The Power of Connection series is brought to you in partnership with RootsTech Connect. This series was inspired by the discoveries and experiences of both volunteers and participants from the 21 Day Family Connections Experiment. Come explore WHY it’s important for us to connect with our families past and present. Join us as we draw upon the expertise of scholars, therapists, and practitioners, as well as individuals like you who have had personal experience with this power.

See the Power of Connections at RootsTech Connect.

Join us at the Family Connections Experiment at RootsTech!

You’ll have opportunities to join  incredible CONNECTION EVENTS at RootsTech Connect, LEARN MORE about the 21 Day Family Connections Experiment, and also to ENJOY our latest tools for connecting more with family past and present, and with our incredible community!

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hands for Case Studies class

Miya Jensen

Coralee Anderson
from Arizona, United States

Michael Brian Smith

Lisa Coffey

Sarah Garner

Case studies in Connection

First-hand accounts from people like you sharing their experience with the power of connection. 

Join these participants as they share their personal journey with the power of connection.

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Julianne Holt-Lundstad, PH.D.

Julianne Holt-Lunstad is a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University; the founding chair of the scientific advisory committee for the Coalition to End Social Isolation and Loneliness. 

Dr. Holt-Lunstad’s research is focused on understanding the long-term health effects, biological mechanisms, and effective strategies to mitigate risk and promote protection associated with social connection.  Her work has been seminal in the recognition of social isolation and loneliness as risk factors for early mortality. She serves as a scientific advisor and consults regularly for organizations across sectors aimed at addressing this issue. She has provided expert testimony in a US Congressional Hearing, expert recommendations for the US Surgeon Generals Emotional Well-Being in America Initiative, served as a member of the UK Cross Departmental Loneliness Team, and a member of a National Academy of Sciences consensus committee.


Watch VideoSyllabus  |  Slides  


The physical risks of loneliness are real. Come learn the science behind why connection is so important. 

Power of Connection

Connections have benefits for your physical health. 

Aspects of a Relationship:

  • Structural aspect: Having people in your life.
  • Relationship Functions: Have people you can count on.
  • Quality: Meaningful, satisfying & positive relationships.

Risk of earlier death:

  • Loneliness increases risk by 26%
  • Social Isolation increases risk by 29%
  • Living Alone increases risk by 32%
Social Connections Have Profound Effects
amy nielson

Amy Nielson, CMHC

Watch VideoSyllabus  |  Slides  


Connection is a basic need just like food, water, and air, let’s talk about why.

Every person has EMOTIONS

Emotions help us meet our NEEDS

One of those vital needs is CONNECTION

Emotions serve a function. 

  • Emotion sensation comes from CHEMICALS released in the body 
  • Oxytocin is a vital need
  • Trigger Oxytocin through connection!



Childhood Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Attention issues
  • Difficulty regulating themselves 
  • Anger

Adult Symptoms

  • Low mood
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Lack of Motivation 

Sydney Jorgensen Walker


Watch VideoSyllabus  |  Slides  


What a reporter learned from interviewing strangers about hard experiences and why it was easier to gather their stories than you might think. Learn and apply these same principles to interviewing your family.

Sydney Walker Power of Connection series
  1. Every family has happy and hard stories. We need to tell both.               
  2. Healing looks different for everyone.
  3. People are more willing to talk about hard things than we might think. They just need an invitation.


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.



Family History is now a multibillion-dollar industry and science is playing a greater role each year. DNA kits help us uncover our family stories and additional research is helping us understand how connecting to our family stories can help children and adults cope with the effects of stress, anxiety, depression, and build resilience. Come learn more about why family connection matters.

Devin Ashby Power of Connection Series

How would you describe your family?

