Family history is not a stagnant field, as we discussed in last year’s Connections. Research and technology over the years have transformed the field into an interactive activity that anyone can do from almost anywhere in the world- and it’s still moving forward. Steven T. Rockwood, FamilySearch CEO and guest speaker at BYU’s 2017 Family History Week, is one of the individuals heading these innovations.
Rockwood, who previously worked at creating unique service opportunities for MasterCard International, AT&T, Disney, Office Depot, and Citibank international customers, has applied his knowledge and ingenuity to family history and genealogy. As the President and CEO of FamilySearch, which owns the largest collection of genealogical and historical records in the world, and managing director of the family history department for the LDS church, Rockwood has seen both organizations through major changes. Recent additions and transformations to FamilySearch include, but are not limited to:
- the creation of family trees that are more user-friendly, with interactive online pedigree charts and fan charts
- an increase in the ability of users to search millions of historical records and catalogs
- the creation of an indexing system to make historical records and documents searchable online
- the move to mobile-friendly versions of FamilySearch and various associated family history resources
- the ability for users to share photograph, stories, recipes, and other information about ancestors
The ability to share recipes is something that Rockwood is passionate about, in particular. At a 2017 rootstech speech, Rockwood shared his own personal memories of his mother’s fudge at Christmas and of drinking rootbeer with his grandparents. Because family history is more than putting names and dates on a page; many say that it is the ability to link memories and experiences with certain ancestors that has increased the popularity of genealogy exponentially in the last several years.
Steven Rockwood will address the importance of family history and its development and future at BYU Family History Week’s guest speaker event Thursday, September 28 at 11 am in JKB room 1102. Learn about new ways to do your family history and find the motivation to do it.