My Photos from RootsTech2020 in Salt Lake City

I was fortunate enough to attend last week’s RootsTech conference, held in Salt Lake City. If you have never been to RootsTech, all I can say is that it is difficult to describe. Try to imagine about 25,000 or more genealogists spending 4 days together in a very large conference center, along with another 10,000 or more youngsters and their chaperones adding to the crowd on Saturday.

Add in more than 300 presentations and various other sessions along with an exhibits hall with more than 200 companies offering products and services designed to help you discover and connect with family. Do you think it was busy? You bet it was!

Video courtesy of FamilySearch

I think I kept busy for more than 16 hours most every day. I received about 4 hours’ sleep Saturday night, after the close of the conference, then got up on Sunday before daybreak to catch an airplane for my return trip home. About 15 hours later, I arrived at home and soon dropped into bed and slept until the following mid-morning. Yes, I was tired but I was also very satisfied with the entire experience.

Video courtesy of FamilySearch

I was especially impressed with how smoothly everything ran. The conference organizers, along with well over 600 volunteers seemed to have everything under control. There was a lot of food available for the tens of thousands of attendees, although there were occasional long lines waiting to purchase food items. Even those of us with unusual dietary needs seemed to have multiple options to choose from. (I follow a rigid keto diet.)

I understand one scheduled presenter was unable to attend. I think his absence was caused by illness although I am not certain. In any case, a last-minute effort resulted in his attendance remotely, making a “virtual presentation” via two-way audio and video conferencing. His image was projected onto a large screen and his voice was piped through some large loudspeakers in the room. One member of the audience described it as “almost as good as an “in-person presentation.” And that’s just one example of how the conference organizers were able to adjust on the fly to meet the needs of all the attendees and presenters alike. Maybe other attendees or the organizers know of things that didn’t work well but, if so, I didn’t see anything of that sort.

The daily Keynote Sessions were especially memorable. I won’t describe them in detail simply because they are already described in the conference web site at and some videos are already available at I expect more videos will become available soon as the video crews first catch up on some well-deserved sleep, then edit their videos, convert them to a format suitable for use on the web, then upload them. Keep an eye on

NOTE: I don’t think the video crews got much sleep last week, either. They seemed to be everywhere, all the time!

Video courtesy of FamilySearch

The closing ceremony on Saturday afternoon was absolutely great. Again, I won’t describe it as it is already available online as a video. It is a short video of the last few seconds of the entire session but it was something I had never seen at a genealogy conference before! To see what I mean, go to and click on the icon to show it in FULL SCREEN mode!

As you watch the video, you will realize this was not a traditional genealogy conference!

Notice the adult on the extreme left shooting confetti into the air. I’m glad I wasn’t on the clean-up crew after that session!

I believe that dozens of other bloggers were active during all 4 days of RootsTech2020. You should be able to find many reports of the events and experiences of other people by going to your favorite search engine and searching on rootstech2020.

As for me, I spent most of my time in the RootsTech exhibits hall, searching for new genealogy-related products and services I can write about in future newsletters. I have attached just a few photographs below of the things I saw.

OK, now mark your calendar: RootsTech2021 will be held in the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City (again) on February 3 through 6, 2021.

RootsTech/London will be held at the ExCeL convention centre located in Custom House, East London on November 5 through 7, 2020. This is an excellent location, as the ExCeL convention centre is located only five minutes away from London City Airport. If you you are coming from farther away, the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) has frequent service to the ExCeL, as do the London Underground and London Overground. You can also find numerous hotels and restaurants within walking distance of the ExCeL convention centre.

More information about both events may be found at:

I plan to be at both events. Will I see you there?

Above is the “kick-off video played to thousands of genealogists at the start of RootsTech202. Video courtesy of FamilySearch.

Below are a few of the photographs I took at RootsTech2020. In most cases, you can click on an image below to view a larger version of the same picture.

RootsTech2020 was the tenth anniversary of these conferences. “Only” about 3,000 attendees were at the first conference!

The sponsors of this year’s conference

Leave your comments about YOUR story!

Keynote sessions and speakers

When was the last time you took a VIRTUAL REALITY tour of your ancestral homeland? Click here to watch the video.

There was lots of assistance for anyone who needed it.

One of several exhibit booths by Ancestry

A fraction of the crowd is visible in this photo of the first Keynote Session

A door prize winner of a new PC and a scanner. Several major door prizes were awarded to attendees.

Think it was crowded? This picture only shows a fraction of the crowd in the hallway at the end of the first Keynote Session!

A model of a ship believed to be similar to the Mayflower that landed in Plimoth in 1620 (exactly 400 years ago) as displayed in the booth of the Gneral Society of Mayflower Descendants.


The booth of and, boy are divisions of

The booth of MyHeritage was constantly busy. I also made a presentation in this booth.

Keepsake DNA says the company can obtain DNA samples from old envelopes, postage stamps, hats, hairbrushes, jewelry, eyeglasses, false teeth (!), and more.

Click here to view a brief sample of a presentation about homestead land records. Is that a moose? A deer? Or just what is that thing moving around on the left side of the stage?

PART of the Cyber Cafe that remained busy every day.

Will I see you in Tel Aviv?

My long-time friend, David Lambert of American Ancestors, “in costume” as a Pilgrim in Plimoth Colony

Want to safely backup your files and photos to the cloud? Jeff Looman and Diana Hadlock were demonstrating how to do that with fileshadow at the conference.

Yes, permanent. As in “forever.”

OK, I’m ready for ANOTHER genealogy conference!

A one-week course in genealogy

Decorate a tombstone for birthdays, holidays, or for other occasions

Louise St. Denis of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies



Jonny Perl showing the use of his very popular “DNA Painter” software

Audiobiography creates all sorts of gorgeous books, available in a variety of bindings. This example shows a wood binding.

You could have books, papers, or smaller heirlooms digitized at no charge by FamilySearch while at the conference.

One Place Studies, Family & House Histories, and more demonstrated by Paul Carter.

This is what you see in the Virtual Reality headset: ancestral villages. This still picture doesn’t do justice to what you see in the VR headset!

Whew! It was quite the conference!


The Keepsake DNA website has a copyright date of © 2023. I don’t remember seeing such an example of futureproofing before :).


    Maybe it is something to do with “Back to the Future the Musical” having started in Manchester ? But time travel of three years ? Hardly worth it !
    I hope that you and Mary are keeping well.


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