Monday, November 23, 2015

Newly-Called Apostle and Wife to Open Free Family Discovery Day at RootsTech 2016

The following is from RootsTech

SALT LAKE CITY, (November 23, 2015)—RootsTech, the largest family history conference in the world, announced today that Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Ruth Renlund, will lead its lineup for its free Family Discovery Day event, which will take place on Saturday, February 6, 2016, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. This incredible opportunity is specially designed for families and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ages eight and older.

The free one-day event will feature inspirational messages, instructional classes, interactive activities, and exciting entertainment designed to teach Latter-day Saint families how to find their ancestors, how to prepare names for temple ordinances, and how to teach others to do the same. Attendees will also have access to the Expo Hall, where hundreds of exhibitors will showcase the latest technology and tools.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and FamilySearch International will host the event. Families are encouraged to register online at

Before Elder Renlund’s recent call as an Apostle, he served in the First Quorum of the Seventy and in the presidency of the Africa Southeast Area. After receiving B.A. and M.D. degrees from the University of Utah, Elder Renlund was a professor of medicine and the medical director of a cardiac transplant program. Sister Renlund graduated from the University of Maryland Law School in 1986 and practiced law with the Utah attorney general’s office. She served as president of the Utah Association for Justice. She also served on the Utah Supreme Court’s advisory committee for professionalism and was a member of the Deseret News board of directors.

In addition to Elder and Sister Renlund, attendees will hear from other Church leaders, including Primary general president Rosemary M. Wixom and Brother Stephen W. Owen of the Young Men general presidency.

Family Discovery Day will also feature additional Latter-day Saint speakers and closing event entertainment, which will be announced soon. Family Discovery Day is free, but registration is required. Visit to learn more and to register.

About RootsTech

RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pulitzer Prize Winning Biographer, Historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin, to Keynote RootsTech 2016

The following is from RootsTech

(SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—November 4, 2015)—RootsTech, the largest family history conference in the world, announced Doris Kearns Goodwin has joined its lineup of keynote speakers. Goodwin, a world-renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning author, will speak at the RootsTech general session on Saturday, February 6, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Goodwin will share her insights into the personal and family lives of past presidential leaders and the influence their ancestors had on their personalities, behavior, decisions, and careers. She will also share anecdotes about her own family and experiences which have shaped and influenced her life.

Goodwin has been hailed by New York magazine as “America’s historian-in-chief” for her in-depth scrutiny into the lives, actions, and family influences of America’s presidents, and the history of the country.  She provided extensive subject matter expertise for PBS and the History Channel’s documentaries on the Kennedy family, LBJ, Franklin Roosevelt, Abraham and Mary Lincoln, and Ken Burns’ The History of Baseball and The History of The Civil War. She also worked with Steven Spielberg on the movie Lincoln, based in part on Goodwin’s award-winning Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.

Goodwin received the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II.  In addition, she has authored biographies of several other U.S. Presidents, including Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream; The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys: An American Saga;  Team of rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (which was awarded the Lincoln Prize),and her most recent book, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.

Goodwin‘s biographies are not limited to presidents and politicians. Wait Till Next Year, her touching, best-selling memoir, draws her readers into life as she knew it in the 1950s in the suburbs of New York. She portrays the post-World War II era New York when the corner store was the gathering place for people to share stories and discuss their baseball differences with neighbors who were equally divided between Dodger, Giant, and Yankee fans.

Goodwin is expected to share memories of the lifelong influence of her parents: her mother, who taught her the joy of books, and her father, who taught her the joy of baseball and the Dodgers. She describes how two events deeply affected her: the Dodgers left Brooklyn in 1957 and the death of her mother.  Both events marked the end of an era and, for her, the end of childhood. 

Goodwin wrote Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream using first-hand insight into President Lyndon B. Johnson’s life. She served as an assistant in LBJ’s last year in the White House, and later assisted him in the preparation of his memoirs. On his 107th birthday, August 27, 2015, Goodwin said in retrospect, “LBJ was surely the most colorful politician I have ever met…. How I wish the LBJ that I knew in private—the colorful, ever fascinating, larger-than-life figure—had been able to project more of that effervescent personality into his public life.”

