WIN a FREE Registration to RootsTech 2020!!

Prize: 4-Day Pass to RootsTech 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 26th to 29th, 2020 This is a $299 full price value! CONTEST ENDS December 28th!!!! Enter now!

Pass includes the following: Over 300 Classes, the Keynote / General sessions, the huge Expo Hall, any evening events, Power Hour sessions and thousands of your cousins and networking opportunities!!

No purchase is required to enter. If you have already purchased a 4-Day registration for a RootsTech SLC 2020, you will get a refund.

Increase your chances of winning by “liking” my “Lineage Journeys” Facebook Page, my Twitter Page, and subscribing to my blog. Each one that you do will give you another chance to win.

The prize is a RootsTech 2020 4-day Pass only. It is not transferable as cash. The prize DOES NOT include any RootsTech paid lunches, paid labs or cover other costs such as accommodation and tra.nsportation costs. The winner will be announced on the blog, FB and Twitter. If the selected winner does not reply within a week of being announced, there will be another drawing.

So join in now!!! Enter TODAY!!! CONTEST ENDS DECEMBER 28th!

Tips to Prepare You for RootsTech 2020!


2020 is the 10th anniversary of RootsTech and promises to be another amazing experience! Here are some of the things I learned in 2019 that may help you in preparing for the RootsTech 2020 ….

Learned a lot this year! Returning for RootsTech for a second year gave the advantage that I knew more of what to expect, knew my way around the building and locations where I could prepare as a speaker and take time to blog, but also to network, meet other professionals and hook up with cousins. SOOOOO fun!

Lessons learned – participants sometimes don’t fully read the descriptions for presentations, so please read the descriptions and don’t mark a speaker down just because you misunderstood what they were going to be sharing. Participants want to take pictures or record our presentations to share with others, and there’s an internal struggle to be honest about how we are working hard to make a living while also being transparent with how that works/doesn’t work when others share our content. This is hard for all speakers but we put in hours of unpaid time to customize content for our lectures – please don’t photograph or record them. And finally, by far the biggest learning is that there are thousands of truly dedicated family historians that want to get it right – to document their families through records, stories, photos and more so that present and future generations can appreciate the blessing of lives well-lived. And some great stories along the way! I learned A LOT from the cousins I met, other attendees that offered me their perspectives.

So, if you haven’t attended RootsTech, DO!! Stay tuned ….. FREE pass for registration will be offered next month … watch for it!

Things To Do At RootsTech 2020

REGISTER NOW!!! http://www.rootstech.org/saltlake

There is SO much to do at RootsTech, I thought I’d give you some ideas from my perspective of attending for the last two years! So here we go!

First, if you are “into” DNA, there is no other place to be than RootsTech! Why? Because all of the vendors of the kits will be there AND they give really awesome discounts for buying at the conference. Yes, really great discounts! AND there are free, exhibit hall “classes” that are offered by all of the vendors – in their booths, with experts and company leaders, who give you the latest and greatest of what they have developed and new tools for your to use to find that elusive ancestor.

Second, cousins! Yes, you can find many of your cousins from among the THOUSANDS (yes, you read that – there are more than 15,000 that attend this conference!) of people attending. The key is that you need to post your family tree on FamilySearch …. and the mobile app at RootsTech that you can use to track what classes you want to take, etc. ALSO can help you to find those who connect with your tree! YES! It’s so cool – that each day, as everyone is attending classes, walking around the exhibit hall, eating lunch, whatever … the app (you have to set it up, allow it to show you and your tree) will scan those thousands of people and let you know who is there. Then you can send them a message and meet. I’ve done it and met gobs of cousins (I descend from lots of French Canadian and Acadian people so most of my connections are with them!).

Third, the classes. Internationally known speakers who have interesting topics, give you the benefit of their many years of study, and are offering you the opportunity to gain insight into how best to find your people. There are hundreds of classes! DNA, migration, ethnic groups, records and how to find them, geographically-focused, lineage societies, techniques, tools, technology and so much more! Yea, your brain is going to explode! Really ….

Fourth, people. Lots of really nice people! You will meet genealogists from all over the world who don’t roll their eyes when you start talking about how your great-great-great grandmother survived a horrible flood and got all of the kids into a boat and …. well, you get the idea! You get to talk about genealogy and your family for DAYS and everyone will get it, and you will have SO much fun!

