Saturday, March 17, 2018

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - St. Patrick's Day Memories

It's Saturday Night - 
time for more Genealogy Fun! 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:

1)  It's St. Patrick's Day, so I know that you participated in "festivities" as a child and teenager.

2)  What memories do you have of celebrating St. Patrick's Day in your family?

3)  Share your stories in your own blog post, in a comment on this blog post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post.

Here's mine:

We were not of Irish descent, but as a kid I celebrated the holiday along with the other kids in school and the neighborhood.

*  I made a point to wear something green, but not a lot of green, hoping to fool my buddies into pinching me because I wasn't wearing green.  Of course, if my brother or my buddies weren't wearing green, then they were fair game to pinch.  I don't think I tried to pinch girls for some smart reason.

*  On the weekend before St. Patrick's Day, my brother and I and friends would go to the nearby park and try to find four-leaf clovers in the new grass (Springtime in San Diego is green!).

*  I don't recall exchanging cards or gifts for the day, at least until I was married.  

*  I recall having green sugar cookies in the shape of a shamrock at home and in school.

*  San Diego did not have a big Irish community, and I don't recall having parades or big shows on the day.  

*  It wasn't until I got married that we had the "standard" Irish food on St. Patrick's Day.  My new wife ensured we had corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots every year on the day.  That was her family's tradition (she has some Irish ancestry).  

*  After we were married, we occasionally went out to dinner at an Irish restaurant called McDini's in National City during the week of the holiday.

*  My parents were not drinkers, so we did not have Irish whiskey or beer.  As adults, we never went out to an Irish bar on St. Patrick's Day.  


Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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Census Whacking (Again) On St. Patrick's Day

Here's an oldie but a goodie from 17 March 2007 on Genea-Musings (with updates and additions over the years):  
I browsed through the 1920 U.S. Census on  looking for funny or strange names to help celebrate St. Patrick's Day and Irish names.There is a rich selection:

* Patrick Ireland resided in Matagorda County TX (born in Texas - who knew?)

* St. Lester Patrick resided in Hillsborough County NH (born in Canada)

* Patrick Patrick resided in Macon County AL (born AL)

* Patrick Fitz Patrick resided in Queens County NY (born in Ireland)

* Paddy Green resided in Lucas County OH (born Ireland)

* Green Kelley resided in Hudson County NJ (born Ireland)

*  Kelly Banshey resided in Beardstown, Illinois.

*  Banshe Jedinak resided in Trinidad, Colorado.

* There are 64 males named Patrick Green born in Ireland.

* Daniel Boy resided in Cuyahoga County OH (born in Russia)

* Daniel Erin Ireland resided in Wyandotte County KS (born in KS)

* Patrick Luck resided in Kings County NY (born in Ireland)

*  Erin Ireland resided in Logan County, CO (born in Nebraska)

* There are 87 females named Rose Ireland - but only one was born in Ireland.

*  There are 1,889 persons with the surname Clover, but only 6 were born in Ireland.

*  There are 222 persons with the surname Shamrock, and 6 with the first name of Shamrock, but none were born in Ireland.

*  There are 9 Kate Irelands in the census, but none were born in Ireland

*  There are 91 persons with surname Ireland that were born in Ireland.

*  There are 606 persons with the surname Limerick, but only 5 were born in Ireland.

*  There are 5,372 with the surname Cork, but only 39 were born in Ireland.

*  There are 102 persons with the surname Fairy, but only 2 were born in Ireland.

*  There are 3,861 persons with surname Irish, but only 22 were born in Ireland.

*  There are 26,144 persons with the first name starting with "Kat" and 41,434 starting with "Cat" born in Ireland

*  There are 22,043 persons with the surname Shannon, but only 880 were born in Ireland.

*  There are 52,560 persons with the first name starting with "Pat" and 49 starting with "Pad" born in Ireland

*  There are 1,059,917 persons in the 1920 census that were born in Ireland.

