The Relative Race Continues … On BYUtv

Have you heard? Relative Race continues on BYUtv one week from tonight, March 4th at 7 p.m. MST, with a 90-minute premiere and our family could not be more excited!

What is Relative Race?
Once compared to the award-winning television show Amazing Race, Relative Race has become popular in its own right. The show uses DNA to identify and connect each team to a trail of 10 of their living relatives discovered through this process. Each new relative has something to share as the teams race to a final destination for the $50,000 prize. Of course, each team wins by gaining the knowledge and relationships of these new found or confirmed relationships.

Relative Race previewed their show at RootsTech 2016. I had the opportunity at that time to sit down with the Relative Race team and discuss the premise of the show. As Dan J. Debenham outlined the specifics, I was surprised to learn that each couple would stay the night at the home of the new found relative. What Dan did not reveal was that one couple in particular would have a difficult time having Season 1’s Team Red stay the night. When that particular episode debuted, viewers were left asking, what? As an audience we had the opportunity to get to know Team Red through a number of episodes. Our omniscient view left us wondering why. Since I don’t want to spoil it if you haven’t seen Relative Race Season 1, I’ll refrain from expounding. Relative Race is a great show to binge-watch!

On February 8, 2017, Relative Race won the award for Best New Reality Show at the National Cynopsis TV Awards. As Lenzworks, the video company that produces the show, explains on their website, “The Cynopsis Awards is a national competition and is judged by industry professionals including programming executives and media developers.”

By the time Relative Race received this award, Season 2 was set to debut and Relative Race returned to RootsTech to preview the show and meet two of the teams. One of those teams was Team Blue, the couple who had difficulty having their Team Red Season 1 cousins stay in their home. I had the opportunity to talk with Team Blue about that defining moment of Season 1. I met their adorable children. I completely understood why they would prefer to not have strangers stay in their home, but I asked the brazen question—Would Season 2 “redeem” this husband and father?

Relative Race Season 2 also introduced us to Joe of Team Black. His story is compelling and demonstrates the power of DNA to answer questions about family and bring situations to resolution.

Relative Race Season 3 continues the race.  This time Joe from Season 2 was one of the photographers who accompanied a team on their personal journey. This season the teams will begin in Washington D.C. and introduces a new dynamic—different combinations of family members! In the past the teams have always been married couples but this type of race can accommodate other family situations. Seeing such potential, I even tweeted a request during Season 1 to include such family dynamics as parent-child. My request has been granted! Although Season 3 consists two married couples, it also hosts two sisters representing Team Green and a father and son representing Team Blue.

Additionally there have been changes in the direction of the race. Season 1 led teams through 10 stops from San Francisco to New York. Season 2 led teams from Miami to Boston. No one but Relative Race  knows where Season 3 will lead! Nevertheless, here are the teams and their assigned colors:

Team Red—Troy & Nicole Hitt, a married couple from Humble, Texas
Team Green—Jaime Grace Harper & Morgan Harper Nichols, sisters from Los Angles, California
Team Blue—Michael & Dylan Anderson, a father and son team from Concord, North Carolina
Team Black—Rebecca & Johnathon Hoyt, a married couple from McAllen, Texas

One week from tonight Season 3 will debut on BYUtv, but if you want a sneak peek, come to RootsTech on Friday, March 2nd at the Salt Palace Convention Center. Dan J. Debenham will keynote along with 1984 Olympic champion, Scott Hamilton. Later on Friday, at 1:30 p.m., Relative Race will highlight Season 3 in Room 254A with a panel consisting of Dan J. Debenham and Teams Red and Green.

Have a conflict in your schedule? Relative Race will be at booth 734 in the Expo Hall each day and display an interactive Relative Race screen that will be located in the North Foyer from Thursday, March 1st through Saturday, March 3rd.

