Friday, March 25, 2022

RootsTech Follow-Up - What's in it for Family History Consultants?

RootsTech ended about 3 weeks ago but the presentations are still available for you to watch. They had well over a million people join them for the inspiring and educational talks. 

When I set up my playlist of presentations I usually focus on three topics; New Technology/Innovations, German Research, and Information for Family History Consultants. As the leader of our local German Genealogy Interest Group, I provided a recap of the German Research presentations to my group a week after RootsTech.

I also provided a follow-up of my favorite talks to our Stake and Ward Family History leaders. I haven't had a chance to look over all of these yet but they are on my list to view sometime over the next several months. When I sent out the list, I suggested that the recipients please pass this information along to any Temple and Family History Leadership (including consultants, Elders Quorum, Relief Society, Youth Leaders, Stake Leaders, and Bishoprics) that I may not have included on my email list.

So what were the presentations that I sent to them?

Of course the first was going to be the Temple and Family History Leadership Session:

Then I focused on the presentations that will help them share their experiences, find people to help, and overcome the hurdles we often experience when talking to people about family history.

Sharing Your Faith Using Family History:

How to bring the Power and Blessings of Temple Covenants into our Stakes, Wards, and Homes:

Finding People to Help:

Overcoming Common Objections:

Strengthening Love of the Gospel through Family History:

I often see questions about how to encourage the Elders Quorum and Relief Society to take a more active role in family history. So I provided links to the following talks to help encourage more involvement.

Improving Elders Quorum and Relief Society Meetings with Temple and Family History:

Bringing the Power of Temple Covenants to Elders Quorum and Relief Society:

The next topic that I often see questions about is how we assess involvement and how do we use the Ward Temple and Family History Plan more effectively.

Finding and Using the Family History Activity Report:

Unlock the Mystery of the Ward Temple and Family History Coordination Meeting:

The Ward Temple and Family History Plan:

We often have people newly called to family history and some who have been around for a while who aren't sure of their responsibilities. The following presentations should help them get started.

"My Calling" Pages on

The Ward Temple and Family History Leader-Important Principles:

And then there is the question of how to involve the youth in family history. This is something that I need to work more on. We had youth consultants prior to COVID but since then, some have left and others have just stopped doing their family history work. So we need a restart.

Ward Youth Consultants Share Super Successful Family History Activities:

Youth Serving as Temple and Family History Consultants:

Guidance When Calling Youth Temple and Family History Consultants:

Mission: Possible - Engaging Youth in Family History:

Family History for Youth:

And lastly, many members don't know how to use FamilySearch or incorporate family history into their lives. If we can show them how family history isn't really another thing they have to do but something they can enjoy with their families, we should be able to get them more actively involved. I believe the following presentations will help to do that.

Using Your Phone, Submit Ancestors Names to the Temple, Then Discover More About Them:

What's New on FamilySearch for Members:

What's Coming on FamilySearch for Members:

Weekly Family History Activities - A Come, Follow Me Companion:

Helper Resources on FamilySearch:

Elder and Sister Soares Keynote: Family Discovery Day:

I know that this seems like a lot of presentations but if you space them out over the year you will learn so much more from the experience of others and have a more successful family history program.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

RootsTech 2022 - Day 1 - What Did I Learn?

RootsTech is an incredible family history conference. More than 1 million people have registered for RootsTech, are you related to any of them? Check out the Relatives at RootsTech page to see how many you are related to. I currently have 132 relatives at RootsTech. That is a small number compared to most people but it is significant to me. There are so many things to learn while attending the various venues.

FamilySearch has a short 6-minute video to introduce you to the new Get Involved! initiative. This video talks about their use of handwriting technology to increase the number of records that are being made searchable. They have been focusing on the Spanish language baptisms with this handwriting technology. For Indexers, this allows them to review the information instead of having to type it in. Computers can process a million records each day so there is a need to increase our capacity to review those records. In order to address this need, FamilySearch developed the Get Involved app which is available in the Google App Store. You can currently use this app to review English and Spanish language records. But, in April, you will be able to work on the 1950 US Census with the app! You can watch the video introducing the 1950 US Census project and how the Get Involved app will be used at the FamilySearch booth in the Expo Hall. You can also learn more about how you can get involved by clicking on the Get Involved tab at The site is active and you can start testing this technology by getting involved with US probate records project and then switch over to the 1950 US Census once it is ready.

