News Release

RootsTech 2019 Concludes

“You can do this!” says Sister Bednar

The Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City attracted thousands of people to RootsTech 2019, the world’s largest family history conference, which was held February 27 through March 2. Attendees strived to “connect” and “belong” to their ancestors.


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“Connect. Belong” served as the theme for the second year in a row. “There’s so much that goes into connecting and belonging that we couldn’t let this theme go after just one year,” explained Jen Alen, RootsTech event director. “Connecting and belonging is an important part of each of our own personal journeys.”

The conference began on February 27, with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints giving a $2 million donation to the International African American Museum (IAAM). The donation was explained as a perfect partnership in connecting African families that had been disconnected many years ago.

Family Discovery Day

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Susan, were the keynote speakers on Saturday’s Family Discovery Day. Family Discovery Day is traditionally held on the last day of the conference and focuses on events for Latter-day Saints.

“As we begin this session, I want to state one obvious fact,” said Elder Bednar. “RootsTech is the premier family history conference in the whole world, and we are blessed to be here today.”

Elder Bednar explained, “Because God is the literal Father of all mankind, He is anxious to gather and bless all of His family. And we serve God by laboring as the gatherers!”

He continued, “Today and always, we are to bear witness of the divine mission of Jesus Christ and declare the message of the Restoration.”

Sister Bednar told the thousands of people in the Salt Palace and many more participating on-line through that their message today is “you can do this!” “We have a tremendous responsibility to help gather God’s sons and daughters, and He is providing resources and tools to accomplish this great latter-day work. Anyone and everyone can help.”

The Bednars said there are high-tech ways of searching for your ancestors and there’s a no-tech way. Sister Bednar asked everyone in the audience to share with their neighbor one of their ancestors and why that person is important to them. Then, she asked, “What did you feel when you were sharing with your neighbor?”

Elder Bednar invited the audience to pull out their phones and go to the Family Tree app and click on “Relatives Around Me.” He said a new screen with a green button titled “Scan for Friends” should appear. “This feature helps us to discover connections about which we previously may not have known by searching for individuals who currently have this same screen open and are within 100 feet of you.” By the excitement noted in the room, the audience enjoyed the activity.

Keynote Speakers and Special Guests 

This year RootsTech welcomed several celebrities as keynote speakers, each of whom had unique perspectives on the importance of being connected to their roots.

Patricia Heaton, a two-time Emmy Award-winning actress, best known for her role in Everybody Loves Raymond, spoke on Thursday.

Other celebrity speakers included Saroo Brierley, an Australian businessman who was separated from his biological family and on whom the movie Lion was based, and Jake Shimabukuro, a ukulele musician and composer from Honolulu, Hawaii.

Special guest performances on Friday night included the world-renowned talents of the BYU Ballroom Dance Company and Derek Hough, a master dancer and choreographer made famous by his appearances on Dancing with the Stars.

Additional Resources

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