Here are some of my thoughts from my experiences from the second day of RootsTech 2015.
D. Joshua Taylor, FindMyPast
Family history should not be about searching, it should be about finding. We must continue to lower the barriers to family history; it can become everyone's hobby.
He talked about who inspires him and he shared a story about his ancestor William Heaps and how he found a common thread in the life of his ancestor and himself. They both love cheese and they both got in trouble for hiding cheese. Josh hid and ate cheese in his room, while his ancestor William was sentenced to 7 years for stealing cheese!
When Josh had his family tree on the screen, I recognized some of the names in his tree and quickly checked my tree. Some of William Heaps' descendants married some of William Alvey's descendants. William Alvey is my 3rd great grandfather. Josh and I share some common cousins.
Laura Bush, Former First Lady of the United States
She shared that both her and George's parents have shown them the best way to age. All we have is the here and now. Sometimes you have to work hard to recognize yourself. It is the job of every American to take a stand, to step up to his or her own pitcher's mound, to face up to fear and to stand proud.
The last part of the general session was an intimate conversation with Laura Bush and her daughter, Jenna Bush Hager. Here are some of my favorite parts:
Jenna mentioned that her parents and her grandparents always put family first. And that George Sr. was babysitting Jenna and her sister Barbara the night before he had a presidential debate. Jenna asked her mom, "What advice do you have for mothers and grandmothers?" Laura responded, "Savor the moments when they are little … all we know we have is now."
Innovator Challenge Showdown
The final four companies shared their programs/apps with the audience. Five judges asked the finalists questions. The audience got to text in their votes for people's choice.
1st Place ($10,000) and the People's Choice ($5,000) went to StoryWorth. You can check them out at: https://www.storyworth.com/
2nd Place ($7,000) went to ArgusSearch. You can check them out at: http://www.planet.de/argus_search_en.html
3rd Place ($3,000) went to GenMarketplace. You can check them out at: http://www.genmarketplace.com/
4th Place went to LucidPress. You can check them out at: https://www.lucidpress.com
You can watch the action of the showdown for yourself at: http://rootstech.org/video/4054729367001
Things have the power to trigger memories. How do we use these things to become better acquainted with our ancestors so they aren't just names and dates? Not only can things trigger memories, they can trigger emotions. As we read through the stories of our ancestors, we should look for at least one thing that we can use to trigger memories of the ancestor. A "thing" that we can display in our home. What can we do right now with the people that are living? You can follow Stacy at: http://www.stacyjulian.com/
Family History Adhesive - Janet Hovorka
Janet mentioned that as a child family history was in the water they drank and the food they ate and the air they breathed. It was in the trips they took … it was their life. I love this! This is what I am trying to do with my children. She taught that family history is a parenting tool that we all need to be using and that family dinner time is crucial to the development of children in the family; it is even a stronger predictor of a child's academic success than time spent studying. Something I need to work more on doing at my home … a specific time for dinner and everyone at the table. She shared research that is being done all over the world that shows the importance of passing history from one generation to another. Do we know our intergenerational self? Three things to remember: 1. It is all in how we present it. If your family isn't interested, reevaluate your presentation. 2. Start with the interest of the family member. 3. Share with others … what works in your family may work in mine. You can follow Janet at: http://thechartchick.blogspot.com/
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