SALT LAKE CITY — RootsTech, the annual family history conference held in Salt Lake City, will move online in 2021, FamilySearch announced Tuesday.
The 2021 conference, which will run from Feb. 25-27, will be solely a virtual event due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. RootsTech was originally scheduled for Feb. 3-6 at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
"The pandemic is giving us the opportunity to bring RootsTech to a broader audience worldwide," FamilySearch International CEO Steve Rockwood said in a statement. "A virtual event also allows us to expand our planning to truly make this a global celebration of family and connection."
FamilySearch, a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, runs the RootsTech conference.
The conference began in 2011 and has drawn thousands of genealogy and family history enthusiasts to Salt Lake City each winter. In 2018, around 28,000 attended the conference helping RootsTech stake the claim as the largest family history event in the world.
While the conference will be online only, RootsTech Connect 2021 will attempt to offer the same experience that has led to so many people attending the past events, FamilySearch said. The conference will include a variety of keynote speakers, classes in multiple languages and a virtual marketplace. Attendees of the virtual conference will also have the chance to interact with presenters and other attendees through live chats and Q&A sessions.
"Classes will be taught in many languages, and presenters will teach from a number of international locations," Rockwood said. "We will celebrate cultures and traditions from around the world, with activities that the audience can participate in from home — such as homeland cooking demonstrations, storytelling, and music performances."
Attendees will be able to view RootsTech 2021 content live as well as on-demand.
The online conference might just change how RootsTech is held in the future, too. While organizers are hopeful that the virtual-only conference will be a temporary affair, it is being anticipated that online access will be made available for future conferences.