The BYU 45th Annual Conference on Family History and Genealogy: the Keynote Presentations

BYU Conference Center

BYU Conference Center

I mentioned in previous posts that the BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy would make available transcripts of this year’s keynote presentations shortly after the conference ended. Today is the day :-)

Now available for download and viewing are the following:

  • An Invitation to Shape the Future by Elder Allan F. Packer – the transcript in PDF format
  • Coffins, Urns & Zip Lock Bags by J. Mark Lowe – a two-page syllabus from his presentation in PDF format
  • Hearts Then Charts by Dennis C. Brimhall – download the slides of this presentation. Additionally, there are two short videos to view.

Enjoy them at your leisure this weekend :-)

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Calling All Family History Consultants! (At least those who pre-registered :-)

The Final Day of the 45th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy

The Ancestry Insider

The Ancestry Insider

The keynote addresses are finished, the vendors are gone, and the Ancestry Insider has said good-bye, this is the final day of the BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy being held in Provo, Utah.

Initial registration offered Family History Consultants one day of training at no cost. For those who have pre-registered today is the day! Sessions will include training on using Facebook, the role of youth, new resources available, more about the heart then the chart, and concluding the day with a case study. There will be a track for adults discussing youth and genealogy. Research tracks include the U.S., British, English/Welsh, and LDS Ancestral Research. Tracks for computers & technology and ICAPGEN complete the conference program.

Interview with J. Mark Lowe

Interview with J. Mark Lowe

Yesterday J. Mark Lowe exceeded expectations as he addressed a full house at the BYU Conference Center in the opening session. His presentation entitled, “Coffins, Urns & Zip Lock Bags” was not only informative, but fun :-) He had all of us laughing at life and isn’t lives lived and lessons learned what family history’s all about? From sharing stories of growing up as the youngest of five children to nurturing the interest in family history and genealogy with his nephews and others, Mark exemplifies the family historian. It was impressive!

The transcript will be made available soon on the conference website so I won’t elaborate, but he provided a list of “possible objectives” to support and save our cemeteries:

  • Identify historic cemeteries
  • Make “public” aware of cemeteries
  • Research cemetery use & history
  • Preserve and protect cemeteries
  • Promote cemetery preservation through education and special events
  • Broaden support

He posed the question, “What’s in your cemetery kit?” Some of the items he suggested were cornstarch, a paint brush, gloves, an unbreakable mirror, and a camera. He also admonished us to watch out for chiggers :-)

He closed the session by singing “My Grandfather’s Clock” written in 1876 by Henry Clay Work. From one voice to many, this session ended on key. (I must admit, the sing-a-long was a first for me in this setting and I wanted to break out my guitar to play along :-)

I had the opportunity to visit with Mark after the opening session. I asked him how he enjoyed the conference. He shared that he really enjoys being with people that are like-minded in genealogy. I asked him if he had the opportunity to attend other sessions and what he learned. He mentioned that he gained insight when he attended the Huguenot in North America presentation. He also mentioned that it was interesting to hear about the plans and developments that are happening at FamilySearch. When I asked him what he’s been up to recently he mentioned the work of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), the War of 1812 Pension Digitization Project, and the recent FGS Webinar he gave on July 18th entitled, “Discovering Local & State Militia Records” which is now available to the public for viewing. After his final presentation here at the conference, Mark was off to catch his plane. He is speaking at the 38th Annual Seminar of the Kentucky Genealogical Society (KGS) on Saturday, August 3rd. It is an all-day event with four lectures given by Mark, including “Coffins, Urns & Zip-lock Bags.” For more information, visit the the KGS website.

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

The BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy is Going South

The Third Day of the 45th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy

Well, maybe I’m exaggerating just a bit. Actually the South, or really an expert in Southern U.S. Research, has come to us :-)

Today J. Mark Lowe will give the final keynote presentation, “Coffins, Urns & Zip-Lock Bags.” Mark is a professional genealogist, author, and teacher. He is an engaging storyteller that weaves into the minds of his listeners the principles of sound methodology using his experience in conducting Southern research.

Following the opening session, methodology education continues with Jean Wilcox Hibben, Nancy Lauer, Hannah Allan and Stephen Ehat. As part of this track, Mark Lowe’s final presentation at this conference will be at 1:30pm entitled, “Here Comes the Bride, and There She Goes.”

