RootsTech 2019—It’s a Wrap!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The winners:

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

Amy Archibald and children

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

Anne Metcalf and Virginio Baptista

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

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

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

It’s the Premiere of RootsTech 2019!

RootsTech Ambassadors 2019!

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

For those not at RootsTech, log in at FamilySearch.org/discovery

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Relative Race in Pursuit of the Genetic Family Tree

It’s a new season for Relative Race! The show premieres tonight, Sunday, September 16th at 7pm MT on BYUtv. Four new teams, new challenges, and new family connections will be discovered as teams enter a 10-day race for a $50,000 winner-takes-all prize.

As I have watched the show evolve through the seasons, I’ve considered the difference between the genealogical family tree and the genetic family tree. Relative Race addresses the latter. Your genealogy family tree encompasses all of your biological, legal, and/or adopted lineages. Your genetic family tree is a subset of your genealogical family tree. Not every cousin can be identified through genetic genealogy. After about 4-5 generations, a person may not receive a DNA inheritance from those back in time. This, of course, leads to a loss in connecting with those descendants through DNA testing results. Relative Race focuses on the most recent generations so autosomal DNA (atDNA) should catch them all. The paper trail, traditional genealogy, ultimately determines the actual relationship among the possibilities.

Relative Race uses AncestryDNA to identify family members found throughout the race. Unlike Season 1, genealogists are retained to verify the relationships discovered through DNA results by pursuing the paper trail.

As in the past, this season consists of 4 teams. The names have changed, but the colors remain the same:

  • Team Red consists of Mike Brown and Austen Williams, a father/daughter team whose goal is to find out more about Mike’s biological father for Austen’s children. In other words, one of the purposes of this journey is to connect Mike’s grandchildren to a paternal great grandfather. In this case, Mike’s the autosomal DNA test results will contain more of the information needed for Team Red to find that great grandfather they seek.
  • Team Green consists of Paris and Preshious Anderson, a married couple with 2 children ages 7 and 3 years. Their goal is to find the biological parents of Preshious, and any unknown relatives of Paris to make connections and win the $50,000 prize. Obviously, Preshious’ atDNA results will be key to finding her biological parents and Paris’ atDNA results will be crucial to finding any unknown genetic relatives on his side of the family. Depending on the disclosure agreement that may list known relatives, Team Green will be taking a journey of a lifetime! I don’t want to downplay the cash prize, but the legacy they discover for their children will be priceless.
  • Team Blue consists of Josh and Tiffany Lewis, a married couple of 4 years, who is on a quest to find Josh’s biological father with the focus on winning the $50,000. (They say that they can return to visit the newly discovered family after receiving the prize money.) Since each person receives approximately 50% of their DNA from their father, this is not necessarily a problem with a direct match. However, familial searching can be used to narrow down possible candidates. This team’s goal relies totally on the results of Josh’s DNA test results and the ability to master the challenges.
  • Team Black consists of Jerica and Joe Henline, siblings from Ohio, who are in this race for the fun of it! What did they get themselves into? Interestingly, the genetic family tree expands the possibilities of connecting with more cousins because Jerica and Joe have received a different DNA inheritance from each of their parents.

DNA is a valuable, even indispensable, type of evidence in discovering one’s family tree. But, on the eve of the premiere of season 4 of Relative Race, I like to remind myself that DNA inheritance is not the whole story, just a part of the amazing journey called LIFE!

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

The Relative Race Continues … On BYUtv

Have you heard? Relative Race continues on BYUtv one week from tonight, March 4th at 7 p.m. MST, with a 90-minute premiere and our family could not be more excited!

What is Relative Race?
Once compared to the award-winning television show Amazing Race, Relative Race has become popular in its own right. The show uses DNA to identify and connect each team to a trail of 10 of their living relatives discovered through this process. Each new relative has something to share as the teams race to a final destination for the $50,000 prize. Of course, each team wins by gaining the knowledge and relationships of these new found or confirmed relationships.

Relative Race previewed their show at RootsTech 2016. I had the opportunity at that time to sit down with the Relative Race team and discuss the premise of the show. As Dan J. Debenham outlined the specifics, I was surprised to learn that each couple would stay the night at the home of the new found relative. What Dan did not reveal was that one couple in particular would have a difficult time having Season 1’s Team Red stay the night. When that particular episode debuted, viewers were left asking, what? As an audience we had the opportunity to get to know Team Red through a number of episodes. Our omniscient view left us wondering why. Since I don’t want to spoil it if you haven’t seen Relative Race Season 1, I’ll refrain from expounding. Relative Race is a great show to binge-watch!

On February 8, 2017, Relative Race won the award for Best New Reality Show at the National Cynopsis TV Awards. As Lenzworks, the video company that produces the show, explains on their website, “The Cynopsis Awards is a national competition and is judged by industry professionals including programming executives and media developers.”

By the time Relative Race received this award, Season 2 was set to debut and Relative Race returned to RootsTech to preview the show and meet two of the teams. One of those teams was Team Blue, the couple who had difficulty having their Team Red Season 1 cousins stay in their home. I had the opportunity to talk with Team Blue about that defining moment of Season 1. I met their adorable children. I completely understood why they would prefer to not have strangers stay in their home, but I asked the brazen question—Would Season 2 “redeem” this husband and father?

