Valentine’s Day is one of the worst holidays for singles, or at least for the ones who don’t have a significant other. Pity parties abound as tears flood the land. I think I’ll build a boat. And then I’ll sail that boat to RootsTech.
RootsTech, the world’s largest family history conference, takes place every February in the Salt Palace just a block away from Temple Square in the Mormon Mecca of Salt Lake City. I can’t turn my heart to my family in the present because I don’t one (family of my own, that is). But I can turn it to my family in the past. And RootsTech is a great place to do that.
A time for family
I first heard about RootsTech in 2012. I stumbled onto their website streaming live sessions. I watched some on my laptop and found them impressive. What intrigued me the most was a certain spirit held by attendees in the Twitter feed. RootsTech seemed like the cool place to be. I thought about traveling to be there in person.
And in 2013 I did. I not only attended the conference but also convinced my father to attend. My father is one of those genealogy nuts. He’s definitely got “the bug.” He spends much of his spare time on his computer adding, removing, and otherwise correcting information in his genealogy database.
It’s no surprise why. My father works in the database software industry. Believe me, it wasn’t hard convincing him to come with me to a family history technology conference.
The time we spent together at RootsTech created some good memories. We attended different sessions because we were interested in different things. He was interested in coding and databases, while story and ways to preserve and to share stories with others attracted my attention.
But outside of the conference sessions, we shared meals, visited historic sites, and explored the area. That included visits to a former resident of an ancestor and the Salt Lake City Cemetery to take photos of some graves. We even searched through records at the Family History Center. Family history is work done for families, and we learned about it and did it together as family.
That’s really what family history work is — a work done by families for families. And you don’t need to be married to join the movement. In fact, singles can provide a great bulwark to this labor of love. And those who do will find their hearts nourished.
I’ve posted before about how singles who don’t have families of their own can turn FHE into Family History Evening. It’s a great practice that I highly recommend. Instead of pining after the family you don’t have in the present, you can turn your heart to the family you do have in the past.
And there’s many ways to get involved. It’s not just research into names and dates. It’s unfolding the story of who your ancestors were and the heritage that they left for you. It’s understanding not just who you are but why you are.
That includes interviewing relatives to capture the stories of their lives and how they confronted the challenges of their times. That includes capturing your own life story for those who come after you. That includes research for evidence that establishes or confirms relationships. And that includes indexing efforts that help others to find that evidence for their own lines.
Rootstech 2015 has many activities planned for attendees, and today I’m traveling to be there in person for my share. Perhaps the most engaging of these activities is the all-day free event on Saturday called Family Discovery Day. If you’re in the Salt Lake area on Valentine’s Day and can arrange your schedule to attend, I highly recommend it.
Play well your part
If you can’t attend RootsTech in person, you can watch select workshop sessions streamed live on their website. These presentations are usually accessible in the weeks after the conference. In addition, the Church has placed a wealth of great learning resources on FamilySearch.org.
Living your best life means being your best self. This week, do something for your heart. Learn more about what role your family history efforts should take and how you can improve in that role.
I am a living fulfillment of prophecy made 2400 years ago by Malachi. I’m turning my heart to the fathers and the promises made to them. And I’m not the only one.
This Valentine’s Day, you can bemoan your unmet expectations for a complete family of your own in the present. Or you can be a living fulfillment of prophecy and turn your heart to your family in the past.
I choose the latter. That and I choose to keep my boat.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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