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Mormonism Online: In Your Own Words | February 15, 2017 

RootsTech attendees share experiences through social media

The Family History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hosted RootsTech 2017, the world’s largest family history conference, February 8–11. This year’s conference focused on how families can connect through different cultures and traditions. 

The conference encouraged the attendees to share their experiences on social media with the #RootsTech hashtag. 

150 businesses gathered in the Expo Hall to share their products and allow attendees to participate in giveaways. 

Over 300 classes were offered throughout the conference. 

Cultural Celebration - African Drumming #rootstech

A video posted by Ginea Merrill (@ginea7) on

Keynote speakers began each day's events. The social media audience shared specific topics from the speakers that resonated with their enthusiasm for family history. 

Many people were specifically touched by LeVar Burton’s speech. He told the audience that “storytelling is in our DNA.” Burton was presented with a surprise by FamilySearch International of his family history, which included information about his great-grandparents who were born into slavery. Many posts mentioned his emotional acceptance of the genealogy.  

Awk. Photo for both of us but...This is one of those powerful life moments that you never forget.  @levar.burton and I sharing memories of our common thread -- Stan Margulies who was one of the producers of the tv mini series Roots.  LeVar shared with me that Stan changed his life, and at the end of filming gave him a plaque with the chains he wore in the movie. The plaque said "To a gifted chil' ... "  I shared with him that Stan was Married to my cousin and that Alex Haley presented her with our family history after the making of the movie.  That had a big impact on me which led me to doing family history when I was just a girl. We both cried, and hugged remembering a moment that changed both of our lives for good. Thank you LeVar for taking time to talk with me. #rootstech #familyhistory #shareyourstory

A post shared by Crystal Farish (@iamcrystalfarish) on

A lot of the audience are fans of the TLC show "Cake Boss." So when Buddy Valastro hit the stage, many people couldn't get enough of his lineage of baking.  

“You can’t really appreciate where you’re going unless you know where you’re from.” — Jonathan Scott

There were 30,000 participants on Saturday’s Family Discovery day. President Russel M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Watson Nelson inspired the audience to make time for family history.

Not only was this a record-breaking crowd for RootsTech, but family history enthusiasts were able to watch select portions live from home. They could also be involved in sharing their experiences by using the hashtag #NotAtRootsTech.

To watch all of the sessions, visit RootsTech.org. 

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This blog is managed and written by staff of the Public Affairs Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to provide journalists, bloggers, and the public with additional context and information regarding public issues involving the Church. For official news releases and statements from the Church, please also visit the MormonNewsroom.org home page.