Wow, the power of stories! This was the response to many who attended the keynote address on the second day of the 46th annual Conference on Family History and Genealogy. T. C. Christensen, a writer, director, and producer, shared his experience in the creation of the movie Ephraim’s Rescue to a full house. His remarks were titled, “I Am Ready Now — Lessons from the Life of Ephraim K. Hanks.” If you haven’t already heard, this man’s story is amazing! I won’t reveal the plot, but I will say that this man wrote two personal histories and both are lost. It is only because a man named Andrew Jenson interviewed Ephraim in June of 1891, and other fragments of recorded history, that we can know Ephraim’s story.
T. C. Christensen remarked that, “in making a film, the research is everything!” Journals that were kept are the reason we know about this man. He also shared how the demographics of the time period brought power and impact to the story.
Besides the cast, Christensen recruited descendants of the rescued pioneers as movie extras. He said that they filmed one winter scene in the summer for safety reasons and even then the waters were treacherous. “We can’t do in the movies what they did in life. We are wimps!” He said that those descendants would say during filming, “if my ancestors did this for real, I can do this for five hours.” The excerpts we viewed brought many to tears. The legacy of Ephraim’s story testifies that great things can happen when preparation meets opportunity.
As for today, conference participants will have the opportunity to hear from David E. Rencher, chief genealogical officer for FamilySearch International, on “The Role of FamilySearch in a Worldwide Community.” After his keynote address, participants will have the choice of seven tracks with classes that will discuss United States, British, Scandinavian, Canadian, Estonian, and French research, methodology, digital tools, and FamilySearch products and programs.
The vender prize drawings, which in the past have been held on Friday, will be held TODAY at 1:00 p.m. in room 2254 of the conference center. Participants MUST be present to win.
The computer lab will be open with a dozen computers provided by FamilySearch for use by those attending the conference this week.
Incline Software, the makers of Ancestral Quest, and Heritage Makers, a publishing program, will demonstrate their wares from 5:15 – 6:15 p.m. in rooms 2254 and 2295, respectively. Added to the program is a demonstration by Ancestor Cloud, a social media program for genealogy, that will be held in room 2267.
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