We are rolling out the red carpet all week at the Genealogy Gems booth at RootsTech 2018! Don’t miss exclusive free classes, prizes worth over $2000, a Saturday prize wheel for Family Discovery Day, and more.
It’s time for genealogy’s biggest party of the year: RootsTech!
Tens of thousands of people from around the globe will descend on the world’s family history capital, Salt Lake City, Utah, for a week of learning and fun from February 28 – March 3, 2018.
Attendees can choose from hundreds of classes, attend star-studded keynote addresses and lively, family-friendly evening entertainment. All while rubbing shoulders with others who share their passion for discovering their roots.
The Genealogy Gems Booth at RootsTech 2018
We believe that RootsTech attendees are the real stars of this event, so we’re rolling out the red carpet all week long for YOU at the Genealogy Gems booth at RootsTech 2018.
We’ll open early this year in the Exhibitor Hall with a special preview night: Wednesday, February 28, 6:00-8:00 pm. Don’t miss our “Beginning DNA” presentation by Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard at 6:30 pm. If you haven’t done DNA yet, it’s time! Learn what you need to know before jumping on one of the many DNA test RootsTech specials. Better yet, be at her class in the first five minutes to win a chance at a FREE DNA TEST.
Stay at the booth for a double-feature: Lisa Louise Cooke will follow at 7:00 with her essential “Google for Genealogy Methodology” class. She has literally helped thousands learn to maximize the power of Google to find ancestral answers. Come learn Google search strategies you may be missing and enjoy a chance to win a Kindle Fire!
The rest of the week, the red carpet will be out for you to learn from Lisa Louise Cooke, her Genealogy Gems team and her friends from Family Tree Magazine. Ask our experts your burning questions, get a book signed, or take a selfie with one of the Gems team. And LEARN from them! Here’s their schedule of classes at the Genealogy Gems booth in the Exhibitor Hall (sign up at the booth for a free e-book with all the class handouts):
Throughout the week, at the beginning of each class, we’ll be giving away prizes with a total value over $2000, donated by our generous sponsors and friends. Among the prizes are four Kindle Fire tablets, 8 DNA testing kits, best-selling books, Premium Memberships, subscriptions to MyHeritage, Animoto, and Backblaze, and more! Attendees should arrive early to grab VIP seating in the Genealogy Gems booth and receive their free drawing ticket (no purchase necessary) as we’ll be handing them out in the first 5 minutes only. Visit the booth for official rules.
Be sure to stop by the booth on Family Discovery Day, Saturday, March 3. We will have a fun prize wheel that day. Spin the wheel, answer trivia questions about your family, and win prizes! It’s free to participate and totally fun for kids.
Not going to RootsTech 2018?
If you won’t be at RootsTech this year, sign up for our free weekly newsletter. Genealogy Gems keeps you up-to-date with the best new “gems” that come out of RootsTech every year! Over the coming weeks, we will share the best RootsTech news, presentations and exclusive interviews in the Genealogy Gems Podcast, on our blog and on our YouTube channel–and we’ll point you to them in the newsletter. From the Genealogy Gems homepage, click GET MY FREE NEWSLETTER & EBOOK.
Your RootsTech questions answered here! Attending RootsTech 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah for the largest genealogy conference in the world can be a bit overwhelming. First-time attendees have questions and we have answers. Learn what to expect, where to go, and other must-know details to make the most of this extraordinary family history event.
RootsTech questions from a first-time attendee
I recently received some RootsTech questions via Facebook from a Genealogy Gems listener in Melbourne, Australia. Lesley-Anne has decided to make the overseas trip to attend RootsTech 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. How exciting–and a little daunting! She says:
Morning Lisa, As a result of the many years of listening [to your podcast], my husband and I have decided to attend the Rootstech conference this year. I am wondering if you can advise this first time-attendee on any tips on how to get the most out of this conference? I have been trying to find a list of keynote and breakout sessions available but haven’t had much luck. I know there are huge numbers that attend the Rootstech conference so would prefer not to be queuing on the day for sessions. I’m hoping there will be pre-booking for the sessions?? Keep up your great work. I don’t know how you do all the work that you do plus be a Nanna, mother and wife and also research your own tree. Kind regards, Lesley-Anne
I’m sure Lesley-Anne and her husband won’t be the only newbies at RootsTech 2018. And they’ll all have similar questions on their minds. Here we answer FAQs for her and other first-time RootsTech attendees.
RootsTech 2018 Answers from Lisa Louise Cooke
What’s happening this year at RootsTech?
RootsTech 2018 offers four jam-packed days of fun and learning: Wednesday, February 28 to Saturday, March 3, 2018. Don’t miss the first day! Wednesday is all about technology. There will be classes for all audiences, whether you’re a tech expert or newbie or (like most people) somewhere in-between. At 4:30 pm, FamilySearch CEO Steve Rockwoodl will give a keynote, followed by a new event called Innovation Showcase. Prepare for a high-tech “show and tell” of what’s new–and what’s coming–in genealogy technology.
