RootsTech – Friday’s Online Sessions

Here is the list of today’s RootsTech sessions being broadcast live. You can watch these broadcasts online at the RootsTech home page. If you can’t watch them live, they will also be available after the conference is over. Note that the times listed here are Eastern Standard Time.

10:30am – General Session – LeVar Burton; Kenyatta Berry, Entrepreneur and Genealogist; Sherri Camp, AAHGS; Melvin Collier

LeVar Burton is known by millions as the face of Reading Rainbow, the beloved, long running PBS children’s television series, and for his role as Geordi La Forge, Chief Engineer in the iconic Star Trek: The Next Generation series. Many also remember seeing his talent debut in 1977 when he was cast in the groundbreaking role of Kunta Kinte in the landmark television miniseries Roots.

In addition to his familiar talent as an actor, he is an accomplished director, producer, writer, speaker, educator, and entrepreneur. He is the honored recipient of 12 Emmy Awards, a Grammy and five NAACP Awards. Burton has experienced continual success in his innovative efforts to promote his passion for literature, storytelling, and imagination. He is the Co-Founder and Curator-in-Chief of RRKIDZ, the online home of Reading Rainbow and Skybrary. With millions of fans throughout the world, he continues his mission to inspire, entertain and educate.

12:30pm – Innovator Showdown Finals – Jason Hewlitt

2:15pm – Mothers, Daughters, Wives: Tracing Female Lines – Judy G. Russell

Our family history isn’t complete without the stories of the women of our families. But all too often they’re the ones who just aren’t there: not in the records, not in the censuses, not on juries, not in the voting booth. Yet despite the limited public existence of women under the law, there are many records left by, about or relevant to our female ancestors. Learn how to find the mothers, daughters, wives in your lines through their own records and the records of their menfolk.

3:30pm – Censational Census Strategies – Mary Kircher Roddy, MKR Genealogy

The US Federal census and its “little brother,” the state census, are among the major workhorses of genealogical research. But are you getting the most out of them? This presentation presents 20+ tips for finding missing ancestors and mining the census for more clues for follow-up research.

5:00pm – Big 4: Comparing Ancestry, Findmypast, FamilySearch & MyHeritage – Sunny Morton, Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems,, FamilySearch and all provide international audiences with tools and records for researching family trees online. But which one—or ones—should you use? This lecture introduces and compares important features for beginning and intermediate users. You’ll learn why you should be familiar with all four sites; subscription and free access options; and how they compare for overall historical, tree and DNA record content. You’ll learn general geographic strengths and how to find specific geographic content on each, as well as the presenter’s favorite features and cautions/challenges of working with each. Finally, you’ll get a suggestion for building your “master family tree” securely—and from more than one website.

6:30pm – Cross the Atlantic with Religious Records – Jen Baldwin, findmypast

Religious records are a vital category in genealogy, and can lead to many exciting discoveries. The collections available on Findmypast span the British Isles and provide a unique look at early American settlement. By exploring these materials, you are accessing vital records, religious history, migration patterns, opportunities for in-depth research and much more. From the largest municipal congregations to the smallest village parish, attendees will benefit from the various denominations discussed and learn to apply these records to their personal family history.

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