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White House Photographer David Kennerly to Keynote RootsTech 2020

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch, the organizers of RootsTech:

RootsTech 2020, the world’s largest family history convention, is pleased to announce David Hume Kennerly, Pulitzer Prize—winning White House photographer, as the featured keynote speaker on Friday, February 27, 2020, at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah. Kennerly will share some of his incredible stories as part of RootsTech 2020’s 10th anniversary celebrating genealogy and technology innovation.

David Hume Kennerly has a rich legacy of impressive contributions to photography and history. His photos have appeared on more than 50 major magazine covers. He has photographed 10 U.S. presidents and served as a contributing editor for Newsweek magazine and was a contributing photographer for Time and Life magazines. American Photo magazine named Kennerly “One of the 100 Most Important People in Photography,” and Washingtonian magazine called Kennerly one of the 50 most important journalists in Washington, D.C.

RootsTech/London is a Roaring Success!

I had the pleasure of attending the RootsTech/London conference for the past 3 days. To sum up the conference in one word: “Wow!”

The London conference was a first-time ever effort for FamilySearch. Indeed, FamilySearch has held nine RootsTech conferences in Salt Lake City, Utah in the past nine years. These annual conferences have exploded in popularity. Today, the RootsTech conferences have become the most popular family history conferences in the world. This year, the conference organizers at FamilySearch decided to “take the show on the road.” A second show was held in London, England, on October 24 through 26.

The London conference was held in the ExCeL (Exhibition Centre London) in the Custom House area of Canning Town, East London, England. This was an excellent choice of location, in my opinion. The Exhibition Centre is a very modern, state-of-the-art facility with all the latest capabilities one expects these days.

My Photos from RootsTech/London

I wrote about the RootsTech/London conference in another article I published today at I took so many photographs, however, that I decided to post them here in a separate article.  You will notice there are a lot of photos! Hopefully, these will give you a “flavour” of what it was like at the conference.
Yes, there were crowds! However, the ExCeL Center is so large that it never seemed crowded.

Nick Barratt hosted the Keynote Speeches every day

The RootsTech 2020 Early Bird Offer is Ending Soon

If you are thinking of attending RootsTech/Salt Lake City, you will want to be aware of this reminder from FamilySearch:

Your ancestors wouldn’t want you to let
a good deal go to waste

The October 11 deadline for RootsTech 2020 at the early bird price is coming up and tickets are going fast. Register by October 11 to purchase your full conference pass for only $169 (that’s a savings of $130 on a regularly priced pass). One-day passes are also available for only $99.

Top 3 Reasons to Join Us in February

Register for RootsTech/Salt Lake City 2020

The largest genealogy conference in the world will happen almost before we know it: February 26–29, 2020, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Registration is now open. Here is an announcement received from Jen Allen, Event Director for the RootsTech/Salt Lake City event:

Brace yourself: registration for RootsTech 2020 is open! This really is one of my favorite days of the year because it means that we’re only a few months away from everyone’s favorite four-day family history party! And seriously, this is going to be the one family history event you don’t want to miss.

I hope you’ll join us February 26–29, 2020, at the Salt Palace. Here’s a few more updates:

Kadeena Cox Announced as a Keynote Speaker at RootsTech/London

From an announcement by FamilySearch:

Kadeena Cox is coming to RootsTech as a keynote speaker! We’re so excited to have her join our already stellar line-up. She will speak on Friday, 25 October at 11 AM. If you don’t know anything about her, here’s a quick summary:

Road to RootsTech 2020 Video Series is Now Available

The folks at FamilySearch have announced that exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to RootsTech 2020 in Salt Lake City is now available. This video series will allow you to see things like:

  • How we plan the conference.
  • What we’ve planned for RootsTech 2020.
  • Tips on how to make the most of your RootsTech experience.
  • What the Salt Palace will look like during RootsTech.
  • And much more!

