It’s Not Over Until It’s Over—RootsTech Connect

The last few days over one million attendees from over 200 countries and territories attended RootsTech Connect! This portion of the conference was LIVE with speakers and vendors available to chat with attendees about their topics or products. There were also a few live Zoom events that took place. Thanks to the Connection-Experiment’s Desktop Diner, and based on one of my presentations, I added an item to the menu of breakout rooms, “Eat Your Vegetables—Ethical Considerations.” I realize this topic might not be fun nor entertaining, but it is foundational to all credible family history research.

At one point #RootsTechConnect was trending on social media channels. Old friends were reconnecting while those new, about 89% of the conference, were making connections for the first time. Relatives at RootsTech was a popular activity. So many cousins, so little time! Many focused on the keynote sessions. These are now recorded and available for viewing. Paul Chiddicks, author of the blog, The Chiddicks Family Tree, shared in his review of the conference and a very tender moment made possible by technology introduced at the conference. Check it out! If you want to be part of the genealogy Twitter universe, follow Paul @chiddickstree. He’s one of the best!

Since there are more than 800 25-or-less minute sessions available for viewing this next year, there is still time to register for a Family Search account. Just follow the prompts from the website. You will need an account to create a personal playlist. Chat will also be available until later this week.

For an account, here’s the process once you arrive at the website and click Sign In. You’ll be redirected to the second screen. Once there select “Create a Free Account” and you’ll be on your way to a year’s worth of free educational and industry content. Don’t forget to read the terms of use or the privacy notice. If you choose not to register for an account, you can still enjoy the sessions with limitations.

In closing, I would like to share a post written by fellow ambassador and speaker, Taralyn Parker. She had this to say about RootsTech Connect on Instagram. I hope it resonates with you as it did with me:

We have to give ourselves permission to do the parts of family history that we love. What speaks to you? What tugs at your heartstrings? Lean into it and don’t worry about fitting into someone else’s mold. The family history community needs you because we are literally all part of the human family. We need each other’s stories, skills, memories, research abilities, photos, and expertise. We need a shoulder to cry on when the past is painful. We need a cheering section when a brick wall comes tumbling down. We need each other. The work and joy of family history cannot be completed alone. Whether you are just starting to explore or you have been carrying the genealogical torch for years, there is room at the table for you. I’m grateful for the acceptance I have found with my quirky love of research and social media savvy skills. Inviting you to link arms with me so we can learn and share together. Please save and share if this speaks to you! What parts of family history are you leaning into after @rootstechofficial?

So, what are you leaning into after RootsTech Connect? Who did you connect with? What did you experience?

Finally, I’d like to give a shoutout to RootsTech, FamilySearch International, and the sponsors of this year’s global conference! It truly is amazing what has been accomplished in such a short period of time!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador and compensated speaker at  RootsTech Connect. 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.”

© 2021 Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Relative Race—TONIGHT!

Relative Race premieres its seventh season tonight on BYUtv at 7 p.m. MT/9 p.m. ET. It will also be available on-demand thereafter. For those not familiar with this show, it’s similar to The Amazing Race, which just aired its 32nd season at the end of 2020, with a twist of DNA connections and family history.

I’ve encouraged Relative Race to go global and was happy to see Dan Debenham attend RootsTech London at the end of 2019 to promote the show. During our interview he discussed the possibility of extending the race to the U.K. in upcoming seasons. Then, the pandemic hit. The good news is that production for this season happened. We now have the opportunity to enjoy another Relative Race journey!

This season the teams are new but their designated colors remain the same. There are hints throughout the promotional material that Relative Race has changed up the format so brace yourself for at least a surprise or two.

Team Red is Elizabeth and Devon Dobson of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Both of them are adopted and seek to find biological family members.

Team Green is Magen Gamble and Monika Bergman of Newman, Georgia. This will be the first time friends travel together to meet family. Magen is the kind of friend hoped for when seeking answers to tender questions. In this case, Monika has questions about her adoption. She’d like to understand why she was given away when an older sibling and younger siblings were kept.

Team Blue is Joseph and Anthony Pierce of St. Paul, Minnesota, twins who were adopted but have not seen family for quite some time. Now on their own, they wonder where their biological parents are and hope to make up for lost time.

