The end.

The last day that Bertille Brand (later Klein) wrote in her “News Books”/journals was Saturday, December 30, 1939. We don’t know why she stopped or why she didn’t write on the last day of the year.

We do know she married Bill Klein on a cold January 24th in 1940. Perhaps this is why she stopped. They will then go on to have my mother, Janice, in May of 1941. Another reason why not only she stopped but also why she never started the journals again.


We are glad she wrote what she did over a ten year span. We are also glad that you, dear readers, were here to read her words.

I know many of you will miss receiving your daily email from “Tillie’s Tales.” I know I will miss sending them to you.

It was a labor of love transcribing my grandmother’s words. And one now that is there for future generations to explore as well.

Feel free to drop me a line at any time [angie [at] tillies [dot] com].

Blessings and Peace,

Angie [Bertille Brand Klein’s granddaughter]

Wednesday, Nov. 8, 1939

Washed, ironed. Eichenseer boys hauled in 2 loads coal. Pap went out on business trip this afternoon. Uncle Fred & A. [Aunt] Mary came went to euchre in School Hall given by the Holy Name Society. Bill [Klein] & Bert [Bertille] went to Paderborn euchre there, & also Millsdadt [sic] has a card party tonite, all in same nite. Cortner boys bought a new V-8 traded in 1937 chev.

RootsTech 2019 Recap

Amazing. Exhausting.

Thrilling. Tiring.

These are just some of the words I found myself thinking as I was experiencing my “happy place.” In case you don’t know it by this name, it is also called RootsTech. This event was held in Salt Lake City, Utah from February 27 through March 2, 2019.

This was my second year attending RootsTech and my first year serving as an Ambassador. I also helped out for the second year at the Heredis booth in the Expo Hall (will talk about this in a later post). There were definite perks to being an ambassador: closer seats to the Keynote Speakers, free pass to RootsTech, pass to giveaway (see photo below of myself and my giveaway winner, Judith), paid lunches, chances to interview key figures in the genealogy world, among others. Despite all of this, I feel that the fact that I was an “ambassador” did not color or rather skew my view of this years RootsTech.

Since last year was the first year I attended, it is what I have to base this years experience off of. I will say without a doubt, this years RootsTech was above and beyond last year’s experience. (And I had tons of fun and loved last year’s). When I look at the pros and cons of RootsTech, the pros are a definite frontrunner.


  • So much help available. Wherever you turned, there was a friendly face wearing a blue shirt asking how they can help you.
  • No waiting in lines to get into classes/talks. This year they eliminated the badge scanning to get into classes thereby making it seamless to get in and out of classes. I think this also helped to make the general mood of the event a happier one. Everyone was calm and relaxed.
  • Wide variety of classes to choose from. Once again I had a hard time just choosing one class that I wanted to take in a particular time slot. Many times I would choose a couple and then wait until the day of to choose.
  • RootsTech app. I can’t rave about this app enough. Even if you were not at RootsTech you must check it out. It will give you a great overview of all the classes there were as well as access to the handouts. A must!
  • Larger rooms for talks = less chance for you not getting a seat. The RootsTech crew knew which classes were going to be the more popular ones so they made sure to give those classes the larger venues. Made for much more happier participants.
  • Later time for Keynotes meant a greater attendance. I remember last year there not being a full house for many of the keynotes since they were at an earlier time. This year the keynotes were at 11am which was a great idea. A packed house for all great speakers. When I saw Martin Luther King III (a complete surprise and previously unannounced) walk onto the stage I was speechless!

Cons (but not really):

  • Family Discovery Day on Saturday means free admittance which means LOTS. OF. PEOPLE. Saturday can be crazy. But as long as you are prepared for it, it really is okay. I personally like seeing all the kids come out with their parents. It is especially neat to see the multi-generations all there. Family history is about FAMILY so this day is important for the growth and future of the field of genealogy.

Overall, RootsTech was exhilarating. I always say that I have a RootsTech hangover afterwards. It is a crash course in All. The. Things. to do with family history but it also puts that fire back in your belly of why you do what you do. Why you are interested in your family’s past? In your family’s story?

It is not just for today. But for the future as well.

Lastly, if you are at all interested in viewing the keynotes, a sampling of the wonderful talks, and/or just get a general feel of what it means to attend RootsTech, I highly encourage you to watch not just this year’s session but you can also watch past year’s as well. Simply click on this link and enjoy! As a gentle reminder, you can still purchase a virtual pass for 18 recorded sessions from RootsTech 2019. Then you can view them at your convenience whenever and wherever you want. Don’t miss this chance!

