Jen Allen | Jul 12, 2019

What’s New at RootsTech 2020

Hi family!

This is Jen Allen checking in. I hope you are having a wonderful summer! While you are enjoying some ice cold lemonade at the beach, we have been busy with new and exciting preparations for RootsTech. Don’t feel too bad—we have been able to sneak in some sodas and some beach time as well.

Since RootsTech concluded, my team and I have been busy reviewing the conference—what worked, what didn’t work, and how we can make it better. We’ve reviewed the responses to our surveys and held a number of planning “off-sites” in an effort to make the 2020 conference our best one yet. We’re definitely excited—and a little terrified. It’s crazy how fast time flies!

RootsTech 2020, happening February 2629 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, is going to be fun, and we can’t wait to see so many of you once again!

I’m excited to share with you a number of updates. Hold on to your seats! Here’s the inside scoop.

RootsTech Theme: The Story of You

 

I’m thrilled to announce that the theme for the 2020 conference will be “The Story of You.”

At RootsTech, we believe that the stories we’re creating and preserving today are just as important as the stories of our ancestors. Reflecting on and celebrating each of our own personal journeys is an important part of family history.

Celebrating 10 Years of RootsTech

The 2020 conference marks 10 years of RootsTech events (can you believe it?), and we are so excited to celebrate this milestone with you. We want to give a huge thank-you to each of you who have supported and attended RootsTech in year’s past, whether virtually or on-site.

We want to hear from you! What is your favorite moment from RootsTech over the past 10 years? Do you have a favorite keynote speaker? Did you learn a new technique that helped break through a challenge in your family history? What about some of the friends you have made over the years? Please share your stories below! They might be featured in a future blog post or on our social media channels. You never know where your story will be featured.


Watch the official RootsTech social media channels over the next few months for some of our favorite moments from the past 10 events, and share with us your favorite moments using #RootsTech10Years.

P.S. Maybe soon I’ll share my story about the year of the bomb dogs! (Hint, hint!)

Mailed Badges


One of the best changes we made last year was that we mailed out badges before the event. Attendees simply walked in the door with their badges, grabbed a lanyard from one of the friendly “ask me” staff, and then went on their merry way. Why change a good thing?

For RootsTech 2020 attendees will have the option of having their badge mailed directly to them. But we’re also testing an option that will allow you to print your badge at home. We’re piloting this new idea at our conference in London, and if it goes well this is something we’ll offer to you in Salt Lake City! If you choose to have your badge mailed, just wait for it to arrive in mid-February and then bring it with you to the conference. If you choose to print your badge at home, simply follow the print-at-home instructions that will be emailed to you. Bring your mailed or printed badge with you to the Salt Palace, where you can conveniently pick up a lanyard, badge holder, and conference bag at many locations throughout the venue.

If you choose not to have your badge mailed to you or if you register after January 2020, your badge will be available for pick-up on-site when you arrive at the Salt Palace.

Registration for RootsTech 2020 will open September 18, 2019.

New Check-in Stations at Every Help Desk


This one is big, friends. For those who had to journey to the registration and check-in area of the Salt Palace in the past, we offer our apologies—that trek was not for the faint of heart! We learned that with the decreased lines at check-in because of badge mailing, we can now put a kiosk at every Help Desk throughout the venue. Now you can simply find the nearest Help Desk (five convenient locations), and one of the staff members will assist you with checking in and will give you your badge. The main registration and check-in area will now be conveniently located just inside the main entrance of the Salt Palace—off West Temple and through the rotunda! 🙌🙌🙌

Simple. Convenient. Painless.

NEW! Lunch and Learn Sessions

What’s better than genealogy? How about genealogy with a sandwich and chips?

At the all-new lunch and learn sessions, the genealogy fun extends into the lunch hour. The idea for these new sessions came during a planning meeting when we were trying to solve an identified problem: many attendees are looking for a place to sit during lunch. And, by the way, they would rather not have to stand in long lines just to buy some food. Please welcome Lunch and Learn sessions. We will start slow with these because we are not sure yet about how many people will be interested. There will be one to two large rooms in the venue offering food and a place to sit while being “infotained” (see what I did there?) by carefully selected presenters who have something fun to share.

Attendees can pre-purchase access to Lunch and Learn sessions during the registration process. This purchase includes a boxed lunch and a guaranteed seat in the Lunch and Learn classroom.  Attendees will pick up their boxed lunch, sit down in the session room, and enjoy more learning from an instructor. One Lunch and Learn session will be offered each day. Prepurchase is required.

Is anyone else hungry now?

For those wondering, the normal, sponsored lunches will continue to be available and can be purchased for an additional fee during the registration process.

COMING SOON! Big Announcement

One of the things we hear after every RootsTech conference is something like this: “I wish I could have these feelings of excitement for learning about family history all year long.” Have you said something similar?

Well, we think we’ve got the answer! We’re cooking up a way to make the learning, excitement, and friendships of RootsTech last year-round. I’m not quite ready to announce what this new product is, but I can promise you it’s going to be awesome—and that it’s going to have a huge impact on the genealogy space.

So if you want to be one of the first to hear about this new product (and even get exclusive offers and some free RootsTech swag) send an email to our marketing manager, Tyler, at tyler@rootstech.org with the subject “RootsTech Insider.” When we’re ready to announce the product, he’ll make sure you get the information about it before anyone else does.

Power Hour Sessions Returning

Friends, I get tired from just watching you every year at RootsTech!

I am continually amazed that when we create more and add more, you eat it up. Eight o’clock in the morning? No problem, you say. We received an overwhelming amount of excitement regarding the Power Hour sessions and are excited to bring this back as part of the RootsTech 2020 conference.

Power Hour sessions will happen each morning from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.—now including Wednesday morning. In this hour, each room will have three different presenters who will teach about similar topics for 20 minutes each. These short sessions will require presenters to condense their materials and teach only the most relevant information. Power Hour sessions are designed to help attendees learn a new skill, method, or application that can be applied to their genealogy work.

NEW! Specialized Forums Offered Wednesday through Friday

We know that learning is an important part of the RootsTech experience, and we are thrilled to announce three new learning opportunities that we’re affectionately calling “forums.” I am personally excited about this addition to the conference. These meetings will cover specialized topics with a variety of learning sessions, keynote-type presentations, challenges to solve, and case studies.

Wednesday | Access and Preservation Forum | 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

At the Access and Preservation forum, you’ll learn about how records are stored and who takes care of them. You’ll gain insight into the latest methods and technologies used to preserve records, and you’ll learn how records are made available to the public. Speakers in this forum are professional archivists and librarians. More information regarding speakers and topics will be announced in the coming months.

The Access and Preservation forum will require preregistration.

Thursday | Innovation and Tech Forum | 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

The Innovation and Tech forum will offer a number of different speakers who will discuss innovations within both the family history industry and adjacent markets. Learn what technology is currently available and what technology might be available for genealogists in the future. More information regarding speakers and topics will be announced in the coming months.

The Innovation and Tech forum is open to any attendee with a RootsTech pass.

Friday | DNA Forum | 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Take a deep dive into DNA and discover what’s possible—or what might be possible in the future—thanks to DNA advancements. Learn from credible genetic genealogists on topics such as different types of DNA testing, cousin matching, chromosome mapping, and using DNA to break down brick walls. More information regarding speakers and topics will be announced in the coming months.

The DNA forum is open to any attendee with a RootsTech pass.

Wednesday Sessions and Opening Keynote


RootsTech 2020 will officially begin on Wednesday, February 26, 2020. Class sessions will be offered as follows on Wednesday:

  • 8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
  • 9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
  • 11:00 a.m.–noon
  • Lunch break: Noon–1:30 p.m.
  • 1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
  • 3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.

Following these sessions, the general session will begin at 4:30 p.m. on the main stage. Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, will be the featured keynote speaker.

Expo Hall Preview Night


This has become one of my favorite events of the conference. As attendees flood the expo hall for a peek at what exhibitors have to offer, the excitement is palpable. Following Wednesday’s general session, the Expo Hall will open from 5:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m. mountain standard time. Don’t miss this uninterrupted time to peruse various booths, meet with vendors, and test out the latest family history technology.

Registration Opens September 18

The conference this year is not to be missed. Join us as we prepare for the biggest party in genealogical circles while we celebrate 10 years of gathering and learning together. We hope that you’ll mark your calendar and plan to register for RootsTech 2020! Registration will open on September 18, 2019, and early bird pricing will be available for a limited time. Register early and save big.

We have much more to share in the coming months as we get ready for RootsTech 2020. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter by inserting your email address at the bottom of this page so that you’re the first to receive the latest news and announcements. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

If you were hoping for another big announcement, time is not lost (yet). I want to know—what do you want to see at RootsTech 2020? Send me an email at info@rootstech.org. Some might call me crazy for giving this option to over 50,000 past attendees, but I don’t care. I like to hear from my peeps.

See you at RootsTech 2020!

-Jen

Jen Allen

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