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    NOTE: This is a repost from December 6, 2012

    This is part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" by Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers. If you'd like to join in the fun, just click HERE.

    December 6 – Santa Claus

    Advent Calendar Prompt from 2014 - Today is the Feast of Saint Nicholas and the origin of Santa Claus. What are your memories of Santa Claus and waiting for him to come at Christmas? What does Santa mean to you today and how do you pass along that meaning to family and to others? Post your best Santa story and your memories of Christmases past.

    Advent Calendar Prompt from 2012 - Did you ever send a letter to Santa? Did you ever visit Santa and “make a list?” Do you still believe in Santa Claus?



    As you can see from the photo above, my brother and I did make a visit to see Santa Claus.  Unfortunately, we didn’t look all too happy to see him.  I was three years old and my brother was two years old at the time.

    Between the two of us, I’d say my younger brother was the braver child during our visit, as he had the courage to actually look at Santa.  Whether or not I ever gathered up enough courage to look at Santa, I really don't recall.  Oh well, at least we weren’t screaming our heads off.  And for that, I’m sure Santa was very thankful.

    At this special time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, I'd like to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas!

    Thanks for reading!

    © 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

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    This delicious punch is one of our family's favorite beverages. We make it on special occasions and holidays.

    San Francisco Marriott's Pink Punch

    San Francisco Marriott’s Pink Punch

    Ingredients

    1 quart cranberry juice (I use Langers)
    1 quart pineapple juice (I use Dole)
    1-1/4 Cups sugar
    2 quarts ginger ale, chilled (I use Canada Dry)

    Directions

    Refrigerate juices and ginger ale. When ready to serve, combine juices and sugar in large container. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add ginger ale, stir and serve.

    Note: You can also mix the juices and sugar, mixing until the sugar dissolves and then place in the refrigerator. Then when you are ready to serve add the ginger ale to the juice mix.

    Serves 20

    Enjoy!

    Thanks for reading!


    © 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

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    Here's another of our family's favorites ~ Spritz Cookies. I usually make them during the Christmas season.


    They really are deliciously sweet, buttery cookies.


    Here's the recipe I use. I adapted it from the Wilton Spritz Cookie recipe found on the Wilton Spritz Cookie Press box that I've had for years.

    Spritz Cookies


    1-1/2 cups butter, softened

    1 cup granulated sugar

    1 egg

    2 Tbsp. milk

    1-1/2 tsp. vanilla

    4 cups all-purpose flour

    1 tsp. baking powder



    Preheat oven to 400°. Thoroughly cream butter and sugar. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour and baking powder. Gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing to make a smooth dough. Do not chill. Place dough into cookie press and press cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet. Decorate with decorating sugar crystals as desired. Bake at 400° 6 to 8 minutes. Remove cookies from sheet. Cool on rack. Enjoy!


    Makes 6 dozen cookies.

    Recipe adapted from Wilton's Spritz Cookie Recipe found on Wilton Spritz Cookie Press box.



    If you've never used a cookie press, here's a helpful video about how to use one.



    Thanks for reading!


    © 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

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    NOTE: This is a repost from December 10, 2014.

    This is part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" by Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers. If you'd like to join in the fun, just click HERE.


    December 10 – Christmas Traditions

    So many of us have family traditions related to Christmas that we learned as children and we still keep to this day. Do you know how your traditions started – is there a “backstory” to each one? What about starting new traditions – how do you start and then keep the tradition going? Are there any traditions which you disliked and that you refuse to keep?
    Tell us about your family’s Christmas traditions and your memories of Christmases past.

    In this post, I'm not going to share Christmas traditions from when I was a child, but from my own family as a parent. My husband and I have five adult children. When they were young, we would gather together in the family room and read about Christ's birth from the scriptures. Our daughter would dress up as Mary and our four boys would dress up as Joseph, the wise men, and the shepherds. When they got older, they wouldn't dress up, but we'd still read the Christmas Story from the scriptures together. It was a special way to remind our children, and ourselves, of the real meaning of Christmas.

    Several years ago, we began another tradition. We started having German Pancakes for breakfast on Christmas morning. These pancakes are baked in the oven and grow puffy as they bake. It's fun to watch them crawl up the sides of the baking dishes as they puff up.


    German Pancakes

    They come out of the oven big and puffy, but fall pretty quickly as they are brought to the table. We serve them sprinkled with powdered sugar and covered in maple syrup. They are delicious! And our family looks forward to eating these each year.

    Another Christmas tradition we have is making Christmas fudge. I've been making this fudge for years and years. I couldn't even tell you how many pounds of fudge I've made since I started making and sharing this fudge with our family and friends at Christmas.

    The recipe was given to my mom when I was a child. It's called See's Fudge. I don't know if it's really a recipe from See's or not. It has a smooth creamy texture and is delicious and quite popular with my family and friends. I'll share the recipe here on my blog in a future post.



    See's Fudge

    What about you?  What are your Christmas traditions?

    Thanks for reading!

