Fallen Leaves of 2018

It’s the holiday season. Thanksgiving transitions to Christmas. Love begins to manifest in gift-giving as evidenced by my neighbors’ gifts upon my porch. I am grateful for my neighbors and, yes, I love them. Not for what they give, but because they’re part of my life. Life is much more meaningful when we’re in the day-to-day together.

Yet, returning from Thanksgiving, I had time to reflect on those I’ve known that I won’t be seeing or hearing from this year. Maybe it’s just that my social circles have expanded but 2018 has been such a year of loss.

Fallen leaves. Not all from my tree, but, nevertheless, connected like aspens. And, if not from the root system itself, from the heart. I could list each person by name, but their names may not be as meaningful to you as they are to me.

January 2018

The first notification I received of the passing of someone in my sphere was Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Whether or not you are a member of this particular Church, if you are involved in family history and genealogy, I hope you would recognize the sacrifices made by a century+ of leaders and members to collect records worldwide so that we may enjoy the plethora of information today in pursuit of our family trees. I had the privilege to stop by the Conference Center on a break from the Family History Library to pay my respects. It was a solemn experience.

The next passing occurred 3 days later on January 5th. He was one of my genealogy students from over a decade ago but he and his wife stayed in touch with me. I had reconnected with them during the previous Fall when my son and I brought them some of our family’s signature cupcakes, made by my son of course. My former student invited us to dinner after the holidays to “talk genealogy.” It never happened. His health began to decline soon after. I saw him once more at the local temple. With his memory failing, I was happy that he remembered my name. He gave me a hug and his hearing aid squeaked. We all laughed. It was a noise out of place in this quiet and reverent space. His funeral was insightful. The stories were inspiring. This humble man went about doing good, but no one knew the extent of his kindness and generosity. Quiet acts recounted, gathered at his funeral. History. Personal history. Family history. Community history. History. I recently sat down with his widow and she shared even more stories. The sacred kind. The kind that lift, bless, and testify that there is a God and, like Mother Teresa said, that demonstrated that we can be a pencil in God’s hands.

It seemed that the pattern of departures continued and each week I would hear of another that transitioned to the after life. It was enough for me to consider not answering my phone or engaging with social media.

Spring, then Summer

There was a reprieve in the Spring and early summer. There was still loss, just not as personal. The concept of death once again was placed in the abstract. It happens, just not today. But I had a nagging feeling.

Shortly upon my return from a summer trip, I was contacted by a woman I had met earlier in the year. I planned to write a story about her father and their family that was to be published in October. It was such a delight to meet them and learn about this family’s passion for aviation. Her note informed me that her father had unexpectedly passed away and asked if I would be willing to forward the photos I took for possible use at his memorial service. Upon review of the folder’s contents, I recognized how often this man avoided the camera. And, I, not to be intrusive, photographed the process, not the people. I did film the entire take down of the balloon, approximately 9 minutes. It’s not the best footage, but it was his last take down in this life. I am grateful to have met him. I have a photo that was taken of all of us, 3 generations plus me, in which I was invited to be included and almost declined. I’m so glad I didn’t. When I look at this photo, it brings me joy!

Probably the most difficult passing was of a family member who struggled with an infection that went undiagnosed. Three specialists. No answers. No treatment. She was still in the process of addressing her condition when she was found unconscious. She never awoke from her coma. Ironically, or a life lesson wrapped in tragedy, she died on the very day that in previous months I noted to myself to contact her. It was the day my schedule would “open up” and I would have the time. My comfort is in learning the stories of her final weeks, the quality of her friendships, and the desires of her heart. But, I missed something, or rather, I missed someone.

Do You Hear What I Hear

Last year, about this time, I failed to hear from a distant cousin I met through my genealogical research and who lived on the ancestral farm. I noticed. I waited thinking life may have caused delays. I never heard. Christmas day passed. New Year’s day came. As I looked through our cards I realized once again that we didn’t hear from him. I decided to call. I’m glad I did.

I discovered during the course of our conversation that his wife’s health required greater assistance. The move was a major life change. As he continued, he reminisced about life on the farm and how much he loved it! I had the pleasure of listening (and taking a few notes for the family history). A few weeks later I received a call. I answered. I anticipated my cousin’s voice in reply but it was his widow. He had passed. On the farm. Just like he wanted. And, the family lost another great storyteller of the past.

