“Here Rests in Honored Glory…”

It’s Sunday, April 25th, a day that those of us in the United States have dubbed DNA Day, especially in the genealogical community. We celebrate the 25th because J. D. Watson and F. H. C. Crick published an article in Nature on this day in 1953. Its title is, “A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid.”

In honor of the 50th anniversary of this discovery the United States Congress pass a resolution. It said,

S. CON. RES. 10

“Whereas April 25, 2003, will mark the 50th anniversary of the description of the double-helix structure of DNA by James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick, considered by many to be one of the most significant scientific discoveries of the 20th Century;

Whereas, in April 2003, the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium will place the essentially completed sequence of the human genome in public databases, and thereby complete all of the original goals of the Human Genome Project;

Whereas, in April 2003, the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health in the Department of Health and Human Services will unveil a new plan for the future of genomics research;

Whereas, April 2003 marks 50 years of DNA discovery during which scientists in the United States and many other countries, fueled by curiosity and armed with ingenuity, have unraveled the mysteries of human heredity and deciphered the genetic code linking one generation to the next;

Whereas, an understanding of DNA and the human genome has already fueled remarkable scientific, medical, and economic advances; and

Whereas, an understanding of DNA and the human genome hold great promise to improve the health and well being of all Americans: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That the Congress—

  1. designates April 2003 as ‘‘Human Genome Month’’ in order to recognize and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the outstanding accomplishment of describing the structure of DNA, the essential completion of the sequence of the human genome, and the development of a plan for the future of genomics;
  2. designates April 25 as ‘‘DNA Day’’ in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of the description of the structure of DNA on April 25, 1953; and
  3. recommends that schools, museums, cultural organizations, and other educational institutions across the nation recognize Human Genome Month and DNA Day and carry out appropriate activities centered on human genomics, using information and materials provided through the National Human Genome Research Institute and through other entities.”

Fast forward to 2013 when the 113th Congress passed H. Res. 180 in honor of the 60th anniversary:

H. RES. 180

Recognizing the sequencing of the human genome as one of the most significant scientific accomplishments of the past 100 years and expressing support for the designation of April 25, 2013, as “DNA Day”.


April 25, 2013

Ms. Slaughter (for herself, Mr. Burgess, Ms. Schakowsky, and Ms. Speier) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce


Recognizing the sequencing of the human genome as one of the most significant scientific accomplishments of the past 100 years and expressing support for the designation of April 25, 2013, as “DNA Day”.

  • Whereas April 25, 2013, is the 60th anniversary of the publication of the description of the double-helical structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in the scientific journal Nature by James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick, which is considered by many to be one of the most significant scientific discoveries of the 20th century;
  • Whereas their discovery launched a field of inquiry that explained how DNA encoded biological information and how this information is duplicated and passed from generation to generation, forming the stream of life that connects us all to our ancestors and to our descendants;
  • Whereas this field of inquiry in turn was crucial to the founding and continued growth of the field of biotechnology and of genomics, which have led to historic scientific advances for the world, advances in which the people of the United States have played a leading role and from which they have realized significant benefits;
  • Whereas from 1990 to 2003, genomic research centers in the United States and around the world worked together on the Human Genome Project, which elucidated the sequence of the human genome, the genetic blueprint of the human body, and made that data available publicly;
  • Whereas April 14, 2013, marked the 10th anniversary of the Human Genome Project’s completion;
  • Whereas the sequencing of the human genome has already fostered research discoveries that have led to advances in medicine, and as genome sequencing becomes faster and less expensive, will enable researchers to further improve human health and medical care;
  • Whereas the cost and time needed to sequence a human genome has decreased rapidly, from $1,000,000,000 and 6 to 8 years during the Human Genome Project to less than $5,000 and 2 to 3 days in 2013;
  • Whereas in 1990, when the Human Genome Project began, there were only 4 FDA-approved drugs with pharmacogenomic information on their labels, and then by 2013, this number had increased to over 100;
  • Whereas a study conducted by the Battelle Institute found that for every dollar of United States Federal investment in the Human Genome Project, there was $141 in economic activity generated in return;
  • Whereas the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health has provided an exemplary model for social responsibility in scientific research, by devoting significant resources and leadership to studying the ethical, legal, and social implications of genomics research;
  • Whereas genomic medicine will be enhanced by increasing the public’s awareness and understanding of genomics; and
  • Whereas April 25, 2013, is an appropriate day to designate as “DNA Day” in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the publication describing the structure of DNA on April 25, 1953: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) recognizes the sequencing of the human genome as one of the most significant scientific accomplishments of the past 100 years;

(2) honors the 60th anniversary of the outstanding accomplishment of describing the structure of DNA and the 10th anniversary of completing the Human Genome Project;

(3) supports the designation of “DNA Day”; and

(4) encourages schools, museums, cultural organizations, and other educational institutions in the United States to recognize “DNA Day” with appropriate programs and activities centered on human genomics.