Team Black is Kacey and Sean Chapman of Navarre, Ohio. Kacey was adopted at age 9 months. She shares that, as she entered elementary school, abandonment issues crept in. Now, the parents of children of their own, they hope to find answers to the question of “Why?”

Let’s hope the show will last as long as The Amazing Race. It does have staying power—the power of compelling stories and the power of family!

I hope that you’ll tune in! ❤️

Copyright ©2021 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

RootsTech Connect Begins February 24th–25th Depending on Your Time Zone!

The RootsTech team began with one goal: to bring joy to all people. After ten years of exponential growth in the genealogical community, the team was required to cancel plans for in-person events in London and Salt Lake City due to the pandemic. But, this did not stop them.

Thanks to technology, the 4-pillar RootsTech plan became RootsTech Connect—a virtual, interactive conference with lasting opportunities. In fact, the opportunities will last for at least one full year!

This global event has local offerings with keynote speakers from around the world sharing their messages around the clock. Sports, music, theatre, and inspiration will speak from the Main Stage at All of this will begin on Wednesday, February 24th or Thursday, February 25th, depending on your time zone. If you are in Salt Lake City, this means that the festivities begin Wednesday at 5 p.m. MT with the Expo Hall preview while sessions will be launched at 9 p.m. in the same time zone. If you are in London the Expo Hall opens just as Wednesday turns into Thursday with sessions launching at 4 a.m. On Thursday in Sydney, sessions launch at 3 p.m. with the Expo Hall opening for review at 11 a.m. that same day! (See schedule below.)

If the time zones don’t confuse you just a bit, how about the fact that eleven languages will be engaged, plus additional languages for other learning opportunities. Specifics will be provided on the website when RootsTech Connect launches.

As of meetings held this week, RootsTech Connect is approaching 325,000 total registrants from almost 225 countries and territories! Approximately 90% of those registered will be attending for the first time. The good news is that there is room for more to join. If you haven’t already done so, register! (After you finish reading this post, of course!)

A sneak peek at the website indicates that all registrants will be treated to a global educational experience. There are 746 sessions and 280 vignettes with tips and tricks to assist you in accomplishing your family history goals. Not sure what to watch first? Look for the Guide Me instructions on the website.

RootsTech is all about connection. From its earliest days “unconferencing”, informal meetups to discuss aspects of genealogy, happened. The RootsTech team found a way to make it happen virtually. There will be chat rooms for each session. All you will need to do is click Connect on the session you watched to leave your question or comment. Speakers will visit chat rooms to answer questions and discuss the topic for the duration of the conference. You will be able to communicate with other attendees, exhibitors, and cousins, if you are participating in Relatives at RootsTech. These opportunities will disappear after the conference so plan your schedule accordingly.

Registration now requires that you create a FamilySearch account. If you have an account or register for an account, you will have the opportunity to create a playlist, chat with speakers, exhibitors, and other attendees, and participate in Relatives at RootsTech. For the latter opportunity, you must also upload or input your family tree. You are not required to provide a family tree to register for an account. If you’re new to genealogy, you just might not have one.

It is important to note that even if someone at RootsTech does NOT show up on your Relatives at RootsTech list, they might still be your relative. This is an opt-in system that requires a person to have a tree. Also, errors exist and not all parent-child relationships are verified, so your connection is only as accurate as that branch on the FamilySearch FamilyTree.

Regardless, always read the terms of service and other policies. Although you would be limited without an account, you will still be able to view the main stage, the sessions and the Expo Hall.

The RootsTech team began with one goal: to bring joy to all people.

Let me know how RootsTech Connect brings joy to YOU!

Wishing you all the best!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador and compensated speaker at  RootsTech Connect. 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.”

© 2021 Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Who’s Going to Win Your Family History Bowl?

I probably take the analogy of football to genealogy too far, but sometimes you just have to interject the game to break up the monotony. If not football, something else. Say “genealogy” or “family history” and watch eyes roll. Then again, say “football” and you might just witness the same response. 

But, over the years I have found that the best researchers are those who can think outside the box, call audibles, and scramble to avoid being sacked. Their approach is rarely replicated, each bringing their own to the game. Don’t get me wrong. There are standards and skills that make the game what it is, but each researcher has a style of his or her own. Like on the field, a successful player in the field of genealogy and family history is true to themselves, plays by the rules, and has an impeccable work ethic. 

