***RootsTech is the world’s largest genealogy and family history conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is a four day conference hosted by Family Search. RootsTech 2020 was held February 27 – March 2, 2019.***
Going into the last day of RootsTech I knew I wanted to finalize what I wanted to purchase at the expo hall, and I had two sessions that I wanted to attend. Today was a short day. The last session was at 3pm and the expo hall closed at 2pm. Not to mention I wanted to stop by the Afro American Historical and Genealogical Society booth and Sons and Daughters of the US Middle Passage booth to say goodbye to everyone. So I had a lot to do in a short amount of time.
I arrived at the convention center just after 9am for my first session. There were even more people in the convention center today because it was Family Discover Day. Family Discovery Day is a free event open to the public. There were numerous sessions designated for Latter Day Saints and those who registered for Family Discover Day had to access to the expo hall. There was face paintings, balloons, leis, other activities for the kids and the kids at heart. The theme was Isles of the Sea Celebrations. There were hula dancers and Jake Shimabukuro a renowned ukulele player was at the general session.
Towards the end of my first session, Phillip sent me a text that read come to the expo hall as soon as I leave the session. I made a beeline to the expo hall once that session was over with a quick stop to the restroom first. I guess I was taking too long because then he called me just as I was walking into the expo hall and told me to meet him at the RootsTech store. Once I met him, all he said was come on and took off. Of course, I was wondering where we were going since I had given him my tentative schedule which included going to the discovery zone to record my genealogy story. So I was walking with no idea where I was going as we turned the corner I saw Kenyatta Berry, host of Genealogy Roadshow on PBS, sitting at a table signing her new book, “Family Tree Toolkit”. I stopped in my tracks and looked at him and said did you know she was here? He looked at me and said yeah, that’s why I said to come straight to the expo hall. There was no one at the table, so I was able to just walk up and say hi. I told her that we had met back in 2015 in Washington DC while I was at a genealogy conference, and she remembered. I told her how much I love her and that I thought her book, The Family Tree Toolkit, was amazing, but I didn’t have my copy with me. Then Phillip interjected and told me that he had already been by her table and talked with her about me and that he bought me another copy so she could sign it for me. No one came up to the booth while we were there, so I was able to talk to her for a few minutes and she took pictures with us. When I say I was super excited…I was super excited.
My next stop was the Discover Zone. Family Search had interactive displays including a station where you can record your genealogy story or be interviewed. It took about 10 minutes to record and the recording was emailed to me. Since I was already in the expo hall, I decided now was a good time to buy the items I wanted. I purchased a couple of DNA test kits from Ancestry, a DNA and health screening test from 23 and Me, a pedigree wall chart from Family ChartMasters, Regina Mason’s book; Life of William Grimes the Runaway Slave, a RootsTech t-shirt, a t-shirt from Celebrate DNA that will have my African DNA percentages along with the continent of Africa, and an upgrade to RootsMagic software. All the DNA companies were there with big bright booths, Ancestry, 23 and Me, MyHeritage, Living DNA, FamilyTreeDNA, and Find My Past just to name a few, and they all had really good sales for this conference. Since I purchased the DNA kits at the conference, I didn’t have to pay for shipping which is an unbelievable saving alone. Next, I stopped by the AAHGS booth to say goodbye to everyone and then I just hung out at the Sons and Daughters of the Middle Passage booth until the expo hall closed at 2pm.
It’s really hard to believe the wonderful week I have had here at RootsTech is over. I was able to get in some research, get assistance in moving forward with some of my research, meet some bloggers, podcasters, and authors that I follow, spend time with two national organizations that I am a member of, and learn what’s new in the genealogy world. I was in genealogy heaven. I’m usually by myself when I’m researching either at home or in the library, so it was nice to be surrounded with people asking me about my research, cheering on my successes, or being a sounding board when I needed one. I had four full days, yet when I look back there was so much that I didn’t get to do or see. RootsTech 2019 more than met my high expectations. I had an absolutely wonderful time. If you ever get the opportunity to attend, I highly recommend it. You won’t be disappointed. 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of RootsTech, so my guess is it will be even better than this year. Mark your calendars for February 26 – February 29 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Sessions I attended
- Finding Substitutes for Vital Records presented by Peggy Lauritzen
- Techniques for Successful Searching presented by Beth Taylor (Sponsored by Family Search)
To read my RootsTech Day 1 recap click HERE
To read my RootsTech Day 2 recap click HERE
To read my RootsTech Day 3 recap click HERE