Have You Heard? @VaiSikahema, @KalaniFSitake, & @HankRSmith Are Coming To Family Discovery Day At #RootsTech 2017

fdd-rootstech-2017If you follow me on Twitter @thesingleleaf, you may have already heard that the starting lineup for Family Discovery Day includes Vai Sikahema, Kalani Sitake, and Hank Smith! Family Discovery Day is held in conjunction with RootsTech and will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2017 at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

Vai Sikahema is a former BYU and NFL player who was drafted by the 1986 St. Louis Cardinals and later played for the Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles. Kalani Sitake is also a former BYU player and has recently been appointed as the new head coach at BYU. So far the Cougars are 3-3, but in all have produced some very exciting games, including one that went into double overtime against Mississippi State University (MSU)! Hank Smith is a popular LDS youth speaker. I found one of his excellent talks on YouTube, The Power of One: Becoming an Exceptional Teenager, where he advocates for giving up Sunday football. So, does that make him part of this year’s opposing team?

Here are some further details, with emphasis added, from the media room at FamilySearch.org:

Family Discovery Day to Feature BYU’s Kalani Sitake and Hank Smith

(SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, 24 October 2016)–RootsTech 2017 announces that BYU football head coach Kalani Sitake, popular LDS youth speaker Hank Smith, and former NFL football player, now Philadelphia TV news anchor, Vai Sikahema, will join the lineup of speakers for its popular Family Discovery Day. This exciting, free, one-day celebration of families is designed for families and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Family Discovery Day will take place on Saturday, February 11, 2017, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is part of the annual RootsTech conference. Individuals and families can register online at RootsTech.org.

There’s something for everyone at Family Discovery Day. Attendees are invited to come and hear inspiring speakers, entertaining performers, engage in interactive activities for all ages, and discover the latest technology, products, and services in the family history industry in an expansive expo hall. It’s the perfect place to discover fun new ideas, hear helpful solutions, watch new concept demonstrations, get personal research help, experience innovative family history technology, and mingle with hundreds of exhibitors from around the globe.

Young single adults and other interested youth are invited to attend a special session with Kalani Sitake, BYU’s head football coach. Sitake played collegiately at BYU as a fullback, and he served as an assistant coach for the Oregon State Beavers and Utah Utes before taking the head coaching position at BYU in December 2015.

Hank Smith is a BYU professor of religion and popular public youth speaker. Hank’s life has been touched by family history work, and he plans on sharing some of that experience at Family Discovery Day. Joining the speaker lineup is Vai Sikahema, a former NFL football player and current television personality. He is well-known for his diverse skills as both an anchor and sports reporter and can be seen co-anchoring NBC10 News Today weekday mornings in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Family Discovery Day will engage and inspire families, youth, and single adults to discover connections and share family stories together. Family Discovery Day is also a popular venue for Latter-day Saints to hear gospel messages from Church leaders. These speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

Families with children and youth are invited to discover the fun of family history together by playing games such as Family Feud and Twisted Family History. Young single adults are invited to bring friends and participate in fun sessions and activities like #Myfabfamily Photography Contest, Family History in Emoji, Record Your Story, and Replace a Face.

Family Discovery Day also offers relevant sessions with the latest information for those with Church callings and responsibilities related to family history and the temple. Individuals will be able to get answers to questions, discover new tools, and learn best practices.

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

RootsTech is a genealogy conference of epic proportions. As the largest family history conference in the world, it provides extensive networking opportunities to a broad and diverse group of attendees. The conference showcases a vast array of modern resources and technology that aims to inspire and enable individuals to discover, preserve, and share their family stories.

I’m only teasing about Hank Smith being part of this year’s opposing team! I am interested in your thoughts on football and the Sabbath day. If you are willing to share them with me for my future post, Faith, Family & Football: an American Tradition, contact me. Thank you!

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.

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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.