By Benjamin Williamson
Family history professionals and enthusiasts will once again gather to BYU campus for the four-day 39th annual Family History and Genealogy Conference July 30 through Aug. 3.
“Strengthening Ties that Bind Families Together Forever” is the theme for this year”s conference, a repeat of last year”s theme and the newly adopted permanent theme for all subsequent conferences.
“It will be amazing,” said Robert Holcombe, project administrator.
Holcombe also said it is expected that more than 600 people will attend.
The Family History and Genealogy Conference combines high-profile keynote speakers with the opportunity to attend several hour-long classes each day.
A major focus of this year”s conference is the new Family Search database.
“More details will be released about the new Family Search database system developed by the Church,” Holcombe said.
Not only will attendees be taught more about the new system, they will also be given the opportunity to learn the program firsthand.
“We have special labs for hands-on training,” Holcombe said. “In order to use the new system people will have to be trained.”
That training will play an important part in how genealogy is done across America.
“This will change the duplication of work and create a more useful conduit to family history and genealogy,” Holcombe said.
These training labs will be offered each of the four days, along with more than 115 classes ranging from the very general, Beginning Family History, to the very specific, 19th Century German Emigration. Participants can take up to five classes each day, Tuesday through Thursday, and only four on Friday.
Keynote speakers range from BYU professor Fred Woods to Craig Miller, director of the Member”s Needs Division of the Family and Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The highest-profile speaker will be Elder Gary J. Coleman of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
“We are very privileged to have a general authority be our keynote speaker,” Holcombe said. “The fact that he is the assistant executive director for the Family and Church History Department makes it especially exciting to have him attend and address us.”
The cost of attendance is $175. Registration is available online until July 30 at http://ce.byu.edu/cw/cwgen.