Monday, February 26, 2018

RootsTech 2018: The Free Version

I'm not one of those lucky souls who will be in Salt Lake City this week to enjoy RootsTech live.  I'll be at home watching the free version.

It occurred to me that some of my readers may not know about RootsTech, arguably the largest family history conference in the world.  Despite "tech" at the end of its name, it's really more about roots, family history, and genealogy than it is technology.  There are several hundred sessions offered at the live conference over the four days of the event this year, from Wednesday, February 28 through Saturday, March 3, and the presentations cover a broad range of topics and levels of experience.

Since I can't attend in person I'm grateful that RootsTech will live-stream presentations during every session which can be viewed from the main website. 

Below is a list of the free sessions you can watch online.  The times stated are Mountain Standard Time so you'll need to calculate the time based on your time zone.

Wednesday, February 28
9:30 A.M.  
Family History in 5 Minutes a Day - Deborah Gamble
Explore 20 ways to effectively do your family history in as little as 5 minutes a day.

11:00 A.M.
DNA—One Family, One World - David Nicholson
This presentation explores a new project by Living DNA that is mapping the worlds DNA, building one world family tree through our genetics. Gain insight into how this will impact your family history.

1:30 P.M.
Organizing and Preserving Photograph Collections - Ari Wilkins
Step-by-step direction in organizing, preserving, and cataloging photo collections for future generations and identifying, digitizing, and sharing collections using family trees and social media.

3:00 P.M.
Finding the Answers: The Basics of WWII Research - Jennifer Holik
Fire destroyed many military and civilian service records. Alternative record sources exist to reconstruct service history. Learn how to research World War I and II records.

4:30 P.M.
Wednesday General Session and Innovation Showcase - Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International
Stephen T. Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, will explore where we have been and where we are going and introduce the all-new Innovation Showcase.

Thursday, March 1
8:30 A.M.
Thursday General Session - Brandon Santon, founder of Humans of New York
Brandon Stanton started Humans of New York, a photography and storytelling blog. HONY has built a devoted following of over 20 million fans across several social media platforms.

11:00 A.M.
MyHeritage DNA 101: From Test to Results - Yaniv Erlich
Learn about taking a MyHeritage DNA test and how the process works, from taking the test to the lab analysis.  Learn about MyHeritage DNA's over 40 ethnicities and how to optimize your DNA matches.

1:30 P.M.
Google Photos: Collect, Organize, Preserve, and Share - Michelle Goodrum
Google Photos is a powerful, free app for storing, organizing, and sharing.  Users can also edit and create photo projects and automatically add their photos to the app from their digital devices.

3:00 P.M.
Unlocking Roman Catholic Records - Brian Donovan
The Catholic Church is essential for uncovering the lives of millions of immigrants covering many nationalities. findmypast and the Catholic Church are working to make these records easily accessible.

4:30 P.M.
A Gift of Life:  Who's Writing Your Story? - Deborah Abbott
Only you can tell the real stories of love, loss, forgiveness, and change. Don’t leave the task of finding the answers of your life’s history to someone else—take the time to write your life story.

Friday, March 2
8:30 A.M.
Friday General Session - Scott Hamilton
Scott Hamilton is the living example that good guys CAN finish first! He is an Olympic champion, cancer survivor, television broadcaster, speaker, author, husband and father, and eternal optimist!

11:00 A.M.
Findmypast's British and Irish Hidden Gems - Myko Clelland
Myko Clelland explores some of the wonderful collections that can help you to break down those British brick walls, go back further, and add untold color and detail to your family story.

1:30 P.M.
Finding the Right DNA Test for You - Jim Brewster
DNA testing is becoming an integral tool, but what is it and what does it do? How can DNA actually help your genealogy? If you are brand new to Genetic genealogy, this is the class for you!

3:00 P.M.
How Not to Leave Your Genealogy Behind - Amy Johnson Crow and Curt Witcher
Nobody wants their genealogy research to end up in a landfill. Hear a few horror stories of genealogy materials destroyed and how you can avoid those mistakes!

4:30 P.M.
Finding Elusive Records at FamilySearch - Robert Kehrer
Robert Kehrer will demonstrate skills and techniques used by the experts and will expose hidden record identification tools and features of the FamilySearch website.

Saturday, March 3
8:30 A.M.
Saturday General Session - Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Natalia Lafourcade
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center at Harvard University. Natalia Lafourcade is a Mexican pop-rock singer and songwriter.

11:00 A.M.
Civil Registration Indexes of England and Wales - Audrey Collins
England and Wales national indexes and recent innovations at the General Register Office have opened up some new possibilities as well as some completely new indexes not available anywhere else.

1:30 P.M.
Advancing Your Genealogy Research with DNA - Anna Swayne
Learn what new tools AncestryDNA has to advance your research and get more out of your DNA results.

3:00 P.M.
Pain in the Access:  More Web for Your Genealogy - Curt Witcher
Library, archive, government, and specialized websites have much to offer. This presentation will demonstrate sites and strategies for getting more online data while using the internet.

I can see that I'll have a relatively full schedule.  The only sessions I probably won't watch are the ones about DNA and Catholic records.



Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved. .


  1. Thanks for the reminder. I had no idea that so much was available online. You mentioned you weren't that interested in the DNA stuff. I had my DNA test done a couple of years ago and while the overall results didn't surprise me, there are a few unanswered questions. I'm basically Western Europe with a strong percentage in the UK but where did the Iberian Peninsula come in? I wonder if anything will be available on TV. I'll have to go check. Thanks. . .

    1. You're welcome, Robin. One day I hope to be attend RootsTech but it would probably be overload, so maybe it's better I can see just a few of the sessions.

      I'm a doubter, a questioner, a naysayer when it comes to DNA. Were they able to collect DNA from ancestors who lived hundreds of years ago to be able to tell one's countries of origin? I can understand that they do (or purport to) make the connections with living people but beyond that, I question.

      I hope you enjoy whichever sessions you watch, Robin.


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