Elizabeth Miller | Feb 28, 2020

RootsTech Day in Review Friday: (Family) History behind the Lens

The Story behind the Photo

If you’ve ever found a photo that you knew held a good story and just had to know more, then today was your day at RootsTech 2020! Today, keynote speaker David Kennerly shared all about telling our stories through photography. These days, many of us document our stories (not to mention our food) with a few dozen photos. Selfie, anyone?

General Session

Photography captures a moment in history, but it’s often the story behind the photograph that proves most intriguing. What happened just before? What happened just after? Why did this moment matter? These are a few questions Pulitzer Prize–winning photographer David Kennerly knows not only how to ask but also how to answer. Privy to some incredibly pivotal moments in history, Kennerly opened up about his experience telling stories—his own and others.

“The power of photography is something that all of you use in your research [and] is really able to move mountains sometimes.”

RootsTech Evening Event

The night wasn’t over until the crowd was laughing with the RootsTech evening event featuring Ryan Hamilton. Hamilton’s family-friendly comedy capitalizes on his rural Idaho upbringing and subsequent move to New York, where he quickly became a favorite. Hamilton’s quick observations and relatable humor made for an evening we won’t soon forget.

What’s Happening Tomorrow on Saturday, February 29

Tomorrow, RootsTech is proud to welcome three-time Superbowl champion and the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, Emmitt Smith, to the RootsTech stage as our closing general session keynote speaker. Smith has proven time and again the power of hard work, vision, determination, and goals. In 2010 Smith participated in the popular television show Who Do You Think You Are? and learned about his family. We are excited to hear more about his family and his story tomorrow.

Smith’s keynote in the general session begins tomorrow, Saturday, February 29, at 11:00 a.m. on the main stage.


Check-in will open tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. You will be able to pick up your conference bag and badge. If your badge was mailed to you, remember to bring it with you! If you forget it, however, you can find help at any of the info desks or check-in.

Class Sessions

Classes begin tomorrow at 8:00 a.m., with sessions following at 9:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. You can find the schedule for classes on the RootsTech app or on the website here. In the classroom you will have access to a variety of educational classes from top-notch speakers and leaders in their fields, ranging from DNA to records and digitization. In the expo hall, for the first time ever, we will also have a classroom where you can learn even more! You can then go over to the Demo Theater and enjoy 15-minute presentations from industry leaders covering topics such as innovation and tech as well as access and preservation. Start your brain exercises because we’ve got some mind-blowing stuff in store!

Expo Hall

The expo hall opens tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. and closes at 3:00 p.m. Plan your time wisely to visit all of the amazing exhibitors! You will have the chance to talk with representatives ranging from industry leaders to new companies just entering the market.

Download the RootsTech App

The RootsTech app will help you make the most of your RootsTech 2020 conference experience. You can use the app to build a personalized agenda, find information about speakers and vendors, and download class syllabi. You can also use the app to find things to do in Salt Lake City while you aren’t at the conference. If you don’t already have the app installed on your device, you can download it for iOS here and for Android here.

Did Someone Say RootsTech London?

Yes. Yes, they did. Someone said it. In fact, lots of someones! We were absolutely overwhelmed by the incredible attendance and experience at RootsTech London, and we cannot wait to do it again! Registration for RootsTech London is now open. You can register and take advantage of early-bird pricing here!

Elizabeth Miller

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