Goodwin is a frequent guest commentator on most of the major networks. Spielberg’s DreamWorks Studios has also purchased film rights to her book, The Bully Pulpit, which chronicles the first 10 years of the Progressive era through the administrations of Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft.
Other keynote speakers for RootsTech 2016 announced previously are New York Times bestselling author Bruce Feiler, award-winning journalist Paula Williams Madison, and the president and CEO of FamilySearch International, Stephen Rockwood. See the Keynote Page at for more information about each of these speakers.  

For more information or to register for RootTech 2016, go to

About RootsTech

RootsTech is the largest family history event in the world, reaching hundreds of thousands of participants around the world.  Originating at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City and simulcast around the world, many sessions will be recorded for later viewing. Participants learn how to discover, preserve, and share family stories and connections across generations.  World-class speakers will be featured, entertainment and engaging classes are offered, and with the event, in a vast expo hall, everyone, regardless of age or experience, will find something of interest.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Engle Family Postcards ~ Gateway to Missoula, Mont. – 1905

It's been much too long since I shared an Engle family postcard with you. For my new readers, the story about how these precious postcards are now in my possession can be found in my blog post The Engle Family Postcard Adventure. In this post you will read about how these wonderful postcards were found in a second-hand shop in Ireland and ended up in my grateful hands here in the United States.

The last Engle family postcard I shared with you was from Charles A. Engle. He sent it from Los Angeles, California, and it was dated July 2, 1905. On the postcard, he wrote "we go to Frisco tomorrow July 4th."

Interestingly, the postcard I'm sharing with you today, is also from Charles A. Engle, and it sounds like he was not traveling alone again when he sent this postcard to his mom, Mrs. R. Engle at West Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Charles' mom, Mrs. R. Engle, was Sarah Amanda (Waterman) Engle.

This postcard is titled "Gateway to Missoula, Mont." and shows a train rounding a curve next to a river.

The message Charles wrote to his mom reads as follows:

Missoula Mont
July 13 - 05
On our way to Yellowstone Park.
Chas A Engle

So, who was with Charles? And was Charles on his way back to South Dakota from his travels in Colorado and California?

These Engle family postcards are not only beautiful and interesting to look at, they also give clues about where the members of the Engle family were at the time the postcards were written. I've been able to add the following dates to my timeline for Charles A. Engle based on the postcards he sent to his mom.

June 21, 1905 - Denver, Colorado
July 2, 1905 - Los Angeles, California
July 13, 1905 - Missoula, Montana

I'll be sharing more Engle family postcards in future posts.

Thanks for reading!

© 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Friday, November 13, 2015

Follow Friday ~ Fab Finds for November 13, 2015

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A Note To My Wonderful Readers: Due to family activities and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Fab Finds will be on hiatus for the next two weeks and will return on December 4, 2015. Thank you! And Happy Thanksgiving to all of my U.S. readers!

