© 2020 by Roots & Wings Research, LLC

  • Kristin Wenger

Learning in a Winter Wonderland (#NotAtRootsTech)

The weather outside is frightful, but learning in pajamas is delightful!
And since we've no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Snow-coated trees near our home in Lititz, Pennsylvania

Photo by my husband Eric of 717 Drone Guys, February 2019


Always a teacher at heart, I am passionate about lifelong learning. I cannot say enough about the incredible opportunities available in the world of genealogical education at in-person institutes. However, while my three children are still at home, they are my number one priority and I am limiting travel to one week per year. Having just returned from the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, does that mean I'm finished with continuing education for 2019? Not on your life!


I am immensely grateful for the abundant options we have for virtual learning. If you want to improve your research and writing skills from the comfort of your own home (and for free!), here are a few of my favorite sources that I use throughout the year:



All of the above options allow me to tune in for an hour or so at a time. If you're looking for an entire virtual conference, might I recommend four days coming up at the end of this month? I've blocked out February 27-March 2 to take a break from my client projects and virtually attend RootsTech.


Twenty-two stellar sessions will be live-streamed, and I've highlighted the two I'm most eagerly anticipating below:

Hear Them Sing! Social History and Family Narrative
Join Rebecca Whitman Koford as she discusses how the addition of social history enhances family narratives and clarifies the songs of our ancestors. She will discuss how to contextualize ancestors’ lives with social history research and use it to inspire others to want to know more about those who have passed.

This topic is my jam! It's what I aspired to do as I wrote stories like this one set in Philadelphia during the Great Depression in the #52Ancestors challenge. And Rebecca just happens to be the Program Administrator of the ProGen Study Group in which I am currently immersed. I am looking forward to learning from her!


Friday General Session: Saroo Brierley
Perhaps no one knows the joy that comes from connecting with family better than Saroo Brierley. Saroo will share his remarkable story of how he used technology to reconnect with the land of his childhood and rediscover his family.

My husband and I borrowed Lion, the movie based on Saroo's story, from our local library last year for a date night. I am notoriously picky about movies, and I cannot recommend this one highly enough. I'll let the trailer speak for itself:



I know Saroo's message will inspire me to keep working to forge family connections and discover and share incredible stories like his!