#RootsTech10Years: a Compendium of Content

RootsTech is a family history, genealogy, storytelling, technology conference hosted by FamilySearch International each of the past nine years at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. It has become the premiere event in the industry and a big family reunion. It attracts people from all, or almost all, 50 United States and dozens of countries. In honor of this year’s #RootsTech10Years celebration, I created a page listing a compendium of RootsTech content. It’s always convenient to have material available all in one place.

This year is destined to the best yet as RootsTech will host a look back from the beginning and host keynote speakers: Leigh Anne Tuohy, David Hume Kennerly, and Emmitt Smith. It seems like RootsTech organized this year’s event perfectly for my game—genealogy football!

There is still time to register for onsite attendance and/or register for the virtual pass which will provide delayed recorded sessions for the coming year! In addition, there is always live-streaming of keynote and other sessions of the conference. Unfortunately, I have confirmed that the entertainment portion of the conference, Ryan Hamilton on Friday night, will not be live-streamed or recorded for later viewing.

RootsTech has helped people make many family connections and find relatives around them right at this event. In the process it has supported an environment in which many people have formed lasting friendships and helped propel the genealogy community into the global sphere. This year’s theme is “The Story of You” and complements my essay, The Story of the Single Leaf. Won’t you join us for this epic event?

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 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.”

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

‘Tis the Season for RootsTech 2020 Giveaways

Don’t let the photo deter you from entering… Read on! This post is friendly to all!

‘Tis the season for RootsTech 2020 4-Day Pass Giveaways and I may have one just for you! The pass retails at $299, but you can currently register for $169 using the promo code HOLIDAY. If you win a RootsTech giveaway RootsTech will reimburse you. If not, you have a discounted pass to attend this amazing conference.

The RootsTech conference is scheduled for Wednesday, February 26 to Saturday, February 29, 2020 at the Salt Palace Convention Center. This year’s theme is “The Story of You.”

As I’ve mentioned, there are three 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. This year RootsTech has announced that David Hume Kennerly, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, will keynote Friday’s session. Additional announcements are forthcoming.  
  1. RootsTech offers a customized learning experience 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.
  1. 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 Demo Theater with 15-minute presentations about some of the products on the floor. Also, new this year RootsTech will host a large enclosed classroom in the Expo Hall with scheduled in-depth sessions on some of the products and services offered by sponsors and vendors. The Discovery Zone will still offer interactive displays that provide opportunities to come to know your heritage in fun and unique ways. 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. And, as requested by past participants, this year there will be more dedicated hours for participants to survey and engage with what is happening in the Expo Hall.   

In addition to my initial three 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! There are about 600 reference consultants and volunteers from all over the world on hand to provide helpful assistance at no cost to you.

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. This 4-day pass does NOT include sponsored lunches or Lunch & Learn sessions, computer labs, transportation, lodging accommodations, meals, or any other expenses that you may incur.

So, how do you enter this giveaway? Tis the season for genealogy football!

Share one of your genealogy touchdowns OR share your prediction(s) for what NFL teams will make it to the Super Bowl!  

What is a genealogy touchdown?

A genealogy touchdown—that glorious moment when research comes together and you feel like spiking the ball in celebration (a.k.a., doing the genealogy happy dance as it has been described for generations). This option is open to all interested in family history and genealogy, including those who do NOT like football, but 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. 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(ies) in future posts. 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 chance to win!

As mentioned, this contest is void where prohibited. Please remember that I will not use your email address for any purpose other than to notify you if you are the winner. The contest runs from now until to Monday, December 23, 2019 at midnight MT. The winner will be notified by Monday, December 30, 2019 by email. As mentioned before, if you have already registered with RootsTech and you win, RootsTech will reimbursed you for the full amount that you’ve prepaid.

Enter today! Good Luck! Hope to see you at RootsTech 2020!

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 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.”

© 2019 Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.


BYU Forum With Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is a favorite PBS show among genealogists and family historians. The show chronicles the ancestry of many noted Americans and brings historical context to these ancestral stories. At the end of the show Professor Gates provides each of his guests with an ancestral chart and a Book of Life. We were fortunate when Professor Gates gave the keynote address at RootsTech in 2018. He received a standing ovation for his remarks. I was fortunate once again this week when I had the opportunity to hear him speak at a BYU Forum.

