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 

“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 It is also found on, and 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 It is also found on and 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 They are also available on and 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.



It’s the Relative Race Season Finale!

Relative Race has become tradition at our house. When I learned at RootsTech 2019 that the season 5 premiere was going to conflict with our own family’s 10-day journey to Italy, I had to think about it…lol :-) You probably guessed that, hands down, the plans for our Italian journey won. Nothing compares to meeting new found family or returning to see family members that have been recently discovered.

In contrast to the premiere, the Relative Race finale will air TONIGHT at 9pm ET/7pm MT on this rainy evening and our family will gather here at home. This year my son requested that the theme for dinner reflect our heritage—Zuppa Tuscano. The recipe is found at the end of this post.

Season 5 was filled with so many choice moments. From Team Red’s (Maria and Elizabeth) gratitude tour on a quest to find their biological parents to Team Blue’s (Chonta and Demetrius) desire to meet and greet Demetrius’s biological father, a box of tissues was required in large supply at times when viewing these episodes. A good cry, especially happy tears, is good for the soul. 

“Ultimately it’s all about family.” —Dan J. Debenham, host of Relative Race

Tonight Team Red and Team Blue face off in western challenges to compete for the $50,000 prize. Team Red is competitive and athletic. They came in first a number of times during the past 9 Relative Race days. Team Blue are former Marines. To say they are competitive would be an understatement. They too have come in first a couple of times. Both teams have received mystery boxes whose worth will be revealed at the end of the competition. I think the winner will come down to who had the best night’s sleep the day before the finale. Every team I have ever interviewed mentioned the demand of the 10-day schedule. [Although this season travel to the teams’ first destinations were given 2 days. Team Black had over a 17-hour allotted time to reach Davie, Florida. Exhausting!]  

Relative Race is fun and engaging. It changes lives on and off the screen. I was recently among a group of parents. When Relative Race was mentioned, I was not surprised by the show’s popularity. One set of parents shared the joy Relative Race brings into their son’s life. One Sunday night the family was visiting grandparents and returned too late to watch the show when it aired live on BYUtv. This son has autism. If you understand autism, you understand the importance of routine. Because BYUtv makes the show readily available online once it airs, the family watched the show and the boy didn’t have to miss a thing!  

Michael and Austen, Team Red, were the winners of the $50,000 prize on Season 4 of Relative Race.

Relative Race is about families and friends watching families find and connect with one another. There is something magical and meaningful about the shared experiences of Relative Race. I hope that you’ll take time to watch the season finale with your family tonight at 9pm ET/7pm MT on BYUtv or at If you’re reading this at a later time, no problem. has you covered. You may watch all episodes from seasons 2-5 on demand. Relative Race is a great show to binge-watch on a rainy day or if you need an afternoon break from the heat of the day or any time you have a reason to chill. 

While in Italy, our family took the time to watch the Relative Race premiere, but not live TV at 2 a.m. With a cousin that asked to take a selfie, I have a feeling that he too may have seen the show. Maybe it’s time for Relative Race to go global. It’s a thought.

As summer approaches, if you’re planning such a journey, take the advice of Michael of Team Red from Season 4. He told me at RootsTech to make sure that I “pack my patience.” I did. Fortunately, I didn’t need it—at least this time around.

P.S. Here’s our recipe just in case you, too, are experiencing colder than normal and/or wet, cloudy days.) :

Zuppa Toscano

1/2 lb. Italian sausage (hot or sweet)

4 cups chicken broth

2 large potatoes washed and diced

3 cloves or 1 tsp. minced garlic

1 bunch of scallions, chopped

1-2 cups kale, chopped

1 cup of half & half or milk of any percent or just leave it out (that’s Italian!)

salt and pepper to taste

a sprinkle of red chili flakes (if you like it spicy)

  1. Fry the sausage until brown and drain off excess grease.
  2. Add chicken broth and potatoes and bring to a boil.
  3. Add garlic and scallions, boil until potatoes are soft (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add kale and boil for 5 more minutes.
  5. Add half & half, or milk, on low for another few minutes (or skip this step).
  6. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add red chili flakes, if you like it spicy.

Makes about 6 cups of soup. One cup is approximately 280 calories.


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

RootsTech 2019—It’s a Wrap!

