The generations on either side of me link me to my past and my future. My view of family history involves revealing the roots and the branches.

Throughout this blog you will find perspectives related to the doctrines of temple and family history work from revealed revelation given to living prophets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Friday, February 27, 2015

What's In A Name?

I have always been intrigued by people's names; most particularly the meaning behind the name. Was the person named for someone or some place? Does their name reflect memories, family stories, or feelings? Many of our ancestors had surnames that reflected their occupation, a place, or a person.

When we were a newly married couple, we frequently discussed what we would name our children. 
  • We wanted our children to have names that had meaning to us. 
  • We wanted the etymology (original literal meaning) of their names to be powerful. 
  • We wanted family names that represented strong individuals with a teachable heritage.

Let me introduce you to my children.

Emma Patience

Emma = Complete or Whole
Patience = Calm Endurance

It took seven years of infertility struggles to finally get our little Emma. They were years of trying to learn how to have patience during long suffering. And still today as we are raising children trying to remember to have patience in the process.

Emma Margaretha Friederike Boldt Ohms is my great-grandmother. She died 15 years before I was born. I do not have any stories about her. What I know about her I have learned from newspapers, Census, and other records. She immigrated from Germany when she was two years old with her parents and grandparents. As an adult, she was the family care giver. As a young mother, with four of her own children, she also cared for her youngest sibling (a half sister). Later in life she cared for a widowed sister and she continually cared for an unmarried son until her death. She is an example of compassion and love.

Patience Sibyl Groves Davies Harris is my 3rd great-grandmother. She inspires me to have patience. Her first husband died four years into their marriage; leaving her with two children aged three and under and pregnant with their third. For three years she raised these children alone. She married my 3rd great-grandfather, Llewellyn, in 1865 and they had six children. Llewellyn was a pathfinder missionary for the LDS Church for over 30 years. He traveled throughout the American South West and Mexico blazing new roads and teaching and healing others.  Patience took care of the homestead and raised the children. She is a great example of a strong individual with a teachable heritage.

Matthew Thayne

Matthew = Gift of God
Thayne = Follower

After struggling with infertility for years before the birth of our first child, we just resigned ourselves to another struggle.  We were amazed to have Matthew less than three years later.  He truly was our "Gift from God".

Thayne Leavitt Archibald is my husband's father; Matthew's grandfather. Thayne died nearly four years before we were married; and as such, I never knew him. He was a hard working man. He could fix anything and if he didn't have the tools, he would create them. He was a loving, sacrificing, frugal, inventive, patient, and quiet man. I hope my son will follow in his grandfather's footsteps. Oh, and they both have red hair!

Our children's "family" names help them to know their identity and heritage. We can share with them stories and photos about their namesakes. 

Here are some helpful websites to help you in identifying the meaning of names:

This site is a great source for learning how to pronounce names:

This is a great site to learn the frequency of names:

The following are screen shots from Baby Name Voyager showing the frequency of my children's names.

I learned about this site last year from a news story that said that children named "Emma" today were named after their mother's great-grandmother. Wow! How did they know my story?  And then I saw this graphic. You should check out the frequency of your name.

Are you named after someone? Were you named after any family members (first or middle name)? How did that make you feel as a child? And now as an adult? What special meanings do these names have for you? What about your children? Did you name them after someone? Please share your family name stories and experiences in the comments.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

FamilySearch Discovery Center

On Friday, February 13th, during RootsTech, I had the opportunity to experience the new FamilySearch Discovery Center in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City. If you are planning on visiting Salt Lake City, this is a "must do" for your itinerary. I had heard about this place in September 2014 during another family history conference and had been waiting impatiently for an opportunity to visit. I'm so excited that it is finally open to everyone.

When you arrive you are given an iPad and you Sign In with your FamilySearch account.  Then you take a picture of yourself for the adventure.

You move throughout a half dozen stations (with huge touch screen monitors) where you dock your iPad with its amazing magnetic case.

The first station I visited provided information about my name and the events of the year I was born.

I could adjust the year and look at anytime in history. 

Next I decided to visit the photo booth. Again I docked the iPad and the screen instructed me to hold still and the camera automatically adjusted to my height. Then I saw images of women with the percentage of my ethnicity. I chose a few images and held my hand in the air to select the option that took my picture and placed my head in the image of the woman.  Here are the two I chose to keep:

There is a recording booth for telling your own story. I didn't take advantage of that experience on this visit; though I plan to on a future visit. You need to bring your own USB for saving your recordings.

