RootsTech is (still) for Everyone!

RootsTechDo you regret missing RootsTech 2022?

It’s not too late!

Yes, a few features are no longer available, but many of them — including 1500+ recorded sessions, on 185 topics, in 30+ languages —will be available all year long!

Even if you’re not the family historian, there’s something at RootsTech for everyone. And it’s not too late to join in the fun! Click To Tweet

A genealogy conference for everyone

Pre-COVID RootsTech was already the largest in-person family history and technology conference and trade show, with 30,000 people from all over the world attending the February 2020 event in Salt Lake City. And there was already a virtual component, whereby one could participate in a limited number of Main Stage events and concurrent sessions remotely.

Then, in 2021 and 2022, RootsTech was ALL VIRTUAL and ALL FREE. I reported last year that there were over 500,000 participants. But guess what? It ended up being over 1 MILLION! And they were there for all sorts of reasons — to connect and collaborate with close and distant relatives; to learn about basic (or obscure) areas of genealogical interest; to see new technology developments; to celebrate diversity and cultural traditions; and to learn how to tell and share their family stories.

rootstech bingo


This year’s theme was #ChooseConnection. To demonstrate that it’s not all about pedigree charts, take a look at this sweet, thought-provoking Choose Connection Bingo card. (Click image to enlarge.)

Getting started

It can be completely overwhelming to absorb all that is possible to learn, see, and do on the RootsTech website, especially during the three days of the conference. But really, there’s no rush. Just take it one topic or feature at a time.

  1. CLICK here to access RootsTech. You do not need to register unless you encounter a feature that requires it (such as adding a session to My Playlist, which I highly recommend). Scroll down to the bottom of the Home page to see what all is on offer.
  2. ORIENT yourself further by clicking the selections across the top of the screen, including the Menu. The FAQ, for example, is listed under Menu. (If you click this link — Learn How to Use the RootsTech Site — you will see a series of short videos explaining the various features of RootsTech 2021. I did not see this link offered in 2022, but I don’t know why not. Both years were pretty much the same.)
  3. SEARCH the recorded sessions for a topic that interests you. The sessions range in length from 1 minute to 60+ minutes, with most being 15-20 minutes. Note that some selections are part of a series. Pay attention to the filters on the left-hand side. (Maximize your window if you do not see the filters.) Note that the last filter is Year, which means you also have access to last year’s sessions! RootsTech says that most sessions will remain available for 3 years.

My Take on Two New Photo Tools

  • My Heritage LiveStory: Last year Deep Nostalgia was all the rage. It’s a tool that animates old (or new) portraits to look like something from the walls of Harry Potter’s school, Hogwarts. I will admit that these animated photos creep me out. To me they look like the subject has been inhabited by an alien or has just been hit on the head with a 2X4 and they can’t quite remember who or where they are. LiveStory takes artificial intelligence a step further by adding a voice and a story for your ancestor to “narrate”. Click the links and decide for yourself!
  • Ancestry and Photomyne: Ancestry has partnered with Photomyne, a mobile photo scanning app. It’s very convenient and will make it easier to scan photos to upload to Ancestry. A word of warning: The resulting images will not be full-sized or high-resolution. If you scan something to upload, please also scan it at a high resolution to save on your computer (backed up, of course), and keep the original as well. If you want a high-resolution copy of something you see on Ancestry, contact the user who posted it — keep your fingers crossed — and ask them to email you a full-sized copy. (Texting also reduces the size and resolution of photos.)

A Few of My Favorite Sessions

I’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s on offer at RootsTech, but I’ve had many years of researching and attending genealogy sessions of various types. So, this is the sort of stuff that interests me these days:

Getting Started on Your Own Family History Project

Volunteer Opportunities


Have YOU participated in a RootsTech Conference?

What was your favorite session/feature/vendor/speaker?

What are you looking forward to learning more about?

Let us know in the comments below!

Copyright 2022 by Hazel Thornton, Organized for Life and Beyond
Author of What’s a Photo Without the Story? How to Create Your Family Legacy
Please contact me for reprint permission. (Direct links to this page are OK!)

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  1. Janet Barclay on March 7, 2022 at 10:53 am

    Hazel, you have a real knack for organizing not just “stuff” but information! I signed up last year but ended up watching very few (if any) sessions because there were just too many to navigate and choose from. That’s why I didn’t even sign up this year. Thank you for making it less complicated – I may check it out after all.

    • Hazel Thornton on March 7, 2022 at 2:49 pm

      Thanks, Janet! I know, it’s a lot!

  2. Linda Samuels on March 7, 2022 at 10:56 am

    My head is spinning with all of the information and options available at the RootsTech conference. You’ve become an expert on navigating the site and getting the most out of what’s being offered. I am blown away by the amount of people that went in 2022. Incredible!

    But clearly, this is THE place to be for those interested in exploring their family history and connecting with others that enjoy doing that too.

    • Hazel Thornton on March 7, 2022 at 2:51 pm

      Actually the million people was last year. I don’t have a number for this year yet. But a lot, I’m sure!

  3. Sabrina Quairoli on March 7, 2022 at 11:32 am

    Thank you for the link. I am going to check out the RootsTech sessions. My children and husband gave me a membership on Ancestry, and I have been updating and exploring new family members. It is a fun escape from all the other organizing I do for clients and my business.

    • Hazel Thornton on March 7, 2022 at 2:52 pm

      Oh, cool! I hope it’s a gift you wanted, lol. I do genealogy work for clients, and for myself. They’re both pretty fun!

  4. Seana Turner on March 7, 2022 at 12:58 pm

    It’s pretty amazing how interesting in all things ancestry has taken off. 1 million people is AMAZING! It’s great seeing familiar names like yours and Cathi’s getting a seat at the table. What fun!

    I also love that this event featured more than just “filling out the family tree.” That is interesting, but there is so much more to it.

    I would definitely recommend rootstech to anyone who has an interest in this area. One of my friends offers genealogy services. I’ll have to follow up and see if she attended. 🙂

    • Hazel Thornton on March 7, 2022 at 2:54 pm

      There REALLY IS so much more to family history than just names and dates on a pedigree chart!

  5. Julie Bestry on March 8, 2022 at 12:18 am

    Hazel, you always make genealogy sounds like so much fun, and the sessions you described are intriguing. I remember when the 1940 census came out, how much fun I had helping my mom see where she (age 4) lived and what was what with all of her relatives. I’m sure the 1950 census will be even cooler for her. And I’m psyched to share this post with my clients, many of whom will find this kind of “event” ideal!

    Great job, as always!

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