After 4 days of family history and genealogy immersion, it’s a wrap! RootsTech was filled with inspiring keynotes, educational sessions, a dynamic Expo Hall, and great entertainment. Jason Hewlett was back as emcee, who entertained us with musical impressions and song parodies, including a song titled, Let It Go. [I link to this particular video at the request of a few mothers who know. Jason was kind enough to direct me to this recording when I asked about it on Twitter. Thank you, Jason!]

After the keynote, there was an opportunity to interview Thom Reed, Michael B. Moore, Elder David A. Bednar, Elder Gary E. Stevenson, and Martin Luther King III.

In his keynote address, Steve Rockwood said what many of us know: “Family history is NOT a spectator sport. Nothing really happens until you act.” The focus this year was on healing that which needs healing within families. Steve Rockwood surprised many by inviting Elder David A. Bednar of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the stage to announce a $2 million contribution to the International African American Museum Center for Family History (@IAAMCFH) to be built in Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston is the port to which many enslaved people arrived. Construction for the Center will begin mid-2019 with an estimated completion date in 2021. Audience members laughed when Elder Bednar said that the Church no longer issues checks, but the electronic transfer would take place tomorrow. By now the transaction is history.

Patricia Heaton graced the stage on Thursday with talk of family, Hollywood, and motherhood. The audience laughed when she shared how guests in her parents’ home responded to her mother’s prayers at the dinner table. She also spoke of her perfect shoe size (6) and how she was sent to Milan as a shoe model. This many seem like a small insignificant piece of trivia but I noticed that on the heels of The Edge Effect, a shoe theme was being made manifest this year. 

The following day Saroo Brierley chronicled his miraculous journey for the RootsTech audience. I had the opportunity to participate in an interview with Saroo. I asked him about a book that I heard is being written about his two mothers. His face brightened as he spoke of Sue Brierley, his adoptive mum. She is in the process of writing this book. She kept detailed diaries of their family’s experience while he was growing up and he said that her story laid the foundation for his story. He hopes that the book will be released in about a year, but could provide no further information. 

Jake Shimabukuro speaks with his whole soul through his music and his shoes entertain me. He said that he only plays one ukulele at any given time rather than have many models. He discussed how an instrument needs to learn to respond to the artist and that this takes practice. Of Japanese descent, he mentioned in the interview that a television program wanted to discover his roots. A few months later the show came back and said that they could not find anything, although he knows the cities in Japan where the paper trail ends.  

And for many participants, the sessions offered at RootsTech hold out hope for answers to scaling those brick walls encountered in pursuit of our family’s history. I statistically evaluated my own RootsTech attendance and discovered that I only made it to 42% of the sessions I selected. How about you? You can still download the syllabi from the RootsTech app

Unlike last year, there appeared to be sufficient room in just about every session. The one exception was Relative Race; this session is like a family reunion that takes place each year since 2016 and attendance continues to grow. So next year … 

And not to disappoint fans, but the news at the conference is that the show will once again return to one season per year! Relative Race Season 5 begins Sunday, March 10th, but Season 6 may begin airing as late as Fall 2020. 

I’ve found that RootsTech brings together an international community of genealogists and family historians. Not only were all 50 of the United States represented, but 38 different countries. There is nowhere in the world like it! Visiting with others can be just as educational as attending a session. Nevertheless, I have already started watching the recorded sessions at and the virtual pass is still available for purchase. The field of family history and genealogy is synonymous with lifelong learning.

Speaking of which, the DNA Learning Center was a popular choice for many participants. The purpose of the Center in the Expo Hall was to educate those in attendance about the basics of DNA. This opportunity was independent of any particular company and answered such questions as, “What types of DNA are tested for ancestry purposes?, What can I do with my DNA results?, and What in the world is a centimorgan (cM)?” This center was only a month in its planning. With such short notice and evident success, I think this is an element of the RootsTech conference that is here to stay. 

Connecting through music and dance was the theme of this year’s entertainment. The Edge Effect’s excellent performance and DNA reveal, and Derek Hough performing with the award-winning BYU Ballroom team, provided tired minds with a little mental refreshment. If you happened to miss the performances, The Edge Effect was recorded during Wednesday’s session.