1950 US Census Project

Last year MyHeritage announced Deep Nostalgia during their RootsTech presentation. Deep Nostalgia added animation to your photographs. The application went viral overnight and people from across the globe were adding animated ancestors to their social media feeds. This year they announced Live Story which creates an animated video narrative of your ancestor telling their own story. Live Stories can be created automatically from the data linked to your ancestor and their family. You can select from various voices and edit the story as you like. MyHeritage also announced the Date Estimator for historic photos which will be live soon. The Date Estimator uses artificial intelligence to estimate the date of the photo based on various characteristics in the photo. Another new announcement is the Relationship Diagram and the Family Tree Timeline which help you visualize your family tree and find errors more easily. Additionally, MyHeritage added 4 billion new records to their collection in 2021. You can learn more about these announcements on their Main Stage Keynote presentation.

MyHeritage's Live Story

Family Tree Timeline

These are just a few of the things that were announced at RootsTech today. I will continue to add more information to my blog throughout the RootsTech conference.

RootsTech 2022 - Day 1 - Pace Yourself

RootsTech is finally here. Some may have noticed that it actually started last night for those in the US. That was done so that others around the world would be able to start viewing sessions on March 3rd their time. Actually, there are several start times for RootsTech that people may not realize. The first was the soft release at 10:00pm EST March 2nd for pre-recorded sessions. The second was the Archives and Records Custodians Symposium which started at 8:00am EST this morning. At 10:00am EST the Expo Hall has their preview. The first General Session officially opening RootsTech 2022 is at 12:00pm EST.

There are so many things to do at RootsTech that you need to find a way to pace yourself. One thing to remember is that the pre-recorded sessions will be available after RootsTech is over. You can still view many of the sessions from 2021. What is the benefit of watching these sessions during RootsTech? One major benefit is that you can chat with the speaker during RootsTech. The chat will remain for a period of time after March 5th but you probably will not be able to chat with them several months from now. However, many of the speakers have provided their contact information in their presentation or handout and you can contact them that way if you have questions.

Many of the live sessions will also be recorded and available afterwards. You can tell if it is being recorded by reading the session description. Look at their schedule and see which ones fit into your time. If it is inconvenient for you to watch live you can come back and watch it later but you will miss the live real time interaction and questions.

All of the Keynote speakers were previously recorded and will be available on demand. But you may want to watch them live to experience the excitement of RootsTech.

There are some important pages at RootsTech that you should keep track of:

My major piece of advice is to take your time, watch what you are interested in, chat with presenters and other attendees, and remember to have fun.

I will be adding posts about what I am doing and what I have learned during RootsTech so keep an eye on this spot for more to come.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

RootsTech 2022 - 5 Days To Go

RootsTech 2022
There are only 5 days until the start of RootsTech 2022 on March 3rd. Have you registered? Registration is FREE and easy, just visit the RootsTech website, enter your name, how you would like to receive updates and then hit the Register button. That is all you have to do to join the world's largest genealogy conference with over 557,000 participants registered as of February 24th..  

So, what can you expect from RootsTech?

  1. Most of the presentations from RootsTech 2021 will be available for you to watch.
  2. Approximately 700 new presentations from 360 presenters will be available for RootsTech 2022.
  3. More than 600 demos and classes will be available in the Expo Hall.
  4. There will be 53 class series (2-3 related classes which build upon each other).
  5. There will be 60 live sessions that you can join and participate in the discussion. A calendar of all the live events can be found at this website.
  6. The Expo Hall will have nealry 100 exhibitors' booths. You can visit each one, talk with the exhibitors, and see if they have any special deals available for RootsTech participants. The Expo Hall will open at 10am Eastern on March 3rd.
  7. 11 companies will participate in the Innovators Portal which will begin Friday, March 4th at noon Eastern.
  8. March 3rd and 4th will be the Archives and Record Custodian (ARC) Symposium. The ARC Symposium will have 5 live speakers, 15 round table discussions, and a variety of pre-recorded sessions. Information on the ARC Symposium will be available on March 3.

That sound like a lot, but don't worry, some of the content, including the RootsTech 2021 and 2022 presentations, will remain online after the end of RootsTech. So you may want to focus your viewing on the sessiosn that will not be availabe after March 5th, such as the live discussions, Expo Hall events, ARC Symposium, and Keynote Speakers.

In my January 23rd blog post, I mentioned three of the Keynote Speakers - Diego Torres, Matthew Modine, and Apollonia Poilâne. But now we know the rest of the Keynote Speakers that will be at RootsTech and we know the schedule for their presentations.
You may not be familiar will all of these names since they represent cultures from across the globe. But you can find more information about each one on the FamilySearch Blog as you click on their names.

So, how international is RootsTech? You can tell the international influence by looking at the approximately 700 presentations that will take place. These presentations include 255 about North America, 174 about Asia, 164 about Europe and Latin America, 33 about the Pacific, 27 about Eastern Europe, 17 about Africa, and 9 about the Middle East. Classes will be available in 30 languages and will have live translations through YouTube so you can watch presentations from speakers across the globe. RootsTech will also be broadcast on television in Africa (5 channels) and the Philippines (2 channels) for those who may not have reliable internet access.