His lecture was titled, “Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow.” He began by saying that, “I love being in Utah. I love being in Salt Lake City because I love genealogy.” He also shared a preview of the upcoming 6th season of Finding Your Roots. In the local market, the first two of 16 episodes have already aired. The remaining episodes resume January 2020. He mentioned that Nancy Pelosi is one of the guests and quickly add that Mitt Romney will be featured in the 7th season, stressing that PBS is bipartisan. 

He recounted the reconstruction period and the pushback freed black men experienced, including high fees to exercise their right to vote and the abhorrent act of lynching. He said we must address “the past that haunts our present” and enlightened the audience about the necessity of the civil rights movement. 

Henry the Sleuth, my plush associate, had the honor to meet Professor Gates after the forum.

He observed that history is repeating itself once again and that as a people we need to be vigilant about protecting our rights. “Now it’s time to change the narrative. History repeats itself only if we let it.”

 Once he shared his prepared remarks, students were given the opportunity to ask questions of this accomplished educator, author, and Emmy award-winning filmmaker. Only a handful of students were able to ask questions because of limited time, but here is what I was able to capture from Professor Gates’ responses to specific questions:

Dr. Gates recommends reparations in the form of affirmative action. He believes that “guilt is not inherited”, but “social issues have a traumatic effect.” He encourages leveling the playing field and providing equal opportunity. He suggested that, as a nation, we should provide an equal amount of money spent per child for education eliminating rich and poor districts. He reminded the audience there was a time when if you obeyed the law and worked hard your children would do better in life, but it’s “not true anymore.” 

He believes that “every woman, no matter race, has benefited from affirmative action.” He encouraged that we “be vigilant about the Supreme Court. Pressure the court to defend the rights of the individual.”

His call to action is, “We must suppress white supremacy whenever it rears its ugly head.” In context he acknowledge that white supremacy is not related to skin color as much as it is an attitude. 

He said, “Racism is racism…if you say bad things about people and characterize them as a group, that’s racism.”

Henry the Sleuth shares a sweet moment with Professor Gates after the forum.

“We have to fight racism whether it’s coming out of the mouth of a white person or black person.”

“We all come from the same pie. We all come from Africa. Mormons are big genealogists…Do that tree back 50,000 years ago, everybody would look like Michael Jordan walking around here.”

“Racism and oppression were not invented in America. It is enormously complicated.” 

“Be honest about the past, admitting it [racism] was wrong and ugly in the sight of God.”

“Talk about it [the past].”

“Be open to it [concerns and conversations about the past].”

“Confession is very powerful.”

“We all have to be aware we have blind spots.”

Professor Gates suggested that oppression is economically motivated. “Every society has demonized someone else within that society for economic reasons.” Then he asked, “Who is going to have access to the pie? What happens when there’s only one piece of pie?”

I appreciate his remarks and provoking the conversation. War, law, and social history played out through the individual and collective lives of our ancestors. This period of history affected every ancestor who lived through the Civil War and every generation since that time.

Genealogists and family historians must avoid presentism and glean insight through understanding the time period while also addressing the impact of past actions on the struggles of the current day.

Which of your ancestors were alive and involved during this period of time? What records are available to recount their experiences? What you can learn about them? What can you learn from them?

© 2019 Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

In Retrospect—RootsTech London 2019

Three weeks ago family historians and genealogist gathered to experience the inaugural RootsTech London. Since that time I’ve had an opportunity to reflect on the experience held at the ExCeL Centre located near the London City Airport.

Conferences aren’t new to the U.K. Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE ran for 10 years. Family Tree Live and The Genealogy Show drew crowds of researchers this year, so what could RootsTech London contribute? I wasn’t sure when it was announced, but I am happy to report that the conference was well received. 

I attended the first RootsTech in Salt Lake City in 2011. It filled part of the Salt Palace Convention Center and its focus was on technology as it relates to genealogy. London was reminiscent of the size within the Salt Lake City venue, but that was about it. Technology sometimes brings with it a gray feeling. The nuts and bolts. The algorithms. Engineers had sessions targeted at them while genealogists were introduced to PDF files. I straddled the gap and attended a few sessions on each track. Language was a barrier for most in attendance. Engineers didn’t get genealogists; and genealogists were wary of engineers. We’ve come a long way. While the first RootsTech reminds me of a blind date where you have no idea what to expect, RootsTech has matured the relationship between technology and genealogy. I don’t want to take the relationship analogy too far, but it is as if RootsTech has married these fields and London was like the renewing of vows.