There were over 100 entries submitted to the RootsTech FilmFest in 3 categories: youth, amateur, and professional. The prize winners have been announced, but the 12 finalists’ projects are available on

The winners:

On the final day of the conference I had the opportunity to sit down with Jen Allen, Director of Events, about RootsTech 2019. It was interesting to have her compare and reflect on this year’s successes in light of last year’s fiascos. The introduction of PowerHour, larger rooms for sessions, no badge scanning—with the exception of labs and booths in the Expo Hall, increased the numbers of session per day, lunch for all participants on the first day when food services are not open for business, the Ask Me Anything Crew in turquoise, the Roots Crew in pink, and the DNA Basics Learning Center were all new. Even the keynote sessions were later in the day to allow participants the option of sleeping in rather than miss one pillar of the conference plan. Last year, she knew on day one what needed to change. This year she is satisfied from the initial feedback.The changes have been well received. Nevertheless, the RootsTech team reviews every evaluation and it will only be after this exercise that decisions will be made about RootsTech 2020. So when you receive your survey, complete it and submit it. The team has proven that they listen.

Amy Archibald and children

On a personal note, I would like to thank Amy Archibald who kept ambassadors up-to-date throughout the year. I would also like to thank Anne Metcalf and Virginio Baptista for all that they did to support the ambassadors in their respective duties during the conference. Anne continually provided timely updates and reminders concerning interviews. Virginio was there to film and photograph moments that may not have been captured otherwise. Thank you! You were awesome!

Anne Metcalf and Virginio Baptista

Now it’s on to RootsTech London! It will be held October 24-26, 2019 at the ExCel Centre. This 3 day conference will feature 150 sessions, keynote speakers, the Expo Hall, and evening entertainment. Unlike Salt Lake City, RootsTech London will not offer lab classes or host a Family Discovery Day this year. Registration is now open! 

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.

It’s the Premiere of RootsTech 2019!

RootsTech Ambassadors 2019!

It’s a wrap for the Oscars and the premiere of RootsTech 2019! The Media Banquet was held last night at the Salt Palace Convention Center and it did not disappoint. Those who have been with RootsTech from its inception and those who are new this year joined together to listen to Jason Hewlett, emcee of RootsTech, Jen Allen, Director of Events, and Tom Gill, Vice President at FamilySearch.

For those not at RootsTech, log in at

Check-in is a breeze this year—no lines anywhere! Individuals with turquoise t-shirts that boldly say “Ask Me Anything” are everywhere to direct you to the appropriate meeting place. The dinner was delicious and it provided an opportunity to visit with old friends and meet new ones.

Relatives at RootsTech is back and Jason Hewlett demonstrated the unique features of this app. Integrated sections like All About Me, Record My Story, Picture My Heritage, and Compare-a-Face allow anyone to preserve family information and have fun with their ancestors on FamilyTree. Family Search encourages everyone to download the app or log in at Two things to remember: the results are only as accurate as the input of data and the FamilySearch FamilyTree is a public tree for information on the deceased. FamilySearch does privatize information about the living. Nevertheless, never add an adult living person without his or her permission.

Jen Allen shared one of her favorite submissions for the RootsTech Film Festival! There were over 100 submissions in the 3 categories. Winners will be announced each day with the Grand Prize winner being announced on Saturday. Tom Gill thanked everyone for being here at RootsTech.


We had the opportunity to visit with everyone after the event. I caught Jen Baldwin, North America Data Licensing Manager at Findmypast, having a bit of fun with Else Churchhill, the genealogist at the Society of Genealogists in London, and others from the British Isles. Myko Clelland, the Family Historian & Licensing/Outreach Manager from Findmypast was hiding in that booth as well.

There is a lot to look forward to at RootsTech. Jen revealed that Steve Rockwood’s keynote will have key announcements so you won’t want to miss it! It will be live streamed at

When I arrived at the Salt Palace Convention Center last night, Relative Race was on display. Relative Race has an interactive booth in the Expo Hall beginning tonight at 6 p.m. I learned from social media that Jerica and Joe Henline, Team Black from Season 4, will be in attendance. On Thursday, February 28th at 4:30 p.m. Dan J. Debenham, host of Relative Race, as well as teams from Season 5 will will present in 250A of the Salt Palace Convention Center.

For those #NotAtRootsTech, enjoy live streaming beginning at 9:30 a.m. The keynote address by Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Just in case live streaming captures your interest to the point you want to travel to the venue, day passes are available at Benefits include the amazing Expo Hall, interactive displays, expertise to answer your individual questions and the association with those who are as passionate as you about family history and genealogy. But, if you’re #NotAtRootsTech and live streaming, recorded sessions, and the virtual pass will not answer your questions, contact me. I will take your question to the designated person or booth to see what they can do and get back with you.

