Thursday's Keynote speaker at RootsTech was the actress Patricia Heaton. She comes from a large family. Patricia had three sisters and a brother, and her mother was one of fifteen. She drew up in Ohio where so many people were related to her, meeting by accident a hitchhiker who turned out to be a cousin and a bartender who was a second cousin. Her grandmother was even declared Catholic Mother of the Year for the USA in 1946 and got a medal from the Pope.
But the draw of family didn't initially make itself felt on Patricia. She decided to become an actress and spent thirteen years doing what she called "survival jobs" before her career took off. As an aspiring actress she loved being the centre of attention. But having children changed everything. She was often pregnant or in a post-baby fug while making Everybody Loves Raymond and doesn't remember much about the storylines. But she does remember all about her four children, who, along with her husband, are now of paramount importance in her life.
"Family is that place where you get your sense of self."
Whitney Peterson from FamilySearch came on stage to tell Patricia about her family history. Patricia had told FamilySearch that she was interested how her various family lines made it to Ohio. As the stories of her German (13% of her DNA), English (24%) and Irish (63%) ancestors were revealed she squealed with the excitement of it. She was so excited when she was presented with a book with the results of the research into her ancestry. Family History has that impact on many of us.
"In the end we're all connected and we have to look for the connections, not the differences."
And what is this about the perfect feet? One of her survival jobs in New York was modeling shoes for buyers from the major stores as her feet were size six, which was the standard sample size. But it turned out that not only was she size six, but she was the perfectly proportioned size six, so she was sent to Milan and Perugia in Italy to model shoes. She had never been overseas before, and only on a plane once before she found herself in the high fashion world unable to speak any Italian.
If you want to watch the session, it is already online here.