Happy Birthday, Grandma! Because she was, I am ….

Mary Elsie Cecelia Elliot Sutinen – My grandmother: Because she was, I am.

Remembering my grandma on her birthday….

Today is Grandma’s birthday – Mary Elsie Cecelia Elliot Sutinen – she was of French-Canadian, Acadian, Scottish and First Nations descent. Born in Ishpeming, Michigan to immigrant parents who came from Maskinonge, Quebec. She had five children – my mother was the youngest girl and the fourth child. Her life was not easy … hard work, poverty, difficult circumstances and more. But my memories of her are of a loving, doting, beloved woman who gave us kids sugar-free (she was diabetic) Jello with whipped cream, the BEST snuggles, learning from her about tatting, needlework, hearing occasional Quebecois words from her, her sisters, and the wonderful smells of a grandma’s home. A devout Catholic, she endured a lot and relied on her faith to get her through – AND was happy, smiling, welcoming, gentle and very obviously loving me and my brother, my cousins. Missing her now when I would like to ask SO many questions. Bonne Fete with our ancestors, Grandma!!

And thank you! You birthed my mother, who birthed me … and you loved and cared for all of us in your family, and the HUGE family of your birth (she was one of 16; 14 lived to adulthood). She connects me to my matrilineal ancestors, my distant past, going all the way back to Benouville, Rouen, Normandie, France where my 10th great-grandmother Guillemette Rolleville was born in 1625 and any paper trail further seems to end (for now … ). From Guillemette to her daughter Marie-Catherine and on and on, for generations, it comes to me and my only female first cousin in this line, Karen … Neither Karen or I had children, so this part of the lineage ends with us. Feels sad … but there are others who descend from her in the mitochondrial lines so the DNA continues. Merci, Grand-mere …. je me souviens!

SPEAKING AT ROOTSTECH Connect – 2021!

What an opportunity! I’ve been invited to speak about some of my favorite work – researching Indigenous Peoples. This presentation will be in THREE parts as it is about “The Big Five – Researching the Five Largest Tribes”.

Researching Indigenous Peoples can be a challenge, as much of our histories are oral tradition, stories told by skilled orators in our tribes, and lineal descendants in families who are sure to share the stories of the ancestors to the whole family at funerals or births. These beloved leaders can share from memory and long study the names and relationships of the broader tribal community. So mostly, this information hasn’t been written down – partly because it is sacred, important, cultural information that would be misinterpreted or added to by those unfamiliar with the stories and heritage. And some of the information isn’t written down in defiance – we don’t want some of our precious ancestral information shared with outsiders. And it’s not written down because .. well, that isn’t our way. And we are holding on tight to our ways.

HOWEVER there were many reasons and purposes that information WAS written down – census information, school records, military service and more. These resources and some of the cultural constructs of researching Indigenous families will be part of this course.

The session will be offered in THREE parts. RootsTech CONNECT 2021 is entirely virtual and, as such, the organizers wanted to consider good ways to utilize webinar technology while recognizing that people tend to learn best in non-live interaction in 20 minute intervals. So, because each of the five tribes is different, with different records, this session will cover these five tribes in three parts: Part 1 – Broad overview of Indigenous research generally; how to get started; what to do if you’ve been told that you have Native ancestors; how to move backward in time to look for clues, hints, cultural information that can help in finding an elusive ancestor. Part 2 – Will address the specific record sets of the two largest tribes – the Cherokee and the Cochtaw. The Cherokee are the largest tribe in the United States and the Cochtaw are third largest but both originate in the SE of the U.S. and have shared history that can help in your research. Part 3- Will cover the Navaho, Chippewa and Sioux. And, by the way, I will also offer you the names of each of these tribes in their own languages, rather than the English names (names used for them by the colonial people, settlers) that the Europeans gave them.

Interested? I hope you will join me! But in the meantime, as RootsTech is FREE – have you registered? Check in here: Registration

DNA Weekly – An Interview About Lineage Journeys!

The heading on my interview at DNA Weekly – Hope you will check it out!

There are some moments that remind you of why you do your work, why it is more fun to do what you love. I had that moment with Ditsa Keren from DNA Weekly, who had contacted me for an interview about my genealogy work.

It had been some time since I had thought about why I started Lineage Journeys and my motivations for continuing to work in this field. I truly love searching for my family and I love helping others get excited about their family history too. So the combination of the two had been great for me, but reflecting on it to answer Ditsa’s questions was particularly enjoyable. In our interview on Zoom, she had a thoughtful way, was fun and asked good questions. And I was grateful for the opportunity to share about what I do and how much I enjoy working with clients – I LIVE for those wonderful “ah ha” moments that all family historians or genealogists have when they learn something new about an ancestor or where they lived, what they did for an occupation.

While I can’t quite place my hands on the article that I read that shared the importance of sharing family stories, I remember that the psychology of it was that it builds resilience in children to hear about the trials and troubles that their ancestors got through. And for the children to hear those stories from their grandparents (or great-grandparents, as so many are living longer, thank God!), has a direct and deep impact on their own ability to manage in tough times.

Thank you to Ditsa Keren and DNA Weekly for the opportunity to do some reflection. Hope you all will think about checking DNA Weekly out – http://www.DNAWeekly.com

Updates – RootsTech CONNECT 2021

Watch here for updates and information to help you have fun with RootsTech Connect – 2021!!

SOOOO much is going to happen at RootsTech CONNECT – 2021!!

As an Ambassador, we get lots of information from the RootsTech’s awesome team – to help us to help you be ready for all of the fun and learning at the 2021 sessions. Wow, just check this out!

So – there is an opportunity for you to share a video that will play during RootsTech CONNECT – yes! Learn how to share a video about your family’s culture, heritage, travel and stories. Click here to check out your chance to share about your family: Learn How To Be Featured DEADLINE December 31, 2020 so please click the link and learn about what you can do!

RootsTech 2021 is coming!

RootsTech CONNECT – RootsTech 2021 is all VIRTUAL!!!!

THE BIGGEST genealogy event in the WORLD! Yeah, really!! AND in 2021 it is FREE!!! Yes!!! Is that amazing or what???

You can get registration information here: www.rootstech.org. There are hundreds of classes, a VIRTUAL exhibit hall, talk with professional genealogists, get tips and techniques to help you, 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 FOURTH year, and this year is the 11th 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

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