Lizz Miller | Feb 9, 2017

RootsTech Day in Review: Discovering Your Personal Journey

The first general session of the 2017 RootsTech conference began with a keynote from FamilySearch International CEO, Steve Rockwood. Steve spoke of the importance of family traditions, family recipes, and how to discover and share one’s personal journey.

With a welcoming kitchen replica as the backdrop of the RootsTech stage, Steve sat down at the dinner table and shared a few of his family food traditions; which included fond memories of his mother’s rocky road fudge.

“As a mother of five boys, my mother knew that the fastest way to our hearts was through our stomachs,” he said.

Rockwood invited attendees to visit and upload favorite family recipes and the stories behind them.

“While there are many ways for you as heart specialist to touch the hearts of your family members, one of the easiest and most universal, no matter where you live or where your family is from, is food,” he said.

Drew and Jonathan Scott


The much-anticipated brotherly dynamic duo highlighted Thursday’s General Session. The Scott brothers [Hyperlink “Drew and Jonathan Scott” to Keynote Round-up]  opened up their hearts to attendees by sharing photos and stories from their childhood. Both Drew and Jonathan described the important role that family heritage has played in their lives.

“Any time we can take our platform and use that to encourage people to just get out and connect as human beings, it’s very important,” Jonathan Scott said.

The popular television stars said it was partly their parents– and partly the castles and swords of their Scottish ancestors– that instilled in them a love for family and a desire to know more about their own roots.

“I believe that you can’t really appreciate where you’re going until you know where you’re from,” said Jonathan.

What to Expect Tomorrow

The excitement continues Friday as we celebrate African Heritage Day! LeVar Burton, popular actor and producer, will keynote Friday’s General Session. Burton will share part of his own journey of family, storytelling, and the influence African culture has on his American experience.

In addition to Burton, accomplished African American genealogists, speakers, and authors Kenyatta Berry, Sherri Camp, and Melvin Collier will speak about the connection they feel with their African roots and how they stay close to their ancestors.


More than 50 classes will be taught on topics such as how to use DNA triangulation to find your ancestors, bringing family history to the present, and how to organize your evidence to discover family lineages. Many classes will be streamed on our homepage for free.

Cultural Celebration

Join us on Friday evening from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. MST in the Demo Theater of the Expo Hall for a special cultural performance featuring the Jambo Africa, Heartbeat Burundi Drummers, an all-male drumline cultural group that was formed in 2009 with the vision to spread awareness of peace with traditional African drum music.

Innovator Showdown Finals

Years of hard work and ingenuity will take the Innovator Showdown stage tomorrow to compete for an opportunity to win more than $100,000 in cash and prizes. Join us in person or on the live stream for the Innovator Showdown Finals from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. MST.

See the finalists for this year’s Innovator Showdown.

For a full schedule of keynotes, classes, and events happening Friday, click here

Lizz Miller

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