20,000+ Family Historians Under One Roof

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When was the last time you saw more than 20,000 family historians under one roof? For those who were at RootsTech 2015, the answer is “February 14, 2015.”

In fact, there were huge crowds at the combined RootsTech and Federation of Genealogical Societies conferences all week. There were more than 12,000 people in the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City every day but the crowd became even bigger on Saturday with Family Discovery Day at RootsTech. This free one-day event was aimed primarily families and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was for families and, indeed, dozens of children were in the hall throughout the day. That, plus the RootsTech conference plus the FGS conference, all being held at the same place, combined to make what was probably the biggest genealogy conference in the world.

The General Sessions speakers included:

StoryWorth Wins First Place at RootsTech Innovator Showdown

The following announcement was written by the folks at StoryWorth:

SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 14, 2015StoryWorth, a San Francisco start up company that offers an email-based storytelling service, today swept the RootsTech Innovator Showdown, winning both first prize and the People’s Choice award, and claiming a purse of $15,000. RootsTech is a global conference hosted by FamilySearch.

The Innovator Showdown is the first-annual event where entrepreneurs from around the globe presented their web or mobile app on stage in front of a live audience, vying for a total of $25,000 in sponsor-contributed prize money.

Here is the Video I Told You About

In the February 12 edition of this newsletter, I wrote an article entitled Today’s Report from the RootsTech and FGS Conferences. The article is available at

Near the end of the article, I described the presentation made by one of the speakers:

“At the end of her talk, Tan Le received a standing ovation. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.

“I cannot possibly describe this talk properly. You HAVE to watch the video when it appears soon on You won’t forget it any time soon.”

The video is now available and I can only repeat, ” You HAVE to watch the video …”

2016 FGS National Conference Call for Presentation Proposals

The following announcement was written by the Federation of Genealogical Societies:

Deadline for Submissions is 10 April 2015

February 13, 2015 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announces a Call for Presentation Proposals for the FGS 2016 Conference, “Time Travel: Centuries of Memories,” to be held in Springfield, Illinois, Aug 31 – Sept 3, 2016. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum are within walking distance of the Prairie Capital Convention Center, the conference venue. The conference will be held in cooperation with the Illinois State Genealogical Society as local host. The deadline for submission of presentation proposals is Friday, 10 April 2015.

Today’s Report from the RootsTech and FGS Conferences

Today was day #2 of the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ annual conference and day #1 of RootsTech. Both are being held in the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City. Combining two conferences into one is a daring experiment and, so far, it appears to be working well.

Today’s Keynote Session kicked off at 8:30 AM and included one of the most fascinating stories I have ever heard. More on that in a moment. When the Keynote Session ended, the Exhibits Hall opened for the first time and the mob surged in. “Mob” is the only word I can think of to describe the crowd.

This mob was not unruly or anything, but a sea of humanity filed out of the Keynote Session and walked a few steps to the Exhibits Hall. This is a huge convention center with large hallways but not wide enough to accommodate perhaps 10,000 people simultaneously. I tried to walk out at the end of the Keynote Session and encountered a wall of people moving slowly. It was similar to a traffic slowdown on an Interstate highway. I turned around, found a chair, pulled out my iPad, and worked on my email for perhaps ten minutes. By that time the traffic jam had almost disappeared. I then put the iPad away and walked to the Exhibits Hall at a normal walking pace.

The Innovation Summit and the First Day of the FGS Conference in Salt Lake City

The long-awaited combined conferences of RootsTech and of the Federation of Genealogical Societies started today. I have been to a lot of genealogy conferences in the past 27 years but this was an event I will not soon forget. And that’s after only one day!

Total attendance at these combined events is expected to be about 20,000 people. That will break down into about 12,000 paid attendees at the RootsTech and FGS conferences plus an additional 8,000 or so adolescents and their family members who are expected to attend a one-day Family Discovery Day on Saturday. In addition, many of the sessions are being videotaped and will later be shown to about 200,000 more people at various family history events around the world. The presentations are being translated into ten different languages.