Whether you find yourself at RootsTech or Not-At-RootsTech, join in watching Season 3 of Relative Race beginning March 4, 2018 at 7 p.m. MST! There are multiple ways to access the show, including the BYUtv app. When you download the app, you’ll always have an episode at your fingertips. You may also “like” Relative Race on Facebook, follow Relative Race on Instagram, and/or follow @RelativeRace on Twitter and when you tweet use the hashtag #RelativeRace. During the Sunday night broadcast of each episode there are a number of us on Twitter. I invite you to follow us, join the conversation, and have some fun! This year’s RootsTech theme is “Connect. Belong.” and I know of no better team to connect with or belong to on television than Relative Race!

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.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador to the RootsTech Conference and, as such, I am provided complimentary admission and other services & opportunities to accomplish my duties. Nevertheless, I have been with RootsTech since its inception and with its predecessor for many years as a paid participant. As always, my coverage and opinions are my own and are not affected by my current status. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Copyright © 2018. Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Heirloom Show & Tell At RootsTech 2018

Heirloom Show and Tell was a new experience offered for the first time at RootsTech last year. I remember walking by and seeing vintage toys and other objects displayed. With all there was to see and do at the conference, I never returned to have an item of interest examined.

This year I have a friend who received a set of nesting dolls as a gift featuring some of the Presidents of the United States of America. We’ve done a little research but we still would like to know more. We hope to find our answers at this year’s conference.

Heirloom Show and Tell will be held in the Expo Hall beginning March 1st through March 3rd. According to the RootsTech website, an attendee may bring an antique, heirloom, or photo that they would like an expert to evaluate. The promotion says, “Bring in any small item, or a photo, or a large item you’ve been wondering about, and we’ll tell you about it.” I’m looking forward to hearing what the experts have to say.

How about you? What item will you be packing along to RootsTech this year?

HAPPY PRESIDENTS’ DAY!

P.S. For those unable to attend the entire conference, two new passes will be available in the coming days: 1) a pass to attend the keynote sessions plus the expo hall each day ($29) and 2) an expo hall only pass ($10). The keynote plus expo hall pass will be available beginning this Wednesday. The expo hall only pass will be sold onsite each day at the registration desk after the keynote has concluded. Follow me on Twitter @thesingleleaf to get the latest updates.

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.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador to the RootsTech Conference and, as such, I am provided complimentary admission and other services & opportunities to accomplish my duties. Nevertheless, I have been with RootsTech since its inception and with its predecessor for many years as a paid participant. As always, my coverage and opinions are my own and are not affected by my current status. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Copyright © 2018. Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

One More RootsTech 2018 4-Day Pass Giveaway Begins Now!

It’s autumn. It’s football. It’s a time when the RootsTech team begins to unveil their plans for this amazing one-of-a-kind conference! I spoke with Jen Allen, the “quarterback” of the RootsTech team, last February as the 2017 conference was underway. She was already planning for 2018! Something old, something new … Oh, wait, … but this still applies to RootsTech 2018. :-)

As I’ve said before, there are 3 reasons I enjoy RootsTech:

  1. Keynote addresses from individuals whose life experiences and successes are varied. RootsTech has brought in speakers from the tech industry, the science community, the writer’s circle, the political realm, the entertainment industry, the sports arena, the bloggers’ sphere and of course, the field of family history and genealogy. I have never been disappointed. In 2018, RootsTech is looking forward to hearing once again from Steve RockwoodBrandon Stanton, and Scott Hamilton will keynote Thursday and Friday opening sessions, respectively. The Saturday keynote has yet to be announced but Dallin H. and Kristen M. Oaks will be the keynote speakers for Family Discovery Day. Replacing the Innovator Summit this year is the Innovation Showcase that will highlight the best technology to assist you in achieving your family history goals.
  2. RootsTech offers a customized learning opportunity with over 300 sessions from which choose. I’ve heard in the past individuals lamenting because there were too many choices and the participants were placed with the difficult task of choosing one favored session over another. The good news is that if a session fills quickly, there is always another quality session to attend.
  3. The Expo Hall provides the greatest gathering of organizations, societies, and vendors to explore the latest in the field of family history and genealogy. There’s the 23&Me Demo Theater with presentations about some of the products on the floor and the Discovery Zone where interactive displays provide opportunities to come to know your heritage in fun and unique ways. Innovation Alley was introduced 2 years ago, highlighting new tech tools and products. The Heirloom Show and Tell is back, where you can bring a small item or a photo of a larger item and have an expert tell you more about its historical significance. In addition, there will be a Coaches’ Corner to provide one-on-one mentoring to help you overcome your brick walls.