As genealogists and family historians we are accustomed to seeking out our dead, yet let us not forget the living for time is finite. It seems it’s human nature to fail to reach out when life is too good, or too distracting, or more often, too challenging. When it’s challenging it is usually a matter of survival, or at least a matter of a more concentrated focus. Life happens to everyone, but this season I am reminded to be aware of those I do not hear from and those whom I do not see.

Last Monday night I had the opportunity to hear Paul Cardall perform at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center to welcome in the #LightTheWorld campaign. A heart transplant recipient, Paul shared his testimony of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and how he knows that all of us will be resurrected. For those who have lost loved ones, it can feel that any such promise cannot be fulfilled soon enough. This time of year can seem unbearable. #LightTheWorld is a reminder to reach out. Yes, let us not forget the living for time is finite for each of us.

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

A Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pecan Pizookie — A Pizza-Cookie Recipe

A few Relative Race days ago, Joe Henline of Team Black asked on Twitter what snacks everyone would be enjoying for that day’s premiere. Our family has a tradition of baking pizookies each Relative Race night. A bit of interest was shown in the recipe, so here it is with a holiday twist:

Preheat oven to 400º F.

Whisk together in a bowl —
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Set aside.

In another bowl mix together —
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup white sugar
Add —
1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1 whole egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup canned pumpkin (or your own pumpkin puree)

Beat until creamy, then add —
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix in the dry ingredients.

Fold in —
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (dark, semi-sweet, and/or milk)
1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Add 1/4 cup of mixture to each 1- or 2-cup ramekin, small baking dishes. Press down. Bake through until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Add toppings as desired.

Yields about a dozen.

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

Family History and Genealogy—It’s No Fun

Family history and genealogy are popular pursuits. So is football. The combination is my game. It can be fun and entertaining, but it’s never fun to be sidelined and that is where I’ve been for the past 3.5 years. It’s the injury that’s no fun. You may have seen me at RootsTech, but I haven’t made it to an Institute. I’ve written some, but not enough. I’ve tweeted, but rarely posted to Facebook or Instagram. And, forget Pinterest. It’s been a long recovery. If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen me at my best.

I set a goal to publish today and it seemed an appropriate segue to highlight Extreme Genes, hosted by Scott, or Scotty, Fisher.* This week Fisher hosted two segments with NFL Hall of Fame Class of 2005 recipient Steve Young about his book, QB: My Life Behind the Spiral. Young shared his journey about writing his personal history, which, of course, expands into family and NFL history. Young’s intention was never to publish his memoir for general consumption, but to counter a taunting narrative by his young son’s classmates. (Maybe taunting is too strong of a word, but I’ve taught elementary school and the social interactions among children can be brutal.)

Young enlisted a friend’s help to write this history, who then produced a manuscript for Young in chapter form. With Young’s permission those chapters were shared with others and Young was persuaded to go public. He acquiesced when he realized that his battle with anxiety could serve some purpose. It could possibly help others in their struggles. I encourage you to listen to this episode of Extreme Genes to learn more and to discover the epiphany Young had on air. It’s an unintentional well-kept secret among family historians.

On a personal note, I met up with Young at a local book signing in 2016 when his volume was first released. It wasn’t my intention, but serendipity has its way. As the Single Leaf, I’m always interested in a good memoir or biography. Besides, Young is a part of the Broderick family’s history. (Although the scene I’m about to share never made it into his book, it’s one of my favorites.)

“Love them dwags!”

While at a local golf event, Young was sitting alone in his cart chowing down on what would now be known as a JDawg in Cougar Country (a.k.a., BYU and Utah Valley). As I was walking by with my two young children, Young said in a declarative voice, “Love them dwags!” and my little one dropped to her hands and knees and began to bark. Okay, she was only 5 years old so it was absolutely adorable! Hopefully you can see why this story is part of our family’s history … lol :-)

Are we related?

