Family Discovery Day
Organizers estimate that a total of 25,000 people attended RootsTech 2019, held February 27 through March 2 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, with another 100,000 participating online through live broadcasts. While the conference and vendor expo were open to participants earlier in the week, Saturday was Family Discovery Day, with free admission and events open to all who wished to attend.
Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife, Susan, delivered the keynote address on Family Discovery Day, with a message of, “You can do this!”
Elder Bednar shared a story from his family’s history to illustrate a non-tech solution for gathering family information about ancestors who have impacted our lives. He spoke of his third-great-grandfather, Luke Syphus, from England, who immigrated to Australia and opened a lumber business with Joseph Ridges, the convert who built an organ and donated it to the Church for the old adobe tabernacle on Temple Square, and later collaborated on the design and construction of the organ for the Tabernacle.
Sister Bednar asked those attending the conference to use the Family Tree app on their digital device to search for relatives who were also attending the conference to participate in a high-tech experiment. She noted that both she and Elder Bednar are related to more than 3,000 people who were using the app and were at RootsTech. She asked attendees to search for the Bednars and see how they were related to the couple.
RootsTech is sponsored by FamilySearch, the family history arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The conference will expand later this year, with RootsTech London set for Oct. 24-26, and will return to the Salt Palace Feb. 26-29, 2020.