My Fab Finds for this week are (in no particular order)
  1. Yet another use for Excel by Michele Simmons Lewis, author of Ancestoring
  2. My Journey of the Certification Process: Entry 1 by Amie Bowser Tennant, author of My Kith N Kin
  3. The Genealogical Clock Timer Has Been Set... by Lori Samuelson, author of Genealogy At Heart
  4. GENEALOGICAL PREPAREDNESS – PART 3 – BECOMING A PROFESSIONAL by Cari Taplin, author of Genealogy Pants
  5. The Disgusting Words in Genealogy by Amy Johnson Crow, author of Amy Johnson Crow Blog
  6. Veteran's Day 2015 ~ Honor Roll Project Contributions AND Ten Things to Know About Researching a Pilgrim in Your Family Tree by Heather Wilkinson Rojo, author of Nutfield Genealogy
  7. The New FamilySearch – I’m loving it! by Cathy Meder-Dempsey, author of Opening Doors in Brick Walls
  8. Have some fun with Excel! by Barb, author of Genealogy Boomerangs
  9. Using Microsoft Excel® in Genealogy by James Tanner, author of Genealogy's Star
  10. Free Access to ArkivDigital on November 14-15 by ArkivDigital Blog
  11. Rain, Rain and More Rainwater by Michelle Ganus Taggart, author of A Southern Sleuth
  12. Received! Railroad Pension Record by Joanne Cowden, author of Researching Relatives
  13. Easy Family History Ideas for Thanksgiving by Valerie Elkins, author of Family Cherished
  14. Today’s Civil War Quick Tip: Read the Regimental History by Cindy Freed, author of Genealogy Circle
  15. family history bingo (free download) by Allison Kimball, author of simple inspiration
  16. Mystery Baby – Who was Eric Dewell? by Kathy Smith Morales, author of Abbie and Eveline
  17. How to Find a Tombstone in the Old Cemetery in Lexington, MA, My Stearns / Stone for Tombstone Tuesday by Barbara Poole, author of Life From The Roots
  18. Hey Soldier, What’s Your Name? Crowdsourcing IDs in Old Group Photos [TUTORIAL] AND Obtaining a Vital Record for Los Angeles Genealogy by Denise Levenick, author of The Family Curator
  19. Update on Where Are the Canadian Genealogists Hiding? by Lorine McGinnis Schulze, author of Olive Tree Genealogy
  20. Has Genealogy gone 'Mean'? Rudeness Among Us by Nicholas Weerts, author of The Dead Relative Collector

RootsTech 2016 Related Posts

The 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge by Amy Johnson Crow, author of No Story Too Small -

This week's "May I Introduce To You" Interview on

New Blog Discoveries

In Case You Missed Them….My Contributions to the Blogosphere Last Week

Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog

Thanks for reading!


© 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day Tribute ~ 2015

Happy Veterans Day!

I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of the brave men and women who have served or who are currently serving in the military to preserve the freedoms we all enjoy. And thank you to their families for their sacrifice as well.

In last year's Veterans Day tribute post I listed the blog posts I've written about some of the military veterans in my family tree, whether or not the posts were actually about their military service. I've added a few more posts to my list.

Revolutionary War
War of 1812
Civil War
Korean War

Thanks for reading!


© 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

How to Easily Share Sources Between Ancestry and FamilySearch

I recently discovered a super easy way to share sources between Ancestry and FamilySearch.

However, this feature is only available for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have subscribed to Ancestry using their LDS account.

Before you can share sources, you will need to connect your ancestor in Ancestry to your ancestor in FamilySearch. To do that, while you're on an ancestor's person page in, click on the FamilySearch icon next to the "Search" button. Sign into FamilySearch if needed, click on the FamilySearch icon again, match your ancestor in the list provided, and then click on "Connect Person."

Now, I'll show you how to easily share sources between Ancestry and FamilySearch.

Click on the FamilySearch icon next to the "Search" button.

Click on "Compare person on FamilySearch" in the drop down menu.

You may see the following prompt to sign into FamilySearch. If so, click "Sign In."

Enter your FamilySearch username and password and click on the "Sign In" button.

Choose the matching person in your FamilySearch Family Tree.

You will then see a side-by-side comparison of the person on FamilySearch and Ancestry. If you are satisfied that they are the same person, click the "Connect Person" button.

You will then see a page that looks similar to this.

Scroll down to the Sources section. As you can see, there is a source attached in Raymunda's person page in FamilySearch (left column) that isn't in Raymunda's person page in Ancestry (right column). And there are three sources attached to her Ancestry person page that aren't in her FamilySearch person page.

To share the FamilySearch source to Ancestry, just click on the gray box next to the source.

And it will automatically appear in the Ancestry column.

Click on the gray boxes next to the sources in the Ancestry column to share them to FamilySearch.