Scott Fisher mentioned that he and Young are cousins. It provoked me this week to explore Relative Finder, a program that can delineate one’s relationship to traditionally notable people in history to the degree that FamilySearch Family Tree is accurate. According to the results, I’m related to Young as well, so does that mean that Fisher and I are cousins? Who knew?

It’s Time to Renew Your Commitment to Family History and Genealogy

As the regular NFL season begins tonight, it is my hope that you will also make family history and genealogy your game this season! Steve Young once said,

“Football is a unique sport. There is no statistic, touchdown, or passing yard that is achieved by a single person.”

The same is true for family history and genealogy. Let’s talk about it this season!

As a side note, first to call RootsTech the “largest coaching conference in the game,” I am once again a RootsTech ambassador for the 2019 season. I will be giving away a 4-day pass in the coming months. Subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss the opportunity to enter and win!

Cheering you on from the bleachers!

*Scott Fisher has never asked me to highlight his podcast, but then again, we’re family. :-)

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

Easter Story Cookies—A Kitchen Activity with Children

The Resurrected Christ by Wilson Ong

The year 2018 has not been easy for many within my social circles. I have learned about the death of someone’s loved one about every week since January and I have attended a number of funerals. It is a time of loss and separation, but it has also been a time of rejoicing for many of my friends who are of the Christian faith, especially my LDS friends, who trust in the promise that families can be together forever. In their minds there is comfort that, although they may be separated from that loved one for a time, the individual that has passed is being reunited with loved ones on the other side of this mortal life.

Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared a story of one of his ancestors who had a visitation from the other side about life there. He told the story during the opening session of Family Discovery Day during RootsTech 2017. It is edifying, uplifting, and reassuring to hear such testimonies during times of loss. President Nelson is also a retired cardiologist who spoke as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ at the April 1987 General Conference on this topic titled, Life after Life. [This weekend is General Conference for all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Whether or not you are a member of the LDS Church, you are welcome to view the proceedings at lds.org.]

On the eve of this Easter weekend, I am reminded of a kitchen activity for children that strives to represent the Easter story. It’s a recipe of unknown origin.

Each of the approximately 18 cookies will crack in a unique way. This is just one example.

If you would like to try it, you will need:

  • 1 cup of whole pecans or walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (I’ve used white, apple cider, and most recently, cherry, which worked well.)
  • 3 egg whites
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 wooden spoon
  • electric mixer
  • a plastic bag (A quart-sized freezer zip-lock bag works well.)
  • tape (I use painter’s tape to avoid any residue, but clear tape works as well. I haven’t known it to leave residue but I cannot guarantee it.)
  • scriptures
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Explain with scripture how Jesus was taken and mistreated. Place the pecans in the plastic bag, seal it, and allow the child to break them into pieces with the wooden spoon. [The scriptures tell of the violent treatment of Jesus in Matthew 26: 67-68 & 27: 28-31; Mark 14: 65 & 15: 16-20; Luke 22: 63-65; and, John 19: 1-3]
  3. Tell how Jesus’s need for thirst on the cross was met by posting a sponge with vinegar. Allow the children to smell the vinegar and place 1 teaspoon in the mixing bowl. [Matthew 27: 46-48; Mark 15: 34-37; and John 19: 28-30]
  4. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave up his mortal life so that he could give greater life to us and hope of eternal life with Him. Add the egg whites to the vinegar. [Matthew 20: 28; Mark 10:45; John 10: 10-11]
  5. Tears were shed by many of the people. Tears are salty. Allow children to taste the salt. Add a pinch of salt to the vinegar and egg mixture. [Luke 23: 27-28]
  6. As the Psalmist said, “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” [Psalm 30: 5] Add 1 cup of sugar to the mixture. Share scriptures that relate the love of God, such as Psalm 34: 8—”O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”
  7. To represent the tomb, for these meringue cookies, beat the mixture at high speed until stiff peaks form, about 10-15 minutes. Fold in the nuts. Drop mixture by teaspoons onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or similar. These mounds each represent the tomb cut out of rock by Joseph of Arimathaea in which Jesus was laid to rest. [Matthew 27: 57-60; Mark 15: 42-46; Luke 23: 50-56; & John 19: 38-42.]
  8. Put the baking sheet in the oven, close the door, and turn the oven off. Allow each child to seal the oven door by a piece of tape representing the sealed tomb. Leave the baking sheet in oven until morning. [Matthew 27: 65-66]
  9. On Easter morning open the oven door and find a crack in each of the cookies (hopefully, but not always). This, of course, represents the empty tomb and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. [Matthew 28: 1-7; Mark 16; Luke 24: 1-9; & John 20: 1-16] Enjoy!

