We've been presenting at RootsTech, the world's largest family history event, for several years now and it is always the highlight of our year. This year, the RootsTech folks have asked us to be an "official" ambassadors for RootsTech 2017. (This is a no-brainer, because for years we've been telling anyone who will listen why they shouldn't miss it!) So, counting down, here are our top five reasons why you should be there.
#5: World-Class Keynote Speakers
Just in the last few years, we have heard some amazing people speak at RootsTech. Highlights for us have been Doris Kearns Goodwin, Laura Bush, Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman), Dave Isay of StoryCorps, and Paula Williams Madison.
This year, keynotes announced so far include LeVar Burton (yay, my inner geek is so excited) of Star Trek, Roots, and Reading Rainbow and TLC's "Cake Boss," Buddy Valastro. They also have amazing music and cultural events going on throughout the week.
#4: 200+ Classes
The array of courses available is staggering, and you don't need to know anything about genealogy to enjoy many of them. Learn about family storytelling, organizing photos, history, social media, devices and cloud storage, DNA, you name it---from experts in the field from around the world. (Tom and I will also be teaching again this year and we'd love to have you join our classes!)
#3: Bring the kids
At the Discovery Zone in the Expo Hall, there are amazing interactive displays for kids and adults alike. See the migration of your family on a giant interactive digital map, record a video with your family, or see yourself wearing a costume that one of your ancestors might have worn. Saturday is Family Discovery Day, where there are events all day for kids and teens to get them excited about family history.
#2: Get some free advice
This year in the Expo Hall, they will have a couple of neat new features: a "Coaches' Corner," where you can get help from an expert genealogist to break through that brick wall, and "Heirloom Show & Tell," where you can bring in a family heirloom and have an expert tell you about it.
Need some help with a life story project? Come by the Pictures and Stories booth and chat with me and Tom to get some direction and ideas for writing your personal or family history.
#1: Win a free RootsTech plus Innovator Summit 2017 4-day pass!
The best perk of being an official RootsTech ambassador is that they give us a free RootsTech 4-day pass to give away! ($299 value!)
The 4-day pass includes the following:
■ Innovator Summit
■ over 200 classes
■ General sessions
■ RootsTech classes
■ Getting Started classes
■ Expo hall
■ Evening events
Here's how to enter the Pictures and Stories RootsTech Pass giveway:
Pick a favorite photo from your family history and add a caption or short story that tells why it's your favorite. Use one or more of the following methods to enter before midnight on Friday November 25:
1. Like our Pictures and Stories Facebook page and upload your photo and mini-story.
2. Follow us on Instagram. Upload your photo and mini-story with the hashtag #picstory2win.
3. Check your email inbox for our contest email, and reply with your photo and mini-story. (If you haven't already subscribed to our email newsletter, you can sign up here.)
Winner will be announced by November 30. We can't wait to see your favorite pictures and stories!
Can't make it to Salt Lake City in February?
The good news is that you can still follow the conference online. RootsTech posts many of their keynotes and classes online, and some are even available to stream live.
Here's the part where FCC regulations require us to disclose that in return for being a RootsTech 2017 ambassador, we are receiving a free pass as compensation (which we won't be using, since we are attending the conference anyway as presenters). But we get to give YOU a free pass, which is cool, so that's compensation enough!