National Genealogical Society 2021 Family History Conference – Virtual Event!

Focus On Societies: Join me for the session – Society Management: Volunteer Motivations – Recruiting & Retaining Volunteers for your Society!

The National Genealogical Society’s Family History Conference is coming! Hope you registered early to get the discount, but register TODAY here:  conference.ngsgenealogy.org and join one of the most interesting, educational and important conferences of each year.

This year – new – is the fact that the Federation of Genealogical Societies merged with NGS and there is a “Focus on Societies” section, offering help, resources and information to genealogical societies to help them to thrive, grow and engage with their communities and interested researchers. That’s where my session – Society Management: Volunteer Motivations: Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers – appears. Join me?


NGS 2021 LIVE!
 is 19─20 May and continues with NGS 2021 On-Demand! on 15 June. Additional events throughout the week include the Delegate Council Workshop on Monday and the SLAM! Idea Showcase on Tuesday.

#NGS2021LIVE, #NGS2021OnDemand, and #NGSFocusOnSocieties.

Happy birthday to my 2nd Great-Grandfather, Norbert Albert Villeneuve

Here’s Norbert Albert Villeneuve and wife Adele Paquet and their family probably around 1902 in Ishpeming, Michigan (colorized thanks to MyHeritage!).

When Norbert Albert Villeneuve was born on March 3, 1840, in Quebec, Canada, his father, Joseph, was 31 and his mother, Julie, was 33. He married Adele Adelaide Paquet on November 7, 1865, in Maskinongé, Quebec, Canada. They had 11 children in 21 years. He died on May 13, 1914, in Ishpeming, Michigan, at the age of 74.

That doesn’t say a lot about Albert or Al as he was known. He was likely a farmer in Quebec as many in the community of Maskinongé were but we also know from family stories that he made furniture, very solid, functional furniture that was nice looking too. He became a miner in the iron ore mines in and around Ishpeming area. He was a carpenter and worked in and around the mines constructing joists and structures to hold up the rock for the miners, hoping to keep them safer. According to the 1910 census, he was still working for the mining company even at the age of 71. When he died just 4 years later, his obituary stated that he was one of the “early pioneers” and had cut trees to help construct the main road in Ishpeming. The family must have been a bit musical as family stories that I heard over the years about Albert, Adele and the kids included a great deal of music and dancing. And on his death, the inventory of his belongings included a piano that my Great Grandmother Louise Villeneuve Elliot took for her large family. My Grandmother Elsie Elliot Sutinen told me that this family, back in Quebec, were well known formal dancers – participating in waltz and ballroom dancing competitions, often winning. So maybe the family piano helped in teaching the children?!

A recent trip this summer to Ishpeming included driving around the area where the Villeneuve family lived, even finding their home address using the census records. Such a small home for a family of 11 children and 2 adults!

350 South 1st Street, Ishpeming – the Albert and Adele Villeneuve home in 1910.

RootsTech Connect 2021 was AMAZING!!!!

Look at how many cousins I had a RootsTech!!! I couldn’t look at all of them but I DID look at so many!!

To say how incredible this year’s RootsTech Connect was would be hard to explain. I had moments of seriously deep emotions as I watched some of the Keynote sessions – I must say that Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s part of the Heritage Highlight Block 5 – sponsored by Ancestry was the one that got my tears flowing the most, while there were others. The group discussion and music of Ladysmith Black Mambazo was powerful and … well, should I list ALL of the sessions, keynotes and educational content, the Expo Hall, exploring the Innovators area …. it was a busy time. AND I am truly glad that we have a year to watch all of the remaining content because, honestly, it was truly overwhelming and I wouldn’t have been able to do it all.

So I hope you will got to http://www.rootstech.org and add sessions to your “My Playlist” for viewing this year. I hope you got to the Expo Hall as I understand that is closing down (just like any conference) but if you saw a vendor that you wanted to check out, look for their website and visit them even after the conference as they could use your support!

And while “it’s a wrap” is perhaps in your mind, there is more to do – study, listen, learn, reach out, continue building your tree, connecting with cousins and share what you know to help others make the break-throughs that you made! And stay in touch! Contact me at judynmuhn@gmail.com.

SOOO Much Going On at RootsTech Connect 2021

Have you been attending RootsTech Connect 2021? It is SOOO fun! There are the cousin connections – finding your cousins among the over 500,000 people attending the event – and figuring out how you are connect to them. Could be a breakthrough on a line that you have had a brick wall! On Wednesday night, I had 4350 cousins, Thursday 5700, and then today – OVER 10,000!!! Oh my … I’m digging in on each of them, as I’ve been working a long time on finding the original surname of my Polish ancestral family (we have at least six spelling variations – Nimer, Niemiec, Nemshak, Nimiec, Niemczyk, Niemczky… gads!). Hoping to find some cousins that connect in this line and maybe know more than I.