Happy Easter!

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

Heirloom Show & Tell At RootsTech 2018

Heirloom Show and Tell was a new experience offered for the first time at RootsTech last year. I remember walking by and seeing vintage toys and other objects displayed. With all there was to see and do at the conference, I never returned to have an item of interest examined.

This year I have a friend who received a set of nesting dolls as a gift featuring some of the Presidents of the United States of America. We’ve done a little research but we still would like to know more. We hope to find our answers at this year’s conference.

Heirloom Show and Tell will be held in the Expo Hall beginning March 1st through March 3rd. According to the RootsTech website, an attendee may bring an antique, heirloom, or photo that they would like an expert to evaluate. The promotion says, “Bring in any small item, or a photo, or a large item you’ve been wondering about, and we’ll tell you about it.” I’m looking forward to hearing what the experts have to say.

How about you? What item will you be packing along to RootsTech this year?

HAPPY PRESIDENTS’ DAY!

P.S. For those unable to attend the entire conference, two new passes will be available in the coming days: 1) a pass to attend the keynote sessions plus the expo hall each day ($29) and 2) an expo hall only pass ($10). The keynote plus expo hall pass will be available beginning this Wednesday. The expo hall only pass will be sold onsite each day at the registration desk after the keynote has concluded. Follow me on Twitter @thesingleleaf to get the latest updates.

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.”

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

How To Preserve A Husband*

Be careful in your selection. Do not choose when too young. When once selected give entire thought to preparation for domestic use. Some insist on keeping a husband in a pickle, others are constantly getting one in hot water. This makes him sour, hard and sometimes bitter. Even a poor variety may be made sweet, tender and good by garnishing him with patience, well sweetened with love and seasoned with kisses. Wrap one in a mantle of charity and keep warm with a steady fire of domestic devotion and serve with peaches and cream. Thus prepared, one will keep for years.

* This recipe was found handwritten among an ancestor’s papers. Further investigation revealed that it was commonly printed in regional cookbooks. The earliest reference I found was published in 1907.

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

It’s Groundhog Day … It’s Groundhog Day … It’s Groundhog Day!

A few years back I had the opportunity to visit Punxsutawny, Pennsylvania, but I never saw a living groundhog. The home of Punxsutawny Phil, the town does not resemble the town depicted in the iconic film by the same name. I was disappointed. Nevertheless the town square displays a number of caricaturistic statues around its borders.

According to a signpost by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, it was “as early as 1886 [that] German immigrants here observed Groundhog Day … According to folklore, if the hibernating groundhog—known as Punxsutawny Phil—leaves its burrow on February 2 and sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. The legend is based on a European custom predicting the length of winter by weather conditions on Candlemas, an ancient Christian festival.” In the old country, the tradition was based on a hedgehog that would either see its shadow or not. When the Germans settled in Pennsylvania, they continued this tradition of weather prediction by substituting the groundhog. The first official Groundhog Day was celebrated at Gobbler’s Knob on February 2, 1887.

This year while in Virginia I finally enjoyed my first groundhog sighting—in a parking lot! Too fast to snap a photograph, I only have the memory. I don’t know why these critters are so endearing but they are.

Genealogists & family historians are a lot like groundhogs—they come out from the libraries and archives long enough to assess if they’ll enjoy six more weeks of relatively uninterrupted winter research.

If not, it’s time to visit the cemeteries. :-)

HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY!

[Groundhog Day Explained was created by C.G.P. Grey. Check out his website @ http://www.CGPGrey.com.]

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

Celebrating an American Thanksgiving: Food, Football, & Family History

Thanksgiving is the most traveled holiday in America with an estimated 50.9 million Americans expected to migrate, at least for the day, 50 miles or more this year!

