Saturday, 23 March 2013

Highlights of Day 1 at RootsTech

Yesterday was my first day at RootsTech 2013, and what an exciting day it was!

First of all, at 7.30 am, the official bloggers had early access to the Exhibitor Hall, for a guided tour of the exhibitor stands:

Next up were the three Keynote speakers:

    Dennis Brimhall, CEO of FamilySearch
  • Dennis Brimhall, CEO of FamilySearch, first of all congratulated the large number of volunteer indexers on the success of the 1940 census. He then went on to explain how FamilySearch is aiming to attract more people into researching their family histories than is currently the case, and in particular, they would like to lower the average age of people researching their genealogy by engaging the younger generation in family history.  With this goal in mind, he described a change in emphasis taking place at FamilySearch, moving away from just researching and connecting names and dates and encouraging us to make greater use of story telling and photographs to add more "flavour" to our family trees.  He left us with the following thought "What would our great great great grandchildren wish that we would have done"
    Syd Lieberman
  • Syd Lieberman, nationally acclaimed story teller, author and teacher, told us some wonderful stories about his parents, his grandparents and his grandchildren.  He is a wonderful speaker and storyteller, and the message coming across was "don't forget to pass on your stories to your descendants".
    Joshua Taylor, FindMyPast USA
  • Joshua Taylor, Business Development Manager, North America, for brightsolid online publishing, creators of, came across as passionate about genealogy, having chosen from a young age to get involved in family history.  Joshua reiterated the desire to engage the younger generation in family history, and especially Generation "Y" who no longer watch cable TV but do everything on their mobile devices.  He felt that the challenge, especially for developers, and others involved in genealogy, is to find ways of engaging with this audience, and postulated that the answer might be through family history gaming!

I then had the privilege of interviewing two of my fellow Strathclyde PG diploma students, Marie Dougan of Ancestral Consultants and Jeanette Rosenberg of The  Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain.  I asked them both:

  • what had brought them all the way to Salt Lake City from the UK
  • how they thought RootsTech compares to the largest British genealogy show, Who Do You Think You Are? live and 
  • what they hoped to get out of their time at the conference and in Salt Lake City in general
  • and what their main "take out" was from the Keynote speaker session this morning.  You can listen to the full interview here:

The highlight of the day, however, had to be a private tour of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir facilities, followed by a special "mini concert" for the benefit of RootsTech attendees.  It was a simply magical experience and one that will stay with me for a long while:

Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Salt Lake City

Rosemary Morgan
London Roots Research


  1. Sounds great Rosemary. Enjoying your updates! Enjoy the rest of the conference!

    1. I'm glad you liked it Celia. It was my first video interview so was a bit nervous. Hopefully it gives you a bit of a flavour of what it's actually like.

  2. Very envious of you! I've been catching up with some of the streamed presentations, and have found them really interesting and thought provoking. Thanks for your updates too!

    Deborah Hart Stock

    1. The Keynote speeches are indeed thought provoking. It's so great that they are live streamed. Glad you like my updates, Deborah.

  3. Great interview Rosemary - very helpful for those that haven't attended either Rootstech or WDYTYA Live. Thank you :)

    1. Your welcome. Glad you enjoyed it. Maybe you should come to one of them next year?