In addition to my initial 3 reasons, one cannot forget that the RootsTech venue, the Salt Palace Convention Center, is within walking distance of the Family History Library. Prepare now to access some of the greatest collections on earth that will help you find your ancestors!

This 4-day pass allows entrance to the daily keynote addresses, your choice of over 300 RootsTech sessions, entry into the Expo Hall, and all of the evening events. It does not include sponsored lunches, computer labs, transportation to or from the conference, lodging accommodations, meals, or any other expenses that you may incur. If you’d like to register for Family Discovery Day, it is free, but you must register separately.

Now, how do you enter this giveaway? It’s simple.

This year the RootsTech theme is “Connect. Belong.” and there is no better way to connect with others about family history than to share a brief replay of a genealogy touchdown—that glorious moment when research came together, you entered your genealogy end zone, and you felt like spiking the ball in celebration (a.k.a., doing the genealogy happy dance as it has been described for generations). Although this contest is open to all interested in family history and genealogy, including those who do not like football, it is void where prohibited. Football terminology is not required and entries may be of any length. Submit entries via my Let’s Talk Family History page or share on Twitter by tagging me @thesingleleaf. Each entry is one chance to win. Participants may submit more than one entry if the entries are submitted separately.

I ask your permission to include quotes from your entry in future posts but you retain the copyright. If your submission is used, proper attribution will be given. If you’d rather not be quoted in a future post or you would rather remain anonymous, please indicate this with your submission. The more you enter, the greater your chances to win!

So, why wait? Send me a message via my Let’s Talk Family History page. Fill out your name, email, and in the comment section describe one of your genealogy touchdowns, a.k.a., genealogy happy dance moments, OR describe your challenging brick wall, OR provide a statement about what you hope to learn at RootsTech.

As mentioned, this contest is void where prohibited. Please remember that I will not use your email for any purpose other than entering you into this contest and to notify you if you are the winner. The winning prize is non-transferable so only enter if you plan to attend. The contest runs from November 27, 2017 from 8 p.m. ET/6 p.m. MT to November 30, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. MT. The winner will be notified that night by email.

Don’t delay your registration, though; it’s Cyber-Monday and this Pass is currently discounted at $169, a savings of over $100. Use the code CYBER18. Other registration packages are available. If you are the winner of this contest, RootsTech will reimbursed you for the full amount that you prepaid.

Enter today! Good Luck! Hope to see you at RootsTech’18!

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.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador to the RootsTech Conference and, as such, I am provided complimentary admission and other services, opportunities, and meals to accomplish my duties. Nevertheless, I have been with RootsTech since its inception and with its predecessor for many years as a paid participant. As always, my coverage and opinions are my own and are not affected by my current status. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

© 2017 Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

American Thanksgiving Traditions: Food, Football & Family History

thanksgiving-1900Thanksgiving is the most traveled holiday in America with an estimated 48.7 million Americans expected to migrate, at least for the day, 50 miles or more this year!

Thanksgiving is traditionally known as the day of America’s greatest food consumption! Think turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie as the common core of the Thanksgiving banquet. Each family has other traditional favorites as well.

Football has also been a traditional favorite at this time of year. Whether it is a friendly game at your local field or watching one or more of the three NFL games offered throughout the day, it has become part of the holiday for many Americans. In addition, Thanksgiving has become one of the biggest running days of the year with morning Turkey Trots offered throughout the nation!

