©2021 by Donald R. Snow - Last updated 2021-04-05
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ABSTRACT: RootsTech Connect 2021 was a virtual (online) family history conference sponsored by FamilySearch in Feb 2021 and was the first RootsTech conference to be entirely virtual and free.  It had 1,500 sessions from 250 presenters in several languages and more than 1.2 million attendees from 242 countries.  The videos of all keynotes and classes will be online and free for the next year and is a major source of famly history help, instruction, and inspiration. This class will discuss the website and how to use it.  The notes for this class and related articles, all with active Internet links, are on my website .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( ) of Provo and St. George, Utah.
  2. These notes, with active internet links and other related articles, are on my website .
  3. Tips:  (1)  Easy to put an icon on your desktop for these notes or any webpage; just drag the icon from in front of the address in your browser to your desktop.  (2)  To open a link from here in another tab, but keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.
  4. The problem for today:  What is the RootsTech Connect 2021 website and how do you use it?
  5. dons-freewarecorner-2021-03-rootstechconnect2021.html


  6. RootsTech Connect 2021, , was the first entirely virtual and completely free RootsTech.
  7. RooteTech started in 2011 with in-person conferences in the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah. By 2020 the attendance had grown to 30,000, each paying more than $100 to register, plus travel, hotel, and food costs; I was a presenter at the first 7 or 8 RootsTechs.
  8. This year, 2021, it was all virtual (online) and completely free because of the worldwide Coronavirus-Covid-19 pandemic and there were more than 1.2 million attendees from 242 countries, a major success by any measure.
  9. It was "live" during the 3 days, 25-27 Feb 2021, with all the 1,500 keynotes and classes on video and on-demand; there were more than 250 presenters speaking in several languages, mostly English, but with subtitles in many other languages. 
  10. It was announced before that all videos and handouts would remain online and be free for a year.   


  11. The FamilySerch engineers had to build the website themselves due to the predicted numbers of attendees and the costs -- They did a remarkable job!
  12. They included many things to make it helpful to a worldwide audience and it is a major source of information and help for family history.
  13. It has classes, handouts, vendor information in the Expo Hall, and more, and will be added to during the year.
  14. You can watch anything without an account, but with a (free) RootsTech Connect 2021 account you get a My Playlist to help organize items you are interested in. (See below)
  15. Besides for family history, the website is a major source of help for teachers and parents with information about history, customs, food, and traditions from many countries, since the theme was connecting with other people.
  16. At the center of the top of the website is a Website Tutorials button which has several short (5-15 minute) well made video tutorials.
  17. These tutorials show you what's there, how to search for topics or speakers or keywords, and how to watch classes with subtitles in a different languages.
  18. You can watch my class, which I gave in English, with subtitles in Swahili, if you want.  (Well, maybe not.  I haven't really checked to see if Swahili is on the language list. :=)) 
  19. An excellent introduction to the website is to watch each of these tutorial videos. 

  21. Setting up an account (free) gives you a My Playlist to collect links of items you want to keep track of or watch later.
  22. To get to your Playlist, sign in and click the My Playlist button.
  23. Each keynote, class, vendor item, etc., has a Save To My Playlist button and you can save unlimited numbers of links there. 
  24. Problem:  There is no way to organize your Playlist into folders, or even alphabetically, that I have found, so if you have 100s there, like I do, your Playlist is long.

  26. You don't have to sign in to watch anything, but if you do, you have more options, including your Playlist; accounts are free.
  27. If you also have a FamilySearch account, either as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or one of FamilySearch's (free) accounts for others, your RootsTech and FamilySearch accounts can be linked.
  28. During the conferencethis linking allowed you to the Relatives at RootsTech activity which used your FamilySearch family tree information to show how you were related to other attendees -- that feature will be discussed below, but was only available during the live conference.
  29. Now the only advantage of linking the two accounts seems to be a few links in some of the sessions.

  31. The 1,500 sessions (classes) were mostly short (5-20 minutes) were recorded by 250 presenters and in several languages, but mostly in English, and most have handouts.
  32. The short classes made it so most people could try out what they learned right after the class and many did. 
  33. Use the Search Box to find topics, speakers, or keywords.
  34. Several topics are grouped in series, e.g. Getting Started, FamilySearch, Ancestry, MyHeritage, using genealogy software, DNA, and ethnic genealogy research -- The Guide Me button includes the series and all sessions in that series can be saved to your Playlist by clicking on Save To My Playlist button.
  35. The emphasis for the entire conference was on Connections, so there is a plethora of information about finding relatives, stories, local customs, food, and more.
  36. Besides being a help for genealogists, I see this as a major help for schools, students, and parents for information about people, history, and countries.

  38. This was a fun activity that showed how you were related to other RootsTech attendees, but it was only in operation during the conference.
  39. You had to sign up for this after logging in and it took your information from FamilySearch Family Tree and went back 10 generations to see which ancestors you had in common with other attendees.
  40. I was related to 110,000 other attendees! I don't know what that shows, except that I'm old and have a lot of relatives interested in family history. :=)


  41. One of the video tutorials mentioned above discusses the language translation information in detail; for any session you can turn on different language subtitles.
  42. In my class, at the start, I pointed out that by copying the URL for my online notes into Google Translate, you can read all my notes in another language in a fairly good translation, and any links from that page are also translated, until you enter a new URL in Google Translate.
  43. The sessions for genealogy in many countries were done by people from those countries in those languges, so you might need the translation feature, if that's not a language you speak.

  45. Saturday, 27 Feb 2021 was Discovery Day for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
  46. There were presentations by 4 members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and several other general authorities. 
  47. Elder and Sister Jeffrey and Patricia Holland and their family did a wonderful presentation of their experiences growing up in the St. George area of Southern Utah.
  48. There were sessions for leaders of the Church about how to organize family history in their wards and stakes and how to use FamilySearch and about temple work.
  49. With the emphasis on connecting, many classes talked about keeping track of our own stories, since we are ancestors of our own descendants. 
  50. In the video tutorials there is a video especially for Church members and in the Members section there are entire session series about helping everyone, including children, do family history. 
  51. One class you might want to watch about indexing is Magic Fingers, but I'll warn you, it's tear-jerking.

  53. There is much that we haven't discussed here and below are some examples.
  54. Research Help from Experts at RootsTech --
  55. FAQs --
  56. Food --
  57.  My Hometown -- 
  58. Traditions --   
  59. RootsTech World Maze --  

  61. RootsTech Connect 2021 was a wonderful conference and its influence will be felt worldwide for many years; a major success by any measure.
  62. Watch the Website Tutorials mentioned.
  63. Then search for something that interests you, e.g. Getting Started, and see what's there; you'll be surprised at the wealth of information it has now and they are adding more.