Friday, March 25, 2022

2022 RootsTech #ChooseConnection - Viewing From Home, But Feeling Like I'm There

This year's buildup to #RootsTech2022 was phenomenal! 

First thing that I must mention is THE SONG! "Choose Connnection" is one of the catchiest songs I've heard in a long time. Even as I think of it I can hear it running through my head. 

It is an original song that was written by Jonathan H. Wing, a RootsTech manager who oversees creative aspects of the event.

With the invitation from FamilySearch CEO Steve Rockwood to “Reach out to that person and send him or her a text or give them a call or contact them on social media and bless their day today with simply a kind word or a simple ‘How are you?’”

Before it even began there were opportunities to see just how many people you were connected to using the FamilySearchFamilyTree (FSFT) to enhance those relationships. Were they all correct? Likely not. Was it fun? Absolutely!

Within a couple of days of it going live, this was the screenshot that showed my connection to others registered for RootsTech.

By the time this activity concluded, I had over 100,000 more than what you see here. There were even opportunities to see if you were related to famous people. The excitement was beginning to build, and I couldn't wait for it to begin.

But what to choose? There were over 1500 classes to choose from. I made a playlist that included the keynote speakers, plus many more classes that I wanted to be part of. The great thing is that many of these classes are available for the entire year before the next RootsTech.

Here were some of my favorites, with many many more that will eventually be added to this list:

Sarah Cochran - From a Box in the Closet to a Treasured Family Heirloom:

Elizabeth Swanay O'Neil - Resources for Researching Your War of 1812 Ancestor Online:

James Beidler - Pennsylvania Predicament! Finding Keystone State Ancestry:

Diana Elder - Problem Solve with the Pre-1850 Census: Investigate the Tick Marks:

Shannon Combs-Bennett - Research Strategies for Early Colonial Ancestors:

It may be odd to hear that as one who has been an Accredited Genealogist for the past twenty-five years, and a researcher long before that, that you would would find me listening to "Beginner Classes" during an event of this size. But, I do. I feel that any time we discover a new grandmother's surname, or we have researched our way into a new-to-us locality, we begin again. 

Many of those "Getting Started" classes may be found here:

Probably the one topic I will spend the most time during this next year will be those focused to the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Kerry and I are Family History Center Directors and need to stay current. Non-LDS may also find some great ideas, such as family reunions, working with youth, and emotional difficulties within family. You can find it here:

But the keynote speaker on Family Discovery Day really resonated with my soul. Elder Ulisses Soares and his wife Rosana are from Brazil. He is an Apostle in the leadership of the Church. His address took he and his wife back to their native country as they visited places dear to their hearts. They walked where they met and dated, eventually entering into the temple they were married. Beautiful interior scenes show just how much this visit filled their heart with memories. I would recommend his address to absolutely everyone:

Though it's been about a month since RootsTech 2022 live has concluded, it will continue through the year to help us with our efforts to become better researcher, and to connect with our families.

Friday, December 25, 2020

2020 - Christmas Beauty of the Day #25 - Kerry and Peggy

2020 - Christmas Beauty of the Day #25 - Kerry and Peggy

Today concludes my Christmas posts for 2020. I hope there has been some joy in both the music and the treasures I have posted.

Today's posts is a culmination of all of the previous posts. All have pointed to Christ in one way or another. They are filled with the appreciation I have for all he has given to me - to us. 

Even the tiniest of things have meaning. The Danish plates point to Kerry's heritage. The ornament from Valley Forge represents my own ancestors, as well as some of Kerry's who fought to preserve our God-given freedoms on this land.

The Russian nativities and nesting dolls point to all of God's children around the world that he loves.

The Christmas plates from Kerry's mother point to the giving of something we would cherish for the rest of our lives. The kerosene lamps reminding me of Christmas Eves with my parents point to the light that Christ brings into our lives.

The red gingham bows my mom and I made together represent the time spent within a family, and how we should make an effort to get things all tied up in our lives.

The baby booties and quilt made and give to baby son Peter represent that Peter once lived, he died, and is very much alive in spirit in the afterlife. Trust me when I say I know this.

The cowboy boot from OGS represents that every now and then we need a kick in the rear to get us going in the right direction. Again, trust me when I say I know this.

