RootsTech Attracts Over 1 Million Participants Opening Week

RootsTech Connect 2021 attracted more than 1 million participants from 242 countries and territories at its completely virtual, online debut. RootsTech is a hybrid, global online event and website that celebrates fun, personal, and family discoveries by fostering new connections, the latest learning, and innovative technologies.

Although the “event” portion of the experience ran 25-27 February 2021, anyone can continue to create custom watch lists from the 2,000 free, on-demand videos at

“The 3-day RootsTech Connect 2021 virtual event was literally just a ribbon-cutting of a totally new way for people to connect with others and to learn globally,” remarked Steve Rockwood, FamilySearch CEO. Nonprofit FamilySearch International hosts the popular online site and event. Rockwood said they have learned from past conferences held in-person in Salt Lake City and London with complementary online components. “Online learning is now core instead of ancillary. And the big difference is it’s not just 3 days but 365 days. We want to continue to globalize and localize learning and discoveries.”

The RootsTech Team learned right away in Fall 2020 when it announced plans to create a free, all-virtual global event that if they built it, the crowds would come. The question Rockwood admitted was, “If we build it, how MANY would come, and will we be able to accommodate them?” They decided it was best to build a bigger boat. In technology terms, that meant a web experience delivered in 11 languages that could accommodate 500,000 concurrent users.

The million-participant milestone for the opening weekend was a very pleasant surprise. Rockwood expressed gratitude for the gifted engineers, dedicated staff, volunteers, and partner support that contributed to successfully pulling off the new web model in such a short time frame.

Jennifer Allen, manager of the RootsTech effort, said many participants are warming up to the reality that all of the content is now freely available on-demand; that they can continue to enjoy the content all year long – even if they missed the annual event.

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