Voila! Now both FamilySearch and Ancestry columns have the same sources for Raymunda.

Press the "Save Changes" button and you're done.

Here's a screenshot showing the FamilySearch source now listed on Raymunda's person page in Ancestry.

You will also see the shared sources from Ancestry to FamilySearch when you go to your ancestor's person page in FamilySearch. If that page is already open, and you don't see the changes, refresh the page and they should appear.

There you go! Pretty easy right?

Thanks for reading!

© 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Monday, November 9, 2015

The RootsTech 2016 Mobile App is Available For Download

Great news fellow RootsTech 2016 attendees! The RootsTech 2016 conference app is now available for download in both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

Here are links to the RootsTech 2016 conference app.

RootsTech 2016 Mobile App in Google Play Store

RootsTech 2016 Mobile App in Apple App Store

I'm an Android user, so I downloaded the app from the Google Play Store. Wow! One of my tweets is right there in the Twitter screenshot for the app in the Google Play Store. How fun is that?!

Clicking on the arrow at the right of the individual screenshots enables you to scroll through and see a closeup view of each screenshot. Here's a close-up view of the Twitter screenshot.

I am really looking forward to attending RootsTech 2016. It will be great to have my RootsTech conference schedule and other information easily accessible by using this app.

Thanks for reading!


© 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Friday, November 6, 2015

Follow Friday ~ Fab Finds for November 6, 2015

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My Fab Finds for this week are (in no particular order)
  1. Now I Understand by Nancy Messier, author of My Ancestors and Me
  2. Gen Do-Over: Do You Have a Genealogical Will? by Marian Burk Wood, author of Climbing My Family Tree
  3. All Aboard! Railroad Retirement Board Records by Debbie Mieszala, author of The Advancing Genealogist
  4. Old Letters: Preserving a Rare Genealogical Record Source by Melissa Barker, author of A Genealogist In The Archives
  6. Able Seaman Alfred Henry LAST J/18054 died 31st May 1916 aged 19 AND A long shot, but could you have a connection to any of these old photographs? by Simon Last, author of Charnwood Genealogy
  7. Get Your Ducks in a Row – Time May Be Shorter Than You Think AND Ancestry’s New “Amount of Shared DNA” – What Does It Really Mean? by Roberta Estes, author of DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy
  8. New Family ChartMasters Website by Janet Hovorka, author of The Chart Chick
  9. 8 Tips to Giving a Great Genealogy Lecture by Amie Bowser Tennant for RootsBid Blog
  10. First Look at New Search Connect Feature on MyHeritage by Randy Seaver, author of Genea-Musings
  11. Place Your Ancestor in History by Emily Kowalski Schroeder, author of Growing Little Leaves
  12. Library & Archives Canada New Immigration Database! by Lorine McGinnis Schulze, author of The Olive Tree Genealogy
  13. Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: My Dad’s Photography by Cathy Meder-Dempsey, author of Opening Doors in Brick Walls
  14. 5 Photos You Should Take at the Cemetery AND The Question You Need to Ask When You’re Stuck on Your Genealogy by Amy Johnson Crow, author of Amy Johnson Crow Blog
  15. Start Saving Those Family Photos & Stories–Now–One at a Time! by Thomas Jay Kemp for FamilySearch Blog
  16. About Me: Getting interested in my family's history by Becky Jamison, author of Grace and Glory
  17. This Age At Death ALMOST fooled me! by Geoff Rasmussen for Legacy News Blog

RootsTech 2016 Related Posts

This week's "May I Introduce To You" Interview on

New Blog Discoveries

In Case You Missed Them….My Contributions to the Blogosphere Last Week

Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog

Thanks for reading!


© 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I Found Little Israel Villatoro

Thanks to's newly added and indexed records for Mexico, I've been finding records that I haven't found before.