     
    © 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

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    My Fab Finds for this week are (in no particular order)
    1. Heritage Stocking Stuffer: Make Sweet Memories by Wrapping Them Around Chocolate by Lisa Louise Cooke, author of Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems
    2. Give the Gift of Discovery by FamilySearch Blog
    3. Christmas ~ My Testimony of Jesus Christ, the Son of God by Fran Ellsworth, author of Branching Out Through The Years
    4. My Journey of the Certification Process: Entry 3 by Amie Bowser Tennant, author of My Kith N Kin
    5. Lost Files from West Haven 2010 by Jeanne Bryan Insalaco, author of Everyone Has a Story
    6. Getting Started With Flickr AND Phone It In by Denise Olson, author of Moultrie Creek Gazette
    7. 4 Types of Holiday Genealogy Records by Lisa Lisson, author of Lisa Lisson.com
    8. The Last Christmas Card From J. Graham O’Neill by Ian Hadden, author of Ian Hadden's Family History
    9. Ancestry to Retire Family Tree Maker Software AND More Information on Family Tree Maker Desktop Software by Kendall Hulet for Ancestry Blog
    10. Give the Gift of Fun by Devon Noel Lee, author of A Patient Genealogist
    11. Tips for Genealogy Bloggers by Alona Tester, author of Lonetester HQ
    12. The Prodigy Genealogist Project by Kassie Nelson, author of Across The Rolling Prairie
    13. 3 Tech Tools Every Genealogist Should Have by Tyler S. Stahle for FamilySearch Blog
    14. Loose Marriage Records....What Are They? by Melissa Barker, author of A Genealogist In The Archives
    15. My Great-Grandfather’s Error-Filled Death Certificate by Laura Aanenson, author of where2look4ancestors
    16. If All Else Fails, Talk to Your Family by The Cousin Detective, author of The Cousin Detective Blog
    17. FREE Collection of Digitized Books Now at MyHeritage by Thomas MacEntee, author of GeneaBloggers
    18. A Photo Album Belonging to William Henderson Reece & Mary Lavina Montgomery – Part 1 by Suzanne Hopper Gray, author of Filling in the Family Tree
    19. 20 Top Christmas Gifts for the Genealogist by Amie Bowser Tennant for RootsBid Blog
    20. Sepia Saturday: "I am well" by Wendy Mathias, author of Jollett Etc.


    RootsTech 2016 Related Posts

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

    "May I Introduce To You" Interviews on GeneaBloggers.com

    New Blog Discoveries

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

    Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog
    Jana's Place

    Thanks for reading!


    © 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved


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    German Pancakes have become a Christmas morning breakfast tradition in our family. I don't even remember exactly when or from where I got the recipe. It's included with a bunch of recipes on a two-sided photocopy paper.



    What I do know is that these pancakes are delicious. It's fun to watch the German Pancakes puff up while they bake in the oven. They deflate pretty fast once they're removed from the oven though. But that's okay. They're still really yummy. We serve them with sifted powdered sugar and maple syrup.


    Here's the recipe. I hope you enjoy these German Pancakes as much as we do.


    German Pancakes

    Ingredients

    5 Tbsp. butter
    6 eggs
    1 cup flour
    1 cup milk
    1/2 tsp. salt

    Directions

    Melt the butter in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Whip remaining ingredients together (don't puree) and pour into melted butter in pan. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes. It puffs up around the edges and can be topped with syrup, peaches, pears, etc.

    Serves 4 adults.

    Thanks for reading!


    © 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

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    This is part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" by Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers. If you'd like to join in the fun, just click HERE.

    Christmas Tree Decorations
    Advent Calendar Prompt from 2015 Do you have unique decorations that you use each Christmas? How did you get them or were they passed down to you from family members? Do you have certain traditions surrounding Christmas decorations such as purchasing one from every state or country you visit? Describe your favorite decorations!
    Tell us about your Christmas decorations and your memories of Christmases past.
    Our Christmas tree is decorated with traditional round ball ornaments such as you'd find at your local Target or other department store. But, we also have special Christmas ornaments that we've collected or have been given over the years. I'd like to share a few of those with you today.
    In previous Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories posts about Christmas tree decorations, I mentioned that I remembered some painted glass bird ornaments from my childhood. They were clipped onto the Christmas tree branches and had decorated bristle-like tails. I inherited one of those birds from my parents. It's a very special heirloom ornament.


    Glass Bird Ornament

    This is our Fresno California Temple ornament. On April 9, 2000, the Fresno California Temple was dedicated. Our family was able to attend the groundbreaking for the temple on March 20, 1999. During the temple's construction, our family visited the temple site and took pictures. I made a scrapbook that contains those pictures and other items. We are so thankful to have a temple near us. Before the Fresno California Temple was built and dedicated, we attended the Oakland California Temple, which is about three hours north of us.

    Fresno Temple Ornament

    I made these ornaments years ago. They are round and egg-shaped glass ornaments covered in a gold mesh fabric.





    This lovely Nativity Scene ornament was given to me by my sweet friend Ann who lives in Ireland. Ann is the wonderful person who found and gave me many of the Engle Family postcards I now have in my possession. If you haven't read about the amazing story of these postcards, click HERE.


    Nativity Scene Ornament

    This is our Liahona ornament. It's a beautiful shiny plastic ornament. In the Book of Mormon, there is an account about Lehi, a Hebrew prophet, who found a brass ball outside of his tent door. This brass ball was called the Liahona and was given to Lehi and his people by the Lord. The Liahona provided direction and spiritual instruction to Lehi and his family. To learn more about the Liahona, click HERE.

