RootsTech hasn’t officially started yet, but already, excitement is in the air. Twelve thousand people will descend on the Salt Lake Palace for RootsTech by Thursday, according to FamilySearch’s Shipley Munson. They’ll come from 43 countries and 49 states. (Currently, there are no registrations from Nebraska. Go figure.) By Saturday, aka Family Discovery Day, the conference will max out at 30,000 attendees. Wow.
Wednesday’s Innovator Summit showcases not only innovation, but exhibits FamilySearch’s dedication to fostering innovation for the family history sector. Jen Allen, the RootsTech event manager, says that RootsTech 2017 has seen more innovators, as well as younger innovators–something that organizers take pride in.
RootsTech 2017 Themes
In addition to storytelling and connecting across generations, this year, the conference will weave themes of food and music through the week. Food stories (and not simply those told by “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro), family recipes and the family history of food will play a prominent role. Musical stories will also be featured, including “Music—It Runs in the Family” on Thursday, Feb 9. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir will offer “an evening filled with Rodgers and Hammerstein music.” Oscar “Andy” Hammerstein III, grandson of Oscar Hammerstein II, will narrate and tell stories of the Rodgers and Hammerstein era. On Friday, Feb 10, attendees will be treated to Salt Lake City’s Calvary Baptist Church choir and Jambo Africa/Heartbeat Burundi drumline. Saturday’s closing gathering will feature a sing off between BYU’s a cappella vocal groups Noteworthy and Focal Point.
This year, RootsTech celebrates Black History Month with African Heritage Day (RootsTech’s first ever) on Friday, Feb 10. In addition to LaVar Burton and Kenyetta Berry as keynotes, there will be African American genealogy topics and cultural events.
Of course, all of this barely scratches the surface of RootsTech2017 offerings. The exhibit hall, the classes, keynote speakers… it boggles the mind.