13:45 PM

Steve Rockwood Keynote Highlights Innovation and the Emotional Side of Family History


The Emotional Side of Family History

FamilySearch International CEO, Steve Rockwood shared a powerful message at Wednesday’s evening keynote address, highlighting human emotion as the primary element that engages people with their family history.

This year RootsTech introduced a theme for the first time, “Connect. Belong,” of which Rockwood spoke of at length. Humans are born with an inherent need for connection and belonging. We are all connected, one big human family, and when we recognize that truth, “we treat each other differently,” said Rockwood. He then posed two questions for consideration, “What if every class in school, workgroup or congregation found their family connections to each other? What if before every political race and sporting event, the opponents found out how they were related before the opening debate, kick-off, tip-off or face-off?” Certainly, the likelihood of treating each other with greater love and respect would increase dramatically.

Rockwood spoke of a simple cycle that occurs when we start to make connections to our family and our heritage, these discoveries cause us to feel something. These positive emotions then drive us to gather and preserve our family memories so that connection and belonging can be passed on to the next generation which will help inoculate them “with resiliency to better withstand the epidemics of violence, addictions, pornography and loneliness.” Discovery experiences unite us with our families and even help healing occur where it is needed. He also noted that these experiences are most powerful when experienced on a personal level, “one by one.”