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 had access challenges 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 of genealogy 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 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 delivering 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 thank you and 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! 

*Actually, I was one of many in attendance where time limited the opportunity to meet Donny, but Donny and I did briefly speak to one another in passing and he was willing to hold Henry the Sleuth, the genealogy sloth, for the ambassador photo op so I have no complaints.

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.

Pricing

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.

I’m almost too late to give away a 3-day pass to RootsTech London!

It’s true! I’m almost too late to give away a 3-day pass to the inaugural RootsTech London genealogy conference! The conference will be held Thursday, October 24th through Saturday, October 26th, 2019 at ExCel London! See RootsTech.org for further details. 

My deadline for the giveaway is August 16th, so there’s still time. It’s going to be simple! 

Recently I posted a photo to Instagram of an interactive board I discovered on a wall in the hallway leading to my research destination. It asked a simple question. “If you could say anything to one of your ancestors, what would it be?” I also posted a series of photos with responses given by unknown individuals. Some who saw the post added their own thoughts.

This question has been fun to think about, so if you would like a chance to win a free 3-day pass to RootsTech London, here is what I ask you to do:

respond to the question in the comments below

OR

go to this specific Instagram post and submit a response of your own

OR

find this post pinned to my Twitter profile and post your response as a comment

OR

find my neglected Facebook page and do the same

OR

connect with me via my Let’s Talk Family History page, which rarely is neglected.

Since it is impossible to have been to RootsTech London and speak from personal experience, I can’t report on the actual event except what is posted on the site. I can tell you that the RootsTech team does an amazing job each year to host a spectacular event. RootsTech London will mirror the elements of RootsTech held Salt Lake City and this is what I have I looked forward to each year for the past decade:

  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. RootsTech London will host Donny Osmond as a keynote speaker and a few that have yet to be announced, but I hear are not to be missed! 
  2. RootsTech offers a customized learning opportunity with over 150 sessions from which choose. A common problem for those attending is that there are too many choices and the participants are given 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. For those who loved WDYTYA Live, this will be your happy place.

This 3-day pass allows entrance to the daily keynote addresses, your choice of over 150 RootsTech sessions, entry into the Expo Hall, and all of the evening events. This 3-day pass does NOT include transportation to and from the conference, lodging accommodations, meals, or any other expenses that you may incur. It’s just the 3-day pass.

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

If you would like a chance to win, here is what I ask you to do:

respond to the question in the comments below

OR

go to this specific Instagram post and submit a response of your own

OR

find this post pinned to my Twitter profile and post your response as a comment

OR

find my neglected Facebook page and do the same

OR

connect with me via my Let’s Talk Family History page.

Participants may submit more than one entry if the entries are submitted separately. Each entry is one chance to win. This contest is void where prohibited.

Not Your Cup of Tea?

If you’re not interested in responding to the question above, but you’d like a chance to win, send me a description of one of your genealogy touchdowns, a.k.a., genealogy happy dance moments. Tis’ the season for genealogy football and another way to enter.

What is a genealogy touchdown?

In my opinion, 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). This option is open to all interested in family history and genealogy, including those who do not like American 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 in future posts. If your submission is used, proper attribution will be given. If you’d rather not be quoted or you would rather remain anonymous, please indicate this with your submission or through the Let’s Talk Family History link. 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 contact information for any purpose other than entering you into this contest and to notify you if you are the winner. The contest runs from Monday, August 12, 2019 to Friday, August 16th, 2019 at 5 p.m. MT. 

The winner will be notified that evening by whatever means they entered. If you have already registered for RootsTech London and your entry is drawn, RootsTech will reimbursed you for the full amount that you’ve prepaid.

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

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador to 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.

Family History Library Block Party 2019 Is History

South Temple is blocked off ’cause there’s a party going on downtown!

The sign read, “ROAD CLOSED.” It was time for the annual Family History Library Block Party! Everyone likes a party, right? Genealogists and family historians love reunions, right? Well, this event exceeded expectations! Held Saturday, June  15th in Salt Lake City from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., it will be held again next year. The lines were long, but during my brief conversation with David E. Rencher, FamilySearch CGO and the director of the Family History Library, I was told that the lines will be addressed next year. There will be more artists to paint faces, more artists to turn those in attendance into cartoons. Just more!

The idea of the block party began in 2015 when A.J. Jacobs, everybody’s cousin and author of It’s All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the Family Tree, hosted the Global Family Reunion in New York City. Many couldn’t make it to New York, so reunion planners decided to hold satellite reunions all around the world. The Family History Library was just one destination. If my memory serves me, there were about 40 global reunions going on simultaneously. It was a hit!

