Saturday, February 16, 2019

RootsTech 2019 Announces Lineup of Keynote Speakers and Entertainers

RootsTech 2019 Announces Lineup of Keynote Speakers and Entertainers

RootsTech_2019_Keynote_Speaker_Collage.pngSalt Lake City, Utah (13 February 2019), RootsTech 2019, the world’s largest family history conference, announced its full lineup of keynote speakers and entertainers, including Saroo BrierleyPatricia HeatonDerek HoughJake Shimabukuro, and Steve Rockwood. Fueled by the popularity of DNA genealogy, social networking platforms, and related mobile apps, RootsTech 2018 had over 50,000 in-person and online attendees. Hosted by FamilySearch International, the conference will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 27 through March 2, and select content is broadcast live online.

Keynote Speakers

RootsTech 2019 kicks off on Wednesday, February 27, with classes on topics such as DNA research, photo preservation, and using social media to preserve family legacies. Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, will be the featured keynote speaker on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. mountain standard time.

Emmy Award-winning actress Patricia Heaton takes the stage on Thursday to share stories of faith and family. Heaton is most recognized for her role as Deborah Barone on the hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond (1996–2005) and more recently as Frankie Heck in The Middle (2009–2018). Heaton is also the author of two books. Her most recent, a recipe book, is Patricia Heaton’s Food for Family and Friends: 100 Favorite Recipes for a Busy, Happy Life, and her humorous collection of essays about life and family, published in 2003, is Motherhood and Hollywood: How to Get a Job Like Mine.

Saroo Brierley, whose story is recounted in the international bestselling autobiography A Long Way Home, will be the featured keynote speaker on Friday, March 1. Brierley’s remarkable family reunification story was depicted in the 2016 film Lion.

On Saturday, March 2, world-renowned ukulele musician and composer Jake Shimabukuro will take the stage. Shimabukuro’s records have repeatedly topped Billboard world music charts. Shimabukuro will speak about his efforts to honor his heritage through music and will perform live for the RootsTech audience.

Derek Hough, professional ballroom dancer and choreographer, will perform during the Friday evening event, Connecting through Music and Dance. Hough is widely recognized for his work on the ABC dance-competition series Dancing with the Stars, where he has won a record six seasons.


RootsTech 2019 offers more than 300 classes and activities for families and individuals with varying interests and skills. Select classes will be broadcast live. RootsTech also offers a Virtual Pass, which provides access to additional online recorded sessions from the conference. Learn more or register for the event at

About RootsTech
RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.

How to Remotely Watch RootsTech 2019 Salt Lake City

How to Remotely Watch RootsTech 2019 Salt Lake City

If you are unable to attend RootsTech 2019 in Salt Lake City, you have two remote viewing options. Some of the show’s sessions will be streamed live for free at (see the broadcast schedule below)! If you want more, you can purchase a Virtual Pass to view additional sessions from the conference. RootsTech 2019 in Salt Lake City runs February 27 to March 3, 2019. Go to to view the entire schedule of events.
The RootsTech daily general sessions will be broadcast live and for free. They include keynote addresses by Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, Patricia Heaton, popular actress from Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle, Saroo Brierley, whose incredible family reunification story which inspired the movie, Lion, and Jake Shimabukuro, world renowned ukulele master.
In addition to the select free classes broadcasted, RootsTech is offering a Virtual Pass, which provides access to 18 online recorded sessions from the conference. You can watch playbacks from your laptop, tablet, or smartphone device whenever and however you’d like—for just $129. Go to Virtual Pass for more information.
If you’re social media savvy, you can follow or join real-time conversations happening on social media using #NotAtRootsTech.

Time (MST)
Class Title
Class Description
Speaker or Speakers
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
9:30 a.m.
What’s New at FamilySearch?
Explore the latest features and capabilities released on FamilySearch. See the future of FamilySearch.
Ron Tanner of FamilySearch
11:00 a.m.
Hear Them Sing! Social History and Family Narrative
Discover how addition of social history enhances family narratives and clarifies the songs of our ancestors. She will discuss how to contextualize ancestors’ lives with social history research.
Rebecca Whitman
1:30 p.m.
Uncovering Family Stories with British and Irish Historic Newspapers (Sponsored by Findmypast)
Search the numerous digitized collections of millions of pages of local and national historic newspapers, covering 300 years of history from every county in Britain and Ireland.
Myko Clelland
3:00 p.m.
Connecting Your DNA Matches
Find out to go through your DNA match list and how to use the Shared Matches tool. Learn how to create and employ a number of tools to boost your confidence in your genetic genealogy skills.
Diahan Southard
4:30 p.m.
Wednesday General Session and Opening Event
Explore the connections that come through genealogy. Entertainment will be provided by the world-renowned a cappella group The Edge Effect.
Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International

