One of the best things about RootsTech 2018 was the element of connection that went well beyond connecting with our dead ancestors. This was about HUMAN connection, our need as humans to feel connected to other people in a very tangible way. From the keynotes, to the Relatives at RootsTech app, to meeting favorite genealogy superstars in person, RootsTech was rich with opportunity to connect.
Human Connection at RootsTech 2018
Scott gave my hands-down favorite keynote of the conference. He gave us a piece of his heart in his address and he was so inspiring. Scott was adopted as an infant and has had many medical issues to work through during his life. What he shared with us was gratitude for his human connections: his adopted parents, his coaches, sponsors, and other influential figures in his life. The beauty was that he referred to all of these people as his moms and dads… his family! He also spoke of his wife, the miracle of their two biological children, and the miracle of their two adopted children. Scott made me remember why, in my genealogical research, I always feel drawn to research not only my direct lines, but all the collateral lines, adopted lines, and close associates as well. Those people, while not directly blood related, were family to my family. They deserve to be remembered as well.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from Scott Hamilton’s keynote:
“You always resemble the ones who love you the most.” ~Scott’s mom
“I wanted to honor her [his mom] in every single thing that I did.”
“The first time I’d ever seen flesh of my flesh.” [on holding his first-born son for the first time]
“We went to work… we prayed, and we prayed a lot!”
“Our past is the foundation for everything that comes of it. Without our past, our present has no meaning and our future has no purpose.”
Now seriously, you have to watch it for yourself!
Brandon spoke of a time in his life when he decided that instead of doing things to feel important, and to have other people think he was important, he decided to do things that he loved, things that would nourish him and give him meaning. During this time period, he came to realize that “we use our time to accumulate resources, we don’t see TIME as a resource itself.” He also lamented all the thoughts he could have directed toward the people he loved or the things he could create instead of wasting them on accumulation.
What Brandon decided he had to offer the world was approaching random strangers and taking an intimate portrait of them to share with the world. He said that the way he gets people to tell them the deep things in their life is simple: he just ASKS! He reminded us that one thing people don’t do enough of is LISTEN to each other.
His keynote address inspired me to take a closer, slower look around me as I move throughout my day. He inspired me to see others, ask them, and then listen to what they have to say. See the entire keynote in the video below:
As the CEO of FamilySearch International, Steve Rockwood gave the opening keynote on Wednesday afternoon. As always, he gave a heartfelt start to the conference. My favorite moment of the speech:
“When we connect and belong to each other, we treat each other differently.”
Watch the entire keynote here:
Relatives at RootsTech:
Finally, I enjoyed connecting with 12 distant cousins through the Relatives at RootsTech feature on the Family Tree app from FamilySearch. Even though we don’t live near each other, nor had we contacted each other before this conference, we felt an instant bond as we looked at our common ancestors and connected with each other through messages, or meeting up in person at the conference. It is interesting to think of the legacy we all share from our common ancestors.
This app feature is available as Relatives Around Me anywhere you go. Try it sometime when you are out and about, or at a neighborhood or community get-together. It is fun to see how this distant but common connection can make us feel bonded to one another!