SALT LAKE CITY— Sometimes modern technology is the perfect thing to shine a light on history.
Proof of that can be found at RootsTech 2017, which is coming to the Salt Palace Convention Center and surrounding locations Feb. 8-11. The event includes speakers such as Levar Burton and Cake Boss Buddy Valastro, more than 100 classes offering new insights into family history-related topics, an Expo Hall filled with technological updates designed to make family history research easier, and more.
“Family is the most important part of my life,” says Valastro in a statement. “You have to embrace and be proud of where you come from.”
Burton, best known for “Roots,” “Reading Rainbow,” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” will be the keynote speaker on Friday. He’ll discuss personal stories, as well as the influence of his mother. Valastro, best known for the TLC series “Cake Boss,” will share how his family roots influenced his business success during his Saturday keynote presentation. The Scott Brothers, from HGTV’s “Property Brothers,” will be the Thursday keynote speakers.
More than 200 classes will be held throughout the entire conference, covering everything from new features planned for the FamilySearch family trees and 21st century tools for genealogists to tracing female lines and finding answers in U.S. Census records. The Expo Hall will also be open throughout all four days, featuring a variety of family history-related vendors. In addition, the hall also offers family history mentoring in the Coach’s Corner, a heirloom show-and-tell, a showcase of new tech tools in Innovation Alley, and a Discovery Zone full of interactive displays and activities designed to encourage interest in family history.
There are a variety of passes available, with many of them currently on sale. The cheapest options are the Getting Started passes, with a $69 pass good for Thursday through Saturday. The passes offer access to more than 25 classes, the Thursday opening event, the keynote general sessions, the Saturday closing event, the Expo Hall and the Innovator Showdown. There is also a one-day Getting Started pass currently available for $49, which will allow access to all Getting Started events/panels held the day of the pass.
The RootsTech pass, which is currently on sale for $189, allows access to more than 220 of the available classes. The pass also allows access to all of the same events as the Getting Started pass, and gives pass holders the chance to purchase admission to a welcome event, sponsored lunches and a computer lab. A one-day pass is also available for $99 that will offer access to all of the above on either Thursday, Friday or Saturday.
There is an Innovator Summit on Feb. 8 focusing specifically on the technology. The summit can be added onto the RootsTech pass for an extra $50, or can be purchased independently for $99.
There is also a Free Family Discovery Day scheduled for Feb. 11, but that day has fewer class options than any of the other passes. It is also only open to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and requires that you register in advance in order to be admitted.
To purchase passes or for more information, visit rootstech.org.