Sunday, February 28, 2016

Teaching our friends

Today we visited our friends and taught them how to find their family members on FamilySearch. Now they're just as addicted to this stuff as we are. All the cool 10-year olds do family history.
And now I'm staying up past my bedtime 'cause I can't quit. I'm turning into my mom. -SAM

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Small bites

Jana here! At RootsTech 2016, we heard Steve Rockwood (FamilySearch CEO) encourage people to share their family stories in "small bites" to enrich the lives of those they share with. It's brilliant. No overwhelmingly long book to read. No boring reports. Just a brief, touching little bit of family story ... short enough for even a child's attention span.

This idea really touched my dad, a writer/genealogist, and he has since kicked off the hashtag #ancestorclips and given some examples of one-minute genealogy at his blog:
My husband spends some of his train commute time each week on family history research. Today he found himself low on data and decided to do some writing/sharing instead of searching. He sent us this beautiful little clip of his memories of Grandma Greenhalgh (which I suggest he should attach to her memories tab in FamilySearch's tree!)

"My earliest memories of grandma are at their home in Nephi. Grandma loved to tell us stories. I remember her telling us about Little Hiawatha. Although I don't remember any of the details, I remember it was fun to be with her. She always worked hard and loved to tell the story of the little red hen. Any time someone wasn't pulling their weight she would remind us how the little red hen did the work and enjoyed the reward while the other barn animals were lazy and didn't. I remember one time when me and my brother Scott were staying in Nephi for a few days and grandpa was taking us fishing early each morning. We would get up about 4 and pull the boat to scofield reservoir and troll for the morning and then come back home with our catch. I remember we came back and Scott, who generally liked yard work more than me, was out in the afternoon mowing the lawn while I watched TV. I remember grandma coming in and gently hinting that Scott was earning his keep while I...well she didn't say it, but I knew what she meant. I also remember trips with grandma and grandpa to Lower Bowns to fish. They'd pull their little airstream trailer down and the rest of us would camp. Grandma would play games in the car with us like "going on a trip". In this one we would each, in turn, say something we would bring and each person has to remember all the previous items. It got difficult after a few rounds! I also remember her food...particularly camping. She would always make cowboy delight and bring it in mason jars. Their airstream trailer and cowboy delight will always be synonymous with camping for me. Grandma was a great family historian and loved to share what she had learned. I learned a lot from her and was always happy to share anything I found with her because she would be so excited about it. I'm rambling here at bit, but I also remember grandmas home made mac and cheese. I think it was mostly pasta with milk, but she made it with just the right amount of cheese and plenty of black pepper and I loved it!  I have tried many times to replicate it, but without success. 
Grandma had a strong testimony of the gospel and the temple, but I never heard her preach with words. Everything was done with actions. She served in the temple faithfully, served her family faithfully, and was dedicated to thrift and self reliance. She was dedicated to family history and the history of the church. She loved to tell the stories of our Knight family ancestors and how they helped the prophet Joseph in his work in obtaining the plates and other parts of the restoration.  She loved her home in the mountains. I remember a lot of big family parties, particularly around the holidays. Grandma made everything great!"

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Jana's RootsTech Recap

A week later, I'm done with my mommy-at-RootsTech recovery period (aka. time to sleep, catch up on housework, and remind my children that they're still my #1 priority) ... Now it's time for a recap!!

That conference was AMAZING!!! As mother, genealogist, teacher, and content-editor at "The Genealogy Kids" (and as an official RootsTech Ambassador) I had my eyes open all four days of the conference for kid-friendly genealogy -- tools, products, classes. 

In general, I was impressed with the offerings. The only real youth class was the Taysom Hill/Britain Covey session on Saturday, but all the Family Discovery Day general sessions were family style, and my kids were so excited about the Expo Hall I could hardly get them to sit down anyway. My son came home saying, "we need a booth in the expo hall next year." He is now charged with the task of coming up with some amazing genealogy product or cause in one year's time. ;)  Who wouldn't come out of that expo hall fired up to be a part of something great and contribute to the community?!  And I have to add that it was a joy to volunteer a few hours at the BYU-I booth and talk to great people (I'm an online adjunct faculty member for the BYU-I online family history degree program).

For more details about our Expo Hall finds, see our posts:

Kid stuff in the expo hall at RootsTech


RootsTech Expo Hall Treasure Hunt

This was the first year the conference asked a teenager to be an Ambassador. I had opportunities to chat with 14-year old Ruby and was so impressed by her love for family history. What an example to other kids and to adults! We need more youth like Ruby leading in the genealogy world.

I made this conference a multi-generational experience by attending with my dad and my kids.  It made it much more fun, even though our interests varied and we split up a lot. I also like to think that this "multi-generational" experience extended further to my generations past. I, like Sheri Dew and Wendy Nelson, believe in angels. The power and spirit in this conference was so strong, I think we must have been surrounded! Hard to believe, but maybe the expo hall was even more crowded than it looked!

