News Release

Family Discovery Day at RootsTech London

‘Discover, gather, and connect’ were the themes of the family discovery day at RootsTech London on Saturday 26 October. Nearly 5,000 additional attendees came from across the UK to hear speakers and participate in family discovery activities and user-friendly technology workshops to learn ways to find their ancestors. 


Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife Sister Susan Bednar addressed those who came to this special discovery experience. They shared personal stories of their British heritage and led the group in a hands-on experience via the FamilySearch apps.

“You are a link to the past and a link to the generations yet to come,” Elder Bednar said. “No matter our current personal situation, every one of us is a member of an extended multi-generational family.”


Elijah Willis (15) said that hearing from Elder Bednar was great because he usually only gets to see him on broadcasts of the Church’s global conference, and “today it is in person – it is encouraging to hear directly from him.”

Sister Bednar encouraged the youth to help their parents with technology. She said, “We are all gatherers and we all play a role. Each person of the family has unique interests and skills that they specifically bring to the experience.”


Referring to the FamilySearch ‘Relatives Around Me’ feature, Jemima Willis (12) said, “You can go on the app and find relatives right here all around. I also did the compare a face experience and I found out that the celebrity I look like is Margaret Thatcher. I also look most like my dad.” “It is really inspiring and uplifting to be here with so many people who believe like me,” Jemima added.

Her father Robert Willis said that attending the conference “inspires me to get more involved in family research and make it more of a focus in my life.”


Joe and Lindsey Hull brought their children so that they could see Elder Bednar and help them learn about how family history can bless their lives. Their son Jacob (11) especially enjoyed seeing where his ancestors came from.


Thirteen-year-old Faith said, “I’ve learned that I’m related to Donny Osmond! It was pretty cool because I had no idea, and he’s always been my nan’s favourite.”

She went on to say, “It’s just nice realising that we have so many ancestors because normally, if family history wasn’t ‘a thing’, I wouldn’t know how many ancestors and family members there really are.” Faith loves to discover her family tree.


Amelia Pacini (9) said that for her, family discovery is “finding out about your family and also what you’re about.”


Amelia’s mother Rosalene Pacini said that she hoped her children would “come away with an excitement and curiosity to learn and discover and internalise the importance of this work.”
Sabine White (8) said that every Sunday her mum tells a story about her ancestors and “it’s really interesting.” Sabine says she hasn’t started family history yet but her mum “is getting it ready for me.”

Her mum Amber said, “We came here with our kids to get them involved with family history. I think they see a little bit of themselves [in this work]. It always tears me up because I’m so grateful to [my ancestors]. Everything I have is because of those decisions that they made. So, it’s really wonderful to me to be able to do that and that I can do it from my little iPhone! Centuries of stuff is right there with pictures and all sorts of things. It’s amazing.”


In his closing remarks, Elder Bednar invoked blessings of “closeness and joy” and divine protection as families, for those engaged in family discovery. 


Tannia Castro (16) said that she learned more about the spiritual influence that draws people to identify, document, and cherish their family members, and how family discovery can benefit everyone. 

Her mother Tannia Hidalgo said, “I hold on to the promises of Elder Bednar when he said we will be strong and be able to withstand the pressures of the world.”



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