Family history is building a family story ‘one brick at a time,’ says CEO of FamilySearch

‘Our passion is to help you find your missing bricks,’ says Steve Rockwood to kick off RootsTech 2024

As a young parent, whenever Steve Rockwood would leave home for a business trip, he would keep a toy Lego brick in his pocket to remind him of home. Wherever he was in travels, he would reach his hand into his pocket, hold the brick and remember his family.

“I would remember who I was,” said Rockwood, now CEO of FamilySearch International. “I would remember what I stood for. Most importantly, I would remember them. And when I remembered them, I would act differently. I would actually act better.”

In a Feb. 29 keynote speech to kick off RootsTech 2024, Rockwood emphasized the conference’s theme, “Remember.” Sponsored by FamilySearch — a global nonprofit sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — RootsTech is the world’s largest family history conference.

This year’s RootsTech, said Rockwood, “we will use the latest technology to create goodness, light and connection; because that is who you are. And that is why you’re here: to connect the world, to help people remember who they really are and what they stand for.”

‘Your story is worth remembering’

The need to remember and be remembered can be a simple yet powerful thing, Rockwood said.

He shared with the audience “Your Story Is Worth Remembering,” a new FamilySearch video. In the recording, grandparents were shown a short film of their descendants saying what they will always remember about their relative’s legacy. “It made me feel like my story was worth remembering,” said one grandparent in the video. “I realized that it’s important to leave [my descendants] a story of my life,” said another.

“Who do you know who needs to feel what you just felt?” Rockwood asked after the video. “Who needs the reminder that their story is worth remembering? Who comes to mind? Who’s coming to your heart right now?”

He encouraged listeners to reach out to their loved ones and express how much they truly mean.

FamilySearch CEO Steve Rockwood speaks at RootsTech at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Finding missing bricks of genealogy

Rockwood said that “family history — like Legos — is where families, young and old, build their family story together, one brick at a time. And as you build, our job at FamilySearch is to simply ask one question: ‘How can we help?’ Our passion is to help you find your missing bricks, no matter what they are and no matter where they are.”

FamilySearch is passionate about helping people find the “missing bricks” in their genealogy, said Rockwood. These bricks can be found in a vast collection of resources in archives all around the world.

“We just want to help you find them,” he said. “... Whatever you need to build your family story. Whatever you need to bless your family.”

Although this effort may be tough, Rockwood assured that “if that even requires us to take off our shoes and walk around the world barefoot, waiting to hit that excruciating pain that only comes when you step on a Lego piece, we will do it, because that one Lego piece helps us remember who we are and what we stand for. And that is to help you.”

After the keynote, attendees were each given a single Lego brick with the RootsTech logo, a physical reminder throughout RootsTech that home and family are never too far away.

People walk through the expo room at RootsTech at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
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