Family Discovery Day was wonderful thanks to an amazing team of volunteers; all those who contributed through displays, presentations, and the escape room; and all of the amazing attendees.  Mark your calendar now for October 19, 2024, for the next Family History Discovery Day.

Confessions of a Recovering Genealogist

Mike Sandberg, Keynote Speaker

For eight years at FamilySearch, Mike was consumed by family history.  In short order, this job became much more than a paycheck.  It became a mission.  A mission to figure out new ways to help as many people as possible enjoy the rich insights, perspective, blessings, and joy that come when we connect with our family past and present.  The greatest part of that learning came as Mike learned first-hand how to help hundreds of beginners and even more than a few experts move forward in their journey – something that he still can’t stop doing!  Join Mike as he shares some of his most cherished learnings, tips, and experiences that he hopes will help you move forward on your journey, too. HANDOUT


Beginner (B), Intermediate (I), Zoom (Z)

Session 1 - 10:00 am - 10:50 am

Beginning DNA Research (B, I) - Becky Boifeuillet  You will learn how to use DNA research to find more members of the family to add to your family tree.  Handout given in class.

FamilySearch Memories: Writing Life Stories of Your Ancestors and Others (B, I, Z) - Robert Givens   In FamilySearch Memories there is an option to create a story to attach to people in Tree.  It is a rather under-utilized feature of the website.  This class will help you overcome any reluctance you might have to create stories for your ancestors. We will cover how to find stories in Tree, how some stories might be there but hidden from us, and the physical process of using the site to create a story. HANDOUT

Stories come in many sizes - we will discuss the need for stories about specific events as opposed to true-life sketches.

The last half of the presentation will cover how to organize to write a life story.  By the end of the class, you will be ready to help others really get to know their ancestors HANDOUT

Exploring Google Earth (B, I) - Pam Heath   Learn how to use this free software to: 1) Pin locations and add information about your ancestors. 2) Locate historic maps and imagery 3) Help break down brick walls in your genealogy research. HANDOUT

What's the Plan, Stan (B, I) - Pam Williams Duce   Learn to create a research plan including developing a question, identifying and analyzing sources, tips for staying on track, and more. HANDOUT

Session 2 - 11:00 am - 11:50 am

I Did the Ancestry DNA Test - Now What? (B, I, Z) - Robert Givens  This class is for those who have taken the plunge into DNA but don't know what to do with the results. has the largest database of DNA test-takers and provides us with great tools that can help us analyze our DNA results.

We will first explore our matches and find out ways to organize them so they can be of value to us. Then we will discuss their unique feature ThruLines which links your DNA to your ancestral tree and helps in analyzing the accuracy or inaccuracy of your tree based on your DNA. We will close up this class with a short discussion of your Ethnicity Estimate based on Ancestry's analysis of your DNA. This is a beginner's class so everyone should be able to enjoy it.  HANDOUT

Cold Case Genealogy (B, I) - Pam Williams Duce   Reviewing decades-old information to identify a person or persons responsible for an event could describe a cold case investigation or family history brick wall.  Learn ideas and techniques for solving family history mysteries.  HANDOUT

Lost and Found - Identifying Missing British Children Using (B, I) - Mike Sandburg   Mike provides an overview of how to use the British General Register Office website’s online index to track down British children born after 1837 who were born and died between censuses. This was unfortunately quite common in the time, and when researchers see a gap of 2-4 years between children being born in a family in Britain, they can use this tool to look for missing family members. Mike will walk through an actual case that he discovered as he was helping someone that yielded wonderful results.

