RootsTech 2021: Keynotes and Expo Hall, Part 1

DISCLAIMER: Today’s list of new-to-me vendors is NOT a recommendation of any product or company. This is simply an overview of SOME of the vendors at RootsTech this year. Be an educated consumer – take the opportunity to chat with company representatives before deciding whether to make a purchase. Be aware, too, that pricing specials offered may not be available after Saturday. 

RootsTech Connect 2021 is fully live today. All events and activity areas can be fully accessed. Stay logged into your FamilySearch account so when you go to RootsTech, you will be automatically at the conference.

Today, tomorrow and Saturday are the days to concentrate on the Keynote speakers you want to hear live (They started around the world at midnight U.S. Mountain time) and to visit the Expo Hall to browse and be able to chat with vendors.

Not to worry, though, if a speaker is presenting at a time you can’t view. Friday, Day 2, of the conference will feature some taped repeats sessions so you won’t miss out.

Now to the Expo Hall. I browsed yesterday during the preview hours and am quite surprised at how many new-to-me companies are here this year.

There are so many new companies, if fact, that I will have to split them into two groups and still won’t be able to cover all of them.

However, it will give readers a good sampling of products and services. I am NOT including sponsors like FamilySearch, MyHeritage and other companies like genealogical software businesses because they aren’t new to me.

While the Expo Hall can be an expensive place for genealogists, there are also quite a few FREE informational booths that you will want to visit.

I prefer to highlight smaller, new companies at RootsTech. It’s the same overview I’ve given at previous conferences. Because this conference is virtual, my photos aren’t of booths and people or business products, they are of my computer screen. Companies are in ABC order.

RECOMMENDATION: If you have a vendor question, ask right away. There is no time stamp on the conversation, 500,000 people are registered around the world and you will probably have to wait for a response.

Ancestral Logs

Ancestral Logs is your new family coordination research management system.” This product allows for online collaboration and communication between family members working on research, but could obviously be used by groups such as One Name studies or local societies working on a genealogical project. There is a 50% off special during RootsTech and then 25% off through the remainder of 2021.

Archival Methods

Archival Methods offers for sale all the supplies that you will need to preserve original family documents and heirlooms. Their booth has several product demos, plus free downloadable guides to protecting your fragile family memories. Pricing special of 15% off is good through 31 May 2021.


“We build headstone plaques, books, and stickers, that capture stories in audio and pictures so they can be shared forever.” Telling our own stories is important for our descendants and there are many ways that can be done. My Life Memorial,  Audiobiography and Audiostickers are three of their products. There are several downloadable brochures at their booth, too.

Books and Things

I love books! EBooks are okay, but I love the feel of holding real books in my hand and I’m happy to see a book vendor at RootsTech this year. Given the cost of hauling books around the country to genealogy conferences, I haven’t been surprised to see book booths disappear in person. Books and Things is participating virtually – thank you! – and the link to their website will allow you to browse to your heart’s content. There are also several downloadable resource files at the booth.

Bright Branches

Bright Branches is all about the physical family tree, both in chart formats and in hosting an online family tree. Promotions include a free android app and discounts for an online tree and purchase of tree charts.

Enslaved|Peoples of the Historical Slave Trade

Enslaved|Peoples of the Historical Slave Trade is a project “developed by Matrix: Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences at Michigan State University (MSU), in partnership with the MSU Department of History, the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and scholars at multiple institutions of education.”

This website is a FREE resource of data and life stories of enslaved peoples. There are currently 600,000+ records and 5 million data points. I have to admit I don’t know what the data points are! However, this is a robust – and growing – resource. There are a couple of videos at the booth that will explain project details.

Essex Society for Family History

If you have ancestral lines back to Essex County, England, be sure to visit the Essex Society for Family History. This booth has quite a bit of information available, along with several promotions, including a 13-month free membership. £8 to join, but you don’t have to renew until April 2023. That is a terrific value for the money. The members’ area with 1.9 million Essex records is worth the membership fee right there! They also offer 1-to-1 help sessions and a number of virtual activities so living across the pond isn’t a problem with participation. The virtual booth has quite a few demos, too. I’ll be back visiting this booth.

Family & Community Historical Research Society

FACHRS (pronounced like “thatchers” but with an F) is an interesting concept. This English society places its focus on life in a single place, not on any one family line.  Society members work on a given mini-project each year. Currently, each person is assigned one person from the past who had the occupation of “carter.” They have the entire year to do as much or as basic research as they want and are encouraged to include collateral information uncovered – such as associated businesses, bosses, historical buildings, etc.

While FACHRS is English-centric, anyone could begin the same type of project for any location in the world. Be sure to check out this booth.

Family Locket Genealogists

I have to admit that I am familiar with Family Locket Genealogists– Nicole actually is a member of my local Pima County Genealogy Society and I follow their blog- but, as far as I know, this is their first booth and Family Locket’s Research Like a Pro online course is an excellent education opportunity. Therefore, their booth deserves a shout out. 🙂 There are demo videos and an extensive list of all the sessions that Diana Elder, Robin Wirthlin and Nicole Dyer are presenting this year at RootsTech.

Family Story Life

Family Story Life‘s name pretty much explains its business purpose – to provide ways for all of us to tell our family stories. They help you to create stories that will engage your family readers. There are 5 booth demos and promotions to free events and a discount on making a one-minute ancestor video.

Genealogical Publishing Company

Genealogical Publishing Company is the last entry in Part 1 of my Expo Hall visit. DISCLAIMER: This company is not new to me and I have received complimentary books to review. Having said that, GPC has been in business for many years and is known for its high quality books. Also, given my previously stated love of holding books in my hand, I need to highlight this booth. There are several demo videos, including one by Val Greenwood, author of the classic The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, 4th Edition. In addition, there is a special running for 20% off ALL its books – well worth a visit to the booth.

Later today, look for my Expo Hall, Part 2 visit. In the meantime, visiting these companies will keep you busy. 🙂

DISCLAIMER: I am an official RootsTech Connect 2021 ambassador and have received perks for promoting RootsTech conferences.

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