RootsTech is a genealogy conference and a vendors’ event and somewhat of a circus for family history researchers. I consider that to be a great thing!
Have you ever seen 20,000+ genealogists and others interested in learning more about family history under one roof, all at the same time? I have, and I must say that I love the hustle and the bustle that RootsTech entails! If I could only attend one genealogy conference per year, it would be RootsTech!
The annual RootsTech/Salt Lake City will be held in a couple of weeks at the Salt Palace, a very large convention center in downtown Salt Lake City that is well equipped to handle the crowds. The dates are February 26 through 29, 2020. How clever of the organizers to include the EXTRA DAY available in this leap year!
NOTE: Yes, there WILL be a special dinner for this newsletter’s readers and their guests on Saturday evening. I’ll write about that in a separate article.
2020 will be the 10th anniversary of the conference.
Some of the special events at this year’s RootsTech conference include:
Light Keepers: A Family History Experience for Women: Get ready for a special day of togetherness with the women in your life, a day that will motivate, teach, and inspire you to see your family history in wonderful new ways.
Access and Preservation Forum: You will learn how records are stored and who takes care of them. You’ll gain insight into the latest methods and technologies used to preserve records, and you’ll learn how records are made available to the public. Speakers in this forum are professional archivists and librarians.
Innovation and Tech Forum: Dive even deeper into innovation and explore what the future of family history will look like. This session features keynote speakers D. Joshua Taylor, president of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society, and Clark Gilbert, president of BYU–Pathway Worldwide. Following the keynote addresses, six companies from within the genealogy industry will take the stage to give you a sneak peek at their latest innovations. There’s no better place to see what’s new in the industry!
Free Youth Activities: I attend several large genealogy conferences every year. However, I see more youngsters at RootsTech than I see at all the other conferences combined! Activities include escape rooms, game rooms, virtual reality experiences, photo opportunities, and much more!
Young Adult After-Party: Young adults and their friends are invited to the second RootsTech after-party! Come for the RootsTech evening event, featuring Ryan Hamilton, and stay for games, dancing, socializing, and other interactive activities throughout the venue.
RootsTech Evening Event featuring Ryan Hamilton: Get ready to laugh out loud with everyone’s favorite family-friendly comedian, Ryan Hamilton!
The Missing Piece—Film viewing sponsored by MyHeritage: The Missing Piece is a powerful and inspiring documentary about hope and discovery that shares the story of two sisters, both abandoned as children, overcoming incredible odds to answer the questions of a lifetime. I had an opportunity to view this documentary some time ago. I think I have a rough-and-tough personality that is not terribly sentimental, but I have to admit that even my eyes watered up as I watched this documentary. I strongly recommend that you view The Missing Piece, either at the conference or on YouTube at https://youtu.be/iVDArJvtelk.
Mayflower Landing 400 Year Commemoration – This year marks the 400th Anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower. At RootsTech, FamilySearch is teaming up with American Ancestors and The Mayflower Society to commemorate this anniversary with a variety of pilgrim games, a special booth in the Expo Hall that will include a large-scale ship, activities, and more.
Trace.com Coaches’ Corner – The place to go if you’re looking for one-on-one mentoring from an expert genealogist. Bring your biggest roadblocks or dead ends, and receive personalized help.
Heirloom Show-and-Tell – Have an antique, heirloom, or photo that you’d like an expert to look at? Bring it with you! Bring in any small item, photo, or large item you’ve been wondering about, and a number of experts will be available to tell you about it.
Discovery Zone – You’ll see your ancestors come to life with interactive displays, fun facts, engaging activities, and the all-new indexing station.
And a lot more events, dozens of product demonstrations, computer workshops, more than 300 lectures about a wide variety of topics, and even more.
The huge Exhibition Hall at RootsTech is always crowded, and for good reasons. There will be more than 100 exhibitors at this year’s event, all eager to talk about or to demonstrate their products and services. You can find a list of exhibitors and a map of the Exhibition Hall at https://www.rootstech.org/expo-hall.
I have attended 8 of the 9 previous conferences. Admittedly, I did miss one year’s conference when I was recovering from emergency surgery. Even then, I watched a number of RootsTech sessions that year from home as they were livestreamed across the Internet or recorded and then made available later as online videos. I hope to attend all future RootsTech conferences, assuming I don’t have another emergency appendectomy a few days before! (I am told nobody ever has TWO appendectomies.)
If you cannot attend RootsTech 2020 in person, you can view a select number of live classes and events, including the daily keynote speakers. These videos will be broadcast live at RootsTech.org. You can view the streaming schedule for each day at https://www.rootstech.org/salt-lake/live-stream-schedule.
The same video events also will be available at a later date (after the video crews rest up from their 16+ hour workdays)! Last year, more than 80,000 people watched the videos on RootsTech.org, Facebook Live, and YouTube. I suspect this year’s remote attendance numbers will be still higher. Stay tuned for announcements of availability of the online videos.
If you have attended previous RootsTech conferences, you might be interested in the video showing What’s New at RootsTech 2020 available at https://youtu.be/7bgSH6D6kI0 as well as in the videoplayer below.
So, have I covered everything about RootsTech 2020? Not even close! An article that describes everything would fill several of these newsletters! However, you can learn a lot more at the conference web site: https://www.rootstech.org/salt-lake.
As you might expect, most of the nearby hotel rooms have already been reserved. However, there may be a few left. Also, the local Trax light rail system stops right in front of the Salt Palace Convention Center. It is easy to stay at a distant hotel and ride the convenient (and low-cost) Trax light rail to the convention center’s front door. See http://www.saltlakecityutah.org/salt.lake.city.trax.htm for all the details about Trax.
TRAX in Salt Lake City
In past years, I stayed in hotels that were 3 or 4 miles away and yet had a shorter “walk” than did most of the attendees who stayed in hotels that are just 3 or 4 blocks away. Keep in mind that a Salt Lake City “block” is much bigger than the blocks in other cities. A walk of “3 blocks” might be significantly longer than what had envisioned! Use an online travel site to find the available hotels. I might suggest you start your search at Google.com and search for “hotels near Salt Palace.”
I’ll be at RootsTech 2020. Yes, I will be wearing my most comfortable walking shoes and also my hat.
Will I see you there?