*  There are 3,888,940 persons whose father was born in Ireland.

*  There are 3,799,355 persons whose mother was born in Ireland.

*  There are 3,078,127 persons whose mother and father were born in Ireland.

*  I have exactly 1 known ancestor who were born in Ireland after 1600.  

There were no people in the census with the surname of Leprechaun or Banshee.  Not being Irish, or having much known Irish ancestry, or much experience researching in Ireland - I don't know all of the legends and songs that might provide more names to search.  What other names should I look for next year? 


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Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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Happy St. Patrick's Day - I Didn't Know I Was Irish Until My DNA Told Me So!

Am I Irish if my AncestryDNA test says that I am 18% Irish ancestry?  I guess I'm entitled to post this:

Here are my AncestryDNA test results (two screens):

Some thoughts about my "Irish" ancestry:

*  The matches they've made of my autosomal DNA with that of other "Irish" people show that I'm 18% "Irish."  however, the range could be 3% to 32%.

*  This ethnicity estimate is based on a pool of 154 persons identified as having "Irish" ancestry.  That's probably why the ethnicity range is so wide.  I really question how they can make judgments when there are so few persons for comparison purposes.

*  I am nowhere near the percentage of the "typical native" of Ireland.  For all we know, those 154 could have significant English ancestry.

*  From what I've heard, the autosomal DNA test indicates ethnicity as of about 2,000 years ago - around the time of the Roman invasion and rule of southern England, but not of Ireland.  The Celts in England were pushed westward to Ireland and Wales and Cornwall.  There were earlier migrations to the British Isles in prehistoric times from central Europe, Gaul and Iberia. 

*  My ethnicity according to my genealogy research is about 65% British Isles and about 35% Western Europe (mainly Germany, with a little Dutch, French and Scandinavian).  But that's based on where my ancestors lived about 500 years ago.  Of course, it's those Angles, Saxons, Danes, Normans, Vikings, etc. who muddied up the gene pool in England. 

*  Over the last 400 years, I may have a few ancestors who lived in Ireland, but I doubt that I have 18%.  If the ethnicity estimate was 3% or even 6%, I'd tend to believe it.  It may be that some of those conquering heroes took Celtic wives and they contributed to my gene pool with a fair amount of Irish ancestry in the green end. 

For the record:

*  I love Irish music.

*  I love the spirit of the Irish people, both sides, Orange and Green.

*  I've been to Northern Ireland once on business in 1985, and it was really green.

*  We visited Dublin for a day on the Legacy Family Tree 2013 genealogy cruise, and we visited St. Patrick's cathedral.

*  I don't like beer, and especially green beer.

* I would love to experience Irish research...if I could only find the connection in my genealogy.  I do have some "dead ends" in my pedigree chart, and some of them may lead to Irish ancestry if I can find the intervening generations. 

I also posed for this picture in Dublin with a wee Irish lass (is this my cousin?) ...


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Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Genealogy News Bytes - 16 March 2018

Some of the genealogy news items across my desktop the last four days include:

1)  News Articles:

RootsTech 2018 In Review

*  Reminder: Early Bird Discount Ends 20 March for 2018 Family History Conference

Press Release - New Partnership

Student Genealogy Grant Invites Applications

27 Public Libraries and the Internet Archive Launch “Community Webs” for Local History Web Archiving

NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Adopts Birth & Death Embargo Dates and More

When Did Americans Stop Marrying Their Cousins? Ask the World’s Largest Family Tree

*  What the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Means to Genealogy Bloggers and Others

2)  Record Databases:

New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday, 16 March 2018

*  March Update: GenealogyBank Just Added New Content from 35 Titles!

