So many stories, so little time … this is how I feel as I try to capture the essence of the first day of the 46th annual Conference on Family History and Genealogy. I met so many wonderful people who shared so many wonderful stories!Yesterday’s opening keynote address was given by Elder Paul F. Koelliker, an emeritus member of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has served as executive director of the Temple Department and as assistant director of the LDS Family History Department. His remarks centered on the purpose of family history and genealogy and the motivating factor for all we do – LOVE! He encouraged participants to think beyond the charts and find the stories that touch the hearts of those around us. He commented that we should think more about the future of our children than we do of the past and asked, “What stories have you written down to teach the generations to come?” He challenged participants to determine five actions they can take from ideas presented at this conference and implement them into their lives. He encouraged participants to think of family history in a forward direction. “Cousins is the new buzz word” and he suggested we find ours and take them to the temple. He shared a story of finding one of his cousins in Africa. Elder Koelliker who is of Swiss descent said, “who would have thought?” I had the opportunity to visit with the Koelliker family after the session ended, and well, all I can say is that they make you feel like one of their own.
There was standing room only during the opening session of the Youth track. Hannah Z. Allan discussed using social media for family history. So many youth commented about how much they enjoyed her presentations! I even noticed a few adults trying to disguise themselves as youth so they could attend these sessions :)
Throughout the day FamilySearch provided scanning opportunities for photos and began to collect books that will be scanned and made available online after the conference.
There is also a computer lab with a dozen computers provided by FamilySearch for those attending the conference this week.
Today, the keynote address, “I Am Ready Now – Lessons from the Life of Ephraim K. Hanks,” will be given by T.C. Christensen who wrote, directed, and produced the movie Ephraim’s Rescue” After his keynote address, participants will have the choice of seven tracks: Beginner, DNA Research, United States Research, Immigration and Migration, Photos, Youth and Genealogy, and the FamilySearch Family Tree. There is definitely something for everyone interested in pursuing their ancestors!
Incline Software, the makers of Ancestral Quest, and Heritage Miniatures will demonstrate their wares from 5:15 – 6:15 p.m. in rooms 2254 and 2295, respectively.
 Photograph courtesy of Alfonso J. Flores, BYU Marketing and Communications
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