Friday, 12 February 2016 17:05

RootsTech: What's All The Fuss About?

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(Photo credit: Anne Metcalf)

A few weeks before RootsTech, I was talking with my sisters about the RootsTech conference and once again, inviting them to attend with me. Going on seven years now, one has, two haven’t. But this time, one of the two surprised me - accepting the invitation, she said, “I’d really like to come and see what all the fuss is about.”

So what is all the fuss about? How does a GENEALOGY conference in Salt Lake City, Utah become a top five trending topic on Twitter? Because…. it’s about so much MORE than GENEALOGY!

Here’s what some of the fuss was about this year. And if you missed it, (like my sister who got a new job and couldn’t attend after all) read on. I’ll share a few ways you can enjoy some of it, even though the chairs are put away and the signs are taken down on RootsTech 2016.

A few gems I gathered, that will become “quotables” for me all year (or longer):

(all of these are taken from keynote speakers, which you can watch, right now, today, online, from the comfort of your own home, right here in the video archives


  • “If we’re going to reach our family, we need to reach their hearts.”
  • “Family history is not an event, weave it into every day life.”
  • “You don’t need to tell the whole story. Just pull on a thread and tell a small story within.”
  • “Everybody dies, not all live.”
  • “Take a walk and share a story.”
  • “Deciding to share is a commitment to get your story off the hard-drive.”
  • “Big stories can come from small moments.”
  • “As a storyteller you can uplift others – and yourself, at the same time.”
  • “A ‘microphone’ gives you permission to talk about things you normally wouldn’t share.”
  • “We are collecting the wisdom of humanity.”

Here’s a few class titles I found intriguing:

(and guess what, there are handouts and outlines for all of these classes and more, right here)


  • Family History While You Sleep
  • 101 Ways to Design a Pedigree Chart
  • More than Just Names
  • Are my roots showing?
  • Mothers, Daughters, Wives: Tracing Female Lines
  • Preserving your Family Memories in Today’s Digital World
  • Soothing a Tech Tummy-Ache with 10 Tools
  • 5 Steps to Identify a Family Photo
  • Photos, Stories and Apps, Oh My
  • Coming to America: Finding your Ancestor’s Arrival

And of course, two of my personal favorites:

  • YOUR Family History Starts with YOU (by yours truly)
  • Harvesting Story: Nurturing a Storytelling Family (by Teresa Clark)

You can even watch some of these classes at the archive link above.

And find even more from the LDS Family Discovery Day here

About Love

As I see it, about five years ago, FamilySearch began a very deliberate course to open up Family History, to include so much more than the traditional genealogy work. There are those who have always understood collecting memorabilia, capturing living history, and telling the stories of our ancestors is much of what makes family history meaningful, fun and exciting. RootsTech has done a beautiful job nurturing the fact that Family History is about connecting, sharing, preserving and creating family memories.

My own little family is growing and changing. This year, the holidays brought me my first grandbaby and a returning missionary from Australia. Our time together as a family, was filled with a lot of celebration. November and December was a whirlwind. We had late night pajama parties playing games, watching movies, playing in the snow, singing, cooking favorite meals, cousin parties, opening presents – and of course, storytelling. Too soon, everyone had to go back home, back to college, back to work, back to school, basically, back to life. But intentional efforts keep these moments fresh in our memories all year long.


RootsTech, for the big, happy party that it is - has to end too. But we were reminded, inspired and given tools to, of course, discover our past. But just as important, ideas for intentionally living in the moment. I hope you’ll intentionally plan to join me, my family, my sisters, my friends and about 25,000 others at RootsTech 2017. Mark your calendars and come see what all the fuss is about - February 8-11, 2017!

Carol Rice

I grew up in a home rich with family heritage. My mom loved genealogy and knew how to breathe life into dusty documents and color to faded black and white photos - my mom told me stories.

As a grown woman with five children of my own, I've tried to do the same. For years I did it through scrapbooking. But it didn't take long to realize that it wasn't my artistic skills my children really cared about. They never stopped on a page and said, "Mom, you matched that paper to my shirt - perfectly!" Nope. What they did say as they leaned across my lap, pointing at photos is, "Tell me the story!" "Tell me mom about the day I was born... Tell me mom about the day I cried when everyone sang me happy birthday... Tell me mom about my grandma and her garden..."

Don't worry if you haven't done it forever, just start today. The consistency and cumulative effect of one good question - just sharing one story a day, adds up.

More in this category: « Join Us at rootstech2016!

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