Getting Ready for RootsTech 2020

So the “end of year crazy season” has been and gone, added to that Australia’s insane bushfires, the Christmas that didn’t happen, as well as New Year – it’s no wonder I haven’t even bothered to think ahead to my upcoming trips until just a few days ago, and I have suddenly realised that there’s only 5 weeks till I leave for the US to go to RootsTech, and only 38 days till it starts. Seriously how did that happen??

So I actually sat down and got to work on listing what I need to do before heading off to the airport.

Before I get to that, let me start off by saying that in my 30+ years of going to genealogy conferences (I started young thanks to my family’s business), this will be the VERY FIRST time I will be going as a delegate, rather than an exhibitor … and I must say it feels very, very weird! Anyway I know I’ll enjoy it, and I look forward to going to some talks, and catching up with friends.

So here’s a list of some of the things I came up with (in no particular order).

1. Downoald RootsTech app
This one I have just DONE! Woohoo, one thing cross off my list.

2. Look at app
I have started looking at it, but I’m going to need more time to browse through the 300 or so talks, shortlist those I’m interested in, then go through the big list of exhibitors. Or I could just wing it and get to what I do!! We’ll see …

3. ESTA (immgration visa)
Before I do either of the above I really should do my ESTA application, as that’s needed to allow me to get into the US. For this I just need to head to US Customs & Border Protection website (, fill in the details, pay their fee, and I should have it soon afterwards.

the Family History Library, Salt Lake City

4. Research
I’m actually going to the US a couple of days early. Partly so I not so jet-lagged when RootsTech starts, but also hoping to get a day or two of research in at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City (ie. you know, the Mecca for genealogists), so I need to work out what I want to research and come up with some plan, or else I really will just be wasting my time.

here’s what I was researching at the FHL, last time I was there, in 2017

5. Research – part 2
In reality I’ll probably pick up the research I did when I was these 3 years ago. But I need to find it, review it, and work out specifics of what else I’m looking for. Oh an enter it into my genealogy program. That’d be useful if I actually did that.

6. Autograph book
I must buy a new autograph book. Every RootsTech that I’ve been to, along with a few other major events I’ve attended, I’ve taken an autograph book for people to sign in. And being the introvert that I am, I have used it as a way to meet people, as well as creating a wonderful record of those I met there.

7. Accommodation
I booked my accommodation probably about the middle of last year (you need to book SOOOOO early to stay at the hotels near the Salt Palace), but it’s always best to double-check they have your booking prior to arrival. So I must send them an email to check this.

8. Weather
I must check the temps for Salt Lake City. It’s wintertime over there now and they usually have snow (they did this week), so no doubt it’ll be cold. But after having so many 30C-45C summer days here in my corner of Australia, anything in the 20s now feels cold to me … but I also know their buildings are hot – so wearing layers is always the way to go. Still I’m going to have to dig deep, and dust off my winter clothes I think.

9. Shoes
Comfy (and preferably warm) shoes are an absolute must. The Salt Palace is HUGE and from past experience I know just walking around the exhibiton hall you NEED comfy shoes, let alone going from one end of the building to the other for talks!! So I must head to the shops and get a new pair of sneakers.

There’s plenty more little things I can think of, but this will do for this list. As it is the research part will keep me busy between now and when I leave anyway.

As life has been a combination of busy and tragically sad, I can’t say I’ve been in the mood to get excited about going … but I’m starting to now. I’m really looking forward to catching up with friends from around the world, and meeting others for the first time.

I already feel that it’ll be a week long party of catch-ups and exhaustion, but that’s all part of it, and I will have 24 hours of flying (3 flights) to get home, to try and catch-up on some sleep.

And for those not going to RootsTech, while you don’t get the catchups, you can still enjoy and learn from the talks, as they have just announced their Virtual RootsTech Pass. So for US$129 you can watch 30 sessions from your own home. You can check that out here.


4 Responses to “Getting Ready for RootsTech 2020”

  1. I love your autograph book idea. That’s a great way to meet people. I think I signed yours several years ago when we met in the Expo Hall.

    • Alona says:

      Hi Linda, yes we met in 2017 and you were kind enough to sign my autograph book. So if you’re around this year, I hope we can catch up, and watch out, I’ll be asking you for your autograph again!

  2. GenieJen says:

    How exciting to be able to relax and enjoy the experience without having to work. Can’t believe you’re an introvert as you are so friendly and welcoming to everyone. Have a wonderful time.

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