*  World’s Most Comprehensive Whaling History Database Released

3)  Genealogy Education:

 GeneaWebinars Calendar

FamilySearch Classes Presented at RootsTech 2018 Now Online

*  Upcoming Family Tree Webinar - Tuesday, 20 March, 5 p.m. PDT:  From Baltimore to Burlington: Hazen P. Day's Neighbors Bring Him Home, by Catherine B. Wiest Desmarais

*  Upcoming Family Tree Webinar - Wednesday, 21 March, 11 a.m. PDT: Hands-On With MyHeritage DNA, by Geoff Rasmussen

*  Archived Family Tree Webinar:  The Case of the Broken Link: Decoding the URL, by Cyndi Ingle

*  New Member Friday Family Tree Webinar:  Researching Your World War II Ancestors: Part 1 - The Road to War, by Michael Strauss

*  New Member Friday Family Tree Webinar:  Researching Your World War II Ancestors: Part 2 - Records of the Army, by Michael Strauss

*  New Member Friday Family Tree Webinar:  Researching Your World War II Ancestors: Part 3 - Records of the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, by Michael Strauss

*  New Member Friday Family Tree Webinar:  Researching Your World War II Ancestors: Part 4 - War on the Home Front & Post-War Years, by Michael Strauss

*  Jill Ball YouTube Channel:  Many videos from Congress 2018

*  MyHeritage YouTube Channel:  ABC Denver Features MyHeritage DNA

*  Genetic Genealogy Ireland YouTube Channel:  Y-DNA of a Scots-Irish Diaspora (James Irvine)

*  Genetic Genealogy Ireland YouTube Channel:  DNA, Clans & Monarchy (Brad Larkin)

*  American Ancestors YouTube Channel:  Preparing for the NEHGS Hartford Research Tour

*  American Ancestors YouTube Channel:  Creating a Research Plan: Tips from NEHGS Research Services

*  Family History Fanatics YouTube Channel:  Can You Research Offline Records Without Being There? - Lisa Lisson

*  Findmypast YouTube Channel:  Finding Elusive Female Ancestors: 8 Essential Tips

4)  Bargains:

*  Genealogy Bargains for Friday, March 16,  2018

Findmypast Offers 50% Discount on 1 Month ‘Ultimate’ Subscriptions in Celebration of St. Patrick’s Day 2018

5)  Neat Stuff:

How two of President John Tyler's grandsons are still alive, 174 years later

*  Lewis Run man connects with long unknown father - who didn’t know he existed

*  Illinois man found in a cardboard box as an infant reunites with birth family 53 years later

Did you miss the last Genealogy News Bytes - 13 March 2018?


Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday, 16 March 2018

I received this information from Findmypast today:


New Records Available To Search This Findmypast Friday

There are a whole host of fascinating Irish additions available to search this St Pratrick’s weekend, including:

Irish Tontines Annuitants 1766-1789

Search for your Irish ancestor in over 153,000 annuity statements, accounts of deaths, death certificates, and marriage certificates relating to the subscribers and nominees of the Irish Tontine. Popular in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a tontine was an investment plan designed for the raising of capital. Named after the Neapolitan banker Lorenzo de Tonti, who allegedly invented the tontine in France in 1653, subscribers would pay an agreed sum into the fund and thereafter receive an annuity from it. Upon a member's death, their shares would devolve to the other participants whose annuities would then rise in value. The scheme would be wound up when the last member died.
The records in this collection have been released in association with the National Archives and cover the English tontine of 1789; the Irish tontines of 1773, 1775, and 1777; and the life annuities of 1766 to 1779. The records consist of both transcripts and images of original documents and the amount of information listed will vary depending on the source. Images may include additional information such as annuity amounts, nominee or subscriber status, and class. Participants were divided into different classes by age. Those over the age of forty were placed into the first class, those aged between twenty and forty were placed into the second class, and the third class consisted of those below the age of twenty.