So, sign up to be there! http://www.rootstech.org/saltlake …. it’s going to be epic!!

RootsTech 2020 is coming!

THE BIGGEST genealogy event in the WORLD! Yeah, really!! Hotels are selling out fast, you can get registration information here: http://www.rootstech.org. There are hundreds of classes, a HUGE exhibit hall where you can buy DNA kits, talk with professional genealogists, get tips and techniques to help you, jewelry and t-shirts with family history themes, book publishers for those of you who have created your family story and need to share it, contests, games, activities for families and SO much more! Can you tell that I’m excited?!

YES, I get to be an Ambassador again – my THIRD year, and this year is the 10th Anniversary of RootsTech, so you can bet that there will be lots of special announcements, people and things going on. So you will want to be there.

Again, register – check out the information that is out: https://www.rootstech.org/salt-lake

Lineage Journeys – Summary of RootsTech 2019!

Goodbye to Salt Lake City for now!

Well, RootsTech 2019 is in the books … and thousands of us enjoyed a great experience! New this coming year is RootsTech London and of course 2020 is the 10th anniversary of RootsTech and promises to be another amazing experience!

Learned a lot this year! Returning for RootsTech for a second year gave the advantage that I knew more of what to expect, knew my way around the building and locations where I could prepare as a speaker and take time to blog, but also to network, meet other professionals and hook up with cousins. SOOOOO fun!

Lessons learned – participants sometimes don’t fully read the descriptions for presentations, so announcing at the beginning of my presentations who the audience is that I’m directing my information to; participants want to take pictures or record our presentations to share with others, and there’s an internal struggle to be honest about how we are working hard to make a living while also being transparent with how that works/doesn’t work when others share our content. And finally, by far the biggest learning is that there are thousands of truly dedicated family historians that want to get it right – to document their families through records, stories, photos and more so that present and future generations can appreciate the blessing of lives well-lived. And some great stories along the way – even with their own research journeys! I learned A LOT from the cousins I met, other attendees that offered me their perspectives.

So, if you haven’t attended RootsTech, DO!! Stay tuned – if I’m selected again to be a speaker or ambassador, I may have tickets to offer for a lucky family historian to get free registration to the conference!!

New Ancestry and MyHeritage Tools Announced!!

Wow, could the genealogy world have received more exciting news than the latest updates in technology and the use of DNA?! Both Ancestry and MyHeritage announced here at RootsTech, that they have developed new tools and techniques to help genealogists find their families!

New AncestryDNA tools
If you haven’t seen the improvements on your own AncestryDNA, you will want to click on the Extras tab in the black bar at the top of your screen. A drop-down menu appears so scroll down the menu and select Ancestry Lab.

You will see the new design, color-coding, custom label options, and other new tools allowing you to sort, group, and view your DNA Matches many ways. You can create up to 24 custom family groups with custom labels (and there are some labels that they offer), assign a color and apply to your DNA Matches. Here’s a picture from my page:

The filters are different (you lost the ability to filter by geography or region) but gained some new items:

And from DNA Circles (a version of triangulation that groups those who share a common ancestor and matching DNA) to ThruLines, where relatives are suggested and you may find connections in a new way.

Instead of DNA Circles – check out ThruLines …… I saved screen shots of my DNA Circles, but I’m still exploring this new tool so I may find no need.

Not to leave out the new developments at MyHeritage, here’s a great easy image of what they are offering us – really fun! A version of other methods we’ve been learning ……

Look familiar??

I’ll admit to be both overwhelmed AND excited about these new tools and I’m still exploring. No dinner out here at RootsTech for me tonight – playing with this is on my agenda!!!

A Day Focused on DNA – RootsTech Day 3!

The double helix of DNA

Today’s theme for me here at RootsTech today is DNA!!! It began early – a “Power Hour” with Christi Lynn Jacobsen, Dana Leeds, and Diahan Southard – You CAN Do DNA. An excellent and well-taught overview of why DNA is important for genealogists. They used great examples, kept it simple and honed in on the important points. Of COURSE! They are all professionals working with DNA for years, so they have explained it over and over to clients. Great job!

Dana Leeds explaining the Leeds Method of color-coding your DNA matches to create clusters.

