RootsTech 2023 Sneak Peek & Giveaway

Greetings, one and all! It’s that time of year, again – RootsTech season! The world’s largest family history conference is back this March 2-4, and I’m hoping most of you have already heard about the dual nature of this year’s conference: Approx. 180+ classes in person at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City with a similar number of (different) virtual classes available for FREE, online! Just to be clear, both of these options contain NEW classes – and are different from the thousands of on-demand classes that are currently available at the RootsTech website from the past couple of years. CLICK HERE to go directly to the 2023 session/speaker/exhibitor listings.

Which also means there are two ways to register – in-person – or virtually. The virtual option is FREE for all – but pre-registration is required for either choice.

If you will be in the SLC area, and would like a chance to attend the conference for free, scroll down to the giveaway section!

What’s new this year:

For RootsTech 2023, the theme is Uniting – and we can’t wait to unite once again with our fellow genealogists, family historians, colleagues, vendors, friends, etc. Some really great keynote speakers are being announced as we get closer to the conference, so keep an eye out for additional announcements as March approaches.

I too have a new slate of sessions to present, both on-site and online for this year’s conference:

  • Picture It: Photo Identification and Preservation Workshop @ the FS Library, Thursday, March 2 • 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM
  • Picture It: Photo Identification and Preservation Workshop @ the FS Library, Friday, March 3 • 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM
  • Listen Up! Podcasting Your Family History, Friday, March 3 • 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
  • FAN of the Enslaved: A Forensic Look at Two Family’s Journeys to Freedom, Friday, March 3 • 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
  • Navigating Racial Challenges in DNA Connections, Saturday, March 4 • 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM (Livestream – Online/Virtual)
  • Avoiding Ancestor Identity Theft: How to Add the Right People to Your Tree, Saturday, March 4 • 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

BTW, if you caught that one of my sessions has a seemingly duplicate entry – that’s because I am giving this very special workshop twice at the Family Search Library (formerly the FHL)! This 2 hour hands-on workshop is co-sponsored by the the FSL and the SAR Genealogical Research Library!

Here is a description of the Picture It workshops: Have you ever wanted to fully understand the difference between daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, and more? This intensive two hour workshop will take a deep dive into the various historic photograph formats that we encounter as family historians – followed by instructions on how to properly handle and preserve them based on format and access needs. Attendees will get a hands on experience as they receive their own pair of gloves to keep as each type of photograph is passed around the room. We will closely examine what each format looks like and feels like in person, sometimes using magnifying glasses to see the processing elements that signal type and production markers. During the preservation phase of the class, attendees will be introduced to the various types of enclosures and tools necessary to preserve their collection. At the end of the class, each attendee will also receive a few enclosure samples to take home. Free class, sponsored by the Family History Library and the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) Genealogical Research Library. Class limited to 40 attendees.

These off-site workshops held at the FSL is a new concept for RootsTech – so pay close attention to the session descriptions to find additional off-site workshops! And just a reminder that these two workshops are limited to 40 attendees each. Once you register for the conference, you will be able to add them to your schedule which should create a count for those keeping track.

Also new for this year – some special guests joining a couple of my sessions! For Navigating Racial Challenges in DNA Connections – I’ll be joined by genealogist, Donald Shores – who will be participating virtually, all the way from Missouri. And for Avoiding Ancestor Identity Theft: How to Add the Right People to Your Tree – I’ll have two special colleagues partnering in the presentation – Linda Colston, genealogist at Twin Oaks Genealogy, and Deborah Maddox, Staff Genealogist at the SAR.

We are all so excited to get back together in person – but equally as happy to know that the virtual RootsTech party is still going strong! And don’t forget all of those on-demand sessions still available at the RootsTech site right now!

Now for the Giveaway!

As a RootsTech influencer, I am tasked with giving away one free on-site registration to the 2023 conference – a $98 value*! This includes full access to all three days of the conference – featuring 180+ sessions, expo hall, keynote sessions, and main stage fun! You must enter by January 30th – and the winner will be announced on January 31st.

Here’s how to enter – just comment below to give me the name of your favorite ancestor. You may also comment on my Twitter or Instagram posts if you prefer. Only one entry per person, please.

Now – what are you waiting for?

*Note: This contest for on-site registration only and does not include any travel monies for arrival/attendance. The virtual conference is free for all.