    Liahona Ornament


    This beautiful glass ornament decorated with fruit was given to us years ago by some friends. 




    My friend Sue bought this beautiful ornament for me when she visited Amsterdam several years ago. 


    Ornament from Amsterdam

    Ornament from Amsterdam

    This sweet and simple Nativity Scene ornament has graced our Christmas tree for many years.


    Nativity Scene Ornament

    We purchased these ornaments while we were vacationing in Disneyland.

    Disneyland Castle Ornament


    Disneyland Ornament

    This is our glass bells ornament. We've had it for years. I don't even remember when we bought it.


    Glass Bells Ornament
     This is our white dove ornament. 


    White Dove Ornament
    Do you have special ornaments on your Christmas tree? 

    Thanks for reading!



    © 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

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    The following is from RootsTech ~


    SALT LAKE CITY, December 15, 2015—Organizers of RootsTech, the largest family history conference in the world, are pleased to welcome popular lifestyle bloggers Josh and Naomi Davis (of the Love Tazawebsite), as keynote speakers in the general session on Friday, February 5, 2016, during RootsTech 2016.



    Millions of Internet viewers know Naomi as Taza as they follow her blog Love Taza, which celebrates the joy and purpose she and her husband, Josh, share as they raise their three small children in New York City. She started the website shortly after marrying Josh in 2007 in New York City while she finished her BFA (bachelor of fine arts) degree at the Juilliard School. She shares photos and stories of her life as a newlywed with her family out West. 



    Since 2007, Love Taza has become more than an online diary—it is a digital destination where millions around the world connect and find a feeling of inspiration and a guide for finding joy in everyday life. Naomi shares details of her life in New York City with her husband and children celebrating family, home, travel, food, and, most importantly, the simple joys of life. With Josh’s help, the two have transformed her website into a global business with a massive, engaged audience.



    Josh and Naomi will share their business journey at RootsTech 2016, a global family history event where people of all ages learn to discover, share, and celebrate their family connections across generations through technology. RootsTech has something for everyone regardless of experience in family history or skill level in technology.



    Reserve your seat for RootsTech 2016 to find inspiration from the Davises as part of a four-star lineup of keynote speakers, get involved in the special events, and learn from the experts the how-tos of family history, family stories, and more. Join us for all the events on February 3–6 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, or choose your day to join the excitement. Register early for a discount, or pay at the door.



    For more information and to register for RootsTech 2016, go to rootstech.org.



    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.


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    One of our family's favorite treats is See's Fudge. I've been making this fudge for years and years. I couldn't even tell you how many pounds of fudge I've made since I started making and sharing this fudge with our family and friends at Christmas.

    The recipe was given to my mom when I was a child. I don't know if it's really a recipe from See's or not. It has a smooth creamy texture and is delicious and quite popular with my family and friends. 

    Here's what you need to make this delicious See's Fudge recipe. You can also include chopped nuts if you'd like. An important note: make sure to measure out your ingredients BEFORE you begin cooking the fudge on the stove.



    After measuring the ingredients, butter the stock pot and 13 x 9 inch pan.





    Before turning on the burner, add the evaporated milk and sugar.



     Stir to combine.


    Turn the burner on to medium heat. Stir the mixture constantly. I also scrape the sides of the stock pot as I stir. 



    As soon as you start to see bubbles forming (see the little bubbles in the pot below?), set the timer to 8 minutes. It's important to set the timer as soon as you start to see bubbles forming and not wait until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Continue to stir constantly. 



    Look  at all of those bubbles! That's what you want. Keep stirring constantly.


    When the 8 minutes is complete, remove stock pot from burner. Add the butter and marshmallows first.



    Stir until they are mostly melted.



    Add chocolate chips. 



    Stir to combine.



    Add vanilla and stir again.



    Immediately pour into prepared 13 x 9 inch pan. 




    You'll need to work fast because the fudge will start to set up quickly. Spread in the pan and place in the refrigerator.




    Let the fudge set up in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. When ready to serve, remove the foil insert from the pan and cut into squares. Enjoy!




    See's Fudge

    **Butter pan (13 x 9-1/2) and sides and bottom of heavy large stock pot (I use an eight quart stock pot)

    Ingredients

    1 lg. (12 oz.) can Carnation Evaporated Milk
    4 cups sugar
    2-1/4 more or less cups Kraft miniature marshmallows
    1-1/3 cubes butter (1/2 cup + 1/3 cube butter)
    12 oz. (2 cups) Nestle Semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1 plus or minus cups walnuts, finely chopped (optional)
    1 tsp. vanilla

    Directions

    Pour evaporated milk into buttered stock pot. Add sugar and stir together. Turn burner on to medium setting. Stirring constantly over medium heat, bring sugar and evaporated milk to boil. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, set timer for 8 minutes. Do not wait for a rapid boil before setting the timer. Set the timer as soon as bubbles begin to form. Boil for 8 minutes while stirring constantly.

    Remove from heat and add butter and marshmallows. Stir together until mostly melted, then add the chocolate chips and walnuts. Stir well and add 1 tsp. vanilla. Immediately pour in pan and refrigerate.