Discovering People and Stories in the U.S. Census Records, 1790-1950 (B, I) - Laurene Erickson   My purpose for this class is to give an overview of U.S. census records, 1790-1950, and the information one can learn about people and families. HANDOUT

Session 3 - 1:00 pm - 1:50 pm

Leaving a Legacy of your Family Through Engaging Conversations (B) - Tim Long  There is a treasure of wisdom, lessons and history in each of our family members. Let’s make it our mission to draw it out of them. Today we’ll discover how to engage with your family and friends capturing stories that will leave a legacy. HANDOUT

Researching your German Ancestors Online (B, I, Z) - Baerbel K Johnson   Once you know the name of your German ancestor’s hometown, the Internet can help you confirm the place name, identify church- and civil jurisdictions, and find available records. Many civil registers and church records are already available online. Several case studies demonstrate the research steps using records and resources found on several major websites. HANDOUT

Please Mom, Not Another Cemetery! Researching and Planning an Engaging Ancestral Trip (B, I) - Margaret Folsom and Kim Johnson  Learn how to use various records to take your loved ones on a trip they'll talk about (in a good way) for years to come.  Help them to know their people, not just their names and dates. HANDOUT

Are Your Family Trees Truth or Myth. De-Myth-a-fying Your Trees with Ancestry (B) - Gail Outhwaite and Sue Snodderly  Learn the basics of researching on Ancestry to discover more family and details that add to their true story. HANDOUT

Session 4 - 2:00 pm - 2:50 pm

Internet Resources for Locating Your 19th Century German Emigrants (B, I, Z) - Baerbel K Johnson  Finding your German ancestor's birthplace may be just a mouse click away! New online resources for locating immigrant origins become available every day. Learn about U.S. and German websites containing lists of emigrants and emigration history from various parts of Germany, including search tips and hints for navigating foreign-language sites. HANDOUT

Beyond Indexing: Getting Youth Excited About Family History (B, I) - Margaret Folsom and Kim Johnson   When it's time to plan a youth activity about family history are your first thoughts always indexing?   Join us in hands-on activities to help your youth discover ways to use their hobbies and interests to know their ancestors and build a love of family history. HANDOUT

New and Upcoming Features on FamilySearch (B, I) - Ryan Parker  Learn some of the newest features on FamilySearch and how they can help you improve your ability to find information about your family history, collaborate with others, and feel connected to your ancestors. Join FamilySearch Product Manager, Ryan Parker, to see the latest from FamilySearch and get a sneak peek into what you can look forward to in the coming months. There will be no handout for this class.

Family History, Believe It or Not! (B, I) - Pam Williams Duce   Let's have some fun discovering unique and unusual websites, that may advance your research or just surprise you. Handouts will be available at the time of class and then digitally after the conference.

Meet the Instructors

Robert Givens

FamilySearch Memories - Writing Life Stories of Your Ancestors and Others (B, I, Z)  10:00 am - 10:50 am

I Did the Ancestry DNA Test - Now What? (B, I, Z) 11:00 am - 11:50 am

Robert Givens is a life-long genealogist who has been involved in researching his family since the age of 10. Born in Tucson, Arizona, he has been a resident in Central California since 1957.   He has served in Family History Centers for most of the past 50+ years and is currently is the trainer for the FHCers of 14 stakes in the Fresno area of California where he lives.  He is a retired educator and loves to spend his time working on his genealogy, traveling, and spending time with his 5 children, 16 grandchildren and one great grandchild. For the past 14+ years he has been a volunteer for FamilySearch but will be retiring from this second career in December of this year.

Becky Boifeuillet

Beginning DNA Research  10:00 am - 10:50 am

I have been married to my husband, George, for 26 years and have three grown children.  We live in Hayden.   I studied Family History Research at BYUI and have been doing various genealogy projects since 1992. 

Pam heath

Exploring Google Earth 10:00 am - 10:50 am (B,I)

Pam is a member of the Kootenai County Genealogical Society and currently services as their secretary. She is also the Education Coordinator for the Foothills Genealogical Society of Colorado. 

