Sunday, October 23, 2016

RootsTech Family Discovery Day Speakers: Kalani Sitake, Hank Smith, and Vai Sikahema

The following is from RootsTech.

Kalani Sitake, Hank Smith, and Vai Sikahema Speaking at RootsTech Family Discovery Day

RootsTech is thrilled to announce BYU football head coach Kalani Sitake, popular LDS speaker and BYU professor Hank Smith, and former NFL football player and television news anchor Vai Sikahema as featured speakers at the popular RootsTech Family Discovery Day event happening Saturday, February 11, 2017. More speakers and guests will be announced soon.

RootsTech Family Discovery Day is a FREE one-day event for families and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but registration is required. There’s something for everyone at Family Discovery Day. Attendees are invited to come and hear inspiring messages, engage in interactive activities for all ages, and discover the latest technology, products and services in the family history industry by touring the expansive expo hall.

In addition to hearing inspiring messages from Kalani Sitake, Hank Smith, and Vai Sikahema, you will:
  • Hear inspiring messages from General Authorities and other Church leaders to be announced in November.
  • Experience the interactive expo hall, where families and friends can create a visual family tree, scan photos, and more.
  • Be entertained at the RootsTech closing event with comedic entertainer Jason Hewlett, BYU men’s a cappella chorus, Vocal Point, and a cappella women’s chorus, Noteworthy.
  • Attend a selection of classes designed to teach you how to find family names, prepare them for temple blessings, and teach others how to get started on building connections with their own families.
Rootstech Family Discovery Day is the perfect place to discover and share family connections through technology. For more information about Family Discovery Day, visit

Invite your family, friends, ward, and stake to
RootsTech Family Discovery Day 2017
As someone planning on attending RootsTech Family Discovery Day 2017, we invite you to extend the invitation to your family, friends, ward, and stake to join you at an event that promises to inspire all who attend to discover, connect, and share family stories across generations and ultimately offer ancestors the blessings of the temple.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Reading Rainbow’s LeVar Burton Will Keynote RootsTech 2017

The following is from RootsTech.

LeVar Burton Speaking at RootsTech 2017

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (October 19, 2016)FamilySearch International is pleased to announce that LaVar Burton will be the Friday keynote speaker at RootsTech 2017 on February 10, 2017. Burton is known by millions for his legendary starring role as Kunta Kinte in 1977 in the globally acclaimed and award-winning ABC mini series, Roots, as chief engineer Geordi La Forge in the iconic Star Trek: The Next Generation television series, and as host and executive producer of the beloved PBS children’s series, Reading Rainbow. Burton was also the co-executive producer of the re-envisioned production of Roots that aired in June of this year on the A&E Networks. Rainbow was one of the longest running children’s television shows in TV history (1983-2009) and one of the most acclaimed, earning more than 200 awards including 26 Emmys and a Peabody. "There's a whole new generation of kids that need to develop a relationship with the written word, especially, I believe, in this ultra-technological age. I'm in this for the mission. This is what I do," said Burton.

He is excited about the opportunity to keynote at RootsTech where he plans to share personal stories about RootsStar Trek, his Reading Rainbow foundation, and also stories of his mom and her commanding influence on him.

"The story of Roots traces a family's journey from Africa to America and back. At RootsTech, I'll share some of my own journey of family, storytelling and the influence of African culture on my American Experience." 

Burton’s acting career began as a college student at the University of Southern California with his first-ever audition—winning the role of Kunta Kinte in ABC’s wildly popular 1977 TV mini-series, Roots. Thus, at age 19, he found his picture on the cover of Time magazineSoaring to stardom was only the beginning for Burton. He followed it with many roles—most notably in Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

An advocate for children’s literacy, Burton’s Reading Rainbow provides an outlet for innovative uses of storytelling. Reading Rainbow uses technology and media to inspire today’s children to love reading, and is currently the number one educational app on iTunes. The digital service includes more than 500 children’s fiction and non-fiction books, and 200 newly-produced video field trips with new content added weekly.

RootsTech is held at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City and will be simulcasted around the world with many sessions recorded for later viewing. RootsTech offers a line-up of world-class speakers, thrilling entertainment and engaging classes and activities with a bigger-than-ever expo hall. There will be something for everyone regardless of age or experience. Registration for RootsTech is currently open at reduced rates at Rootstech 2017 is sponsored by FamilySearch,, and

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

NEHGS Researching the History of a House Webinar

The following is from the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Researching the History of a House
Thursday, October 203:00-4:00 p.m. EDT
Presented by Meaghan E. H. Siekman
Online--watch from home!
Cost: Free

Ever wonder about the history of your home? Join NEHGS Senior Researcher Meaghan E. H. Siekman to learn how research strategies, available records, and physical evidence combine to reconstruct the past of a structure and its inhabitants. What you discover about your home and its previous occupants may surprise you! 
Can't attend the live broadcast? Not a problem! All webinars are recorded and archived on our website. Visit to review previously broadcast presentations. Note: To view these videos, you will first need to log in to our website with your member or guest account.

Family History Library Begins Construction of New Discovery Center

The following is from FamilySearch.

Family History Library Begins Construction of New Discovery Center

Salt Lake City, Utah (October 10, 2016)--The popular Family History Library in downtown Salt Lake City has begun construction on its new Family History Discovery Center. When complete, the main floor attraction will create family history experiences for patrons of all ages. The project is on a fast track to be completed in February 2017. Admission will be free to the public.

"We have been excited for quite some time to start construction on the new discovery ce," said Tamra Stansfield, manager of the Family History Library. "Our guests, particularly those who are completely new to family history, will be able to enjoy fun, personal discoveries through interactive technological experiences with their family's history."

Stansfield said the new center will make the library another unique and exciting destination for locals, families, and youth groups, as well as for tourists of all ages visiting Utah or Temple Square from around the world.

The Family History Library is the flagship facility in a network of over 4,900 family history centers worldwide managed by FamilySearch International, a nonprofit subsidiary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The fun, engaging activities designed for the discovery center are part of an organizational effort to introduce more people to the many fun facets of personal and family discovery.

FamilySearch is learning that if individuals and families have fun, personalized, quick successes and experiences with their family’s history, they will continue to be more involved at different levels throughout their lives. It also deepens appreciation for family connections across multiple generations.

The new discovery center will create a fun environment for families to discuss their family history together in inviting, unexpected ways. Youth particularly will enjoy the life-size touch-screen computer monitors for some of the interactive stations. In addition, there will be an enclosed space for parents with smaller children that will allow them to explore their family history while also being able to observe their children play.

A fun green-screen feature will let guests choose from a variety of themed backgrounds to create a lasting photo memory of their visit to the discovery center.

The new transformations are designed to offer unique interactive and immersive discovery experiences for visitors of all ages while still offering the vast collections and expertise the library is known for among family history enthusiasts and researchers.

When the new discovery center opens, "We expect to find the next generation of dedicated family historians at play in our library," said Stansfield.

Many of the interactive features in the new discovery center will use a patron's family history in the Family Tree to create custom learning experiences at a variety of stations. Stansfield suggests individuals and families take the time now during construction to create a free account at from home and begin building their family tree, adding favorite family stories and photos together. A developed family tree will enhance their experience when the discovery center opens in 2017.

The Family History Library's staff and other typical services and historic record collections will continue to be accessible during the construction of the discovery center.

The prototype discovery center currently located in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City will be closed to the public once the new center is opened in 2017 but will continue to operate as a FamilySearch development lab, where future experiences can be created and tested. A smaller discovery center was opened earlier this year in Seattle, Washington.

If you would like to follow the new center's construction progress, a time-lapse camera link is available online here.