO 2012 All Rights Reserved

Family Discovery Day continues its amazing lineup with a session featuring Britain Covey and Taysom Hill. Britain Covey is a University of Utah Wide Receiver from Provo, Utah. Taysom Hill is a Brigham Young University Quarterback from Pocatello, Idaho. They will both share inspiring stories, humorous memories, and faith-promoting experiences. This 30-minute session will start at 4:15 p.m.

Family Discovery Day will close with a stunning performance by The Lower Lights, a gospel and folk band that recently performed at Kingsbury Hall. The band will bring its part-revival, part-vigil sound steeped in tradition to Family Discovery Day for an exclusive performance that attendees will not want to miss. The performance starts at 5:30 p.m.

Family Discovery Day is free, but registration is required. Visit RootsTech.org to learn more and to register.

About RootsTech

RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.

Copyright ©2016 Lynn Broderick and The Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

RootsTech Begins in 7 Days!

 RootsTech VIPs 2016

Family History Enthusiasts Worldwide Gathering in Utah for RootsTech 2016

For Immediate Release From RootsTech

SALT LAKE CITY, 27 January 2016—RootsTech, the largest family history conference in the world, is looking forward to over 20,000 visitors over four days with an exciting array of speakers and entertainers, over 250 interesting and informative classes, a huge expo hall with more than 160 exhibitors. There is something for every level of family history—from the beginner to experienced. The three-day conference begins on Thursday, February 4, and goes through Saturday, February 6. For more information go to RootsTech.org.

The keynote speakers and offerings reflect the growing influence of family history. Today multiple generations of all ages are engaging through family storytelling and sharing memories within families using social media and an expanding array of new technologies and mobile apps. The opening session on February 4 will begin with Stephen T. Rockwood, who is the managing director for the Family History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and President/CEO of FamilySearch International.

Also featured is Paula Williams Madison who is chairman and CEO of Madison Media Management LLC, a Los Angeles based media consultancy company with global reach. After her retirement in 2011, Madison started doing research on her family lineage. She wrote the book and produced a movie Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem in April 2015 about her experiences. A free screening of the movie will be provided on Wednesday, February 3.

Bruce Feiler is one of America’s most popular commentators about contemporary life. He hosts the PBS series Walking the Bible and Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler. He wrote The Secrets of Happy Families containing best practices for busy parents from some of the country’s most creative minds. He has appeared on many television shows on NRP, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and others.

On Friday, February 5, David Isay, is a scheduled keynote. He’s the founder of StoryCorps, an award-winning organization that provides people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve their life stories. 50,000 interviews have been archived and preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. He has also written several New York Times bestsellers, including Listening is an Act of Love. He is a broadcaster and documentarian, and his research reveals ways to tell great stories for the family historian.

Also on Friday, Josh and Naomi Davis, popular family bloggers known as Love Taza, will speak. On their blog, they relate their life with their three children in bustling New York City. The blog has become a digital destination viewed by millions around the world. People love the inspiration about raising a family and the appreciation Naomi has for life’s simple joys.

On Saturday, February 6, Doris Kearns Goodwin is a world-renowned presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. She worked with Spielberg on the movie Lincoln, based in part on her award winning Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. She has written books about Frank and Eleanor Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and the Kennedys and shares her expertise and commentary on many television shows. She has a PhD in government from Harvard and was an assistant to Lyndon Johnson and has been a consultant in several PBS and History Channel documentaries.

Also on Saturday, Michael Leavitt, a three-term former governor of Utah, will speak. He also served in George W. Bush’s cabinet as an Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The second annual Innovator Summit is a one-day event on Wednesday, February 3, for developers, entrepreneurs, and innovators from around the globe to explore, examine, and discover business and technological opportunities within the family history industry—a rapidly growing multibillion dollar industry. Innovators from around the globe and from all industries will be competing for a piece of the $100,000 in total cash and in-kind prizes. The keynote speaker for this event will be Ken Krogue, an entrepreneur who has taken his business InsideSales.com from a small beginning to a billion dollar industry. He will share his expertise about social media and how to use the different forms effectively.

Along with the keynotes, RootsTech attendees will be able to hear from the Crescent Super Band, featuring Ryan Inness, and Lower Lights, a popular gospel and folk band.

More information about speakers, entertainers, classes, and how to register at RootsTech can be found at RootsTech.org.

About RootsTech

RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.

Making Difficult Research Easy and Accurate at the BYU Conference on Family History & Genealogy

Robert Kehrer discusses robo-keying as one of the most important technologies to expedite FamilySearch indexing

Robert Kehrer discusses robo-keying as one of the most important technologies to expedite FamilySearch indexing.