MIKE SAndberg

Lost and Found - Identifying Missing Bristish Children Using (B,I) 11:00 am - 11:50 am

Mike Sandberg is a recovering family history addict.  After working as a Senior Product Manager and market researcher for FamilySearch for 8 years, Mike moved across the freeway to Adobe in Lehi, Utah where he manages and mentors others on good product management practices.  Even after 2 years, Mike still finds himself helping others with their own family history research where not a week goes by (really!) that someone (often still from FamilySearch) reaches out to talk about family history or ask for help. 

Mike believes deeply that by connecting with our past and with others (deceased and living) through the world-wide family tree on the FamilySearch website and in the Family Tree app, we gain precious perspective on life and the power of family connection.  We quickly come to see that most families are messy and that there is meaning in that messiness.  While at FamilySearch, Mike led product research efforts that spanned the globe covering every continent.  Over the past 10 years, Mike has helped 100’s of people 1-on-1 with their family history.  He has taught 1000’s more in conferences, live broadcasts, and through recorded videos as he has presented at RootsTech numerous times on topics ranging from helping beginners, children, family, and even non-genealogists with family history.  Even more important than any of that, Mike loves spending time with his lovely wife, their 3 boys and extended family hiking, camping, fishing, biking, boating, and playing all over the beautiful state of Utah.

Laurene Erickson

Discovering People and Stories in the U.S. Census Records, 1790-1850  11:00 am - 11:50 am (B, I)

My purpose for this class is to give an overview of U.S. census records, 1790-1950, and the information one can learn about people and families. 

Hi, I’m Laurene Erickson and have lived in the Coeur d’Alene area for 19 years, following 28 years in Spokane raising our family. 

Family history has been a deep love of mine, a passion really, since I was a teenager. 

I grew up next door to my grandparents in a farming community where my great grandparents homesteaded in 1890 so have always felt a connection to living history.

As a child I participated in extended family gatherings, casually visited with great-aunts and uncles in their homes and listened to family stories from them, my mother, and grandparents.   My youth was intertwined with relatives. 

Family history classes and research in college gave me insight into records that let us a peek into the past and help build a life story when few documents exist. A favorite pastime is visiting areas across the U.S. where my families once lived, being in communities familiar to them, and photographing their cemetery headstones to attach online. 

A detective at heart, I find it intriguing to find people in census records and see the pattern of their lives unfold in changes recorded across the years.

Tim long

Leaving a Legacy of your Family Through Engaging Conversations 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm (B, I)

Tim is a Speaker, Podcaster, and Publisher of three magazines - Lake

Coeur d’Alene Neighbors, Hayden Lake Neighbors and The Guide to North

Idaho. Tim is also a Corporate Trainer, with a Degree in Communications

from Washington State University. Go Cougs!

Baerbel K Johnson, AG

Researching your German Ancestors Online 1:00 pm - 1:50 pm (B, I, Z)

Internet Resources for Locating your 19th Century German Emigrants 2:00 pm - 2:50 pm (B, I, Z)

Baerbel K. Johnson, AG ® ,  is a professional genealogist and works at the Family History Library as International Research Consultant. She holds degrees in Family and Local History Studies and Sociology from BYU and has more than thirty years of extensive experience in European family history research with emphasis on Germany. She has published several journal articles, contributed material for several books, and lectured at various conferences. Her personal interest is in “putting flesh on the genealogical skeleton” by placing each individual within a proper social and historical context. 

Baerbel is a member of NGS, ICAPGen, the German Professional Genealogists Association, the German Society for Computer Genealogy, and GRHS.

Margaret Folsom & Kim Johnson

Please Mom, Not Another Cemetery! Researching and Planning an Engaging Ancestral Trip 1:00 pm - 1:50 pm (B, I)

Beyond Indexing: Getting Youth Excited About Family History 2:00 pm - 2:50 pm (B, I)

Kim Johnson and Margaret Folsom are sisters who have been researching the lives of their ancestors for 30 years. Their interest in family history began on their grandparents’ front porch, listening to stories about family. Kim and Margaret love helping others move beyond dates and places to have their own front porch experiences, sharing stories of their own loved ones. One of their greatest joys is visiting places where their family lived and worked. They honed their family research skills at BYU-Idaho. Kim and her husband have four sons, three daughters-in-law, and eleven grandchildren. Margaret and her husband have five daughters, three sons-in-law, and nine grandchildren. When not researching in archives, you can find Kim and Margaret bushwacking through the wilds of Georgia or the arid lands of the Southwest looking for cemeteries, homesteads, and forgotten towns.

