RootsTech 2013: Future of family history will be found in the home

The family history centers of the future will be in the home, predicted in an address on March 23 during the RootsTech 2013 Family History and Technology Conference in Salt Lake City.

Elder Bradley, an associate executive director of the Family History Department, spoke on “the role of the family in family history.” His presentation during as part of a specialized track of training sessions at conference for priesthood leaders and other Church members with family history-related callings.

“Who is this family we all belong to, the great family of Adam?” he asked. “It’s a wonderful family, and it’s a growing family. … It is estimated that by the year 2015, there will be 9 billion people on the earth. It’s hard to conceive of such a number. But I’m telling you the Lord has prepared technology that makes it possible for us to begin to bind and connect all those family together.”

The Lord knows everyone individually, and He knows their families, Elder Bradley said. “We were first His family. We are those who are welding together these multi-generational families.”

The gravestones of any cemetery in the world contain a name, birth date, a dash and then a death date, he said.

Elder Bradley D. Foster of the Seventy speaks at RootsTech 2013.
Elder Bradley D. Foster of the Seventy speaks at RootsTech 2013.

“That little dash between the birth death date seems so small and insignificant, but our whole history lies within it,” Elder Foster remarked. “So while we often focus on discovering those dates, our love of our ancestors – the turning of our hearts to our fathers – comes forth from discovering the dash.”

Speaking of his own ancestors who lived in Germany, and using today’s social media vernacular, Elder Foster asked, “Do you know what I would give for one ‘tweet’ from my great-grandma Sauer, who lived in Germany and who wanted her boys to have a better life, and she put them on a boat with what meager means she had and sent to America, who she would never see again, or they her? I’d like to know about her, just a couple of lines about Grandma Sauer.”

He said that genealogy, understood in the traditional sense, “tends to pull us apart when we withdraw to our own private, personal computers. Family history brings us together, as we share stories and work together.

“Therefore, genealogy changes our charts; family history changes our hearts.”