As soon as that’s over, the Expo Hall opens (6:00 – 8:00 pm) for a special Preview, and then remains open all week. At the Expo Hall, meet the biggest names in the genealogy industry and hundreds of other vendors, societies, and services. It’s a stunning, not-to-miss experience, whether you love the energy of the crowd, the glamorous displays, or the chance to talk one-on-one with people from your favorite genealogy companies and services.
The Genealogy Gems booth is known for hosting the ultimate Expo Hall experience! We have our own free class lineup all week long from your favorite presenters. We host great giveaways with valuable prizes you can put right to work for your family history. Click here for the latest updates on our classes, book signings and giveaways. And come by our booth to take advantage of RootsTech specials on our most popular products, including the Genealogy Gems Premium membership (our on-demand Premium video lineup is like having a year’s access to your very own private RootsTech event!).
Throughout the rest of the week, you can expect:
World-class keynote speakers: Olympic figure skater Scott Hamilton; famed scholar and PBS family history documentary host Henry Louis Gates, Jr; “Humans of New York” writer Brandon Stanton and Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Natalia Lafourcade. (Click here to watch a 2017 keynote by LaVar Burton.)
Over 300 RootsTech classes: Classes at all skill levels are offered on traditional family history research skills, DNA, tech tools for genealogy, photos, stories, organizing and more. (Click here to view a fantastic class you missed from 2017: Genealogy Gems Contributing Editor Sunny Morton’s “Genealogy Giants” class comparing Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Findmypast.com and MyHeritage.
Free things to do at night, from dazzling entertainment sponsored by RootsTech to late-night research sessions at the Family History Library—the world’s biggest genealogy library is just down the street. (On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday during RootsTech, the library will stay open until 9:00 pm.)
What are the RootsTech 2018 registration details?
You have lots of registration options–from a free Family Discovery Day experience on Saturday to a budget-friendly “Getting Started” four-day pass ($69 promotional price) to the full RootsTech Pass ($199). Click here for a description of all your options.
How do I get the most out of my RootsTech experience?
Best tip from a conference veteran: plan ahead! If you haven’t made your hotel reservation yet, do it right away. The official RootsTech hotels have all sold out, so you’ll need to look a little further afield. Salt Lake City offers excellent public transportation to the downtown RootsTech location at the Salt Palace.
The Salt Palace does have a concession area with several affordable meal options. There are also a few small vendors with sandwiches, coffee, and candy, just outside the hall. You might also like to know that there are several nice restaurants just across the street or within minimal walking distance. The lines are a bit long at times; consider eating a little early or late, so you’re not caught in a “rush hour” for your meal.
Once your basic needs are met, plan your genealogy learning and fun! An online master schedule makes it easy to browse all the official RootsTech sessions and plan the ones you most want to attend. Classes are typically one hour, with a 30-minute break in-between. Don’t forget to include the Genealogy Gems Expo Hall classes in your lineup. An important tip for newbies: at some point, your brain will need a little rest from all the learning. Give yourself breaks to walk around the Expo Hall and visit with new friends you meet.
What about pre-registering for classes?
Lesley-Anne asked about pre-registering for specific classes to avoid long lines and disappointment for filled-up sessions. You must pre-register for any labs you want to take when you register for RootsTech. These are smaller, hands-on classes. If this is your first year, I think you will be more than busy (and happy) with all the sessions included in the regular registration and the exhibit hall. Personally, I would save the extra cost of labs for a return visit. One exception: I definitely recommend Diahan Southard’s lab: “From Click to DNA Connection” (Fri 1:30 pm, taught with Angie Bush).
Unfortunately, you can’t pre-register for the general sessions (keynotes) or regular classes. Seating is first-come, first-served. Classes that are expected to have high demand generally have hundreds of seats available. But if there’s a class or presenter you must see, get to the classroom as early as possible, go right to a seat and stay in it. Since some classes will fill up, have a back-up plan for each hour.
Another helpful tip when deciding what to do: you will receive a digital syllabus with your RootsTech registration. It has all the handouts for the classes that are part of your registration package. So even if the class you want is full—or you’re ready to take a break and tour the Expo Hall—you can still learn from RootsTech presenters. You may wish to print your desired class handouts before coming so that you can take notes on them. Come by the Genealogy Gems booth (#1203) to get the handouts for all our lectures, too!
As Lesley-Anne mentioned, the RootsTech venue is huge. It’s easy to get lost. They do post tons of signs. As the event draws nearer, we will post a map of the Expo Hall to help you navigate to your favorite vendors and societies. Additionally, you will have a map provided to you when you pick up your things at registration.