Susan Snodderley caught the genealogy bug in 2000. After delivering her daughter to culinary school in New York State, she and a girlfriend went to Vermont, where her maternal grandmother was born. In that one trip she discovered a deep-rooted New England history that her family knew nothing about.

Since she is a nurse, she was taught: if it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen. Translated into genealogy language: if it isn’t documented, it is myth. This was the beginning of a journey that is continuing to this day and a true love of a mystery. Who were these people?

Gail Outhwaite & Sue Snodderly

Are Your Family Trees a Truth or Myth? De-myth-a-fying Your Trees with Ancestry  1:00 pm - 1:50 pm (B)

Gail Outhwaite is a native Northwesterner, born in Washington on the coast. Her parents were natives of Montana and northern Idaho. She has a passion for genealogy. Because her family were part of the Western movement, the stories and records were largely lost. Knowing nothing of her heritage, she dreaded the "family tree" assignments in school. She asked many relatives about the family starting from a child. Slowly, she learned more and built a family tree based on documentation.

Today, Gail is the local Registrar of the Lt George Farragut Chapter, DAR, assisting others to discover their heritage. She is also the Chaplin of Colonial Dames, XVII Century, Edward Carleton Chapter. In Daughters of the American Revolution, she has "proven" 9 patriots, with 4 additional patriots currently pending approval at NSDAR. In Colonial Dames, she entered the society with Rev Samuel Skelton, the first Puritan Minister of the Massachusetts Bay Colony at Salem, MA. She has an supplemental person in William Farrar, who arrived in Jamestowne, VA in 1618 on the ship Neptune.

She is also a member of Kootenai County Genealogical Society. Gail has discovered a rich heritage in her family and believes that every family has a heritage just waiting to be discovered!

Ryan Parker

New and Upcoming Features on FamilySearch 2:00 pm - 2:50 pm (B, I)

Ryan Parker is a product manager at FamilySearch managing the Latin American experience. He has 18 years of experience in the software industry and has worked for tiny start-ups as well as large multi-national corporations. He has a passion for understanding customer needs and delivering experiences that delight customers. He lives with his wife and six kids in Utah and likes to spend time exploring the beauty of the state. 

Pam is grateful for the love and support of her husband, Leon, children Daniel, his wife, Kylee, Sam, his wife Abby, Marcus, his wife, Lily, Emmalee, her husband, Gabe, and Elizabeth.  Also her cute little granddaughter, Natalie.

Pam Williams Duce

What's The Plan, Stan  10:00 am - 10:50 am (B, I)

Cold Case Genealogy  11:00 am - 11:50 am (B, I)

Family History, Believe It or Not  2:00 pm - 2:50 pm (B, I)

Pam Williams Duce has been a student of family history for over 29 years and will continue to learn and grow as long as she is able.  She has been teaching classes and giving presentations for the last 23 years.  

Pam’s love for learning about her ancestors started in her early years through the stories shared by her parents.  Though not formally trained, as a preteen she did learn to read upside down and backward believing it would come in handy when she became an FBI agent.  Instead, it was useful while reading to her five children while simultaneously showing them the book.

Family History is full of great mysteries, stranger-than-fiction stories, and emphasizes the importance of all families.  The perfect combination to create a deep desire to not only research her own family but help others discover theirs.

Swedish research and DNA research are her current favorites.

It's a Mystery

Can you solve the mystery in time to make your escape? Sign up for this hands-on activity where the clues lead you to freedom in this fun escape room activity.  The scenario will be set once each session with up to 10 participants.