Can’t Attend RootsTech Family History Conference in Person? Participate Online!

Contributed By Linda Clyde, Church News contributor

  • 8 February 2017

2017 RootsTech keynote speakers include actor and author LeVar Burton, “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro, and home renovation TV personalities the Scott brothers.

Article Highlights

  • Watch the live stream of some of the best sessions from RootsTech February 8–11 on

What’s RootsTech?

RootsTech is a huge four-day family history conference held annually in Salt Lake City. The conference provides extensive learning and networking opportunities to a broad and diverse group of people. The conference showcases a vast array of modern resources and technology that aim to inspire and enable individuals to discover, preserve, and share their family stories. This year the conference is February 8–11.

Are you interested in family history but can’t attend RootsTech in person? Don’t worry, FamilySearch is bringing some of the best of RootsTech learning sessions, engaging keynotes, and Innovator Showdown right to you.

Learning sessions

Of the 200-plus learning sessions available during the four-day conference, select sessions will be streamed live on, which will include the following topics and more:

  • Getting Started: Have you wanted to get started on your family history but are not quite sure how to begin? Now is the perfect opportunity to get valuable tips from those with experience.

  • DNA: Discover how DNA testing is being used to make biological family connections never before possible.

  • Journaling: With technology there are many journaling mediums available. See what’s out there and find the right fit for recording your own personal history.

  • Research: Billions of genealogical records are now available online, and it can be easy to get lost searching. Learn how to move beyond simply searching to researching.

  • Tools: New technology is continually being developed and improved to assist in genealogy work. Discover the many helpful tools at your disposal.

  • Partner Websites: FamilySearch is the largest genealogical organization in the world and is owned and operated by the Church. In order to help more individuals discover family records, photos, and stories, the Church has partnered with other genealogical organizations such as Ancestry, FindMyPast, and MyHeritage. Learn how you, as a member of the Church, can access FamilySearch partner websites for free.

Engaging keynotes

Every year RootsTech attracts knowledgeable and engaging keynote speakers, and this year is no exception. Visit to watch any of the following keynotes share their family stories:

  • Steve Rockwood: As president and CEO of FamilySearch, Steve Rockwood has made it his mission to emphasize the emotional side of family history work, make it exciting for everyone by involving people of all ages, and encourage the use of technology to make records, photos, and memories more accessible. Watch Wednesday, February 8, 9:00–10:00 a.m. MST and Thursday, February 9, 8:30–10:00 a.m. MST.

  • Liz Wiseman: Best-selling author Liz Wiseman teaches leadership to executives and emerging leaders around the world. She is a frequent lecturer at BYU, the Naval Postgraduate School, and Stanford University. Watch Wednesday, February 8, 9:00–10:00 a.m. MST.

  • The Scott Brothers: Jonathan and Drew Scott, an identical, multitalented duo, have built an impressive entertainment empire by following their mutual passion for film, entertainment, and home renovation. Watch Thursday, February 9, 8:30–10:00 a.m. MST.

  • LeVar Burton: This inspiring actor, author, and entrepreneur has been popular, relevant, and successful for over three decades and is well known for his roles in Roots and Star Trek: The Next Generation and as host of the children’s television series Reading Rainbow. Watch Friday, February 10, 8:30–10:00 a.m. MST.

  • Buddy Valastro, the “Cake Boss”: Tune in to see why mixing eggs, sugar, butter, and flour means a lot more than “making a cake” for this fourth-generation baker and popular TV personality. Watch Saturday, February 11, 8:30–10:00 a.m. MST.

  • CeCe Moore: CeCe Moore is a genetic genealogist or, in other words, a DNA detective that uses DNA to discover hidden truths about family relationships. Much of her work helps adoptees reunite with their biological families. Watch Saturday, February 11, 8:30–10:00 a.m. MST.

See what’s up-and-coming in the family history industry

Don’t miss the Innovator Showdown on Friday. During this event, innovators from around the world compete for $100,000 in prizes and pitch their creative ideas on stage before renowned judges, industry influencers, and a live audience. This is the perfect place to see the exciting technology and developments emerging from the family history industry. Watch the live stream on on Friday, February 10, 10:30–11:30 a.m. MST.

RootsTech streaming schedule

Below is a complete list of the streamed sessions, which includes the popular general sessions and a sampling of technology and family history presentations appealing to varied interests. Chad Schumacher, RootsTech marketing manager, said the select sessions “expand the show's reach significantly, giving many, many more the opportunity to participate remotely online.“ In 2016, more than 150,000 viewers watched the conference sessions streamed live online. Even more are expected in 2017. 

Watch the live stream at No registration is required. The stream will automatically refresh at the beginning of each session (otherwise use the Refresh button on your browser).


Time (MST)

Class Title


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.

Innovator Summit General Session

Steve Rockwood (CEO, FamilySearch)

Liz Wiseman (Author, Multipliers)

10:15 a.m.-11:15 a.m.

Industry Trends and Outlook

Craig Bott and Guest Panel

11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Innovation - Best Practices and Applications

Cydni Tetro

Thursday, February 9, 2017

8:30a.m.-10:00 a.m.

RootsTech General Session

Steve Rockwood

Jonathan and Drew Scott (HGTV's Property Brothers)

11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Getting Started in Genealogy

Kelli Bergheimer

12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m.

DNA: The Glue that Holds Families Together

Diahan Southard

1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

DNA Matching on MyHeritage

Dana Drutman

3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Jewish Genealogy: Where to Look and What’s Available

Lara Diamond

4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

Family History is Anything but Boring

Crystal Farish and Rhonna Farrer

Friday, February 10, 2017

8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.

RootsTech General Session

Levar Burton (Star Trek, RootsTech, Reading Rainbow)

Special Guest Panel

10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

RootsTech Innovator Showdown Finals


12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m.

Mother's, Daughters, Wives: Tracing Female Lines

Judy Russell (The Legal Genealogist)

1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

Censational Census Strategies

Mary Kircher Roddy

3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Big 4: Comparing Ancestry, Findmypast, FamilySearch, and MyHeritage

Sunny Morton

4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

Cross the Atlantic with Religious Records

Jen Baldwin

Saturday, February 11, 2017

8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.

RootsTech General Session

Cece Moore (The Genetic Genealogist)

Buddy Valastro (The Cake Boss)

11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Journaling Principles that Work

Steve Reed

1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

Don’t Just Be a Searcher, Be a Researcher

Crista Cowan

3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Creating Google Alerts for your Genealogy

Katherine R. Wilson