Since that time the Family History Library has made this event a tradition. It’s a great family event with entertainment and activities for everyone. Even though the lines were long this year, the spirit was festive. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I thought for this post it would be appropriate to share the moments I captured during all of the fun:

I was greeted by the tent that provided shade for the musical performances!

This scene only happens once a year at the Family History Library!

Turn yourself into a cartoon with this artist, Carolyn Richardson of Carolyn Richardson Caricatures!

You just might want to have your family’s faces painted!

Let your children be the ones to climb the wall for a change!

There were slides and fun for the active bunch!

After all of the activity, why not have some refreshment? There was plenty!

Relative Race Team Red may be in for a surprise during Season 7! Get ready ’cause Season 6 will be airing this Fall!

This family was framed!

Jenny Oaks Baker met with those in attendance after her performance.

This is the FamilySearch version of a mirrored tree. Think DNA cousins!

When it says 2 p.m., the party shuts down at 2 p.m. It was amazing to watch how fast Family History Library employees took down this event!

There was no more climbing and the Relative Race cars were getting ready to take off.

A sign of a good leader is to be with those you lead. Can you spot David Rencher? He was in the thick of the party cleanup. (Pictured here in his role as director…lol.)

The time whirled past! The event was over. But, there was an afterparty going on inside the Family History Library!

I caught up with Tara Bergeson at the face painting canopy. In her day-to-day life, Tara manages the scheduling of upcoming sessions at RootsTech London and RootsTech. (And, her shirt reminds us that family *is* the original social network!)

I captured Jenny Oaks Baker’s performance of “The Greatest Show,” which I have posted to my YouTube channel for your enjoyment. There were other great songs performed, such as from the Beetles, think RootsTech London, and an original tune that will be featured on Jenny’s new album titled, Jenny Oaks Baker and Family, featuring her daughter, Hannah, and her son, Matthew. Filming was obscured by a few distracting individuals, but maybe an audio track can extracted. It is after all a casual event. Look for Jenny and her family’s album to be released at the end of the summer.

Just a reminder, the Discovery Center at the Family History Library is open daily Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. It’s a great place to begin to explore your family history, record a story, or conduct a family history interview.

And, as for upcoming events, RootsTech London will be held October 24th-26th at the ExCel Center. There are free pass giveaways going on now. I have a pass to giveaway, so tell your friends who may be interested to subscribe to this blog for automated notifications. Can’t make it to London? Registration for the virtual pass will be announced soon!

RootsTech will be held in Salt Lake City February 26th-29th at the Salt Palace Convention Center. There will be more information posted here about this great event that will be celebrating its 10th year! There will definitely be a party going on at RootsTech, but more importantly, it is my hope that all of us will continue to expand our knowledge of our families—connect and belong. Family—it’s what it’s all about!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador to 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.

FYI—Family History Library Block Party To Be Held On Saturday, June 15th

It’s a party! A block party is coming to the Family History Library on Saturday, June 15, 2019. It’s become tradition—and families love traditions! As in the past, the party will begin at 10 a.m. and wind down about 2 p.m.

The Family History Library is located at 35 North West Temple in Salt Lake City. North and South Temple will be blocked off for the outdoor activities, such as balloon artists, bounce houses, face painting, family history arts and crafts, pioneer games and living history activities, a rock climbing wall, and, of course, a FamilySearch booth. There will also be prize give-aways.

There will be an eclectic mix of live entertainment throughout the day AND the cars used for filming Relative Race will be on display. Relative Race has made available a list of road trip activities and conversation cards available for download whether or not you are able to attend this event, so check them out.

Lunch will be available from food trucks onsite: Bruges Waffle Bus, Cupbop Korean BBQ, Fancy Freezings Diner, Lucky Slice Pizza, Red Food Truck Peruvian Cuisine, and Ostler Snowie Snow Cones. There are also many restaurants nearby.

Of course it would not be a Family History Library block party without a focus on family history! There will be classes on photo preservation. Scanners will be available for your use all day. Episodes of Relative Race will be shown in the main floor classroom. The discovery experiences will be available from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Opportunities to research will be available throughout the day as well. :-)

For more information, check out the Family Search Wiki.