    Makes about 3 lbs.

    Note: For easier cutting of fudge, I line the 13 x 9 pan with heavy duty foil and then butter the foil at the same time I butter the stock pot. Simply pour the fudge into the foil-lined pan and refrigerate until firm. Once you're ready to serve, remove the fudge block out of the pan and cut into pieces. Wrap any remaining fudge in foil and place back in the refrigerator.

    Thanks for reading!


    © 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

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    A note to my wonderful readers: Due to the Christmas and New Year holidays, Fab Finds will be on hiatus until January 8, 2016. A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

    My Fab Finds for this week are (in no particular order)
    1. Friday Night Family Heirlooms… telling their stories: The Sewing Needle by Jeanne Bryan Insalaco, author of Everyone Has a Story
    2. My Journey of the Certification Process: Entry 4 by Amie Bowser Tennant, author of My Kith N Kin
    3. Facebook Groups for Genealogists by Melanie McComb for The NexGen Genealogy Network Blog
    4. Is that Memory Real? Understanding Relatives with Dementia and Memory Loss by Sunny for Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems
    5. Industry Schedules: A Hidden Source for Your Farming Ancestors by Amy Johnson Crow, author of the Amy Johnson Crow Blog
    6. Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Handkerchiefs with Crocheted Edges by Cathy Meder-Dempsey, author of Opening Doors in Brick Walls
    7. What's Under Your Christmas Tree? by Michelle Ganus Taggart, author of A Southern Sleuth
    8. Tuesday's Tip: A Year of Genealogy Education at Family Tree Webinars by Randy Seaver, author of Genea-Musings
    9. How To Use Windows Live Writer When It Won’t Connect To Blogger by Kim Mills, author of Footsteps Of The Past
    10. German Christmas Cookie: Elisenlebkuchen by VeraMarie Badertscher, author of Ancestors in Aprons
    11. Christmas Postcard to Nana by Colleen G. Brown Pasquale, author of Leaves & Branches
    12. RootsMapper a FamilySearch compatible app AND A look at Forebears.io by Mat Trotter, author of Genealogy Trot
    13. Contest: $250 Amazon Christmas Shopping Spree from GeneaBloggers by Thomas MacEntee, author of GeneaBloggers
    14. The Owl by Debi Austen, author of Who Knew?
    15. LEGACY 8 - HOW TO CHANGE THE LABELS IN FAMILY VIEW by Diane Gould Hall, author of MICHIGAN FAMILY TRAILS
    16. Open Thread: Questioning Others Research by Terri O'Connell, author of Finding Our Ancestors
    17. Blog Caroling: Mary Did You Know? by Pat Richley-Erickson, author of DearMyrtle
    18. DADDY'S TIES by True Lewis, author of Notes to Myself


    "May I Introduce To You" Interviews on GeneaBloggers.com 

    New Blog Discoveries 

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

    Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog
    Jana's Place 

    Thanks for reading!



    © 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved


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    Note: This is a repost from December 23, 2014.

    This is part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" by Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers. If you'd like to join in the fun, just click HERE.

    23 December – The Meaning of Christmas

    If someone dropped out of the sky and was unfamiliar with the concept of Christmas, how would you explain it to them? Can you put the meaning of Christmas into words? What does Christmas represent to you and is it different than when you grew up or from the meaning it had for your ancestors?
    Tell us what Christmas means to you and your memories of Christmases past.


    I love Christmas. It's a very special time of the year that we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Because He was born in Bethlehem so many years ago, and because He fulfilled His divine mission here on earth, we all have the opportunity to return to live with our Heavenly Father again.

    I'm eternally grateful to our Heavenly Father for the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.

    “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

    Please enjoy this beautiful video that tells the Christmas Story.



    Merry Christmas!

     
    © 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

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    This sweet Christmas card was found in one of my Grandma Ingrid's Books of Remembrance. I love that they took a picture of their home in North Hollywood, California for this photo card.

    See all of the presents under the tree? I wonder which ones were for my father, Jan Albert Iverson.

    On the right side of the card is a greeting written in Swedish.

    En Glad Jul
    och
     Gott Nytt År
    Från de
    Iversons
    Translated, it reads,
    A Merry Christmas
    and
    Happy New Year
    From the
    Iversons

    I'm so thankful for this time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I'd like to share this very special Christmas video with you. I hope you enjoy it.



    As my grandparents expressed in their lovely Christmas card, I too would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    Thanks for reading!



    © 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

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    The following is from FamilySearch:

    2015 Year in Review: FamilySearch Grows as World’s Foremost Family History Resource



    SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, December 29, 2015FamilySearch.org, an outstanding free website hosted by FamilySearch International, the foremost family history organization in the world, has released a 2015 year-end summary of its global efforts to ultimately connect families across generations. It has made substantial progress in creating new personal and family discoveries through significantly more access to historical records, expanded partnerships, a more powerful and user-friendly online search experience, and hundreds of free localized events hosted worldwide.



    For more than 100 years, FamilySearch and its predecessors have gathered and preserved worldwide records, creating the largest collection of genealogical and historical records in the world. It continues to digitally convert its vaults of microfilm for online viewing, along with millions more newly captured record images from archives across the globe.

