BYU family history students, grads participate in RootsTech conference

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BYU junior Janae Brown and BYU graduate Lauren Wake volunteer at the BYU booth at the annual RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City. (Jenna Alton)

SALT LAKE CITY — Recent BYU graduate Lauren Wake said she fell in love at BYU — with family history.

On March 3, Wake joined hundreds of other BYU students and graduates at Family Discovery Day in Salt Lake City, the last day of the four-day RootsTech conference run by FamilySearch.

“It’s sort of bizarre, because you’re making connections with people that you’ve never met, and you can’t really ever meet in this life,” said Wake, who graduated with a degree in family history. “But it’s just being able to feel that you’re a part of something bigger, which is something that I think everyone craves.”

Family Discovery Day was a free event aimed at involving families and children in family history. Along with booths, workshops, keynote speakers and performances, families could play games and participate in cultural activities.

Instructors teach children dance as part of a cultural activity for children at the RootsTech conference. (Jenna Alton)

Janae Brown, a BYU junior studying family history, came to the event to volunteer at the BYU booth.

“It’s just neat that families are coming together, especially on a Saturday, for the Family Discovery Day,” Brown said.

Activities for children included a passport to check off tasks, sports and face painting.

Amber Larsen, who graduated from BYU with a degree in family history last April, now works for FamilySearch full-time. She said Family Discovery Day is a gateway to let children know family history can be for everyone.

BYU graduate Amber Larsen volunteers at the Family Search booth during RootsTech. (Jenna Alton)

“It’s not just looking at old pedigrees, it’s kind of interacting with the culture of your family and knowing who you are,” Larsen said.

Mindy Jacox, data analyst at FamilySearch, graduated from BYU last December. At Family Discovery Day, she oversaw the world sports area, which had different sports set up to represent different places and cultures.

“I just love the community feel of family history and the spirit that you can feel with everybody getting involved in a work that is so important in bringing families together,” Jacox said. “There’s no place I’d rather be on a Saturday morning.”

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