Airbnb Partners With 23andMe to Make It Easier for People to Get In Touch With Their Roots

I am not sure I understand the logic of this. Perhaps Airbnb wants to promote genealogy research trips under the assumption that many of those traveling will stay in Airbnb-advertised guest facilities and also might have their DNA tested by 23andMe.

In any case, Airbnb and DNA-testing company 23andMe announced on Tuesday the two companies have partnered to help people “connect with their ancestry” through a heritage travel program.

An announcement by Jennings Brown on the Gizmodo web site cautions:

How Some in the Genealogy Industry are Reacting to RootsTech’s Expansion to London

An interesting article in the (LDS) Church News describes the reactions of a number of people to the news that a second RootsTech conference will be held late this year. Best of all, the conference will be held in London.

Here’s a hint: the reactions are all positive.

The article may be found at:

RootsTech 2019 in Review

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

My RootsTech 2019 Photo Album

I must admit that I had a great time at the annual RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City this year. It was crowded, sometimes noisy, and always great fun. It also was a learning experience for most of us with hundreds of presentations on a wide variety of family history-related topics. When I say “us,” I mean the thousands of folks in attendance.

I took hundreds of photos and videos. You can see some of my pictures at:

One warning: the pictures are in no particular order. Some of them are still pictures while others are videos. Click on any picture or video to see the full sized image.

Ancestry® Announces new Content Releases and Game-Changing Family History Research Tools at RootsTech 2019

The following is a brief extract from the Ancestry Blog:

“For the 9th consecutive year, we are thrilled to be participating in RootsTech 2019 in Salt Lake City. It’s such a special event that unites tens of thousands of people who are curious, excited and passionate about family history. For more than 30 years, we too have shared your passion and are proud to introduce never-before digitized content collections and cutting-edge research tools to continue to empower your journey of personal discovery.

Details about RootsTech/London Announced

Some time ago, FamilySearch announced that it would hold a second RootsTech conference in London late this year. (See my earlier article at for the earlier announcement.) Now an updated announcement has added a few details. I just signed up for my ticket a few minutes ago. The following was written by FamilySearch:

Salt Lake City, Utah (28 February 2019), Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, announced that registration is now open for RootsTech London 2019 during his keynote address at the world’s largest family history event in Salt Lake City. RootsTech London will take place 24-26 October at the ExCeL London. For more information, visit

“We are so excited to take RootsTech to London and to spread the enthusiasm and passion that RootsTech ignites in our friends across the United Kingdom and throughout Europe,” Rockwood said. “People all over the world are experiencing a growing desire to learn more about their heritage, and this event will provide many people with the tools, learnings, and motivation to discover more about their families and themselves.”

Findmypast Announces Acquisition of RootsFinder, Inc. and the RootsFinder Family Tree Product

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

  • RootsFinder accelerates Findmypast’s development of the Findmypast Tree.
  • Acquisition marks the latest step in Findmypast’s drive to innovate and enhance user discoveries.
  • RootsFinder founder, Dallan Quass, joins the Findmypast team to assist with future integration work and tree development

Leading family history website, Findmypast, has acquired RootsFinder Inc. and their critically acclaimed RootsFinder family tree product, including new features to help customers analyze their DNA results.

The acquisition reflects Findmypast’s drive to innovate and enhance their customer experience by providing users with new ways to curate, share and explore their family history discoveries. 

We Are The Roots: Black Settlers and Their Experiences of Discrimination on the Canadian Prairies

The following announcement is from the Genealogy à la carte blog by Gail Dever at

Winner of the 2018 Alberta Historical Resources Foundation 2018 Heritage Awareness award, We Are The Roots is a documentary that tells the stories of African American immigrants who settled in Alberta and Saskatchewan in the early 1900s.

Thousands of advertisements were distributed by the Canadian Government via posters, pamphlets, and in American newspapers, encouraging Americans to move to the “Last Best West” where 160 acres of land could be purchased for a registration fee of $10.