    In the past 25 years, it has been influencing technology and initiatives that engage a broadening swath of consumers to have emotional, endearing experiences with their family and family history. It uses its nonprofit status to continue to rally the growing sea of commercial companies—large and small—in the genealogy and family markets to join in the noble efforts.



    HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2015



    During 2015, Steve Rockwood took the reins of FamilySearch, replacing retiring Dennis Brimhall as CEO.

    Two Family Discovery Centers, which represent a new concept inpresenting family history information, were opened in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Belleview, Washington. Ground was also broken for a new FamilySearch Library in St. George, Utah, which will have some of the new discovery center experiences.

    RootsTech 2015, a global family history event held in Salt Lake City, Utah, and hosted by FamilySearch, uses technology and fun experiences to expand family connections. It attracted a record 300,000 attendees in person, online, and through local post–Family Discovery Day events.

    During 2015, FamilySearch, in cooperation with several other organizations, launched the Freedmen’s Bureau Campaign (discoverfreedmen.org) to finish digitizing and indexing Civil War–era records that are crucial to African American research success. This project should be completed in 2016.

    On October 23, 2015, FamilySearch celebrated the 30th anniversary of its well-known FamilyHistory Library in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, which houses the largest and most expansive collection of family history records in the world. Hundreds of thousands of patrons still frequent the facility from around the world.

    DISCOVERY

    The My Family: Stories That BringUs Together booklet, which was launched in 2014, provides an engaging way to capture and preserve family trees—particularly for those individuals and cultures who are less tech-savvy. In 2015 the number of languages the popular booklet was published in was expanded to 42.

    More and more people made use of the local 4,891 FamilySearch facilities (family history centers) in 2015. North America alone has seen a 25 percent increase in attendance at these local libraries during 2015. Online, FamilySearch.org has seen 291,806 visitors daily—an increase of 19 percent.

    New patron discovery experiences have been launched in family history centers worldwide during 2015, and 1,505 local post–RootsTech family discovery day events were held.

    Enhancements were introduced to the FamilySearch.org Family Tree to assist patrons in creating more accurate records and to find records of their ancestors more easily. The site has introduced a redesigned landscape pedigree view, easier access to indicators in other tree views, and safeguard reminders to help patrons avoid making common editing mistakes. The indicators clearly show possible data problems for an ancestor and opportunities to provide missing information and help to locate missing ancestors.

    Dynamic record hints were added through the Search feature at FamilySearch.org to aid patrons in making new research discoveries. The hints are more plentiful as they comb through the mountain of new historic records added weekly to the site from its global records preservation efforts, and the interface has been improved to easily follow through with or dismiss hints. Over 670 million new patron hints were generated during the past year.

    Through partnerships with other major online genealogy sites, patrons can now use a single click to search ancestry.com, findmypast.com, and myheritage.comfor the person they are viewing in FamilySearch’s Family Tree.

    This year’s FamilySearch innovations have made searching and recording personal and family experiences more user-friendly and have improved the accuracy of FamilySearch’s databases. Searchers can use improved exact matches in their search criteria to more easily locate records, attach records from search results to people in their Family Tree, and gather and sort information in the new hybrid view that combines historical records with their corresponding indexed information.

    FAMILY TREE

    More than 120,000 new contributors added to Family Tree in 2015, making a total of 2.47 million. The new user-to-user messaging feature in Family Tree simplifies collaboration with others doing research on the same specific ancestors. There are now 1.1 billion persons in the FamilySearch Family Tree.

    RECORDS

    FamilySearch carries out its mission through a dedicated team of employees and overwhelming contributions of time by volunteers. FamilySearch has enabled the public worldwide to use its constantly expanding record collection to make family connections through 4,891 satellite family history centers in 129 countries, with 2,864 of those satellite centers located outside the United States. That’s an increase of 15% over 2014.

    The site launched 158 new historical collections in 2015, (bringing the total to 2,049), and hundreds of millions of new published records have been added to FamilySearch.org.

    Personal discoveries are fueled by making historical records easily and quickly accessible online. FamilySearch does this through a combination of digitizing the world’s historical records online and engaging online volunteers to make them searchable by patrons worldwide with a few keystrokes. Around the world, 319 camera teams—an increase of 11%—digitally preserved over 122 million records in 45 countries, and 304,000 online volunteer indexers helped make them searchable.

    In fact, volunteers logged in over 9 million hours and indexed over 106 million records in 2015. And 19 million of the records indexed were of international origin, in languages other than English.

    At the end of 2015, FamilySearch.org now has over 5.31 billion searchable names in historical records.

    Jennifer Kerns Davis, a manager in FamilySearch’s Records Division, said, “We republished England Wales censuses with more fields and family groupings that will make them more easily searchable. It was a huge undertaking that took a lot of resources. We also have begun similar improvements on the US censuses that we plan to update in the near future.”

    MEMORIES

    The FamilySearch Tree mobile app now enables users to attach photos and stories (audio and text) to individuals in their Family Tree and to receive notifications when others add content to specific individuals.

    The new memories gallery view allows users to more easily organize, sort, and add photos, stories, and scanned documents to their memories collections.

    Last year patrons uploaded 4 million personal family photos and 40,000 new family stories.

