Family Discovery Day at Roots Tech 2015

In addition to being the last day of Roots Tech in Salt Lake City, and Valentine’s Day, Feb 14th was also Family Discovery Day. What a phenomenal day it was! The weather was beautiful, and thousands of people turned out to participate in classes, workshops, entertainment, games and celebrity hobnobbing!

My fulfilling focus of the day was meeting and adoring a new family member. He was anxious to participate in the festivities from whatever angle possible.

Roots Tech baby

Roots Tech baby

Although Discovery Day was a free event, registration was required, so crowd control could be managed. We were given a special packet at registration, which included a map of the Salt Palace Convention Center, an agenda, a list of activities going on, and several copies of the My Family booklet to record your pedigree with the first couple of generations and get you started in Family History research.

Family Discovery Day knapsack

Discovery Day knapsack packet

The Family Discovery Day classes and activities were pure genius, as chosen for this group. Classes addressed those with leadership roles, youth involvement, finding missing people in your pedigree, making better use of programs and resources readily available. In the Expo Hall, special game areas were roped off and the Family Search booth included stations with open terminals for experimentation in several steps of goal accomplishment. A few very large screens at one end of the booth were equipped with some program features of the Discovery Center model, enabling viewers to pull up animated story lines about themselves and their family origins. Lots of free and reasonably priced refreshments were available in the Expo Hall.

Classes in the ballroom corridor were jam-packed to the point that a few of the most popular ones were re-situated in overflow rooms with delayed-release recorded video of the instructors presented on screens that were quickly hoisted into action. The corridor opened up into a huge lobby that was crammed to capacity with autograph-seekers of on-site celebrities: the cast of Studio C television show and David Archuleta, to name a few.

Keynote addresses from popular Al Fox Caraway and Olympian Noelle Picus-Pace, were in the huge Hall D. At the end of Picus-Pace’s presentation, her cute husband of one year presented her with roses on-stage for their Valentine’s Day anniversary. All together now: “Awwwww…” LDS Church leader Neil L Anderson presented a new challenge, similar to 2014’s goal of “Find” names of ancestors, with an added “Teach” for 2015. The focus this year is to gain proficiency in family history work, and then help someone else get started as well. As many shared experiences in this conference attest, young people love discovering things about their ancestors.

Neil L Anderson

Neil L Anderson #rootstech
Find, Take, Teach

Now that Roots Tech is over, those who monitor the Family Search toll-free number for calls, chats, and email questions are swamped with communications, so it’s obvious to conclude that the symposium was a great success, inspiring many to up their involvement in family history research.

The closing session was possibly the biggest event of Discovery Day, featuring LDS dignitaries and mega-star David Archuleta. I wasn’t on hand to attend that session, but the excitement and thrills of rubbing shoulders with him and the other family-centric celebrity guests in the Salt Palace, was all around!

Lovely Day 3 Roots Tech

Saturday was an especially lovely day! It was the last day of Roots Tech 2015, and would you believe that along with the Family Discovery Day crowd, over 20,000 people attended? It was unbelievable!

The keynote event kicked off in the early hours with A J Jacobs, who (I found out) happens to be my cousin (as well as everyone else’s!) Each member of the multitude who attended the session found this placard on their seat:

A J Jacobs

A J Jacobs Global Reunion


Later in the presentation we were asked to hold up our signs so he could take a selfie with all of us cousins! Jacobs is a very funny comedian and family history enthusiast who reminded me a little of Adam Sandler without the vulgarity. His presentation was eye-opening and hilarious, and his focus is currently to invite everyone to a global family reunion June 6, 2015 in New York City. Wow, would I love to participate, especially since all the proceeds from this go to charitable causes benefiting Alzheimer’s.
global family reunion

Global Family Reunion

He had the audience rolling with laughter as he showed segments of his “year of living Biblically” and his interviews with celebrity cousins. He said scientific sources say that our furthest-degree of relatedness to another living person on earth today is 70th cousin.

Next up was the appearance of the legendary Donny Osmond. I’ve never been a fainting, screaming, rabid fan of the Osmonds, but I now have a permanent warm spot in my heart for Donny after listening to his talk Saturday morning. A few choice tidbits about him that I’d never known before: 1) He went on a double date with one of his brothers and ended up stealing his brother’s date. He and that date have now been married for 38 years! 2) Despite the beautiful toothy smiles he and his siblings have made famous, his great grandmother had a scary, grouchy-looking frowny-face! 3) His two oldest brothers are deaf, and after they were born, a doctor advised the parents not to have any more children. 4) Donny is seriously dedicated to family and family history. His talk was funny, fascinating, and full of love. Why not; he is a Soldier of Love! He sang several songs for us, including “Moon River,” theme song for the Andy Williams Show, which gave the Osmond boys their early break into show business.

I didn’t quite get to any of the classes I really wanted to attend Saturday, but I had a wonderful time, overall. I got to participate in some Family Discovery Day hi-jinks and hang out with several cherished people. Thanks to everyone who made this whole experience so sublime!

SHHHH! a remnant Quiet Book!

Fabric remnants: what do you do with all of them?

I made some Quiet Books for three of the youngest grandkids.

cloth books

Quiet Books

I did happen to find a pattern in the pattern stash.

Rather generic-lookin', isn't it?

Rather generic-lookin’, isn’t it?

I decided to change mine up from the one in the pattern. I made the pages out of a big length of muslin I had on hand. I used some of the ideas, changed some of them, and added some completely off-beat ones. [Hi Bob! 🐱 ]

cloth book

Tying and buttoning

cloth book

Pages from a book

cloth book

Zip up the corn

cloth book

One finished

cloth book

Walk the dog

cloth books

(Velcro bird sitting on candy eggs)

Hmmm, Cadbury eggs and it can be sort of an Easter treat…

Using up remnants, not just of fabric but remnants of notions, too: ribbon, zippers, buttons, fibers. They look a little bit goofy, but I had fun. I hope the little ones have some fun with them!

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