The day began as youth and adults gathered to hear Robert Kehrer, FamilySearch senior product manager of search technologies, present the new and upcoming features of FamilySearch during his keynote address titled, “FamilySearch: Making Difficult Research Easy and Accurate.”

It would be impossible to recount all of the features Mr. Kehrer demonstrated and discuss all of the statistics he provided in this post. He described his presentation as trying to pack 90 minutes of material into 60 minutes of time! Nevertheless, what he showed the crowd was impressive. He shared that when he first came to FamilySearch, he went incognito over to the Family History Library to experience first-hand what a visit entails for the average person. It was much more than he expected. Kehrer mentioned that statistically only about 3% of individuals are interested in the research process, which includes documenting and sourcing lineages through analysis and proof arguments, but there are many ways individuals can contribute. FamilySearch is working to make this happen.

One of the ways that those who are not interested in the research process contribute to FamilySearch is through indexing. Currently, FamilySearch has indexed 1.34 billion records, 68,569,328 records this year! There are 15,795,814 records awaiting arbitration. There are currently 450 projects and 213,184 contributors. The new indexing web application is simpler, easier, and more collaborative. It will run on all devices! For more information he recommended another conference session on Friday at 9:45 a.m. in room 2258 CONF, presented by Jennifer Tonioli Smith, titled, “FamilySearch Indexing: It’s a Whole New World!” There will be a Worldwide Indexing Event August 7-14, 2015. Mark your calendars to index at least one batch during this week :)

Some of the highlights of yesterday’s presentation included an upcoming feature in Memories that will provide a list view for easy editing, described by Mr. Kehrer as iTunes for genealogy; thumbnail images for record collections that are digitized but not yet indexed where markers can be placed for easy navigation in these records; and easier navigation in the catalog when viewing a microfilm reference number by allowing patrons to directly view the film if it has been digitized or having the option to order the microfilm. FamilyTree will soon allow sharing reservations, reminding users that FamilySearch will enforce the 110 year rule. There will soon be a direct messaging system to contact contributors to the FamilyTree. The mobile app will have a fully functioning search system. Indexes and images are now shown on the same page. When families are split by a page in records, such as censuses, FamilySearch will soon help users connect the dots so families displayed are shown together. Navigation arrows will be in place to view pages before and after. One of the most important technologies viewed yesterday was automated indexing which is performing with a high level of accuracy. Collections that have been released using this automation are noted so that if individuals find an error in the record they can provide feedback so that the record can be corrected. There will be a session on Friday, “FamilySearch Indexing, Robo-keying, and Partnering, Oh My!” on Friday by Jake Gehring at 1:30 p.m. in room 2258 CONF that he highly recommended attending if you’d like more information.

Some of the participants of the myFamily Youth Family History Camp

Some of the participants of the myFamily Youth Family History Camp

After the keynote address, the youth attending the myFamily camp loaded university vans for a day in Salt Lake City. While there, they toured the Family History Library, Temple Square, the Discovery Center, and the Church History Library.

Mary E.V. Hill teaches participants how to organize their genealogy.

Mary E.V. Hill teaches participants how to organize their genealogy.

Ugo Perego discussed the uses of DNA in genealogy as part of the DNA track.

Ugo Perego discussed the uses of DNA in genealogy as part of the DNA track.

Today Lisa Louise Cooke will be the keynote speaker at 8:30 a.m. Her topic will be, “The Future of Technology and Genealogy: Five Strategies You Need.” Following her presentation, sessions will be offered about methodology, migration, military records, and LDS ancestral research. Today Scandinavian, French, Dutch, and Italian research will be discussed, as well as a general overview of Latin American Catholic church and civil records. A track on the use of technology tools, such as Evernote and apps for smart phones and iPads, will be offered. Throughout the day presentations from those representing online subscription sites will be given by Fold3, Newspapers.com, Ancestry.com, and MyHeritage.

An appreciation shoutout to Nate, Brianna, Abby, and Isabell (and others) who host conference participants at the Morris Center cafeteria :)

An appreciation shoutout to Nate, Brianna, Abby, and Isabell (and others) who host conference participants at the Morris Center cafeteria :)

The onsite computer lab houses eight computers for use by conference participants. Many more are available at the BYU Family History Library.

The onsite computer lab houses eight computers for use by conference participants. Many more are available at the BYU Family History Library.