For the first time in NFL history the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Kansas City Chiefs for Super Bowl LV at their own stadium. Talk about home field advantage! With one exception—the world is still in the midst of a pandemic so there will be limited fans in the stadium. Win or lose, tomorrow it’s over, only for 32 teams to get ready for another season this coming Fall and to once again compete to arrive at the Super Bowl—Groundhog Day, NFL style!

This brings me to the 31-32[1] key individuals in your first five generations. Are there any that are the focus of your Family History Bowl? Is there some family history project you’d like to complete in the coming days, months, or year? If there is anything I’ve learned, it’s that a person can become overwhelmed when they take on too much at any given time. Imagine a quarterback attempting to sling a Hail Mary for every. single. play. It would just be too much and the defense would kill them!

One key to success in football and genealogy is pacing. In genealogy, similar to a team making a first down and maintaining possession until making that touchdown, a researcher must do the same. Each touchdown is another score that wins that Family History Bowl. 

So, what is a first down play?

It depends on your genealogical journey. Some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will tell you that their genealogy is researched back to Adam or as far as records will take them. I’m not sure how true it is or if the claims have been verified. Some lineages have been verified. Some have not. FamilySearch had a Medieval Families Unit that focused on pre-1500 A.D. lineages. It closed in 1996. There are plans to rework the data but these plans are projected to be accomplished in the distant future. Latter-day Saints with this dilemma, i.e., the research is finished, have been counseled to know their lineage and learn their ancestors’s stories. The rest of us have work to do in this arena. [And, those with *completed* lineages can focus on other aspects of *the work*, such as assist the poor, the needy, the sick, and the afflicted.]

If you have not collected what you know and know what has been verified, this is the place to start. Once you update what you know, my general advice is to make SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. 

Genealogy and family history goals typically begin with anchoring an ancestor to three dates and places—birth, marriage, and death—a tripod. Call this “core” information. In sports, the conditioned core of an athlete serves as a base to prevent injury among other benefits. In genealogy, the core serves to prevent errors always building on the last verified fact working back in time. 

So, what would be a S-M-A-R-T goal? Here’s an example of a genealogy first-down:

Diana Fink was born on 8 January 1895 in St. Louis, Missouri. Who were Diana’s parents? 

This first down question can be answered by going to the Missouri Digital Heritage website.[2]

We learn from this abstract that Diana’s parents were Louis and Amelia Fink and that both parents were born in St. Louis. We also learn Diana’s middle name, Adell, and that she was born at 2926 Montgomery St. with the certificate returned by Mrs. Bollhagen. 

Remember—this is just an abstract. The reference to the original is given at the top of the page. I also glanced through the list of Fink candidates and recognized that Louis and Amelia Fink also had a son, Louis, on 15 March 1900 in St. Louis and this should be noted. 

It is always recommended to trace back to the record closest to the original, with preference for the original, so you would want to request an actual copy of Diana’s birth certificate as well as a copy of Louis’s birth certificate. One record might contain additional information or more information than the other.

Does this meet the criteria of a SMART goal?

S—Specific—yes, Who were Diana’s parents?

M—Measurable—yes, acquired names of her parents from birth index: Louis and Amelia Fink. [I would send for copy of the original. It should also be noted that only DNA testing can confirm the biological relationship.]

A—Achievable—yes, thanks to the Missouri Digital Heritage website and access to a copy of the original

R—Relevant—yes, for family history

T—Time-bound—yes, in this case, it took me less than a couple of minutes, but, then again, games have been won in 8 seconds

As you can see, this search would qualify as a first down. There are other records you’d want to search to consider it “reasonably exhaustive” research and from which you might glean additional information. This handy chart can coach you on what records to seek to answer your specific research questions.

So, who’s going to win your Family History Bowl? You are!

Cheering you on from the bleachers!

If you have any questions, contact me.


[1] Thirty-one, if you’re single; thirty-two, if married

[2] Use your favorite search engine or the FamilySearch Wiki to learn what records are available in your particular area of research.

Copyright ©2021 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

International Greek Ancestry Conference is this Weekend—And, It’s Free!