So today, Kerry and I are grateful for the birth of Jesus Christ whose birth we celebrate today. A deeper study will show that it likely didn't happen in December, but that it happened at a different time of year. But, that's a whole other discourse. Today we commemorate that he was born and lived and taught his doctrine, he died to redeem us from our sins through his atoning sacrifice, he was resurrected.

And, he will return.

We were taught those things as children, growing up 3,000 miles apart.

We believe those things as adults, because we choose to.

Merry Christmas to all of you. May you find the peace that we have.

Peace is not living without conflict. It is finding peace amidst the conflict.



2020 - Christmas Music of the Day #25 - World’s Largest Virtual #Hallelujah Chorus

 2020 - Christmas Music of the Day #25 - World’s Largest Virtual #Hallelujah Chorus

This virtual Hallelujah Chorus came out in 2016 before there was ever a pandemic, or virtual choirs and orchestras.

It was spot on!

So today as we celebrate and commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, we have every reason to sing Hallelujah that such a tiny one came into to the world to redeem us from our sins.

This will conclude my Christmas music posts for 2020. Merry Christmas!



Thursday, December 24, 2020

2020 - Christmas Beauty of the Day #24 - Kerry's Christmas Star

 2020 - Christmas Beauty of the Day #24 - Kerry's Christmas Star

During the years 1971-1973, young Kerry was serving a mission in the Delaware/Maryland Mission. He had left for the mission field in September of 1971, arriving in Maryland sometime in October.

It was his first real time away from home. His parents taught him well, and he loved his mission and the area he was in - enough to return to it at the end of his mission.

But at Christmastime, your heart turns homeward.

During his first Christmas away from home, he and his missionary companion were poor, not having much more than about $150 each month as a living allowance.

They at least wanted to have a tree, so pooling their money they bought one for $4.

And, most missionaries don't take Christmas decorations with them in their suitcases from home. So, Kerry found some cardboard and cut out a star to place on top of their $4 tree.

We still have that star 49 years later.

After we married in December 1977, we decorated our first tree together. Soon, Kerry placed this cardboard star on the top of our absolutely perfect tree. I gasped. What in the world was that thing?

He told me. Oh. Okay.

I put up with that star for years, always wanting a beautiful angel with a long flowing dress. One year I finally bought one and told him that it was going on the tree.

He quietly took his star down, placed it safely in a folder, and didn't say much.

I felt like a heel. I looked at our tree, and thought it was the ugliest one I had ever seen. I told him how I felt, and asked him to bring his star back out.

Peggy learned a valuable lesson that didn't use any words. Just feelings. I learned how to get rid of my selfish self.

We now have framed the star so the points don't get damaged, and it hangs year round in our dining room.

And, it is the most beautiful thing in that room.



2020 - Christmas Music of the Day #24 - Silent Night, Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square

2020 - Christmas Music of the Day #24 - Silent Night, Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square

Years ago a man from another faith told me of one of the yearly memories from his childhood.

They lived in the Ohio countryside surrounded by lots of hills. His parents always played records from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir during the holiday season, but particularly on Christmas Eve. As a young boy he could remember looking out his upstairs bedroom at snow covered hills and hearing the Tabernacle Choir playing on the record player.

It is a tradition he has kept for nearly 70 years. 

And, this is the song that clinched the feeling of Christmas for him then...and, still does,



Wednesday, December 23, 2020

2020 - Christmas Beauty of the Day #23 - Nativity Ornament from Relief Society

2020 - Christmas Beauty of the Day #23 - Nativity Ornament from Relief Society

A few years ago I made a decision about Christmas. My own children were adult enough to realize the meaning behind celebrating the birth of Christ during this time of year.

So, I decide that every Christmas card I sent, and nearly every decoration would be centered around this meaning. I still have some of the favorites from years' past.

But, I began to change on the inside.

My heart changed.

My actions changed.

I changed.

And it's all for the better.

This year the Relief Society Presidency gave out gift bags that contained a number of beautiful items inside. One of them was this ornament that I absolutely love. And, everyone who received one loves theirs, too!



2020 - Christmas Music of the Day #23 - Largest Nativity Event, The Piano Guys, David Archuleta, Peter Hollens

2020 - Christmas Music of the Day #23 - Largest Nativity Event, The Piano Guys, David Archuleta, Peter Hollens

A few years ago, in a very short amount of time, a thousand people came together to create this beautiful nativity.

And it leaves me breathless each time I hear it.