Elizabeth Miller | Jan 23, 2020

The RootsTech 2020 Survival Guide

The RootsTech 2020 Survival Guide

It’s that time of year again—time to get ready for RootsTech 2020! And we’ve got the guide to help you thrive! RootsTech 2020 takes place February 26–29, 2020, and will be packed full of classes, keynotes, activities, forums, demos, networking, genealogists, connection, belonging, discovery, and, above all, family. To help you make sure you’ve got everything prepped and ready to go, we’ve prepared this year’s survival guide.

Download the RootsTech App!


There’s no better way to stay up-to-date with all things RootsTech than by downloading the RootsTech app. Here you will be able to build out your schedule, keep up to date on changes to the conference schedule, connect with other attendees, find classroom syllabi, and more!

If you already have the app on your device, you can access the 2020 content by following these steps:

  1. Open the RootsTech app.
  2. On the home screen’s bottom right corner, tap Exit to Show List.
  3. Refresh the app.
  4. Select RootsTech 2020 content.

If you don’t already have the app installed on your device, you can download it for iOS here and for Android hereRead our blog post and discover 10 ways the mobile app will enhance your conference experience.

Watch the Road to RootsTech Series for 2020


Craving more information about RootsTech? What about a peek behind the RootsTech curtain? In the Road to RootsTech series, you can follow the team as they share information about the upcoming RootsTech 2020 event, including announcements about classes, the Expo Hall, and more. Through these videos you even get a sneak peek into some behind-the-scenes meetings. You can check them out here.

RootsTech Kicks Off on Wednesday with the 10-Year Celebration!

This year RootsTech kicks off on Wednesday, February 26, in style.

The day starts with check-in, from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The first classes of the day begin at 8:00 a.m.

The keynote this year will be replaced by a 10-year celebration. Steve Rockwood will help us take a look back at the last 10 years as we also take a look forward at the future we will create together in the industry! This celebration will begin at 4:30 p.m. on the main stage.

The Expo Hall will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

General Session


This year’s general keynote sessions for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will begin at 11:00 a.m. mountain standard time on the main stage. This allows attendees to enjoy breakout sessions and time in the Expo Hall beforehand. Each session will last approximately 60 minutes and will let out in time for the lunch hour.

Keynote Speakers


Keynote speakers at RootsTech 2020 will include Leigh Anne Tuohy, inspirational subject of the movie The Blind Side and adoption advocate; Pulitzer Prize–winning photographer David Kennerly; and NFL Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith.

What to Wear


It’s time to bundle up. Salt Lake City at the end of February is cold. Temperatures usually range from 25 to 45 degrees, and snow is still a possibility. As you pack, remember to bring warm clothing, such as coats, scarves, gloves, and hats. The Salt Palace offers an on-site coat check; however, there are no lockers to store personal items. If you bring personal items to the conference, please keep them with you at all times.

For more information on what to wear and what to bring to RootsTech, read this article.

Electric Scooter and Wheelchair Rental at the Salt Palace


The Salt Palace Business Center offers both electric mobility scooters and manual wheelchairs to assist conference attendees. If you want to reserve a scooter or wheelchair, please fill out this form prior to the event. Please place your reservation as early as possible, as supplies are limited and we anticipate selling out.

Food and Dining in and around the Salt Palace


The Salt Palace is rife with a number of vendors where you can purchase food. On-site dining options range from sandwiches and sodas—and those candied nuts that make everything smell sweet—to a variety of hot meals. If you would like more food choices, there are a number of restaurants located within a short walk of the Salt Palace.

Read this blog article and discover 12 eateries within walking distance of the conference.

RootsTech Evening Event

This year, RootsTech is celebrating 10 years of connection, belonging, family, and genealogy! Over the course of the last 10 years, one thing we’ve learned is that while family can be inspiring, painful, encouraging, frustrating, and wonderful, above all, family is funny. In the spirit of celebrating the last 10 amazing years and all we’ve accomplished together as one great, big, genealogically enthused family, we are thrilled to welcome back one of our own “RootsTech Alumni” to the stage for the evening event. On Friday, February 28, 2020, at 8:00 p.m., RootsTech is proud to present comedian Ryan Hamilton. Hamilton has performed on stages across the country and most recently aired his popular Netflix special, Happy Face. We cannot wait to welcome him back to the RootsTech stage!

This event is included in your ticket price.

