Rootstech 2015 and Is It Worth Attending Again?

Rootstech 2015 and Is It Worth Attending Again?

Rootstech 2015

Rootstech 2015

Rootstech 2015 is over and definitely one for the record books. I wanted to take some time before posting,  as I definitely needed the space to process it all. After all, over 23,000 people were in attendance, and FGS Conference was also being held in conjunction, which meant lots of classes, lots of genealogists, lots of vendors, and lots and lots of people.

FamilySearch really pulled out all of the stops with outstanding keynotes from Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna, writer and cousin to all A.J. Jacobs and the innovator Tan Le. Genealogy’s top execs from FamilySearch’s CEO Dennis Brimhall, My Heritage‘s  Mkle Mallin and Find My Past’s D. Josh Taylor also spoke.

Icing on the top for me was to have had Donny Osmond finally sing to me, while my daughter was thrilled to have had David Archuleta sing to her. Comedy troupe, Studio C also showed up on stage, which my husband particularly enjoyed.

Rootstech was huge! For those who regularly attend national conferences this came as quite the shock, because this was not even the same type of conference – it is like the difference between a high school homecoming game vs. the Super Bowl.

Some people have had problems with that, they liked having genealogy all to themselves. I love the national genealogy conferences. I like that they are smaller, more comfortable, easier to navigate and I get to see all my genealogy friends.

A lot of genealogy presenters don’t like the fact that Rootstech doesn’t pay its presenters, because they say that the exposure and conference ticket is their payment. I have presented at Rootstech twice. I have also spoken at national genealogy conferences and received a small amount for presenting, though it only dented the cost of attending. Is it really worth it to be a presenter at Rootstech?

I guess it depends it depends on what your goals are as a presenter. For me being able to reach such a huge audience, many who are new to family history and the chance to hopefully to inspire them to become more serious researchers is exciting to me.

Some of Rootstech’s audience will hopefully become active members in local genealogy societies, attend other genealogy conferences/institutes, and possibly they will submit more accurate family trees and contribute DNA on sites like They will become customers to genealogy vendors and make it possible for them to not only to survive as a business, but continue to provide more goods and services to the community.

I love hearing from people all over the world who viewed and are continuing to view my Rootstech recorded presentation. Their words of appreciation, their excitement and motivation to learn more, is very personally rewarding.

I put in so many hours preparing for the presentation, that even if they did pay me the same rate for presenting at a national conference, it would be a very paltry sum in comparison. Would I have taken the money if they had offered it, ABSOLUTELY! I’m nice, but not crazy okay, I have expenses like everyone else.

So was Rootstech worth it? I look at Rootstech as an investment, one that I am sure will pay off for me and the genealogy community in years to come. All the dividends may not show up right away, but I believe they will.

Going to Rootstech is a great way to see a bigger world and all kinds of possibilities – kind of like the first time a small town kid takes a trip abroad. Horizons and worldview are expanded and understanding and wisdom are increased.

So was it worth it? Well, I hope to see you next year at Rootstech, on February 3-6, 2016 in Salt Lake City! Thank you again FamilySearch for all your hard work and effort – I see BIG dividends ahead for all.




  1. Excellent post Valerie! Thank you!

  2. Thanks Valerie for your perspective on “why RootsTech”. Coming from Down Under I was astonished at the sheer scale but loved seeing all those fellow enthusiasts. It was great to meet you in passing during the Expo Tour and I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation as well.

  3. Excellent post Valerie. And it most certainly was an experience. I won’t be able to get back there in 2016, but I’m already planning for 2017. I hope to see you then

  4. This small fish from downunder would never have an opportunity to experience such an event if I didn’t leave our shores.

    My answer is similar to yours, Valerie, I’ll be back returning in 2016.

  5. Hi Valerie and thank you for your valuable insights and contributions into this years Rootstech. It gives me several things to consider as a prospective presenter for 2016. Having 4,200+ group members loving what you do on Facebook is certainly different from presenting to a group of folks with varying experience and interest levels at a huge conference, but I hope to be accepted and provide some different perspectives on some unusual and attractive new legacy preservation tools everyone can enjoy. Keep up the great work. – Eric

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