Thursday, Feb 28, 2019
8:30 a.m.
Making the Leap—Becoming a Professional Genealogist (Power Hour)
Explore how to make a successful transition from hobbyist to a career as a professional. Learn about the importance of diversifying your talents, and discover the ways to earn income as a genealogist.
Luana Darby, Valerie Elkins, and Anne Teerlink
9:30 a.m.
Finally! German Church Records and How to Use Them on FamilySearch
Explore the German Church records that are now being published on FamilySearch. These are records rich in centuries of history and contain baptisms, marriages, burials, and even confirmations.
Trish Melander
11:00 a.m.
Thursday General Session
Nobody knows family quite like Emmy award-winning actress Patricia Heaton. Known for her humorous roles as a typical American housewife in big hit television series like Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle.
Patricia Heaton
1:30 p.m.
What You Don’t Know about Ancestry (Sponsored by Ancestry)
Preview Ancestry’s cool new tools that are geared to improve and accelerate your family history research.
Crista Cowan
3:00 p.m.
“Jumping the Broom,” Oil, Inheritance, and African American Marriage in the South
Explore the tradition of jumping the broom, the informal marriage ceremony for the enslaved.
Kenyatta Berry
4:30 p.m.
Perilous Assumptions: Revisiting Those First Finds
Despite the best of intentions, many family history researchers make incorrect assumptions about records that don’t quite fit. Explore false assumptions, revisiting those mistakes, and the family history discoveries that may await.
Kris Rzepczynski

Friday, March 1, 2019
8:00 a.m.
Why and How to Put Yourself into Your Family History (Power Hour)
Explore why putting yourself into your family history is so important . Learn how you can include yourself without getting overwhelmed.
Curt Witcher, Amy Johnson Crow, Scott Fisher,
9:30 a.m.
Essential Considerations for DNA Evidence
Learn how to use DNA evidence correctly and correlated with documentary evidence and examine some of the considerations, limitations, and pitfalls we should consider when using DNA evidence.
Blaine Bettinger
11:00 a.m.
Friday General Session
Perhaps no one knows the joy that comes from connecting with family better than Saroo Brierley. Saroo will share his remarkable story of how he used technology to reconnect with the land of his childhood and rediscover his family.
Saroo Brierley
1:30 p.m.
Getting the Most Out of Billions of Records on MyHeritage SuperSearch (Sponsored by MyHeritage)
One of the best ways to maximize MyHeritage is to host your tree at MyHeritage, where the systems will automatically help you find new records, fill gaps in your existing tree, and provide matches.
Mike Mansfield
3:00 p.m.
Discover Your Japanese Ancestors
Learn how to find your Japanese ancestors in Japan. Discover how to obtain your family’s vital records from Japan and climb your family tree.
Valerie Elkins
4:30 p.m.
he Research Road Map: Your Path to Success
Why having a research plan is more than making a to-do list. See how having a good plan is essential to making progress in your research and making it less frustrating.
Amy Johnson Crow

Saturday, March 2, 2019
8:00 a.m.
Trace the Story of Immigrant Ancestors in 3 Steps (Power Hour)
Explore 3 key steps to unlocking the story of your immigrant ancestors with the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.
Susan Miller, D. Joshua Taylor, and Frederick Wertz 
9:30 a.m.
Examining Your DNA Matches with DNA Painter
DNA Painter is a website that can help interpret and demystify your autosomal DNA results. Using practical examples, Learn how DNA Painter can be used for a variety of activities including chromosome mapping.
Jonny Perl
11:00 a.m.
Saturday General Session
World renowned ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro will be the keynote speaker. Get ready to hear Jake’s inspiring story, and listen to the one-of-a-kind ukulele musician play the instrument like you’ve never heard it before.
Jake Shimabukuro
1:30 p.m.
Leading with Science at 23andMe (Sponsored by 23andMe)
Walk through how research works at 23andMe and how you can contribute to scientific discoveries.
Sarah Lashkey
3:00 p.m.
The Silent Language of the Stones: Reading Gravestones through Symbols and Carvings
Symbols and icons have been used on tombstones for centuries, but it was not until the mid-1800s that this secret language on the stones became popular. Explore these symbols and statues that tell stories.
Joy Neighbors

New Historical Records on FamilySearch: Week of February 4, 2019

New Historical Records on FamilySearch: Week of February 4, 2019

FamilySearch added millions of new free historical records this week from France and England. Additional records were added from Australia, Russia, New York, Wales, and the BillionGraves Index.
Search these free new records and images by clicking on the collection links below, or go to FamilySearch to search over 8 billion free names and record images.
Indexed Records
Digital Images
New indexed records collection
New indexed records collection
New indexed records collection
New indexed records collection
Added indexed records and images to an existing collection
Added indexed records to an existing collection
United States
New indexed records collection
Added indexed records to an existing collection
About FamilySearch
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.