    HELP

    Volunteerism is one of FamilySearch’s greatest assets. In addition to online volunteers, 3,850 volunteers serve as FamilySearch missionaries, helping support the worldwide operations needs. These generous volunteers donated a staggering 3.04 million hours of service. FamilySearch joined with the Smithsonian National Museum of African AmericanHistory and Culture and other organizations to index and publish online the Freedmen’s Bureau records, a Civil War era collection that will prove very pivotal for African American research success. A record 12,000 volunteers have enlisted online to assist (see DiscoverFreedmen.org).

    Patrons needing help can get immediate assistance by telephone (one-on-one to online volunteer assistants,) by viewing the hundreds of free video courses online, and by accessing the FamilySearch Wiki, an online reference source with over 100,000 helpful articles that are updated weekly.

    FamilySearch enhanced its online help system in 2015. Users will now notice slide outs that provide contextual help in key areas on the site where users might need it the most.

    FamilySearch also added 77 new family history centers around the world to provide free personal research assistance to patrons.

    Access FamilySearch’s free services online at FamilySearch.org.




    About FamilySearch

    FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 4,891 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.


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    Can you believe that RootsTech 2016 is less than a month away? Yep! That's right! It begins next month on February 3rd. I'm getting things ready for my trip to RootsTech. I bought some warm gloves so my hands won't freeze like they did during a previous visit to Utah during winter.

    I already have my rolling backpack from when I attended the BYU Conference on Family History & Genealogy as an official blogger last July.

    Something else I already have are business cards. Another name for them could be genealogy calling cards or contact cards. I ordered them from Vistaprint so I could take them to the BYU Conference last July. I'm very happy with them.

    Genealogy Calling Card (Front)

    Genealogy Calling Card (Back)

    I gave away several of them at the BYU conference.

    And last October, while I was hosting a table about genealogy blogging at the Fresno County Genealogical Society's Annual Seminar which featured the amazing Lisa Louise Cooke, I gave lots of my calling cards away.

    I'm so excited that I get to attend RootsTech in person! Will you be attending too? Please let me know. And if you can't attend this year, there will be live streaming classes available to view. You can also follow along on my blog and my other social media sites for posts from RootsTech. For a list of where I can be found online, check out my website at Jana's Genealogy and Social Media Hub.

    Thanks for reading!


    © 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved


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    Happy New Year to all of my wonderful readers!

    My Fab Finds for this week are (in no particular order)
    1. Papa Bears by Amy Archibald, author of Revealing Roots and Branches
    2. Productivity Progress and Tackling Time Management by Danni, author of Talking Box Genealogy
    3. DETROIT ~ Street Addresses Renumbered in 1921–Here’s a list with the old and new numbers AND TUESDAY'S TIP ~ Legacy 8 ~ How To Determine When You Last Modified a Record by Diane Gould Hall, author of MICHIGAN FAMILY TRAILS
    4. Mappy Monday: Online Maps of Norway by Beth Gatlin, author of So Many Ancestors!
    5. Just where have you been? by Peggy Lauritzen, author of Anxiously Engaged
    6. 1906 Postcard lovers secret code! by Simon Last, author of Charnwood Genealogy
    7. Mom, I Thought I Knew You by Denise Levenick, author of The Family Curator
    8. What Did Your Civil War Ancestor Look Like? AND How to Set a Smart Genealogy Goal by Amy Johnson Crow, author of Amy Johnson Crow Blog
    9. The Method Behind the Madness by Leslie G. Robertson, author of The People of Pancho
    10. A Funny Thing Happened . . . by Wendy Mathias, author of Jollett Etc.
    11. What food did your ancestors eat? AND Did I say food? I meant it when I said it. by James Tanner, author of Genealogy's Star
    12. Talented At An Easel by Midge Frazel, author of The Highly Caffeinated Genealogist
    13. Create a Family Memory Jar for 2016 by Esther for MyHeritage Blog
    14. Slave Name Roll Project: Releasing the Names of More Slaves from My Ancestors by Julie, author of Oak Grove Genealogy
    15. Trying Again: Another Chance at the Genealogy Do-Over ~ Review of The Genealogy Do-Over Workbook by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist
    16. Join me in a 30 x 30 challenge? by Janine Adams, author of Organize Your Family History
    17. Daily Research Challenge 2016 by Nicole Dyer for Family Locket
    18. tech tuesday – the great suspender for google chrome AND tech tuesday part 2 – airtable by Tami Osmer Mize, author of Relatively Curious
    19. To Save Lucille by Michelle Ganus Taggart, author of A Southern Sleuth
    20. A good look at the State Hospital where my Aunt Lena Margheim died by Becky Jamison, author of Grace and Glory
    21. Use the Force to Test Your Genealogy Knowledge by Amie Bowser Tennant for RootsBid Blog

    RootsTech 2016 Related Posts

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

    New Blog Discoveries
    In Case You Missed Them….My Contributions to the Blogosphere Since My Last Fab Finds Post

    Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog

    Jana's Place 

    Thanks for reading!