The next station I docked at was the maps. I could stay at this station for hours. This is where the majority of the group I was with spent most of our time.

This image to the right was emailed to me at the end of my visit.  All the images in this post with the #DiscoverMyStory banner at the lower right cover were emailed to me.  All other images are ones I took with my low resolution cell phone camera. The next few images are photos of what was on the touch screens.

This is my 4th great grandmother and according to this display she was my 1st chronological ancestor to convert to the LDS Church in 1832.  This is intriguing to me, because her mother also joined the LDS Church very early. Though when I look at her mother Leah Lewis' records in FamilySearch, her baptism date is listed as being vicariously performed in 1943.  Though I know from other records that Leah herself performed vicarious baptism ordinances for others in Nauvoo, Illinois in 1842. Very intriguing mystery that needs to be solved.

When you touch an ancestor's dot on the map, this data card opens up and shows you information about the ancestor: Their name, their relationship to you, their birth and death date and any photos and stories.  The information about them comes from FamilySearch Family Tree. If nothing comes up, that just means you have more work to do in finding photos and stories of your ancestors.
This image shows family migration.
You can zoom into any area of the map. This is where my great grandparents are from in Germany.
My grandparents in Iowa and Illinois.
The last station I docked at was what I call the time machine. 

I could select anyone from my fan chart and look at stories and images on a large screen. I could also shift the time frame and view an interactive old home and I could tap images in the room and read stories about that time frame. I would like to come back to this place and explore more.
There are activities for young children as well, though they will probably be enamored with the iPad.

A map and magnify glass ... going on a treasure hunt.
Outside of the center room there are other activities for young children.

I hope you are interested in visiting this new Discovery Center on your next trip to Salt Lake City. Follow this link to schedule your visit and learn more about the FamilySearch Discovery Center:

#RootsTech    #DiscoverMyStory   #FamilySearch

Monday, February 23, 2015

Finding the Living Among the Dead: Using the Internet to Find Your Living Cousins

I have been teaching others the ins and outs of family history for the past 20 years; in various roles.  At RootsTech 2014, I was in a session and experienced some personal revelation that I should present at RootsTech perhaps someday in the future.  I had presented to large industry groups in the past as part of my work responsibilities, but I had not at that point in time ever presented to a large family history or genealogy related group.

After RootsTech I contacted my new friend Janet Hovorka, a seasoned genealogy presenter, and asked her how one goes about finding out how to submit session proposals for family history conferences.  She gave me an overview and suggested I reach out to a local organization.  So I did.  I contacted the Ogden FamilySearch Library and proposed two topics, both of which they accepted for their fall conference. One session was about Family Reunion Planning and the other session is the title of this post.  I presented both sessions in September 2014.

Back to RootsTech 2014.  After RootsTech ended, I watched for the call for proposals that my friend said would come via email in early summer.  I submitted four session proposals and one of them was accepted the beginning of August! Again, the session is the title of this post.  So, now here it is August 2014 and I know I will be presenting the following February at a major conference a session that I have yet to present to anyone, but will be presenting to a small conference in September.  The September session was a hit ... a full class of nearly 80 people ... and people being turned away that wanted to come.

Jump ahead a few weeks and now it is October and I get an email from RootsTech that informs me that my session has been selected to be recorded and possibly translated for use at Family Discovery Fairs throughout the world in 2015.  A few months later I find out that it is not going to be translated into other languages after all, but it will still be recorded for use in English speaking events world wide.

At this point in my life, the only major video recording I have participated in is basic family home videos. You know the kind where everyone is goofy and funny? Except for a few minutes of KSL Studio 5 footage from when my daughter was an infant, I had never appeared in any public video; at least that I'm aware.  So, the uneasiness of being recorded started to creep into my mind. But, I just pushed it away and kept focusing on the content of my presentation, my slides, and my syllabus.