Be sure to mark your calendars for the TENTH Anniversary of RootsTech! It is definitely an event that you must experience at least once!

RootsTech 2019 – All the Things!

In less than two weeks I will be in route to the mecca of all things genealogy. Also known as Salt Lake City, Utah and RootsTech 2019. This will be my second time traveling to this fine city. My first time was last year for RootsTech 2018. That was also the first time I had traveled alone in over 15 years. It was quite the experience.

I am looking forward to having the same wonderful time as I did last year. Have you checked out the schedule yet? If you are going to RootsTech and haven’t downloaded the RootsTech app yet, go do that now! It is a plethora of information all in the palm of your hand. Even if you are not planning to attend RootsTech this year, I still encourage you to check out this app. It gives you a great overview of the event plus you can download the flyers that are available to all (whether or not you are an attendee).

To make it as simple as possible for you, the RootsTech team has put together a series of YouTube videos that do a great job of describing the event and how best to prepare for it. Plus, they have put together a survival guide that is a must read.

Here are the must-check-out links to make RootsTech 2019 the best one yet!

Lastly, don’t forget to vote for your favorite video submission for the RootsTech FilmFest ’19 contest. The winner will receive a trip to their ancestral homeland!! Take some time and watch these 2-5 minute videos. They will inspire you and compel you to dig deeper in uncovering those family stories that are just waiting for you! Please NOTE: Today (2/14) is the LAST day to vote.

Check out all the videos here and VOTE!

Everybody Loves Raymond Star Coming to RootsTech 2019!

Another RootsTech 2019 Keynote Speaker has been announced and it is a good one! Patricia Heaton! She is the Emmy-award winning actress from such hits as Everybody Loves Raymond and most recently, The Middle.

Want to know what to expect when Ms. Heaton gives her talk on Thursday, February 28th? I recently learned that Patricia lost her mom suddenly when she was 12. Her mom was 46 and had a brain aneurysm. She describes this devastating loss as something that made her more independent and gave her the spirit of perseverance in her tough career as an actress. I can relate to this since I too lost a parent at a young age. I look forward to her talking more about this aspect of her life as well as being a mom to four sons now young adults.

What I always enjoy about the RootsTech keynotes is that they provide another side to a celebrity. RootsTech affords them a chance to talk about their personal lives a bit more than they usually would. The theme of RootsTech is Connect. Belong. This causes the speaker to talk at a deeper level to the audience. We then feel connected to them in a way we initially would have thought was impossible. Especially when they are so famous and I am so famously not. I am excited to hear Ms. Heaton’s talk and discover more of our mutual connections.

Still not registered for RootsTech? There is still a chance! Register Here!

Not able to attend RootsTech? You will be able to catch all the keynote speakers plus select classes from the comfort of your home! Check out the streaming schedule here. No pre-registration required. Free!

RootsTech 2019 News and Updates

As many of you know, I am a 2019 RootsTech Ambassador. What that means is that I get to share with you all the wonderfulness that is RootsTech when it happens (February 27 – March 2, 2019) as well as give you the inside scoop of the speakers and contests that will be occurring.

It was announced last week that Saroo Brierly will be the keynote speaker for Friday, March 1st (there is a different keynote for each day of the conference). Did you see or hear of the 2016 Oscar Nominated movie Lion? It is based on Mr. Brierly’s life as an accidental orphan in India who is adopted by an Australian couple. The movie is excellent and I am so excited to hear Mr. Brierly’s talk. What is neat about RootsTech Conferences and their keynote speakers is that not only do you get to hear their story but also the awesome folks at Family Search research the speaker’s family history. A little of that story is then revealed to the speaker and the audience live on stage. It is quite thrilling to see his or her reaction.

You can read more about Saroo Brierly and why YOU will want to hear him speak live by clicking here.

What if you won an ALL-INCLUSIVE trip to visit the home of your ancestors? It can happen through entering a contest sponsored by RootsTech and Deseret News. They are looking for short videos (only 3 minutes or less) that showcases what you think it means to Connect and Belong (the theme of RootsTech). There will be three categories: Youth, Amateur or Professional. The grand prize is an all-inclusive trip to the homeland of your ancestors. The top ten finalists will also win a free four day pass to RootsTech where their video will be judged. Click here to get all your questions answered and how to enter!

Finally, there is still time to purchase your pass to RootsTech! Be sure to follow me on Facebook for the latest news.

Register and purchase your tickets here!

Remembering Our Ancestors’ Birthdays

Today, November 5th, is a special day around here. It is Bertille “Tillie” Anne Brand Klein’s birthday! She was born on this date in 1914.

