12 February 2015

What is Your Story? - RootsTech 2015 Update




What is your story?     Who inspires you

For those of you who do not KNOW your ancestors you are really missing out on one of the greatest joys in life! No, I'm not kidding. There is nothing in this world that tells you more about yourself than learning about your ancestors. You are a part of each of them. You inherit half of your DNA from your father and half from your mother. If you have siblings, you don't get the same half as each of them. That's why siblings are so different.

But, there is more to that story. Each of your ancestors contribute a piece of their lives to who you truly are. What personality traits have you developed "just like Mom or Dad?" Are you assertive like your mom or quiet like your dad? Each of them had parents who contributed to who they became, and so on. You are a combination of your ancestors.

So who were they really? Did you know your grandparents as children? Obviously not. But you can learn about them and in the process, understand yourself.

Have you written your story? Do you have letters your parents wrote to each other? Do you have all those many birthday cards your grandmother sent to you as a child and told you how much she loved you? Hopefully, you have some of that tucked away in a box. If not, what can you record about your parents that would be of interest to your grandchildren some day?

That's what family history is all about these days -- it does not have to be about pedigree charts or only names and dates. It can be developed to be as "crazy" as your life has been, and all you have to do is record it. Embellish and bring it to life with pictures, documents and by asking your relatives for their memories.

That's what RootsTech is all about! A perfect opportunity for those who may be "green" in the procedures of  genealogy and want the stories of their lives. Want to learn how? Then put the first week of February 2016 on your calendar right now!

If you are not one of the lucky 22,000 plus people attending FGS, RootsTech, or Discovery Day this year then get ready for next year. It is fun, exciting, exhausting (if you want it to be), and down right contagious. You get the perfect environment to meet new friends, enjoy fantastic entertainment and learn new skills.

This year's RootsTech is larger than ever and it has become the largest genealogy and family history conference in the world! Over 10,000 people registered this year, and between 10 and 15,000 extra people will attend the Family Discovery Day on Saturday!

Classes take you from a very inexpensive "getting started" track to the full conference teaching beginners the basics to experts in specialized training like DNA, Civil War medical records, or using tax records to problem solve. There truly is plenty for everyone. Next year, team up with your children or grandchildren! They will be happy to help with technology and they just might be your next family historian!

This year all U.S. states were represented except West Virginia. So where are those Mountaineers?

There are 35 countries around the world visiting RootsTech this year; 170 vendor booths, up from 120 last year. There were 1183 sites last year around the world who held a family history fair and streamed RootsTech classes. That number will be topped this year taking the conference to over 200,000 people interested in their ancestors and discovering a little more about themselves!

Today's keynote address, featuring Tan Le, a Vietnamese refugee to Australia, who became a telecommunications entepreneur and co-founder of a company developing brain-computer interfaces used in computer gaming, sharing her life story was one of the best I've ever seen. Many of you witnessed her experience in person or through live streaming and surely agree. I had an opportunity to speak with her further and continued to be touched by her story and her heart.

It's been a great event so far and we still have a couple days to go! Maybe we can get FamilySearch to extend the conference a few extra days next year!

So enjoy the little things in life for one day and you will look back and realize they were the big things!