RootsTech provides a four-pillar model for its offering: keynote speakers, educational sessions, the exhibition hall, and evening entertainment. RootTech London was scaled down, but as an international introduction it was barely noticeable. It was a reasonable commute from the city center for some and the venue was perfect for the conference with hotels nearby.

Comic Con was also in town and the ExCeL Centre had strict policies as they managed the two worlds. Depending on the hotel reservation or tube stop, some had to walk outside in the unpredictable weather for a short time. It did not appear to place a damper on anyone. I personally found it a convenient walk to the venue after I enjoyed the hotel’s buffet breakfast reservation. It was a lifesaver since the restaurants within the ExCeL were restricted for RootsTech attendees. 

The 11 a.m. keynote sessions, carried over to RootsTech London, are my favorite sessions where I can relax and listen to individuals from diverse backgrounds talk about a common subject—family history. I hope that the time change for the keynotes introduced at RootsTech SLC is a permanent part of the conference schedule. Whether the earlier time slot is used to catch an early morning session or to sleep in, it works for everyone. The later keynote times also accommodate those that commute to the venue.

This year’s keynotes were given by Dan Snow, KaDeena Cox, and Donny Osmond. Nick Barratt served as MC each day. The keynotes are still available for viewing at RootsTech.org. I had the opportunity to participate in interviews, but I enjoyed the Meet and Greets offered to all conference attendees for each of the keynotes even more.

I found it interesting that when Donny Osmond was announced as a keynote speaker, some were asking, who?, why?, yet, after his keynote, Donny did not have time to greet everyone that wanted a photo, an autograph, or ask a question or two. The line was overwhelming long. I spoke with a number of those waiting.

The last person in line was a volunteer. He had to report to his post in 30 minutes. He hoped to meet Donny on behalf of his mother. She is a big fan even from her youth and could not be in attendance. The story goes that Donny and his family so influence this young man’s mother as a teen that she became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When his future mother met his future father, she introduced her love interest to the Latter-day Saint missionaries and his future father was baptized, too. Soon after his parents were married, but his mother did not cease to be a Donny fan. This young man credits Donny and the Osmond family for his very existence. He was disappointed that he would miss the opportunity to meet Donny due to the overwhelming response from other fans. Observing Donny’s interaction with other attendees, I have no doubt Donny would want to meet this young man as well. I have recommended that RootsTech consider using the Lineberty app in the future for the Meet and Greets to avoid long lines and disappointments. It is an app that allows a person to obtain a reservation, receive updates on wait times, and be notified when the time of reservation is near. This will allow attendees to visit other areas in the exhibition hall without losing their place in line.

The educational sessions were found in the auditorium and on the third floor, which was easily accessible by escalator or lift. The schedule had so much to offer. I enjoyed a few sessions focused on DNA; it is the area within genealogy that is rapidly evolving and expanding its interests. It’s a challenge for anyone to keep abreast of all the new angles, applications, and legal issues. The DNA panel brought insight to all of these areas, but limited time meant limited discussion. A couple of those sessions are available for view at no cost on the RootsTech website. There is also a premium virtual pass that offers 20 recorded sessions, three related to DNA, at a nominal fee. 

The exhibition hall was very well organized with incredible offerings including the DNA Basics Learning Centre, the Demo Theatre and the Discovery Zone. There were a number of opportunities for attendees to receive guidance in answering their own research questions.

All of the major genealogy companies were represented, including Findmypast, Ancestry, FamilySearch, and MyHeritage. Direct-to-consumer DNA companies were also represented, including 23 & Me, Ancestry, FamilyTree DNA, Living DNA, and MyHeritage. The Family History Federation, the Society of Genealogists, and American Ancestors were available with their offerings as well as 14 additional societies that could provide information about their organizations and answer any questions. The ability to ask questions in a room of collective genealogical wisdom is one of the greatest benefits of attending a conference like RootsTech.

Exclusively for RootsTech London, the Military of Defense (MOD) offered “service record searches, ordering, retrievals and interpretation, general Records and Medals advice, applications for and issue of Veterans badges and record digitization demonstrations.” This was a popular place as attendee learned that record retrievals that typically take a 3-month turn-around time were promised to be delivered within three hours. One delighted attendee told me that they received a file within two hours!