Thanksgiving is known as the day of America’s greatest food consumption! Think turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie as the traditional game plan of the Thanksgiving banquet. Many families have other traditional favorites as well.

Football has also been a traditional favorite at this time of year. Whether it is a friendly game at a local field or watching one or more of the three NFL games offered throughout the day, it has become part of the holiday for many Americans. In addition, Thanksgiving has become one of the biggest running days of the year with morning Turkey Trots offered throughout the nation!

So, what about family history? Tradition speak volumes and it is never too late to adopt or create a new tradition. As individuals, we determine what we carry forward and what we create. Once again, for those who may have missed it, I found a set of questions produced by the team at Real Simple that I have carried forward to interview family members at important times of gathering. Although not of my own creation, I find these questions to be a gift from the author that I would like to extend to you, my readers. Choose the questions most relevant and cultivate them into conversations. Later, jot down those stories and memories. You’ll be making family history as you record it.

And while you are writing down stories and memories, consider the upcoming RootsTech 4-Day Pass Giveaway that I will launch Monday night 8:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. MT and that will close Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. MT. It’s a $279 value and, if you’ve already registered, you will be reimbursed by RootsTech for the price you paid for registration, excluding additional items like luncheons and computer labs, etc.

This year the RootsTech theme is “Connect. Belong.” and 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). Although this contest is open to all interested in family history and genealogy, including those who do not like football, it is void where prohibited. Football terminology is not required and entries may be of any length. Submit entries via the Single Leaf contact page or share on Twitter by tagging me @thesingleleaf. Each entry is one chance to win. Participants may submit more than one entry if the entries are submitted separately.

As a bonus for reading this post, submit your entries by Monday at 4 p.m. ET/2 p.m. MT and receive an additional chance to win for each entry submitted. I ask your permission to include quotes from your entry in future posts but you retain the copyright of your entry. If your submission is used, proper attribution will be given. If you’d rather not be quoted in a future post or you would rather remain anonymous, please include this specific request with your submission. The more you enter, the greater your chance to win!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

About RootsTech
RootsTech, held February 28 through March 3, 2018, and hosted by FamilySearch, is the largest global family history event in the world! The eighth annual conference—celebrating families across generations—is the perfect place to discover and share your family’s stories and connections through technology. Connect. Belong. :-)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador to the RootsTech Conference and, as such, I am provided complimentary admission and other services, opportunities, and meals to accomplish my duties. Nevertheless, I have been with RootsTech since its inception and with its predecessor 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.”

© 2017 Lynn Broderick, a.k.a., the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

American Thanksgiving Traditions: Food, Football & Family History

thanksgiving-1900Thanksgiving is the most traveled holiday in America with an estimated 48.7 million Americans expected to migrate, at least for the day, 50 miles or more this year!

Thanksgiving is traditionally known as the day of America’s greatest food consumption! Think turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie as the common core of the Thanksgiving banquet. Each family has other traditional favorites as well.

Football has also been a traditional favorite at this time of year. Whether it is a friendly game at your local field or watching one or more of the three NFL games offered throughout the day, it has become part of the holiday for many Americans. In addition, Thanksgiving has become one of the biggest running days of the year with morning Turkey Trots offered throughout the nation!

So, what about family history? Tradition speak volumes and it is never too late to adopt or create a new tradition. As individuals, we determine what we carry forward and what we create. Once again, for those who may have missed it, I found a set of questions produced by the team at Real Simple that I have carried forward to interview family members at important times of gathering. Although not of my own creation, I find these questions to be a gift from the author that I would like to extend to you, my readers. Choose the questions most relevant and cultivate them into conversations. Later, jot down those stories and memories. You’ll be making family history as you record it :-)

From our family at the Single Leaf, we wish you and yours a very happy holiday! Happy Thanksgiving!

© 2016 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

It’s Groundhog Day Again!

Genealogists are a lot like groundhogs — they come out from the libraries and archives long enough to assess if they will have six more weeks of relatively uninterrupted winter research.

Of course, in the spring it’s time to visit the cemeteries. :-)

HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY!

[Groundhog Day Explained was created by C.G.P. Grey. Check out his website @ http://www.CGPGrey.com.]

Copyright ©2016 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.