RootsTech 2017 Wrap-Up

RootsTech 2017

RootsTech 2017 is in the books and I can hardly wait for next year! 30,000 people attended the largest genealogical conference in the world in Salt Lake City, Utah between Feb. 8 and Feb. 11. Many who were unable to attend in person followed along using a variety of official and unofficial methods. For example, RootsTech streamed some sessions live. In addition, popular genealogy bloggers and other attendees resorted to Twitter (#NotatRootsTech), Facebook Live, Periscope, and others to share their experiences.

Here is a high-level overview of the event this year.

Credit: RootsTech.org

Keynotes

Wednesday (Innovator Summit)

  • Business consultant, Liz Wiseman, encouraged us all to “Get Our Rookie On.” When we look at things with fresh eyes and ask questions!
  • Steve Rockwood, President of FamilySearch International, addressed the crowd. He reminded us that innovations in the genealogy industry allow people to make discoveries and bring us closer to our families, both living and dead

Thursday

  • Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan Scott, treated the audience to family stories and expressed their love of their Scottish heritage
  • Steve Rockwood, President of FamilySearch International, introduced the theme that family memories are inexorably tied to food. He continued by explaining the global mission of FamilySearch to help people discover and record their family history regardless of where they live. He closed with an invitation to use and contribute to the combined Family Tree, and reminded everyone of a little known read-only “Genealogies” feature where you can contribute a tree for others to see your research without editing it.

Friday

  • RootsTech 2017 celebrated African Heritage Day with powerful, emotional presentations from emcee Nkoyo Iyamba, Kenyatta Berry, Sherri Camp, and Melvin Collier
  • LeVar Burton, known for his role as Kunta Kinte in the 1977 Roots, spoke on the power of storytelling
  • Following LeVar’s address, Thom Reed from FamilySearch presented unknown family history research to an emotional LeVar Burton. There was not a dry tear in the house.

Saturday

  • The Cake Boss, Buddy Velastro, shared his immigrant family story and reminded us of the joys of family

Classes

A tremendous variety of classes were offered for genealogists of all skill levels and all ages. I was particularly delighted to see classes geared towards involving younger members in genealogy. There were over a dozen different classes about using DNA in genealogical research

Innovator Showdown

Ten semi-finalists vied for their chance at $190,000 of cash and non-cash prizes in the RootsTech 2017 Innovator Showdown.  From there it was whittled down to 5 finalists who pitched their ideas in front of a huge audience and 6 judges.

The winners were:

Kindex.org – People’s Choice

Old News USA – First Prize

QromaTag – Second Prize

Double Match Triangulator – Third Prize

 

Family Discovery Day

This LDS event held on Saturday brought thousands of families and young people to learn more about how they can get involved in learning about their heritage.

Expo Hall

Credit: Dick Eastman

The Expo hall featured a huge variety of vendors offering software solutions, heirloom books, printed charts, research services, and much more! Tens of thousands of square feet of exhibits allured customers and shared their best and latest with the attendees.

The Family Nexus Official Launch

The Family Nexus officially launched our mobile app for iPhone at RootsTech 2017! We had demos and mini-classes at our booth and we had an overwhelmingly positive response from everyone we talked to!

Android users clamored for an Android version and we heard you loud and clear. We hope to begin working on that by the end of the summer! In the meantime be sure to tell all your friends and family to download the iOS version for iPhone or iPad!

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