RootsTech 2015 Schedule

Are you planning to attend RootsTech next week? If so, you might want to first check out the Conference Schedule at in order to plan for the presentations you wish to attend.

Even better, you might want to download the mobile app that is available for iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone. Details may be found at For Android and Apple iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), you can use the QR code to the left for quicker access to the RootsTech mobile app. For all other web-enabled devices, point your mobile browser to and you will be directed to the proper app version for your particular device.

Ontario Genealogical Society Conference Registration Goes Live

The following announcement was written by the folks at the Ontario Genealogical Society:

Online registration is now open for this year’s Ontario Genealogical Society annual conference, “Tracks through Time” from 29-31 May 2015 at Georgian College Campus, Barrie, ON, Canada.

The conference theme “Tracks through Time” originates from the 130th Anniversary of the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway across Canada. Many family historians have their roots in the immigrant laborers who built this railway across our vast country. Other ancestors were tempted by the transportation routes and migration opportunities allowed by its completion. Still others worked for the railway company itself over the years to follow. As researchers, we “track” our family history through time in many ways, always attempting to ensure we are “tracking” the right people from the right line. The variations on “Tracks through Time” are endless.

Calling RootsTech Attendees: Ancestry Needs You!

The following announcement was written by the folks at

Ancestry depends on user input to help mold the future generation of their offerings. A range of opportunities are being planned here at RootsTech for participants to share their impressions of upcoming Ancestry features across multiple products. These will include both focus groups and individual interviews during the conference.

Preserve Your Family Documents and Photos at RootsTech 2015

RootsTech 2015 will be a 3-day event offering more than 200 classes; an expo hall of hundreds of exhibitors and sponsors, including interactive booths to assist in your family history journey; general sessions with well-known and inspiring speakers; and entertaining events at the end of each day. See my earlier article at for details.

One vendor in this year’s exhibits hall, EZ Photo-Scan, is inviting all attendees to bring their family pictures, documents, and any memorabilia that can be digitized, for free scanning on site.

Both the RootsTech 2015 and FGS 2015 Conferences will be Held on February 11–14

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and RootsTech are teaming up for a one-time special genealogy event at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, February 11–14, 2015. You can attend not one, but two, major genealogy conferences at the same time. If you can be in Salt Lake City those days, you won’t want to miss this event. It undoubtedly will be the largest genealogy gathering of the year in North America.

NOTE: I will be at the conferences also and will be hosting a dinner for readers of this newsletter on Saturday evening. I’ll write about the dinner in a separate article.

You are Invited to the EOGN Dinner after the RootsTech/FGS Conference in Salt Lake City

Do you think you will be hungry after the RootsTech/FGS Conference in Salt Lake City? Would you like to have dinner with a large group of genealogists? If so, join us for dinner! You are invited to join other genealogists on Saturday evening after the RootsTech 2015 conference for dinner. Rumor has it there will also be a few door prizes.

This dinner will be held at 7:30 PM, immediately after the close of the RootsTech/FGS 2015 Conference on February 14. You are invited whether you subscribe to the newsletter or not. Bring your friends and family also.

2015 FGS Conference Early Registration Discount Extended Until Monday, January 26

If you missed the deadline, you have until Monday to register. The following announcement was written by the Federation of Genealogical Societies:

2015 FGS Conference Early registration discount Extended

January 23, 2015 – Austin, TX. The early registration discount for the 2015 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference has been extended to midnight (MST), Monday, January 26. This extension allows three more days to register at $159 for the full four days of the conference coming up February 11–14 in Salt Lake City, Utah in conjunction with RootsTech.

2015 Who Do You Think You Are? Live! Keynote Workshop Speaker Revealed

The annual Who Do You Think You Are? Live! conference is the largest genealogy conference in the world. This year, for the first time, it is being held in Birmingham, England. It will be held 16 to 18 April, 2015. The conference organizers have just announced the name of the Keynote Workshop speaker. If I may engage in a bit of shameless self promotion, I am honored to say that the speaker will be… me!