Major Plot Twist

In looking at 2022 so far, I have to ask myself – How did I get here? The first half of 2022 has been quite the ride, which explains my hiatus on this site and the podcast. The year started out with a week of Covid – yay, holidays – followed by a flurry of major events: RootsTech, the 1950 Census release, filming season 2 of Kentucky Ancestors TV, and finally a position change that took me to an entirely different city. If you are chomping at the bit to learn more about said change in position (and haven’t figured it out by the logo), scroll to the bottom of this post.

RootsTech 2022: This year’s RootsTech was much like 2021 – videos submitted – to be posted to my profile of available videos. I was delighted recently to see that they have added my in-person session from 2020: Tackling Difficult Chapters of Your Family History. Meaning, if you visit my RootsTech speaker profile page, there are now 7 videos to choose from! BTW, the plans for RootsTech 2023 were recently announced – giving us the happy news that the event will be a hybrid – some classes in-person at SLC, and many available via video. So get ready to enjoy to another stellar year – in the Salt Palace, or from the comfort of your own home! More to come on this subject as we get closer to the event. And just for a tease – I just received word that you’ll officially see me there in person and via video. Time to make some plans!

1950 Census: Because of the timing with filming Season 2 of KA, I just never got to enjoy the hype behind the 1950 Census. I did get into the various platforms to find some of my people, but from that weekend on, my plot twist was also in full swing. I was sorry to miss a lot of the fun since the 1940 Census was a rip-roaring good time, but as you read on, I’m sure you’ll understand. Besides, the day of its release coincided with my final plot twist on the list!

Kentucky Ancestors TV Show – Season 2: Preparation for filming Season 2 of this award-winning statewide TV show was my entire existence for many, many months. And just to put this in perspective – filming took place on the same weekend as RootsTech! Crazy times! I have to say, as a Producer on the show, I was particularly proud of the episodes we put together for this season. We had a new host, former Miss America and 2nd Lady of Kentucky, Heather French Henry. We of course greatly missed Season 1’s Renee Shaw, but due to contractual obligations, she was not available for Season 2.

All I can say about Kentucky Ancestors TV is that I was extremely sorry to say goodbye. This had been my baby since 2016 – a very intense labor of love. And while I was willing to stay on to produce content for future seasons, they decided to move in a different direction. However, the memories I will take with me as my one shot as a Producer will be cherished forever! So many people made this happen, but I’d particularly like to thank my Co-Producer, Greg Hardison, and my Genealogy research partner in crime, Linda Colston. Without these two, there wouldn’t be a show. And finally, a big shout out to the KHS Foundation and its Executive Director, Doug High, who provided funding, Studio 46, production advice, and the air time necessary to take this show across the state. Again, so many people to thank – most are in the episode credits – so be sure to tune in to support this amazing genealogy show.

BTW, if you’d like to catch this season’s episodes – be watching local Kentucky and Cincinnati stations through August, or wait for the release of each episode at the end of the month on their YouTube channel.

The Final Plot Twist: As I mentioned earlier – these previous events were then overshadowed by the biggest plot twist of all: After 10 years at the Kentucky Historical Society, I left to join the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution Headquarters as their new Library Director! This was a huge honor and for the past several months, I have been settling in and planning future programs, etc. And of course, when was my first day on the job for the SAR? April 1st – the same day as the release of the 1950 Census! Plus, as we were filming Season 2, we were all a bit sad as everyone knew I was leaving a month after filming.

So, what could lure me away from a place I loved? The place I firmly believed was my dream job? Well, another dream job came knocking. The SAR Genealogical Research Library in downtown Louisville Kentucky is the national library for the SAR. That’s right, NOT in Washington D.C., but right in my backyard, here in Kentucky! They’ve been here for decades, and in their current location for about 12 years.

With an amazing national collection, I can’t wait to share more with you all over the coming months. Just a reminder that the 250th Anniversary of America’s birth is coming in the next 4 years, so the programming will build at a very fast pace. We are busy developing a new library webpage portal for continued content, events, and resources for researching your American Revolution era ancestors. While we wait for this aspect to go live, please be sure to join our Facebook page, and like us on Twitter. Both of those places will announce future content and programs as they become available. If you’re ever in the Louisville area, please stop in to see us (right across the street from the Louisville Slugger Museum) – research is $5 per day OR FREE for SAR members and their spouses, DAR/CAR/SR members – but if you don’t fit into any of those groups – please consider joining our Friends of the Library program – for $25 per year, you support our mission and receive free admission all year long! Plus, you get beautiful little pin to showcase on your favorite genealogy/research garb!

