Thousands of professional, amateur and aspiring genealogists will gather in Salt Lake City this week for RootsTech 2013, the largest family history conference in the United States. The conference runs Thursday through Saturday, and is hosted by FamilySearch, a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Last year’s conference attracted more than 4,000 attendees; this year, over 5,000 attendees are expected.
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The growth of social media and new technology have spurred a boom in family history research; last year, one market research firm estimated 84 million people around the world spend anywhere from $1,000 to $18,000 a year in search of their ancestors. This year’s RootsTech conference has an increased focus on family storytellers, young genealogists and those new to family history. Classes and speakers geared toward novices have been added, and popular sessions will be streamed free online. In 2012, the online sessions attracted 50,000 viewers.
“RootsTech has something for everyone, whether an avid genealogist or someone who is just getting started or is interested in telling and sharing family stories or simply discovering the latest technologies and solutions to better connect the family,” said Paul Nauta, marketing manager for FamilySearch.
The 2013 conference will include several free activities for young genealogists, including specialized classes, a booth, a panel discussion and a devotional. The Church’s Young Women general president, Elaine Dalton, will speak at the devotional on Saturday evening in the Salt Palace Convention Center. See www.rootstech.org/youth for more details and to register.
FamilySearch’s commitment to helping people connect with their ancestors is rooted in the Mormon belief that families are meant to be central to our lives and that family relationships are intended to continue beyond this life. Because interest in family history is not limited by culture, ethnicity or religious faith, FamilySearch’s resources are available to everyone who wants to discover more about their family and their heritage.
Every month, over 3 million people use FamilySearch records, resources and services to learn more about their family history. These records and services are available online at FamilySearch.org or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 126 countries, including the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.