Tyler Stahle | Feb 2, 2018

A Survival Guide to RootsTech

RootsTech 2018, happening February 28–March 3 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, is just around the corner! With thrilling keynote speakers, inspiring classes, and hundreds of exhibitors, the RootsTech conference is truly a can’t-miss event for anyone interested in storytelling and family history.

Whether it’s your first time at RootsTech or you’re a regular, you want to be as prepared as possible so that you can get the most out of the four-day event. Consider the following as you begin your conference prep.

Early Check-in Begins Tuesday


We’re excited to announce that you can now check in for the conference a day earlier than in year’s past! Check-in will be open on Tuesday, February 27th , from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Skip the long lines by checking in on Tuesday. The first 4,000 people who check in this day will receive a special gift.

Check in times:

  • Tuesday, Noon to 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Check-in will take place at the registration area in the south lobby of the Salt Palace Convention Center. At check-in, you will receive your badge, a conference bag, and other essential conference materials.

Download the RootsTech App

The RootsTech 2018 app, sponsored by WordPress.com, will help you make the most of your conference experience. You can use the app to build a personalized agenda, find information about speakers and vendors, and download class syllabi.

If you already have the 2017 version of the app on your device, you can access the 2018 conference content by following these steps:

  1. Open the RootsTech app
  2. From the home screen, in the bottom right corner, tap Exit to Show List
  3. Select RootsTech 2018

If you don’t already have the app installed on your device, you can download it for iOS here and for Android here.

Read our blog post and discover 7 ways the mobile app will enhance your conference experience.

RootsTech Begins on Wednesday


RootsTech 2018 officially kicks off on Wednesday, February 28th! Classes begin at 9:30 a.m. and run throughout the day until the all-new general session and Innovation Showcase at 4:30 p.m.

The general session will be keynoted by Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International. Following Rockwood’s address will be the all-new Innovation Showcase, an insightful, fast-paced session that will look at innovations that are driving the genealogy industry forward. During the Showcase, we’ll be interviewing a group of experts in three fields: records, digital memories, and DNA. These three groups will offer insights into the past and bold predictions for the future of the industry. As an attendee, you’ll have the opportunity to voice your own opinion about the future of the industry by participating in live audience surveys happening during the session.

After the general session, the Expo Hall will be open from 6 to 8 p.m. mountain standard time. Enjoy uninterrupted time to meet exhibitors and test out the newest products. Free soda will be available in the Expo Hall on this night only.

Don’t Forget Your Badge

In order for conference organizers to better understand future session needs, each classroom will have a scanner that will scan your badge upon entry. The scanner will blink green if your pass type allows entry into the particular class or scan red if your pass does not allow entry into the particular class. Please be courteous and patient with those who are serving as badge scanners. As always, seats in each session are first come, first served.


A laptop, tablet, or smartphone is essential for most conference attendees. You can use your phone or tablet to take notes, interact on social media, and document your RootsTech experience. Many of the classes you’ll attend will explore popular family history apps or websites that you can quickly test out if you’ve got your device handy.

It’s also a good idea to bring your laptop or tablet charger. While there is a charging station in the Expo Hall where you can sit and charge your device, many people have found it useful to bring their own charger that they can use on the go or while they’re attending a session.

The Salt Palace offers free Wi-Fi for attendees.

Warm Clothing

Salt Lake City in late February and early March is cold. Typically, temperatures range anywhere from 25°F to 45°F, and snow isn’t uncommon. As you pack, remember to include these items:

  • Coats

  • Gloves

  • Scarves

  • Hat

The Salt Palace offers an on-site coat check. However, there are no lockers available for attendees to store personal items. If you bring personal items to the conference, please keep them with you at all times.

Walking Shoes

The Salt Palace Convention Center is a gigantic building. Although you won’t be spending all day on your feet, most conference attendees recommend bringing a good pair of walking shoes for the time you’ll spend in the Expo Hall. This year, more than 170 exhibitors will be present, and as you walk from booth to booth you’ll want to keep your feet as comfortable as possible.

In the Expo Hall you’ll also find the demo theater, the Family Discovery Zone, and the Innovation Alley, where you can explore the latest tech tools available to genealogists. To see more of the activities available in the Expo Hall, click here.        

Parking and Transportation

There are two convenient underground parking garages available at the Salt Palace Convention Center. Parking is $12–18 per day. There are several less expensive parking lots in downtown Salt Lake City within easy walking distance. The parking lot just north of South Temple Street, between 200 West and 300 West, charges $3–5 per day. Additional parking is available at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for $10 per day and at City Creek Center for an hourly rate. For more information on parking options in downtown Salt Lake City, visit http://www.parkingslc.com/.

Salt Lake City offers several transportation options, making your travel to, from, and through Salt Lake City convenient. Visit RideUTA.com for transportation options.

Expo Hall Hours


The Expo Hall will be open during the following hours:

  • Wednesday, 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.                                               

For a complete map of the RootsTech Expo Hall and list of exhibitors, click here.


RootsTech is more than just classes and keynote speaker sessions. There’s a host of entertainment and networking events for you to enjoy! Here are a few special events you won’t want to miss.

Opening Event: Celebrating the Greatest Generation | Thursday, 6 p.m. | Main Stage

Our opening event will feature vignettes of 1940s era dance, music, and narration to celebrate the greatest generation. Enjoy entertainment from the BYU Ballroom Dance Company and Synthesis, a jazz band ensemble from BYU. The event will be narrated by the Emmy award–winning Bruce Lindsay.

Closing Event: Luz de Las Naciones | Saturday, 6 p.m. | Conference Center on Temple Square

Wrap up your conference experience with the closing event, "My Family, Mi Herencia," a Luz de Las Naciones production that celebrates cultures and stories from Latin America.

23andMe Demo Theater


Are you curious about the newest in family history products and services? Take a seat, and listen to demonstrations by RootsTech sponsors and exhibitors. The 15-minute demos will be scheduled daily during Expo Hall hours.

Watch the highlights from 2017 and register for the 2018 event today!

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for exclusive updates throughout the conference.

Tyler Stahle

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