The generations on either side of me link me to my past and my future. My view of family history involves revealing the roots and the branches.

Throughout this blog you will find perspectives related to the doctrines of temple and family history work from revealed revelation given to living prophets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Finding the Living Among the Dead: Using the Internet to Find Your Living Cousins

I have been teaching others the ins and outs of family history for the past 20 years; in various roles.  At RootsTech 2014, I was in a session and experienced some personal revelation that I should present at RootsTech perhaps someday in the future.  I had presented to large industry groups in the past as part of my work responsibilities, but I had not at that point in time ever presented to a large family history or genealogy related group.

After RootsTech I contacted my new friend Janet Hovorka, a seasoned genealogy presenter, and asked her how one goes about finding out how to submit session proposals for family history conferences.  She gave me an overview and suggested I reach out to a local organization.  So I did.  I contacted the Ogden FamilySearch Library and proposed two topics, both of which they accepted for their fall conference. One session was about Family Reunion Planning and the other session is the title of this post.  I presented both sessions in September 2014.

Back to RootsTech 2014.  After RootsTech ended, I watched for the call for proposals that my friend said would come via email in early summer.  I submitted four session proposals and one of them was accepted the beginning of August! Again, the session is the title of this post.  So, now here it is August 2014 and I know I will be presenting the following February at a major conference a session that I have yet to present to anyone, but will be presenting to a small conference in September.  The September session was a hit ... a full class of nearly 80 people ... and people being turned away that wanted to come.

Jump ahead a few weeks and now it is October and I get an email from RootsTech that informs me that my session has been selected to be recorded and possibly translated for use at Family Discovery Fairs throughout the world in 2015.  A few months later I find out that it is not going to be translated into other languages after all, but it will still be recorded for use in English speaking events world wide.

At this point in my life, the only major video recording I have participated in is basic family home videos. You know the kind where everyone is goofy and funny? Except for a few minutes of KSL Studio 5 footage from when my daughter was an infant, I had never appeared in any public video; at least that I'm aware.  So, the uneasiness of being recorded started to creep into my mind. But, I just pushed it away and kept focusing on the content of my presentation, my slides, and my syllabus.

Jumping ahead to February 2015, it is now late on the night of the 6th of February and I am reading a blog post on FamilySearch:
20 "Can't Miss" RootsTech Sessions To Help You Grow Your Family Tree.  And my session is listed!  And not only is it listed, but there is a note about watching it online.  What?!  Here it is less than one week before my session and I just found out that my recorded session will be streaming online less than 48 hours after I had presented it!
I woke my sleeping husband to share with him the news and that my anxiety was creeping back in again. He said not to worry, it would all be just fine. He works in the technical television field; he is behind the camera and behind the scene on a daily basis. But to be in front of the camera? That uneasiness was coming back.  Just one week to go and I was doing fine with the "recording" of my session, knowing that at some point other people would see it.  I wasn't mentally ready for people to see it online that quickly.

The next few days flew by and my session was listed in other blogs as the RootsTech streaming schedule became available.

The afternoon of February 12th arrived and I was ready to share my content and engage my audience in conversation. Getting fitted with a microphone was a new experience and having bright lights shining on me was daunting.  The cameraman who was going to record my session came up and visited with me.  It was my husband's co-worker Jeff and he reassured me that all would be well.

I had three great friends (Katrina, Jeanette, Chris) who came to my session and appeased me by sitting on the front rows so that I could see their smiling faces.  The cameras started and so did I and the conversation began and in less than an hour it was all over.  I really appreciated a little old man on the front row who gave me a big thumbs up as the session ended.  That simple gesture calmed me. I visited with my friends and met new people who came up afterward to continue the conversation.

Jump ahead to Saturday and I was sitting in another session watching my watch, knowing that at 10:30 am my session would start streaming online. I wondered what people watching would think. Would they feel engaged in the conversation that we had 2 days before? A few hours later I had at least a little glimpse into the answer. I was walking in the crowded halls of the Salt Palace and a young lady came through that large mass of people and stopped me. She had watched my session that morning and was so excited about the things I shared and she asked me some more detailed questions that she had.  It was a great conversation.

And then I remembered another time being in that same hallway in the Salt Palace just one year before.  This time the hall was not as crowded; it was the Innovator Summit day of RootsTech 2014. On that day, I had experienced a moment of personal revelation, when I heard in my mind the words of this Old Testament scripture from Esther 4:14 - "who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" And perhaps this is part of the purpose of the last 20-30 years of my life.

Here is the video link to my session:
Here is the link to my syllabus:

I hope you enjoy my session.



  1. Wow Amy. How nerve wracking to be called out so quickly. I'm so proud of you. You did great. I was nervous to be recorded and I have lots of experience doing that kind of thing. I'm not so pleased with how mine turned out between the nervousness and the tiredness on Saturday afternoon. So I'm glad you are happy with yours. That is a great blessing. Congratulations. Job well done.

  2. What an amazing story...I admire your courage in presenting at such a large conference. A baptism of fire indeed being live streamed and recorded but nothing will faze you now :) I'm working my way through the videos and have just bumped yours to the top.,Congratulations Amy!!