Ireland, American Fenian Brotherhood 1864-1897

Search for your ancestor's name in over 125,000 records taken from correspondence between members of the British Foreign Office regarding the activities of the American Fenian Brotherhood during the years from 1864 to 1897. Records include newspaper cuttings, letters, telegrams, lists of prisoners, and a number of photographs.
The American Fenian Brotherhood was founded in 1858 by Irish exiles John O'Mahony and Michael Doheny. Tracing its origins back to the Society of United Irishmen and born out of the social turmoil resulting from the famine of the 1840s, the American Fenian Brotherhood was a precursor for Clan na Gael and its members were known as Fenians. The collection includes accounts of the Brotherhood's incursions into Canadian territory during the years 1866 to 1871. In 1866, John O'Mahony and 700 Fenians attacked Campobello Island, New Brunswick. This was the first of what would become known as the 'Fenian Raids.' Civil War veteran John O'Neill led the last raid in 1871 and was arrested by United States authorities for violating neutrality laws. This militant approach led to a split within the Brotherhood and its eventual decline.

Ireland, American Fenian Brotherhood 1864-1897 Browse

Browse through over 15,000 volumes of British Foreign Office papers on the activity of members of the Fenian Brotherhood. Taken from the FO5 collection held at The National Archives in Kew, these records chart the American Fenian Brotherhood's efforts to liberate Ireland from British rule during the mid- to late Victorian era.

Church Of Ireland Histories & Reference Guides

Search over 800 records from two publications; 'The National Churches: The Church of Ireland' and 'Some Worthies of the Irish Church' to learn more about the history of the Church of Ireland. Both titles are presented as portable document formats (PDFs). 'The National Churches: The Church of Ireland', published in 1892, was written by Thomas Olden MA, a member of the Royal Irish Academy and the Vicar of Ballyclough. It begins in Pre-Christian Ireland and continues through to the Act of Disestablishment in 1869. 'Some Worthies of the Irish Church published in 1900' is a collection of lectures delivered in the Divinity School of the University of Dublin by the late George Thomas Stokes, DD. Stokes was an Irish ecclesiastical historian.

Armagh Records & Registers

Browse through 600 pages of the 'Historical Memoirs of the City of Armagh' to learn more about the history of Northern Ireland. This authoritative text was first published in 1819 with the full title of 'Historical Memoirs of the City of Armagh for a Period of 1,373 Years Comprising a Considerable Portion of the General History of Ireland; A Refutation of the Opinions of Dr. Ledwich, Respecting the Non-Existence of St. Patrick; And an Appendix, on the Learning, Antiquities and Religion of the Irish Nation'. It contains biographical accounts of both Protestant and Roman Catholic archbishops, a narrative of important events, an account of the establishment of the Presbyterian congregations and the history of various customs and manners.

Antrim Histories & Reference Guides

Search over 600 records taken from George Benn's 'A History of the Town of Belfast from the Earlier Times to the Close of the Eighteenth Century'. The title was published in 1877 and is an authoritative work on the history of Belfast. It contains historic maps and illustrations as well as a chapter on noted inhabitants mentioned in seventeenth century records including names such as Captain George Theaker, Arthur Chichester, Hugh Doak, Thoams Waring, George McCartney, and more.

Dublin Registers & Records

Over 2,000 additional records have been added to our collection of Dublin Registers & Records. Dublin Registers & Records contains 22 Irish titles comprised of PDF images, including parish records (baptisms, marriages, and burials) from the Church of Ireland, census indexes, school registers, monumental inscriptions and printed histories. The records span from the 1600s up to 1800 and will allow you to uncover a variety of details about your ancestor and life in historic Dublin.

Ireland, Royal Irish Constabulary History & Directories

Additional records have also been added to our collection of Royal Irish Constabulary History & Directories. Released in association with the National Archives, the collection contains an assortment of pay records, lists, directories, commendation records, treasury books, Constabulary Code books and training manuals.

Disclosure:  I have a complimentary subscription to Findmypast, and have accepted meals and services from Findmypast, as a Findmypast Ambassador.  This has not affected my objectivity relative to Findmypast and its products.

Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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52 Ancestors - Week 218: #297 Joanna (Willson) Sawtell (1702-1786) of Groton, Massachusetts

Joanna (Willson) Sawtell (1702-1786) is #297 on my Ahnentafel List, my 6th great-grandmother, who married #296 Hezekiah Sawtell (1703-1779)  in 1723 in Groton, Massachusetts.

