If you attended RootsTech 2015 last month, then you know it was definitely the place to be February 11–14. RootsTech is the largest family history event in the world and is hosted by FamilySearch, a nonprofit organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The annual convention is the open to anyone interested in discovering and sharing family connections, regardless of his or her experience in family history or technology.
This year, former first lady Laura Bush, along with her daughter Jenna Bush Hagar, kicked off the event by sharing stories that highlighted the importance of family bonds during her husband’s years as president. Entertainer Donny Osmond also opened up about how his family shaped his beliefs, career, and everything in between.
Olympic silver medalist Noelle Pikus-Pace, American Idol finalist David Archuleta, and blogger Al Fox Carraway spoke to the audience as well. We asked Carraway why family history matters to her.
“For me, it is crucial,” she said. “I am a convert and I come from a very, very long line of nonmembers. It is up to me to save them.”
Over several days, guests were offered more than 200 classes covering a variety of topics related to family history, including technology, social media, storytelling techniques, DNA testing, and others.
Guests also got their first look at powerful new tools that will make family history easier than ever. Innovators unveiled apps and devices that have not yet hit the market. Ancestry.com, My Heritage, Findmypast, and other groundbreaking companies were on hand to share techniques for discovering and sharing family connections.
Approximately 20,000 family history enthusiasts and beginners attended RootsTech 2015. It is safe to say that genealogy is growing in popularity. Anyone can do it—and everyone should try.
“Family history isn’t just about black and white pictures of people you may not know who lived a very long time ago. It’s about stories and making connections and finding strength. It’s about incredible decisions that somehow led to the life you are living this second,” Carraway said. “It is about you and the impact you do and will have on so many people. What we do matters. It makes a profound difference.”
Learn more about family history and how you can get started by checking out our radio series Extreme Genes.