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The Church News
Try this 21-day experiment to boost your mood, strengthen family connections during COVID-19. An article highlighting the first round of the experiment by Sydney Walker on TheChurchNews.Com
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About the project

The 21 Day Family Connections Experiment, a family history project, invites individuals to increase their connections with family past and present for a consecutive 21 days. Measuring the results with both a pre-experiment and post-experiment survey.

Studies have shown that having stronger family connections, including a personal understanding of your family’s history, can lead to increased resilience and self-confidence. Started during the world-wide pandemic, we, as a group of family historians, thought it would be an excellent time to do an informal study about how connecting with both living and deceased family members can contribute positively to our overall emotional health and mental well being.

The family history activities in this 21 day experience go beyond traditional genealogical tasks. In fact they are short, simple, engaging, fun and can be enjoyed by children and families. These family friendly activities include discovering and sharing interesting stories of living relatives and ancestors, playing family history games, learning quick and easy genealogy tools, recording and sharing your own unique stories, and more.

Why 21 days? Research suggests that the brain takes 21 days to adjust to significant changes, new habits, or positive lifestyle adjustments.

Most of all, we want to share the peace and joy that family connections can bring to your life through a broader perspective of family history, which includes family connections with both living and deceased relatives. We hope that as a result you will experience an increase in overall happiness as well as stronger family connections, just like we have!

Want to help build the project? Join our team, we have both Internships and Volunteer opportunities available, learn more:



Olivia Jewell

Project Manager, Founder

Olivia is a family history presenter who has presented at RootsTech, BYU Education Week, and other related events.

Amidst her busy schedule as a mom of four she has learned to incorporate her technological savvy and family history experience to teach busy people of all ages simple ways they can incorporate family history into daily life using modern technology to make it easy and fun.

Camille Mecham

Assistant Project Manager, Founding Member

Camille Mecham is from southeast Idaho. She still lives there with her husband and 3 kids. 

She has taught at the Rexburg FamilySearch center, the South East Idaho Genealogical conference and at RootsTech in 2020.

She runs The Mommy Genealogist where she shares how to share family history with your family, especially kids.

Taralyn ParkeR

Assistant Project Manager, Founding Member

Taralyn Parker is a journalist turned family historian who runs the blog Keep Moving Forward With Me.

Whether she is unraveling record clues or traveling to ancestors’ hometowns, Taralyn is passionate about sharing family history and stories. She is social media manager for her local Family History Center where she regularly teaches classes.

Kaitlyn Ward

Teen Council Coordinator, Founding Member

When I was thirteen I had a close friend who committed suicide, I often felt confused, depressed, and disconnected from the people I loved.

A friend felt inspired to teach me how to make connections with my ancestors via family history. As I dove deeper into my family history and discovered the stories of my ancestors. These stories brought me hope and helped me while I go through the trials life throws at me.

Family connections have helped me learn coping tools that have helped me find more joy in my life.

Michelle Gardner

Social Media Manager

As long as I can remember, I’ve been teaching others of all ages how to use tech to their advantage the easiest way possible. I LOVE connecting with people and creating opportunities for individuals to connect with others, so much so I got a degree in Recreation and Non-profits. This love has also driven me to genealogy work and helping others get through genealogy roadblocks in their own family history.

Sydney Orton

Media Relations Manager, Founding Member

I am grateful to be a member of such an amazing team! I started doing genealogy when I was 12. I was lucky to have grandparents who inspired a love of my ancestors.

Eight years later, I still love connecting with my family past and present! I am a student at BYU in the Advertising program. Other hobbies include musical theatre, hiking, and curating niche meme pages. 

Sarah Garner

Brand/Website Manager, Founding Member

Sarah is a wife, mom, graphic designer, story lover and family history nerd from Gilbert, Arizona. 

She is the founder of The Kindred Press and Sarah Garner Design. She is passionate about helping others create connections in their lives and businesses and to feel the significance of their own stories. 

In her free time, you can find her playing with her cute kids, enjoying nature, reading or baking and eating pie. 

Devin Ashby

Experiment Manager, Founding Member

Devin Ashby is a Global Outreach Manager for FamilySearch, the largest genealogical organization in the world.

Devin has taught family history for years and has over 300,000 online views. In 2004 he received bachelor’s degrees in History and Spanish and the following year earned a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University.

Russ Seigenberg

Psychologist, Ph.D., Founding Member

Dr. Russ Seigenberg has a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Brigham Young University.

He has worked at Bear River Mental Health in Logan, Utah, LDS Family Services and Utah State University. He also maintained a private counseling practice until retiring in 2020.


Jared Bender

Social Media

Quincy Walker

Social Media

Patrice Winn

Special Projects, Founding Member

Christine Hess


D Michael Hansen

Founding Member

Kevin Winn

Psychology, Founding Member

Lisa Papenfuss


Amy Ward

Founding Member

Shenley Puterbaugh


Monique Riley


We'd love to hear from you!

Have a great experience to share? Questions or ideas you’d like us to hear? We’d love to hear from you!