Meet Tara Bergeson, Director of Content for RootsTech, the biggest genealogy event in
the world (watch or attend on February 28 – March 3, 2018).
FTM: Tara, you have a full-time job supporting a single annual conference?
TB: Yes—there are actually seven of us full-time, plus seasonal helpers. RootsTech has grown to an event that averages 25,000-30,000 attendees. It’s four days long, with 200+ speakers teaching 275+ classes, evening events and over 300 Expo Hall booths. I only handle the class sessions and registration process.
FTM: What’s your favorite task at RootsTech?
TB:Talking to people and hearing their stories. It’s a large crowd, but each comes with their own goals and stories. One year I talked to a cute older couple about moving into the digital age. Every year since then, they find me and report their progress.
FTM: You’re a self-described “soccer mom.” What skills do you use most at work and home?
TB: All three boys of my boys (ages 11-21) have played soccer; I’m on the board of a competitive soccer club. I’m very organized and committed and I have a lot of drive. I need all that to succeed with RootsTech, too.
FTM: What do your kids think of your work?
TB: The younger two have actually volunteered at RootsTech in the FamilySearch booth, demonstrating touch screens and apps and talking to other kids who come through. It’s been great to watch them become involved.
FTM: What do you do when RootsTech is over?
TB: I go home and sleep, watch a movie with my kids and eat my mom’s home-cooking. But the RootsTech team all reports back to work on Monday to start preparing for the next one.
FTM: You love to read; do you have a recommendation for family history lovers?
TB: I loved The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. It’s a great story with a family history-themed storyline.
FTM: What else do you like to do?
I love to travel, but I don’t do the typical “touristy” things. I’m a people-watcher. I like to go wherever the locals are and feel their culture. I recently toured Amish country in Holmes County, Ohio and I found it fascinating. I wouldn’t call myself a foodie, but I love try good local restaurants, and wherever I go, I find local bookstores and quilt shops.
FTM: Final plug for RootsTech 2018: tell us three great reasons to attend.
TB:Our classes are amazing, with presenters who teach from a beginning to a professional level. The Expo Hall has booths with all the major genealogy companies and hundreds of smaller ones. There’s a demo stage where you can sit and put your feet up and hear extra talks. And the third reason is the atmosphere: it’s electric and vibrant. The theme this year, “Connect: Belong,” speaks to that RootsTech feeling of a shared purpose to something greater than ourselves.