You can read the announcement on the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! web site at

You can learn more about this year’s conference at

Will I see you in Birmingham?

2015 FGS Conference Early Registration Discount Ends January 23

The following announcement was written by the Federation of Genealogical Societies:

January 9, 2015

January 9, 2015 – Austin, TX. The early registration discount for the 2015 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference ends January 23. Early registrants pay $159 for the full four days. The online registration price increases to $189 after January 23. The cost to add-on RootsTech remains $39. Register now to pay the lowest registration price.

The FGS 2015 conference will be held February 11–14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah in conjunction with RootsTech. Visit to learn how those two conferences will operate while sharing the Salt Palace Convention Center and to find out about sessions, speakers, luncheons, and special events. If you have already registered, log in to your account at to purchase luncheon tickets.

National Genealogical Society Issues Call for Papers for the 2016 Family History Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The following announcement was written by the National Genealogical Society:

Arlington, VA, 2 January 2015: Beginning 1 January 2015, the National Genealogical Society (NGS) will begin accepting proposals for the 2016 Family History Conference, Exploring the Centuries: Footprints in Time. The conference will be held 4–7 May 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Long before Plymouth Rock, the Boston Tea Party, and the Declaration of Independence, the story of America began on the beaches of Florida. Beginning with the Spanish discovery in 1513, many significant events have shaped Florida’s history—including the exploration by the French and Spanish, the colonization of Florida’s interior, the state’s involvement in military conflicts, and recent contributions to science, technology and entertainment. Follow the footprints of the American saga in the sands of Florida.

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy Invites the Public to Select Evening Events

The following announcement was written by the Utah Genealogical Association:

From January 12, 2015 through January 16, 2015, one of the premier genealogical institutes will run in downtown Salt Lake City. Students of the institute are treated to twenty five hours of genealogical education over five days. Each of these five days additional evening sessions will be offered both to students and to the general public. This is an excellent opportunity for beginning to intermediate genealogists to learn from nationally known speakers for a minimal cost. Options include:

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Genealogy Cruise by Cruise Everything is a Success

Another genealogy cruise finished yesterday. A group of genealogists on board the Celebrity Silhouette arrived in Fort Lauderdale, sun tanned and full of new genealogy ideas to try. I was fortunate enough to be one of the presenters on board the seven-day cruise, along with Gary and Diana Smith and Jana Sloan Broglin. We made 24 presentations, spread over three days at sea. We also had informal in-person discussion periods, one-on-one consultations, and group breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. There was a LOT of genealogy discussed on this cruise!

Announcing the 2016 Genealogy Cruise by Cruise Everything

Cruise Everything is not resting on the company’s laurels. While the 2014 genealogy cruise has just finished, the company has already announced a new genealogy cruise to be held 13 months from now.

The 7-night western Caribbean cruise will start January 16, 2016, in Miami, then make stops in Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Coco Cay, Bahamas. The cruise on board the Celebrity Reflection will end in Miami on January 23, 2016.

You can click on the image to the right to view a larger version. Additional details will also become available as the date approaches at

Registration Open for the National Genealogical Society’s 2015 Family History Conference

The following announcement was written by the National Genealogical Society:

2015 Family History Conference
St. Charles, Missouri, 13–16 May 2015

Crossroads of America

Arlington, VA, 1 DECEMBER 2014: Registration is now open for the National Genealogical Society’s thirty-seventh annual family history conference, Crossroads of America, which will be held 13–16 May 2015 at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, Missouri. Conference highlights include a choice of more than 150 lectures, given by nationally known speakers and subject matter experts on a broad array of topics. The conference will open with The Tales of Pioneer Paths: Rivers, Roads & Rails given by J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA, a full-time professional researcher and educator, and former APG president.


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