So, that’s it in a nutshell, folks – a wild and crazy year – and it’s only half over! BTW, as a PS – another reason the podcast has went begging – just after I started with the SAR, I came down with a nasty head cold that went into really bad laryngitis – I only recently got my voice back to full strength. Be watching for new episodes of BloodRoot coming very soon!

RootsTech 2022 Is Coming: Global Keynotes and Speakers!

Calling all family historians and genealogists:

Did you hear that RootsTech – the world’s largest family history conference and year-long learning platform is going virtual and FREE once again for 2022?! That’s right, the team at RootsTech is doing it all over again, promising an even richer buffet of genealogy goodness! This year’s virtual event takes place March 3rd through the 5th and registration is now open – just visit RootsTech.org.

With thousands of classes, inspiring speakers, meaningful activities and joyful connections, RootsTech brings the human family together like no other event. Get ready to celebrate shared connections with people from around the world. Connect with friends, your family, your past, your heritage and homelands—all from the comfort of your home and in your browser.

As an online experience, attendees will be able to choose from thousands of classes from around the globe and in multiple languages. Gee, that sounds like a lot of classes to take in during a three day window! Well, have no fear, there is NO schedule for the regular sessions – these have all been pre-recorded and placed online for you to consume at your leisure. Think GenFlix for us genealogy junkies! After the conference is over, you will have access to the full selection of sessions for the rest of the year, plus many from 2021.

Beyond these dynamic classes, there will be inspirational keynote speakers, cultural activities, contests, virtual meet-ups, and a virtual marketplace. The keynote sessions ARE scheduled, for the main page – but if you miss one, they are recorded for you to enjoy later. For 2022, you will hear inspiring stories from: Matthew Modine, Thais Pacholek, Molly Yeh, Azumah Nelson, Diego Torres, Maysoon Zayid, and Apollonia Poilâne !  This is such an exciting lineup – and all for free – astounding!

“See” you There!

Oh, and one last thing, I’ll be seeing you there as a speaker and influencer, so I apologize in advance that my social media feeds will be taken over during the conference. For more information about my speaking sessions, just search for my name once the conference goes live on the 3rd, or see my Speaking page at genealogyliteracy.com/services.

For the best conference experience, consider signing up for a free familysearch.org account before heading over to the registration portal. What are you waiting for? Sign up now and let’s get connecting!

BTW, Special thanks to fellow speaker, Dr. Penny Walters for the great keynote graphic!

RootsTech Connect is Here!

As most of you know, the RootsTech Conference has been transformed into a FREE virtual world-wide event for 2021 – Called RootsTech Connect! This new experience just went live today, so, what can you expect? Many of the same exciting elements we are used to during the on-site event, such as great sessions, inspiring keynote speakers, an expo hall, and making connections with your fellow attendees. It’s just a remote experience, with the world audience in mind – speakers from many countries with sessions in many languages! And while we will most definitely miss the hugs, library research, vendor talks, catching up, and great food, this is the next best thing.

Here are a few things to note:

As of the conference launch, there have been over 500,000 registrations from around the world!

But if you did not register – have no fear – you can still experience the full conference even without registering! Simply head over to the main website and enjoy the many videos at your fingertips. If you would like to develop your own playlist for the coming year, and communicate with speakers, friends, and vendors, just create a free FamilySearch.org account to connect you to the fun!

Also, there is NO schedule for the regular sessions – these have all been pre-recorded and placed online for you to consume at your leisure. Think GenFlix for us genealogy junkies! The keynote sessions are scheduled, there on the main page – but if you miss one, they are recorded for you to enjoy later.