Whether at #RootsTech or #NotAtRootsTech, have a marvelous day!

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.

RootsTech 2019 Is Almost Here! Are You Ready?

The RootsTech team announced today that the conference will be receiving attendees from all 50 of the United States and from 37 different countries! It truly is an international event and there are plenty of ways to participate!

Each year RootsTech improves on its direct communication to its vast audience. Whether you subscribe by email, follow on social media—like Twitter—and/or register for its blog, you are already in the know about this international conference. But, in case you haven’t heard, the RootsTech team has secured some great keynote speakers this year, over 300 sessions to attend, an amazing Expo Hall—the genealogy-technology Mecca, with a few additional opportunities and services.


First, the keynote speakers this year are FamilySearch’s own Steve Rockwood, Patricia Heaton, Saroo Brierley, and Jake Shimabukuro. I remember Steve Rockwood’s first keynote address as CEO of FamilySearch at RootsTech 2016. I wrote about it for the FamilySearch blog. Maybe you remember it, too. He suggested that family historians are heart specialists that can bring deep and meaningful experiences to our families. This year’s theme is still a mystery, at least for me.

On Thursday Patricia Heaton will be the RootsTech guest keynote. Also known as Debra Barone from the hit television series, Everybody Loves Raymond, Patricia carved out her place as a star when, in 2000, she was the first to win a Primetime Emmy among the cast with an encore win the following year as the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. In 2002 she published her book, Motherhood and Hollywood: How to Get A Job Like Mine. As her career advanced she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012! She followed this with a series on the Food Network, Patricia Heaton Parties, that won her the 2016 Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Culinary Program. Recently she published a cookbook, Patricia Heaton’s Food for Family and Friends: 100 Favorite Recipes for a Busy, Happy Life.

Saroo Brierley will join the stage on Friday. If his name is unfamiliar to you, check out Netflix, or another source, and watch the movie Lion before Friday. Based on his 2014 book, A Long Way Home: A Memoir, this is an amazing story that has touch so many hearts. It depicts the longing for family, even when among loved ones, and how technology played a part to unite him with family over the miles and through the years. Nominated for 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, some have suggested that a person watch this movie with a box of tissues, some have wished that they invested in Kleenex, but I find this movie heartwarming and endearing.

On Saturday Jake Shimabukuro will be on stage. While I do not know if he’ll play “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” a song posted to YouTube that went viral before he knew of YouTube, I’m sure that the RootsTech audience, both onsite and virtual, will be in for a real musical treat. His latest recording is The Greatest Day. A ukulele sensation, who knew?

I’ve said it before, the RootsTech team brings together 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!


Whether you’re onsite, participating virtually, or just plan to catch the recorded sessions as time allows, this app is for YOU! Available for iOS and Android, the ratings do not seem to reflect my experience. It’s been a great resource!

There are handouts for many sessions that you can download to your device or email to yourself. If you need a printed copy, you can do that, too! The app is updated about every hour so if there is a discrepancy between the website and the app, go with the information on the app.

The full conference schedule is available with the ability to star each session that you’re inclined to attend and this will add the session to your personal schedule. (Even with the live-streamed sessions, the recorded sessions, and the virtual pass, I have one hour with five possible sessions to attend.🤫) You can share this information with friends, take notes for the session and, finally, rate the session once you attend it. Not sure which session would be ideal for you? Sometimes it’s a challenge, but consider your personal family history goals, check out the speakers’ bios, and review the handouts. This should help you make an informed decision.

With all of the session information transferred to “My Schedule,” you can then set up reminders so that you can stay on track. Tyler Stahle shows you how in this Road to RootsTech video. You can also added to your schedule meetups from various organizations and groups with whom you associate.

There are other interesting aspects to the RootsTech app so take the time to explore it. Just a hint for those who identify themselves with more than one first and/or last name—when filling out your profile, your name will be alphabetized by the first name you place in the surname field. Two-surname individuals may be difficult to find if they place both surnames in the surname field, but go by their last name, such as Elizabeth Garrett Anderson.  If Elizabeth goes by the surname “Anderson,” Elizabeth would place “Elizabeth Garrett” in the first field and “Anderson” in the surname field. But, if Elizabeth goes by the surname “Garrett Anderson,” she would place “Elizabeth” in the first field and “Garrett Anderson” in the surname, or last name, field. Then, under the “Attendees” section of the app, your friends can find you where they expect to find you. There’s been some confusion about the “Attendees” and “Speakers” alphabetical listings in the app, so check both places if you can’t find someone.