And I’ve been listening to sessions! LOTS of sessions! You can save presentations on your “MyPlaylist” and the recordings are available to you for a YEAR! Wow! So I’m making a list of everything I want to hear. There are presentations too in other languages, so as I’m working to improve my French language skills, I’m marking some of the French sessions to listen to!

The Expo Hall is amazing too – you can check out special deals, talk with people 1:1 and purchase things at special RootsTech prices. Really nice! I miss being able to physically see people, browse at the booths and actually touch the jewelry, books and materials but this the safest for right now it and it’s really good!

Another day of fun tomorrow – I’m hoping to be able to be there more as I’m “other” job took my time the last few days, but I’m OFF tomorrow to check out sessions and talk with more people. I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed the Chat rooms for the sessions. I’ve met some great, knowledgeable people and I’m arranging to “meet up” (via phone or Zoom) later so that I can learn from them. We’ve been chatting about the content of my session, of course, but also we have a group for all of us as speakers, bloggers, and more. The Chat rooms are really fun if you haven’t joined in yet. Please do!

See you there? Join your 500,000+ potential cousins at http://www.rootstech.org – you won’t regret it!

IT’S LIVE – RootsTech Connect 2021 has begun!!!

Find cousins, check out the Expo Hall vendors, take classes and see Keynotes!

IT’S LIVE – IT’S FREE and it’s going to be awesome!!! There are over 500,000 (YES, you read that right!) from all over the world – 226 countries and counting! There are well over 11 languages for presentations but there are people representing WAY more languages in the world that are participating.

This is EPIC!! While RootsTech has been the largest genealogical conference in the world when we could meet in person at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, going virtual and FREE means that anyone/everyone, in whatever timezone or location – as long as they can register (FREE – here) and have internet access – can listen to classes, Keynote speakers, find cousins and so much more.

Here are some recommendations:

First – check out the Home page (https://www.familysearch.org/rootstech/rtc2021) where there is a video presentation to help you figure out what to do at RootsTech Connect – where classes are, the schedule of Keynote Speakers, how to find relatives and more.

Second – Look at the course offerings and save them in your own list, called “My Playlist” – and …. wait for it …. the HUNDREDS of pre-recorded sessions are available now … FOR A YEAR!!!! Yes! Fill your Playlist with everything that you want to learn and take you time looking at them. However, for those of us who are speakers, if you want to use the Chat feature to reach out to us, you MUST do that during the event – today through Saturday! Then that feature closes. However, all of us (at least as far as I know) have attached PDF handouts to our talks and those have our website and email information. Please reach out as we are happy to help!

Third – Look for cousins! I have over 5,000 cousins and growing, now that it’s open and live! It’s called “Relatives at RootsTech” – and you MUST have a FamilySearch tree to participate. But look at all of the cousins who are registered that you can connect with! Save a copy of how they connect to you to use perhaps to break through that brick wall you’ve been working on. You can “friend” them and then maybe meet up during RootsTech to talk about family, records and more!

Fourth – Have fun! The Expo Hall is FULL of vendors wanting to connect with you, join Chat rooms to learn more or connect with speakers, ask questions. When you are on the RootsTech site there are people there to help you too! In the lower right corner of your screen is a button CONNECT (white with red) that will get you to someone live who can help you if you get lost.

Wow – take advantage of the whole thing!!! There is much to do, many to connect with, lots to learn and it’s just day one!!! Have fun!

Exciting Content at RootsTech Connect 2021!!!

LOOK at some of the Keynote Speakers coming to RootsTech Connect 2021! There will be these “live” segments and then HUNDREDS of classes, workshop series and more! An Expo Hall with vendors that you can connect with and the always wonderful Relative Connections that happen when you link your FamilySearch tree with your registration. There are well over 100,000 people registered from all over the world at this point and with FREE registration, there will be more. You could find a breakthrough in your genealogy because there’s a cousin out there in Poland or Brazil or Australia or Sierra Leone who knows something you don’t!

Can you tell that I’m excited? Gads, am I! And please find your way to my presentations – three of them. The virtual setting of this year’s event made us think about what is reasonable for people sitting in on virtual technology – so sessions are about 20 minutes long. So my sessions – The Big Five: Researching the Largest Tribes – is broken into three parts: Part 1 is an overview of Native research generally, and how to think about your families and where the hints may lie. Part 2 is about the Cherokee and Choctaw. Part 3 is about the Chippewa, Sioux and Navaho. Watch one, watch all! And there’s a PDF handout there to give you some resources. And please feel welcome to use the Chat feature that will be with each of these, to connect, ask questions or just meet other family historians who are doing similar work.

Click on the pictures above to register and join the fun! Or click here to register – it’s FREE!

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