“Facts get recorded. Stories get remembered.”
Roots Tech Highlights
This past weekend saw more than 70,000 family history aficionados pack the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City for Roots Tech 2018. I was a #NotAtRootsTech follower, and can attest that the convention has generously given access to a number of strong resources for those of us who weren’t able to be there in person. This year’s theme: “Connect. Belong.” A few highlights:
- Watch the full keynote from Humans of New York’s Brandon Stanton, who talks about the power of listening, authentic storytelling, and his journey (and challenges) in following his dream.
- Laura Hedgecock of Treasure Chest of Memories shared her tips for converting family history research into compelling narratives in her presentation, “Choosing Details: The Secret to Compelling Stories.”
- Former Olympian Scott Hamilton admitted that, like most RootsTech attendees, he came to the conference in search of answers, and as an adoptee with a complicated medical history, “he came to the right place.”
- Genealogist and host of Genealogy Roadshow D. Joshua Taylor spoke about the need for diversity in family history technologies, and has made his slideshow available online.
- Did you watch the Academy Awards Sunday night? The song “Remember Me” from the Disney-Pixar film Coco (about a Mexican boy who travels to the Land of the Dead to discover an ancestor—see more below) took home the Oscar for best song. It was performed theatrically during the awards, but singer Natalie LaFourcade gave an enchanting acoustic performance at Roots Tech first.
History Made Personal
WAR STORIES, BURIED
“I don’t know why my father really never spoke of his exploits during the war—never mentioned that his commanding officer had nominated him for a Legion of Merit award, or that he led a team of men searching for stolen treasure,” writes Susan Fisher Sullam in the Washington Post. “But his files...gave me a glimpse of a father I had never known.”
THE YOUNG & THE WRITERLY
Why do we assume that writing memoirs is a task reserved for our elders? Samantha Shubert of NYC’s Remarkable Life Memoirs offers up a compelling argument for leaving age out of the memoir-writing equation. Oh, and there are a fair number of wonderful reading suggestions in this post, as well!
Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Tenement Museum on Manhattan's Lower East Side, and I wrote about my experience—and some book recommendations—in my latest post. Don’t worry: Even if you’re nowhere near NYC, there are ways to engage with the immigrant families and their stories that are beyond worthwhile.
“REMEMBER ME,” INDEED
“There is a mythic truth to the central idea” of the animated film Coco, writes Amanda Lacson of NY-based Family Archive Business: “When we remember our ancestors, they do live on.” How amazing that this family film encourages us to remember our family stories!
Nancy West, a Boston–area personal historian, says, “My goal is to facilitate the [memoir-writing] process, whether that means making it easy or just making it less difficult.” What differentiates the easy projects from the more demanding ones?
...and a Few More Links!
- The NYC restaurant where grandmas cook to share their cultures
- New feature film, Nostalgia, explores the sorting that families find themselves facing as relatives age or die
- The work of American photographers who experimented with photography on paper is the subject of a new exhibit at the Getty
- Memoirist Dani Shapiro says goodbye to her blog but finds new ways to explore the creative process with her readers
- Archivist Margot Note provides guidance on how to identify and date historical photographs
- Milwaukee-based personal historian Mary Patricia Voell of Legacies, LLC was featured in the March issue of Reunions magazine (see page 10)!
- And congrats to Carol McLaren for setting up a new website for her Arizona-based personal history business, Unique Life Stories.