Then a series of classes with Blaine Bettinger (found out he’s my cousin! Well, it’s pretty distant – 8th cousin – but that matters, right?!). He too, a long-time professional with DNA, offered two presentations – the first on Essential Considerations for DNA Evidence, explained the pitfalls and potential issues in working with or utilizing DNA evidence to find family relationships. He is great with explaining complex information in easy-to-understand terms. His second presentation – Chromosome Mapping Tips and Techniques – shared about the DNA Painter tool and how it can be utilized with data from FamilyTree DNA, GEDMatch, 23AndMe, and MyHeritage (not Ancestry). Step by step, Blaine led us through the reasons to do chromosome mapping while also giving advice and his own experience about what works best. VERY helpful!

Blaine makes DNA understandable, easier to consider when doing genealogy. He explained DNA Painter (below).

My brain is fried – and NOT because the presenters didn’t do an awesome job of explaining DNA and using it with “paper” genealogy. It was just a lot to take in but I am so energized to dig into this when I return home. Very exciting way to help me make some potential breakthroughs in my family research, and to offer to clients in my Lineage Journeys work.

Day 2 at Roots Tech – whew!!!!

Ambassador day – Getting into the classes, Exhibit Hall, luncheons, keynHiotes, activities and more of RootsTech 2019!

Wow, the end of Day 2 of RootsTech and has it been a ride!!! I’m exhausted, happy, excited and needing some rest.

The day started with joining my fellow Ambassadors in the Media Hub and crazy, fun people like Mr. Thomas MacEntee from High Definition Genealogy.

The Media Hub – morning of Day 2 at about 10 a.m. An hour later, there were no seats available and people were standing. At least three interviews were happening and friends meeting up!
Crazy fun Thomas MacEntee of High Definition Genealogy is such a joy to be around. With mad skills in promotion, marketing, networking and all around sharing guy, his workshops are fantastic!!

I was able to observe some interviews – Patricia Keaton was one of those I listened in on. She was the Keynote Speaker this morning, sharing her career story and what she knows about her family. Patricia had the benefit of the work of Family Search and AncestryDNA and learned more about her family live on stage – it was very fun, touching.

Lunchtime was VERY special as I had the pleasure to meet Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the host of Finding Your Roots on PBS. We watched a new movie, initially shared at the Sundance Film Festival, entitled Railroad Ties. Following the meeting and interconnections between a group of people whose ancestors knew each other at a key time in American history (I won’t spoil the story line)…..get out your tissues!

Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. – Host of Finding Your Roots on PBS; Harvard professor in African American Studies.
Talking about Railroad Ties, a new movie first released at the Sundance Film Festival.

And the fun continued as a met up with others at the Family History Library for a follow up conversation about my Wednesday “Mobile Apps for Genealogy” session.

The evening ended with some appetizers and conversation with the Genealogy Business Alliance group at the Marriott. Networking with other business owners, I wanted to learn more about ways to share Lineage Journeys with others.

Live From Salt Lake City!

Just the first day .. not as many people yet, but by Friday and Saturday, there will be probably 14,000!!

From RootsTech 2019, where there will soon be over 14,000 people taking hundreds of classes and networking, finding cousins and having fun!

My first workshop, You CAN Take It With You:  Mobile Genealogy Tools for Genealogists, went SOOO well and there must have been over 600 people in the room.  Great questions, energy – we even did “stand up, sit down” exercises.  AND cousin meet-ups!  How fun!

In the midst of the “stand up if you ….” exercise with over 600 people in the room!

Today felt like a day of healing and reconciliation … certainly, there is much more to do, but a beginning and significant movement in the right direction.  Friend and fellow GeneaBlogger Tribe member Cheri Hudson Passey offered a workshop “Discovering Slave Owners in the Family Tree” that was so impactful that people were crying, and not bad tears but those tears of recognized loss and finding common ground for healing.  We also learned about the incredible donation of $2 Million to the International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, announced at the Opening Session!  Wow!  There will be a family history center within the museum that will help anyone seeking information about their family, especially focusing on the African diaspora and records that will help in tracing those that were enslaved.  An incredible opportunity for everyone to learn, share, grieve, and hopefully gain some healing, pride in the strength of ancestors.