While you’re enjoying this new experience, please stop in to view the four sessions I have in the video docket:

471123 – Beyond the FAN Approach: Inclusive Research Strategies

471127 – Airtable: Organizing Your Research with a Relational Database

471179 – Practical Preservation Demonstration

471215 – Successful Remote Research Strategies

Officials have reported that 80% of those registered are first time RootsTech attendees. For those new to the RootsTech experience – or for those missing the in-person fun, I have a created a special episode of the BloodRoot podcast devoted to RootsTech Connect! I’ve had a few friends drop by to share their favorite memories from the past, and tell us what excites them about this new format for 2021. (Linda Colston, Cynthia Maharrey, Miles Meyer, Tami Osmer Mize, Elizabeth O’Neal)

 

But first things first: For the next three days, you should focus your attentions on CONNECTING to your fellow attendees, experts, and vendors. Those connection features will disappear at the end of the conference this February, so prioritize your experience, and get connecting! Beyond the huge list of sessions available for the next year, I hope and suspect that the connections will remain strong, even through this virtual format. Please prioritize your experience – seek out the speakers, vendors, groups, panels, and friends you want to connect with – for this portion of the event is time sensitive. Once the conference is over, you’ll have to find ways to reach out on your own, or just settle for binge watching the sessions. I mean, we’re going to do that anyway, but do not let this connection opportunity pass you by!

This time last year, many of us were happily traipsing around the Salt Palace in downtown Salt Lake City – wallowing in genealogy bliss – oblivious to the approaching Pandemic storm. Those memories will always be very poignant as the years progress, because as soon as we all got home, the world shut down. And indeed, I believe our world changed forever in many ways. One of the largest changes to hit was the inability to travel or gather in large groups. Effectively removing the on-site conference experience.

After such a difficult year for the world, this new experience is a sign that our genealogy world will never be the same. As officials have said, in the future, RootsTech will always have a much more robust virtual experience – regardless of whether we can attend in person or not. This is wonderful news – especially for the world-wide community that we are now connecting with in 2021. For all of the first time attendees out there, welcome to the RootsTech family! If you want to connect with me during the conference – visit the chat rooms for my individual sessions – or give me a shout out via my social media channels!

These are exciting days for the genealogy/family history community! Enjoy it to the fullest!

 

RootsTech 2020: In Review

How do I begin to describe the 10th Anniversary of RootsTech? The only word that fits is “epic”. As RootsTech continues to grow past the decade mark, it is important to understand that the size of this conference means each attendee can have a completely unique experience. Today I will fill you in on the experience I had, including some great announcements that were made during the week. And to get a broader representation of the RootsTech experience, check out some of the blog posts published by other 2020 ambassadors!

The Story of YOU:

The biggest impact this year had to be “The Story of You”. As the theme of this year’s conference, you could see it everywhere. And as a librarian, the book motifs were geeking me out quite a bit. It reminded us all that our story and our ancestors’ stories are very intertwined. The story chain would not be complete without our story – urging everyone to buckle down and include their story in the family narrative.

By far, the best visual for this theme had to be the “What’s Your Story” interactive display. Attendees were encouraged to write a snippet of their story in one of the hundreds of empty journals lining the balcony on the second floor. By the time the conference was over, most of the pages were filled with colorful comments and stories.

Wearing Many Hats:

This year, I attended as both a speaker and ambassador which afforded different experiences, yet flowed together pretty seamlessly due to the wonderful work of the RootsTech organizational teams. With all of the moving parts, and such a small planning team, what they achieve each year is pretty remarkable. Below I will outline the highlights of each role in 2020.

Speaker:

As a speaker, I presented three sessions on various topics: Digital Citizenship, Difficult History, and Family History Preservation. Just remember that the syllabus material is still available on the app, and there are 20+ free sessions available right now in the 2020 video archive. You can watch my session on Tackling Difficult Chapters of Our Family History by clicking this link, or by watching the video link on the sidebar. I have to say, this session was my most rewarding so far, due to the sensitive and timely nature of the stories I included. Plus, I’ve had so many people thank me for the session, while sharing their difficult histories amid tears and hugs. We all have difficult chapters in the family tree – and this session will help you deal with them in a practical and sensitive manner.

For those of you who purchased the Virtual Pass, the recorded sessions are still being processed and should be available within the next few weeks. The Virtual Pass is still available for purchase until September. If you opt for this option, the 30+ sessions in combination with the free sessions will give you access to over 50+ sessions. Since no attendee can get to all of the sessions physically, this is a great way to keep learning from RootsTech over the coming months!

Ambassador:

As a RootsTech Ambassador, we are given certain updates and information to share with you all. Some of those highlights include:

RootsTech is heading to LONDON this fall! This, by far, was the biggest announcement by Family Search. Save the Date: November 5-7, 2020. Registration is already open.