How many cousins do you have around the world? RootsTech participants can see if they are related to any of the others registered for the conference. The new Relatives at RootsTech application lets you see who they are, where they are from, how you are related, and you can also leave them a message. Check to see how many people you are related to. Currently, I have 80 cousins on the list but I always have low numbers compared to everyone else.

And the RootsTech Store is open so you can get all of your RootsTech swag. Everyone needs a RootsTech t-shirt, or how about a mug.

There are so many things that you can do at RootsTech but you will need to know how to navigate the RootsTech website. Lucky for you RootsTech has a blog post to help you find your way through the website and help you select the classes and presentations that you are looking for.

Don't miss out on RootsTech this year. Take the opportunity to attend classes, meet thevendors, discover new cousins, and network with the speakers and other attendees. It will be an incredible event.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

RootsTech 2022 Preview

RootsTech 2022 is just over a month away and many of us are looking forward to overloading on the genealogy related speakers and events on March 3-5. The theme for the RootsTech conference this year is "Choose Connections". If you attended RootsTech 2021, you know that there were over 1 million people attending the virtual event and we were able to connect to our cousins using the app. Additionally, there were over 1,000 presentations which are still available for you learn from. 

As of earlier this week, there were over 90,000 people already registered for the virtual event and we have over 1,500 presentations being prepared for the conference. There will also be live panel discussions, keynote speakers, the expo hall where you can meet with various vendors and watch demonstrations of their products, and so much more. FamilySearch has been working all year to improve the experience over last year.

So, what can you expect? Several of the keynote speakers have already been announced. Since this is an international conference, many of the keynote speakers will not be as familiar to viewers in the United States. 

  • On January 5th, Apollonia Poilâne was announced as a keynote speaker. Apollonia is a world renownd bread baker and author from Paris.
  • On January 12th, Matthew Modine was announced as a keynote speaker. Matthew is an award-winning actor and activist. He has starred in Stranger Things, Full Metal Jacket, Jobs, and Birdy.
  • On January 19th, Diego Torres was announced as a keynote speaker. Diego is an award-winning singer, songwriter, producer, musician, and actor from Argentina.  
So, what am I up to at RootsTech 2022? Quite a lot! On Saturday, March 5 from 2:00-3:00pm Eastern Time, I will be participating in a live panel discussion talking about how you can work on family history projects as a community. My portion of the discussion will focus on collecting and connecting WWII newspaper stories. The other panelists will discuss their experience with projects including the BYU Record Linking Labs Projects (Dr. Joe Price), The Bridge Forum Let's Do Good Together (Heather Jacobs), Historical Newspaper Indexing Project (Taneya Koonce), The Ogden Stockyards Project (Rachel Trotter), 21 Day Family Connections Experiment (Taralyn Parker), Connected Tempe Community Ancestry Project (Mckell Keeney), and the Tacoma - Pierce Records Project (Mary Anderson and Alisha Chang). As you can see, there are a lot of projects that will be discussed during this panel discussion. The discussion will be simulcast on Zoom and YouTube and we hope to have a chance to answer some of your questions.

I will also be presenting three recorded sessions. The sessions will be on how to research in the online archives for French, German, and Dutch records. Each session will have a detailed handout with links to the various archives and collections available in each archive. This will be a great resource for anyone who has links to these countries.

And finally (I think), I will also be participating in the Expo Hall representing The Family History Guide. The mission of The Family History Guide is to greatly increase the number of people actively involved in family history worldwide, and to make everyone's family history journey easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable. The Family History Guide is a great resource to learn or teach family history methodology and resources from. I invite you to take a look and explore the Guide to see what you might be missing in your research.

I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity and register for the FREE RootsTech 2022 conference. I know that I am taking time off from work in order to fully immerse myself in all of the resources that will be available from March 3-5. But many of the resources will be available afterwards for those who can't join us in person. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, December 18, 2021

WWII Hometown Newspaper Collections Project

Good morning all and Happy Holidays! This year has been busy. I would have thought with the continuing Covid pandemic and working from home that things would have calmed down some but that isn't the case. Of course, much of what I am doing is working on my genealogy projects and helping others work on their projects. 

Earlier this month, on December 7, was the 80th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the entrance of the United States into World War II. With the entrance into WWII, the lives of many people were changed. Young men were recruited into the armed forces. Parents said good bye to their sons, some forever. Employers had to find new ways to replace their workforce which introduced many more women into the work force. Our local newspapers chronicled many of these events in their daily or weekly columns. However, 80 years later, many of those events are dim memories for only a few living people and the more recent generations are not aware of all the sacrifices that their predecessors had to endure. It is time for them to learn about their ancestors' lives during WWII so they can understand more about how those events shaped a generation. The WWII Hometown Newspaper Collections Project is a grassroot project to begin chronicling those events in a way that the current generations can discover.

