Thursday, January 13, 2022

SLIG 2022 Sponsor Highlight: FamilySearch

SLIG Night at the Family History Library has been a longstanding SLIG tradition. This year, David Rencher, Lynn Turner, and the FHL staff provided us with an online night at the FHL, including a virtual tour of the library highlighting recent enhancements.

Highlights from the opening plenary:

  • David Rencher, FHL Director and FamilySearch Chief Genealogical Officer, spoke about some of the changes necessitated by COVID shutdowns and protocols. FHL has a new set of webpages and has made their lookup service and research helps available remotely.
  • Lynn Turner, FHL Assistant Director, led viewers on a virtual tour of the library and provided additional details;
Highlights from the breakout sessions:
  • General Topics (David Rencher and Lynn Turner):
    • RootsTech
      • RootsTech will be virtual in 2022 with over 1,200 presentations, including many in international languages. (
      • Registrants will have free access to all sessions through the end of 2022.
      • Future RootsTech formats are difficult to predict, with a hybrid format possible.
      • Offering RootsTech virtually extends its reach much farther than is possible in person.
      • Last year, about 5,000 research consultations were done during the RootsTech week. This year, the target is to do 8,000 consultations.
      • On-the-ground teams have intentionally sought out presenters in other parts of the world.
    • Collections (Bria Corry and Natalie Reese):
      • The collections team includes six to seven full-time employees, some interns, and volunteers.
      • The book digitization team is moving in-house to the FHL, hoping to digitize 10,000 books this year.
      • Anyone can donate a book, PDF, or Word document. Societies sometimes make large donations. (
      • Items in off-site storage can be requested to be pulled for use. Those items then remain in the library.
    • International–B1 and B2 floors (Debbie Gunter and Raymon Naisbitt):
      • It doesn't matter which floor you are on; you can request a specialist from any geographic area, and they will come to you.
      • The international reference section has been consolidated on one floor.
      • All maps are now in one location on B1.
    • U.S./Canada–2nd and 3rd floors (Jason Harrison and Todd Knowles):
      • Statewide census books and family genealogies are back on shelves.
      • Almost everything is on the shelves, though some rare or unusual books are in Special Collections.
      • FHL is revisiting agreements, as many contracts were made before digitizing technologies.
We greatly appreciate the efforts of the FHL staff in making this virtual visit possible and FamilySearch for their ongoing support of SLIG as a course sponsor.


David Rencher, CG, AG, FIGRS, FUGA, is Director of the Family History Library and Chief Genealogical Officer for FamilySearch. A professional genealogist since 1977, he is one of the rare few who have earned both credentials: Accredited Genealogist with ICAPGen in Ireland research and Certified Genealogist with the Board for Certification of Genealogists. He is the Irish course coordinator and instructor for the Institute of Genealogical Research (IGHR), the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), and the British Institute of the International Society of British Genealogy and Family History. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1980 with a BA in Family and Local History. He has served as a member, a director, and/or an officer of a multitude of genealogical organizations. David has been named a fellow by the Utah Genealogical Association and the Irish Genealogical Research Society.

Lynn Turner, AG, is Assistant Director of the Family History Library. Lynn graduated with a BA in Family History and Genealogy from Brigham Young University with an emphasis in Spain and Latin America. He is an Accredited Genealogist through ICAPGen in Spain research.

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