I am descended through:

*  their son, #148 Ephraim Sawtell (1735-1800) married #149 Abigail Stone (1737-about 1800) in 1757.
*  their son, #74 Josiah Sawtell (1768-1847) married #75 Hannah Smith (1768-1827) in 1789.
*  their daughter, #37 Hannah Sawtell (1789-1857) married   #36 Zachariah Hildreth (1783-1857)in 1810.
*  their son, #18 Edward Hildreth (1831-1899) married #19 Sophia Newton (1834-1923) in 1852.
*  their daughter #9 Hattie Louisa Hildreth (1857-1920) married #8 Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922) in 1874.
*  their son #4 Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942) married #5 Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962) in 1900.
*  their son #2 Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983) married #3 Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002) in 1942.
*  their son #1 Randall Jeffrey Seaver (1943-living)


1)  PERSON (with source citations as indicated in brackets):

*   Name:                      Joanna Willson[1]    
*  Alernate Name:        Joanna Sawtell[2]
*  Alternate Name:       Joannah Willson[4]    
*  Alternate Name:       Joanna Wilson Sawtell[3]  

*  Sex:                          Female    

*  Father:                     John Wilson (1673-1717)    
*  Mother:                    Elizabeth Foster (1673-1742)  

2)  INDIVIDUAL EVENTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):

*   Birth:                     6 January 1701/2, Billerica, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[1–2]    

*  Death:                    11 September 1786 (age 84), Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[2–3]    

*  Burial:                   after 11 September 1786 (after age 84), Old Burying Ground, Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[2]  

3)  SHARED EVENTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):

*  Spouse 1:                Hezekiah Sawtell (1703-1779)    
*  Marriage:                1 August 1723 Intentions)  (age 21), Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[4]    

*  Child 1:                   Jonathan Sawtell (1724-1801)    
*  Child 2:                   Hezekiah Sawtell (1725-1770)    
*  Child 3:                   Elnathan Sawtell (1728-1758)    
*  Child 4:                   Hannah Sawtell (1730-1762)    
*  Child 5:                   Obadiah Sawtell (1732-1819)    
*  Child 6:                   Ephraim Sawtell (1734-1800)    
*  Child 7:                   Richard Sawtell (1737-1815)    
*  Child 8:                   Elizabeth Sawtell (1739-1804)    
*  Child 9:                   Nathaniel Sawtell (1743-1825)
*  Child 10:                 Esther Sawtell (1745-    )   
*  Child 11:                 Rebekah Sawtell (1747-    )  

4)  NOTES (with source citations as indicated in brackets):    

Joanna Willson was born 6 January 1701/2 in Billerica, Massachusetts, the 4th child of 13 born to John and Elisabeth (Foster) Willson[1-2].  

She married Hezekiah Sawtell (1703-1779) on 1 August 1723 in Groton, Massachusetts[4].  He was the son of Obadiah and Hannah (Lawrence) Sawtell.  They had 11 children born and recorded in Groton between 1724 and 1747.

Hezekiah died in 1779 in Groton, but did not leave an estate.  

Joanna (Wilson) Sawtell died 11 September 1786 in Groton, Massachusdetts[2-3], and is buried in the Old Burying Ground in Groton[2].  The gravestone inscription says:

In Memory of
Mrs. JOANNA SAWTELL, Relict of 
Who Died Sep 11, 1786, 
In the 85th Year 
of her Age.

There are no probate records for Joanna (Willson) Sawtell in the Middlesex County, Mass. Probate Court record books.  

1. Vital Records of Billerica, Massachusetts to the Year 1850 (Boston, Mass. :  New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1908), Births, page 203, Joanna Willson entry.

2. Jim Tipton, indexed database, Find A Grave (, Old Burying Ground, Groton, Mass. Joanna Wilson Sawtell memorial #56039785.