As I mentioned in my presentation for RootsTech Connect, the world of genetic genealogy has collided with both medicine and law enforcement, although both of these fields have been using DNA longer than genealogists. It is the way we, as genealogists, analyze and correlate the genetic information that has become useful to these other disciplines.

But DNA’s impact continues to expand. A recent article in the New York Times (NYT) discusses the benefit to using genetic genealogy to identify fallen soldiers and bring them home. It is in line with the United States Army’s values espoused in “The Soldier’s Creed,”

“I will never leave a fallen comrade.”

Since World War II the Defense Department has sought to recover and identify America’s soldiers. From the Tomb of the Unknown Solider at Arlington National Cemetery to the graves labeled “Known But to God” in the 26 permanent American military cemeteries through the world, we now have a new way that these soldiers can be identified.

Currently the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) outlines the procedure as follows:

“Scientists use a variety of techniques to establish the identification of unaccounted-for individuals, including analysis of skeletal remains and sampling mitochondrial DNA. They also analyze material evidence, personal effects and life support equipment. The agency medical examiner evaluates these overlapping lines of evidence in an effort to identify the remains…”

“The lab uses mtDNA in about three-quarters of its cases…This sequence is compared with sequences from family reference samples provided by living individuals who are maternally related to the unidentified American…Generally, all persons of the same maternal line have the same mtDNA sequences. Since these sequences are rare but not unique within the general population, they cannot stand alone as evidence for identification. In addition to the factors previously mentioned, each separate line of evidence must be examined at the lab and correlated with all historical evidence. All reports undergo a thorough peer review process that includes an external review by independent experts.”

But, is there a better way? According to the NYT article, Timothy McMahon thinks so. He oversees DNA identification of the remains for the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System. He is quoted as saying, “The technology is there—we just have to develop the policy to use it.”

Ed Huffine, who headed testing of remains from past wars for the Armed Forces DNA Identification Lab in the 1990s added, “Right now they are doing it backward, so you have policy getting in the way of science…”

“Switching to DNA-first will be faster, cheaper and produce better results,” he said. “It just makes sense.”

Given that in 2013 Congress lauded the savings provided by the “United States Federal investment in the Human Genome Project” and that, according to Battelle Institute’s study, “there was $141 in economic activity generated in return” for every dollar invested, isn’t it time to re-evaluate methods, update procedures, and return identity to our fallen soldiers?

The NYT article highlighted a 16-year-old soldier named Private Melton Futch of the 92nd Infantry Division. His grave is marked similar to the photograph I took posted above; it might even be his grave. I’ve been to the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery multiple times and it’s a place of solemn education for me. There are 490 unidentified soldiers in 488 graves in this one cemetery. Then there is Normandy American Cemetery, where the average age of a soldier was 24 years. The age of my son when we visited. It was a poignant moment for this mother.

Each unidentified soldier that lay in these graves or elsewhere made the ultimate sacrifice. Can we not expedite their identification by authorizing the use of investigative genetic genealogy (IGG)?

What do you think?

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

St Patrick’s Day Research Seminar Reprise

May your blessings outnumber

The Shamrocks that grow.

And may trouble avoid you

Wherever you go.🍀

On Wednesday, March 17th, the Family History Library hosted a free all-day seminar focused on Irish family history. Although I had other leprechauns to catch that day, I logged in at the top o’ the morning to find a pot of gold for someone beginning Irish research. The good news is that the recordings from these sessions are available for a limited time on the Family History Library Facebook page.

The day began with a keynote presentation by David E. Rencher, CGO+ who serves as the Family History Library’s director. His session was titled, “Three things I wish I’d known when I started my Irish research!” 

Spoiler Alert! Here are the three things he wished he had known:

First, the Irish enjoy the stability of surnames. Finding clusters of surnames can help a researcher focus on a specific geographic region of Ireland. If the researcher has the surnames of husband and wife to cross reference, it can leverage the power of intersection to narrow the search even more. Rencher used an example of two surnames he knew of a married couple who had children in Ireland. By using the geographic clues, he was able to narrow the search so that he found the family in the third parish. A great time saver! To be honest, it might not help with Murphys or Kellys, but check out John Grenham’s website. Enter an Irish surname and a distribution map will appear along with other information including variant spellings. This website offers a limited free surname search as well as subscription features, so check it out!

