"We are the chosen. In each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again. To tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve. Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the story tellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us: Tell our story. So, we do. In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors, "You have a wonderful family; you would be proud of us.." by Della M. Cummings Wright
How do I put into words the feelings of my heart for all that I learned at RootsTech? The quiet whisperings of the Spirit have continued to resonate and spurred me into action. For the perfect review of RootsTech go to Rebecca's blog: The Role YOU Can Play in Family History. If I could write elegantly I would write this. However if you continue here, you are stuck with me and my imperfect rambling thoughts. I was humbled to once again be part to this great organization and event. I will write more as the months progress, there would be too much to include here, but I think this year there were three things that I don't want to forget.
ONE: YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN
The single more important thing I learned is that these names on a computer screen or piece of paper were people. People with heartbreaks and triumphs. People who loved and felt pain. Now we won't be able to know the stories and lives of each person whose name we see. We won't be able to look at a picture and wonder if some of the same physical characteristics are mirrored in our reflection. Sometimes all that is left is a name. A tiny evidence that a life was lived. But we have the power to say, "You are not forgotten. You are valued. I do not know you, but your life and stories have impacted mine and I will not forget."
“This work is all about people. It’s about giving every one of our Heavenly Father’s sons and daughters the chance to make covenants and receive saving, exalting ordinances. It’s all about helping His children return home to Him.” —Sherri Dew
TWO: STORIES MATTER
Sydney Monson closed the general sessions with this thought, “It is about the power of story, the power of family, the power of story to strengthen family.”
If you are telling your story, it's important. If you are sharing your ancestors' stories, it's important. If you haven't started sharing the stories begin today. Whether it's online or in a notebook, through social media or a simple phone call share the things that are important. Every one of us has a story to tell that will benefit someone in some way.
During a sofa chat with Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch, he talked about how family history needs both the genealogist and the storytellers. For someone like me as a storyteller, keeper of the memories, he said, "please embellish that chart. We've created the tree now we need the ornaments on it. "
THREE: FAMILY HISTORY IS FOR EVERYONE
and the busy.
There is a part that everyone can play and it will bless your life in unimaginable ways.
I have heard similar statements like that for many years, but thought that I was too busy or that it was relevant to the things and mission I knew I needed to fulfill. I was wrong. I certainly don't have to everything, but doing something, no matter how small has made a difference in my life.
So I'm here to put the heart in to family history for those I love. I will tell more stories, share more photos, and find ways to for the names to become people that are not forgotten.
I carpooled with my parents again this year and I wish I could articulate to you how much they mean to me.
I sketchnoted the conference this year and I have to say once again how much I adore this form of note taking. Listening for themes, not worrying about trying to capture everything. I am including a few of the pages because I always get questions about this. They are simple, but surprisingly meaningful. They are found in my listing book. I will be talking about a few things I learned from each of the speakers later, but if you would like to watch the presentations you can go here.