RootsTech Family History Confernce StageI’m not raving about the RootsTech family history conference to fulfill my Ambassador obligations. It’s the other way around. I’m excited about being an Ambassador because I love going to RootsTech. The conference doesn’t take place until February 8 – 11, but if you plan now you can take advantage of early bird registration prices.

Genealogy Today lists three reasons family history buffs should go to a national conference: Lectures, exhibits, and other genealogists. To me, those are more like categories. I embellished them and came up with a few more.

RootsTech is NOT ONLY for Genealogy Professionals

  • Self-taught only takes you so far and it’s hard to learn things the hard way. Take the reins of the family history cart and step it up. Many times, it turns out that the right was to do things is also the easier way!
  • RootsTech offers a “Getting Started” track with a variety of topics by great, friendly genealogists. There’s no such thing as a dumb question.
  • RootsTech embraces storytelling. In fact, the conference draws storytellers and life-style bloggers in addition to family historians.

The Classes

  • RootsTech offers classes for every experience level. Each one is rated Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced for family history experience as well as technical experience.
  • You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn. You don’t know what you don’t know until you meet up with folks that have specialties.
  • It’s not all about the records you can discover. You can learn about new tools and apps that make your research easier.
  • You can learn about how to organize your hobby that’s taken over the spare bedroom.

The People

Friendly people at RootsTech

Friendly faces of Geneabloggers at RootsTech

  • You make friends.
  • You meet people who do things like research for the Genealogy Road Show. Humbling, but fun!
  • You meet people who have the same 20th great grandmother as you, or who have the same Mayflower ancestor as your husband. That’s cool.
  • The keynote speakers are always great, as is the entertainment.

The Innovator Summit

You can satisfy your inner geek with the Innovator Summit and Showdown. (A lot of us family history geeks are technology geeks as well.)

  • The innovator summit gives insight into new developments in the family history field. Recent innovations ran the gamut–handwriting recognition, indexing, crowd-sourcing, family storytelling to collecting family health information.
  • You get to vote on which innovations you’d like to see make it into mainline use at the showdown.
  • If you are an innovator, you get a worldwide exposure and the chance to present your ideas to industry leaders and target users.

Conference Exhibits

RootsTech Conference Exhibit HallThe Exhibit Hall boggles the mind with its breadth and depth of offerings. Exploration is a must.

  • You can find out about photo and film preservation, DNA testing (medical and ancestral), digital archiving, data backup solutions, local and regional genealogical societies, and all the innovations presented in the innovator summit.
  • You can talk to exhibitors to find out how their products can help you with your particular issues.
  • You can collect swag or buy products at a conference discount.
  • You can get on the early mailing lists to try out new apps.
  • This year, there will even be a Coach’s Corner” for one-on-one family history mentoring.

Inspiration

Wipe any ideas you might have about genealogy being only about dusty records, microfilm, and the like. It’s about bringing history alive.

  • RootsTech supplies sparks of inspiration: to drink in moments, to write stories, to interview relatives, to explore new sources, and try new technology.
  • You leave empowered to go and try new things or to attack that brick wall (again).

Salt Lake City

At first thought, you’d wonder why a conference is scheduled for Salt Lake City in the bleak mid-winter. Why not, say, Houston?

  • Salt Lake City is home to the Family History Library. If you do any kind of family history research, you’ve probably dreamed of going there. Holding two Family History conferences a few blocks away from the ultimate repository of genealogy resources increases the draw.
  • Salt Lake City is used to winter, and they have mountains that are beautiful even in February.

Your Turn

Have you been to RootsTech? What did you like best about the conference?