Tuesday, July 26, 2016

That is Where the Love Is #BYUgen #BYUFHGC

Credit: Ivan Majc, Adriatic North Mission
“As you talk about the ancestors, that is where the love is,” said Paul Cardall. “That is where the heart starts to turn.” Paul has learned this through multiple visits to Slovenia, the homeland of his wife’s family.

The 2016 BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy opened this morning, Tuesday, 26 July 2016, with a keynote address by Paul Cardall, a pianist known for his hymn instrumentals.

“Literally, seven years ago I had a change of heart,” said Paul. That’s when Paul, who had suffered all his life from a congenital heart defect, received a transplanted heart.

After marrying Tina, a Slovenian-American, his heart turned to her ancestors. Paul talked to his wife about her family, but she only knew so much. Tina’s grandfather (I think it was her grandfather) was a freedom fighter during World War II, so he was forced to flee to the United States after the war. After scouring FamilySearch.org and subscription sites like Ancestry.com, Paul found there were no records online. He asked a friend, FamilySearch’s Suzanne Russo Adams, what to do. Suzanne connected him with Lidija Sambunjak, an expert in Slovenian genealogy. She informed him that, unfortunately, a lot of the Slovenian records are available nowhere else but in Slovenia.

When invited by Brigham Young University to write music about a documentary about the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Yugoslavia, he joked that he would love to do it if they would fly him to Slovenia.

He was delighted when he received a call from the Adriatic North Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints inviting him to come and perform for church members in Slovenia. His wife was excited to accompany him and, being Catholic, asked why they couldn’t perform in a Catholic church. They asked and Father Jože Kokalj in Ljubljana agreed to host the concert at St. James Church.

At the same time, they reached out to the Slovenian Heart Foundation, an organization that helps children with heart defects. What had begun as a Mormon event was becoming something much bigger.

“All of this was happening as I was doing genealogy,” Paul said. Tina was not certain they would see any of her family, but when they arrived at the airport, they found many cousins waiting. Their hearts were turning.

Paul played for us the first several phrases of the opening number from the concert. (Listen to the song on Facebook.) At the concert family showed up that they didn’t know they had. “Just to be there and to feel the love of everyone [was amazing],” Paul said. “Just to be there with these people was wonderful.”

They visited Tina’s mother’s village and met more family.

Six months later Paul and Tina were on their way back to Slovenia for the Slovenian Heart Foundation's 25th anniversary charity concert. The Adriatic North Mission wanted two artists this time, so they invited David Archuleta to perform with Paul. This time he would perform in the Slovenian Opera Theatre and Ljubljana Archbishop Msgr. Stanislav Zore would attend.

Tina’s mother had declined going on the first trip because of lingering fears over the communist past. This time she wanted to come. She was able to visit her village for the first time in 43 years. They went to her own house and found cousins living there. She met family members she hadn’t seen in 43 years. “War tears families apart,” Paul said. “You [genealogists] help put the puzzle back together.”

They visited the archive where the parish registers are kept. Tina’s mother got to see the names of her ancestors. “These books are old,” Paul said. “They are older than the constitution of the United States.” Each book is the record of a parish for a couple of hundred years. “Each priest carefully wrote down the names, one by one. It is so powerful.” Paul told us that we, genealogists, understand. We also add the names, one-by-one, into “the book of life.”

I haven’t mentioned much of it, but religion was a big part of Paul’s presentation: His love for his wife’s church, the Catholic Church. His love for his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His love for the Savior. He finished his presentation by playing a recording of a new hymn. Elder David A Bednar, an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and a grandson of Hungarian immigrants, asked Paul to help him write a song titled “One by One.” Paul played a recording of it for us. (Listen to it, read the lyrics, or print the sheet music at https://www.lds.org/new-era/2016/07/one-by-one.)

Monday, July 25, 2016

BYU Conference Center Handicap Parking Changes #BYUgen #BYUFHGC

BYU Conference on Family History and GenealogyAttendees of this year’s BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy should be aware of the impact of construction at the conference center. The conference center address is

730 E University Parkway
Provo, Utah 84604

The normal parking lot—adjacent to the center on the west side—is still available, but the normal entrances to the building are closed. The remaining entrance for that parking lot is near the southwest corner of the building and “does not meet ADA requirements.” If memory serves correctly, you have to go up a staircase to get to the door.

