A Report from RootsTech2017, with Pictures

rootsfinder_treeRootsTech2017 was held in Salt Lake City on February 8 through 11. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend. I can also state that I am exhausted. It must have been a great event!

Wednesday kicked off with a one-day focus on the Innovator Summit, a one-day event that focused on new family history-related software development. The sessions included presentations for entrepreneurs, marketing, development, start-up funding, and also presentations for any conference attendees interested in the development of future family history services, presented by an elite group of industry experts. You can learn more about the Innovator Summit at https://goo.gl/Gm4ynl. You might want to watch the short introductory video on that page as well.

Of course, the big news is the winners of the Innovator Showdown, a major contest with $199,000 in cash and other prizes! OldNews USA took top honors in the 2017 Innovator Showdown, walking away with $95,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. OldNews is an Android app designed to help users quickly discover their family in historical US newspapers. The app uses the Library of Congress “Chronicling America” collection of more than 11 million newspaper pages from 1789 to 1922 to deliver its results.

Other winners were:

Second Place Judges’ Choice ($44,000 cash and AWS credits), The Qroma tag mobile app for embedding stories into pictures, tagging them by voice commands, and making the data accessible on various platforms.

Third Place Judges’ Choice Award ($26,000 cash and AWS credits), Louis Kessler, Double Match Triangulator, an app to help sort DNA matches into groups of relatives.

People’s Choice ($25,000 cash and AWS credits), Kindex, an app designed to help users create searchable, shareable archives of family letters and other documents using tags to help users easily locate information.

You can read more in the RootsTech 2017 Innovator Showdown announcement at https://goo.gl/9qMZUU.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were the “regular” RootsTech sessions with more than 200 presentations on a wide variety of family history topics plus an exhibits hall that was filled with hundreds of vendors exhibiting their products and services. I could write about each day’s events but there seems to be little need for my descriptions. You can learn a lot more and even watch videos of many of the sessions by starting at https://www.rootstech.org and then clicking on each day’s page. You can even watch videos of every morning’s complete opening session, along with many of the major presentations, by starting at the same page.

Some of the the guest presenters included:

Drew and Jonathan Scott, co-hosts of the popular television show Property Brothers on HGTV

Aaron Godfrey, VP of Marketing at MyHeritage

Nkoyo Iyamba, winner of Emmy and Murrow awards as a broadcast journalist, an on-air television and radio journalist

Buddy Valastro, an American celebrity chef, entrepreneur, and reality television personality of Italian heritage. He is perhaps best known as the star of the reality television series Cake Boss on the TLC network.

I spent most every day roaming the exhibits hall, looking for newly-announced family history products and services. There were too many of them! I will write about many of the ones I saw in newsletter articles during the next few weeks.In the meantime, a list of all the vendors may be found at https://www.rootstech.org/expo-hall.

Photos

I am also including a huge number of photographs I took at RootsTech2017, along with a few photos taken by other people, in a separate online photo album at: http://eogn.com/images/rootstech2017/. You can click on any of the tiny images to see a larger version. You also can “autoplay” a slide show that runs from beginning to end. Use the icons at the top of the screen.

Dinner

The highlight of the week for me was the dinner for readers of this newsletter, held soon after the RootsTech conference ended on Saturday evening. I’ll write about that dinner separately.

RootsTech2018

RootsTech2018 will be held February 28 to March 3, 2018. It should be even bigger (!) and better than this year’s edition, if that is possible. Would you like to attend? If so, you will want to mark your calendar now. It will be held once again at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City. You can learn more at: https://www.rootstech.org.

Will I see you there?

2 Comments

Thank you for sharing all these wonderful pictures. I look forward to your articles
about the conference. I am 77 and can no longer tolerate the standing in line and walking that these conferences require. I am amazed to see how many people were there.

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I sure hope to attend RootsTech someday. I loved participating through the streamed presentations. Thanks for you outstanding reporting.

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