Calendar bites, Jan. 23


  • John Hancock, 1737. American patriot and statesman, and first signer of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Joseph Hewes, 1730, Signer of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Ernic Kovacs, 1919. Comedian and television pioneer.
  • Edouard Manet, 1832. French artist


  • Local Quilt Shop Day – Celebrating independently owned quilt shops. Visit one today and pick up some of the fabric needed to donate a block for the donation quilt with GeneaQuilters – the Star-Spangled Banner Quilt! See the GeneaQuilters blog for all the details. Blocks accepted until the end of February 2016.
  • National Handwriting Day – celebrated on John Hancock’s birthday, to encourage more legible handwriting. Aren’t you glad that John Hancock knew how to write in cursive?

Genealogy Events

We’ve got genealogy events on our calendar today in Saskatchewan, California, delaware, Florida, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.  Know of any other upcoming events? Please use the Submission tab and let us know!

RootsTech Survival Guide: Famous Faces

smiley-vector-illustration-star-face_7JUia-_LAside from the many genealogy rock stars that you’re likely to find giving presentations, teaching workshop, and wandering the expo hall, RootsTech has invited several other VIPs to present keynote addresses, perform in evening entertainment, and, well, to just attend the awesome conference.

Below is a list of some of these famous faces and RootsTech VIPs that you might find yourself rubbing elbows with, along with photos and bios, so you know who to ask for autographs.

AJ JacobAJ Jacobss

AJ Jacobs is a New York Times best-selling author, editor at large at  Esquire magazine, columnist for Mental Floss magazine, commentator on NPR, and most recently known in our genealogy world as the organizer of the Global Family Reunion, a massive undertaking which includes building a single family tree of all humankind.  His writing often follows his role of a “human guinea pig”, immersing himself in a topic for an extended period of time. His first book, The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World followed 18 months spent reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. His next, The Year of Living Biblically… details his attempt to follow all of the rules in the Bible – right down to his comical attempt at stoning.  This is AJ’s second time attending RootsTech.   (photo credit: Wikipedia)


Britain CoveyBritain Covey

Family Discovery Day, Youth & Family Session

Although some may identify Britain Covey with his grandfather, the well-known author Stephen Covey, Britain has made an impressive name for himself in the world of football, currently  a freshman playing for the Utah Utes. Covey, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints received his mission call this week, and announced he will be serving a two year mission in Chile. He is expected to return to Utah at the start of the 2018 season. (photo credit: Steve C. Wilson, University of Utah)

Bruce Feiler

Keynote Speaker, Thursday, February 4.

Bruce Feiler is the author of 12 books, six of which were consectuvie New York Times nonfiction best-sellers. He regularly writes the “This Life” column in the Sunday New York Times, and is also the writer/presenter of the PBS miniseries Walking the Bible and  Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler. Bruce has written for The New Yorker and  Gourmet magazine, and is a frequent contributor to NPR, CNN and Fox News.  Bruce has written about families, and the importance of children knowing their family history, in his book The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More.  (photo credit


David Isay

Keynote Speaker, Friday, February 5

Best known as the founder of StoryCorps, David Isay is an American radio producer and recipient of numerous broadcasting awards and honors, as well as the author/editor of several books based on his public radio documentary work. StoryCorp is the largest single collection of voices in existence, having archived over 50,000 interviews with 100,000 participant, preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Participants are anyone and everyone, from notable figures to the guy next door. StoryCorp recording booths and events often appear in public places to collect the widest variety of stories possible. (photo from


Love-TazaJosh & Naomi Davis

Keynote Speakers, Friday, February 5.

Mommy blogger Naomi Davis is known for her wildly popular family blog,   The family blog follows Josh & Naomi’s life together, starting in 2009 just after their marriage, and continuing on to chronicle the births of their three children, and their lives, triumphs and challenges raising a family in New York City. (photo from


Doris-Kearns-GoodwinDoris Kearns Goodwin

Keynote Speaker, Friday, February 5

Doris Kearns Goodwin is a world-renowned presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. She has written six New York Times best-sellers. Her most recent is The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, (November, 2013). She received the Pulitzer Prize in history for her book, No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. She appears as both consultant and guest for many television shows.  (photo from


Ken-Krogue-RootsTech-2016Ken Krogue

Keynote Speaker, Innovator Summit

Kenneth Krogue is the cofounder of, a platform which assists in sales, engagement tracking, forecasting, and hiring. He is a contributor for Forbes online, and shares his trade secrets on his blog


Lower LightsLowerLights

Closing Event, Saturday, February 6. 5:30 pm Hall D

The Lower Lights is a “gospel-folk collective” whose music leans towards everything from familiar Christian songbook hymns to Hank Williams tunes. Notice the word “collective”? Their debut album lists 42 members in the liner notes. Lower Lights is made up of musicians from several genres – indie, country, pop and gospel – all coming together to create a wonderful, rather unique sound. (photo from


Mike LeavittMikeLeavitt

Keynote speaker, Saturday, February 6

Michael Okerlund Leavitt served as the 14th Governor of Utah, an administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and co-leader of the Prevention Initiative at the Bipartisan Policy Center. In 2012 he was an advisor to Mitt Romney during his campaign for president.  (photo from

Paula-Williams-MadisonPaula Williams Madison

Keynote Speaker, Thursday, February 4

Paula is the past Exectuvie Vice President of Diversity at NBCUniversal, and currently Chairman and CEO of Madison Media Management LLC, a Los Angeles based media consultancy company. Paula produced and is the subject of a documentary researching her Chinese and Jamaican roots, Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China. HarperCollins published a memoir of her journey in April 2015.  (photo from

 RenlundDale & Ruth Renlund

Family Discovery Day, Opening General Session

Dale Renlund is a cardiologist specializing in heart failure, and his wife Ruth is  a personal injury trial lawyer. An inspirational couple, Elder Renlund was recently called to be an Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


 RyaCaleb-Chapman-Super-Bandn Innes & Crescent Super Band

Opening Social, Thursday, February 4, 6p

Created by Caleb Chapman, the Crescent Super Band is made up of 25 teen-aged musicians, combining vocalists with big band instruments: trumpets, sax, trombones, guitar, bass, piano, and drums. The group regularly perform publicly, playing their own modern arrangements of popular songs of the past and present.


Sheri L. DewSheriDew

Family Discovery Day

Sheri L. Dew is an American author, publisher, and president and chief executive officer of the Deseret Book Company. She is a well-known and inspiring leader particularly among the Latter-day Saint women’s community. (photo credit


Stephen-T.-Rockwood-ResizedSteve Rockwood

Keynote Speaker, Thursday, February 4

Stephen T. Rockwood is the managing director for the Family History Department and President/CEO of FamilySearch International. He previously served as director of the international division at FamilySearch. (photo from