Lisa Louise Cooke is the Producer and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, an online genealogy audio show and app. She is the author of the books The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, Mobile Genealogy, How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers, and the Google Earth for Genealogy video series, an international keynote speaker, and producer of the Family Tree Magazine Podcast.
A new Photo + Story competition will be part of RootsTech 2018! If you can take a story-filled picture and caption it meaningfully, you should enter. Check out these tips for creating winning family history photo and story combinations. Winners will receive prizes from Canon and Dell–so start putting together your best photos and stories.
RootsTech 2018 Photo + Story Competition
“A good photo tells a good story. And behind every good photo and story is a photographer who recognized the moment the two had come together and snapped the shutter.” So says the press release announcing RootsTech 2018‘s Photo + Story Competition. Here’s how to enter:
“Participate by finding or capturing a photo and story, past or present, of you or a family member. Unlike standalone photo or story competitions, we want you to use the power of both photo and story to share, persuade, inform, inspire, connect, and belong.” In fact, some of those verbs are the four categories in the competition:
Winners will awarded prizes from Canon and Dell, which will certainly help your future family history storytelling! Selected entries will appear in an exhibit at RootsTech 2018.
This contest complements the appearance of RootsTech 2018 keynote speaker Humans of New York photographer Brandon Stanton. His personal glimpses into the lives of ordinary people in New York has set a standard for quality photo stories.
Details You’ll Want to Know
Here are several must-know details if you’d like to enter the contest–or encourage someone you know to enter:
Entrants can submit one photo and story in each of the categories.
Entrants must be at least 18 to apply.
No professional qualification, licenses, certificates, or certification is required.
If you didn’t take the picture, you must have permission or rights to use the photo (if it was taken after 1923). Agreeing to compete places full liability on the participant.
Selected entries will be notified by January 15, 2018, with more information on their intent to exhibit.
Family History Storytelling Tips for You
At Genealogy Gems, we’re all about helping you to discover, preserve and share your family history. If you’re thinking of entering this contest, consider how the following tips, adapted from a Genealogy Gems article on family history storytelling, can help your Photo + Story competition entry:
Create vivid “characters.” Photos can capturing someone’s expressions, body language, mood, unique clothing or a moment of intense personal drama. They can also create compelling portraits of the heirlooms or objects that store family memories. Your stories can do the same. Choose unique, meaningful details–both in words and pictures.
Paint the backdrop. What’s going on in the background of your picture? The “setting” and any background action should help tell the story, not distract from it. In your story, add essential details that the image can’t communicate. Is the exact date or place important? What else?
Tell why this story matters. Call it what you will: a meaning, a moral, a message–the best stories and photos say something about life. Something more than skin deep. Think about why the picture and story matter to you. Share it clearly, concisely, with humor or feeling or whatever tone best works for you and the message.
Genealogy Gems will be at RootsTech 2018 to help you discover and share your family stories!Click here to learn more.
Our RootsTech 2018 pass giveaway is underway! Enter by November 15, 2017 to win a chance to attend the world’s biggest genealogy event for FREE. Meanwhile, there’s more RootsTech news: the class schedule is posted and two keynote speakers have been announced. We think you’ll want to go! The real question is, will you get in for free?
It’s time to give away a RootsTech 2018 pass to one lucky Genealogy Gems fan! This is a great prize: all-access admission to the world’s biggest genealogy event at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, UT, February 28 – March 3, 2018. It’s a $279 value! Keep reading to see how to enter. But first, a quick update on RootsTech 2018.
The Latest RootsTech 2018 News
A conference. Choose from more than 300 classes on traditional research skills, DNA, tech tools, photos, stories, and organizing.
A convention. The biggest names in the genealogy industry share a huge Expo Hall with hundreds of other vendors, societies, and services. All want to answer your questions and show you the latest and greatest tools and resources to help your research.
This short highlights video captures it all. Check it out:
The RootsTech class schedule has been published. I’m super excited about classes being taught this year by the Genealogy Gems team. Just one example: Google Earth guru Lisa Louise Cooke and Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard are teaming up to deliver a powerhouse talk about putting your DNA matches on the map. Click here to see the full Genealogy Gems lineup.
RootsTech 2018 Pass Giveaway
We have a RootsTech Full Registration Pass to give to one lucky winner! This pass includes* access to over 300 classes, keynote/general sessions, the Innovation Showcase, Expo Hall and evening events. (Click here for more info about RootsTech 2018.) All you have to do to enter is take our 5-question survey by midnight (CT) on November 15, 2017.
Can’t attend Rootstech? Enter anyway for a chance to win a 1-Year Genealogy Gems Premium Membership!** Everyone who completes the survey below will be automatically entered to win.