Interview with Dan Call and Bryan Austad: These two Family Search “Experience Managers” are the masterminds behind the Discovery Centers – found in the Expo Hall and on the 1st floor of the Family History Library. Dan was even instrumental in helping to create RootsTech 10 years ago. So, they shared their views on how much the conference has changed, and their desire for the future of the Discovery Centers. Be looking for additional ways to Discover your family history through an expanded experience Discovery Experience on your own PC – coming very soon!

MyHeritage: During a dinner for Friends of MyHeritage (and throughout the conference) they showcased their new photo colorizing tool that quickly colorizes old black and white photos with the click of a button. They also announced a new U.S. City Directory collection that expands their digitized images to 1.5 billion.

Biggest Takeaways:

For me, the inspiration of the keynote speakers, and the importance of telling our stories had the most impact. We’ve all told ourselves to get writing, but this year, the tools available to help us, and the fleeting nature of life have spurred me to once again pick up the pen. We have work to do!

Fun Additions:

For this year, there were some cool additions that had us playing and learning at a greater rate.

Virtual Reality: There was a huge booth designed to allow VR participants to explore the land their ancestors called home. And for those who had ancestors on the Mayflower, MyHeritage was adding a fun twist to the experience.

The Discovery Center: Was expanded this year and placed in the center of the Expo Hall.

Shuttle to the Library: This year, there was a shuttle taking folks to the library and back to the Salt Palace – If you missed the shuttle, there were new, helpful sidewalk signs to help you find your way!

Thanks again to the organizers! They rocked it once again, and demonstrated how strong this conference is after 10 years. I was there the first year, and each year I attend, I am more and more impressed – and always come home greatly inspired. I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years will bring for RootsTech!

Until next time!

RootsTech 2020 Home Stretch!

It’s almost here – RootsTech 2020! The Genealogist’s version of Christmas! As this year marks the 10th anniversary, it should be the biggest conference yet! In the flurry of packing, writing, and planning, I wanted to take some time to cover my favorite features of this amazing conference – and why you should attend, either in-person or virtually.

Cutting edge tools, tips, and instruction: From the ginormous expo hall with the latest and the greatest genealogy tech tools to the most recent advances in DNA science and available resources, this conference should be on your yearly genealogy check-list – and here’s why. If you stay at home or travel to attend in person, your week (and the coming weeks) will be chock full of discovery and learning. 

Here’s my formula for success with both attending options:

At Home 1: Watch the FREE live-streaming classes! There are about 21 sessions scheduled which can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home, without spending a dime. But as a binge-watching society, I know those 21 sessions will NOT be nearly enough. The great news: You can purchase a Virtual Pass which will bring you another 30 sessions to watch from home! That’s right, the virtual pass brings your total viewing number to over 50! Seriously, with 300 sessions in person, 50 is a great chunk.

At home 2: Download the syllabus material! You can do this as well, for FREE – for most of the classes! Not just the 50+ mentioned above – ALL 300+ sessions! Please take advantage of this option – the speakers spend a lot of time and effort making these materials thorough and useful – not to mention that each speaker can be a future reference for you when needing more education. Downloading is available through the RootsTech App.

At home 3: Take a virtual tour of the Expo Hall! The entire list of exhibitors can be found on the RootsTech website, and at your leisure, you can click on each one and explore their websites. Some may even have RootsTech special pricing, so be sure to explore and play with these latest genealogy tech toys and tools.

At home bonus: As most of you know, I am honored to have been selected as a speaker once again this year – which I will cover in more detail below. However, several folks have asked me about one particular session that resonates with many of us today: Tackling Difficult Chapters of Our Family History. I am doubly honored to announce that this session has been picked up for the livestream schedule! On Thursday, February 27th @ 3:00pm Mountain Time (5:00pm EST), you can tune in to watch my presentation in its entirety. If you miss it that day, the recording will be available shortly thereafter on the RootsTech.org website.

In Person 1: Happy Birthday, RootsTech! This year is going to be a huge blow out! Over 300+, and expanded session space and exhibit session opportunities, so you’ll want to be there if at all possible! As a speaker, I will be giving three presentations over the course of the conference:

My Session Schedule:

  • A Digital Citizenship Primer for Genealogists: Wednesday, Feb. 26th @ 3:00pm
  • Tackling Difficult Chapters of Our Family History: Thursday, Feb. 27th @ 3:00pm
  • The Hoarder’s Guide to Family History Preservation: Saturday, Feb. 29th @ 1:30pm

Speaker Meet-Up Schedule: In lieu of questions during my sessions, I am going to try and snag a space in the speaker meet-up area for more in-depth conversations. As these tables are first come, first served, please pay close attention to my Twitter or Instagram feed to see when I’ve snagged a table for confab! If you don’t use either – you can see these feeds right here on this website – right sidebar.

