RootsTech Survival Guide – Networking

RootsTech Main Stage Screen Orange_lj_1220

While RootsTech provides an amazing experience in which to learn and develop your genealogy and family historian skills, it also provides an inviting environment to network and become better acquainted with like-minded people who share your enthusiasm and love for all things genealogy.

One of our readers, dnoellee, suggested that we share some “do’s and dont’s” tips for networking. We thought that was a great idea, hence, this blog post.  We have a few of our own but we also reached out to our friends in our Genealogy Events Club on Facebook to get some tips from them to share with you.


  • Always have business cards of some sort, even if “homemade”. ~Rebecca Trujillo Batty
  • Collect “business” cards.  This is a great time to make connections and you never know when you might need that contact down the road. You can keep notes on the back of the cards so you remember what you chatted with them about.  We also mentioned this here.
  • Introduce yourself to the organizers and speakers if you have the opportunity – don’t interrupt them in the middle of a busy time, but let them know who you are, that you appreciate their speech and/or hard work.
  • Have a 30 second “elevator speech” ready to describe your research or blogging. ~ Heather Wilkinson Rojo
  • When in a discussion, I always look my conversational partner in the eye, and give great body language and verbal feedback. Try to be an active and good listener. ~Mags Gaulden
  • Introduce yourself to the people you meet at lunch or sitting near you at lectures.  Spend time in the vendor’s hall, watching a demonstration, talking to someone you have never met while grabbing a quick lunch, or just walking and talking slowing in the hallway. ~Heather Wilkinson Rojo and Peggy Clemens Lauritzen.
  • Attend everything you can, even events or activities that look boring or out of your comfort zone.
  • Participate in the first ever #GenealogySelfie Day! (We’ll be tweeting our selfies that day!)


  • Don’t assume because a genealogist is young that they are starting out or inexperienced. ~Beth Jorgensen Sparrow
  • The same goes for someone with a disability. ~Peggy Clemens Lauritzen
  • Don’t sit in your hotel room. Even if you’re too shy to go to an event,  hang out in the lobby. Chances are you will cross paths with someone else from the conference and have the opportunity to chat.
  • Never have coffee, lunch, breakfast, snacks or after hours drinks alone because you can invite your new friends, who will invite their new friends and you’ll find yourself sitting at a big table of new genealogy buddies (and have a blast!) ~ Heather Wilkinson Rojo
  • Don’t focus only on yourself. The most memorable people you meet are the ones who make you feel special, and that happens when you spend time focusing on the other person by asking them questions, listening to what they say and learning about what they are passionate about.

A story from Peggy:

When I present classes at the BYU Conference in the summer, I am always met by “Sister Jacobs”. To look at her, you would assume that there probably isn’t much she knows or can do. I found out how wrong I was the first year I met her. She has cerebral palsy, walks with a pronounced limp, and has altered speech. The shuttle has to help her quite a bit. But, this woman is phenomenal! She plays the organ in her congregation, has been into genealogy the majority of her life, and has been an arbitrator in the indexing program for probably 20 years. We have breakfast together every morning, and one dinner through the week. I have walked away enlightened every single time.

The point is, RootsTech, and other conferences and events, give us a change to connect with truly wonderful people who share our love of genealogy and family history.  You never know who it is that you might make that awesome connection with. Put yourself out there and be a part of the experience ~ don’t just let it pass you by.

P.S. We want to meet you! You can find us in the Expo Hall: Tami at one of the Joyflips booths and Eowyn at the WikiTree booth. Please find us and say hello!