We want your input: We know many people are not able to attend RootsTech in person, and that’s why we hope to make several of our booth classes available on video. Tell us which topics you want to see, and help us continue to make Genealogy Gems the best it can be.
Rules: Must complete survey by 12:00 am CT on November 15, 2017 to be eligible. No purchase necessary. Winners announced and notified on November 16, 2017. *RootsTech 4-Day Pass only covers registration (does not include airfare, hotel, or other expenses). If the winner has already registered for RootsTech 2018, the original registration fee will be refunded. **Premium Membership prize eligible for both new members and renewals. Non-transferable and no cash refund.
RootsTech 2018 registration is open! Travel plan alert: you won’t want to miss Wednesday, February 28, the new official opening day. Wednesday is all about technology, and it’s aimed at all of us (not just the techie crowd). We are a little bit giddy at the thought. Here’s our “first look” at what to expect for RootsTech 2018.
The buzz has already begun for RootsTech 2018! Here’s our synopsis of what’s going to be great about RootsTech 2018:
RootsTech 2018: “Connect. Belong” Where: Salt Lake City, Utah When: Wednesday, February 28 – Saturday, March 3, 2018 Hosted by: FamilySearch.org Registration:Register online ASAP for early-bird pricing
RootsTech 2018: Don’t Miss Wednesday!
Technology day for everyone
Big news: RootsTech 2018 will run for four full days! The dates to mark on your calendar are Wednesday, February 28 – Saturday, March 3. Don’t miss the first day! In the past, Wednesday technology sessions have been targeted at industry movers-and-shakers. This year, Wednesday is still all about technology, but the day’s events have been expanded and broadened for all audiences. There will be an opening General Keynote Session, a new Innovation Showcase, and classes that will appeal to all audiences.
The Innovation Showcase has replaced previous year’s competition. It looks more like a high-tech “show and tell” of even more of the best-and-brightest stars in family history technology. Companies from around the world–from small startups to large organizations–will have a shot at presenting their newest product or service on stage before a large online and in-person audience. The audience will select a “People’s Choice award” via live text voting. (Click here by October 15 to nominate a product or service.)
Wednesday Expo Hall Preview
Make plans to come say hello to us on Wednesday evening at the Expo Hall Preview from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Genealogy Gems will be there with another ultimate Exhibitor Hall experience (click here to get an idea of what’s coming). The Expo Hall is a stunning, not-to-miss experience, whether you love the energy of the crowd, the glamorous displays, or the chance to talk one-on-one with people from your favorite genealogy companies and services.
RootsTech 2018 Registration: Plan Early for the Best Experience
In addition to what’s new, many great RootsTech traditions promise to continue this year: expect dazzling keynotes, over 300 official RootsTech classes, and world-class evening entertainment. (Click here to watch my 2017 “Genealogy Giants” RootsTech lecture or click here for the recently-released 2017 keynote by LaVar Burton.) More details about this year’s keynotes and performers will be announced in the coming months, so check back with us often. We are official RootsTech Ambassadors and we’ll have the inside scoop on all the latest information and updates.
RootsTech registration is now open! There are lots of registration options–from a free Family Discovery Day experience on Saturday to a budget-friendly “Getting Started” four-day pass ($69 early-bird price) to the full RootsTech Pass ($169 early-bird price). Click here for a comparison of what each pass offers. And here’s a tip from a RootsTech veteran: Make your hotel reservations early! Those downtown hotels fill up so quickly.
RootsTech 2017 is already wowing us with their recent announcement of Friday’s keynote speaker, LaVar Burton. Not just known for favorites like Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: The Next Generation, LaVar has been known by millions for his role as Kunta Kinte the 1977, ABC mini series, Roots.
I can hardly wait until Friday, February 10th, 2017 when LaVar Burton is introduced on stage as a keynote speaker at RootsTech! One of my childhood favorites, I grew up listening to him share his love of reading in Reading Rainbow and teaching his best friend, Data, how to be more ‘human’ in the popular TV show, Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Mr. Burton is excited about the opportunity to speak at RootsTech where he plans to share personal stories about Roots, Star Trek, and his Reading Rainbow foundation. He also plans on sharing stories of his mom and her commanding influence on him. He says,
“The story of Roots traces a family’s journey from Africa to America and back. At RootsTech, I’ll share some of my own journey of family, storytelling and the influence of African culture on my American Experience.”
RootsTech Keynote Speakers and More
LaVar Burton is the first RootsTech Keynote Speaker to be announced for 2017. More speakers will be announced over the coming weeks.
If you haven’t heard, registration has already started for the RootsTech genealogy conference in Salt Lake City. Visit www.rootstech.org to register or learn more.
Be sure to come by and visit the entire Genealogy Gems team in the Expo Hall. We have some very special things planned for the event. Stay tuned!