The U.S. Research track continues as well along with the Scottish and German Research tracks. Dutch, Estonian, Russian, and Slovakian Research will also be offered today. More presentations about online research, as well as the first day of classes to assist LDS Family History Consultants with their church responsibilities will also be conducted.

Wednesday’s opening session of the BYU Family History and Genealogy Conference

Wednesday’s opening session of the
BYU Family History and Genealogy Conference

Yesterday Dennis C. Brimhall, managing director of the LDS Family History Department, gave the opening keynote address. His remarks were entitled, “Not Just a Chart, But the Heart.” He mentioned that there are about 70,000 family history consultants world-wide and about 4,700 Family History Centers in 129 countries throughout the world. He shared that there are 2.9 billion names in the FamilySearch database and that 1.7 million names are added daily. Since April over 700,000 photos have been uploaded to the Family Tree system. Presently, there are 237 camera teams digitizing records and it is hoped to raise this number to 500. He estimated that it will take 5-7 years to digitize the Granite Vault.

And then he asked the question, “How well are we doing?” He said that only 25% of members of the LDS Church have registered to use and only 8% have logged on in the past 12 months. He said that “we” have been too technology-centric and that a significant number of LDS Church members do not have access to a computer, such as in the Philippians where 1 out of 10 youth have access.

The quandary has been that those who are paying for this system are not using it. He said that Family History Centers have missed the point; they have been places to do research, not places to learn about oneself and that people must start with themselves. He shared a vision of the future Family History Center becoming a Discovery Center that is family friendly. Presently, NEHGS and the British Library, among others, will soon receive this newly-designed center. He also emphasized that the new family history center is in the home.

He shared other statistics, such as 27% of contributors to Family Tree are friends from other faiths. He emphasized that FamilySearch has partnered with major companies serving the genealogical community to increase the number of record sets available to the patrons through avoiding duplication of acquisitions.

He closed by sharing statistics about RootsTech. This year there were 25,644 total attendees, 68% attended by remote access or by live stream. In 2014 RootsTech will be broadcast to 600 locations in 10 different languages with an estimated 120,000 participants.

He said that FamilySearch seeks to champion the things of the heart, as well as the chart. He said that FamilySearch is committed to providing such an experience. He announced that at the end of August a new pamphlet, My Family, will be made available to assist members in beginning their family history.

[The transcripts of the keynote addresses given at the 45th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy will be made available on the conference website in the near future.]

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

“An Invitation to Shape the Future”

The First Day of the 45th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy

Cameron Hodson, Leslie Nielson, Karen Peterson, and Tessa Lund are ready to greet registrants at the BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy

Cameron Hodson, Leslie Nielson, Karen Peterson, and Tessa Lund are ready to greet registrants at the
BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy

I was only at the registration desk for a few minutes yesterday to pick up conference materials but in that short amount of time I met individuals from coast to coast. I look forward to meeting many more today as the 45th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy begins a week dedicated to increasing knowledge and sharpening skills that will further research endeavors. Over 700 individuals are expected to attend. The opening keynote address will be given by Elder Allan F. Packer* entitled, “An Invitation to Shape the Future.”

Cameron Hodson, Leslie Nielson, Karen Peterson, and Tessa Lund will be ready to greet and assist conference participants. Today marks the first time a Youth track has been offered. From mastering the basics of family history and genetic genealogy to photographing graves to post online, the youth who will attend are sure to find something of interest.

BYUFHGC Hall WPFamilySearch will be on hand to give “a whirlwind tour of FamilySearch resources,” and encourage “effective search strategies and sound research practices” as well as discuss “FamilySearch book scanning.” Other online research presentations will be offered throughout the day including one by Mark Olsen of MyHeritage and another by David Williams of Fold3.

Stephen Ehat will discuss in two separate presentations oral histories and the whys and hows of descendancy research. Nancy Lauer will enlighten us on how to know if we have found the right ancestor. Kory Meyerink will discuss “evaluating evidence and resolving discrepancies.” Jean Wilcox Hibben, who recently served as a lead researcher for the new PBS series Genealogy Roadshow, will present, “Who is That? Why Did Your Ancestors Associate with Apparent Strangers?”

