Exciting Rootstech Updates!

Have you signed up for Rootstech yet? If yes, awesome! It will be an exciting time!

If no, there is still time! If you register by January 25, you get the promotional price of $209! For more information: click here. Rootstech will be held in Salt Lake City February 27-March 2, 2019 (three months away!).

Rootstech is more than the world’s largest genealogy conference and informational sessions. Guest speakers and musical performances also mark the event. Already announced: Steven Rockwood, the president and CEO of FamilySearch; Saroo Brierley, subject of the award-winning film Lion; and ukulele artist Jake Shimabukuro, with more announcements to come!

Plus, the full list of sessions is now available! I have been going through each description with a fine-tooth comb. The session I am most looking forward to? The Magic of German Church Records by Katherine Schober. I have a ton of German ancestors, and I am always up to learning new tips and tricks to hunt them down!

Please let me know if you want any further information! And with the holidays fast approaching, a ticket to the conference would be the perfect thing to gift the budding family historian of the family!




Enter to Win a 2019 RootsTech Pass!

***The contest is now closed! Thanks for entering. The winner has been notified!***

RootsTech registration opened this week, and now I have an exciting opportunity for you: the chance to win a FREE 4-day pass to the conference!

What is it: If you haven’t heard of RootsTech, it is the largest family history and genealogy conference. Over 300 classes and 200 vendors, geared towards beginners and experts alike! Learn more about the conference HERE.

When is it: February 27-March 2, 2019

Where is it: Salt Lake City, Utah

If you have already bought your pass, you can still enter! You will be refunded the full amount of a 4-day pass.

Aside from classes and vendors, RootsTech has great speakers (to be announced!) and evening events. It will be a fun conference, and I hope you join us in Utah!

You can come back every day to enter, now through September 30th at 11:59 PM PDT. I will reveal the winner both here and on my Facebook page.

The prize: one 4-day pass to RootsTech 2019 (a $299 value). No transportation, accommodations, or other expenses will be included.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full disclosure: I am an ambassador for the 2019 RootsTech conference, and have received a pass in exchange for this post (and others that will be upcoming) and giveaway.

Why I Publish My Family History

Why I Publish My Family History

This site allows me to share photos, documents, and stories with my family and others, and I wanted to share why it is important to me to share in an environment that is free and accessible.

myself, my maternal grandma Pauline, my brother Cameron, sister Meaghan, and grandpa William McCallum, circa 1985

First: it’s not just MY family history. It is a shared history, with my siblings, cousins, and extended family members. Having our family stories on a website allows members of my family to log in whenever they want and see stories and pictures. I hope that at least one of them will find these stories of interest. I have a lot of family members, many who are interested in family history, and swapping stories, photos, and information gives everyone a better view of our family.

Eby children
The Eby family: Luella, Gerald (my grandpa), Ruth, Gene, Zelma, and Dee.

Second: to find new family members. One has already reached out to me! It’s incredible to hear from someone you didn’t even know existed, and gain family insight from them. I hope that putting the names of my ancestors out into the world will lead someone to me.

Hermann Borchert and his family
Back row: Barbara Gall, Pauline McCallum with son Peter (my grandma and uncle), Ida Borchert, unknown. Front row: Bobbie Gall, Hermann Borchert, and I think George Borchert with daughter Jean.

Third: to work through issues in my own research. Examining my family tree in a different way has uncovered gaps in my research and other issues. Turning records into a written work help to highlight issues, and in my case, tends to raise more questions!

Jennie Ishmael with her siblings and parents
Jennie Ishmael (on the left), with her siblings and parents.

Fourth: I want to inspire others. Your own stories may not seem important, but they are. I hope at least one person will read something on here and begin their own family history journey. I know it isn’t for everyone, but someone might begin a small step in recording their own story.

Wedding Photo to Pauline Gall
My maternal grandparents William and Pauline McCallum on their wedding day.