FamilySearch will continue to provide complimentary scanning as well as hosting a computer lab onsite for attendees. This is the last day many of our vendors will be onsite in rooms 2260 CONF. The vendor prize drawing will be held TODAY at 1 p.m. in room 2254 CONF. Vendor presentations will be held from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. in various rooms throughout the conference center. My Family Online, Historic Journals, Legacy Family Tree, Family Chartmasters, My Mission, Green Planet Maps, and SHOTBOX LLC will be represented. This evening at 7 p.m. at the Varsity Theater in the Wilkinson Center on BYU campus, Cokeville Miracle, a film by T.C. Christensen will be screened in preparation for the keynote address by this filmmaker in the plenary session tomorrow morning.

Copyright ©2015 Lynn Broderick and The Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Creating Eternal Families: BYU Conference on Family History & Genealogy, Recap of Day 1 and On to Day 2

Elder Gerald N. Lund, an emeritus member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gives the keynote address

Elder Gerald N. Lund, an emeritus member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gives the keynote address

Yesterday was opening day at the 47th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy with the keynote address given by Elder Gerald N. Lund, an emeritus member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the author of many fiction and nonfiction books, including two popular series, The Work and the Glory and The Kingdom and the Crown.

Elder Lund and his wife are the parents of 7 children, 29 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren. He shared that his wife of 51 years passed away a little over a year ago but outlined four identifying characters she possessed: (1) a love of the Savior, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (2) a fierce love and commitment to her family, (3) a love of music, and (4) a passion for family history, with a love of photography. She took over 200,000 photographs! It was obvious upon hearing this and more that family history has been a part of their lives since the beginning.

He commented that the idea of family history as doctrine was new to him. He had always known that turning “the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” was scripture and even that this concept is mentioned in all four books of scripture, but something intrigued him. There is a scripture found in Doctrine and Covenants 98:16 that says, “…seek diligently to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children.” How could this be if the fathers were dead? His oldest daughter had an experience in the temple that provided an answer; “[t]hey are not dead, only living somewhere else.” He then expounded on the relationship of the living to the dead, the dead to the living, and the living to each other. He also quoted Elder Russell M. Nelson saying, “we come to earth to start our eternal family.” The doctrine is not only about the past and the future, it is about the present and our relationships here. Elder Lund said, “I believe it is about creating eternal families whose hearts are bound together in love and service to one another.” We serve them by remembering them, honoring them, and performing their temple work. Their example can motivate us. He also believes that they serve us from the spirit world.

Although he has always felt guilty about not writing his family history, he realized that most of his historical fiction books have come about because his heart was turned to the fathers, e.g., Fire of the Covenant. Personal histories have shaped the plots of his books, within his novels are the names of some of his children and grandchildren, and he takes his family on research trips. He shared many stories, some humorous and others sacred, which I cannot recount at this time, but concluded with the thought that our ancestors influence us in many ways beyond completing their temple work. Could they not be the angels who speak by the power of the Holy Ghost?

James Marion Baker spins the wheel at the BYU Family History Library booth and wins some chocolate!

James Marion Baker spins the wheel at the BYU Family History Library booth and wins some chocolate!

With the keynote address establishing the tone for the conference, individuals could attend up to five more sessions throughout the day. I spoke with many conference participants, some who return each year and others who are attending this conference for the first time. Stories were shared that I hope will be written in journals and recorded for the inspiration of others and for posterity. Some have started their applications to lineage societies, courtesy of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) workshop. DAR will continue to help participants with this process all week in room 2279 CONF. The vendors in the main hall displayed their products and services. The BYU Family History Library had participants take a chance to spin a wheel where they could win a printed fan chart or some candy.

Today Robert Kehrer will be the keynote speaker at 8:30 a.m. He is a senior product manager of search technologies at FamilySearch. His topic will be “FamilySearch: Making Difficult Research Easy and Accurate.” Following his remarks, sessions will be offered on DNA research, finding stories, technology and tools, and preserving family history. Today the United States and Canada research presentations will continue and a track on British Isles research will be offered. ICAPgen will continue its sessions outlining the process of accreditation.

Scanning services are offered in room 2285 CONF throughout the week!

Scanning services are offered in room 2285 CONF throughout the week!

FamilySearch is providing complimentary scanning as well as hosting a computer lab onsite for attendees. Additional vendors will  be available in rooms 2260 CONF today and tomorrow. Vendor presentations will be held from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. in various rooms throughout the conference center. Although the day can be long, staying for one of these presentations sure beats traffic :) This evening the BYU Family History Library will host an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. I hope to see you there!

Copyright ©2015 Lynn Broderick and The Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.