When I saw the program for this week’s International Greek Ancestry Conference, I just had to share this great opportunity. If you and/or someone you know have Greek heritage, this conference is for you! No registration is required. Check out the details below:

A free, virtual genealogy conference sponsored by Greek Ancestry and Hellenic Genealogy Geek will be presented on January 29-31. The conference will be live-streamed and recorded on the Greek Ancestry YouTube channel. No registration is needed; just click on the YouTube link to participate.

The purpose of this conference is to share information that will be relevant to both beginning and advanced researchers which will assist them in their quest to learn more about their family history.  Our sessions are presented by professional historians as well as seasoned genealogy researchers who have volunteered their time to share their expertise and knowledge.

The Greek Ancestry website has details on the presenters and sesssions. Please click on this Conference page link to access.

The agenda for the conference is below. All times given are Eastern Standard Time. The international times for each session are on the second half of the document.

If you already have plans for this weekend, don’t be disappointed! All sessions will be recorded and placed on the Greek Ancestry YouTube channel. Enjoy!


Copyright ©2021 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Finding Your Roots, Season 7, Premieres Tonight on PBS

Henry the Sleuth meets Henry Louis Gates, Jr., host of Finding Your Roots

Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. premieres its seventh season tonight on PBS. This critically-acclaimed series will feature 20 guests in 10 episodes. These guests hail from a variety of fields, many well-known, whose family histories will be revealed in the context of historical events. PBS says, “that [the stories] illustrate the power and diversity of the human experience.”

The Finding Your Roots team uses traditional research coupled with DNA testing to structure the stories and compile them into a book of life.

The season’s schedule is as follows:

Episode 1: “To the Manor Born” with Glenn Close and John Waters

Episode 2: “Against All Odds” with Andy Cohen and Nina Totenberg

Episode 3: “No Irish Need Apply” with Jim Gaffigan and Jane Lynch

Episode 4: “The Shirts on Their Backs” with Tony Shalhoub and Christopher Meloni

Episode 5: “Write My Name in the Book of Life” with Kasi Lemmons and Pharrell Williams

Episode 6: “Country Roots” with Clint Black and Rosanne Cash

Episode 7: “The New World” with John Lithgow and Maria Hinojosa

Episode 8: “Laughing on the Inside” with Lewis Black and Roy Wood, Jr.

Episode 9: “On Broadway” with Audra McDonald and Mandy Patinkin

Episode 10: “Anchored to the Past” with Grethen Carlson and Don Lemon

This season promises to be the best one yet, so check your local listings and tune in to Finding Your Roots!


Copyright ©2021 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

On this day, a pictorial walk . . .

According to the National Park Service, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial’s “official dedication date is August 28, 2011, the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, though the ceremony was postponed until October 16 due to Hurricane Irene.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist minister and social activist who became a notable figure during the U.S. civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until he was assassinated in 1968. He played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African American citizens in the U.S., influencing the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, among other honors.

King’s memorial is the first to honor an African American individual on the National Mall. The space is a place to contemplate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy: a non-violent philosophy striving for freedom, justice, and equality.”

Since the pandemic and other events prevent the majority of us from visiting our Nation’s capital at this time, here are just a few of his inspiring words etched in the walls of the memorial. I took these photos in 2019 at the height of the cherry blossom festival. As you can see, it was a beautiful day of which I have fond memories.

True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.—1958

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. —Alabama, 1963

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits. —Norway 1964

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. —Norway, 1964

We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. —Alabama, 1965

If we are to have peace on earth our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation, and this means we must develop a world perspective. —Georgia, 1967

We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. —District of Columbia, 1968

May you enjoy peace on this Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and in the coming week!

Copyright ©2021 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Secrets in Our DNA airing on NOVA

Tonight on PBS stations in the United States, Secrets in Our DNA will be airing on NOVA. The show’s promotion says,

Some 30 million people have sent their DNA to be analyzed by companies like 23andMe and AncestryDNA. But what happens once the sample is in the hands of testing companies, and how accurate are their results? NOVA explores the power of genetic data to reveal family connections, ancestry, and health risks—and even solve criminal cold cases. But alongside the benefits of these rapidly growing genetic databases are serious unintended consequences.

DNA has been such a benefit to so many in genealogy. It has also challenged families as secrets are revealed. However you view DNA, whether as a tool in your genealogy tool box, or not, I invite you to join with me in watching this episode.


Copyright ©2021 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

It’s Time for Unfinished Business in the NFL and in the Genealogy Community

It’s Wild Card Weekend!