And finally, I love sharing the stories and what I am working on! I hope people enjoy reading the posts as much as I enjoy writing them!

I want to know, why or why not do you publicly share your family history?

Until next time,




How Do You Record Bad News?

Recently I shared the story of finding out my great-grandfather had served time in prison. It’s a story I find sad, but also a great anecdote. For me, it was a great find and something I had never heard.

However, only after I shared the story I wondered if another one of his decendents would have taken offense to my sharing the story. (For the record, no one has.) I then began to think about hearing bad stories about someone on your tree, and if they should be shared.

A couple years ago someone reached out to me on Ancestry. We had a close match through DNA, but she couldn’t find a common relative. I looked as well, and after exchanging a few messages, our communication fizzled.

Cut to a few months later, when I received another message from her. She had discovered that the man who raised her mother was not in fact her biological father, and thought she had uncovered our link: she thought her grandfather and my great-grandfather were the same person. This claim threw me for a loop. I had never heard any stories, and I was particularly close to my grandma, and I became defensive. Not defensive towards her, but to other family members towards the situation. I didn’t want to believe my great-grandfather would have done such a thing.

It turned out her hunch was wrong, and she was looking at the wrong branch. I was relieved.

When I consider these stories, I wonder just how much family history should be shared. I know a story of a family member, something she spoke of, but I wonder if sharing it might hurt someone else. Is it something I don’t record, because someone else may be offended?

So I want to know, what would you do? Do I share the story, or keep it private? All the individuals directly involved have passed, but I would hate to upset other family members.

St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick's Day

Growing up I didn’t really pay much attention to St. Patrick’s Day. I didn’t know of any Irish ancestors. Green is not my color. It was a holiday I just didn’t connect with.

Little did I know, I am Irish on my mom’s side of the family! My 3x great-grandparents James and Catherine Moore immigrated to Canada from Ireland. They settled in Ontario where they raised five children.

It was their granddaughter Etta who would them immigrate to the United States.

Etta Moore McCallum
Etta Moore McCallum, circa 1908.

I still don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day per say, but I am proud of my Irish ancestors! Without researching my family history, I never would have known about my connection to Ireland, one of the reasons researching my family is important to me.

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,



Welcome to Family History Food!

I’m glad you are here!

I have been researching my family history for six years, discovering stories about ancestors I never knew. Last year during a trip to San Diego, my mom and I discovered that her grandma once worked for the Marston family, whose home sits in Balboa Park and is now a historic site. She was their pastry chef, working in the kitchen pictured.

It was something my mom never knew. She knew her grandmother liked to bake, something passed down to my grandma, then to my mom, and then to me, but she never knew that is how she made a living.

Unfortunately, none of her recipes remain. She knew everything from memory, so this part of our family history has been lost.

My own maternal grandma left boxes of recipes behind, and I have been thinking about the best way to preserve this part of our family. I have many memories tied to certain dishes, and because I feel food is important to many, I think every family has family traditions and/or memories around food. This site will do just that: it will serve as a place to share recipes, but also to share tips and tricks to preserve your own family history.

On Family History Food I will cover a variety of topics:

Recipes: I will share many of my own family recipes, from dishes we ate growing up to recipes we just uncovered and have never made. Recently I have been uncovering recipes at estate sales, and will share some of those as well. Our family has strong traditions tied to food and recipes, especially around holidays, and I hope sharing some of ours will allow you to remember your own traditions as well. Plus there will be lots of great recipes.

Tips: I will share tips related to cooking, genealogy, etc. I am working on preserving my family history, and will share the steps I am taking, what I have learned, and what you can do to begin work on your own.

Shop: A shop full of a variety of vintage items, from clothing to cookbooks. I will post new items all the time! You can find the shop at familyhistoryfood.etsy.com.

You can follow Family History Food on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

And sign up for our newsletter.

See my other projects // mereditheby.com.