RootsTech 2014 – registration now open

Registration is now open for RootsTech 2014, which will be held February 6­-8, 2014 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. This annual family history conference, hosted by FamilySearch, is a unique global event where people of all ages learn to discover and share their family stories and connections through technology. Over the past three years, RootsTech has grown in popularity with attendees to become the largest family history event in the United States!

Whether attendees are just beginning their family history, an avid hobbyist, or an experienced researcher, RootsTech has something for everyone:

  • Classes and Computer Labs —Over 200 classes and computer labs taught by knowledgeable experts and enthusiasts in family history.
  • Getting Started Track —A track of over 30 classes designed to help beginners start their family tree. Passes start at only $19.
  • Developer Day —A preconference event on Wednesday, February 5, for developers to innovate and collaborate with other engineers and family history industry experts.
  • Expo Hall —A huge expo with over 100 informative vendors and interactive booths where attendees can record a family story, scan a book or photo, or create a visual family tree.
  • Family Discovery Day —New! A day of free inspirational classes for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn more about strengthening family relationships across generations through family history.

Pass Pricing and Discounts

Various pass options are available, with pricing set to make RootsTech an affordable experience. Early Bird pricing discounts for a Full Access Pass ($159) and a Getting Started Pass ($39) are available until January 6, 2014.

An additional $20 discount is available for a limited time. Attendees can get a Full Access Pass for just $139 simply by using the promotional code RT14EXCLSV before September 9, 2013.

To get more information and register, visit



Last day of RootsTech

Wow! What a conference. This morning’s keynote speaker was David Pogue. He was awesome. They don’t have the videos up yet for today but I’m sure they will be up soon. He was great! My classes today were:

  • Creative and Fun Ways to Cherish Your Family History
  • 365 Days of Story Prompts
  • Beyond Home Movies: YouTube Genealogy
  • Digital Storytelling: More Than Bullet Points Lab

I think my favorite class today was the one YouTube. But all of them had some great information. Digital Storytelling was my least favorite. It was about using Power Point to make a video and I learned some stuff because I’ve never used Power Point. Overall I liked my three hands on classes the least. I think because everyone moves at such a different pace on the computers and so the class has to move at the pace of the slowest person. It felt like I was exposed to the least amount of info in my hands on classes.

Overall it was a great conference and I’m looking forward attending RootsTech next year, on February 6 through the 8th. I can’t wait to start digesting this stuff and applying the things I learned.


RootsTech Day Two

Lots more great stuff at RootsTech today. You can catch the presentations on the main stage at I must make time to at least see the beginning of the keynote speakers this morning. We got there late and missed the first part. The classes I took today were:

  • Social Media Part 1
  • Social Media Part 2
  • Digital Photo and Document Organization: Understanding Metadata Lab
  • Do Your eBook right: Self Publishing Secrets for the Family Historian

I learned good stuff from all of them but I think my favorites today were the social media classes. I’ve not joined any of the social media things yet but I can’t put it off too much longer and I learned more about Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ today which well help me make more informed decisions about where to put my energy when I’m ready to make the plunge. It is tough to choose classes. There are so many great options. Just one more day of RootsTech.

RootsTech: Day 1

Open day of RootsTech is over! At least for me. There was an evening activity at The Leonardo followed by a concert by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir about the music of Irving Berlin. But I didn’t buy a ticket to The Leonardo and I was too tired to wait around for the concert but I sure it was wonderful.

After the keynote speakers I went to the welcome for the Story@Home part of the conference. I went to the first Story@Home conference last year so I’m excited that they are now part of RootsTech. There seems to be a lot more emphasis on the story telling aspect of family history which I love. I wanted to go to “The Future of Genealogy” panel but since it was being streamed I decided I could always watch it later.

All of the presentations that were streamed live today are not available to watch on I’m looking forward to watching all the videos over the next few weeks. After lunch I went to three more classes.

  • Simple HTML/CSS for Weebly
  • The Cool Parts of Genealogy: Engaging My Teenagers Case Study
  • Content Planning for Genealogy Bloggers: How to Stay Organized and Never Be Without Post Ideas Again

The last class was my favorite of the day. Implementing what I learned there should help make this blogger better. I’m exhausted now and looking forward to good night sleep and all the learning opportunities that tomorrow will bring.

If you can jump over to and pick one of the videos from today to watch. If you like a good storyteller, I’d try “Tell it Again” by Kim Weitkamp. She is very entertaining as well as informative.



Tomorrow is RootsTech!

