“RootsTech is a gathering of heart specialists,” said Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch.
Steve was one of the opening day’s keynote speakers at RootsTech 2016. He began by asking each of us to think of a family story. He told us what we just did was family history. He then gave us 60 seconds to share the story with the person sitting next to us.
He then asked us to think about what we felt as we told our story. When we share stories we feel love, joy, peace—sometimes even sadness, “I believe you can be inspiring to your family members,” he told us. “Your family needs what you have.”
Steve told us that FamilySearch’s vision is to continuously improve these five experiences:
- Discovery. There have recently been a 482% increase in teens discovering their family history.
- Family Tree. Family Tree now has over 1 billion persons.
- Searchable records.
- Memories. There are now over 10 million memories in FamilySearch.org.
- Contextual help. This needs to address the needs of the younger generations in the ways that work best for them. That is probably through their peers.
Steve advised us to reach out to people’s hearts. When he was an eight year old boy he had to have heart surgery. “You are, in a way, heart specialists.” We are the heart doctors in our families. Just as Steve’s doctor didn’t need to turn him into a heart doctor in order to fix his heart, we don’t need to turn our family members into genealogists in order to touch their hearts.
Start small. Steve told us to think about the story we thought of at the beginning of his presentation. He then asked us to think about a family member who needs to hear that story. “Go talk to them today.” Do it in person. Or call. Or Skype. But try to tell the story in less than a minute.
Then ask them to share a story.
- 25,000 - people registered
- 50 – states represented by attendees (RootsTech finally got all 50!)
- 40 - countries
- 4,000 – teenage attendees registered
- 3,000 – registered 8 to 12 year olds
- 360+ - exhibiters
- 125,000 - expected live streaming audience
- 1,500 - Family Discovery Days last year rebroadcasting some sessions from RootsTech
- 250,000 – attendees to the Family Discovery Days
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