So, what about family history? Tradition speak volumes and it is never too late to adopt or create a new tradition. As individuals, we determine what we carry forward and what we create. Once again, for those who may have missed it, I found a set of questions produced by the team at Real Simple that I have carried forward to interview family members at important times of gathering. Although not of my own creation, I find these questions to be a gift from the author that I would like to extend to you, my readers. Choose the questions most relevant and cultivate them into conversations. Later, jot down those stories and memories. You’ll be making family history as you record it :-)

From our family at the Single Leaf, we wish you and yours a very happy holiday! Happy Thanksgiving!

© 2016 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

What Do #Roots, #ReadingRainbow & #StarTrek:The Next Generation Have In Common? @LeVarBurton — Friday’s Keynote Speaker @RootsTechConf 2017!

levar-burtonIn case you haven’t heard, LeVar Burton will keynote RootsTech on Friday, February 10, 2017! I could NOT be more excited to hear such an accomplished individual share his own journey with us! You may remember him as Kunta Kinte in Roots, the host of Reading Rainbow, or as Geordi La Forge on StarTrek: The Next Generation.

“The story of Roots traces a family’s journey from Africa to America and back. At RootsTech, I’ll share some of my own journey of family, storytelling and the influence of African culture on my American Experience.”

— LeVar Burton

For full details, here is the link to the official announcement. Have you registered for RootsTech 2017 yet? If you’d like to hear LeVar Burton’s keynote and you only have one day to spare, individual day passes to RootsTech are available. See price comparison chart. The Getting Started Pass (1 Day Only) is $49. Hope to see you there!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador to the RootsTech Conference and, as such, I am provided complimentary admission and other services, opportunities, and meals to accomplish my duties. Nevertheless, I have been with RootsTech since its inception and with its predecessor, the BYU Computerized Conference on Family History & Genealogy, for many years as a paid participant. As always, my coverage and opinions are my own and are not affected by my current status. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

©2016 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Are Family History & #Genealogy Your Game This Season? Register to Attend #RootsTech — the Largest Coaching Conference in the Game

rootstech-hallIf you have been following me on Twitter @thesingleleaf, you already know that registration is underway at RootsTech.org. You may also know that Early Bird registration is scheduled to end this week and it is yet to be determined if this discount will go into overtime! It has in the past but, to my recollection, not every year, so as an official ambassador to the RootsTech Conference and to guarantee these savings, in its entirety and with permission,  I provide the following press release with emphasis added:

Popular RootsTech Event Open for Registration

FamilySearch International has announced that registration to RootsTech 2017 is now open. RootsTech is an annual family history and technology conference where guests of all ages are inspired to discover, preserve, and share their family roots, heritage, and stories across generations—past, present, and future. In 2016 the event attracted more than 28,000 attendees in-person from all 50 US states and 30+ countries. RootsTech 2017 will be held February 8–11 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The popular Innovator Summit and free Family Discovery Day are also open for registration. The website for registration is RootsTech.org.

rootstech-2017-badgeThe 4-day conference will offer attendees a full lineup of inspiring and well-known keynote speakers, over 200 informative sessions, including hands-on computer labs taught by industry professionals and leaders, interactive activities and helpful exhibitors in the expo hall, and entertaining evening events, all designed to inspire and empower personal family discoveries. Early bird discount pricing is available for a limited time on 4-day passes at just $159 and $189 for the RootsTech plus Innovator Summit pass. Passes for the Getting Started track start at $49 for a single day and $69 for a limited 3-day pass. All passes include access to the popular expo hall and morning keynote sessions.

Starting off the 4-day RootsTech conference is the Innovator Summit, a unique 1-day conference designed for serious entrepreneurs, developers, and innovators interested in giving their creative ideas traction in a growing multi-billion-dollar industry. The event also offers attendees the opportunity to interact and connect with industry influencers, executives, and investors. The Summit will include a morning general session (the keynote speaker will be announced soon), over 20 classes, the Innovator Showdown semi-finals, and more. Innovator Summit ONLY passes are available at the discount price of $99.