RootsTech London evening entertainment consisted of an early 1-hour Friday night performance from Tre Amici. After a long day of interviews and sessions, Tre Amici’s music had the ability to allow me and attendees to sit back and relax. Later evenings could be spent with different organizations getting together at establishments near the venue.

Probably the greatest benefit of attending a conference in person is the opportunity to meet up with old friends and make new ones. Every day at 3 p.m. near the Media Hub those who participate in #AncestryHour on Twitter, which originates from the U.K. Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. GMT, would gather for a Meet and Greet. It was wonderful to meet so many online friends. The crowd grew from Thursday to Saturday as word spread and schedules aligned. It’s a good reason to hope that RootsTech London returns to the U.K. sometime in the near future. Many have expressed interest in making this an annual conference, but there is no official word. I’ll keep you posted. 

Although Relative Race was a sponsor of the conference, its host, Dan J. Debenham, came in the unofficial capacity as an attendee. Nevertheless, you would not know it was an unofficial gig. Not only did he present two 15-minute introductions to the show in the Demo Theatre, he also gave away coveted Relative Race t-shirts and wrist bands to many in attendance. I cannot even count the number of selfies he took with other attendees. Dan was gracious to sit down with me in an interview and discuss the show. If you follow me on Twitter you have already heard some of the tidbits I learned about the show from this interview. There is more to come. Dan even came up with a new idea for the show during our discussion. I’d love to see this idea implemented. The current season is airing now and can be viewed on demand at BYUtv.org. Most of the shows past seasons are also available.

During RootsTech London Dan met with Ancestry to discuss the possibility of taping one episode of a future season of Relative Race in the U.K. I’ve been encouraging the show to go global and it’s exciting to see that there is this possibility moving forward since viewers watch from around the world. It was great to hear all the latest about this engaging and entertaining show. 

RootsTech London was an excellent introduction to the RootsTech brand. There were more opportunities for just about everything genealogy than any one person could access in the limited time. It left many wanting more to come in the near future. 

I would like to extend a round of applause to Jen Allen and her team for the excellent planning and execution that resulted in this great conference. I would also like to thank each of the sponsors. They help make the magic happen!

If you have not downloaded the RootsTech app, you may still do so and have access to many of the informative handouts provided by presenters. It is available for iOS and Android. Even though RootsTech London has more to offer, it’s on to RootsTech to be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City February 26-29, 2020. RootsTech Pass Giveaways are going on now! There are more giveaways to come, including mine, so I invite you to subscribe to this blog! 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador of the RootsTech Conference and RootsTech London. As such, I am provided complimentary admission and other services 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.”

© 2019 Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair 2019

On Wednesday, October 23, 2019 the National Archives of the United States will host their annual genealogy fair beginning at 10 a.m. EDT. It will be available free of charge via a live webcast on its YouTube channel. The fair will begin with welcoming remarks from the Archivist of the United States, the Honorable David S. Ferriero and followed by six informative sessions:

10:05 a.m. EDT, Session 1 — Exploring History Hub for Genealogists and Researchers

11:00 a.m. EDT, Session 2 — Preserving Personal Collections

12:00 p.m. EDT, Session 3 — Immigrant Records: More Than Just Ship Passenger Arrival Lists

  1:00 p.m. EDT, Session 4— Using National Archives Records to Research World War 1 Naval and Marine Corps Records for Genealogical Research

  2:00 p.m. EDT, Session 5 — Discovering and Researching Bureau of Indian Affairs School Records

  3:00 p.m. EDT, Session 6 — The Homestead Act: Land Records of Your Ancestors

Links are provided to download the videos, presentation slides, and handouts. The National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair is like a 1-day Genealogical Institute on Federal Records, commonly known as Gen-Fed, held each year at the National Archives and Records Administration building. The difference is price, not quality of instruction. 

The archives provide live captioning at StreamText. If you require an additional or alternative accommodation for this event, you may email KYR@nara.gov or call 202-357-5260 in advance. Transcripts will be made available at a later date. 

There is a lot going on this week in the genealogy community, so if you can’t make the live presentations, you will be able to view them at your leisure after the fair. In fact, this is the 7th year that the fair has been produced virtually and you may find interesting topics from previous years available on the National Archives YouTube channel. Nevertheless, if you can schedule the time, participating live provides an opportunity to submit questions to the presenters. 