Today, I found a person I didn't know about before. His name is Israel Villatoro. He is my 1st cousin 3 times removed and is the son of my maternal 2nd great-granduncle, Zenon Villatoro Vasques. Zenon is a brother of my 2nd great-grandmother Raymunda Villatoro Vasques. I shared her death record in a previous post.

The record I found for Israel is his death record.1

Israel passed away on 8 August 1904 due to Dysentery. He was only seven months old. Poor little baby! I discovered from this record that his mother, Adelfa Hernandez, had passed away before Israel. And Israel's father, Zenon, was listed as a widower.

From what I can tell using Google Translate, the highlighted areas of this record basically say that on 9 August 1904 Zenon Villatoro, 26 years of age, widower, reported Israel's death. Israel passed away at 4:00 in the afternoon of 8 August 1904. I figured that out using Google Translate. "Fallecio ayer" means "died yesterday." It's important to read through the record to see when the actual death occurred. The last highlighted area reads "la finada Adelfa Hernandez" which means "the deceased Adelfa Hernandez."

I've now added little Israel Villatoro to my Legacy database as well as my Ancestry tree and FamilySearch Family Tree.

I've found other documents regarding my Mexican family lines and will share those in future posts.

Thanks for reading!

© 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

1 "Chiapas, Mexico, Civil Registration Deaths, 1861-1987,"database with images, Ancestry ( : accessed 4 November 2015), Page 1, image 413 of 1158, entry for Israel Villatoro (Arriaga, Chiapas, Mexico), 8 August 1904; citing Chiapas Civil Registry State Archives, Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico, Academia Mexicana de Genealogia y Heraldica.

Monday, November 2, 2015

An Exciting Discovery ~ The Death Record for Raymunda Villatoro Vasques

I have an exciting discovery to share with you today. Last Friday, I was searching on and found the death record for my maternal 2nd great-grandmother, Raymunda Villatoro Vasques.1 I didn't have any information about Raymunda's death before.

I knew that Raymunda passed away before 7 March 1925. Why? Because her son Francisco was married to Emma Vera on 7 March 1925 and their marriage record stated that Francisco's parents were deceased. But, I didn't know when or where Raymunda passed away or her cause of death.

This is a copy of Raymunda's death record. It begins on the bottom of the left page and continues to the top of the right page. Her record is highlighted in the red boxes.

I decided to crop Raymunda's death record and highlight in yellow some of the information contained in the record.

Unfortunately, the edges of these pages are in bad shape which makes it difficult to see all of the words in the record. But, I'm thankful that Raymunda's death record is mostly readable.

I don't read or speak Spanish so I turned to Google Translate for help with this document. I also asked my son-in-law, who served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico City, Mexico, for help. It was a quick translation help session and we didn't get everything in the document translated. However, I think I can understand it enough to glean the most important information from it.

Basically, here's what this record tells me:

Francisco M. Villatoro, 23 years of age, and single, reported his mother's death. Francisco is one of Raymunda's children. He and my great-grandmother, Esther Matus Villatoro, were siblings. Raymunda Villatoro, 60 years of age, passed away in her home in Arriaga, Chiapas, Mexico at 2:00 on 8 October 1923. Her cause of death was "Hidropecia." I used Google Translate to see what Hidropecia means and found that it is Dropsy. Raymunda's parents were listed as Demetrio Villatoro and Ysabel Vasquez.

So now I have this additional information about my 2nd great-grandmother, Raymunda Villatoro Vasques. I don't yet have her birth or marriage records, so I can't say exactly when or where she was born or married. But, I'm grateful to have her death record. It really is an exciting find.

I found other exciting, and even surprising, discoveries this last weekend. I'll share those in future posts.

Thanks for reading!

 © 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

1 "Chiapas, Mexico, Civil Registration Deaths, 1861-1987," database with images, Ancestry ( : accessed 30 October 2015), image 151 of 2067, entry for Raymunda Villatoro (Arriaga, Chiapas, Mexico), November 1923; citing Chiapas Civil Registry State Archives, Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico, Academia Mexicana de Genealogia y Heraldica .  



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