Along with the Innovator Summit, the Innovator Showdown returns to RootsTech with $100,000 in prizes. Innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world and from any industry are invited to compete with their latest products or services that enable individuals to discover, preserve, and share their personal and family stories, memories, or ancestral connections. The top 5 finalists will be invited to present their product or service on the main RootsTech stage before a panel of judges and a live audience on Friday, February 10, just after the morning keynote session.

rootstech-expo-hallRegistration for Family Discovery Day is also now open. The event takes place on Saturday, February 11, 2017, and is designed for families and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This free and fun 1-day event includes inspiring messages from Church leaders, engaging classes for families, youth, and young single adults, and evening entertainment to inspire and help families and members discover, preserve, and share their family connections. Family Discovery Day attendees will also have access to all the interactive activities and exhibitors found in the RootsTech expo hall. Event details, including speakers and classes, will be made available soon at RootsTech.org. Registration is required.

RootsTech offers great keynote speakers, great sessions, and excellent exhibits that provide players of all levels with excellent coaching in their family history and genealogy pursuits. Onsite attendance also provides opportunities for individualized coaching as participants engage with industry leaders. Register early and get into the game! Hope to see you there!

 About RootsTech

RootsTech, held February 8–11, 2017, and hosted by FamilySearch, is the largest global family history event in the world! The seventh annual conference—celebrating families across generations—is the perfect place to discover and share your family’s stories and connections through technology.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador to the RootsTech Conference and, as such, I am provided complimentary admission and other services, opportunities, and meals to accomplish my duties. Nevertheless, I have been with RootsTech since its inception and with its predecessor, the BYU Computerized Conference on Family History & Genealogy, for many years as a paid participant. As always, my coverage and opinions are my own and are not affected by my current status. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

©2016 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

The @RelativeRace is On … @BYUtv

In case you missed it, Relative Race is a new show that premiered last Sunday, February 28th at 6pm MT on BYUtv. With 9 more episodes to go, the good news is that there is time to catch up by watching the first episode on BYUtv.org. If you like Amazing Race and family history, you’ll love Relative Race!

What is Relative Race? Those who attended RootsTech were the first to see the premier episode and the response was one of enthusiasm and anticipation!

I had the opportunity to visit with the Relative Race production team at RootsTech who explained the details. It began last year with an audition call for couples to submit an approximate 2-minute video introducing themselves and explaining why they would want to be on the show. Not all audition videos are available, but here is one example:

Four couples were finally chosen:

  • Anthony and Brooke Brown from Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Doug and Margo Engberg from Seattle, Washington
  • Bradley and Heather Randall from Phoenix, Arizona
  • Patrick and Janice Wright from Anchorage, Alaska

Each couple took AncestryDNA tests that discovered DNA matches throughout the United States and then the matches were verified by a researched paper trail. These findings defined the Relative Race route for each couple that spans from San Francisco to New York.

In Relative Race, each couple is given a team-colored rental car, a paper map, a $25 per diem, and a flip phone. No GPS here. No advantage to the technological native born; a possible advantage to the technological immigrants of today. Each couple must stay at the home of the newly acquainted relatives along the way!

Dan Debenham is passionate about Relative Race!

Dan Debenham is passionate about Relative Race!

Each team’s route is unique. Relative Race ensures fairness by estimating how long each team may need to complete a challenge and arrive at their destination each day. At the end of each leg, teams are ranked by subtracting their estimated completion time from the actual completion time or vice versa. It’s the difference that matters. The couple in last place for each leg receives a strike. If a team receives three strikes, they’re eliminated from the race. The couple ranked first at the end of the race wins $25,000.

At RootsTech the Relative Race production team discussed the adventure, the challenges, and the long hours spent making this show a reality. Some tough decisions were required in editing to allow the audience to actually feel like they are a part of Relative Race. It’s exciting. It’s emotional. It’s heart-warming. It’s funny. It can bring out a bit of road rage at times, but in the end these couples are introduced to family they have never met. At the end of the season, Relative Race will culminate with a “Where Are They Now” episode. I’m looking forward to it. I know from experience that these types of road trips are game-changing. If you haven’t seen it, I hope you’ll catch the first episode before Sunday 6pm MT. I have it on good word that this show gets better and better. For all of us watching, let’s enjoy Relative Race!

