RootsTech in Person: 10 Things to Consider

Introduction: In this article, Gena Philibert-Ortega – who has been to RootsTech many times – gives tips to get the most out of the conference, including links for additional information. Gena is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.”

Ready for RootsTech 2024? If you’re attending in person, I have 10 tips that will help you make the most of your time in Salt Lake City.

Illustration: RootsTech promo

Before You Go

(1) Create a Schedule. No doubt you’ve already registered and made your travel arrangements, but just as important is creating your conference schedule. Classes may fill up, and limits on class size might mean the difference between you getting to see your favorite speaker or not. Go to the RootsTech webpage and check out the 2024 Schedule. The schedule can be filtered by In Person and Online presentations. Create your schedule and make sure to prioritize. Pick your first and second choices in case a lecture is full. Plan to arrive early if you suspect a popular session will fill up.

Tip: Prioritize sessions only offered In Person. If a session is being offered In Person and Online, you can watch it later on the RootsTech website.

(2) Read the RootsTech Blog. The blog has ideas for how to make the most of your RootsTech experience. Articles such as How to Connect DNA Matches at RootsTech  and Relatives at RootsTech 2024: Find Out Who You Are Related To! will help you make the most of your time and possibly meet a new-to-you cousin.

(3) Search the FamilySearch Catalog. One of the benefits of going to RootsTech is that you are across the street from the FamilySearch Library (see more about this below). Take some time before you leave home to search the Catalog for the place your ancestor lived. Note any records you need that cannot be accessed online. Prioritize these records so that you have a list of what to do if and when you visit the Library during your visit.

Photo: Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, Utah – home to RootsTech 2024. Credit: Gena Philibert-Ortega.
Photo: Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, Utah – home to RootsTech 2024. Credit: Gena Philibert-Ortega.

Traveling to Salt Lake City, Utah

(4) Know the Airport. I know this may sound unusual, but if you haven’t flown into Salt Lake City in a while, the airport has undergone a renovation. What was once a small airport is no longer. The one complaint I keep hearing (and I’ve experienced) is that the walk from your gate to the baggage claim is more like a lengthy hike. If you have mobility issues or have breathing difficulties, you may want to take that into consideration. My suggestion is to take it at a slower pace. You can read more on the Salt Lake City International Airport website. They also have an app with maps for the terminals.

(5) Check Out Trax. One of the best and cheapest ways to get from the airport to downtown Salt Lake City (as well as the Salt Palace, home of RootsTech) is to use the light rail system known as Trax. While the airport has changed, Trax is still available from outside the airport. For under $3 you can be on your way to downtown hotels, the FamilySearch Library, and the Salt Palace.

(6) Bring Water and Comfortable Shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking inside the Salt Palace and back and forth from your hotel and the FamilySearch Library. Make sure to bring comfortable shoes and water. The climate in Salt Lake City may be quite different from what you are used to. Salt Lake City is at 4,265’ elevation and it’s dry. Blocks are twice the length of other city blocks, which means that a simple one-block walk is really equal to at least two.

Photo: FamilySearch Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Gena Philibert-Ortega.
Photo: FamilySearch Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Gena Philibert-Ortega.

At RootsTech

It’s February 29th and you’re about to begin your first day at RootsTech. Now what?

(7) What to Bring to the Salt Palace. Everyone is different, but I like to bring a notebook and pen for note-taking at presentations. I find I retain ideas better when I take notes. I bring my water and a snack in case I don’t want to stand in a long line to get food to eat. If you have business cards (yes, they can be for family historians), bring them. They are a great way to network and provide people a way to contact you. RootsTech might give you a bag at registration, but I like to bring my own. That way it doesn’t get accidentally picked up by someone. A sturdy canvas bag or computer bag makes it easy to store items you get as you wander the Expo Hall or shop downtown.

Tip: The Salt Palace has a Salt Lake City Visitors Center. Go there to pick up souvenirs and ask questions about restaurants and nearby attractions.

(8) Have a Goal. Have a goal for a genealogy conference? Yes! Why are you there? Is it to learn more about a specific type of research? To network with other family historians? To learn more about your favorite product or service? Great! Keep that in mind as you take advantage of all RootsTech has to offer. RootsTech can be overwhelming because of all that is offered and the size of the crowd. Knowing why you are there and focusing on that goal can help you when you feel overwhelmed.

(9) Don’t Forget the Expo Hall. Yes, you are there for presentations – but don’t forget the Expo Hall. That’s where companies are answering questions and introducing you to new products and services. Use the RootsTech website to note what companies will be in the Expo Hall. Then write down the ones you want to visit. Now’s the time to ask questions about how to best use their product or conduct the perfect search. If you are having problems using a product, go ask for help.

Come visit GenealogyBank in booth #1307. Ask us how we can help you find your ancestor!

(10) The FamilySearch Library Is across the Street. Choose a time to visit the FamilySearch Library. The conference is your main purpose for being in Salt Lake City, but you should take advantage of using the Library while you are there. The Library will have extended hours during RootsTech. It will be open Monday through Saturday from 8am to 8pm. Free rides from the Salt Palace to the FamilySearch Library will be offered during the conference. To read more see the FamilySearch blog. If you’re not sure how to research at the Library, visit the first floor Discovery Center where you can do everything from begin a family tree to record stories to print a chart. Volunteers can help you get started.

See You in Salt Lake City? #RootsTech2024

If you’re going to Salt Lake City for RootsTech, make sure to stop by the GenealogyBank booth #1307 and say hi. We’d love to meet you and help you make the most of your time at RootsTech!

Note on the header image: RootsTech genealogy conference. Credit:

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