Jumping ahead to February 2015, it is now late on the night of the 6th of February and I am reading a blog post on FamilySearch:
20 "Can't Miss" RootsTech Sessions To Help You Grow Your Family Tree.  And my session is listed!  And not only is it listed, but there is a note about watching it online.  What?!  Here it is less than one week before my session and I just found out that my recorded session will be streaming online less than 48 hours after I had presented it!
I woke my sleeping husband to share with him the news and that my anxiety was creeping back in again. He said not to worry, it would all be just fine. He works in the technical television field; he is behind the camera and behind the scene on a daily basis. But to be in front of the camera? That uneasiness was coming back.  Just one week to go and I was doing fine with the "recording" of my session, knowing that at some point other people would see it.  I wasn't mentally ready for people to see it online that quickly.

The next few days flew by and my session was listed in other blogs as the RootsTech streaming schedule became available.

The afternoon of February 12th arrived and I was ready to share my content and engage my audience in conversation. Getting fitted with a microphone was a new experience and having bright lights shining on me was daunting.  The cameraman who was going to record my session came up and visited with me.  It was my husband's co-worker Jeff and he reassured me that all would be well.

I had three great friends (Katrina, Jeanette, Chris) who came to my session and appeased me by sitting on the front rows so that I could see their smiling faces.  The cameras started and so did I and the conversation began and in less than an hour it was all over.  I really appreciated a little old man on the front row who gave me a big thumbs up as the session ended.  That simple gesture calmed me. I visited with my friends and met new people who came up afterward to continue the conversation.

Jump ahead to Saturday and I was sitting in another session watching my watch, knowing that at 10:30 am my session would start streaming online. I wondered what people watching would think. Would they feel engaged in the conversation that we had 2 days before? A few hours later I had at least a little glimpse into the answer. I was walking in the crowded halls of the Salt Palace and a young lady came through that large mass of people and stopped me. She had watched my session that morning and was so excited about the things I shared and she asked me some more detailed questions that she had.  It was a great conversation.

And then I remembered another time being in that same hallway in the Salt Palace just one year before.  This time the hall was not as crowded; it was the Innovator Summit day of RootsTech 2014. On that day, I had experienced a moment of personal revelation, when I heard in my mind the words of this Old Testament scripture from Esther 4:14 - "who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" And perhaps this is part of the purpose of the last 20-30 years of my life.

Here is the video link to my session:
Here is the link to my syllabus:

I hope you enjoy my session.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Eternal Architect

“Bridges between generations are not built by accident.  Each member of this Church has the personal responsibility to be an eternal architect of this bridge for his or her own family.”  

- Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander, "Bridges and Eternal Keepsakes”, Ensign, May 1999, p. 83

Saturday, February 21, 2015

2015 State of the Genealogy Industry

This infographic is really interesting to me.  It will be intriguing to see what this looks like in 5 years when estimates are that the majority of the world will be connected.  How will that connectivity affect family history and genealogy?

For more information about this topic, please see the following site: 

Friday, February 20, 2015

RootsTech 2015 - Day 3 - February 14th

Here are some of my thoughts from my experiences from the last day of RootsTech 2015.

General Session
A.J. Jacobs - Global Family Reunion
The Global Family Reunion will be held on June 6, 2015 in New York City at the New York Hall of Science.  There will also be online streaming and branch parties around the world; including one at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Everyone counts … we are all connected.  The global family is hugely important. It brings history to life, fills us with gratitude and interconnects us with all human kind. We will be a kinder world as we deeply realize that we are one big family.

Here is the link to the Global Family Reunion (GFR) Select "Join the Family" to see how you are connected to the Global Family Tree.  I already know that I am related to George Walker Bush (on both his father's and his mother's lines) and the Bushes are already connected in the Global Family Tree.  I am still waiting for my email from the GFR to show all my connectedness. 

You can buy tickets for the event for $20 and 100% goes to the Cure Alzheimer's Fund and the Alzheimer's Association to fund research. When we lose someone to Alzheimer's we lose their memories and their history.  Curing Alzheimer's is really about preserving family history!