Follow @RelativeRace, @BYUtv, and @thesingleleaf on Twitter.

©2016 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Family Discovery Day @RootsTechConf

Note: Family Discovery Day at RootsTech is a free, one-day event of inspirational messages, instructional classes, interactive activities, and exciting entertainment to teach LDS members (age 8 and up) how to find their ancestors, prepare and take their names to the temple, and teach others to do the same. See RootsTech.org for more information.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

RootsTech 2016-FDD-with Sheri Dew and Wendy NelsonFamily Discovery Day opened with announcements from Elder Allan F. Packer, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Executive Director of of the Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He announced that there were about 13,000 individuals in attendance with 120,000 participating through live streaming at lds.org. In addition, the presentations were recorded and will be used during 1300 Family Discovery Day events held in over 55 countries and presented in 10 languages. Ultimately, the presentations will reach over a quarter of a million members and their friends. Once this material is incorporated into curriculum lessons, websites, and printed publications these messages will reach millions of Church members.

Elder Packer said that earlier that day a meeting was held among Church leaders. The Missionary Department announced two new pamphlets, Learning and Serving in the Church and Families and Temples. The Family History Department announced a new beginner resource card titled Strengthening Eternal Family Bonds through Temple Service: Start Building Your Tree. The card and online experience were created to help new members record their family lineage and identify those who may need temple ordinances. The My Family booklet is now available in 42 languages around the world. The Temple Department announced that members will now be able to print family ordinance cards on white paper on any printer and then take these cards to the temple to perform ordinances for their ancestors.

Elder Dale G. Renlund, his wife, Ruth, and daughter, Ashley

Following these announcements, Elder Dale G. Renlund, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, his wife, Ruth, and daughter, Ashley, took to the stage for the keynote address. After introducing his wife, he remarked that when he is not with his wife, he is “ruthless.” Together they shared a family history story that you can listen to below.

Ashley described the discovery of dynamite by Alfred Nobel. It was a combination of two known substances, kieselguhr and nitroglycerin. This was likened to family history and temple blessings, together they’re a powerful combination.

The Renlunds discussed the challenge given by Elder Neil A. Anderson to those in attendance at RootsTech in 2014: “Prepare as many names for the temple as baptisms you perform in the temple.” In 2015 Elder Anderson added, “and help someone else do the same.” “This opportunity for blessings excludes no one,” Elder Renlund says. His wife Ruth added, “the temple ordinances are central to individual power.”

The Renlunds then read from Ezekiel 47: 1-5, 8-9 and explained that Ezekiel saw an angel who brought him to the House of the Lord. As the water left the house, it grew into a river and out to the sea, … “for they shall be healed; and everything shall live whither the river cometh.” According to Elder Renlund, the river that increases represents the blessings of the temple and he likened the growth of the river to the exponential growth of progenitors doubling each generation.

Ashley quoted President Russell M. Nelson, “While temple and family history work has the power to bless those beyond the veil, it has an equal power to bless the living. It has a refining influence on those who are engaged in it. They are literally helping to exalt their families.”

Elder Renlund closed by adding his apostolic voice in support of the temple challenge and extended a promise of protection for the individuals engaged in this work and for their families. The challenge was modified to include not only baptisms but all ordinances. He promised “personal power, power to change, power to repent, power to learn, power to be sanctified, and power to turn the hearts of your family together and heal that which needs healing.” He closed by declaring his witness of Jesus Christ and the restoration of the sealing power to earth.

Sister Sheri L. Dew and Sister Wendy W. Nelson

Elder C. Scott Grow was asked to recap a few ideas from the previous presentation, specifically the apostolic temple challenge, before introducing Family Discovery Day’s next guests. Elder Grow reminded everyone that the apostolic temple challenge to find as many family names for temple ordinances has been reissued and expanded the challenge to include all ordinances, not just baptisms. He stressed that this challenge is for everyone. “A promise of protection and personal power, power to change, power to progress, power to learn, power to be sanctified, power to heal, the power to be sealed, and seal the hearts of our families together” has been issued. He quoted President Howard W. Hunter by saying, “I have learned that those who engage in family history research and then perform the temple ordinance work for those whose names they have found will know the additional joy of receiving both halves of the blessing.”