    © 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

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    The following is from RootsTech ~

    RootsTech 2016 Announces Keynote Speakers David Isay and Michael Leavitt and Musical Guests the Crescent Super Band, featuring Ryan Innes, and The Lower Lights


    SALT LAKE CITY, (January 8, 2016)—RootsTech, the largest family history conference in the world, announced today additional musical guests and keynote speakers who will join its inspiring all-star lineup. Nationally renowned musicians the Crescent Super Band and Ryan Innes will partner for an exclusive performance during the opening social event on Thursday, February 4. The session of RootsTech on Friday, February 5, will feature award-winning radio producer and founder of StoryCorps, David Isay, while the session on Saturday, February 6, will feature Michael Leavitt, who served in the Cabinet of President George W. Bush. Concluding the conference on February 6 will be the musical group The Lower Lights.



    Organized in 2001 under the direction of award-winning performer Caleb Chapman, the Crescent Super Band has frequently been hailed as one of the best professional bands in the world. The international demand for their big-band sound has taken them all over, including Havana Cuba’s “Fiesta Del Tambor” and headlining at a packed Carnegie Hall.



    Singer-songwriter Ryan Innes will join the Super Crescent Band for Thursday’s performance. Innes appeared on NBC’s hit TV show, The Voice, where he impressed celebrity judges with his soulful vocals. Innes and the Super Crescent Band will take the stage during the opening social event of RootsTech, which starts at 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 4.




    Radio producer and New York Times best-selling author David Isay will speak on Friday, February 5. Isay has received numerous broadcasting honors, including six Peabody awards and a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. He is also the founder of StoryCorps, an award-winning organization that provides people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve their life stories. Earlier this year, Isay received the rare TED prize in honor of his work with StoryCorps.


    “We can learn so much about the people all around us, even the people we already know, just by taking the time to have a conversation,” Isay said. “And if you pay just a little attention, you’ll find wisdom and poetry in their words.” Isay’s latest book, Ties That Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude from the First Ten Years of StoryCorps, celebrates the relationships that change our lives.




    Michael Leavitt will be a keynote speaker on Saturday, February 6, along with Doris Kearns Goodwin. Leavitt has served in a variety of roles, including in President George W. Bush’s cabinet as the tenth administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and as secretary of Health and Human Services. He was also a three-time elected governor of Utah. In his current role, Leavitt is the founder and chairman of Leavitt Partners, a health consultancy group.
    The Lower Lights’ sound has been described as bluegrass, folk, gospel, Americana, and “roots-y.” In the five years since its inception, the group has recorded three gospel and two Christmas albums. Audiences are often invited to participate in their concerts.



    Visit RootsTech.org to reserve your seat now to hear the Crescent Super Band, The Lower Lights, Ryan Innes, David Isay, and Michael Leavitt. Passes start at just $29.



    RootsTech 2016 will be held on February 3–6 in Salt Lake City, Utah.



    ###

    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.

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    RootsTech 2016 is almost here! I'm so excited that I get to attend in person this year. And I'm really excited to be attending as an Ambassador.

    I've already downloaded the RootsTech 2016 Mobile App and I thought I'd share the Maps feature with you today.

    First of all, here's a screenshot of the App itself taken from my smartphone.



    When I click on the "Maps" icon I am taken to a map of Salt Lake City as seen in the screenshot below.


    Clicking on "Venue" at the bottom of the screen brings me to the "Contact Details" page for the Salt Palace Convention Center.


    Clicking on "Maps" at the bottom of the Salt Lake City map screen brings me to this page in the App. I have two options - "Expo Hall" and "SPCC."


    Clicking on "Expo Hall" provides me with a map of the Expo Hall. We are able to zoom in and out on this screen.


    This same map, plus a list of the Exhibitors, is also on the RootsTech website at RootsTech 2016 Exhibitors and Sponsors

    When you click on the Expo Hall map on the RootsTech website, it opens up as a PDF file, which you can save. I've already saved the PDF file to Evernote.

    Clicking on the "SPCC" option takes me to this map of the Salt Palace Convention Center, which is another nice feature of the RootsTech 2016 App. 


    If you haven't downloaded the RootsTech 2016 Mobile App yet, here are links to the App ~

    RootsTech 2016 Mobile App in Google Play Store

    RootsTech 2016 Mobile App in Apple App Store

    I hope this post has been helpful to all of those attending RootsTech 2016 next month. See you there!

    Thanks for reading!


    © 2015 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

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    The following is from RootsTech ~


    SALT LAKE CITY, (13 January 2016)—RootsTech, the world’s largest family history technology conference, will turn the spotlight on highly successful tech entrepreneur and founder of Insidesales.com, Ken Krogue, as its 2016 Innovator Summit keynote speaker. Innovator Summit, held the first day of RootsTech, is for developers, entrepreneurs, and innovators who want to explore business and technological opportunities within this multibillion dollar industry.



    The Innovator Summit will be held Wednesday February 3, 2016, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.



    Kenneth Krogue cofounded InsideSales.com in November 2004, and the company is now worth 1.5 billion dollars. InsideSales.com offers the industry’s leading sales acceleration built on Neurolytics®, a predictive and self-learning engine that drives revenue growth by recommending the best leads to contact and close. He sets the vision for the company together with CEO, Dave Elkington. Ken has more than 24 years of experience in sales, business strategy, and marketing in both domestic and international markets.



