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|Genre||Family history, genealogy, kinship and descent|
|Venue||Salt Palace Convention Center|
|Location(s)||Salt Lake City, Utah|
|Attendance||3,000 (2011); 26,000 (2016)|
|Organized by||FamilySearch International|
RootsTech is a family history and technology conference and trade show held annually in the Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah. It is the successor to three former conferences: the Conference on Computerized Family History and Genealogy, the Family History Technology Workshop and the FamilySearch Developers Conference.
RootsTech is an outgrowth of a conference started at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. The manager of Conferences and Workshops, Bob Hales, noted that their long running "Annual Genealogy and Family History Conference" held at the end of July each year was experiencing incredible interest in a track devoted to technology in genealogy. In 1997, Hales met with a local accredited genealogist and technology enthusiast, Alan Mann, to ask for his help in creating a new conference, breaking it off from the Annual Conference. They decided to hold this new conference in March of each year so as to avoid conflict with the July Annual Conference. The first event was held March 1998 and drew 400 paid attendees. By 1999, the second Computerized Genealogy Conference drew more attendees than BYU's Annual Genealogy and Family History Conference, coming from 49 states and 3 countries. Several strategies were employed to accommodate more attendees, including offering the same classes in evening sessions, expanding to other buildings (one of which involved transport by vans), and freeing more meeting rooms by moving exhibitors out of meeting rooms into the hallways. By 2001, the conference organizers turned away hundreds of registrations each year. In 2003, the only national competing event, GenTech, was cancelled, leading to further demand for the BYU Annual Computerized Genealogy Conference.
Over the years, other events were organized to be held a day or two before this annual conference to take advantage of the attendance of exhibitors and developers from around the world. This included the Family History Technology Workshop which displayed and discussed developments in technology for genealogists and the FamilySearch Developers Conference. In 2008, the LDS Church's Family History Department became co-sponsor of these events and the search began for a new venue. The 2010 National Genealogical Society Conference was scheduled to be held in Salt Lake City. With cooperation from the local Salt Lake City NGS sponsor, the Utah Genealogical Association, the Family History Technology Workshop, and the FamilySearch Developers Conference, the Computerized Genealogy Conference organizers met with NGS and proposed a combined NGS conference and Computerized Genealogy Conference, which was held in April 2010. The event was highly successful, and led to plans to move the Computerized Genealogy Conference to Salt Lake City for future events. The name of the conference was changed to RootsTech.
The first RootsTech was held in February 2011, drawing around 3,000 people. It was held again in February 2012, drawing 4,500 people. It was decided to move the event for 2013 to late March, and it drew 6,700 registered attendees and over 13,600 remote attendees. RootsTech has become the largest genealogy and family history conference held in North America. Many attendees and vendors come from other countries around the world. The 2014 event was moved to February, held 6–8 February at the Salt Lake City Salt Palace. Nearly 13,000 attended the 2014 RootsTech Conference in person, with over 100,000 remote participants.
The 2015 RootsTech was held February 12-14, and Laura Bush and her daughter were keynote speakers.
- "Family History Technology Workshop". Brigham Young University.
- "RootsTech keynote speakers". Deseret News. December 12, 2014.
- Official website
- 19 presentations from RootsTech 2014 available streamed online at http://familysearch.org/blog/en/rootstech-2014-wrapup/