Donny Osmond
Anybody can do family history; it is all about stories. When you discover more about your ancestors, the more you discover about yourself. Most of Donny's history has been documented.  Has ours?  If not, why not? Don't you think our descendants deserve to know about us? It is our responsibility to record our lives. If we don't document our memories, we will at some point forget them. Donny indicated that searching his family history has become one of his favorite hobbies.  He was given all of his mother's research … which spanned decades. What matters most is what lasts the longest and family lasts the longest. We need to make every "right now" matter. We need to give our loved ones our time.  Check out Donny's app at

Bringing Families Together Through Family Reunions - Andi Gooch
I really liked this session as I have a family reunion session that I present at other conferences. It was good to see a different take on family reunion planning.  Because RootsTech is a tech conference the majority of Andi's presentation was tech oriented and she shared apps and programs that can help in planning a reunion.  She shared some programs for collecting payments electronically that I had not thought of using before. That one suggestion alone will help me in the family reunions and high school reunion I am planning. Her topics covered: Themes, Administration, Social Media, Activities and Master of Ceremonies. You can follow Andi on her blog:

6 Steps to Choreograph Your Research Across The Internet - Janet Hovorka
I took a lot of notes on this session to help me in my personal family history research.  Here are my overview notes regarding the 6 steps: 1. Know what you are looking at online. 2. Create your own conclusion tree. 3. Know your search strategies. 4. Use multiple tabs on your screen. 5. Use timelines. 6. Cite your sources.  Janet's session was recorded and may be available on the RootsTech website in the future. For more information on this topic, you can follow Janet on her blog:

There were so many vendors and not enough time to visit each booth.  I quickly walked the entire hall on one of my lunch breaks and on the other breaks I was able to visit about a dozen booths.  I probably could have spent 3 days visiting vendors.  It was a hard decision to make … go to class, visit with new friends, or visit vendors.  Even though the conference was already 4 days long and I was exhausted at the end of each day, there are moments when I think that it wasn't long enough.  I believe there were something like 200 vendors.  Here is a list of the exhibitors:

#RootsTech    #GlobalFamilyReunion   #iamacousin

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

RootsTech 2015 - Day 2 - February 13th

Here are some of my thoughts from my experiences from the second day of RootsTech 2015.

General Session
D. Joshua Taylor, FindMyPast
Family history should not be about searching, it should be about finding. We must continue to lower the barriers to family history; it can become everyone's hobby.

He talked about who inspires him and he shared a story about his ancestor William Heaps and how he found a common thread in the life of his ancestor and himself.  They both love cheese and they both got in trouble for hiding cheese.  Josh hid and ate cheese in his room, while his ancestor William was sentenced to 7 years for stealing cheese!

When Josh had his family tree on the screen, I recognized some of the names in his tree and quickly checked my tree.  Some of William Heaps' descendants married some of William Alvey's descendants.  William Alvey is my 3rd great grandfather.  Josh and I share some common cousins.

Laura Bush, Former First Lady of the United States
She shared that both her and George's parents have shown them the best way to age.  All we have is the here and now.  Sometimes you have to work hard to recognize yourself. It is the job of every American to take a stand, to step up to his or her own pitcher's mound, to face up to fear and to stand proud.

The last part of the general session was an intimate conversation with Laura Bush and her daughter, Jenna Bush Hager.  Here are some of my favorite parts:

Jenna mentioned that her parents and her grandparents always put family first.  And that George Sr. was babysitting Jenna and her sister Barbara the night before he had a presidential debate.  Jenna asked her mom, "What advice do you have for mothers and grandmothers?" Laura responded, "Savor the moments when they are little … all we know we have is now."

Innovator Challenge Showdown
The final four companies shared their programs/apps with the audience.  Five judges asked the finalists questions.  The audience got to text in their votes for people's choice.

1st Place ($10,000) and the People's Choice ($5,000) went to StoryWorth.  You can check them out at:

2nd Place ($7,000) went to ArgusSearch. You can check them out at:

3rd Place ($3,000) went to GenMarketplace. You can check them out at:

4th Place went to LucidPress.  You can check them out at:

You can watch the action of the showdown for yourself at:

By Small and Simple Things - Stacy Julian
Things have the power to trigger memories.  How do we use these things to become better acquainted with our ancestors so they aren't just names and dates?  Not only can things trigger memories, they can trigger emotions.  As we read through the stories of our ancestors, we should look for at least one thing that we can use to trigger memories of the ancestor.  A "thing" that we can display in our home.  What can we do right now with the people that are living?  You can follow Stacy at:

