Review of the 1st Story@Home Conference

Well you missed a great event last Fri and Sat, which was the first ever Story@Home conference held at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. The event was sponsored by Cherish Bound and hosted by FamilySearch.

Story@Home 2012 audience at the Conference Center, Salt Lake City, UT

There were 3 tracks – Family History, Storytelling and Blogging. What tied it all together was a love of stories.

Now there were 3 tribes, family historians, the professional and serious storytellers and big name bloggers (bloggers with thousands and thousands of followers, not a few hundred).

At first these tribe members weren’t sure what to do with these other tribes, I mean story belonged to them right? What were these other people doing here?
There were some that did get it or were at least willing to explore it further…and they were the winners. Being open-minded enough to learn from the “other tribes” produced rays of inspiration and excitement about their own area, but also gave insights about how implementing ideas from the other’s domain could add dimension and depth to their own.

Syd Lieberman, professional storyteller stated, “Went to the Story@Home conference thinking that genealogical facts need to be put in a story. Left realizing they are the story.” 


    • David Rencher sharing his love of family history stories
    • Professional storytellers, Kim Weitkamp, Syd Lieberman and Teresa Clarke demonstrated how to enthrall and engage an audience with family stories and leave us begging for more.
    • Rustin Banks and Rachael Herrscher’s inspiring remarks about the power of blogging and connecting with story.
    • Goodie bags for everyone attending – weighing over 2.5 lbs each with hundreds of dollars worth of discounts and samples, including a free copy of the book, “Visiting Your Ancestral Town” by Carolyn Schott!
    • The Family Story Slam – this was a BIG hit and so much fun. Everyone came away from this and the Writer’s Workshop inspired to share their family stories and believing they could do it. It was so much dang fun!
    • The musical group The Lower Lights preformed before the story slam and was a special treat for me, as their bluegrass hymn revival music reminded me of my grandparents from the South and who loved this music. Beautiful!
Carol Rice speaking at Story@Home Conference 2012

Here are some of the comments that other’s made about the conference, so you don’t just have to take my word for it!

“My husband is on fire. He’s got so many ideas for using story to involve the kids in his family history. This conference opened his eyes to the additional power story will have for turning hearts. It’s filling a gap he felt, when the kids didn’t show an interest in genealogy.”

“I learned everything is a story, that is how I see it now. My fifteen-year-old daughter and I attended, on our then hour drive home we talked story the whole time. We are excited to start gleaning more stories and writing the great ones that our family tells and retells. My daughter loved the inter-generational aspect about all this.”

“This has been life shifting. I feel embraced by story. It touches everything. I feel like my ears have been re-tuned for story listening. I can’t wait to teach all this to my eight children. This conference changes everything going forward. I feel so blessed.

“Even though I’ve always loved finding the stories of the past, I haven’t gotten as many stories from the living as I should and I haven’t shared stories with my kids. That’s going to change now.”

“I don’t want this to end. I’m coming next year and bringing more people – if I tell them, they will come!”

“This conference not only turned my heart to the stories of my family history but it forged deeper ties to my family here and now. We are our best selves when we are together.”

To all my genealogy friends, ask yourselves – to what end are you doing all this research for? Genealogy needs to include more than just our research, our sources, our documents. It needs to include the family history stories that will engage, delight and enrich our family and posterities lives. We need to tell our family history stories better. Otherwise what’s the point? Family History is more than an interesting hobby and past time, it is the glue that can hold our families together.

Thank you Carol Rice for you the inspiration of Story@Home conference and thank you FamilySearch for hosting and making it happen.

I am so humbled and thrilled to have played a small part in having it come about and grateful for all the new friends I made. See you next year!


  1. Hi Valerie,

    I was wondering who the bloggers that were in the third track were. Are we genealogy bloggers missing a significant number of story bloggers?

    Thanks — Randy

  2. Not that I could have added a second trip to Salt Lake so soon after SLIG, but I had not heard of this event. Congratulations are your participation! Will this be an annual event? Love to hear more. What a great group and idea!

  3. The big name bloggers were: Today’s Mama – Rachael Herrscher, Rustin Banks- BlogFrog, C. Jane Run, Your Homebased Mom, Brassy Apple and The Backordered Life. They blog about a variety of subjects, but share their stories and do it very successfully.

  4. Valerie I absolutely loved your class! I can’t wait for this conference again next year. Thanks for your inspiration to start connecting to my family.

    • Thank you so much! I love encouraging others to find their family history and preserve their stories. Next year we hope to improve and make it even better! Stay tuned.

  5. I loved being a small part of this conference. Telling family stories, and bringing those stories to life by searching out one’s ancestral towns, feeds my passion for genealogy!

    Carolyn Schott

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