Research in Scandinavia, Italy, and Poland will be addressed today. An introduction to Hispanic research will also be covered. U.S. Research will address an eclectic mix of topics such as the Huguenots, migration, Maryland and probate research.

This is also the day to learn more about Church Records. Although J. Mark Lowe will not be giving the keynote until Thursday morning, those attending this track will have the opportunity to hear his presentations on the “Circuit Riders and the Early Methodist Church” and “Finding Baptist  Ancestors in Southern Manuscripts.” Lisa Arnold will cover “Quaker Records; “ Roger Minert will talk about “German Immigrants in American Protestant Church Records;” and George Ryskamp will discuss “Records of the Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church.”

BYU Family History Library WPThe BYU Family History Library will be open from 8am to 9pm Tuesday through Thursday and until 6pm on Friday. The library has subscriptions to many noted genealogical websites as well as houses a large collection of microfilm. To check to see if the library has a microfilm of interest, obtain the film number from the FHLC at and then check FHL Films and Fiche at BYU to see if the film of interest is here. Scanning, printing and other services are available. For more information about the BYU Family History Library call 801-422-6200.

[*Elder Packer is the Executive Director of the LDS Family History Department and a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At one point in his life he worked for He and his wife are the parents of eight children and twenty-five grandchildren.]

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

The 45th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy: A GPS Conference

GPS 2013 WPAs early as tomorrow afternoon from 3-5 pm, and each day this upcoming week, registrants of the 45th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy may pick up their conference materials at the BYU Conference Center in Provo, Utah. It’s going to be a GPS week!

As you know, a Global Positioning System (GPS) provides direction to get us where we want to go. While reviewing the titles for this year’s conference I realized that conference organizers have done just that with their selection of presentations.

As I mentioned in my last post, this conference has 160 classes streamlined into 24 tracks. There is a Beginner track that covers an introduction to genealogy, verification of family stories, the importance of sourcing our information, and U.S. research. There are the FamilySearch, Ancestry, and Online Research tracks to help keep up with the ever-growing databases that provide us with such ease in gathering our family information. There is a Methodology track that discusses how to track an ancestor’s migration, how to evaluate evidence, how to spot errors in original records [it happens more than we would like to acknowledge] and what to do about those errors, and the hows and whys of descendancy research.  J. Mark Lowe is presenting one lecture as part as the Methodology track. In addition to this lecture, Mark will be discussing the early Methodist church, finding Baptist ancestors in Southern manuscripts, Tennessee, and Kentucky research. These are parts of the Southern U.S. Research and Church Records tracks. Robert McLaren, Ugo Perego, and Kenny Freestone will present information for the DNA Research track. There is also a track entitled Computers & Technology discussing Mac use, iPads, and digital cameras.

If this is not enough to position a researcher on a map to success, there is more! There are tracks specifically dedicated to localities. Organizers determined the conference offerings for these specific tracks based on past interest demographics. British, English/Welsh, Irish, German, Scandinavian, Scottish and United States Research will all have their own track on specific days. Then there is the International track. On the schedule you may have noticed that under the word “International” is the word “Small” in parentheses. Although organizers anticipate that there will be fewer participants concerned with these ethnicities this year, they recognize the value of such an eclectic offering. These classes will discuss Canadian, Dutch, Estonian, French, Jewish, Russian, and Slovakian Research. Hispanic Research is also in this category. (By the way, there is good news! In September 2013 there will be a conference specifically devoted to Hispanic research! Visit Conferencia Iberoamericana de Genealogía 2013 for more information.)

BYU Conference Center SE WPAs many may know, BYU is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the same organization that provides researchers all over the world with access to records to find their ancestors by visiting the Family History Library, over 4,600 centers around the world, and the FamilySearch website. The LDS Church seeks out other organizations willing to preserve and share these records to our past. Sometimes I think we do not thank them enough for the sacrifices in time and means and their willingness to share.

In addition to the resources above, Church leaders issue “callings” to members as family history consultants, which means that these individuals are asked to give a portion of their time each week to help others find their ancestors. There is a track especially for them. The LDS Family History Callings track is designed to help new consultants understand how to assist others in their research. If you are a family history consultant you may attend this track for FREE on Friday, August 2nd. If you are a family history consultant and would like to attend the entire conference, you will receive a $50 discount on registration. You may register by calling (877) 221-6716 or visit the registration page.

The BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy positions the researcher for global success! It is the perfect companion conference to RootsTech, which provides the latest updates on technology to enhance family history and genealogical endeavors. Registration for the BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy is limited, but you may register at the door if space is available. Come join us! For more information call (877) 221-6716.

[RootsTech provides family historians and genealogists with all of the latest technology that expedites research efforts. As someone who has attended each year, I commend this conference to you. It will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 6-8, 2014. Registration opens in August. Check out their website for more information :-)]

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

The Single Leaf Interrupts Your Summer…

BYU Conference Center NE WPActually, I hope to enhance your summer as I make this announcement :-)

Unknown to some is a week-long conference held in Provo, Utah, near Sundance resort, you know, Robert Redford’s place. Provo is located about 45 miles south of Salt Lake and if you are interested in genealogy you are probably familiar with that city. Although people come from as far away as Australia, and this year from Africa, to attend this conference, some locals may not even know that this conference has been going on for 44 years!

Therefore, I would like to announce that the 45th Annual BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy will be held July 30th through August 2nd, 2013 at the BYU Conference Center, 770 East University Parkway, Provo, Utah. There is still time to register if you would like to attend. Remember, sometimes airlines have great last minute deals :-)

Why would you want to interrupt your summer plans?

Unlike genealogical institutes that have you register for one course for the entire week, this conference allows the participant to chose from 160 classes categorized into about two dozen tracks. The syllabus is a treasure trove of additional information, bibliographies, and links to further one’s study of a topic so one can go as deep as necessary or desired.

The opening session for the conference is entitled, “An Invitation to Shape the Future” and will be given by Elder Allan F. Packer, executive director of the Family History Department for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On Wednesday, Dennis C. Brimhall, President and CEO of FamilySearch International will speak to conference participants about “Not Just a Chart, but the Heart.” This year BYU is pleased to announce that J. Mark Lowe will be teaching a number of classes as well as presenting the keynote on Thursday. Mark is well-known in genealogical circles for his expertise in Southern U.S. Research and his sense of humor. I’m curious to know what he has to say about “Coffins, Urns & Zip-Lock Bags.” Classes are offered from the beginner to advanced levels by some names that you may know and some who are just qualified to share their expertise :-) For a complete schedule of presenters and their topics visit

As we have gone digital, the youth have been a great asset in helping FamilySearch Indexing get record indices online. This year the youth will have their own track on opening day, Tuesday, July 30th. Attendance does not require pre-registration so if you are a youth or know a youth, consider dropping by and staying for the day. It’s free and, with the hot Utah sun, it’s also air conditioned. (Did I mention that the entire facility is fabulous?)

Family Chart Masters and Genealogy Wall Charts are giving away free fan charts to conference participants. You must order them online and they will be available for pick up at the conference. Visit the conference website for more information.

The conference will also have exhibitors present to display their newest products and services. Come check out the newest offerings in the field of genealogy. With the retirement of the free PAF program, Ancestral Quest, Legacy FamilyTree, and RootsMagic will be available to demonstrate their software to help those who may have been reluctant to leave PAF, or those new to genealogy, find a computer database program that suits their preferences. For Mac Users who prefer not to use Fusion, Parallels, or Boot Camp to run the PC programs, there are other options. will be at the conference. They have programs for PC and Mac. There will be a beginner class on Friday entitled, “Mac Users: Simple Tricks to Save You Time.” Talk to the presenter about program options or contact me. I like Mac :-)

As mentioned above, the Youth track on Tuesday is FREE and does not require pre-registration. Noncredit registration for the four-day event, including a CD syllabus, is $180. Family History Consultants, who may attend their specific track for FREE on Friday, may register for the full conference and receive a $50 discount on general registration. The credit option cost for the conference (2 credits of History 481R – Family History Directed Research and a CD syllabus) is $440. To register, call 1-877-221-6716 or visit

Men’s and women’s housing, which includes meals each day of the conference, is available on the BYU campus for $155. (That’s four nights lodging and 12 full meals.) Married housing is not available. (See the conference website about hotel accommodations.) Conference participants who are not staying in campus housing may purchase a $32 lunch card that covers lunches at the Morris Center each day of the conference. Lunch includes a choice of two entrees, salad, fruit, desserts, and drinks. It’s all you can eat! For more information about the conference, visit the website or call 801-422-4853.

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.