Family History Adhesive - Janet Hovorka
Janet mentioned that as a child family history was in the water they drank and the food they ate and the air they breathed. It was in the trips they took … it was their life.  I love this!  This is what I am trying to do with my children. She taught that family history is a parenting tool that we all need to be using and that family dinner time is crucial to the development of children in the family; it is even a stronger predictor of a child's academic success than time spent studying.  Something I need to work more on doing at my home … a specific time for dinner and everyone at the table.  She shared research that is being done all over the world that shows the importance of passing history from one generation to another.  Do we know our intergenerational self?  Three things to remember: 1. It is all in how we present it.  If your family isn't interested, reevaluate your presentation. 2. Start with the interest of the family member. 3. Share with others … what works in your family may work in mine.  You can follow Janet at:

#RootsTech    #InnovatorShowdown   #InnovatorSummit

Monday, February 16, 2015

RootsTech 2015 - Day 1 - February 12th

Here are some of my thoughts from my experiences from the first day of RootsTech 2015. 

General Session
Dennis Brimhall, FamilySearch International CEO
"Who Inspires You" is the theme of this year's conference.
How do you get more people engaged in family history?
How do we get them to enjoy what we know and love?

He shared that there are over 1.3 million names being added to FamilySearch each day due to the Indexing efforts of 319,000 individuals. He provided an update on the Family Discovery Center and that it really is a "Museum of Me" and all of our ancestors are exhibits in our own museum.  The center is now open in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City. I was able to go through the experience there on Friday and will share my thoughts of my experience in a future blog post.  There will be a center in Philadelphia in the Musuem of the American Revolution, a center in London, and a smaller center in Seattle.

Mike Mallin, MyHeritage Chief Product Officer
What is a discovery?
A discovery is a gift of knowledge.
The beginning of a journey into a new world ….
How do we give this to everyone?
The wider market requires immediate gratification.
Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law:  "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Tan Le, the founder and CEO of Emotiv shared her Vietnamese refugee story and the strength that came from her family.  I loved her comments that the jigsaw puzzle of our lives is not yet complete.

Here is the link to the recorded session:

30 Pieces of Tech I can't Live Without - D. Joshua Taylor
I use a few of the items that Josh described and most were new to me.  Here is the list of 30:
Tablet - Evernote - Social Media - Spreadsheets - Family History Software - Online Subscriptions - Online Tree - Portable Scanner - Library Card - Dedicated E-mail - Portable External Hard Drive - WordPress and Blogger - Dropbox - Google - Webinars - WorldCat - ArchiveGrid - Find a Society - DNA Testing - Web Clipping Service - Book Cataloging - Task Management Tools - Image Enhancement Software - Skype - Audio and Video - CyndisList - Portable Power - Labels - Outdated Technology - Distraction.

Here is the link to the recorded session:

60 Minutes - 60 Ideas to Jump Start Your Personal or Family History - Tom Taylor
To make your personal history worthwhile you will want to tell your best stories. We need to take notes on every aspect of our lives; and to consider our best stories we need to consider all the possibilities.

We should start by making a timeline of our life and separate it into milestones or decades. Set a timer for 60 minutes and just start jotting down anything we can think about. Particularly people, places, events, and challenges.  Just brainstorm and let the ideas come.  Also we can use trigger questions - ones that ask us specific questions to help us remember something;  like "what was your first job and how old were you?" Pictures can also provide triggers to help remind us of stories.  We should write the stories in the order they come to us.  Then later we can go back and put them in another order if we choose.  And the biggest hint of all was to not let the process overwhelm us.  Even one small story recorded is worth more than the millions never recorded.

Consultant Training - New Possibilities with FamilySearch Partners - Craig Miller of FamilySearch
Announced that there are approximately 60 FamilySearch certified partners.  Here are the links to the products and apps:

With partners we can compress 300 years of indexing into one 30 year generation.
Within 2015 FamilySearch is planning on releasing an internal messaging tool that will enable contributors to connect with one another within the system.  Additionally sometime in 2015 they will be releasing, in North America, temple reserved records that have been held for more than two years.

I finished the day with my own presentation which was recorded on Thursday and streamed online on Saturday.  I will share in a future blog post more about my session.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Innovator Summit - RootsTech 2015

Today I attended the Innovator Summit day of RootsTech 2015.   There were many sessions today; as the after lunch sessions were 30 minute classes. Here are some of my thoughts about each session that I attended. 

