Family Discovery Conference (#RootsTech), Now Largest in US, Draws “The Pioneer Woman” and Expects Record Crowds
January 27, 2014
The RootsTech 2014 conference, hosted by FamilySearch, has become the largest conference of its kind in the U.S., with attendees from 49 states and 21 countries. Over 200 classes, events, and interactive activities attract attendees across generations who are looking for better ways to organize, preserve, and share family stories, photos, and memories. The opening keynote speaker, Ree Drummond, is known as The Pioneer Woman, an award-winning blogger, television personality, and bestselling author with 21 million followers. Over 10,000 attendees are anticipated at the conference held February 6–8, 2014, in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the Salt Palace Convention Center. More information is available at RootsTech.org.
“The RootsTech conference continues to grow in popularity because people of all ages have an inherent desire to discover and share their family stories and connections with each other. RootsTech really has something for everyone, regardless of one’s experience in family history or skill in technology,” said Dan Martinez, RootsTech conference director.
Martinez explained that most everyone, whether they realize it or not, is actually engaged in family history—sharing family stories, taking pictures, writing journal moments, capturing key events from the lives of individual family members, or doing research. And there is an entire track of beginner classes each day dedicated to those who are just getting started in these areas.
RootsTech creates a dynamic environment that addresses consumer interests and fuels innovation among technology vendors and developers. The concept has been very successful and continues to grow each year.
Ree Drummond is one of the opening keynote speakers for RootsTech 2014. Through her popular blog, cookbooks, and Food Network show, she shares glimpses into her life as a ranch wife and a mother, with photos, memories, stories, and food. In February 2010, she was listed as 22 on the Forbes' list of top 25 web celebrities.
Drummond said, "I love sharing stories about my family and our experiences on the ranch, so I'm really excited to be part of RootsTech this year. It's all about finding ways to share family stories and strengthen family connections. And of course, not all stories have to be about life on a cattle ranch or buttery adventures in the kitchen—every family has its own unique history! I'm looking forward to sharing a little of mine at RootsTech."
Also speaking at RootsTech, on Saturday, February 8, is Stephanie Nielsen, author of the popular blog, NieNie Dialogues. In 2008, Stephanie and her husband were in a serious plane crash. Over 80 percent of her body was burned. Her story of survival and recovery are documented on her blog and has been recounted in interviews with Oprah Winfrey and on the TODAY show. In 2012, Nielsen published her book Heaven is Here.
Ree Drummond and Stephanie Nielson will bookend the full lineup of the keynote speakers during the three-day conference. Other keynote speakers include the following:
Annelies van den Belt is the CEO of D.C. Thomson Family History (formerly brightsolid), host of over 1.8 billion genealogical records across a family of online brands, including findmypast and Genes Reunited. In 2012, Annelies, was named Media Momentum Woman of the Year.
Judy Russell is a certified genealogist with a law degree who enjoys helping others understand the interplay between genealogy and the law. She blogs and maintains The Legal Genealogist website.
Dr. Spencer Wells serves as the director of the National Geographic Genographic Project—a partnership between IBM, the Waitt Family Foundation, and National Geographic to capture a genetic snapshot of humanity.
Todd Hansen is the host of The Story Trek, a series that consists of random door-to-door interviews of normal people revealing their stories. In 2012, Hansen received an Emmy Award at the Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards ceremony for his work on the series.
RootsTech 2014 takes place from February 6–8 at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah. Attendees can purchase a single day pass starting at $19 on up to a full-access conference pass. Deep student discount passes are also available. To register for the conference, please visit rootstech.org.
RootsTech is a unique global family history event, where people of all ages learn to discover and share their family stories and connections through technology. The first annual conference was held in 2011, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hosted by FamilySearch and sponsored by leading genealogical organizations, the conference includes hands-on demonstrations and forums to provide a highly interactive environment and accelerate learning. Content is geared to all skill levels and ages, including a Family Discover Day with activities and classes for youth ages 12–18.