Posted by Pam Velazquez on February 17, 2014 in Website

Last week the Ancestry team was at the RootsTech 2014 conference in Salt Lake City, Utah – a global family history event where people can come together and share about their genealogy experiences and the technologies that make them possible.

What We Taught
While we were there, many members from the Ancestry team lead sessions on several topics covering searching on Ancestry, common surnames, and even WordPress!

We know not all of our members can make it out to snowy Salt Lake City each year for the conference, but we hope it helps to share some of the great presentations we led.

Our resident expert, Juliana Szucs Smith gave a great presentation on common surnames and how to overcome the hurdles in your research when you’re dealing with a ‘Smith’ or a ‘Johnson’.

Below are two presentations by our expert Anne Mitchell which cover two important topics – ‘Learning How to Tune Your Search on’ and ‘Putting Your Ancestors in Historical Perspective’.

Our Favorite Parts
One of the benefits of attending genealogy events such as RootsTech is the vast exposure to the greater genealogical community. Attending RootsTech were not only family history brands but also genealogical societies and libraries. Booths were set up for the Southern California Genealogical Society, the National Genealogical Society, and the Board for Certification of Genealogists, to name a few. We were able to have great conversations with individuals from each of these societies, and also talked to the folks at the The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library! RootsTech is a great way to learn more about the amazing benefits you can reap from belonging to a genealogical society, or visiting your local library. Stay tuned to the blog and our YouTube Channel for new videos featuring our interviews from the conference with some of these fine people.

RootsTech PhoneAFriend

Another one of our favorite parts of RootsTech this year was an amazing booth that was set up for newcomers to family history. This booth featured a bank of computers each with a microphone headset. Each computer had the capability of calling any U.S. number and recording the conversation. The intent of this booth was to “Phone A Friend”, a grandparent or parent, and talk to them about your family history. Whether you called on a fact-finding mission to get some dates or other details, or maybe you just wanted to record a great story they know, this booth was meant to capture these great conversations and archive them for later.

Want To Know More About RootsTech 2014?
One of this week’s episodes of ‘The Barefoot Genealogist’ with Crista Cowan was focused on some of the highlights from the conference. Crista shares some of the things she learned from the event and more! Watch here:

Hopefully we’ll see you at the next family history event!


  1. Connie Osborn

    I went to the RootsTech 2014 in Yuma, AZ last Saturday and LOVED the classes and keynote speakers, as well as getting to meet others with the same interest. A BIG THANKS to Anne (You are awesome!) and all those who share such a wealth of knowledge about doing family history. I’m looking forward to seeing the tapes of the classes I wasn’t able to attend through !


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