Again, the National Archives will host its 7th annual genealogy fair this coming Wednesday, October 23, 2019 beginning at 10 a.m. EDT on its YouTube channel. For those who will be attending RootsTech London, you can catch these presentations live beginning at 3 p.m. BST the same day. 

Whether you view the live webcast or at a later date, enjoy the presentations at the 7th Annual National Archives Genealogy Fair!


©2019 Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Fall For Relative Race This Season On BYUtv

It’s time to break out a box of tissues. A new season of Relative Race premieres on BYUtv Sunday, September 22nd at 8pm ET/6pm MT. Also found at RelativeRace.com and BYUtv.org, the show brings together the power of DNA and documentary evidence to find family members for 4 teams that have never met them.

Just as seasons change in a temperate climate zone, Relative Race has modified the formula for team success each season. Nevertheless, the basic premise has remained the same. Relative Race is a 10-day race that takes place in real time for each of 4 teams. They meet a DNA relative each day. This season only married couples are represented so they will not know until they arrive at the house whose relative it is. Some team members hope to meet a biological parent. Others hope to meet whatever family they can! 

When teams arrive at their destination, they must take a city selfie and complete a challenge before they receive the address to their new relative’s place. Challenges have varied over the seasons, but they spark great ideas for family reunions.

Each team travels with a production crew and time is strictly kept. According to Dan J. Debenhem, host of Relative Race, the cameras roll from about 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day. For accurate race times, the clock is stopped whenever a crew decides to interject with a reaction shot, but the clock never stops for team-chosen breaks, such as when Joe of Team Black season 4 *needed* to wash their car…lol :-) 

Additionally, travel times are determined by estimated times provided on map apps that are not accessible to the teams. The final outcome is based on how close each team comes to their allotted time. Under or over time, the teams are ranked. First place receives a benefit for the next day, such as 5 minutes of GPS or immunity, or a 10-day benefit that can help them in the final competition. The chances of making it to day 10 is a gamble, but it is the most popular choice. The team that comes in last each day receives a strike and, after 3 strikes, that team is out of the race. 

Through the seasons of Relative Race, different combinations of family relationships have been represented as teams: married couples, brothers, sisters, brother/sister, father/son, and father/daughter. Just in case Dan or BYUtv reads this post, may I suggest a mother/son or mother/daughter team in an upcoming season? I might even know someone who’s interested. :-) 

Season 6 Teams are as follows:

  • Team Red: Ray and Nicole Campbell describe themselves as opposites. Ray is adopted and hopes to meet some of his biological family. The other teams voted that this team is “Most Likely to Trash Talk.” 
  • Team Green: DeShae and Chris Pardon have been together for 10 years. DeShae has never met a biological family member and hopes to do so during the race.
  • Team Blue: Anitra and Paul Lewis say that their strengths are also their weaknesses. Anitra was adopted and is looking for biological connections, too. She and Paul are the parents of 5-year-old Ava and hope to adopt another child if they win the $50,000 prize. 
  • Team Black: JD and Jenn Barnes have been married 29 years. As an adult JD learned a family secret from a photograph that would send anyone on a quest. JD and Jenn hope to meet as many people as possible and have fun doing it.

Now that you’ve met the teams, pop some popcorn, make a pizookie, or gather your favorite snacks Sunday night and tune in at 8 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. MT for the premiere of a new season of Relative Race! (And, don’t forget the tissues.) 

P.S. Just in case your significant other prefers Sunday Night Football, Relative Race posts the episodes soon after they air to be viewed on demand *or* subscribe to NFL Game Pass and the significant other can catch any of the games on demand in timesaving increments of about 45 minutes each. Just sayin’


©2019 Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

RootsTech: an Update on Two Events

There is a lot going on as the RootsTech team launches early registration for the 10th anniversary of RootsTech held in Salt Lake City while preparing the final details for RootsTech London, so I thought I would combine the two announcements into one! Here’s the scoop:

RootsTech 2020

The RootsTech Ambassadors are launching coverage of RootsTech 2020. For many family historians it’s the most anticipated genealogy/technology event of the year! This year’s theme is “The Story of YOU.”  RootsTech will be celebrating 10 years of pursuing our family histories together. Even if it hasn’t personally been a decade for you, it’s fun to look back and see how much the field has advanced in preservation, access, technology, and science, and, most importantly, the family connections made through these advances.