If you haven’t been to the Salt Palace, this Road to RootsTech video will give you an idea of the expansive area that houses the latest in genealogy and technology products to assist you in your research. In all of my years attending this conference and its predecessor, I can offer this advice: be prepared to buy, but don’t be sold! There are many useful products and subscriptions to purchase, but know what will best suit your research plan and budget. With that said, RootsTech is one of the best places to purchase genealogy software, subscriptions, DNA kits, and a few crafty items to decorate your home.


This year RootsTech is offering basic classes to inform those new to genetic genealogy about what DNA can do to assist them in their research. From what I understand, these classes are independent of the vendors in the Expo Hall. RootsTech was seeking licensed science educators to provide this portion of a RootsTech education. I regret that my only contribution is that I updated my article in preparation for RootsTech, which I titled, “RootsTech 2019 Playbook for the Hail Mary of Genealogy—DNA.” It may be helpful to you as well. Here is the schedule:

FOR THOSE #NOTATROOTSTECH, HERE’S THE LIVE-STREAM-AT-A-GLANCE CHART:These live-streamed sessions will be recorded and available after the conference.


There are also other sessions that will be recorded, so if you are at the Salt Palace Convention Center and deciding between 2 or more sessions, scroll down and check this list at It may help you in making your decision onsite. These sessions are being recorded, but not live streamed, and will be available to everyone shortly after the last day of the conference. I have placed them in a table to view at a glance for your convenience: This table is accurate at the time of publishing, but the RootsTech app is updated hourly so confirm any information that is important to you.


There is so much more that is being offered at RootsTech this year, but let me mention one last option for participation. If you cannot make it to Salt Lake City to be onsite, if the live streaming and recorded sessions leave you wanting more, there is the virtual pass. It is a stand alone pass for those not attending the conference and a discounted add-on if you are attending onsite. This pass can be purchased up to 2 months after the conference. These sessions will be posted 10-15 days after the conference. Those registered will receive notice of availability by email. The individual may view any of the 18 sessions up to one year from RootsTech 2019.

However you will be participating in RootsTech 2019, enjoy this opportunity to further your education in the pursuit of your family tree! I’ll do my best to keep you posted!

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.

Henry the Sloth Becomes Henry the Sleuth at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy

Henry the Sleuth Genealogy & Other Adventure Series

It’s been 6 years! Six years since I attended the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG). I’m not a stranger to it. I’ve known about it since its inception. It replaced a winter genealogy conference that took place for a couple of days each January. SLIG was different in concept. Unlike a conference, an institute allows a person to pursue more concentrated learning about a particular topic. There is always more to learn as it relates to genealogy.

This year the course offerings were exceptional. Upon review of my options, I registered for The Family History Law Library with Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL and Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA. As Judy is known to say, ‘the law is anything but boring’ and her entertaining style is always a bonus. To truly understand a record a person, must know the law(s) from which it was derived. Laws have purpose. Laws give context. And, although I have spent time in law libraries and in research, digging into the websites recommended in this course makes me feel like ‘a kid in a candy shoppe!’

SLIG is about education. It’s also about networking, friends, and fun. I saw a photo of an elk in the SLIG Attendee Facebook Group and upon arrival to my course, I found Laurie Desmarais with a baby elk on her desk.

Henry finally arrived at his desk for the second session of The Family History Law Library!

I must have forgotten I tossed him in there, but when I opened my case second hour, there he was—a sloth. A gray, 3-toed sloth who had been named Henry on Christmas Day. I promptly placed him on my desk as my genealogy companion for the week. Henry had many opportunities to meet people. He’d introduced himself to those who were having breakfast when he arrived early. He was introduced to J. Mark Lowe, C.G., the coordinator of the Advanced Southern Research course, with interest, but learned that Mark’s course didn’t go south enough for Henry to pursue his family tree. Mark’s course focused on the southern United States, not South America. I would highly recommend Mark’s course in the future for anyone pursuing their U.S. southern roots.

