What is the Difference Between a GEDCOM and a DEATHCOM?

I have no idea.

I wouldn’t be able to tell the two apart if they blew up my house.

So, if you’re wondering why in the world RootsTech would foot the bill for me to attend their conference, I’m right there with you. I wondered what this unknown blogger could bring to the genealogy table. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever even filled out a pedigree thinger-ma-bobber.

RootsTech Elder Richard G Scott panelists Elisa Scharton[7]Family History is a word that usually makes my eyes glaze over—and I said as much in a devotional with Elder Scott, TO Elder Scott.

If I am anything, it’s nervy and lacking tact.

It was a question and answer type of devotional and he asked the question “How do you get people interested in Family History?”
 I could feel my heart pounding—just like on Fast Sunday when I am feeling the spirit telling me to share. I leaned over to the Family Search PR person I was sitting with and asked if I could answer that question.

And, I did.

I know, right?

Me. This un-educated, non-genealogist blogger was talking about how she is a practicing Mormon and NOT interested in Family History in the least little bit—and not only did I say it out loud, on a microphone, for 80 ba-jillion people to hear (which I’m glad I didn’t know) I said it in front of an Apostle— and I offered information on  HOW to get people interested in Family History.

That sort of seems like an Oxy Moron.

The amazing thing is this: I felt the spirit teach me while I spoke and I literally felt my heart changing.
It’s the stories. Teach me about the Stories of my family, and you will have me hooked.

I have never been interested in Family History and I think that the majority of the church must be the same way—judging from the Statistics I was given at the conference.  70% of the users of the Family History Libraries are NON-LDS persons.

We’re now all guiltily bowing our heads in shame because of those those stats, right?

I think  the perception has been that it’s an all or nothing type of project. And, that perception is wrong.
This isn’t your Grandma’s Hobby any more. And, further there are so many ways that we can participate—even when we may be living in Ireland. Or Africa. Or Missouri.

  • Oral Stories
  • Written Stories
  • Recording information on Photographs
  • Talking to our Family Members
  • Pedigree Charts (I have actually filled one out now)
  • Temple Attendance

Family Search is trying to change that perception and help us to see that every time we throw some pictures up on Facebook to share with our family—we’re doing our Family History. Every time we jot down the crazy, silly things our children say and do— Family History. Those Scrapbooks? Yup. Family History.

Now you can tell all those people who razz you about scrapbooking, or blogging to back off—you’re doing your Family History.

You’re welcome.

—-familyElisa is the owner of Mormon Mommy Blogs. A husband, four kids (ages ranging 15 to 2), a mortgage and a dog is what provides her food for fodder on her non-award winning blog: Crazyland: Tales from the Motherboard.

Disclosure: RootsTech covered Elisa’s conference pass, hotel and food.


  1. says

    I enjoyed your post. Yeah, us genealogy types are a bit obsessed with our pedigree charts and gedcoms. You are right. Whether it be recording information on the back of photos, scrapbooking, oral stories etc, they are all ways to preserve your family history.

    It was a pleasure to meet you at Rootstech.

    –Joan at luxegen.ca in Canada

  2. says

    Great post; well said!

    I love family history research, but I only got started because of the guilt thing–it was mentioned twice in my patriarchal blessing. Now I can think of very little that brings more joy, except my family. And that’s my point. It is my family that brings me joy, both living and dead.

    I love to feel their joy when I take their names to the temple. But it doesn’t stop at the temple. I can literally identify dark times in my life when I have been ministered to by family members who have died–dear friends and aunts whom I never knew until I researched their lives and took them to the temple. I helped them receive their covenants. In turn, they have helped and continue to help give me strength to carry on when life gets hard. I know these women, and I can’t wait until one day we can communicate face to face. But for now, I’m grateful the veil can be very thin at times.

  3. Andrea says

    I kind of like doing family history, and I totally agree that blogging and scrapbooking qualify as family history too!

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