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Researching Family History: RootsTech 2014 promises wide variety of family history activities

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 28 2014 5:00 a.m. MST

RootsTech Conference commences in Salt Lake City, Feb. 6-8 bringing software developers together with genealogy enthusiasts. At FamilySearch demonstration booth in exhibit hall at the first event in 2011, Dawn Osborne, left, a FamilySearch staff member, discusses digital scanning and preservation of books with Sister Martha Jane and Elder Eddie Ellis, family history missionaries from Blackfoot, Idaho, serving in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

R. Scott Lloyd

SALT LAKE CITY — More than 10,000 people are expected to attend the RootsTech conference on Feb. 6-8 at the Salt Palace Expo Center in Salt Lake City. The annual event, which is in its fourth year, has already taken the lead as one of the largest family history conferences in North America.

Family Discovery Day on Saturday, Feb. 8 is new to the conference this year and it's free to attend.

Attendees to the Family Discovery Day should prepare themeselves for a highly charged day full of activities with members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and great events with Elder Neil L. Andersen, of the Quorum of the Twelve; Elder Allan F. Packer and Elder Brad D. Foster of the Seventy; and Heidi Swinton, author of "To the Rescue," LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson's biography. John Bytheway is also on the list of inspirational speakers. All these are scheduled to speak on strengthening the family.

For the conference, which begins on Thursday, Feb. 6, Ree Drummond, also known as the Pioneer Woman, will give the opening keynote address. Drummond is an author of several books and an award-winning blogger.

There are more than 200 sessions covering all aspects of family history during the conference.

On Feb. 6, attendees can enjoy a dessert buffet during the opening social event. Music entertainment from a cappella singing group Vocal Point, who competed on NBC's "The Sing-Off."

When this Brigham Young University group of singers sing, they need no percussion instruments as they make their own sounds while singing.

On Saturday, Feb. 8, Studio C, the acclaimed sketch comedy group, is scheduled for one of the youth sessions. This is a hilarious comedy cast.

This year, there is a bigger venue with easier access, escalators and larger classrooms. The event is for everyone from the beginner to the professional. Or, if one just has a fascination with digital and computer science, it will be for him or her.

Discounts start with Early Bird prices for a full-access pass are $159, regularly $239 and a “getting started pass” beginning at $19. The Early Bird special is available until Jan. 27, so it's still not too late to register for the discount.

If you are not able to attend, the "best of" RootsTech sessions are scheduled to be streamed at family history fairs throughout the world. A list of fair locations will be available soon.

The Expo Hall will have more than 100 vendors where attendees can check out the latest in supplies. At past conferences, there have been interactive booths where people can record a family story, scan a book or photo, or create a family tree.

During the conferences, there are people out there who may have questions they need answers to. Some are willing to help others do something in their families to finding ancestors. Others have also been successful in getting results while researching ancestors.

Attendees may learn an ability in writing family histories or stories or perhaps a person's talent is in finding photographs of his or her own relatives and ancestors and piecing the family together.

Registration is online at rootstech.org/registration.

Genealogy graduate Russell Bangerter is president of Ancestral Connections, Inc., at ancestralconnect.com. He is a professional genealogist, author and speaker; and adviser to Treasured Souls to Keep, at treasuredsoulstokeep.com. He was a vendor last year at RootsTech and previously attended the conference.

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