On Monday night, LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, CGL gave an outstanding plenary session titled, “We’re All in the Same Boat Now!” One consistent takeaway expressed by those in attendance was that researchers have a responsibility to publish their findings and make searchable the names of those in the records. This is especially important to connect African Americans to their families. DNA has clearly identified that we are all in the same boat. Garrett-Nelson was the coordinator of Course 7 this year: 1619-2019: Four-Hundred Years of African American Genealogy sponsored by FamilySearch. Henry and I stopped by on a break to visit a couple of friends.

Old friend, Thom Reed of FamilySearch, and new friend, Sherri Camp, the Vice President for Genealogy at the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society ( at SLIG 2019.

Henry and I left the law cohort and met up with members of Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques (GGT&T) Facebook Group for a photo and lunch at nearby Olive Garden.

Members of the Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques Facebook Group at SLIG 2019. (Photo courtesy of Blaine T. Bettinger)

We were actually late to the photo shoot, but were able to catch Blaine for the official supplementary photo.

The official supplementary photo of members of Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques Facebook Group at SLIG 2019. (Photo courtesy of Blaine T. Bettinger)

GGT&T is an active group with over 51.2K members! It includes beginners as well as those at the forefront of DNA as it applies to genealogy. If you’re interested in genetic genealogy, why not join us?

A face-to-face meeting of GGT&T arranged by Leah LaPerle Larkin. Thanks, Leah!
Henry received help at the Family History Library and discovered a same name dilemma. You will always know Henry by his FAN club!

Henry also went to the Family History Library. Upon doing some research, Henry learned that there is another sloth named Henry the Sloth on Twitter. Don’t be confused! Henry is the genealogy sloth and you will know him by his FAN Club! After his week at SLIG, Henry has officially changed his name to Henry the Sleuth. He looks forward to his next genealogy journey—SLIG Academy. :-)

I’ve always heard that a good lawyer knows the law, but a great lawyer knows the judge. I don’t know the truth of that statement, but I know that a good genealogist knows how to find the laws related to sources and the information therein to evaluate genealogy evidence. One site that may be of help to you in the United States is A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1873. As the site explains:

Beginning with the Continental Congress in 1774, America’s national legislative bodies have kept records of their proceedings. The records of the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and the United States Congress make up a rich documentary history of the construction of the nation and the development of the federal government and its role in the national life. These documents record American history in the words of those who built our government.

Books on the law formed a major part of the holdings of the Library of Congress from its beginning. In 1832, Congress established the Law Library of Congress as a separate department of the Library. It houses one of the most complete collections of U.S. Congressional documents in their original format. In order to make these records more easily accessible to students, scholars, and interested citizens, A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation brings together online the records and acts of Congress from the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention through the 43rd Congress, including the first three volumes of the Congressional Record, 1873-75.

The week culminated with a completion banquet and awards. Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG. CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS gave the keynote titled, “A Most Enjoyable Journey.” He outlined his remarkable lifetime interest, education, and opportunities afforded to him in the field of genealogy. He is retiring as course coordinator of Advanced Genealogical Methods, but don’t lose heart. I have it on good word that he still plans to teach.

Always a favorite instructor, he was one of Lynn’s early mentors in family history and genealogy.

John Phillip Colletta, PhD, FUGA received the Silver Tray Award. As the Utah Genealogical Association website explains, “The Silver Tray Award is given for scholarly contributions to the field of genealogy and family history.Since 1988, it has traditionally been given for publication efforts.”

Karen Mauer Jones CG, FGBS received the Utah Fellow award. According to the UGA website this award is given “[i]n recognition of those living individuals whose distinguished contributions and on-going commitment to the field of Genealogy are of national or international scope, this award may be evidenced by any combination of publications, teaching and speaking, or leadership of major genealogical organizations over a significant period of time.”

Tom and Karen Jones, one of my favorite couples in genealogy! I met both of them in 2012. They have, by example, been significant mentors to me (even though I haven’t mastered all that they have taught and look forward to learning even more).

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG. CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS received the Award of Merit, given to honor his service above and beyond the Distinguished Service Award. Tom is a humble man with a plethora of post-nominal letters. :-)

It’s been a busy week for me and Henry. There are over one hundred photos of people Henry and I met at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. As soon as time permits, I will be preparing these memories for publication.

SLIG will be held in 2020 from January 12th through the 17th. Check the UGA website for more details. As of the time of this post, it had not been updated. Registration opens July 13, 2019 at 9 a.m. MDT. The most coveted classes fill within minutes so, if you are interested, mark this date on your calendar.

