Home Community RootsTech 2023 occurs in Salt Lake City

RootsTech 2023 occurs in Salt Lake City

RootsTech 2023 occurs in Salt Lake City
RootsTech host Kirby Heyborne and Family Search CEO Steve Rockwood at the Salt Palace Convention Center. Photo credit: Church Newsroom

This weekend, the three-day genealogy conference, RootsTech, took place to inform and inspire people from all over the globe to participate in building their family history online.

On Thursday, Jordin Sparks kicked off RootsTech with her keynote address. She shared stories from her life — such as being the youngest winner in American Idol history — and spoke about the importance of family. She also performed 4 songs live during her address, which can be found on the RootsTech website.

Friday, photographer and author Me Ra Koh delivered her keynote address on finding resiliency through your ancestors and your own challenges. She learned that the shadows help us embrace the light.

Actor Sean Astin was the keynote speaker Saturday morning, where he shared his daughters’ efforts in family history, tracing their roots back to the Roman Emperor Charlemagne. His interest in family history was sparked by his daughters’ tenacity for the subject.

In a text Astin shared with the audience, his daughter said, “It’s a way to learn about the ancestors that live on through me. We are the key to our ancestors’ eternal life, and through my children, in a way, I will live forever. So it is important to honor that.”

Elder Gerrit W. Gong from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife Sister Susan Lindsay Gong were keynote speakers on Saturday afternoon, the last day of the conference, for Family Discovery Day. Elder and Sister Gong shared about their experience investigating their family histories as they traveled to Hawaii and Ireland.

“Our time in Hawaii and Ireland has been deeply meaningful for us,” Sister Gong said. “Making new friends and meeting family, tracing our history and creating memories in places where our ancestors lived. This has brought us closer to those who made possible our lives. There is a special spirit in this endeavor.”

Sister Gong talked about sharing family stories with family members.

“I hope that we will each make an effort to discover our own family stories,” Sister Gong concluded. “To record them and share them with our own children and grandchildren. I hope that we will all gain greater appreciation for the struggles, courage, faith and sacrifice of those who have gone before. And I pray that as we come to know our ancestors, we will in gratitude perform proxy ordinances for them in holy temples to enable them to have all the blessings of the gospel.”

Elder Gong shared his testimony of the blessings that come from time spent in the temple and learning who we are as followers of Christ.

“As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I testify we can find new beginnings, covenant belonging, divine identity in Jesus Christ,” Elder Gong said. “Ultimately, our deepest identity comes from our relationship with God, including as found in the house of the Lord.”

Their presentation ended with a new music video of “The Faith of Our Fathers” sung in Irish and English by Alex Sharpe of the musical ensemble, Celtic Woman.

Watch the Gong’s address on YouTube, and find all other addresses and classes on the RootsTech website.