I’ve never attended a conference on such a large scale but the organizers pulled it off. They enlisted first rate keynote presenters and lecturers. There was something for everyone in the exhibit hall. It appears they anticipated most of the needs of those attending.

My biggest complaint was not having enough time to attend more classes, or visit all 170 vendors in the exhibit hall!

Today’s keynote featured:

DSC_0260A.J. Jacobs, is a popular author of four New York Times best sellers. He entertained us with the tales from his “Bible Project,” where he tried to follow all the rules in the Bible. He said the part about not coveting or lying was hard to do in New York City. Genealogy changed his life. He said, “I realized I’m connected to something so much bigger than myself.”  Jacobs is working to connect the world with a family tree. He will host a Global Family Reunion on 6 Jun 2015, with his goal for the reunion to be the biggest family reunion ever.

DSC_0263Donny Osmond. Once the  teen idol, Osmond is the recipient of 33 gold records and seller of 120 million albums. He starred on Broadway, hosted a British television series, and currently stars in Las Vegas. With all that success, you would think Osmond might have his nose in the air, but no, he is as charming today as he was years ago.

Osmond has embraced family history and said, “When you discover more about your ancestors, you discover more about yourself.” He told of his father’s struggles and persistence in his childhood of poverty and said, “I honor that man. I thank God every day that I come through his DNA.”

He shared that his competition on “Dancing with the Stars,” was one of the hardest things he’d ever done. Finally he said, “Today, you’ve never been this old before and you’ll never be this young again.”

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The closing event featured the cast of BYUtv’s Studio C, a comedy program and David Archuleta from American Idol. Recognizing the need to reach out to the younger generation to help them become interested in family history, the organizers couldn’t have picked a better program. Studio C and David Archuleta are both very popular among the teens. The younger generation turned out by the thousands for this program and they loved it.2015-02-14 17.45.11DSC_0334

So, FGS/RootsTech pulled it off, the largest genealogy conference EVER. My hat’s off to all who worked so hard to make this an inspiring and educational experience. THANK YOU FGS, RootsTech, and the sponsors!