News Release

RootsTech Celebrates Connection at the World Expo in Dubai

FamilySearch helps people discover, share and preserve heritage

FamilySearch International, a global nonprofit and the world’s largest family history organization, launched RootsTech 2022 at the World Expo in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on March 3-5, 2022. Guests were invited from across the Middle East to discover the latest technologies to globally connect families and preserve heritage for future generations. The annual RootsTech conference is a virtual event which attracted millions of attendees from around the world. 

The World Expo in Dubai is a six-month event running from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, and has brought the world together under the theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.” It is the first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region. Over 192 countries are participating, providing immersive cultural experiences for guests from around the world.

In keeping with the World Expo theme of “Connection,” FamilySearch sponsored two events—a special luncheon at the United States Pavilion under the theme of "Connecting Families, Preserving Heritage” and a RootsTech event at the Opportunity Forum. Luncheon guests came from across the Middle East and North Africa, including government ministers, record custodians, and religious and cultural affairs leaders.

Guest speaker His Highness Sheikh Salem bin Sultan bin Saqr Al-Qasimi, from the ruling family of Sharjah and Ras Al-Khaimah, shared how our family stories connect us and the importance of connecting to our families in order to preserve our heritage — past, present and in the future. He said the family is central to the culture and way of life in the United Arab Emirates.

“I find great inspiration from learning about and remembering our ancestors and what they stood for and walked towards,” Sheikh Al-Qasimi said. “Thanks to the work of FamilySearch, we are able to learn more about our ancestors.”

FamilySearch is a 125-year-old global nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch helps preserve the world’s genealogical records to help individuals make and share meaningful family connections and to become stewards of their family legacies. It has collaborated with over 10,000 archives in over 100 countries.

Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, talked about the importance of preserving the stories of our ancestors.

“Our purpose is to help people to gather the stories of our ancestors, by preserving them, gathering them and connecting them to multiple generations to come,” he said. “All we want to do is to provide inspiring experiences that bring joy to all of you as you discover, gather, connect to your families, past, present and future.”

Rockwood also said that he is inspired by the people of the region for their innate belief in the importance of families and the significance they feel for preserving their heritage and family stories.

FamilySearch demonstrated how it is developing technologies that expedite the preservation of and access to genealogical records that will make cultural and heritage preservation easier while also helping individuals make more inspiring family discoveries and connections. People around the world have discovered that it is an uplifting social and technological endeavor to  work together to preserve cultural heritage through individual records and stories.

Elder Kevin S. Hamilton, chairman of the board for FamilySearch, shared some ideas for preserving families, heritage and culture and how modern technology can help people preserve the past.

“As we connect to each other in a common purpose to preserve our family and share our heritage, we believe the next generation will be positively impacted,” Elder Hamilton said. “We have great hope for the future as we continue to work together to document and preserve the human story. This will allow us to better understand our shared humanity, our common foundation, our common heritage. Our goal is to try to put together the entire family tree of humanity."

Building on the World Expo's theme of "Connection," Elder Jeffrey H. Singer, second counselor in the Middle East/Africa North Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke about strengthening families in need through the generous humanitarian relief provided in the Middle East by Latter-day Saint Charities.

Visitors to the United States Pavilion were given the opportunity to discover their personal family history and to build and print their own family tree to take home as a keepsake.

FamilySearch hopes that its sponsored events like the Dubai World Expo capture the imagination of guests and help foster a shared love of connecting the human family through family history. “Everyone has a history and a story, and hearing, sharing, and preserving those stories makes each of us better,” said Rockwood.

Guests also discovered the latest innovations available from FamilySearch to help preserve and provide online access to genealogical records worldwide through handwriting recognition, artificial intelligence and harnessing the power of online volunteers to create highly searchable name indexes to those records. provides free access to billions of genealogical records online from hundreds of countries.   

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