In two short months, RootsTech 2024 will take place in Salt Lake City, Utah and online at rootstech.org. The event runs from February 29th until March 2nd, 2024.
The conference has played a key role in DNA Painter’s history. In this post, I’ll provide a quick recap of how and why.
Previously, I had heard of RootsTech, but living in London with two young children, attending didn’t seem feasible. However, by the time the 2018 conference was announced, I had published my new website to the world and was keen to show it to as many people as possible.
I entered DNA Painter into the DNA Innovation Contest and was selected as one of six finalists. Although I had previously lived on the east coast of the USA, I had never previously visited Utah, and I can still remember the mixture of bewilderment and excitement as I saw the mountains from the aeroplane window.
To my great surprise and honour, DNA Painter won the grand prize in the innovation contest. As a finalist, I also got my first taste of what it was like to run a booth in the Expo Hall. The experience of suddenly meeting users and genealogists in person was intense, but enjoyable.
I also got to meet Leah Larkin, who has been a great supporter of DNA Painter. I’ve been lucky enough to work with her on several projects, most notably the What are the Odds? tool.
In 2019, I returned as a speaker, giving three lectures about DNA Painter, Chromosome Mapping and WATO. Again, RootsTech provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with other genealogy enthusiasts and industry experts. I was also thrilled to speak alongside two people who had very generously given me advice over the years: Blaine Bettinger and Angie Bush.
2020 was a memorable conference because I got to meet Leisa Byrne and Patricia Coleman, the moderators of the popular DNA Painter Facebook group. This was the first time we’d all been together.
I also got to meet the scientist and geneticist Amy Williams, who later kindly helped me collate the data that I use to estimate centimorgans in tools like the cM estimator and inferred segments generator.
After a quiet 2021, DNA Painter returned to the virtual RootsTech 2022 as a Bronze Sponsor. This time around the connections happened via chat rather than in person, although I did give a live-streamed session showcasing the latest updates.
In 2023, DNA Painter returned to Salt Lake City to exhibit at the restored in-person show. Patricia was able to attend alongside new team member James. I took part in a session on adoption with Penny Walters and Marie Cappart. I also gave a detailed lecture on Third Party Tools for DNA.
All this reminiscing makes me excited for next year and the prospect of learning more and meeting friends, old and new! For RootsTech 2024, DNA Painter will again be a bronze sponsor.
You can register for the paid in-person and free online conference here. I hope to see you in Salt Lake City or interact with you online.