Skip to main content

RootsTech: The WrestleMania of Genealogy Conventions

I recently attended my first RootsTech in Salt Lake City, UT. It was one of the most amazing experiences I ever did. It was my first solo trip to travel across the country that wasn't for work reasons. I'm very thankful and appreciative to my family and friends for pitching in for me to go this year. I had the privilege to come in a day early to research at the Family History Library and then attend the entire conference, including some of the innovator summit sessions.

 RootsTech was held in the Salt Palace Convention Center. This place was pretty huge - you had multiple ballrooms on the main level, and then classrooms going on and on for another two floors. Depending on when your next session was, you needed to hustle a little bit to make sure you found the correct room and were able to get a good seat. The featured lunches were all the way across the convention center on the 3rd floor. You definitely worked up an appetite by the time you got there. The Expo Hall housed hundreds of vendors. I've never seen so many genealogy related companies! It's very easy to get overwhelmed. I took time during when a lecture was being held to walk through and check out what was there. Of course I found my way to Maia's Books and perused the latest book selections while it wasn't so crowded.

I highly recommend that each genealogist go to RootsTech at least once in their lifetime. Get out there and network. So many great people in the industry as well as doing it for fun. There's always something new to learn.

Here's a Recap of Each Day including the Sessions I Attended and the Links to the Sessions if Available:

Wednesday (2/8)

Innovator Summit General Session: Liz Wiseman was the key note speaker. Liz Wiseman spoke about her rookie moment and how to embrace it to succeed in business.


Industry Trends and Outlook: Panel Discussion with Ben Bennett; Craig Bott; Heather Holmes; Nick Jones; Robert Kehrer

Innovation: Best Practices and Applications - Cyndi Tetro

NextGen Genealogy Network Meetup - I co-coordinated the meetup for NextGen genealogy members for a casual lunch. We had a great turnout!

3D Printing the Past - Joey Skinner

Deciphering Foreign Language Record - Randy Whited

Jewish Genealogy Resources on the Internet - Daniel Horowitz

Welcome Party: We Don't Need Roads - this was the kickoff party and was a lot of fun. The theme was 80's so 80's dance music, 80's video games, candy bar. This was so much fun!

Thursday (2/9)

General Session: The Scott Brothers (Jonathan and Drew) keynoted the presentation. The Scott Brothers' presentation was fabulous! They also took photos with RootsTech attendees afterwards.

How to Use DNA Triangulation to Confirm Ancestors - Kitty Cooper

FamilySearch Sponsored Lunch: Who Moved My Microfilm?

Tips for Tracing Your Jewish Roots - Schelly Talalay Dardashti

Organizing Evidence to Reveal Lineages - Thomas Jones

RootsTech Opening Event: Music It Runs in the Family - Fabulous performances by the Mormon Tablernacle Choir and guest soloist Dallyn Vail Bayles. It was touching to hear stories from Oscar "Andy" Hammerstein about his family.

Friday (2/10):

General Session: LeVar Burton was the key note speaker. His speech was very emotional and there was not a dry tear in the house when he was presented with his ancestry.

Innovator Showdown Final: One of my favorite parts at RootsTech is learning about some of the latest start-up companies and the products they developed. Congrats to the winners!

FindMyPast Sponsored Lunch. A Narrative Worth Telling: The Family History Journey - Jen Baldwin

Finding Books, Books, Glorious Books - Helen Smith

How Do I Find That? Secrets to Find Unique Sources - Joshua Taylor

MyHeritage RootsTech After Party - This is an invite-only party I had the privilege of going as a guest. Great food, fun games, and karaoke.

Saturday (2/11):

General Session: Buddy Valastro was the key note speaker. I always love hearing stories about his family. And of course there was a cake decorating contest that was being judged.

Finding My Irish Story: Going Beyond the Free Stuff  - Brian Donovan

Creating Google Alerts for Your Genealogy - Katherine Wilson

RootsTech Closing Event: Celebrating Life with Music and Cake: Great performances by all of the dancers!

Popular posts from this blog

Irish Soda Bread: A Family Recipe Passed Down Generations

St Patrick's Day is coming up quickly this week. It's the time of year where I use the family recipe for Irish soda bread. It was passed down from my grandmother, Rose Alice Corcoran, who was passed down the recipe from her mother, Bridget Connelly. Who knows how far back this recipe has been passed down? I was taught the recipe from my aunt Rose as my grandmother passed away when I was a little girl. 

I'm reminded of Steve Rockwood's speech about family recipes at RootsTech. He shared his grandmother's rocky road fudge recipe that has become a holiday tradition. Recipes can be captured online as memories through FamilySearch at

Here is the Family Recipe: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Sift together the following ingredients: 5 cups of flour 1 cup of sugar 1 teaspoon salt 2 heaping teaspoons of baking powder tip of teaspoon baking soda Mix in 1 bar of butter with fingers (try to soften the butter prior - makes it easy to mix) Add cup of ra…

My First Trip to the Family History Library (A Genealogist's Disneyland)

Last week was my first trip to RootsTech, the annual genealogy conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was truly a trip of a lifetime. I came in a day early to get some research done at the Family History Library before I started attending classes.

Steve Rockwood, CEO for FamilySearch, was right when he calls the Family History Library "Disneyland". There were so many floors to pick from - U.S. & Canada Books. U.S. & Canada Microfilm, British Isle, and International records. I spent time on each floor as I started going through my family tree. When I first signed onto my computer, I did have the conundrum of which ancestor to start with. I decided to start on the British Isles floor to research my Irish ancestors.

My first few minutes on the British Isles floor wasn't uneventful. I needed to purchase a flash drive as I forgot mine at home. Luckily the library has one on each floor. I purchased the flash drive with no issue after inserting a $20 and receiving …

Ancestry Genetic Communities

Today Ancestry launched the genetic communities feature for current Ancestry DNA testers.

Ancestry defines genetic communities as "groups of AncestryDNA members who are connected through DNA most likely because they descend from a population of common ancestors, even if they no longer live in the area where those ancestors once lived". My current genetic communities show below, which I previously confirmed through research to be accurate.

When you click on each genetic community, a map comes up like below showing the countries and regions where you match with other AncestryDNA users for that community. When you're on the Story tab, you can see a history overview and a more detailed timeline for the area on the left hand side. I have a genetic community in Northern Ireland, where my father's line descends from.

When you click over to the Connection tab, you can drill into your DNA matches that share that same community. I can view my matches as well as see the surname…