 

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

On This Day Of Remembrance: the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery & Memorial

The Memorial Building of the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial

Recently while I was in Italy, I had the opportunity to visit the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and pay my respects to the soldiers who sacrificed so much for freedom and, specifically, to free the Italian people from their fascist regime at the time. It was World War II and the Allied forces were sent through Sicily to protect Mediterranean access to the ports, break through the Gustav line, and free the city of Rome. I have a personal connection to these events. My cousin’s grandfather was one of approximately 3,000 Italian civilians killed when Allied troops bombed Rome. World War II always felt distant, but my soul wept for my cousin as he recounted the events of that day and I watched as he attempted to reconcile his feelings of personal loss as he learned that he had an American cousin. The war also became more personal to me. 

The cost of war is incalculable. As I looked upon the alignment of grave stones, I saw evidence of the American sacrifice. The Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial was dedicated on July 30, 1956. There are 7,861 burials arranged in arcs on 77 acres of land. Four hundred ninety soldiers are tombed in 488 graves whose identity remains unknown. Latin crosses number 7,738 with 122 Stars of David standing intermittently by their sides. Two Medal of Honor recipients are buried in this cemetery along with 26 sets of brothers. The cost of war is incalculable. 

“If ever proof were needed that we fought for a cause and not for conquest, it could be found in these cemeteries . Here was our only conquest: all we asked of Italy was enough of her soil in which to bury our gallant dead.”

Lt. General Mark W. Clark

The Sicily-Rome American Cemetery is located in the town of Nettuno about 38 miles south of Rome. A chapel was erected with the names of 3,095 soldiers who were still missing in action, lost or buried at sea at the time the memorial was built. If the soldier has been found, it is noted by a marker. It also has a map room. The Visitors Center is informative. Laden with artifacts, films, and interactive displays, it seeks to educate those in attendance about the role the Allied troops fulfilled in Italy during World War II.

This is not the only American cemetery on foreign lands that commemorates the service and sacrifice of members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The most noted is the Normandy American Cemetery in France. For more information about these cemeteries and where they are located, visit the American Battle Monuments Commission website at http://www.abmc.gov. 

“Time will not dim the glory of their deeds.”

 —General of the Armies John J. Pershing

World War II is only one of many wars that provides information about the times in which our ancestors lived. The records left behind can provide much context to their day-to-day lives. One essential question when researching any individual is, “Did this person serve in a war or is this person related to a person who served in a war?” If so, there is history for you to discover. One of the first places to look to learn if an ancestor served in the military is the 1910 and 1930 United States Federal Census. These censuses do not gather information about all American wars, but it’s a good place to start. 

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census can be accessed for free through familysearch.org. It is also found on ancestry.com, findmypast.com and fold3.com. The enumerator was to asked if the person was a “survivor of the Union or Confederate Army or Navy.” Abbreviated responses are recorded in column 30: “UA” = Union Army, “UN” = Union Navy, “CA” Confederate Army, and “CN” Confederate Navy. 

The 1930 U.S. Federal Census can be accessed for free through familysearch.org. It is also found on ancestry.com and fold3.com. A Civil War veteran will have the abbreviation “CW” in column 31. Other veterans will have the following abbreviations: “Sp” = Spanish-American War, “Phil” = Philippine Insurrection, “Box” = Boxer Rebellion, “Mex” = Mexican Expedition, and “WW” = World War I.

All U.S. Federal Censuses can be accessed at the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA). It is the greatest repository for information about your ancestor’s United States military service. Original records can be viewed onsite. Microfilmed records may be found in many branches located throughout the United States. Some microfilmed records can be found at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah and other repositories. Check the NARA website for more information. 

World War I and World War II draft registration cards can be found for free on familysearch.org. They are also available on ancestry.com and fold3.com. Findmypast.com only has the United States World War I draft registration cards. The cards indicate registration, but not necessarily service. Be aware that an ancestor may have filled out more than one card for World War I because there was more than one draft registration. I have found additional and helpful information on a second card.

Brothers-in-Arms by Paul Manship

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance. Let us never forget the sacrifice of those who fought that we might be free. This particular sculpture stands at the Memorial Building of the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery. It is titled, Brothers-in-Arms and was created by Paul Manship. It represents two branches of our military forces—Army and Navy. It is moving to witness this work and consider the relationships among soldiers as they fought in the trenches for a common cause. It was not a time of reflection for them. It was a time for action.

May we remember why they fought and who were the recipients of their sacrifice.

May we pass the torch responsibly to the next generation! 

 

If you need assistance in discovering your ancestors who served in the military, contact me. I’d be happy to help.

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