Elder Grow then introduced two good friends, Sheri L. Dew and Wendy W. Nelson for a family history discussion. These good friends then publicly conversed about Sheri’s resistance to pursuing family history. Wendy shared some of her spiritual experiences with Sheri and the blessings that have come into her life since she took Elder Richard G. Scott’s challenge. In the end, Sheri took the apostolic challenge to find as many ancestors to take to the temple to receive their ordinances as she will complete this year and to help others do the same. I encourage you to watch their presentation.

Sheri responded to Elder Grow’s question of how this is to be accomplished by saying, “Something will have to change and I’ll figure it out. I don’t yet know exactly when or how, but it will work … I’m sure I’ll have to give up something, the question is what?”

Elder Grow than asked those in the RootsTech audience, “(1) What did you learn? (2) What did you feel? Select one idea expressed in this presentation and make it a part of your life.”

Brother Stephen W. Owen and Sister Rosemary M. Wixom

Elder Enrique R. Falabella, who serves as an executive director of the Family History Department, began this session by expressing his enjoyment of Family Discovery Day. He said, “The Lord has inspired the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve to help the members of the Church to strengthen their testimony in Heavenly Father and in His Son Jesus Christ through keeping the Sabbath holy. What a great opportunity we have now to spend some time on the Sabbath doing family history Our ancestors will be eternally grateful and we will be blessed.” He then shared that this was the first idea that came to his mind to help Sister Sheri Dew meet her commitment to bring her ancestors to the temple. After his remarks, he introduced Brother Stephen W. Owen and Sister Rosemary M. Wixom.

“There is no age requirement to be touched by the Spirit of Elijah,” says Brother Stephen W. Owen. He went on to say that by becoming involved in family history, one discovers the power and purpose of relationships in God’s plan. “Relationships are at the very core of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” He then quoted the greatest commandments. He said that the Savior focused on relationships and was not distracted by anything temporal. He suggested that as we’re focused on our relationships with our Heavenly Father, our Savior, our family, and others we are focusing on what lasts and Christ’s gospel can move from our head to our heart.”

Brother Owen invited his youngest daughter Jessica on stage to share her family story. Jessica delivered her first child, Annie, two months premature. Annie was born with a condition where all of her muscles would contract and this happened about 60-70 times a day. Jessica and her husband Sam would cheer her on to get through each episode, but four and a half months later, Annie passed away. Jessica shared how her father, through his own grief, counseled them to get through this together. Jessica shared her gratitude for the plan of salvation and testimony that families can be together forever if we do our part. Brother Owen returned holding his one month old grandson, Archie, Jessica and Sam’s second child and Annie’s little brother.

Brother Owen then quoted from a song called “Grandma’s Book of Memories”:
“When Grandma opens up her book of memories,
these strangers all begin to look like friends to me.
I can see where I have come from and where I belong,
And where I got the color of my hair.
And I won’t be afraid when I follow them home,
because I’ve got friends already there.”

He mentioned the sealing power of the priesthood that can strengthen and bind family relationships. He went on to say, “We are each an important link in our family chain. And each of us, regardless of our current family circumstances. can begin working on the things that last. I recognize that not everyone has had the opportunity to nurture and develop family relationships, but don’t be discouraged. Stronger relationships can begin with you, right now, where you are. Through all kinds of family history and temple work, you can increase in love and help your family heal, going in both directions, towards your ancestors and towards your posterity. Maybe you’ve started your family history and have become discouraged because of damaged relationships or missing information. Don’t give up. Keep seeking the eternal. Pray and look for connections, relationships, and stories and when you begin to find those personal connections … you’ll start to understand what it’s like to have your heart turned to your fathers and the gospel will have an opportunity to move from your head to your heart. You will feel for yourself the power and eternal nature of family relationships … Let us remember that Christ suffered alone so that we can be together. Because of Him, we can have relationships that endure, relationships that include our Heavenly Father, our Savior, and our loved ones. I testify that the gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of relationships that transcend death and have eternal value. And, I do so in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Sister Rosemary M. Wixom then took the stage. She started by sharing an experience she had five years ago when an apostle asked her, “What is the taproot that will anchor a child in the wind?” A taproot is the first and largest root that sprouts from the seed. It grows downward and provides stability. Taproots can make a plant drought-resistant. She shared the story of the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi. Children need to know who they are, where they came from, why they are here, and where they are going so that their lives take on a sense of purpose.

