20,000+ Family Historians Under One Roof

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

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:

Dennis Brimhall, managing director of the Family History Department for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Tan Le is a Vietnamese refugee, technology innovator, and founder and CEO of Emotiv Lifesciences, a bioinformatics company that developed a breakthrough interface technology for digital media taking inputs directly from the brain.

Mike Mallin, chief product officer at MyHeritage.

Laura Bush, former First Lady of the United States.

Jenna Hager, daughter of George W. Bush and Laura Bush, is a contributing correspondent on NBC’s Today show and an editor-at-large for Southern Living magazine. She is also the author of The New York Times best seller Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope.

D. Joshua Taylor, an active member of the genealogical community and the director of family history at findmypast. . He has been featured on NBC and TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are? guiding celebrities through their family trees and is a co-host of the popular PBS series Genealogy Roadshow.

Donny Osmond, a singer, actor, triple-threat television series host (talk show, game show, variety show), best-selling author (his autobiography entered the UK bestseller chart at #1), commercial spokesman, motivational speaker, and even a racecar driver.

A.J. Jacobs is an author, journalist, human guinea pig and cousin. He is the author of four New York Times bestsellers that combine memoir, science, humor and a dash of self-help. He is the editor at large at Esquire magazine, and a commentator for NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. He has given three TED talks with nearly three million views combined. His books include The Year of Living Biblically (about his year followed all of the hundreds of Biblical rules) Drop Dead Healthy (about revamping his diet, exercise, stress and sleep habits) and The Know-It-All (about his quest to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z).

Nathan Furr, Ph.D., Assistant professor of innovation and entrepreneurship at Brigham Young University and a visiting scholar at INSEAD and ESSEC, Furr is a recognized expert in these fields. His new book, The Innovator’s Method (Harvard Business Review Press, September 2014) combines innovation and entrepeneurship, bringing the radical, lean start-up approach to innovation into established organizations. His previous book, Nail It Then Scale It (NISI Institute, 2011), emphasizes that the seeds of entrepreneurial success are sown before you build anything.

Scott Sorensen has served as the chief technology officer for Ancestry.

You can watch videos of the above presenters and other speakers by starting at http://rootstech.org.

If you missed any of the presentations, you can listen to them online.

The recordings will soon be available from Fleetwood Onsite at http://www.fleetwoodonsite.com. However, as I write these words, the recordings are not yet available. Check back soon.

The Exhibits Hall was huge with 170 vendors exhibiting their products and services. In fact, when I first walked into the Exhibits Hall, I was impressed with its size, Then, as I walked through the hall, I found it was L-shaped and there was more. When I first walked into the hall, I was only looking at about half of the hall! In fact, the entire hall was about double of what I had seen at first.

I snapped dozens of pictures and a few videos in the Exhibits Hall and in a few other locations as well. I am including several of them below in order to show the experiences of a RootsTech/FGS attendee. I will also be writing more detailed articles about many of the vendors’ offerings in the coming two or three weeks.

The images below are small versions of my pictures. In most cases, you can click on an image below to view a much larger version:


Kenyatta D. Berry, Joshua Taylor and Mary Tedesco, hosts if PBS’ “Genealogy Roadshow,” address the RootsTech audience.


Steve Rockwood, vice president of FamilySearch International


Opening Day in the Exhibits Hall (only part of the hall is visible in this picture)

Check your email and try some of the web-based products and services from the Exhibits Hall


Ron Arons demonstrates his new book: “Mind Maps for Genealogy”

The MyHeritage booth

Schelly Talalay Dardashti addresses the audience at the MyHeritage booth


Alan Philipps and myself in the Unlock the Past Cruises booth. Unlock the Past Cruises runs several genealogy cruises every year all around the globe.

Just one of the upcoming cruises from Unlock Your Past Cruises. (I will be on this cruise.)


If you brought a book to the show, it could be digitized while you waited at this booth.

This was one of the most crowded booths at the show! GenealogyWallCharts.com printed huge wall charts while you waited.

Click on the above YouTube video to watch the plotter in action.


The Puzzilla Descendants Viewer


Extreme Genes Family History Radio


Run Windows software on your Macintosh with Codeweavers


Just a few of the available games

Timebox organizes photos on your iPhone or iPad

Timebox in action


Take pictures of books, documents, or small objects

ShotBox in action



You have to love the costume at HistoryLines



Laura Prescott makes a point as she describes the new Ancestry Academy (to be launched in April)


MooseRoots is a new genealogy search engine


GenSoc is a new web-based product designed to help genealogy societies maintain membership information and to publish on the web. Every genealogy society needs this product!


Dina Carson reads the new review of her book, “Set Yourself Up to Self-Publish: A Genealogist’s Guide,” as reviewed by Bobbi King and published in the EOGN newsletter.


Have a smartphone or a tablet with a GPS? Use it to help other genealogists!


The above is a shortened list of some of the things I saw at RootsTech2015. I plan to write more about many of these services and products in the near future.




Is it possible for non attendees to get a list of vendors?


Excellent conference. And it was so nice to meet and chat with you. Thank you.


The sheer scale of the EVENT (nothing lower case about it!) prompts me to quote a dear friend. “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.”


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