Happy genealogy sleuthing!

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

Ease into the New Year with #FindingYourRoots

It’s been a hectic and joyful holiday season. As many rush to fulfill New Year resolutions, I prefer to ease into the month of January. This year I’ve been looking forward to easing into the new year with Finding Your Roots hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. He’s back with Season 5 of his award-winning PBS show to introduce 25 notable guests and their genealogies over a 10-week period. Each episode has a theme and Dr. Gates will introduce each guest to their “Book of Life.” If you like stories, you’ll love this show. The reveal through the “Book of Life” demonstrates the possibilities of what a person may find when they pursue their family history. Each episode is worth watching!

The show is scheduled to air tonight at 8 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. Central and Mountain Time, but check local listings. I learned this morning that KUED, the PBS station originating from Salt Lake City, will push back its scheduled airing of this episode from 7 p.m. to approximately 7:30 p.m. to allow for the U.S. President’s prime-time address and the U.S. Democratic response, which will be covered by the PBS NewsHour.  

Episode 1 is titled, “Grandparents and Other Strangers—The Stories Encoded in Our DNA.”  It features Andy Samberg, a member of the comedy music group, Lonely Island (@thelonelyisland), and a former cast member of Saturday Night Live. It also features George R. R. Martin. Mr. Martin, (@GRRMspeaking), tweeted about this episode saying, “…I’m not the man I thought I was …” You might know his work The Game of Thrones, which was awarded the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series in 2018.

The remaining episodes are themed as follows with their featured guests listed:

  • Episode 2: Mystery Men with Felicity Huffman and Michael K. Williams.
  • Episode 3: Reporting on Reporters—Truth Tellers with Christiane Amnapour, Ann Curry, and Lisa Ling.
  • Episode 4: Dreaming of a New Land (Between Worlds) with Marisa Tomei (Italian roots), Sheryl Sandberg (Russian roots), and Kal Penn (Indian roots).
  • Episode 5: Freedom Tales with S.Epatha Merkerson and Michael Strahan.
  • Episode 6: Roots in Politics with Paul Ryan, Tulsi Gabbard, and Marco Rubio.
  • Episode 7: No Laughing Matter with Seth Meyers, Tig Notaro, and Sarah Silverman.
  • Episode 8: Hard Times with Michael Moore, Laura Linney, and Chlöe Sevigny.
  • Episode 9: Eye of the Beholder with director Alejandro G. Iñárritu, artist Marina Abramović, and painter Kehinde Wiley.
  • Episode 10: All in the Family with Ty Burrel and Joe Madison.

The final episode will feature a summer camp for children that uses genetic genealogy. Check out Finding Your Roots: The Seedlings,filmed at Penn State University, and follow 13 youth explore their family histories. A curriculum for teachers is available to download and customize for their classrooms.

Additionally, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. gave the keynote address at RootsTech 2018. It is still available to view at your leisure.

Until next time … All the best in the New Year!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador for RootsTech 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.”

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

🎁 Merry Christmas from the Single Leaf!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! As this day is set aside to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, I am reminded of a quote by Reverend Frank W. Boreham:

We fancy that God can only manage His world by big battalions . . . when all the while He is doing it by beautiful babies. . . . When a wrong wants righting, or a work wants doing, or a truth wants preaching, or a continent wants opening, God sends a baby into the world to do it. That is why, long, long ago, a babe was born at Bethlehem.[1]

As we study our ancestors lives, may we consider the big picture and the God-given purpose for which they were born. What was the context from which they were brought into this world and in which they lived? What were their childhoods like? Were they brought up in faith? If so, describe. What did faith mean to them and what does their faith mean to you? What opportunities for education did they receive? What did they really believe? What did they accomplish? Who did they influence? Were they happy or discouraged throughout their lives? How did they contribute to their society and to your future existence?

These are some questions to consider as we pursue our family history. Christmastime is an ideal time to consider the babe in Bethlehem and what He means to you and yours, past and present, and the heritage that we are passing on to our posterity.

As you consider the questions above, and additional questions that come to mind, please share them in the comments below. It may help someone else consider in more depth their ancestors’ lives and stories.

Wishing all of you the very best on this Christmas Day and always!

[1] Boreham, Frank W. (1919). Mountains in the mist some Australian reveries. (pp.169) Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

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