Innovator Summit General Session
Bruce Brand of FamilySearch announced that sometime in 2015 there would be a Family History Start Up Weekend.  I am excited about this.  I have always wanted to participate in one of these events and now there will be one on a subject with which I am deeply familiar.  To see more about what a Start Up Weekend entails, see:  "Start Up Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups!"  This all happens over 3 days … with basically NO SLEEP.  Not too excited about that part.

Photo from
Scott Sorensen of Ancestry commented that large organizations tend to struggle with innovation.  They are so big that they hinder the process of rapid response that innovation requires or they have to deliberately concentrate on innovation. 

Nathan Furr, author and professor of innovation and entrepreneurship asked "How Do We Manage the Uncertainty of Innovation?"  He shared with us the Innovator's Method: Insight, Problem, Solution, Business Model, Scale It.  And that we often get caught in common traps of missing the surprises, leaping to solutions, building end stage products, and maintaining old business models.  His research is interesting to me.  Check out his website:

I met a nice lady in this session, her name is Nancy Daniels and she is from Tennessee. We attended many of today's sessions together.

Becoming Investment Ready
This was a panel discussion of angel investors with interactive audience participation.  The questions were:
  1. Do investors want audacious ideas of specific market?
  2. What is the importance of unique technology to investors?
  3. What factors most influence investors?
  4. What do investors most what their money spent on?
I have the audience statistical responses and if anyone is really interested in this topic I will email it to you. I found the discussion very intriguing and thought it would apply to an idea that I have in another of my interests.

Innovator Challenge Semi-Final Round
While the audience ate box lunches, the 8 finalists presented short  5 minute overviews of their products. They were asked questions by a panel of judges.  Here is a list of the semi-finalist companies: The group is now down to 4 and on Friday the winner of the challenge will be selected. I am really intrigued by this company: I think they have a great concept and I am very interested in watching their company grow.  Check them out when you get a moment.

Kickstarter: Create the Future
This session was presented by Jimmy Zimmerman of FamilySearch and Mike Davis of StoryPress. I have recently backed a project on Kickstarter and am intrigued by the concept of crowd funding.  Here is the project I backed, if you are interested: The session today discussed making sure you plan a great PR and SMM campaign to go with the Kickstarter campaign and that sometimes Kickstarter is just a great place to test an idea before putting it into future development.  Success is related to the product and the persona of the presentation of the product.

From 20 to 1.5 Million Downloads - Audience Building Lessons for All Businesses
This session was presented by Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems.  You can check out her website here:  She said that to build an audience, you have to have a voice about something that matters to your audience.  She discussed 3 key areas to building an audience:
  1. Email: Newsletter
  2. Online: Podcasting, Blogging, YouTube
  3. Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

From Innovation to Strategy to Execution
Tyler Norton of Hero Partners presented this session.  You can check out his company at:  He discussed the 5 steps in turning a good idea into a thriving business.  Here are the 5 steps:
  1. Focus on Core Competencies (Innovation)
  2. Leverage Cores Into Products (Innovation)
  3. One Page 3 Year Strategic Plan (Strategy)
  4. Annual Operating Priorities (Execution)
  5. Quarterly Operating Priorities/Drivers (Execution)
I love strategy and execution.  I really like the concept that "you are not your product".

Market Your Business While You Sleep
Darin Adams from Infusionsoft discussed lifecycle and automated marketing.  He discussed 3 main key points:
  1. Attract: Who is your audience? What attracts their interest? Collecting Leads.
  2. Sell: Education is KEY - people buy when they are ready, not when you are ready. Make sure the offer is clear and concise and close the deal.
  3. Wow: Deliver and WOW the customer. Offer more. Get Referrals.
You can check out Darin's company at

Mega Trends In Tech
Greg Collier of FamilySearch shared some of the trends technology is experiencing: Crowd Sourcing, Big Data, Machine Learning, Transparent Computing, Mobile and Social.  In the next 5 years the entire world will be connected.  What does this mean for family history?  The pace of innovation is growing at an unprecedented rate.