The WWII Hometown Newspaper Collections Project is a volunteer project where individuals or groups can document the individual sacrifices by collecting newspaper articles from the time and attaching them to the family tree on FamilySearch or by creating and publishing biographies of the individuals in those newspaper stories. Volunteers can select their hometown newspapers and discover stories about the local residents from WWII. I will be working on stories from The Minster Post in Minster, Ohio. The articles can be enlistments, promotions, service records, deaths, or any number of other related topics. Some volunteers may want to write something about the individuals. Examples of such stories can be found at my blog with biographies for 2nd Lieutenant Edwin Allen Rodheffer, Ensign Harry Francis Raterman, and Staff Sargent Edward Frederick Gaier. Others may just want to link the stories to the FamilySearch family tree. Whichever way you want to be involved is up to you, but either way will encourage others to learn more about the family members who served during WWII.

I hope that you will join me in this project and help to document how WWII was experienced on an individual level. Contact me if you would like to learn more about this project or join me at RootsTech Connect 2022 on March 3-5, 2022 where I will be talking about this project during a live session.

Friday, February 26, 2021

RootsTech Connect 2021 - Day 3 - Inspiration

It is already day 3 of RootsTech. By the way I do realize I am a day ahead of the official day counter but I believe RootsTech actually started on Wednesday with the opening of the Expo Hall. How can the days seem so long but the event seems so short. I hope everyone has had an opportunity to see the sessions they wanted to see, listen to the main stage events, visit the Expo Hall, and meet with others attending RootsTech.

Were you inspired by anything you have seen so far at RootsTech? Maybe some of the Main Stage speakers inspired you? Did you watch Nick Vujicic talk about his life as a handicapped child and how that molded his view of the world? Did you watch Francesco Lororo talk about rescuing the music scores written by prisoners in the concentration camps during WW II? Or maybe you saw Erick Avari talk about his life's journey from his childhood in India to an actor in the United States. These are just a few of the Keynote speakers that shared their inspiring stories. I encourage you to spend some time listening to their stories on the RootsTech Main Stage.

Have any of the presentations inspired you? The series of  Let's Do Good Together panels discussions were designed to inspire participants to take steps afterward to do good. The discussions that I was involved with yesterday provided ideas encouraging the use of family history in education and supporting community projects that included activities focused around family history. The panel I participated on today discussed ways to inspire children to love family history. There were other panel discussions which talked about improving the reach of DNA Interest Groups, discussion of projects in Texas, exploring the psychological benefits of family history, and learning about Search Angels for adoptees, along with a few other topics.

One of the panelists I met through the Let's Do Good Together discussions was Daniel from Ireland. He is a 17 year old who started his genealogy journey when he was 13. He helped moderate one of the breakout rooms in our discussion of Inspiring Children and Youth to Love Family History. What makes Daniel so inspiring? He has taken his love of genealogy and spread it across the globe through a group called The Hidden Branch. This is a group of young people ranging from the early teens to early twenties who all have a passion for genealogy. They provide help and inspiration for other young people to get involved in genealogy. So if you have a young person who shows an interest in family history, you may want to point them toward Daniel and his group.

Other panelists in groups with me were Shenley Puterbaugh from Inspire Family History and Olivia Jewell from the 21 Day Family Connections Experiment. The goal of Inspire Family History is to inspire children of all ages to love family history. They start with the concept that you are who you are because of the decisions and actions of those who came before you and that as you learn about your ancestors, you are better able to understand yourself. Their website has a great list of resources and ideas to promote getting children inspired about their own family history. 

The 21 Day Family Connections Experiment is a social experiment exploring the psychological benefits of daily connections with family past and present. They have developed a set of themed plans that last 7 to 21 days which encourage actions on a daily basis to help you explore all aspects of family connection. 

Both sites understand that knowledge of our family history promotes self confidence, resilience, a higher self esteem, a sense of place, and many other positive traits that help us cope with the world around us. Both of these women are working to inspire a new set of people to become interested in family history and promoting well being in our society.

These are just a few example of how attending RootsTech can be an inspiration to us. Take a look at their websites and watch their RootsTech videos to learn more and be inspired yourself. 

Shenley's RootsTech sessions are listed here. While Olivia's are listed here.

Family history should be inspiring. We should enjoy the work and want to encourage others to participate. It doesn't end with you and we all should be willing to share what we have discovered with our families so they understand their history and how the actions of our ancestors have shaped our own lives. Have fun and "Let's Do Good Together".