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.

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.