History and modern technology will join together this weekend to advance the search for lost ancestors.
The RootsTech Conference, featuring a combination of family history and technology, will be held Thursday through Saturday in Salt Lake City’s Salt Palace Convention Center.
Paul Nauta, involved in media relations for RootsTech, said the growth in interest in family history warrants a venue where people can find missing links and look for future trends.
“The explosion of technology has made it possible for people to discuss and participate in family history,” Nauta said.
The conference began last year, but Nauta said the need began years earlier as consumer interest in family history research increased.
Kip Sperry, professor of Church history and doctrine, said BYU previously held a computer genealogy conference in conjunction with the Computer Science Department. FamilySearch members came to BYU to teach at the conference before the event was moved to Salt Lake City.
“Over 3,000 attended the event last year and I anticipate the same number this year,” Sperry said.
BYU is one of the sponsors of the event, with FamilySearch as the primary sponsor.
Jim Green, a marketing manager for the LDS Church, said the unique conference combines family history and technology.
“Technology has a big role to play in family history work,” Green said.
Many young people have embraced new technology and they have a key role in the furthering of genealogy, said Green.
The means families use to socialize today, such as social media, are much different than in the past, Nauta said. Socializing through new mediums is considered a type of family history activity.
“Social media replaced the common media that people used to communicate as a family,” Nauta said.
The conference seeks to incorporate evolving technology and new applications to help shape the future of family history work.
The RootsTech conference is open to anyone with an interest in family history work. Students can receive a discount if they wish to attend the presentations.
The exhibit hall is an option for visitors who want to avoid the fee, as it is a free attraction of the convention.
Green said hundreds of presentations will be available during the conference and 14 will be streamed online for those who cannot attend.
To view live presentations or register for the conference, visit rootstech.org.