Why You Might Want to Attend a Virtual Conference

I believe virtual conferences are the wave of the future. I just returned from a 4-day genealogy conference in Salt Lake City. With the air travel, hotel expenses, restaurant meals, and conference admission, I spent more than $1,500 US. I also spent six days away from home: one day traveling to the event (in the cheapest airline coach seats I could find), four days at the conference, and one more day returning home. I am sure that attendees from overseas spent much more than I did.

Obviously, many people are not able to pay that much money or to take that many days out of their lives to attend such an event, regardless of their interest level. Luckily, technology can provide an alternative.

A Report from RootsTech2018, with Pictures

RootsTech2018 was held in Salt Lake City on February 28 through March 3. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend. I can also state that I am exhausted. It must have been a great event!

The crowds were huge. I never heard the final attendance figures but I believe about 14,000 genealogists attended the sessions on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Saturday was Family Discovery Day in which an additional 12,000+ adults and teenagers attended sessions specifically designed for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There were times you could barely walk sideways through the throngs of people in the hallways and in the exhibits hall.

Ukrainian Genealogy Group to Host a Virtual Conference

The following announcement was written by Nashi Predky, the family history group of the Ukrainian History and Education Center:

The Ukrainian History and Education Center (UHEC) is proud to announce the first-ever virtual event for Ukrainian genealogy. Nashi Predky (Our Ancestors), the family history group of the UHEC, will be hosting their 2018 Spring Workshop virtually on Saturday, March 17th .

Since the group’s formation in 2013, all of the workshops and annual conferences have been held at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Somerset, New Jersey. This year, the committee is excited to offer this event to fellow researchers who may not be able to travel for an in-person event.

Watch Select Portions of RootsTech 2018 Live Online

Can’t make it to RootsTech in person this year? You can still be there virtually by watching portion of the sessions online. Not everything will be broadcast but major sessions will be, including the general sessions, will be streamed live on the homepage.

The full streaming schedule is available now at:

A Reminder About the EOGN Dinner after the RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City

This is a quick reminder: if you are going to be in Salt Lake City for this week’s RootsTech conference and if you would like to join me and a bunch of newsletter readers for dinner on Saturday evening after the conference ends, you are invited! However, you need to sign up for the dinner now.

Reservations are required and must be made no later than Tuesday, February 27 as I have to tell the hotel several days in advance how many meals to prepare. The dinner will be held on Saturday evening, March 3, 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.

Details may be found at:

I’d love to see you there!

A Survival Guide to RootsTech

Will you be at the RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City next week? If so, make sure you read the Survival Guide to RootsTech available now at

The online guide covers such things as early check-in, the Expo Hall’s hours of operation, the RootsTech app for your cell phone or tablet computer, your attendee badge that needs to be scanned by the (new) scanners in order to gain admission to the various sessions, suggested clothing, and the fact that the Salt Palace offers free Wi-Fi for attendees.

You probably will want to study this document before you travel to Salt Lake City. Check it out at at

Texas State Genealogical Society Issues Call for Presentations for the 2018 TxSGS Family History Conference

The following announcement was written by the Texas State Genealogical Society:

Austin, Texas, February 15, 2018 – The Texas State Genealogical Society (TxSGS) announces a Call for Presentations for their 2018 Family History Conference. This year’s conference is slated for November 2-4, 2018, in San Antonio, Texas, at the Omni San Antonio at the Colonnade, 9821 Colonnade Blvd., San Antonio, TX 78230, 855-516-1090. The deadline for proposals is March 18, 2018.

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

RootsTech2018 promises to be the biggest genealogy conference in the world! It will be held on February 28 through March 3 in Salt Lake City. I have written several times about RootsTech2018 (see and, of course, a lot more information is 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 3 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.

You are invited!

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

RootsTech 2018 Announces Free Online Broadcast Schedule

The following announcement was written by the RootsTech organizers:

Salt Lake City, Utah (12 February 2018), Mark your calendars! RootsTech, the world’s largest family history and technology conference, happening February 28 to March 3, 2018, announced its free live online streaming schedule. It will broadcast 19 of its popular sessions, including former Olympic gold-medalist Scott HamiltonBrandon Stanton, founder of the Humans of New York photo blog; host of the popular PBS show Finding Your Roots, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.,  Natalia Lafourcade, and Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International. The live broadcasts give those unable to attend in-person a sampling of the show’s marquee content. Interested viewers can watch the select broadcasts live at No registration is required to view the live streams.

AGRA to be a Gold Sponsor of the Secret Lives Conference

The following announcement was written by the organizers of Secret Lives:Hidden Voices of our Ancestors, a forthcoming international genealogical conference that focuses on the unusual and often untold stories of our ancestors’ lives. The conference will be held later this summer in Hinckley, Leicestershire, England:

The Secret Lives conference committee are delighted to announce that AGRA [the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives] have become a gold sponsor for the forthcoming conference. AGRA have kindly agreed to sponsor the Saturday evening banquet as part of their fiftieth birthday celebrations.

38th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy Set in Warsaw

The following announcement was written by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies:


The 38th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will take place in Warsaw, Poland, Aug. 5-10, 2018 (Sunday through Friday) at the Hilton Warsaw Hotel and Convention Centre.  This will be the first IAJGS conference to be held in Central or Eastern Europe. Presenters from at least 20 countries on 5 continents have already submitted proposed lectures and English will be the official language of the conference.