Relative Race Season 2 also introduced us to Joe of Team Black. His story is compelling and demonstrates the power of DNA to answer questions about family and bring situations to resolution.

Relative Race Season 3 continues the race.  This time Joe from Season 2 was one of the photographers who accompanied a team on their personal journey. This season the teams will begin in Washington D.C. and introduces a new dynamic—different combinations of family members! In the past the teams have always been married couples but this type of race can accommodate other family situations. Seeing such potential, I even tweeted a request during Season 1 to include such family dynamics as parent-child. My request has been granted! Although Season 3 consists two married couples, it also hosts two sisters representing Team Green and a father and son representing Team Blue.

Additionally there have been changes in the direction of the race. Season 1 led teams through 10 stops from San Francisco to New York. Season 2 led teams from Miami to Boston. No one but Relative Race  knows where Season 3 will lead! Nevertheless, here are the teams and their assigned colors:

Team Red—Troy & Nicole Hitt, a married couple from Humble, Texas
Team Green—Jaime Grace Harper & Morgan Harper Nichols, sisters from Los Angles, California
Team Blue—Michael & Dylan Anderson, a father and son team from Concord, North Carolina
Team Black—Rebecca & Johnathon Hoyt, a married couple from McAllen, Texas

One week from tonight Season 3 will debut on BYUtv, but if you want a sneak peek, come to RootsTech on Friday, March 2nd at the Salt Palace Convention Center. Dan J. Debenham will keynote along with 1984 Olympic champion, Scott Hamilton. Later on Friday, at 1:30 p.m., Relative Race will highlight Season 3 in Room 254A with a panel consisting of Dan J. Debenham and Teams Red and Green.

Have a conflict in your schedule? Relative Race will be at booth 734 in the Expo Hall each day and display an interactive Relative Race screen that will be located in the North Foyer from Thursday, March 1st through Saturday, March 3rd.

Whether you find yourself at RootsTech or Not-At-RootsTech, join in watching Season 3 of Relative Race beginning March 4, 2018 at 7 p.m. MST! There are multiple ways to access the show, including the BYUtv app. When you download the app, you’ll always have an episode at your fingertips. You may also “like” Relative Race on Facebook, follow Relative Race on Instagram, and/or follow @RelativeRace on Twitter and when you tweet use the hashtag #RelativeRace. During the Sunday night broadcast of each episode there are a number of us on Twitter. I invite you to follow us, join the conversation, and have some fun! This year’s RootsTech theme is “Connect. Belong.” and I know of no better team to connect with or belong to on television than Relative Race!

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.

 

The @RelativeRace is On … @BYUtv

In case you missed it, Relative Race is a new show that premiered last Sunday, February 28th at 6pm MT on BYUtv. With 9 more episodes to go, the good news is that there is time to catch up by watching the first episode on BYUtv.org. If you like Amazing Race and family history, you’ll love Relative Race!

What is Relative Race? Those who attended RootsTech were the first to see the premier episode and the response was one of enthusiasm and anticipation!

I had the opportunity to visit with the Relative Race production team at RootsTech who explained the details. It began last year with an audition call for couples to submit an approximate 2-minute video introducing themselves and explaining why they would want to be on the show. Not all audition videos are available, but here is one example:

Four couples were finally chosen:

  • Anthony and Brooke Brown from Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Doug and Margo Engberg from Seattle, Washington
  • Bradley and Heather Randall from Phoenix, Arizona
  • Patrick and Janice Wright from Anchorage, Alaska

Each couple took AncestryDNA tests that discovered DNA matches throughout the United States and then the matches were verified by a researched paper trail. These findings defined the Relative Race route for each couple that spans from San Francisco to New York.

In Relative Race, each couple is given a team-colored rental car, a paper map, a $25 per diem, and a flip phone. No GPS here. No advantage to the technological native born; a possible advantage to the technological immigrants of today. Each couple must stay at the home of the newly acquainted relatives along the way!

Dan Debenham is passionate about Relative Race!

Dan Debenham is passionate about Relative Race!

Each team’s route is unique. Relative Race ensures fairness by estimating how long each team may need to complete a challenge and arrive at their destination each day. At the end of each leg, teams are ranked by subtracting their estimated completion time from the actual completion time or vice versa. It’s the difference that matters. The couple in last place for each leg receives a strike. If a team receives three strikes, they’re eliminated from the race. The couple ranked first at the end of the race wins $25,000.

At RootsTech the Relative Race production team discussed the adventure, the challenges, and the long hours spent making this show a reality. Some tough decisions were required in editing to allow the audience to actually feel like they are a part of Relative Race. It’s exciting. It’s emotional. It’s heart-warming. It’s funny. It can bring out a bit of road rage at times, but in the end these couples are introduced to family they have never met. At the end of the season, Relative Race will culminate with a “Where Are They Now” episode. I’m looking forward to it. I know from experience that these types of road trips are game-changing. If you haven’t seen it, I hope you’ll catch the first episode before Sunday 6pm MT. I have it on good word that this show gets better and better. For all of us watching, let’s enjoy Relative Race!

Follow @RelativeRace, @BYUtv, and @thesingleleaf on Twitter.

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