Rootstech and BYU: Enthusiastic About Family History


Connecting with your ancestors has never been easier and BYU is right there in the action. Students and faculty showcased the good work being done on campus for Family History this weekend through their interactive booth at RootsTech, the largest family history conference in the world.


BYU has participated in RootsTech every year since it began in 2011. This was the first year that most of the BYU departments that participated in the conference came together to form one large booth. This interactive booth encouraged conference attendees to explore BYU’s many resources for family history. It highlighted BYU’s 4-year family history bachelor’s degree, library resources, innovative computer applications, and opportunities to publish family history. Seven departments from BYU participated in the booth:

  • The Center for Family History and Genealogy,
  • Family History Program/Degree,
  • Family History Library,
  • HBLL Special Collections,
  • Computer Science,
  • Print & Mail,
  • Bachelor of General Studies/Independent Studies.

Steve Rockwood, managing director for the Family History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and President/CEO of FamilySearch International, as well as a BYU alum, was a keynote speaker during the conference. He spoke about the ever expanding definition of family history. “The millennials and the teenagers of today, they are a journaling generation like the world has never seen before. They just happen to do it in small little tweets and posts and snapchats,” said Rockwood. He encouraged participants of the innovator summit to think about the potential enhancements of everyday life if family history was used and thought about as frequently as math. He asked if anyone had used an alarm clock to wake up or determined what time to be out the door in order to make it to the conference on time. “You actually did math this morning and you didn’t even know it!” he said. Watch his full speech here.

Family History Portal page.JPG

One focus of the conference was looking to the future. Our own lives will one day be the family history for our posterity. Taysom Hill, a BYU football player, participated in the conference and spoke during the Family Discovery Day Youth and Family Session. In September 2015, Hill suffered his third season-ending injury, this time as the senior quarterback. Many stories have been told of his leadership, determination and influence on and off the field. Hill was asked what stories he thinks will live on with his children and grandchildren. Hill chose to focus on the future, not the past. He said, “As I look back, I’m 25-years-old, you know, I hope that I haven’t hit the pinnacle of my life. I hope that I can still accomplish a lot of really great things that will make my kids proud.”

Check out BYU’s new Family History Portal, where all of the resources we had available at Rootstech, plus many others, are available in one convenient place online. And find out more about our college’s involvement in RootsTech and in the nationwide surge of interest in family history in our upcoming 2016 Connections issue!


Did you attend Rootstech? What was your favorite part?

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