Expo Hall


The Expo Hall is a great place to get reenergized in your genealogy and family history endeavors. Here you can find new technologies, watch demonstrations, sit in on classes in the Expo Hall, converse with sponsors and exhibitors, and more.

Also in the Expo Hall:

  • Trace.com Coaches’ Corner offers one-on-one mentoring from an expert genealogist. If you’ve hit a brick wall in your family tree, this is the place to be. Bring your biggest challenges and roadblocks, and see what some personalized help from an expert genealogist can do for your family tree.
  • DNA Basics Learning Center. If you’ve done your own DNA test and are wondering what to do now with the information you have, DNA Basics, hosted by FamilySearch, is your one-stop shop for learning the ins and outs of all the possibilities open to you now that your DNA results are part of your family history journey.

The Expo Hall will be open during the following hours:

  • Wednesday, February 26, 5:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 27, 10:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
  • Friday, February 28, 10:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 29, 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

Demo Theater


Curious about the latest in family history products and services? In just 15 minutes you can listen to demonstrations by RootsTech sponsors and exhibitors to get the updates you want quickly. The demos will be scheduled daily during Expo Hall hours and will include a focus on innovation and technology and access and preservation.

Brand New Learning Forums

  • Innovation and Technology
    • Innovation and technology are exciting cornerstones of the ever-growing genealogy industry. Join us to take a closer look at innovation and the future of genealogy. This session features keynote speakers D. Joshua Taylor, president of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society, and Clark Gilbert, president of BYU–Pathway Worldwide. Following the keynote addresses, six companies from within the genealogy industry will take the stage to give you a sneak peek at their latest innovations.
  • Access and Preservation
    • Ever wonder who takes care of those precious records we spend hours poring over? At the access-and-preservation forum, you’ll find answers to just such a question, gain insight into the latest methods and technologies used to preserve records, and learn how records are made available to the public. Speakers in this forum are professional archivists and librarians.

Mayflower Commemoration


At RootsTech 2020 we will be commemorating the 400-year anniversary of the Mayflower landing. American Ancestors and the Mayflower Society will be joining together with FamilySearch for this commemoration. Activities and events will take place throughout the year, but at RootsTech, guests will be treated to Pilgrim activities, games, and even a large-scale ship in the Expo Hall booth!

Cyber Café Workshop


This year you will have access to Cyber Café workshops in the Expo Hall, sponsored by the Family History Library. At the Cyber Café you will have access to expert help and the latest in learning for your family history journey.

Lunch Options


It’s easy to work up an appetite while searching for family connections at RootsTech. This year you have new options to eat and learn at the same time. To capitalize on that precious lunch hour, you can sign up for a Lunch-and-Learn session or a Sponsored Lunch. At the Lunch-and-Learn sessions, you can enjoy a boxed lunch as you enjoy a variety of classes, including Henry Hogsflesh & Mary Pigfatt: Fun Finds Found through Years of Research. Purchase a Sponsored Lunch for the chance to enjoy a nice meal as you listen to one of our sponsors teach a class. Other options include the food at the Salt Palace (who doesn’t love those candied nuts?) or other delicious options at local eateries around Salt Lake City. You can find out more and purchase your tickets here.

Family History Library


While you’re here, why not visit the world’s largest genealogy and family history library? The Family History Library is just a block away from the Salt Palace—about a 10-minute walk. This library has shelves upon shelves of resources not available online and a plethora of specialists and country specialists ready and available to help you out with your family history questions.

The Family History Library is offering extended hours during the week of RootsTech. Hours are as listed:

  • Monday, February 24, 8:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, February 25, 8:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, February 26, 8:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 27, 8:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
  • Friday, February 28, 8:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 29, 8:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 1, 1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m

Transportation and Parking


There are two convenient underground parking garages available at the Salt Palace Convention Center. Parking costs $12–$20 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, is available for a daily fee. 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 ParkingSLC.com.

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

Changes to the Salt Palace

As you may or may not have heard, the Salt Palace will be under construction during RootsTech to make way for a brand-new hotel! We cannot wait to see what this beauty will look like! In the meantime, we will be on something of an adventure together as we navigate the changes and construction in the Salt Palace. One such adventure will include changes to the bathroom facilities in the southern foyer. On-site guests will have access to alternative bathroom options. We know this will be different, but we also know that we have some of the best attendees in the world and we can get through this together! And hey, we could almost call it an ancestor-inspired experience! We will do everything we can to make this the best experience—and we’re already giving our thanks for your patience!

Elizabeth Miller

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