Sister Wixom quoted President Russell M. Nelson saying, “We need … women [to] call upon the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen children and families; women who teach fearlessly.” She extends this call to all members of the Church in the lives of children. She then asked how does this related to family history. She said that she loves family history and loves family stories. Then she made two confessions: (1) she now makes cookies for her husband while he does family history research, and (2) she does not scrapbook; she has plastic container with pictures for each child for their future book.

She recognizes the importance of family history and shared a quote from the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. as saying, “They are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings, and motions, and are often pained therewith (History of the Church, 6:52). We make our ancestors real by telling their stories.

She said that she began with a two-minute exercise to write everything she remembered about her deceased father. Then she began to discuss recording her memories of others and considered how these stories and phrases could strengthen the next generation. She stressed that they must be shared and preserved and recommended the FamilySearch Memories app.

She closed by testifying, “We can anchor all generations to the taproot as we share precious pieces of information about those wonderful men and women, perform their sacred temple ordinances, and seal our families together. Of this truth I testify. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Britain Covey and Taysom Hill

Taysom Hill ©2012 BYU PHOTO. All Rights Reserved.

Taysom Hill ©2012 BYU PHOTO. All Rights Reserved.

Elder Bradley D. Foster introduced two young men to illustrate the “importance and power of family.” He continued, These young men show us what it looks like and “what good families produce.” He then introduced Britain Covey, a wide receiver for the University of Utah, and Taysom Hill, a quarterback for Brigham Young University.

For some Family Discovery Day fun, each player was asked to find two youth in the audience to help with a relay race. No spoilers here; you must watch the video to know the outcome :)

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

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

Once the race was decided, it was time for these young men to be interviewed. The presentation highlighted Britain’s mission call to Chile and Taysom’s temple marriage. Both shared missionary experiences on and off the field.

About leaving his football career for a mission with no guarantee upon return, Britain said, “Scoring a touchdown is awesome, but it’s a difference type of happiness that this gospel and this mission brings and I guess this is what I’m excited to share.”

After this presentation, Family Discovery Day closed with a concert by Lower Lights. Mark your calendar for next year when Family Discovery Day will be held again on Saturday, February 11, 2017 at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

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

@AJJacobs, @LoveTaza, & @StoryCorps @RootsTechConf

Friday, February 5, 2016

At the Friday keynote session, RootsTech attendees were greeted with some exciting news. First, on-site 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. Indexers, on-site and virtual, sought to index 900 batches in 90 minutes; the result was that participants indexed and arbitrated over 1860 batches! As Steve Rockwood said in his opening remarks, “We come to RootsTech to DO family history!” Thursday night’s index-a-thon was a great example 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 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 may want to keep your 2017 summer calendar free 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, “So, 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.”

These words were 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 they can 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. This app is also available for Android from Google Play.]

David Isay closed with a quote from Mary Lou Kownacki, a Philadelphia nun who said, “It’s impossible not to love someone whose story you’ve heard.” As he continued he quoted 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 gleaned from the discussion: if it’s a violation of law or a violation 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.

[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 … These 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 to me. 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 and 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 stories of his adventures in his keynote address:

Feiler says that 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 one’s 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 they accomplished this in their own families.

Feiler was diagnosed with cancer a number of years ago. On the one year anniversary of that fateful day, 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, “and set aside time to record it.”

Bruce Feiler closed his keynote address 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 each day, including the event organized to index the records of the Freedmen’s Bureau. These records were created when the bureau 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, and exhausting day for all!

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