Can't wait for next year!  Great job, RootsTech team.  Thanks for looking for ways to involve the next generation of family historians.  I look forward to more and more progress on that front.  These little ones need their family history.  Just as Bruce Feiler mentioned in his keynote, they'll be stronger if they know their family past.

Anyone ever thought of a RootsTech Junior conference?  Kid classes, labs, networking events?  Just food for thought.  Family Discovery Day really is a great start.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

RootsTech Expo Hall Treasure Hunt

Today I (Becca) went to RootsTech with my friend Jessica. There was a treasure hunt for kids in the massive expo hall.
We were racing to be one of the first 50 kids to finish the treasure hunt to get a prize. First we played old games from the past. Jacks is not as easy as it looks.
Second, we played "Replace your face" at the Family Discovery area. We laughed so hard we cried:
Then, we learned about our names and what happened the year we were born:
Next, we called our Grandma and asked her questions about when she was a child:
After that, we recorded a story in a real sound booth and copied it to a flash drive:
Finally, we found a family history coloring station where we quickly colored enough to get a signature. Then we raced to the finish line ... and........ WE WON!! 2 free T-shirts!
Oh, and we also collected a whole lot of candy in our new swag bags. Yah!!

Kid stuff in the expo hall at RootsTech

I've been watching closely for kid-friendly stuff in the expo hall. Saturday will be the real test (when a bazillion kids show up for Family Discovery Day) and I know they have fun activities planned. But here's a few good finds so far:

On "Innovation Alley" I was happy to find a fantastic new app for the young ones. This app, Little Family Tree, has several cute games and the creator told me they have more games in the works.

These nice people have created "The Game of Genealogy" board game. It actually teaches real genealogy research principles as you play!

Janet Havorka's Zap the Grandma Gap products are plentiful and quite creative. Lots of ideas in these books! She does a good job.

I was also quite impressed by a demo I had at the Family History Guide booth. They have a children tab on their site that contains many helpful links. And for the teenagers and bigger kids, their training resources for FamilySearch seem to be quite useful.

One of the finalists in this morning's innovator showdown made me think of the kids: Twile (and congratulations to them for winning 3rd place and People's Choice) is an online timeline for your family history and family present. It looks to me to be a great, very visual way to teach your children about the family they belong to.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

RootsTech Day 2 did not disappoint!!

What a day! You think RootsTech is just for genealogy geeks and old people? There's plenty of those around (including myself ... the geek part, not the old part). But look what you're missing if you're not here:
Family Time! (Glad to see my dad here this year.)
The most powerful Keynote presentations ever given (I teared up all morning). Paula Williams Madison, Bruce Feiler, and FamilySearch CEO Steve Rockwood made my day. And it was pretty cool when the American Ride guy drove into the hall on his bike...

A massive expo hall full of hands-on genealogy, exhibits, games, ideas, people, swag, more people, more people, and a fantastic spirit.
Met this cute 14-year old conference ambassador, Ruby, and a lot of other new friends.
How about the worlds largest genealogy wall chart?

I'm ending the day now in a FANTASTIC concert ... The Crescent Super Band with Ryan Innes! 
Thank you, RootsTech!! Can't wait till tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

RootsTech Day 1

RootsTech is off to a great start!  Today was the Innovator Summit, a day for tech brains to combine with genealogy brains and see what great ideas they can come up with. Here's a shot of the semi finalists for the Innovator Showdown:
The products demonstrated were awesome and have now been narrowed down to six that will compete again Friday. I had a good conversation at dinner tonight with one of the innovators from TapGenes. They have some great ideas. 
I had a lovely tour of the Church History Library and made friends with these nice ladies. What an amazing resource this library is! 
A highlight was meeting my friend Jana.  She's a genealogist, a blogger, a RootsTech Ambassador, a curly-headed brunette, and she married a guy named Brent. (We are not the same person, but close.)
I also sat by Sally Odekirk at dinner... She happens to be the lady that edited my Ensign article a few years back (about youth doing family history work). Small world.
Watch this hashtag to see some fun pictures from RootsTech. So excited for 3 more days of greatness! #rootstechforever

Monday, February 1, 2016

It's HERE! It's HERE! RootsTech week is HERE!!

We've been waiting a long time for this week to come!  RootsTech has finally arrived.  We'll post updates throughout the week and let you know how we're enjoying the conference.

For those who cannot make it to Salt Lake, guess what?  You can still attend RootsTech.  Yes!  And in your pajamas!!  Just watch the live streamed sessions on the RootsTech website.  The full streaming schedule is HERE.  And look at this amazing line-up for Family Discovery Day on Saturday: