RootsTech 2018, Feb. 28–March 3

Call for Presentation Information

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Presentation Topics

The planning committee has expressed particular interest in presentations related to the topics listed below for the RootsTech conference. Presentations on other topics will also be considered.

RootsTech Topics

RootsTech is a 4-day global family history conference where people of all ages and skill levels learn to discover, preserve, and share their family connections and stories through technology. Proposals should include some element of technology aimed at helping participants in their family history pursuits. Technology could include apps, platforms, software, gadgets, tools, hardware, and so forth.

Topics for consideration are from the following subjects and themes:

  • DNA
  • Religion
  • Military
  • Methodology
  • Technology
  • Records
  • Geographical Information
  • Family Trees
  • Mobile
  • Preservation
  • Photos and Stories
  • Innovation
  • Developers and Development
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
  • Collaboration
  • Social Media

Does the Presentation Answer Technology?

The RootsTech conference features a rich combination of family history and technology. Technology is what makes RootsTech different from other family history industry events. Proposals should include some element of technology, as part of the presented topic, to help participants in their family history pursuits. Technology should include apps, platforms, software, gadgets, tools, hardware, and so forth. Although a handful of geographic- and methodology-specific classes are accepted, we encourage proposals with fresh topics that incorporate technology and offer clear learning objectives for attendees.

Session Levels


Family History Experience: Need material on the entry level of technologies available, including email, Facebook, Google, photo preservation, simple scanning solutions, and organization techniques. Need introduced to different products available in the industry.

Technology Experience: New to genealogy, need help learning how to research family names, begin or fill in a family tree, interview living family members, and capture living memory; need information on how social media and other tools help capture family history.


Family History Experience: Have at least 4 generations in their family tree. Understand the basics of researching and adding sources, and are looking for the next steps.

Technology Experience: Need the next level of technologies available to help organize and preserve their genealogy work, including face recognition technologies, metadata and search terms, and cloud storage.


Family History Experience: Very experienced in genealogy work, including DNA research and specific regional research. Are looking for advanced tools to overcome brick-walls.

Technology Experience: High level of technology training, including advanced scanning and preserving options, professional photography techniques and products, or professional programming.


Family History Experience: Accredited genealogist or wants to become an accredited genealogist.

Technology Experience: Professional engineer, programmer, developer, etc. Business minded individual, marketer, finance, etc.

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Submission Process

Proposals will be accepted on from June 7 to July 3, 2017. To submit a proposal, click on the Submit Proposal link. A link to the submission portal will be made available starting June 7.

The submission process takes approximately 20–30 minutes. After you have successfully completed the process, you will receive an email from RootsTech confirming your submission. You can submit up to 5 presentation proposals.

Requirements for submission

Session Title: (50 character limit)

Session Description: (1,100 character limit) Describe what the attendee will be learning in this session.

Provide one tip the attendee will receive in your session:

What will the attendee want to do following your session:

List Applicable Technology:

Video Audition: Provide a URL with a 3-minute video to include the following:

  1. Introduction of yourself

  2. Your topic and why you are passionate about it

  3. Instruction for ONE element from your session (teach us as if you are teaching the session)

You have three minutes to “wow” the selection committee about your personality and teaching skills. The video itself does not need to be  professional—an iPhone or webcam video is acceptable

Session Outline: One-page outline of your session

If your proposal is accepted, an acceptance email will be sent to you with instructions. You will be given a window of time to review the speaker requirements and time line and accept the invitation to participate as a RootsTech 2018 speaker. These tasks will be completed through the Speaker Resource Center (SRC). A link to the SRC will be included in the acceptance email.

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Session Types

RootsTech and Innovator Summit presentations may be in one of the following session formats:

Traditional Class Session

Up to two presenters in a traditional class session focus on a single topic, with time left at the end for questions and answers.

Panel Session

Multiple speakers form a panel for a collaborative presentation on a particular topic or to answer questions from attendees.

Computer Lab Session

The presenter of a computer workshop provides up to 70 attendees with an interactive, hands-on, step-by-step training experience using computers provided in a lab environment. Attendees leave the lab with a finished product or next steps. We caution computer lab presenters on the following:

  • Attendees expect to have a hands-on experience.
  • A free version of software used during the session should be available for RootsTech to install on the computers in the lab.

Sponsored Class Session

We welcome proposals sponsored by societies and businesses. During the proposal submission process, please indicate the endorsing organization. We ask that sessions sponsored by an organization serve to educate the attendees without requiring them to purchase a particular product or service.

Session Lengths

RootsTech classes are 60 minutes each.

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Speaker Benefits

All speakers selected to present at RootsTech 2018 will receive the following:

  • One RootsTech 4-day pass ($269)
  • One conference lunch voucher for each day you present
  • Access to the speaker ready room

Speakers traveling 50 miles or more from their legal residence will be provided 1 hotel night¹ and a $100 travel allowance¹ for each day they present². Individuals presenting on behalf of a RootsTech 2018 sponsor, including FamilySearch, are not eligible for hotel and travel allowances.

In addition, each class is eligible to receive a $100 bonus if a score of 4.7 or higher is achieved. This score will be a combined survey and mobile app score based on the question, “How would you rate this class?” (1–5 rating scale). RootsTech will provide instruction for you as the speaker to share with attendees about where and how to rate the class session. Scores will be kept confidential, and speakers will be notified only if they receive the bonus.

¹ It is preferred that speakers reserve their accommodations at one of the official RootsTech conference hotels.

² Will not exceed more than 4 nights and $400 allowance.

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Evaluation Criteria

The RootsTech content selection team reviews proposals and selects classes using the following criteria.


  • Does the proposed session help attendees discover, preserve, and share their family history?
  • Does technology play a role in the implementation of the topic discussed?
  • Does the topic speak to a broad audience of family history enthusiasts?


  • Are the ideas, methods, or subjects timely and relevant to attendees?
  • Is the subject matter cutting-edge, or does it engage with new technology ideas?
  • Is the content fresh and unique in the family history arena (not repeated from previous conferences)?


  • Is the intent of the session clear and concise in the abstract and title?
  • Are the learning objectives well-defined?
  • Is it clear what next steps attendees can take after the class?


  • Is the presenter knowledgeable and experienced on the topic submitted?
  • Will the presenter engage the attendees in the learning process?
  • Is the presenter careful in the submission process to meet all requirements and willing to meet the expectations if selected?

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Call for Presentations Time Line

Time Line*

  • June 1, 2017 | Call for Presentations 2017 Announcement
  • June 1, 2017 | Proposal submission portal opens
  • July 3, 2017 | Proposal submission portal closes
  • July 1–31, 2017 | Proposal Review and Voting
  • August 1–19, 2017 | Speaker Notification
  • August 31, 2017 | Speaker acceptance deadline
  • September 13, 2017 | Class schedule announced

*Subject to change

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