Tyler Stahle | May 30, 2018

What We Learned About Connecting and Belonging at RootsTech 2018

The RootsTech 2018 conference theme was “Connect. Belong.” You might have noticed that the theme isn’t very specific—and that was on purpose. We’ve come to understand that the process of connecting and belonging happens differently for each of us. Different life experiences and upbringings make each of us unique. However, we all know that our family and our family connections enrich our lives and that no matter where we come from, we’re all part of something bigger.

In the opening keynote address at RootsTech, FamilySearch CEO Steve Rockwood said, “We’ve learned that when we connect and belong to each other, we treat each other differently.”

“When we discover a connection to our family or to our heritage, we feel something,” he said. “And that spirit of discovery often motivates us then to go on to the next step and gather and preserve the memories of our family. Doing so ensures that connecting and belonging then can take place not just now but for generations to come.”

Watch the full version of Steve Rockwood’s address here.

Kick-off Video

To celebrate the “Connect. Belong.” theme, RootsTech created the following highlight video that played on the main stage each day prior to the start of the general session. This simple video is a great reminder of the emotions associated with family history work.

Connecting Fosters Feelings of Joy

One of the things our attendees learned during the conference was that feelings of connection and belonging are meant to be shared. As we help others connect and belong to their families, we feel a sense of connection and belonging to them. Watch as David Allen Lambert, chief genealogist at New England Historic Genealogical Society, [SBW1] shares how he feels when he's able to help others connect to their family:

Family Connections Bring History to Life

How did you feel about history as a child? It probably easy to think of it as a stale and boring subject. However, the past comes to life as we discover the stories of our ancestors and learn about their connection to historic events. Watch Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist, talk about how learning her family's stories sparked her interest in history:

Connecting and Belonging Brings Self-Confidence

As we discover the stories of our ancestors, we become more comfortable with and confident in ourselves. We learn to look to the past for stories of strength, resilience, and faith. Watch as Natalia Lafourcade, popular Mexican pop-rock singer and RootsTech keynote speaker, talks about how learning about her family history brings her a sense of comfort:


What does connecting and belonging mean to you? Tweet us your thoughts @RootsTechConf.

Tyler Stahle

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