RootsTech Connect 2021 – A Global Success!

Were you one of the 1 million individuals who participated in RootsTech Connect 2021? What an incredible event, and the best part, it is on-going, with classes and keynotes available to watch for a year. Plenty of time to watch the many (many!) classes you have on your Playlist! I’m still coming down for a very busy intense 3 days and pondering about the experiences I enjoyed most.

The Keynotes

13 keynote speakers shared their messages of courage, inspiration, hard work, and connection. I was most interested to hear from Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I have always loved their music and message. As a South African born and bred, and now living overseas, their music connects me to my homeland. While I understand that Ladysmith Black Mambazo was a keynote speaker and not a musical guest, I was disappointed that there was no music at all.

Here are a couple of my favorite messages from the keynote speakers:

“Don’t turn your back on the things that scare you. Run right toward it”
Sunetra Sarker

“I think being grateful for things you have and counting your blessings more so than the problems and challenges that you have really can lighten your day. It can lighten your mood and be a powerful force in your life.”
Will Hopoate

“We are all human beings. We all have value.”

“You need to know the truth of your value, the truth of your purpose”
Nick Vujicic

“As one gets older … one feels that tug and that yearning to connect with your roots, and it just seems so natural and primal.”
Erick Avari

“When you dare to talk about your dreams, when you dare to share them with your loved ones and with your friends, you get closer to that dream.”
Lorena Ochoa

“We’re always encouraging and inviting people to come up with the good things that are going to help us lead a peaceful life.”
Ladysmith Black Mambazo

The Classes

It is astounding to see the variety of classes at RootsTech Connect 2021! I love the Playlist feature that is helping me to keep a list of all those that I want to watch. It was easy to add each class or keynote to my Playlist and I appreciate having it all in one place. I’d love a way to check off when I’ve watched each class, perhaps something for next year?

I presented 3 classes on South African research and I am thankful to all those who watched the classes and either stopped by to chat and ask questions or emailed me. I’m still going through my in-box! I was so excited to bring South African specific research to this conference and hope it was helpful to those trying to find more information on their South African connections!

Here are direct links to my classes:

Relatives at RootsTech

This has to be one of the favorite experiences at RootsTech Connect! Attendees who joined Relatives at RootsTech were able to see how they were related to other conference attendees. You could send a message through the FamilySearch messaging system and connect with your cousins.

I started with about 300 a few weeks before the conference and ended up with 1076. That’s quite a small number considering some of my friends had upwards of 60 000! However, I was quite pleased with my 1076 and hurriedly sent off a few quick emails. I was delighted when a 6th cousin in Australia emailed me right back and we were able to find and confirm a connection to our mutual Bastian line from Cornwall, England.

Relatives at RootsTech will not be available for much longer so be sure to check out your connections and send a message (the messages between you and any of your relatives are stored in the messages feature of FamilySearch so you’ll always have a record of the contact).

The Expo Hall

At the heart of every in person conference is the Expo Hall. It’s the buzzing epicenter, the central place to meet the vendors, hang out with friends, and take in everything the conference has to offer. It’s just not possible to replicate that in a virtual setting. I think RootsTech Connect did the best they could with what they had. I did spend some time looking around booths that I was interested in but there was really not a lot to capture my attention and I quickly went back to the classes.

And that’s a wrap of RootsTech Connect 2021, but as Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International said,

Now the magic of RootsTech goes beyond the three days of live and can be expanded to 365 days of on demand.

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