Part of the magic of RootsTech is the networking, mingling, meeting cousins.  Also having opportunities for growth from those synchronistic meetings or information that those of us long in the genealogy field know to expect.  My research time at the Family History Library on Monday and Tuesday led to some really great information for my clients (one in French-Canadian and another in Native research) AND some perfectly wonderful experiences for myself.

Met another wonderful French-Canadian cousin! Meet Amberly Peterson Beck!

As I have just begun the research on the Polish family on my dad’s side, I had recently found the name of the village that my great-grandparents immigrated from – Gorlice, Malopolska, Poland (it wasn’t always Poland, as it was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire).  The Niemczyk, Niemiec, Nimer, Nemshak family (yes, they changed the name a number of times) immigrated in about 1880 but no one in the family knew where they came from.  The family worked hard to fit into their initial American community in Chicopee, Massachusetts and later in Detroit, Michigan but not many stories of “the old country” apparently were shared.  Reaching out to cousins, there was much to go on.  So, I went down to the International section of the Family History Library and, wonder of wonders, there is a specialist FROM POLAND who is a Missionary there.  She was awesome!  AND introduced me to two young men, themselves Polish and here doing research.  AND …. Wait for it … they are from the Malopolska region!! Yes!!  So they are going to take the information that I know about my family and see what they might find when they are in the Polish archives.  :::::::::::::::crossing my fingers::::::::::::::::::::::::

Hopefully the pictures here will show you just how great RootsTech 2019 is and what a great experience it is.  And it’s only the beginning of Day 2 as I write this.  Stay tuned for more!

On The Road – Preparing for RootsTech 2019!!!!!

The Expo Hall is HUGE!!!

SOOO excited – RootsTech2019 is almost here!!!!

The countdown is ON! I’m finalizing my presentations, collecting my equipment, reviewing and updating my talks – I’m so pleased that Lineage Journeys/I was selected to speak again. I’m presenting You CAN Take It With You: Mobile Apps for Genealogy and Native, First Nations, Indian: Researching Indigenous People . 

Hope you will join me at RootsTech 2019!!!

There is so much to say about how fun RootsTech is – AND it can be overwhelming! The Expo Hall, Salt Palace is so HUGE so you have to be very disciplined about selecting your classes, planning your days there and probably allowing time to be at the Family History Library (really, it’s a very short walk!).

The Exhibitors area is also HUGE – but so worthwhile! There are always discounts for purchasing items at the event (think “DNA kits”!) , getting your family tree printed out on large paper, exploring jewelry with a family history theme, activities, booth workshops, books, tapes, things to buy, people to meet, freebee stuff to get …. yeah, overwhelming. But here’s what I learned from attending last year – my first year: 1- Wear comfortable shoes. You are going to walk A LOT! 2 – Plan ahead. RootsTech has a mobile app with the classes, exhibitors, special events, everything you’d want to know and you can create a schedule using it. DO IT! 3 – Either pre-print your handouts or plan to use the app – you can take notes on your phone or tablet from the app. Yeah, it’s pretty fun! 4 – Plan ahead for your personal needs. There is plenty of food on site – vendors, sit down places, variety. But maybe bring some snack bars or energy bars. And if you are thinking about saving money, some of the hotels include breakfast in your registration (be sure to check!) but many hotels have refrigerators in the room so bring things for meals. There is a grocery store nearby or you could use one of the many food delivery apps to have food delivered to you (yeah, there is a delivery fee and you have to sign up for most). But I brought breakfast foods so that I didn’t have to go out early – I could relax over breakfast in my room (PB&J is easy to bring, as is tea!).

Don’t take it just from me! Here’s a video from our RootsTech hosts about what to think about: The Road to RootsTech

There is also an option to check out some of the content from home – it’s really better to come there, but if you can’t, explore this option: Virtual Roots Tech! VERY reasonably priced, you get great content and you can learn from home. Saves on travel, hotel costs while also giving you access to experts and subjects that are of interest. There are 18 recorded sessions for only $129! A great value!

Hope to see you there – but if you buy the Virtual Pass, watch in the background! Maybe you’ll see me waving!! And watch here during the event, as I will be posting that week about what I’m hearing, seeing and learning as well is pictures of people I meet and the fun we are all having. If you attend, reach out via cell phone/mobile app – I may be with the GeneaBloggers Tribe, the Archives of Michigan, in the Ambassadors area, or around the exhibit hall – let’s meet up!