In Person 2: Be sure to take care of YOU! Pace yourself – this is the big one! At 10 years old, this year’s event looks to be the biggest yet. According to the Salt Palace tour video that was put out by the conference organizers, the event is sprawling even more – including food and session rooms all the way down to the far end of the Palace – which is reminiscent of the first year, then only down the north side of the Palace. Also, be sure to watch the Road to RootsTech video series – this includes wonderful tips – which for this year, is VERY important! There is construction happening at the south end entrance to the Salt Palace – resulting in CLOSURE. From what we have seen so far, even the sidewalk around that entrance is closed. Another important point – this construction alters the bathroom plan. Go watch the latest video for updates.

In Person 3: Bags and Swag! Your badges have been mailed to most of you. For those of you who need them printed or re-printed, there will be several stations available to provide this service. And did I mention how cool the bags are going to be this year? Pink and black backpacks! Woot!

In Person 4: Do not forget to prioritize the Exhibit Hall! NEW THIS YEAR: Gone is the Unconferencing Session space, and in its place, a more expanded area for vendors to host instructional sessions. Yes, the Demo stage will still be there, but these expanded areas should be able to accommodate more attendees and provide more in-depth information compared to the brief Demo sessions. Look for spaces in the vendor areas as well as the EXPO HALL CLASSROOM, in the front, next to Trace’s Coaches’ Corner. In other words, build time into your schedule to fully explore this genealogy/tech wonderland. It is unlike any genealogy conference out there and should be enjoyed to the fullest!

In Person 5: The Family History Library! OK, so if you live in SLC, you’re excused from this one. If you are visiting from out of town, you MUST take a little time to research those ancestors! This place is unparalleled – And they have graciously added late night hours to enhance your RootsTech/SLC experience! Just make sure you come prepared with a reasonable research plan, or you will quickly get overwhelmed by the resource buffet on each floor. Another tip: If the Discovery Center in the Expo Hall gets too crowded, head over to the permanent version on the first floor of the library!

In Person 6: Stretch those introvert tendencies and talk to other attendees! These are your people – gathered together at the great watering hole of ancestral information. Even the vendors are there to learn more about you, the users! In fact, that was the original mission of RootsTech 2011 – getting the developers and users in one place to learn from each other. So, in 2020, let’s remember that original dream and make the genealogy landscape a better place because we made the effort to connect with those of like minds and pursuits.

Post Script: For additional survival tips, please see the official Survival Guide posted by the conference organizers, as well as many other ambassadors out there!

See you soon!

RootsTech 2020 Updates

Howdy faithful readers! As RootsTech 2020 is now less than a month away, it’s time for another update.

The final keynote lineup has been announced and the 10th anniversary looks to be amazing! (See pic above)

For those of you attending in person, there is still time to pre-register with on-site registration or individual daily attendance always an option.
For those of you attending virtually from home, the free Livestream schedule has been posted – meaning you can tune in for FREE online – and watch over 20 sessions that educate and inspire!

Announcement: As most of you know, I am honored to be giving three presentations at this year’s RootsTech – and several of you have asked about one specific session: Tackling Difficult Chapters of Our Family History – I am pleased to announce that this session will be available for free on the livestream lineup! It is scheduled for Thursday afternoon (Feb. 27), at 3:00pm mountain time (5:00pm eastern).
If the free lineup only makes you want more, there is a virtual pass available for purchase that will give you access to 30 additional sessions. The lineup looks amazing, so check it out!

The conference app is also now available for download. For those onsite, this is an invaluable tool to make your attendance a successful experience. Through the app, you can see the speaker lineup/profiles, download syllabus material – and in some cases, presentation slides!
That’s about all the news I have for January – stay tuned – I will post my big RootsTech preview in the coming weeks!

RootsTech Contest Winner!

