The Relatives at RootsTech experience opened Friday, Feb. 18, in advance of RootsTech 2022 on March 3-5, and has new features this year, including giving users the ability to chat with newly discovered relatives, connect with friends and check if they are related to actor Matthew Modine, who is one of the keynote speakers at this year’s event, FamilySearch announced.
Relatives at RootsTech 2022 matches RootsTech participants by comparing names on the FamilySearch FamilyTree. Then when a common ancestor is found, both are shown the living relative and their relationship. A chat feature has been added this year, and it’s available in a web browser in addition to the FamilyTree app.
Relatives at RootsTech feature had been available at the in-person family history event for several years. In 2021, RootsTech went global, virtual and was free, and it attracted more than 1 million visitors from 240 countries and territories.
Todd Powell, product manager for mobile apps at FamilySearch, said the demand at the 2021 event exceeded expectations and had to be throttled back, according to the announcement. Now, it will accommodate upwards of 10 million people simultaneously.
“It is a wonderful experience for people when they find, discover, and connect with others that they’re related to, especially for those that didn’t know they had relatives. There’s this amazing connection experience when that occurs,” said Powell.
By midday on Friday, more than 25,000 people had joined the Relatives at RootsTech experience.
RootsTech 2022 will follow the same virtual model as the 2021 event, with internationally diverse keynote speakers and a mix of on-demand, livestream and interactive sessions where participants can connect with each other, ask questions and learn from experts.
In addition to Modine, the keynote speakers include Palestinian comedian Maysoon Zayid, Food Network’s Molly Yeh, African boxing champion Azumah Nelson, Argentine singer Diego Torres; French baker Apollonia Poilâne; and Brazilian actress Thaís Pacholek.