Second, early in his career Rencher was influenced by co-workers when they told him “[a]ll the records in Ireland were destroyed.” This is one of the myths in genealogy. It is true that the Public Record Office experienced a fire in 1922 that destroyed many records that would aid genealogical research, but there are records that help compensate for this record loss. 

So, what were the key record losses?

  • The 1821-1851 Irish Censuses (a few fragments for some counties survive). In 1821 Ireland began to enumerate every person in the household and took note of who had died. It is a significant loss! 
  • Two-thirds of the parish registers of the Church of Ireland
  • Original wills and administrations dating to the 1500s (fragments and copies did survive)
  • Court records prior to 1900

But, there was a massive effort to recover lost information so there are potential substitutes. Rencher briefly discussed the work of antiquarians and genealogists who made abstracts and transcriptions from the records housed in the Public Record Office before that fateful date. These files are listed on Family Search wiki, “Irish Genealogical Collections by County,” by the name of the collection (antiquarian), its repository(ies), whether or not the collection is found at the Family History Library, and the associated diocese(s).🍀

Finally, Rencher wished that he had paid attention to friends, associates, and neighbors, commonly referred to in genealogy as the FAN club. He admonished listeners to note the factors that brought their people to America. If they landed in New York and head to Kansas, there was a reason. He recommended that a researcher note all those who served as witnesses, godparents, etc, and the localities from which they came. The social circle might just hold the clue needed to advance the research.

Other sessions currently available on the Family History Library Facebook page are:

Once again, these presentations are available for a limited time. Although St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated one day each year, ancestors can be found all year long!

Good Luck!!! 🍀

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

The Story of “The Dirty Little Irish Kid” Revisited

Wishing you a pot o’ gold,
And all the joy your heart can hold.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I first heard the story of “the dirty little Irish kid” a number of years ago. It was once again brought to my attention as this St. Patrick’s Day approached. It is a common story told locally among descendants and throughout the world by church leaders. One version goes like this:

“Many years ago an elder who served a mission [for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] in the British Isles said at the end of his labors, “I think my mission has been a failure. I have labored all my days as a missionary here and I have only baptized one dirty little Irish kid. That is all I baptized.” Years later, after his return to his home in Montana, he had a visitor come to his home who asked, “Are you the elder who served a mission in the British Isles in 1873?” “Yes.” Then the man went on, “And do you remember having said that you thought your mission was a failure because you had only baptized one dirty little Irish kid?” He said, “Yes.” The visitor put out his hand and said, “I would like to shake hands with you. My name is Charles A. Callis, of the Council of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am that dirty little Irish kid that you baptized on your mission.”

This story first caught my attention because of my connection as a descendant of Irish immigrants. I am familiar with the poverty and struggles that my ancestors had to overcome. Who is not impressed when someone is able to overcome the challenges of life? And, to do it alone, wow!

I was awed by how this young, supposedly orphaned, child was able to make such a religious commitment, immigrate to America, and rose among the ranks in church leadership. I was also disturbed from the first time I heard this story that the former missionary would profess failure or claim success based on statistics. Spiritual work is not a sales position. It’s not something that can be tallied. Spiritual work is intangible. The only measurement that would have, should have, counted is that this young boy’s life improved because of this missionary’s service. Somehow, somewhere, this missionary misunderstood. It wasn’t about him at all.

Not only that, when I finally decided I wanted to know a bit more about this Irish boy, I learned that I had it wrong. Charles Albert Callis was born on May 4, 1865 in South Dublin to English parents. This was true. But, when Charles’s father died in Dublin in 1867 at the age of 27, his widowed mother, with four children in tow, moved back to England. It was there on a Liverpool bridge that the missionaries noticed a little boy out after dark and offered to walk him home. It was at this boy’s home that they met Susannah Callis, the boy’s mother. The family was then taught, baptized,  and, shortly thereafter, immigrated to Utah. Not quite the orphan I thought, even though the definition of “orphan” is dependent on time and place. To the missionary, this single mother and her children were forgotten or discounted except for “the dirty little Irish kid”—at least the way the story is told.

By age 16, Charles worked in the coal mines of Utah twelve hours a day to help support his family. I wonder if this is where the “dirty” descriptor was acquired. According to reports, he took interest in learning and ultimately, through the support of a mentor and self-study, passed two bar exams. As an attorney and a missionary, he became a great asset to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Nephi Jensen once wrote of this “dirty little Irish kid: “C. A. Callis in many respects [is] a very remarkable man. He is one of those heroic souls who have come up from the depths…

“His personality is not striking. His appearance gives you no true idea of the caliber of the man. He is undersized and there is nothing prepossessing about his countenance. But when he commences to talk you begin to enlarge your estimation of him. His voice is soft, round, and full. There is a charm in it. You listen and soon discover that you are not in the presence of an ordinary man.