“In addition to the many features of our annual conferences, this special location will provide participants an opportunity to tour places where many of their ancestors lived,” said Ken Bravo, IAJGS president from Cleveland, Ohio.

Among features of the Warsaw conference will be:

RootsTech 2018 Announces Lineup of Keynote Speakers

The following announcement was written by the organizers of the RootsTech conferences:

SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 31, 2018 — RootsTech 2018, the world’s largest family history conference hosted by FamilySearch International, announced its full lineup of keynote speakers, including Brandon Stanton, Scott Hamilton, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Natalia Lafourcade. Fueled by the popularity of DNA genealogy, social platforms, and related mobile apps, RootsTech had over 50,000 in-person and online attendees in 2017. The conference is held in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 28 through March 3, and select content is broadcast live daily online.

RootsTech 2018 Keynote Speakers (PRNewsfoto/RootsTech)

Keynote Speakers

National Genealogical Society Issues Call for Proposals for its 2019 Family History Conference

The following announcement was written by the National Genealogical Society:

ARLINGTON, VA, 2 JANUARY 2018—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) has opened the call for proposals for its 2019 Family History Conference, effective 2 January through 1 April 2018. The conference will be held in St. Charles, Missouri, from 8–11 May 2019.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to Speak at RootsTech on March 3, 2018

Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. is an American literary critic, teacher, historian, filmmaker and public intellectual who currently serves as the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Of interest to genealogists, Professor Gates also is the host of the popular television program, Finding Your Roots, now in its fourth season as a genealogy program on PBS. The RootsTech organizers have now announced that Henry Louis Gates, Jr. will be sharing his experiences as the RootsTech keynote speaker on March 3.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Call for Papers: 2019 Annual Conference of the Ohio Genealogical Society

The following announcement was written by the folks at the Ohio Genealogical Society:

December 1, 2017 — Bellville, Ohio: The Ohio Genealogical Society (OGS) announces a request for lecture proposals for its 2019 conference, “Building A Heritage,” to be held May 1 – 4, 2019, at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio.

Topics being considered include: Ohio history, its records, and repositories; ethnic (African American, German, Irish, Polish, etc.); religious groups; migration into, within, and out of Ohio; origins of early Ohio settlers, and the Old Northwest Territory. Other topics of interest that will be considered include: land and military records; technology; DNA; mobile devices and apps; social media; and methodology, analysis, and problem solving in genealogical research

Call for Papers: 2018 BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy

The following announcement was written by the folks who organize and manage the BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy:

Strengthening Ties That Bind Families Together” Tuesday, July 31 through Friday, August 3, 2018 Proposals are now being accepted for the 2018 BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy which will be held Tuesday, July 31 through Friday, August 3, at the BYU Conference Center in Provo, Utah.

Proposals are accepted through the BYU recruiting system. You will be required to have a BYU Net ID. If you do not have a Net ID, click here to create one. You may submit up to eight proposals by clicking on the following link: Submit Proposals and Apply Here

Registration Opens for the National Genealogical Society’s 2018 Family History Conference

The following announcement was written by the folks at the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

Arlington, VA, 1 DECEMBER 2017— Registration is now open for the National Genealogical Society’s fortieth annual Family History Conference, Paths to Your Past, which will be held 2–5 May 2018 at the DeVos Place Convention Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. To register on or after 1 December 2017, visit the NGS website and complete the online registration form.

Join thousands of family historians and genealogists for four days of the consummate genealogical networking and learning environment. Choose from more than 175 lectures and special programs and enjoy luncheons with guest speakers who are experts in their fields. Discover Michigan’s expansive genealogical and archival repositories and learn about the wealth of family history resources throughout the Great Lakes region. Explore the Exhibit Hall and Family History Expo featuring more than eighty exhibitors.

Thank You Seattle Genealogical Society

I must say that I had a pleasant trip to Seattle this weekend. I was invited to make presentations at the Seattle Genealogical Society’s all-day seminar on Saturday, October 21st. First, there was a large turnout. However, the thing that delighted me the most was the participation of the audience. This is an enthusiastic group!

They asked good and sometimes difficult questions. They even laughed at my jokes. Yes, I had a fun time and I think most of the people in the audience enjoyed it also.

If you live in or near Seattle and you consider yourself to be a genealogist, you need to check out this group. If you are a beginning or casual genealogist, I’d suggest you have even more incentives to attend one of their meetings. The Seattle Genealogical Society has many resources, including a lot of help for all members plus two all-day seminars per year. Registration is open to all.

Gold Olympian Scott Hamilton to Keynote RootsTech 2018

The following announcement was written by the RootsTech organizers:

Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton will keynote RootsTech 2018

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (6 October 2017), RootsTech 2018 is delighted to announce that Scott Hamilton, American champion figure skater, Olympic gold medalist, motivational speaker, author, philanthropist, cancer survivor, TV broadcaster, and husband and father will be the RootsTech 2018 keynote speaker on Friday, March 2, 2018, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Hamilton is hailed as one of the greatest male figure skaters of all time. He won a gold medal for his stunning performance in the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo. He won four consecutive US figure skating championships and four world championships from 1981 to 1984. In 1990, Hamilton was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame and the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame. In all, he has earned more than 70 titles, awards, and honors for figure skating.

The RootsTech 2018 Innovation Showcase Needs Your Nominations

The following was received in a message from the RootsTech organizers:

Help us identify the latest and greatest innovations impacting the genealogy industry as a whole by nominating your favorite products or technology! Then, watch the all-new Innovation Showcase on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, to see winners from around the world demonstrate their products on stage.