As most of you know, I am in SLC this week attending the RootsTech conference that is being sponsored by FamilySearch. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I was a little worried I was going to be bored out of mind this weekend, and that I would get absolutely nothing from this experience. What a pleasant surprise I have had as I have learned about what Family History really means.
I think that Family History sort of has a bad rap within the church. I know that usually my eyes glaze over and I totally turn the volume down when people start talking about Family History. It sounds boring. It sounds like it would be something that wouldn’t interest this 39 year old mother of two teenagers, an elementary aged child and a baby.
Boy, was I wrong.
The first thing that I learned is that over 70% of the people that are using the resources provided by Family Search, and The Church, are actually people not of the LDS Faith.
The first day at the conference they took all of the bloggers they had invited on a private tour of the Microfilm Distribution Facility. I was really impressed with the facility and the precision and efficiency that they process the film orders. I also loved that they had a garbage lift that traveled the length of the facility– above our heads– carrying the garbage to the outside! I wish I could get something like that for my teenagers room!
They told us that there are over 4,500 Family Search Facilities– world wide– for members and non-members alike to use for the tracing of their family roots and that a large majority of those facilities are staffed by people who are not Mormon.
It was interesting to me to listen to the presenters, and Executives with Family Search as they taught those of us they had brought in from around country of not only the doctrinal reasons behind searching for our ancestors, but also the practical reasons. Everyone wants to know who they are and from whom they came. It helps you understand yourself better, understand your spouses and children as well. Knowing your heritage helps you better define yourself as a member of the human society.
The biggest thing I have taken from RootsTech is that those of us that are bloggers or scrapbookers are already DOING our Family History. We are recording the Living Histories and that is just as important as the dead. Those of you who call yourself “Just a Mommy Blogger”, the ones who are recording the “boring” stories of your family? YOU are doing your family history for your progeny. When we read the histories of the dead, all they were writing about was their “boring” day to day lives. And, yet we eat it up. What you are recording on your blogs is important and it does have value!
I have come to understand, and so has Family Search, that we don’t– as people– fall in love with random obscure dates. We fall in love with the stories we hear from our Grandmas, Parents and other family members. And, those stories then compel us to want to understand those people better– so we search out the dates.
You can’t take a story to the temple, but you don’t fall in love with an obscure date. Those two ideas go hand in hand– stories and dates.
It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing kind of mentality, with regards to Family History. You can do it a little at a time– 30 minutes at a time. And, if all you can do right now is record the fact that your child threw an entire two dozen eggs all over the floor? Do it. Write it down. That is what Family History is all about.