I’m so excited for tomorrow (except having to get up way earlier than I normally do). For the most part I think I’m ready. I’ve made arrangements for a puppy sitter for Dune. She is not ready to be at work all day with Bill and way to young to handle an event like RootsTech. Zodiac will go with me. It will be a great socializing opportunity for him. I’ve gone through the classes and narrowed down my options. Some sessions it wasn’t hard to pick a couple but other hours I had trouble and only got down to seven options. I’m signed up for one hands-on workshop each day so that will be cool. I’ve got clothes picked out to wear so that is covered. I still need to coordinate with my friend, who is going to RootsTech too. Her very dear aunt died on Sunday afternoon and the funeral is today. So her life is in an upheaval. But we will get that worked out. I wish I could figure out how to pick up my registration materials tonight instead of in the morning. But I can’t justify the time it would take to make the trip downtown just for that. I should probably download the RootsTech mobile app to my phone. I’m still new to the smart phone thing and it would be good for me to learn a new way to use my phone. I don’t have a data plan on it so depending on how well the WiFi functions might decide how useful it is.

In a perfect world I’ll get posts written every night about RootsTech. But I might just be way too tired to get anything posted. So don’t hold your breath. I know I’m going to learn lots of great things in the next three days. I’ll try to pass on as much as I can here.

Two Days to RootsTech

One of the keynote speakers at RootsTech is Jyl Pattee of Mom it Forward. She put together a book called “Family History – 40 Ideas for Capturing your Family’s Story”. You can download the eBook for free on her website. It has lots of great ideas. I can’t wait to try some of them. Jyl says that “preserving your family’s life story doesn’t have to be a daunting or overwhelming task. The project can be as easy as capturing simple yet meaningful moments every day.” And I agree!


Three Days to RootsTech

Even if you aren’t attending RootsTech you can still enjoy some of the speakers. Each day of RootsTech there will be free live streaming available. Go to to join in the fun.

Live Streaming Schedule (Mountain Time)
8:30 AM Keynote – Dennis Brimhall, Syd Lieberman, Josh Taylor
11:00 AM The Future of Genealogy – Thomas MacEntee and panel
1:45 PM Tell it Again (Story@Home) – Kim Weitkamp
3:00 PM The Genealogists Gadget Bag – Jill Ball and panel
4:15 PM Finding the Obscure and Elusive: Geographic Information on the Web – James Tanner
8:30 AM Keynote – Jyl Pattee and Tim Sullivan
9:45 AM Researching Ancestors Online – Laura Prescott
11:00 AM FamilySearch Family Tree – Ron Tanner
1:45 PM Google Search… and Beyond – Dave Barney
3:00 PM From Paper Piles to Digital Files – Valerie Elkins
8:30 AM Keynote – David Pogue and Gilad Japhet
9:45 AM Using Technology to Solve Research Problems – Karen Clifford
11:00 AM Digital Storytelling: More than Bullet Points – Denise Olson

One Week to RootsTech

In just one week I’ll be at RootTech! Each morning at 8:30 a.m. there is a General Session with keynote speakers. Some of them I’ve heard speak before but most of them it will be my first time. One thing I really like about RootsTech is the variety of presenters they offer. Here is who will be speaking at this year’s General Sessions:

Thursday Generl Session Sponsored by

Keynote Speakers:

Dennis Brimhall

Dennis C. Brimhall is currently the President and CEO of FamilySearch International.  FamilySearch International is a worldwide organization helping individuals find, preserve, catalogue, and search genealogical information.  FamilySearch International is sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He was formerly the President and Chief Executive Officer of University of Colorado Hospital.

Syd Lieberman

Syd is a nationally acclaimed storyteller, an author, and an award-winning teacher. Many of his best-loved stories deal with growing up in Chicago and raising a family in Evanston, Illinois. Also known for his original historical pieces, Syd has written stories for some of America’s leading institutions and agencies, including the Smithsonian; Historic Philadelphia, Inc.; NASA; and the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.

D. Joshua Taylor

D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS is the Business Development Manager – North America for brightsolid online publishing, the creator of A nationally known and recognized professional genealogist, lecturer, genealogical author, and researcher, Taylor is the current president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and the former Director of Education at the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Friday General Session

Sponsored by

Keynote Speakers

Jyl Pattee

Jyl Johnson Pattee is the founder of Mom It Forward Media, a digital agency and network of social media influencers. Currently, she sits on the Mom Advisory Council for, is a Shot@Life Champion with the United Nations Foundation, was named one of Parent Magazine’s Top 10 Power Moms, and is on Babble’s list of Top Twitter Moms.