#RootsTech #InnovatorSummit

Monday, February 9, 2015

Ten Tips For Getting The Most From RootsTech 2015 … When You Can't Be There

So you can't make it this week to Salt Lake City for RootsTech 2015?  
Follow my 10 tips for getting the most out of RootsTech online:

Amy's Tip #1:
Review the Conference Schedule
Identify classes that are interesting to you.  You can filter the schedule by Date, Category, Pass Type, Family History Level, and/or Technology Level.

Amy's Tip #2:
Review the Class Syllabus Materials
Select the syllabus of the classes that met your interest in the schedule. The syllabi are sorted by Pass Type. You can download and save any or all of the syllabi.

Amy's Tip #3:
Watch the streamed sessions online.  There are 20 “Can’t Miss” RootsTech Sessions to Help You Grow your Family Tree

I am extremely honored and excited to announce that my session, Finding the Living among the Dead: Using the Internet to Find Your Living Cousins, is one of these sessions!

The streamed sessions will be available at
Here is the 2015 streaming schedule

Amy's Tip #4:
Watch the LDS Family Discovery Day (Feb. 14) sessions live. Check out for the online streaming schedule.

Amy's Tip #5:
Watch sessions from last year's conference in the 2014 Video Archive
Sessions from this year will be archived here in the future.

Amy's Tip #6:
Check out the products and services that are available from the Expo Exhibitors and Conference Sponsors by visiting their websites:

Amy's Tip #7:
Follow RootsTech as it is happening.

Amy's Tip #8:
Follow this blog. I will be posting about RootsTech 2015.

Amy's Tip #9:
Follow GeneaBloggers - there are over 3,000 genealogy and family history blogs. Many of these bloggers will be covering RootsTech 2015.

Amy's Tip #10:
Mark your calendar for February 3-6, 2016. Plan now to attend RootsTech 2016 in person next year. Collaboration with others is what it's really all about!  #RootsTech

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Linking Generations

“I alone am the link to the generations that stand on either side of me.  It is my responsibility to knit their hearts together through love and respect, even though they may never have known each other personally.  My grandchildren will have no knowledge of their family’s history if I do nothing to preserve it for them.  That which I do not in some way record will be lost at my death, and that which I do not pass on to my posterity, they will never have.  The work of gathering and sharing eternal family keepsakes is a personal responsibility.  It cannot be passed off or given to another.” 

- Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander, "Bridges and Eternal Keepsakes”, Ensign, May 1999, pp. 83-84

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Hilda Mary Woodford Fife

Hilda Mary Woodford was born on the 15th of August 1903 in Marrickville (a suburb of Sydney), New South Wales, Australia to William Oliver Woodford and Edith Mary Dunn.  She and her family were friends of Winston Churchill and she was in London during September 1940 when the Germans dropped bombs on that great city. She was a world traveler and a professional genealogist living in England and Scotland before coming to live in the United States.

She conducted family history research for LDS Church President David Oman McKay.

Hilda (black hat) is on the left and David Oman McKay (white hair) is facing forward in the center of the photo.

Hilda Woodford (in the pink coat) on Princess Street in Edinburgh, Scotland - August 1960
She married Arthur Root Fife on the 16th of April 1968 in the St. George LDS Temple in St. George, Utah.  She was 64 and Arthur was 81. She became the step-mother to 5 adult children.  She had been hired years before to do research on the James Fife and Peter Muir Fife families in Scotland.  These were Arthur's ancestors and I am assuming this is how she met Arthur; who was living in Cedar City, Utah at the time.
Arthur died at the age of 89, on the 6th of September 1976 when Hilda was 73. They had been married for only 8 years and 5 months. I do not have any memories of Arthur as I was only 5 when he died and it wasn't until I was in my early teens that I interviewed Hilda in her home.

This is how I remember Hilda.  

She died on the 5th of December 1995 in Salt Lake City, Utah at the age of 92.

Though she initially didn't have a love of genealogy (until she was pushed into it by a professional genealogist, who was hired by her parents when she was younger), she soon fell in love with it and made it her life-long pursuit and professional career.  Unfortunately she has no posterity of her own.  However, she has influenced many families through her research and the resulting resources that can be found today in the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.  

In her LDS Patriarchal Blessing given in 1954 she was blessed, "that many people will rise up in the latter days, and call you blessed, because of the help you have given them, and the things that you have taught them, pertaining to life and salvation."  I know this to be true as she has had a profound effect on my life and I am sure many others.