RootsTech 2015

By Maureen A. Taylor

Four years. That’s how long it’s taken for RootsTech to change the way we view genealogy conferences. In those few years, RootsTech has become the largest genealogical conference in the country. Last year, more than 7,000 people attended; this year’s expected crowd may double that number in part because the organizers partnered with the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). The FGS conference will be held in conjunction with RootsTech, with separate class sessions but a shared exhibit hall and keynote speakers. Register for either conference and you can purcahse an add-on pass to attend sessions for the other.

If you can’t attend, look for details (still to come) about the live streaming part of the conference, or watch last year’s speakers. Their videos are online.

I was there in 2011 and 2013, and I’ll be there this year. The reasons it’s so popular are simple:

1.Location. It’s in Salt Lake City, Utah, which is home to the largest genealogical research library—FamilySearch’s Family History Library.

2.Dynamic programs. Speakers from all over the world present new material at this conference. Each and every lecture is fresh. This year I’m presenting a total of five at the joint FGS/RootsTech conference.

3. Excitement. There’s a buzz about RootsTech that’s hard to miss. From early morning, big name keynote lectures to blockbuster evening entertainment, the conference goes from dawn to bedtime.

I’ll be in booth 1240, nearby Family Tree Magazine, Genealogy Gems and Family Chartmasters. Stop by to say hello, listen to one of our free Outside the Box lectures, and enter our grand prize drawing.

I love attending conference so that I can meet people and look at their photos.

Two years ago at RootsTech, I met Pam and Art Crawford, who had a photo mystery that defied explanation:


I’ve written a few installments on this mind-bending mystery. In the second installment I tackled the costume clues in Mind-Bending Mystery Part 2.

Last October, a woman came forward with additional images and solved part of the mystery. You can read about it in Mind Bending Mystery Revisited.

One puzzle remains. How did Pam’s family come to think that these folks were relatives? Read the columns and weigh in below by adding a comment.

Can’t wait to see new photos this year!

Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now