29 July 2010

2010 BYU Conference on Family History

Is it just me or is this year all about family history writing? It may be that my eyes and ears are filtering in more information about my special interest this year at the BYU 2010 Family History conference, but I am definitely seeing and hearing more about writing family history this year than ever before. There was a whole track specifically on writing yesterday with such luscious titles as "Uncovering your Ancestors' Stories," "How to Write a Page-Turning (But True) Family History," "Illustrate Your Family History Using Unusual Sources," etc., etc. I sat in the same room for 3 hours straight! More about these topics will follow on a day when I'm not watching the clock to avoid being late for the plenary speaker this morning.

Even if I were not on the lookout for such sessions, I could not have avoided the messages of the keynote speaker, Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander who opened the conference on Tuesday with "It is More Than About Names." Here's a quote from the newspaper article about his talk.

"Knowledge of the historic context in which our ancestors lived, the details of their lives and the experience that shaped their personalities are essential to understanding of ourselves," Elder Neuenschwander said.

More from my notes about his talk: The record-keepers of the world are an uncommon lot with uncommon respect for history. We owe them a great debt of gratitude. ... We become obscure within a generation or two unless we establish family tradition and history that binds generations together. Unless we record experiences of our own lives and of the lives of our family members, we will be isolated and alone. There are treasures of knowledge that could be lost if we do not act to preserve and record them.

I'll post about yesterday's plenary speaker, Curt B. Witcher, later. His topic: "This I Believe: The Urgent Need to Record Living History." Yes, the talk was as good as it sounds. Gotta go now.

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