Salt Lake City Family History Conference: Family connections help create 'spirit of unity'

Published: Friday, April 30 2010 12:00 a.m. MDT

At a press conference earlier in the day, McCullough, FamilySearch CEO Jay Verkler, and Pam Sayre, director of education for the National Genealogical Society, talked about the importance of this kind of program.

"All history is family history," said McCullough, "it is through the family that we get to the vital nerve center of history. History is about life, one generation to another."

We have done an inadequate job of educating our children and grandchildren on the history of this country, McCullough said, "and that is primarily our fault. Enjoyment of history begins at home, at the dinnertable, with stories from our own families."

One of his ancestors was in the tannery business and specialized in making the finest harnesses and equipage for horses around. "And along came the automobile, and that was the end of his business. But instead of complaining and saying 'woe is me,' he decided to invest in electricity and started the McCullough Electric Company. It was because of the McCullough Electric Company that I got to go to Yale."

He also talked of his Scottish ancestors who were weavers — "I often think of them as I'm trying to weave together words" — and his Irish ancestors who were storytellers — "that's such a wonderful quality."

Sayre spoke of an ancestor who fought in the American Revolutionary War. "He was a poor, uneducated farmer. And he knew that if he and the others did not succeed they would be punished severely, even killed, but he believed in the cause. I am in awe of him and what he did. It is because of him that I get to enjoy all the freedoms that I have today."

There are lessons to be learned, people to know, stories to tell, said McCullough. "So, on we go, and aren't we lucky?"

e-mail: carma@desnews.com

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