“He is a leader. He does things without being told. Nor does he stick tenaciously by the past. He is always discovering new ways of doing things. While others are waiting for opportunities to do good he is making them.”[1]

I’m still in awe of “the dirty little Irish kid” and all that Charles Albert Callis achieved in his lifetime. I just wonder about his mother’s loss and her influence upon her children, his sisters’s stories, and if, in the end, this family was happy.

From this example, are there any lessons to be gleaned about how we tell our family stories and how we listen to the stories written or told by others?


[1] Nephi Jensen Journal, July 1907, pp. 65–67, Archives & Manuscripts, BYU. Quoted in Richard E. Bennett, “Elder Charles A. Callis: Twentieth-Century Missionary”; accessed 16 March 2021: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1981/04/elder-charles-a-callis-twentieth-century-missionary?lang=eng


On this day, a pictorial walk . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Wild Card Weekend!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.Roosevelt, Theodore. “Citizenship In A Republic.” Delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on April 23, 1910. Accessed January 4, 2014. http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.html. [For a copy of the complete speech in PDF format click here.]

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

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

The Moravian Star—a Christmas Tradition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Tis the Season for RootsTech 2020 Giveaways

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

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

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

As I’ve mentioned, there are three reasons I enjoy RootsTech:

  1. Keynote addresses from individuals whose life experiences and successes are varied. RootsTech has brought in speakers from the tech industry, the science community, the writer’s circle, the political realm, the entertainment industry, the sports arena, the bloggers’ sphere and, of course, the field of family history and genealogy. I have never been disappointed. This year RootsTech has announced that David Hume Kennerly, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, will keynote Friday’s session. Additional announcements are forthcoming.  
  1. RootsTech offers a customized learning experience with over 300 sessions from which choose. I’ve heard in the past individuals lamenting because there were too many choices and the participants were placed with the difficult task of choosing one favored session over another. The good news is that if a session fills quickly, there is always another quality session to attend.
  1. The Expo Hall provides the greatest gathering of organizations, societies, and vendors to explore the latest in the field of family history and genealogy. There’s the Demo Theater with 15-minute presentations about some of the products on the floor. Also, new this year RootsTech will host a large enclosed classroom in the Expo Hall with scheduled in-depth sessions on some of the products and services offered by sponsors and vendors. The Discovery Zone will still offer interactive displays that provide opportunities to come to know your heritage in fun and unique ways. The Heirloom Show and Tell is back, where you can bring a small item or a photo of a larger item and have an expert tell you more about its historical significance. And, as requested by past participants, this year there will be more dedicated hours for participants to survey and engage with what is happening in the Expo Hall.   

In addition to my initial three reasons, one cannot forget that the RootsTech venue, the Salt Palace Convention Center, is within walking distance of the Family History Library. Prepare now to access some of the greatest collections on earth that will help you find your ancestors! There are about 600 reference consultants and volunteers from all over the world on hand to provide helpful assistance at no cost to you.

This 4-day pass allows entrance to the daily keynote addresses, your choice of over 300 RootsTech sessions, entry into the Expo Hall, and all of the evening events. This 4-day pass does NOT include sponsored lunches or Lunch & Learn sessions, computer labs, transportation, lodging accommodations, meals, or any other expenses that you may incur.

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

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

What is a genealogy touchdown?

A genealogy touchdown—that glorious moment when research comes together and you feel like spiking the ball in celebration (a.k.a., doing the genealogy happy dance as it has been described for generations). This option is open to all interested in family history and genealogy, including those who do NOT like football, but it is void where prohibited. Football terminology is not required and entries may be of any length. 

Submit entries via my Let’s Talk Family History page. Each entry is one chance to win. Participants may submit more than one entry if the entries are submitted separately.

I ask your permission to include quotes from your entry(ies) in future posts. If your submission is used, proper attribution will be given. If you’d rather not be quoted in a future post or you would rather remain anonymous, please indicate this with your submission. The more you enter, the greater your chance to win!

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

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

About RootsTech

RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador to the RootsTech Conference and, as such, I am provided complimentary admission and other services to accomplish my duties. Nevertheless, I have been with RootsTech since its inception and with its predecessor for many years as a paid participant. As always, my coverage and opinions are my own and are not affected by my current status. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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


🎁 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.

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 upon 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 within 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 within 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. This man was one of my genealogy students from over a decade ago but he and his wife stayed in touch. I had reconnected with them during the previous Fall when my son and I brought them some of our family’s signature cupcakes. My former student invited us to dinner after the holidays to “talk genealogy.” It never happened. His health began to decline soon after the exchange. 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.

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.