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Friday, July 27, 2018

What do I need to know to Attend RootsTech 2019?

RootsTech 2019

If you are involved in family history or genealogy at any level, you will find something at a RootsTech Conference of interest and value. The main sponsor of the RootsTech 2019 Conference is FamilySearch, the worldwide genealogical organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is by no means a "religiously oriented" conference. It is pure family history and genealogy. However, on the last day of the Conference, members of the Church are invited to attend special sessions directed at their particular interests. RootsTech 2019 will take place on four days, from February 27th to March 2nd, 2019. The Saturday, March 2nd date is designated Family Discovery Day and that is when the members of the Church are most involved. 

RootsTech 2019 takes place in Salt Lake City, Utah in the city's large convention center called the Salt Palace. The Salt Palace is located in the middle of the downtown area of Salt Lake and is literally across the street from a huge shopping mall called the City Creek Center. It is also surrounded by a number of hotels. Some of those hotels have a "special" rate for the duration of the Conference, but those reservations get snatched up fairly quickly. You can see the hotels that may be participating at this link:

Make sure to ask for any specials specifically for the Conference. 

Salt Lake City has an extensive public transportation system with light rail service to and from the airport that also comes quite near many of the hotels that surround the Salt Palace. When we lived in Arizona, we stayed in one of the nearby hotels. But now that we live in Provo, Utah just a few miles to the south, we have tried using the FrontRunner Train that runs from Provo to downtown Salt Lake. We find that not so convenient because the Conference activities last well into the night. We have also stayed with relatives in the Salt Lake Area and driven downtown for the Conference each day. We find parking to be less than ideal but possible. If there is another major event downtown, parking can be at a premium. If you are used to paying for parking in other major cities, you will not be surprised at the cost. 

You do need to realize that Salt Lake City is a major skiing destination. You also need to realize that February/March is near the height of the ski season. This means that the airport is often very crowded and some flights are completely booked. You should make travel plans early. Salt Lake City is also at an elevation of 4200 feet above sea level and parts of the city go much higher on the surrounding mountains. Also, you need to be prepared for inclement weather with snow, ice and freezing temperatures common. Those of us who live there don't notice the altitude or the freezing weather all that much, but it can be a shock if you are coming from a warm climate. 

Salt Lake City is not a big city as big cities go, but it does have big city problems of homelessness, panhandlers and such. You do need to be careful about going into some areas of the city at night and be aware of the usual personal security issues present in larger cities across the U.S. 

Now, Salt Lake City is the genealogist's dream location. The Family History Library, the largest family history library in the world, is within walking distance of the Salt Palace, but you need to know that Salt Lake City blocks are one-eighth of a mile long. The Salt Palace is almost a quarter mile long and a quarter mile wide. You do a lot of walking if you attend RootsTech. Remember there are thousands of people attending the RootsTech Conference and many of them would like to visit the Family History Library. I suggest that if you are serious about doing research during your trip to Salt Lake, that you come early to the Conference or stay for a few days after the Conference is over and spend that time at the Library. 

You should also bear in mind that the Salt Lake City area has three major universities and many other attractions. The Brigham Young University campus is about 45 miles south of Salt Lake City and has the Brigham Young University Family History Library, the second largest family history library in the world. The Salt Palace is also within walking distance of the world famous Temple Square and usually, there is a special concert by the Tabernacle Choir during the conference for Conference attendees. The program for 2019 has yet to be announced so you will see lots of blogs posts from me as the schedule is made known. 

If you have any particular questions about the conference or Salt Lake or come early or stay late and want to have me help you with some research either in Salt Lake or Provo, let me know well in advance so I can calendar my time. During the Conference, I will likely be very busy, but as I always write, please take some time to say hello. 

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