Find Safe Places to Share

  • “A key element . . . “for both the teller and the listener, is the sharing of positive moments, alongside the ability to bounce back from difficult ones.” -Martha Driessnack

Documenting family connection

Connect with your family

  • “Pull up your dinner table… and talk about your family and build family connections! That’s what’s most important.” -Devin




Olivia is the founder of the Family Connections Experiment, a project focused on connecting families past and present and measuring the psychological benefits of increasing those connections. She’s also a professional presenter for genealogy and other educational conferences and the director of her local family history center.   Amidst her busy schedule she has learned to use her technological savvy and 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.


family connections experiment

As a 21 day social experiment that explores the psychological benefits of daily connections with family past and present we are committed to helping people of all ages and backgrounds recognize and experience these benefits through our compilation of resources including pre-made plans, a quick and easy idea generator and more!

Olivia Jewell Power of Connection series

What is it? A social experiment exploring the psychological benefits of daily connections with family past and present.

21 days

Engage in fun, easy and unique family connecting activities for as little as 5 minutes a day for 21 days


Participants take a survey to gauge their mood before and after the experiment.


Use our library of resources including our quick and easy Connections Idea Generator and themed 21 Day plans.


Explore our compilation of sources about the power of connection, including our own experiment results and resources.

How to participate or Contribute?


Visit our website to join the experiment, stay notified of our monthly featured plans, take the survey each month you participate, enjoy connecting for 21 days, and give us your feedback at the end.


We’re a community project, built by the community for the community. If you have fun activity or plan ideas you’d like to share or talents you like to develop, come join our team or share your ideas on our website.


Feeling Connected: Mental Health Nuggets series

A mental health provider’s perspective, tips, tools and knowledge on the importance of healthy connection in our lives. 5 minute mental health nugget with Amy Nielson, CMHC; followed by a live Q&A session.

See Here

Experiment Results

At the Connections Experiment, we draw attention to the benefits that come from participating in family connections, provide a broadened and unique perspective of what family history is, and invite others to try family history and increase their connections. We invite participants to increase connection by participating in our 21-day experiments with other participants worldwide. Experiments include a mood-measuring survey, pre-made participation plans available on our website and other educational and connecting events and tools throughout our website and social channels.

See Here


Research is starting to substantiate how connecting to our family stories in simple ways can help people cope with the effects of stress, anxiety, depression, and find healing. The Links and resources below are a few examples of this, and we expect to see more and more material published each year. Let us know if this information is helpful and if you have more to add to the list, please tell us!

See Here

21 Day Plans

Take the work out of connection. Follow along with one of our themed plans to take the guess work out of jumping into family history. Each month we will feature a different theme designed to help you explore all aspects of family connections.  

See Here


We’ve reached out to several companies who had you in mind when they created their products. Their products are built to make connecting with family past and present easier and fun! Check out some of these perks that they’ve generously donated to help you with your commitment to connecting more.

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We love to connect with our community and to hear your ideas.  There are so many ways you can contribute to this project.  You can share with us your ideas for plans, connection activities or how-to videos for our blog.  You can also sign up to host one of our monthly end-of-experiment Twitter parties, sign up for our monthly contributor’s email or volunteer your time with us. 

See Here

One Response

That's A Wrap!

We've concluded our experiment!

Thank you for participating! We've loved connecting with you!

We want to keep our resources available as long as possible, and will continue to do so while the funds last. Our products and digital downloads will also remain available through the end of the year, these funds will be used to support the website, so be sure to grab them soon. 


Complement your 21day experiment with Your DNA Guide—the Book. It takes you step-by-step through the various ways of using DNA to answer questions about your origins.


Joining us from RootsTech Connect? Press play!

(Be sure to visit our shop and use the 20% off code ROOTSTECH)

Choose Your reminder SErvice


Receive daily emails with your daily plan prompts and information about other events and connection opportunities.

CLICK HERE and enter your email address to be added to this email list.



Receive a text before events.

TEXT the message @FCE-Events to the number 81010.  *If you have trouble, try texting @FCE-Events to (224) 324-3285. 


Download the Connections Experiment App from the
Google Play store for easy access to daily plan prompts.


Join Us

We’re gearing up for our next experiment starting October 1, 2020 for Family History month!

We would love to have you join us! Simply sign up below and we’ll send you a reminder when the initial survey and plans are up! 

We can’t wait to participate in another experiment with you!