Early registration is open now! It is scheduled to end October 11, 2019. In the past Team Registration has gone into overtime, but why take that chance? For best pricing, register today!

Here’s the official press release with the details!

RootsTech 2020 SLC Opens Registration

FamilySearch International has announced that registration for RootsTech 2020 Salt Lake City is now open. RootsTech is a popular 4-day annual family history and technology conference where individuals and families are inspired to discover, share, and preserve their family roots, heritage, and stories. The 2020 conference will be held February 26–29, 2020, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. For more information, visit rootstech.org/salt-lake. Discounts are available for early registrations…

RootsTech 2020 will celebrate its 10thanniversary and the distinguished honor that it is the largest genealogy conference of its kind in the world. The conference will feature a full lineup of inspiring and well-known keynote speakers, over 300 informative sessions, including hands-on computer workshops taught by industry professionals; interactive activities and helpful exhibitors in the expo hall; and entertaining events—all designed to inspire and empower personal family discoveries.

Conference Details

The theme for RootsTech 2020 will be “The Story of YOU.” Many of the classes, keynote address, and venue décor will reflect this theme.

“At RootsTech, we believe that the stories we’re creating and preserving today are just as important as the stories of our ancestors,” said Jen Allen, event director. “Reflecting on and celebrating each of our personal journeys is an important part of family history that we are excited to explore at the 2020 conference.”

RootsTech 2020 will also introduce learning forums—new class sessions covering a variety of specialized topics including: records access and preservation, innovation and technology, and DNA. One of these forums will be offered on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

RootsTech 2020 will officially begin on Wednesday, February 26 with class sessions beginning at 8 AM MT. Wednesday’s general keynote session will begin on the main stage at 4:30 p.m. Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, will be the featured keynote speaker.

General keynote sessions on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will begin on the main stage at 11 AM MT and will lead directly into the lunch hour.

Read more about what’s new at RootsTech 2020.


Early bird discount pricing is available for a limited time on 4-day passes at just $169 (a $130 discount on regularly priced passes). Single day RootsTech passes are also available for $99. Both one-day and full conference passes include access to the popular expo hall and keynote sessions. Early bird pricing ends October 11, 2019.

Family Discovery Day

Registration for Family Discovery Day is also now open. The event takes place on Saturday, February 2[9], 2020, and is designed for families and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This free 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 make family history connections. Family Discovery Day attendees will also hae access to all the interactive activities and exhibitors found in the RootsTech expo hall. Event details, including speakers and class sessions, will be made available soon at RootsTech.org. The event is free, but registration is required.

RootsTech London

RootsTech London will be held at the ExCel London October 24-26, just 36 days from now, and the RootsTech app has been updated! It contains the schedule and other pertinent information for this conference. Although the syllabi/handouts are not yet listed in the app, the documents are scheduled to be uploaded in early October and will likely contain helpful family history tips for everyone, even those #NotAtRootsTechLondon. If you already have the app installed on your device, you can update it simply by opening the app, selecting RootsTech London 2019, and clicking “open.” If you haven’t downloaded the app, it is available at the App Store or on Google Play.

If you haven’t heard yet, Dan Snow, Kadeena Cox, and Donny Osmond will be keynote speakers. Steve Rockwood, CEO at FamilySearch International, will also address the RootsTech audience. There’s still time to register. So if you’ll be in London, join us for this inaugural event!

There are still many announcement forthcoming. Subscribe to this blog for continued updates or follow me on Twitter for more expedient notifications as information becomes available.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador of the RootsTech Conference and RootsTech London. As such, I am provided complimentary admission and other services 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.”

© 2019 Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Genealogy Case Studies: Examples of How to Play the Game

Some of you may be familiar with genealogy football. Some of you may not. Some of you may not care. That’s okay, but just as film study is important to a football team’s success, case studies are important to the genealogist.

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) began to codified standards back in 2000. Since that time Genealogy Standards has become rule book in the field. As we have learned, the rules are subject to change and expanded. The latest edition was released back in March. Although there are standards, every genealogist has their own playbook. BCG has not prescribed one way to research, although there are best practices. Reviewing case studies is like studying another team’s playbook. There is so much to glean and apply to your own research.   

Case studies are also like watching film from another team and there’s an excellent example that was presented at the 2019 Joy Reisinger Memorial Lecture Series held at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City last Friday. 