Collectionaire Launches at RootsTech 2019

I suspect there will be lots of new product announcements in the next week or more in conjunction with the RootsTech conference. Here is one announcement from Collectionaire. I saw their product at last year’s RootsTech and was impressed. However, the company obviously has been working on the product even more since then, adding more value to the app.

Here is the announcement from Collectionaire:

New web app uses cloud technology to bring a unique approach to organizing, preserving and sharing one’s “best memories”

Unlike other family archiving programs there is no need to move photos – it links users to treasured memories and collections in any cloud site

San Diego, Calif. – Feb. 8, 2019 – Collectionaire today announced the launch of its new cloud-based web app created to help organize, preserve and share a family’s most cherished photos, videos and digital keepsake memories. Unlike other photo organizing solutions, users do not move photos and videos to the Collectionaire site. Instead, the app acts as a hub, linking users to their photo and video collections stored in other cloud sites.

RootsFinder now imports DNA matches from, 23andMe, My Heritage, and FamilyTreeDNA, with New Analysis Tools

The following announcement was written by the developers of RootsFinder:

Orem, Utah: The free family history website announces that in addition to its previous support for importing matches from GEDmatch, users can now import their autosomal DNA matches from, 23andMe, MyHeritage, and FamilyTreeDNA. Matches from these DNA testing companies can then be “tagged” to the user’s family tree for analysis and further research.

By tagging a match to a known relative, users color code their matches. This makes it easy to interpret their results using RootsFinder’s visual DNA analysis tools, including:

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

Are you planning on attending the RootsTech conference this year? If so, would you like to join a large group of genealogists for dinner on Saturday evening? If so, you are invited!

RootsTech2019 promises to be the biggest genealogy conference in the world! It will be held on February 27 through March 2 in Salt Lake City. I have written several times about RootsTech2019 (see for my previous articles).  Of course, a lot more information is also available at

More than 20,000 people are expected to attend this year’s RootsTech conference and I expect that will include many readers of this newsletter. If you are planning to attend, would you like to join me and a bunch of newsletter readers for dinner on Saturday evening after the conference ends? That will be on March 2 at the Radisson Hotel, 215 W S Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101. The location literally is just a few steps from the Salt Palace conference center. And yes, if you have attended one of my previous dinners after RootsTech, this year’s dinner is in the same room in the same hotel as the last few years.

You are invited!

You can make a reservation now at You are invited to join us if:

RootsTech 2019 Announces Lineup of Keynote Speakers and Entertainers

The following announcement was written by the RootsTech organizers:

RootsTech_2019_Keynote_Speaker_Collage.pngSalt Lake City, Utah (13 February 2019), RootsTech 2019, the world’s largest family history conference, announced its full lineup of keynote speakers and entertainers, including Saroo BrierleyPatricia HeatonDerek HoughJake Shimabukuro, and Steve Rockwood. Fueled by the popularity of DNA genealogy, social networking platforms, and related mobile apps, RootsTech 2018 had over 50,000 in-person and online attendees. Hosted by FamilySearch International, the conference will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 27 through March 2, and select content is broadcast live online.

Keynote Speakers

RootsTech 2019 kicks off on Wednesday, February 27, with classes on topics such as DNA research, photo preservation, and using social media to preserve family legacies. Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, will be the featured keynote speaker on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. mountain standard time.

PBS’ ‘Finding Your Roots’ Announces Political Leaders to be Future Celebrity Guests

Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., hopes this season of his popular PBS television series “Finding Your Roots” helps a divided U.S. see how all Americans have unique family links and how those family histories tell the story of the country.

Now in its fifth season, the series takes advantage of new advancements in genealogy and genetics to look into the history of American celebrities. In upcoming episodes Gates and his team investigate the pasts of diverse subjects like former U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and “Game of Thrones” author George R. R. Martin.