Handicap parking has been provided near the main entrance on the south side of the building. That entrance does not involve any stairs and opens onto the main floor of the building where all the classes are held. The parking is southeast of the building, on 1550 North. This handicap parking is in lot 23A, which is normally closed to the general public. If all the handicap spaces are full, BYU says you can use any space in that lot.

Map of BYU Conference Center handicap parking during construction

Also, parts of University Parkway will be under construction at times during the conference. Give yourselves a little extra travel time.

BTW, if you haven’t yet registered (and the travel and parking problems haven’t driven you away), just show up and you can register onsite. The first keynote starts tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 8:30am. I can’t find what time that registration begins, but I imagine it will be 45 to 60 minutes beforehand.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy #BYUgen #BYUFHGC

BYU Conference on Family History and GenealogyThe BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy starts Tuesday, 26 July 2016. If you are thinking about your pioneer ancestors this weekend, then you should come. BYU’s Elizabeth Richards tells me you can register clear through the last day of the conference on Friday, 29 July 2016.

Registration is $185, including a syllabus on USB. There is a $50 discount for Family History Consultants for the full conference. Or Family History Consultants can attend the Consultant track on Friday for free. You may purchase a printed syllabus at the conference or anytime after the conference until the end of the year.
Paul CardallTuesday’s keynote speaker is Paul Cardall, a pianist known for his hymn instrumentals. His current album, 40 Days for Forty Hymns, débuted on Billboard’s New Age Album chart at #1 in May of last year and was still in the top 10 earlier this month. Paul is an avid genealogist with Eastern European roots. He is a heart transplant survivor, having suffered from congenital heart defects his entire life.
Steve RockwoodWednesday’s keynote speaker is FamilySearch president and CEO, Stephen Rockwood. He is the managing director of the Family History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Prior to taking the helm he was the director of the International Division. He has continued a world-wide emphasis as president. Steve is a graduate of BYU with an MBA from the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Paul MilnerThursday’s keynote is Paul Milner. Paul is a native of northern England and while he now lives in the United States, he continues to focus on British Isles genealogy, resources, and methodology. He is actively engaged in the genealogical community and is a past board member of APG, FGS, and GSG. He is a professional genealogist, instructor, and lecturer.
The conference program includes many noted national and regional experts. Last year’s keynote speaker, Lisa Louise Cooke, is back, teaching five sessions (if I counted right). Paul Milner is teaching five sessions in addition to his keynote. Rick and Pam Sayre are teaching three and two sessions, respectively. And there are many more. FamilySearch and Ancestry.com both have tracks. To see a complete list of presenters and topics, visit http://familyhistory.ce.byu.edu/schedule.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Darnedest Political Obituary

We depend upon records to reveal the “truth” about the past. Yet sometimes records have anomalies. Some are amusing or humorous. Some are interesting or weird. Some are peculiar or suspicious. Some are infuriating, or downright laughable. Records say the darnedest things!

Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton...

“NOLAND, Mary Anne Alfriend. Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday, May 15, 2016.”

Yes, records say the darnedest things!

Source: “Noland, Mary Anne,” obituary, Richmond (Virginia) Times-Dispatch, online (http://m.richmond.com/obituaries/article_c21b60bc-1153-5abd-b3c8-268cfd32eb57.html?mode=jqm : accessed 28 May 2016).

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

DNA Versus Extremism

Momodo DNA promotion videoI hear all the time about people testing ethnicity from different companies and getting different results. I’ve heard from a person or two with well documented trees that see some pretty obvious problems in DNA ethnicity results. The fact is, finding “pure” reference individuals upon which to base ethnicity calculations is a challenge. Consequently, ethnicity results are somewhat questionable.

Despite that, I recommend you watch a tear jerking video from Momondo’s latest marketing campaign. In light of recent world events, I found it particularly powerful.

“There would be no such thing as extremism if people knew their heritage.”

To view the video, click here: https://www.momondo.com/letsopenourworld/dna

(If the video won’t play, try this link.)