RootsTech 2019 in Salt Lake City

Last year, Rootstech 2018 was an unholy mess. I wrote about that experience here, making several positive suggestions for improvements. I’m sure the Rootstech staff was quite unhappy with me, but that’s OK, because it looks like they’ve implemented several changes that may, just may, make for an improved experience in 2019. Fingers firmly crossed!

I wasn’t planning to attend Rootstech 2019, but I’ve changed my mind, in large part because I really enjoyed meeting the people and vendors – and if you’re a technology person, Rootstech really is the conference to attend.

Plus, well, you know, that library just a block down the street has a powerful addictive draw for genealogists. Genealogy crack.

In essence, I’m attending so that I can report back to you on the latest innovations, products and features you might not otherwise know about. If you can’t attend, you can get the skinny from me – and if you can and do attend, I really hope to meet you.

Hint – I’ll be wearing genealogy and DNA garb. I’m in the process of creating new things right now, but no unveiling in advance.

I may be making cameo appearances from time to time and I’ll write closer to the conference about a possible meetup again this year.


I’m hopeful for an improved conference experience, but I’m still not convinced that Rootstech can handle thousands of people wanting to attend sessions in rooms that can’t handle thousands of people. They may plan better or have spillover or livestream rooms. I may actually choose to watch some sessions electronically.

Changes Rootstech has made include:

  • Mailing conference badges, so no hours-long registration lines (glory halleluiah)
  • Badge scanning at the session doors has been either reduced or removed – that part is unclear – we’ll see

For those who can’t or don’t choose to attend, you have more options:

Livestreams of Keynotes

Rootstech 2019 keynotes.png

Free Streaming of Many Sessions

Rootstech 2019 Livestream schedule

Several DNA sessions are included, and some sessions not livestreamed are being recorded for later playback.

You can view the schedule here.

Virtual Pass

If you want to see additional sessions not included in the free offering above, you can purchase a virtual pass for another 18 sessions.

Rootstech 2019 Virtual Pass

If you aren’t attending, you can purchase a virtual pass for $129, or if you are attending, you can add it for $79 and free yourself up to attend sessions not offered either free or virtually. Here’s a list of what’s included with the Virtual Pass.

You can purchase a virtual pass here.


It’s not too late. You can still register, but it’s too late to receive your pass in the mail – so you will need to stand in line. The good news is that the lines will be much shorter because many people will be receiving their passes in the mail.

The conference hotels and accommodations close by are full. However, there are still many hotels that are reasonably priced a little further out. I’m staying half a mile away, got a great rate, and will walk if it’s warm or Uber for less than $5 (including tip) if it’s not. A $10 Uber bill is still far less than staying at one of the more expensive hotels.

Really, all I care about is a clean room, reasonable bed, WIFI (really important,) a fridge in my room and hopefully, breakfast. I’m not going to be in my room much anyway.


To be clear, I am not recommending Rootstech – I’m giving it another shot. I enjoy the social interaction with other genealogists, met some awesome people last year, and I look forward to being your embedded reporter.

Just so you know, I didn’t apply to be, nor am I a Rootstech Ambassador, so no free ticket, no access to the media center, no access to celebs for interviews or any other Ambassador perks. I’ll be walking around just like everyone else. I’m therefore also not beholden to promote or write positive articles about RootsTech and the promoters.

I’m sure there will be no shortage of fun things to do, old friends to see again and new people to meet. I can’t wait to find out what’s in store this year. Adventures await!



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23 thoughts on “RootsTech 2019 in Salt Lake City

  1. Thank you for being our champion! I was very impressed by your reporting last year and found it to be frank (but not unkind) while trying to be understanding and patient. Your impressions this year will be important in helping me to decide whether or not to attend next year.

  2. I was at RootsTech 2017 for the first time and it was a blast AND a disappointment at the same time. I loved meeting so many people I only knew online so far and the exhibition was really good, but I was really disappointed with the sessions (quality and quantity). I keep my fingers crossed that they took your feedback (and mine from 2017) into account this year. I might give RootsTechLondon a try as I am across the pond.

    • Normally, Livestreams are on the webpage of the organization. There is a contact button – so I would ask. If the answer is something different, please post back.

  3. Thanks for the heads up about the links! Everything should be working now. Looking forward to seeing you at RootsTech!

    • Roberta, we are looking forward to the first Rootstech in London in October: maybe we will see you there? Thanks for all your interesting blog messages.

      Paul Chennell.

  4. I’m a speaker Wednesday morning and will also be working at the WordPress booth. I super hope our paths cross.

    • I noticed that you were speaking. I will definitely stop by the booth. I would like to discuss Gutenberg with you. Look forward to seeing you again.

  5. I was there last year also, it was my first time, and even with all the issues I had a wonderful time. I have already purchased the virtual pass, although I was a bit disappointed that the videos will not be available until 10 days after RootsTech ends. At least the live feeds will be there to watch in the meantime. I hope you have a great time and I will watch for your posts. I am really interested in the improvements they have made, and if it is a lot better I may attend next year again.

    Your Miller cousin,

  6. After reading about last year’s RootsTech, I thought I would never want to attend one. But, I’m really excited about all of their changes and am thrilled to be both attending and speaking this year! Can’t wait to see you – and whatever “garb” you’ll be wearing. 🙂

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