Oh man. You guys. We are just back from RootsTech and I am utterly grateful for the experience I had there. Really, I’m still just so excited about it all. If you’re wondering what RootsTech even is … think family history, heritage, genealogy… our “roots”… and think about technology. Roots + Tech. Get it?
RootsTech is an exciting – and the largest – family history event in the world (hosted by FamilySearch), and it is the perfect place to be inspired to discover and share your family stories and connections—past, present, and future. Whether you’re an avid genealogist or you are just getting started, RootsTech has something for everyone. Now that I’ve finally been able to attend, I can attest to all of that. I’m already excited about next year and my calendar is already marked — February 3-6, 2016.
Here are some glimpses of some of the social sharing I did throughout the few days we were there.
Each of those photos has a story, but I shared all of that on social media. How much do we love that photo bomber in the bottom photo – ha!
I was invited to be a speaker, which is always a fulfilling experience for me as I share my love for Project Life® and I am able to witness first-hand the lightbulbs that go off in people’s minds as they learn how simple scrapbooking can be with our system and products. My students always tend to light up the most when I demonstrate the app. It’s all really so much fun. I love my job.
Even more enriching in this particular event – for me – was being able to witness and watch each of the keynote speakers and performers talk about their own personal connection to family history and what it means to them. I was moved to tears (the happy kind) like 14 times – I’m not kidding. There are so many layers to that whole reality of connecting between generations and realizing that we are the link between our ancestors and our posterity.
It’s really the most beautiful thing.
If I can name-drop just a little bit… we listened to keynote addresses by former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter / correspondent for NBC’s Today Show Jenna Bush Hager; one of the world’s most famous entertainers for half a century now – Donny Osmond; author / TED speaker / fascinating human being A.J. Jacobs; Olympic silver medalist Noelle Pikus Pace; a couple men that I very much look up to who are leaders of the Mormon faith; and Al Fox Carraway, who has an incredibly inspiring story and is affectionately known as the “Tattooed Mormon.”
We were entertained by Alex Boyé, Lexi Walker, and the One Voice Children’s Choir (who were recently on America’s Got Talent). We enjoyed the candor and comedy of Studio C, and who doesn’t love David Archuleta’s voice, am I right? He showed up on most of our radars several years ago when he raced to the finals of American Idol and I’ve been a fan ever since.
I was able to enjoy lovely conversations with several of these individuals, as well as Dennis Brimhall – the CEO of FamilySearch which, by the way, is one of the coolest tools out there for family history and genealogy, in case you haven’t checked that out yet. The three big sponsors of RootsTech (and also totally worth checking out!) were Ancestry, MyHeritage, and Find My Past. I’m so pleased to see how technology is not only helping millions of people make those family connections, but that the entire industry is doing a better job at appealing to our younger audience as well.
Family History is for everyone!
Yes, there were several influencers in the Mormon faith at RootsTech (in case you’re picking up on that – ha!), but no — this is not a conference just for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There were countless religions and cultural backgrounds represented at RootsTech. Connecting with our ancestors, keeping memories preserved, and doing family history in various forms has a very broad appeal to a huge mass of people. Religion, skin color, economic or marital status, age… these are not boundaries.
Thank you, Ancestry.com and RootsTech for a remarkable experience that I’ll keep close to my heart for a very long time.