As the Holiday Season draws to a close, we need to be looking forward to RootsTech, 2020! As a RootsTech Ambassador, it was my privilege to pick the winner of my RootsTech full pass giveaway contest. On Christmas Day, my family and I drove up to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee to announce my winner – The full video can be seen on Instagram or Twitter. Drum roll, please – the lucky winner was Kathy Webb! Even though the winner was chosen at random, Kathy’s favorite genealogy find of 2019 was pretty cool – She discovered that her great grandmother was a sheriff in Arkansas! I’d love to know more about that story!

I would like to thank all of those who entered my contest via the three options (blog, Twitter, Instagram)! We had a total of 29 entries with some really great stories. Be sure to go read the comments of the last post to be inspired for 2020. From immigration stories, to DNA cousins, to connecting back to the land of our heritage, the entries were really amazing, and worth the read. Also, thanks to RootsTech for providing these passes for the Ambassadors to give away – there are still some contests running out there for the next couple of days – so if you didn’t win, and want another chance – be sure visit the Conference Keeper site for the links.

Now that we are less than two months away from RootsTech 2020, here are the latest updates: The 2020 app is now live – and we’ve heard the schedule has been finalized – so time to get exploring and setting up your schedule for each day. Another keynote speaker has been announced – Emmitt Smith, Former Dallas Cowboys player, and NFL Hall of Famer.

These next two months are going to fly by – and I can’t wait to see everyone in SLC. Be watchful for more announcements as they are released in the coming weeks!

See you soon and Happy New Year!

RootsTech Christmas Contest!

To kick off the Holiday season, I am hosting a RootsTech Christmas Contest – starting now! You could win a full four-day pass to RootsTech 2020 – with the lucky winner being announced on Christmas Day! If you’re already sold on entering, please scroll down to the contest instructions to proceed.

Latest RootsTech News:

If you haven’t already noticed, RootsTech 2020 is fast approaching. And with the Holidays coming up, it will be here before we know it! After watching the Highlights from RootsTech London just a month ago, here are some things you should keep in mind:

1: The free recorded sessions are still up on the main RootsTech site – as are sessions from RootsTech past. Did you know you can still watch some sessions from RootsTech, all the way back to 2015?! You can find these videos in the video archive section. That’s a whole lot of learning going on!

2: Swag Alert – they debuted a new swag bag for attendees this year. RootsTech London attendees received a pink backpack – and for RootsTech 2020, we’ll be getting blue backpacks!

3: The first keynote speaker of the 2020 line-up has been announced: Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographer, David Hume Kennerly  – with more great speakers to be announced soon!

4: Even if you can’t make the conference in person, be sure to check out the premium pass options for a deeper roster of virtual sessions.

5: Reminder: 2020 is the 10th anniversary bash – if you’ve been waiting for a good time to attend RootsTech – your waiting is over – this is the one you cannot miss!

6: If you can’t make the full conference, there is a special discount going on right now that cuts the single day registration fee in half! The code when registering is GENFRIEND and is good through December 9th.

Contest Rules:

In order to win, you simply have to comment on this post, or on the corresponding posts in Twitter or Instagram – Telling me about your favorite genealogy find of 2019. Only one entry per reader, please! Each comment will be entered into a drawing with the winner selected on Christmas Day. Meaning, your deadline for entry is December 24th – all day, even up until midnight.

What You Could Win:

A full 4-day pass to RootsTech 2020 (on-site in Salt Lake City), held February 26-29, 2020 – a $299 value! Don’t worry, if you’ve already registered, winning this contest would get you a full refund of your purchase price.

Pass includes the following: • Over 300 classes • Keynote / General sessions • Expo Hall • Evening events. It does NOT include any travel costs, paid lunches, virtual pass, or paid labs.

Good Luck, Everyone!

RootsTech 2020 Countdown is ON!

As we close out September, it’s time to take a look at the RootsTech 2020 countdown – and we’re down to 5 months! At this stage in the lead-up, if you’re planning on attending, registration is now open – and early bird pricing ends October 11th! Also, the conference hotels are filling up fast, so be sure to make your reservations ASAP!

I hope to see many of you there in 2020 as it’s the 10th anniversary celebration, which should be the best RootsTech yet. As both a speaker and ambassador this year, I would love to meet my readers and share the festivities with you all. Due to the roles I have for 2020, be on the look-out for an opportunity to win a full conference registration by commenting on a future blog post.

As most of you know, RootsTech London will be taking place in late October – but after that edition is over, there will be many more RootsTech SLC announcements released – so stay tuned!