Tim Sullivan

Timothy Sullivan has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer and as a director of, Inc. since September 2005. Prior to joining, Mr. Sullivan was Chief Operating Officer and then President and CEO of Mr. Sullivan holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and was a Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Saturday General Session 

Sponsored by MyHeritage

Keynote Speakers

David Pogue

David Pogue is the weekly personal-technology columnist for The New York Times. He is also an Emmy Award-winning tech correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning and the current host of NOVA ScienceNow. Merging his musical background with his scientific knowledge, David Pogue delivers unique presentations that generally end with him sitting at a piano performing a couple of his famous tech-industry song parodies.


Gilad Japhet

Gilad Japhet is the Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. A rare mix of hardcore genealogist, hands-on technologist and visionary, Gilad is one of the most influential people today in the advancement of online genealogy. Gilad has grown MyHeritage into the world’s second largest genealogy company with 72 million registered users and 1.5 billion family tree profiles.

Two Weeks to RootsTech

March is well on its way and RootsTech is in just two weeks. I’m very excited to get to go again this year. I feel lucky to have such a great family history conference just a few miles away from where I live. If you have a chance to come to RootsTech it is well worth it. They have so many different kinds of classes. They have added tons of new things this year. I’m sure it is going to be tough to decided which classes to go to. Having a clone those three days would be handy. If any of you happen to be at RootsTech let me know. We can meet up somewhere.

Here is some of what RootsTech offers:

Where Families Connect

RootsTech is an opportunity unlike any other to discover the latest family history tools and techniques, connect with experts to help you in your research, and be inspired in the pursuit of your ancestors. Learn how to find, organize, preserve and share your family’s connections and history. Read More…

New at RootsTech 2013

The 3rd annual RootsTech conference has something for everyone, whether you are an avid genealogist, just getting started, or simply want to discover the latest technologies and solutions to better connect with your family.

  • NEW! Getting Started Track – learn the basics, start your family tree, and get help with your family research (starts at only $19) Learn More
  • NEW! Story@Home – discover how to preserve and share your family stories Learn More
  • More Classes, More Speakers — choose from over 250 informative sessions and interactive workshops Learn More
  • 40% Bigger Expo Hall – visit many exciting exhibitors to discover the latest products & services Learn More
  • Developer Day – consolidated track specifically designed for technology developers Learn More


This Week in 1856 – Arrival in Salt Lake Valley – Mary Taylor

From John Jacques:

The next camp, on the 26th, was in a small canyon running out of the north side of Echo Canyon, a few miles above the mouth of the latter. Here a birth took place, and one of the relief party generously contributed part of his under linen to clothe the little stranger. The mother did quite as well as could have been expected, considering the unpropitious circumstances. So did the father who subsequently became a prosperous merchant of this city. The little new comer also did well, and was named Echo, (this is little Echo Squires).

On the 27th, the company camped on East Canyon creek, on the 28th, the Big Mountain was crossed, and the company camped at its west base. On the 29th, the company crossed over the Little Mountain, or part of it, and camped in Killian’s Canyon, near the head of emigration canyon, and on Sunday, the 30th of November, passed down the latter canyon and arrived in this city about noon, driving into East Temple Street as the congregation was leaving the old adobe tabernacle in the southwest corner of the Temple block.

The meeting of the emigrants with relatives, acquaintances and friends, was not very joyous. Indeed, it was very solemnly impressive. Some were so affected, that they could scarcely speak, but would look at each other until the sympathetic tears would force their way. In a short time, however, the emigrants were taken into the homes of their friends and made as comfortable as circumstances would permit them to be, while they thawed the frost out of their limbs and regained their health and strength.

From Some Must Push and Some Must Pull by Kenneth L. Rasmussen

So it was that the half-frozen Mary Taylor came to the North Kanyon [Bountiful] home of William Bert and Amanda Simmons. It is thought by some that Simmons took his wagon and his charge directly home, perhaps bypassing the stop in Salt Lake to receive the greeting of Brigham Young.

Mary hovered between life and death for more than a week before making substantial progress. Mary was suffering from malnutrition and severe frostbite. Among other things, Amanda applied warm tar packs to the afflicted parts of Mary’s body. It was a common remedy of the day and seemed to have some therapeutic effects, including having the ability to help remove dead or decaying flesh from the body. Amanda nursed her so carefully the “she lost neither finger nor toe”, though it was said her legs had been frozen black to above her knees. Others from the handcart companies lost fingers and toes, arms or legs from the effects of freezing them.

This is my last post about my great-great-grandmother’s journey with the Martin Handcart company in 1856. I’ve learned so much over the last few months in following day by day as much as I could what happened to Mary on her way to Utah. “The Price We Paid: the extraordinary story of the Willie and Martin Handcart pioneers” by Andrew D. Olsen was recommended by couple of the missionaries at Martin’s Cove. Reading it gave me a much clearer understanding of everything that happened than anything else I’ve read. I would also recommend it to anyone with interest in these two handcart companies.