Warning: Participating in genealogy and family history football while watching an NFL game with your significant other may cause side effects including distraction, interference with relational bonding, and failure to fully enjoy chips, salsa, and guacamole. Research responsibly.

It’s the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend! Now that the playing field has been narrowed to fourteen, the winner of the Lombardi trophy will soon be determined on the field. Although some teams are required to play more on their way to the Super Bowl, it’s anyone’s game. Since there is no NFL team in the mecca of genealogy and family history, the following of the locals here can change as fast as the wind. It’s a house divided. But in football, there is no place like home!

So, are you up for your game this Wild Card weekend? Do you have your goal defined for each of the games you will play? Have you narrowed the field so that you are prepared to finish the season on February 7, 2021? Each play moves you closer to a genealogical touchdown, to winning the game, and ultimately achieving the Lombardi trophy of your Family History Bowl.

Have you looked for information on your pivotal person and it’s just not where you hoped it would be? Is the record set impossible to access in the time frame of this season? Does the most obvious record set not exist? Check out this page on the FamilySearch wiki. Go to the bottom of the page to “Selecting Record Types.” There you will find a listing of objectives and a priority list of records to search. If you cannot find that record set online, check the FamilySearch catalog for available microfilm. If you need assistance contact me. I would be happy to provide coaching advice or execute a play or more on your behalf when the Family History Library opens.

To the NFL players and coaches this season, the genealogist who struggles to find time to play the game, to our ancestors whose lives were rarely blessed more than ours, I close with a quote known as The Man in the Arena[1]:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Cheering you on in your game to win your Family History Bowl!

1.Roosevelt, Theodore. “Citizenship In A Republic.” Delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on April 23, 1910. Accessed January 4, 2014. [For a copy of the complete speech in PDF format click here.]

Note: This article was originally posted in 2014 and updated for today’s events. Lynn Broderick was the first to introduce The Man in the Arena to the genealogical community via this blog, so if you heard it before at a genealogical event, the speaker most likely got their inspiration from here. 

Copyright ©2021 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

The Moravian Star—a Christmas Tradition

“Philosophy [i.e. natural philosophy] is written in this grand book — I mean the Universe — which stands continually open to our gaze, but it cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language and interpret the characters in which it is written. It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometrical figures, without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it; without these, one is wandering around in a dark labyrinth.”

Galilei, Galileo. “The Assayer.” In Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo, translated by Stillman Drake (1957), pp. 237-8.

Stars. A symbol of Christmas representing light and peace. One that comes to my mind is the Moravian star. Did you know it was a geometry lesson at a boy’s school in Niesky, Germany that is credited for constructing the first Moravian Star? 

A couple of years ago, my daughter and I had the opportunity to travel to Niesky, a lovely village, to walk its streets, to visit the church, and to view the Star that is displayed from Advent to Epiphany. There is a connection that takes place when you visit the setting of a story that has been shared with you.

If you’re a historical researcher, you won’t be surprised that we wanted to go to the source of modern production, Herrnhuter Schauwerkstatt und Manufaktur, located in Herrnhut, Germany. There we enjoyed a tour of the factory. We learned that making Moravian Stars was a pre-Christmas activity for families as well as students. Congregations would also construct them. The Moravians created a word for this activity. They called the activity “Sterneln,” which translates to “making stars.”

The business of Moravian Stars began about 1900. The paper stars were modified with a tin frame that would allow it be disassembled for compact storage. The basic Moravian Star is produced from a truncated cuboctahedron with 17 four-cornered pyramid-shaped tips and eight three-cornered tetrahedron shaped tips. The 26th face provides an opening for lighting. I have found that there is nothing like an original Star. This year the factory prepared advent calendars for families to enjoy assembling a star together once again. It’s part of our Christmas present.

This year Thomas McCullough, assistant archivist at the Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, presented a webinar about the history of the Moravian Star. I thought you might enjoy viewing it this holiday season. 

Note: If you would like to purchase one of these stars in the U.S., the Moravian Archives sells the stars manufactured in Herrnhutt. This year a portion of the proceeds from sales provides for the much-needed restoration of a significant painting, a portrait of Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf as a child with his parents. You can also contribute directly to the restoration project. These links are for your convenience only, not affiliate links. 

© 2020 Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.