3. Vital Records of Groton, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849 (Salem, Mass. : The Essex Institute, 1926-1927), Two volumes, Deaths, page 264, Joanna Sawtell entry.

4. Vital Records of Groton, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849, Marriages, page 150, Hezekiah Sawtell and Joannah Willson entry.


NOTE:  Amy Johnson Crow suggested a weekly blog theme of "52 Ancestors" in her blog post 
 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks on the No Story Too Small blog.  I have extended this theme in 2018 to 260 Ancestors in 260 Weeks.

Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Seavers in the News - John S. Seaver Died in 1911

It's time for another edition of "Seavers in the News" - a semi-regular feature from the historical newspapers about persons with the surname Seaver that are interesting, useful, fun, macabre, or add information to my family tree database.

This week's entry is from the Springfield [Mass.] Republican newspaper dated 29 June 1911:

The transcription of this obituary is:

John S. Seaver,

"John S. Seaver, 72, died at his home, 163 Hampshire Street, Indian Orchard, yesterday afternoon after an illness of several months.  He was born in Utica, N.Y., and came to Springfield about 20 years ago, where he had since lived.  He was employed by the Springfield street railway company and had been a member of Wallamanump tribe of Red Men of Indian Orchard.  He leaves besides his widow, a daughter, Mrs. Horace Norcroft of Springfield, and two sons, Harry E. of Indiana Orchard and Edward J. Seaver of Springfield.  The funeral will be held at his home Saturday afternoon at 2 o'clock.  Rev. Clarence Seamans of the Advent church will officiate.  The burial will be in Oak Grove cemetery."

The source citation for this obituary is:

"John S. Seaver," obituary, Springfield [Mass.] Republican, 29 June 1911, page 4, column 7, John S. Seaver obituary; GenealogyBank ( : accessed 15 March 2018), Newspaper Archives collection.

John S. Seaver (1839-1911) is in my RootsMagic family tree database.   He was the son of  Joseph Sawyer and Amanda (Hosley) Seaver.  His birthplace is new to me, and is consistent with the 1850 and 1880 U.S. census entries.  He married Evaline D. Baker (1843-1926) in 1861 and they had four children - Edward James Seaver (1863-1933), Harrietta A. Seaver (1864-????), Mary A. Seaver (1866-1920), and Harry Ernest Seaver (1881-1956).

I am a 4th cousin 4 times removed to John S. Seaver.


Copyright (c) 2017, Randall J. Seaver

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RootsTech 2018 in Review

I received this information from RootsTech 2018 today:


RootsTech 2018 in Review

rootstech_2018_at_a_glance.jpgSalt Lake City, Utah (15 March 2018), The desire to discover and connect with one's family or ancestors brought together tens of thousands of family history enthusiasts from 43 countries and 50 states—and even more online—at RootsTech 2018. Celebrities Brandon Stanton, Scott Hamilton, Henry Lewis Gates, Jr., Natalia Lafourcade, and FamilySearch CEO Steve Rockwood keynoted each day of the popular 4-day event originating in Salt Lake City, Utah. Cool technology, popular consumer DNA services, and hundreds of how-to classes kept beginner to advanced attendees buzzing.

The 8th annual conference continues to grow in popularity. More than 17,000 guests from every state and 47 countries gathered at the Salt Palace Convention Center, and more than 111,000 watched live using the internet. Keynote sessions were highlighted each day with special announcements from show sponsors, and

In his keynote, FamilySearch CEO Steve Rockwood suggested that when you discover you are related to someone, you treat him or her differently. Using geo fencing technology and a little engineering wizardry, FamilySearch enabled attendees to use its Family Tree mobile app feature "Relatives Around Me" to make connections with unknown cousins in attendance at the conference, showing how they were related and enabling them to communicate and rendezvous. Astonishingly, over half of the attendees (8,450 people) were connected with other conference goers. The total number of cousin connections found at the conference (from 1st to 10th cousins) were 2,334,110, which makes the average number of relatives discovered at the show per user 276.

