Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Saturday, February 8, 2014

#RootsTech 2014 -- An Overview Before the Last Day

Yes, the title to this post does have an ominous ring to it. Also, I fully understand the ambiguity of the title. Here at RootsTech 2014, the fact that we are attending a Conference sponsored by and right next to the center of one of the world's large religious organizations cannot be ignored. Today at RootsTech 2014, we will have thousands more people who will attend this Conference, not because of an overriding interest in genealogy per se, but because of an interest in subjects and people who are associated directly or indirectly with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

One thing that should be abundantly evident to those who attend this Conference is the open and neutral attitude of the Church as a sponsor of this event. Although there are hundreds of the Church's missionaries present at the Conference, they are here to serve and not to proselyte. As has been the case in the past and as will be the case in the future, the Church delivers its genealogy products to the world without any religious strings attached. Although, if you ask, you will find most of the members of the Church anxious to answer any question about their religion, we have all respected the idea that in the area of genealogy, we step outside of our religious and cultural differences and focus on our common interest in families and their history and genealogy.

Obviously, I cannot speak to the actions of any particular individual and their attitudes towards others as part of their religious beliefs, but I think that all who attend this Conference and also those who visit any one of our thousands of Family History Centers should feel the same welcome, regardless of religious or cultural persuasion. If their are those who feel that as members of the Church, our beliefs and actions regarding our ancestors infringe on their own beliefs, I would suggest that they come to RootsTech 2015 next year and see for themselves how our beliefs relates to our actions with regard to genealogy. As our 13th Article of Faith states:
13 We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
And more specifically in our 11th Article of Faith:11:
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
I am truly grateful for the experiences I have had here at RootsTech 2014. Some of these experiences have been extremely personal in nature and will not be shared online. As I continue writing, I will try to share as many of the rest as I can. I especially appreciate the contacts I have had with those of all levels of the genealogical community. One of my most touching experiences, which I can share, occurred spontaneously. As I was making my way through the crowds in the Exhibit Hall, I brushed shoulders with a woman bent over in age. She looked up at me and recognized me and said quickly, "I like what I read from your blog" or words to that effect. That one incident was priceless and makes all I do to write worth the time and effort. I do not know who she was or if I will ever run into her again, but she will live in my memory as one of the most important experiences at this Conference.

Thanks to all of you who have approached me and taken a minute or two to say hello. If I have any reason to be involved in genealogy to the extent that I am, it is because I have found the kindest and most interesting people in my life through writing this blog. It is a privilege to associate with all of you either in person or through my writing.

There is only so much time allocated to each one of us here on earth, so lets all go about doing good to all men and leave the rest behind. As genealogist whether we believe the fundamental religious principles behind Paul's statements in the Bible, we have to realize that what we do is good. Remembering our ancestors is a fundamental human need. It is part of the fabric of our lives and I can't think of anything I would rather do than help all of you around the world understand and appreciate how to "do your genealogy." Thanks again to all.

Oh, I am not passing on quite yet so you can expect a few more million words or so in the future.


  1. I enjoy your blog and I enjoyed attending your session at RootsTech. I feel motivated to write more frequently on my own blog.

  2. James, I'm sorry our paths didn't cross at Rootstech. Your blog is a must read for me.