Do you acknowledge your ancestor’s birthdays? If so, how? I tend to only remember/acknowledge those relatives that I knew personally. My grandparents and my father are the birthdays that I remember. I take a moment to think of them and how they affected my life. I enjoy sharing photos with others on this special day in my loved one’s life. Many times I am not the only one that remembers them and I thoroughly enjoy hearing others memories. Many times I hear stories that I had never heard before. That is a true blessing!

As for Bertille aka Tillie, you, my dear reader, know her by her words. By her chronicling of her small town of Hecker during the 1930s. She is most likely pretty one-dimensional in your mind. But if you knew her..

If you knew her you would have loved her. I was blessed to have known my grandmother for over twenty years. She lived with us for the last five or so years of her life. So I was able to develop a relationship that went beyond familial. It was a true friendship.

She was a quiet soul that enjoyed listening. Being a teenager/twenty-something, I enjoyed having her listen to me. Listen to me complain about my step-father, my Texan boyfriend, my college woes, etc. etc. So many troubles I thought I had then and she was always there.

Take a moment when that date comes up and remember whose life you used to gather to celebrate then. Take that moment to still celebrate by raising a toast or looking at old home movie or sharing a photo.

Remembering those who came before us is good for the soul.

Did you know Bertille in real life? I would love to hear your memories of her! Please share below.

Dreaming of RootsTech? Enter my GIVEAWAY for a chance at a FREE pass! Giveaway is NOW CLOSED!

Enter For Your Chance Here!

As many of you know I have the honor of being a RootsTech ambassador for the 2019 RootsTech Conference. It is a mecca of all things genealogy! A chance to see amazing speakers plus be surrounded by those who appreciate the connections and sense of belonging that comes from researching your family’s story.

One of the perks of sharing all the goodness that is RootsTech is that I get to grant one of my lucky winners a FREE 4 day pass to RootsTech to be held from February 27 through March 2, 2019 (a $299 value)!

Pass includes the following:

  • Over 300 classes
  • Keynote/General Session
  • Expo Hall
  • Evening Events

Pass does not include the following:

  • Transportation to and from Salt Lake City, Utah and/or the Salt Palace Convention Center
  • Lodging and Food
  • Paid Lunches
  • Paid Labs

If you have already purchased your ticket, I encourage you to still enter! You will be reimbursed your ticket price. Win! Win!

This giveaway will end on Friday, October 19, 2018. PLEASE NOTE! This giveaway is NOW closed. Thanks to all that entered!

P.S. You will want to get your tickets to RootsTech sooner rather than later, a little birdie told me that the ticket prices will be going up soon!

It’s Try-It! Illinois Time! Don’t know what this is? Read on!

Do you live in Illinois? You might be able to access genealogy databases for FREE during the months of October and November!
Try-It! Illinois is sponsored by the Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian, Jesse White, as well as the Illinois State Library. It offers library users the opportunity to discover and evaluate a wide variety of online databases.
The genealogy specific ones are Fold3 (military records), Chicago Tribune Historical archives,, MyHeritage Library edition (similar to Ancestry) plus many more!
So how do you access these great resources? First, contact your local library and ask for the Try-It! login and password.
Then go to After you have logged in, click on SUBJECT and scroll down till you see Genealogy and Family History. Pay attention to the specific log-in instructions for each database you choose.
Happy Exploring!

Giveaway Time on Facebook!

Join me over on my Facebook page!

Did you know that October is Family History Month? Yet another reason I love this month! There is nothing better than the weather getting a slight chill in the air and cozying up with a soft blanket while reading a good book. Do you agree?

Over on my Facebook page, I am running a giveaway for a copy of the newly released historical fiction book. Grandmother’s Fan, written by a loyal Tillie’s Tales reader, Sandy Eckart. The book is “the story of a beloved family quilt, told from its own perspective and spanning four generations across 90 years. From the moment of its creation, the quilt is able to hear the activities around it. It learns of the world by listening to its family’s interactions and soon longs to view its surroundings and the people it has come to know and love. A request by a ghostly visitor to the household unleashes a series of events that impact the quilt in ways it never thought possible.” [as described on the book’s website]


I love how she was inspired to write after acquiring the quilt that she based the book on at her grandmother’s estate auction in Prairie du Rocher, IL. This book uses fictional names for areas that are mentioned in Tillie’s Tales journal entries, but a keen reader might be able to figure out their actual names.

I encourage you to head on over to my Facebook page and enter to win a copy for yourself! The giveaway is open until THIS FRIDAY, October 5, 2018.