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Just over a week ago, we announced the sessions to be given by our Library Director, Cheri Daniels, at this year’s RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. So, here’s a quick update on how things went during this whirlwind week of genealogy fun:

Cheri had been selected to give 6 sessions this year on a variety of topics with one of the sessions being live streamed and now available for watching anytime: (Navigating Racial Challenges in DNA Matches, with Donald Shores).

Two of the six sessions were hands-on workshops given at the Family Search Library (formerly known as the Family History Library) as a part of RootsTech – and co-sponsored by the SAR Library!

The hands-on workshops provided a brand-new format for attendees, and we were honored to be a part of the workshop launch in conjunction with the RootsTech offerings. These sessions were listed as a part of the on-site session list, but pre-registration was required since class size was limited to 50 each. The classes given covered the topics of historic photography and preservation and were full within a couple days of registration listing. It filled up so fast that we were asked to open up ten more seats per class (which meant ordering more gloves prior to leaving for SLC) – but of course, even that wasn’t enough, and we had more people wanting to squeeze in. The educational benefits of these classes included not only holding the various photographic formats in their hands – but all attendees went home with two pairs of gloves and a sampling of enclosures to get them started in preserving their own photographs at home.

Photo by Deborah Maddox

While attendees appeared to have a marvelous time, we cannot move on from this subject without thanking collector Nick Vaccaro of Washington state who graciously loaned us several daguerreotypes and ambrotypes from his own collection so that attendees could physically hold these examples of the earliest forms of photography. Nick has taken his generosity one step further and has allowed us to keep the photos through the summer so we can give these workshops again at the NSSAR headquarters. Be watching our events page on the library website for future announcements concerning these workshops. Once again, due to the hands-on nature of the classes, seating will be limited.


One of the classes given at the end of the last day of the conference was a panel session with Daniels, genealogist Linda Colston, and NSSAR Staff Genealogist, Deborah Maddox. We all tried our best to teach people how to avoid Ancestor Identity Theft – with hopefully – a few laughs to help them retain the lessons.

L-R: Deborah Maddox, Cheri Daniels, Linda Colston

On-site, for 2023, Daniels spoke with about 700 people, while the livestream session has already reached another 500+ viewers. Don’t forget that the RootsTech Conference has a very large online presence with hundreds of free classes to view from home. To catch a sampling of the other classes Daniels has given in the past few years, be sure to bookmark her On-Demand profile page which includes a list of viewable classes. If you would like attend next year, the dates have already been set for February 29 – March 2, 2024.