    As a contributor for Forbes online, Krogue focuses on using the Internet, InsideSales, lead generation, gamification, and social media to grow business. Ken says, “I’m an American who cares enough to speak up and a serial entrepreneur with a short attention span, so I need things to work really fast.” Ken is a popular speaker at industry events (20+ each year) and confesses he shares “almost” all of his trade secrets on his personal blog: http://www.kenkrogue.com



    The Innovator Summit Keynote Session begins at 9:00 a.m., followed by a full day of classes, the semifinal round of the RootsTech Innovator Showdown over a boxed lunch, a networking social, and wrapping up with the Innovator Summit Hack-a-thon for those with a penchant for late night collaborative coding.



    Rootstech Innovator Showdown



    Twelve semifinalists have been chosen and announced for the RootsTech Innovator Showdown, the annual contest designed to foster innovation in the family history industry, with $100,000 in cash and prizes offered by sponsors.  2016 RootsTech Innovator Showdown sponsors include Lenovo, IPOP Foundation, David Bradford, Grow Utah, Woodbury Corporation, Hero Partners, Infinite Mind, and others.



    For more Innovator Showdown information and to see the list of 12 semi-finalists and their projects, visit www.rootstech.org/showdown.




    ###

    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.


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    My Fab Finds for this week are (in no particular order)

    1. We Still Need Family History Centers! by Peggy Lauritzen, author of Anxiously Engaged
    2. Goal for 2016 – Becoming an Accredited Genealogist by Diana Elder for Family Locket
    3. How Could I Miss That Clue for Agnes Anderson? by Devon Noel Lee, author of A Patient Genealogist
    4. A Growing Source for Free Genealogy: Digital Public Library of America by Amy Johnson Crow, author of Amy Johnson Crow Blog
    5. Matrilineal Motivation Monday: Blurb Book for Mom by Amanda Pape, author of ABT UNK
    6. 12 Things You Will See from FamilySearch in 2016 by Steve Anderson for FamilySearch Blog
    7. School Records, Even if Your Ancestor Didn't Attend School by Melissa Barker, author of A Genealogist In The Archives
    8. I'm STILL Not Who I Thought I Was... Thanks DNA by Nicholas Weerts, author of The Dead Relative Collector
    9. Here’s to a year of family history research, tearing down some brick walls and a cool new website! by Cindy Freed, author of Genealogy Circle
    10. Becoming a Certified Genealogist - An Update by Lori Samuelson, author of Genealogy At Heart
    11. Dear Randy: How Do You Use Your Smartphone to Do Genealogy? by Randy Seaver, author of Genea-Musings
    12. Accentuate the Positive Geneameme 2015 - GeniAus reflects by Jill Ball, author of GeniAus
    13. If You Don’t Put It Online – Your Descendants Will Not Find It! by Thomas Jay Kemp for GenealogyBank Blog
    14. How To Do Genealogy When You Eyesight is Failing You? by Barbara Poole, author of Life From The Roots
    15. Win a copy of the new book The Family Tree Polish, Czech & Slovak Genealogy Guide from Shop Family Tree by Thomas MacEntee, author of GeneaBloggers
    16. Case Study: 5 Steps to Identify a Family Photograph AND How to Date Photographs Using Tax Stamps by Lisa Lisson, author of Lisa Lisson Blog

    RootsTech 2016 Related Posts
    1. Calling All Bloggers Attending RootsTech 2016! by Thomas MacEntee, author of GeneaBloggers
    2. A RootsTech 2016 Marketing Trio by Jenna Mills, author of Desperately Seeking Surnames
    3. Family History Library Construction During #RootsTech by Ancestry Insider, author of The Ancestry Insider
    4. RootsTech Survival Guide – 12 Quick Tips by WikiChicks Conference Keeper
    5. RootsTech Survival Guide: The Innovator’s Summit by WikiChicks Conference Keeper
     
    This week's "May I Introduce To You" Interview on GeneaBloggers.com
     
    New Blog Discoveries

    In Case You Missed Them….My Contributions to the Blogosphere Since My Last Fab Finds Post

    Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog

    Jana's Place 

    Thanks for reading!


    © 2016 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

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  • 01/18/16--14:06: RootsTech 2016 Ambassadors

  • Recently my Ambassador bio was added to the RootsTech 2016 Ambassador list on the RootsTech website. Yay! I thought I'd share it here on my blog.


    My Ambassador bio may be difficult to read here on my blog, so here it is:

    Jana is a wife, mom, grandma, genealogist and family historian. She loves family history and enjoys learning about her ancestors. She has been sharing her family history on her blog,  Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog, since April 2012. In addition to her genealogy blog, Jana is the author of a vintage postcard blog, her personal blog, and a website: Grandpa's PostcardsJana's Place and Jana's Genealogy and Social Media Hub.


    There are many other RootsTech 2016 Ambassadors who are and will be sharing information about RootsTech 2016. Here's a screenshot from the RootsTech website that shows a partial list of the Ambassadors.


    To see the full list of RootsTech 2016 Ambassadors, click HERE. If you'd like to follow along with the happenings at RootsTech next month, please check out and follow my fellow Ambassadors' blogs and other social media sites by going to the Ambassador list.

    I'm so excited about attending RootsTech! I leave for Salt Lake City in two weeks!

    Thanks for reading!


    © 2016 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

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