Enough Football: What is Reasonably Exhaustive Research?

Elizabeth Shown Mills presented her lecture, “Reasonably Exhaustive Research: The First Criteria for Genealogical Proof.” This particular case took her 1002 hours—no small feat—but the outcome had many in virtual attendance cheering her success as they experienced their own ah-ha moments.

I highly recommend that you download the syllabus, which provides a diagram and an explanation of her “Bull’s Eye” as well as a list of self-evaluation questions. It also provides leads to further study including background for the case study presented, a list of resources to pursue self-instruction, and examples of reasonably exhaustive research (RER).

At the end of the day, another 1000-hour case study was presented by Rick Sayre titled, “Reconstructing an Entrepreneurial Woman’s Life: From Family Intrigue to Water Rents.” Although it has received fewer views thus far, the lecture and syllabus are very informative, including information on city directories and other sources. I was actually in attendance at this lecture. There were some technical difficulties, but the lecture resumed and LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, the newly elected BCG President, and I both commented that we learned about a new tax. It might be new to you, too!

Where Do I Find Case Studies?

Legacy Family Tree Webinars is a great place to find case studies for viewing. The weekly webinars are available for one week without a subscription. For a nominal fee of $49.95 these webinars can be accessed anytime, along with the accompanying syllabi, and other benefits, including bonus webinars.

If you prefer reading actual text, there are 5 genealogical journals that provide excellent case studies for your enlightenment:

The American Genealogist (TAG)

The Genealogist

The National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ)

The New England Historical and Genealogical Register (The Register)

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record  (The Record)

Digital access to TAG is available through the New England Historical and Genealogical Society (NEHGS). Membership to NEHGS also provides access to its own publication, The Register. The Genealogist requires an annual subscription and it is published twice a year in the spring and in the fall. The NGSQ is published by the National Genealogical Society and included with membership. The Record is associated with the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B).

This summer I found an article written by Thomas W. Jones titled, “Getting the Most from Case Studies in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.”  This complimentary article is available on the NGS website.

If the cost of subscription to any of these journals is prohibitive, take heart. There may be a library near you that houses past and present issues in its periodicals section. 

By the way, not all case studies require 1000+ hours of research. Sometimes it may just feel like it. But, if you’re wondering what it takes to prove your case, Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones will provide answers. This book is on the recommended reading list for just about every course in genealogical studies. 

Published case studies are a lifelong learning opportunity. No one knows everything, but we can all learn from each other and expand our knowledge and skill through case studies. This is what community, the genealogy community, is all about!  

Here’s to an exciting season of genealogical research!

Cheering you on from the bleachers!

Note: Although every blogger can use funds to cover expenses and publish more often, this post does not contain any affiliate links. 

© 2019 Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies Announced Its Intent to Merge with the National Genealogical Society

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Building, Washington, D.C.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announced its intent to merge with the National Genealogical Society (NGS) today at its annual conference being held in Washington, D.C. Both organizations have unique but complementary missions. I envision that as these two organizations combine they will serve the family history and genealogy community better than ever.

FGS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that was founded in 1976 with a two-fold mission to “advocat[e] for the preservation and access of records” and “provid[e] resources that enable genealogical organizations to succeed in pursuing their missions.”

NGS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that was organized in 1903. According to its website, “NGS has a long history of leading the way in genealogy and produced some remarkable achievements. It was the first national genealogical organization.” It publishes the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ), a must read, and offers a number of cloud-based educational programs and notable books.

The deadline for this merger to be completed is “no later than October 1, 2020.” The organization will ultimately remain titled, The National Genealogical Society.

In an email received from Paul Nauta, Sr. Marketing Communications Manager at FamilySearch, David Rencher, FamilySearch’s Chief Genealogical Officer (CGO), called it “a win/win for all genealogists at the local, state and international levels. FamilySearch is thrilled with the leadership of both organizations coming together to better serve all genealogists and family historians.”

Additionally, Salt Lake City will host the NGS Family History Conference May 20-23, 2020 with the theme, “Echoes of Our Ancestors.” It is “a premier four-day event for Family Historians, Professional Genealogists, Hobbyists, and History Buffs.” Registration for the conference opens December 2, 2019. The genealogy community has the opportunity to look forward to many new and exciting announcements!

© 2019 Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.