Scott Hamilton and Humans of New York Creator among 2018 RootsTech Conference Speakers

Contributed By Marianne Holman Prescott, Church News staff writer

  • 15 January 2018

Scott Hamilton will be the keynote speaker at the RootsTech 2018 conference in Salt Lake City.  Photo courtesy of RootsTech.org.

Article Highlights

  • Watch Family Discovery Day live or online March 3.
  • Opening event celebrates the 1940s and the greatest generation.

Thousands of visitors will gather in downtown Salt Lake City February 28 through March 3 for the annual RootsTech conference. First held in 2011, RootsTech is the world’s largest family history and technology conference.

With more than 200 classes, the conference offers those of all abilities and ages a variety of topics associated with family history.

On March 3, families are invited to participate in Family Discovery Day. This free, one-day event includes devotionals from General Authorities, inspirational breakout sessions, and hands-on activities. Select sessions are broadcast on LDS.org.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Kristen M. Oaks, are scheduled to speak during the Family Discovery Day, as well as Hank R. Smith and Jason Hewlett. Musical guests include singers Evie Clair, Kenya Clark, and Alex Melecio.

Just as years in the past, the lineup of speakers for the RootsTech conference brings experts and leaders to the Salt Palace. Keynote addresses will be held throughout the conference and will be given by:

Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Imagine meeting with prominent American celebrities and sharing with them their family history. Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, will share his experience researching and sharing family history with prominent American celebrities. (See related article.)

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, will be a keynote speaker at RootsTech in 2018. Photo courtesy of RootsTech.org.

Brandon Stanton

Known for his photography and storytelling blog that was created in 2010, “Humans of New York” creator Brandon Stanton studied at the University of Georgia and worked as a bond trader in Chicago before starting his blog. Over the last seven years, the “Humans of New York” creator has developed a following of more than 20 million fans across several social media platforms.

He is the author of two #1 New York Times bestsellers, Humans of New York (2013), and Humans of New York: Stories (2015) and the children’s book bestseller Little Humans (2014). (See related article.)

Brandon Stanton, creator of Humans of New York, will be a keynote speaker at RootsTech in 2018. Photo courtesy of RootsTech.org.

Scott Hamilton

Scott Hamilton is an Olympic champion, cancer survivor, television broadcaster, motivational speaker, author, husband/father, and self-proclaimed “eternal optimist.” During his figure skating career, Hamilton earned an Olympic gold medal and more than 70 titles, awards, and honors.

In 1990, Hamilton was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame, and in that same year he became a member of the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame. Following his mother’s passing from and his own survival of cancer, Hamilton launched the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation (Cancer Alliance for Research, Education and Survivorship) in 2014, with a mission to improve cancer patient survivorship by supporting world-class cancer research and the highest quality patient treatment and care. The same year, he founded the Scott Hamilton Skating Academy, in partnership with the NHL’s Nashville Predators, at Ford Ice Center in Antioch, Tennessee, to offer students programs encouraging kids to love ice skating. (See related article.)

Olympic champion, speaker, and author Scott Hamilton will be a keynote speaker at RootsTech in 2018. Photo courtesy of RootsTech.org.

Celebrating the greatest generation

The opening event will feature vignettes of 1940s-era dance, music, and narration to celebrate the “greatest generation.” Enjoy entertainment from the internationally recognized BYU Ballroom Dance Company and Synthesis, an award-winning swing, blues, and jazz musical group, also hailing from Brigham Young University. The event will be narrated by the Emmy Award-winning Bruce Lindsay.

RootsTech attendees examine the many vendors at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City on Friday, February 10, 2017. Photo by Scott G Winterton.

RootsTech attendees visit the many vendors at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City on Friday, February 10, 2017. Photo by Scott G Winterton.