Roots Tech 2013: Meeting Syd Lieberman

Attending Roots Tech 2013 is turning out to be an amazing experience.  People from around the globe have come to Salt Lake City this week just to be a part of it, and it’s so much fun to meet them and hear their stories.

I find myself gravitating towards the storytelling side of Roots Tech and I love that it’s a part of this year’s conference.  I love stories, and I can count on my memory to record a story whereas a date, place, name, or any other kind of fact, will be forgotten instantaneously.  I think this is why I loved listening to Syd Lieberman today.  He makes any kind of history come alive in a way that only the great storytellers can.

Today I got a chance to sit down and do a quick interview with Syd.  He mentioned how honored he was to be at Roots Tech since genealogy and story telling “are distant cousins that don’t talk”.  I think that these cousins should hang out more, because I love how well they go together.

A few things I learned about Syd is that he’s as entertaining to talk to in person as he is on stage.  He clearly has a talent for making every moment a story.  He told me that this gift came from his mother who could turn a trip to the grocery store into an opera.  Although he has always been a story teller, he didn’t start doing histories until a friend asked him to tell the story of the 1889 Johnstown Flood.  The experience was so profound that he went on to do more.

The best advice I got from Syd today was geared perfectly to someone like me – a mom who doesn’t have a lot of time, who thinks keeping on top of the laundry is a lofty enough goal.  He said “Write down what’s happening now”.  I know that doesn’t seem like a profound statement, but it’s the every day “mundane” moments that create the best memories and the best stories.  Because as you record those little moments your story will continue to grow, like a magnet drawing in other moments, and you will end up with an amazing family history to share with future generations.

If you’d like to see Syd Lieberman’s keynote Roots Tech speech, you can conveniently watch it at rootstech.org   They have the video right there on the front page – however, it is 8 1/2 hours long.  And yes, it would be majorly fabulous to watch that whole thing, and you should do that if you have the time, but if you want to fast forward just to Syd’s part it’s around the 30 minute mark.

Or you can check out this great youtube video of Syd Lieberman that was posted a few years ago from a different event:

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