The show offered over 300 mostly packed class sessions on a vast range of family history-oriented topics, an expo hall filled with vendors’ displays and products, and enrichment events nightly filling every moment with family activity. It was energetic, lively, exciting, entertaining, inspirational, and educational.

Brandon Stanton, author of the blog and book Humans of New York, shared his story of how his dream job came true through hard work and determination. He said, "Following your dreams is nothing but hard work." He said that we shouldn't get to a place where you don't have to work, but to get to a place where you get to choose your work. His blog, and resulting books, illustrate the importance of all individuals. He says "listening is a scarce commodity" in this age of selfies. Stanton has found that everyone needs to tell someone about themselves, if they can find someone to listen long enough—a key to the success of his bestselling books that depict pictures and intimate and personal stories of people around the world. When asked why people share personal stories with them, he replied, "I ask." He says that the feeling of being validated, the feeling of being heard unlocks something in people that allows them to share.

Scott Hamilton, Gold Olympian, RootsTech 2018 KeynoteScott Hamilton, an Olympic gold medalist, is as energetic and affable today as he was during his career run of athletic medals. He shared a touching story about himself as an adopted child, his bouts with different types of cancer, and the help of “family” figures in his life. He captivated the audience with his love of family and how important families are in everyone’s lives. He told about his own family, his wife, and the miracle and blessings that are his two natural children and two adopted children from Haiti.

Dr. Henry Louis Gates, host of PBS' Finding Your Roots, RootsTech 2018 Keynote. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., host of PBS's hit series Finding Your Roots, shared how an obituary of an "estimable" great aunt he read when he was a child planted the seed for his lifelong love for family history, and how knowing their stories can impact future generations. Gates shared how his journey through an Ivy-league education, African American roots, and a DNA test paved the way to a string of genealogy-related television shows that led to his current popular and long-running series on PBS. He introduced the DNA Detective, CeCe Moore, and explained how DNA is breaking down long held family history brick walls, dispelling myths, and blessing the lives of people young and old. He has created an initiative to introduce K-12 children to the joys and benefits of discovering their family histories in a summer camp called Finding Your Roots: The Seedlings.

Natalia Lafourcade, RootsTech 2018Natalia Lafourcade, a Mexican pop-rock singer and songwriter, is one of the best known singers in the pop rock scene in Latin America. She shared the importance of family memories and quipped that family lore says she had French pirate ancestry. FamilySearch revealed a personal genealogy that confirmed her French roots, but could not validate the pirate family legends. She sang songs from her latest album, concluding with the Oscar-winning song “Remember Me” from the Oscar winning animated movie Coco.

The RootsTech 2018 Innovation Showcase, hosted by Extreme Genes'  Scott Fisher, addressed the state of historic records, digital memories and DNA.  Panelists included Judy Russell, legal genealogist, David Rencher, FamilySearch CGO, and Kurt Witcher, director of the Fort Wayne, Indiana, Allen County Public Library, Brewster Kale of Internet Archives, and five popular commercial DNA companies. 

In concert with Brandon Stanton's keynote, RootsTech invited aspiring local photographers and writers to participate in a video-story contest. Over 200 people entered the contest, and the winners were Russell Hathaway, Karen Foster, Amberley Beck, and Cali Church. They received prizes such as a Dell laptop and Canon cameras. The pictures with their stories will be published in the future on RootsTech and social media channels.

RootsTech 2018's Family Discovery Day welcomed more than 26,000 attendees—mostly families with children. President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife, Sister Kristen M. Oaks, showed how they share their family history with their posterity. Their grandchildren and great grandchildren participated, sharing how they have been able to personally connect with ancestors through written histories, photographs, and stories.

Also participating in Family Discovery Day were Hank Smith and Jason Hewitt, and singers Evie Clair, Kenya Clark, and Alex Melecio.

Find this announcement and additional photos online in the FamilySearch Newsroom.


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