News Release

Middle Easterners Look Forward to RootsTech Connect Conference

The RootsTech Connect family history conference is going virtual in 2021. It will take place February 25 to 27 and will be available online for free. This will be a valuable event for all who are interested in discovering their family history connections and preserving personal stories for future generations.  

RootsTech is presented by FamilySearch International, a service sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In previous years, large conferences have been held in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA and in London, UK, but the current pandemic has prompted a change to a virtual format. This change will be a benefit to people all over the world who can join the conference from their homes.

Maroun and Roula Akiki from Beirut, Lebanon, know firsthand the benefit of attending the RootsTech conference. In October 2019, they attended RootsTech London and found the variety of classes stimulating. They also discovered useful strategies from many different presenters.

Participants at the 2019 RootsTech conference in London included Maroun and Roula Akiki from Lebanon (on the right). Photo courtesy of Roula Akiki.© 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

“It was a rich experience,” Maroun Akiki said. “We learned from some famous keynote speakers the impact that knowing their ancestors has had on their lives. It renewed our desire to discover and share our family heritage.”

“We loved every minute of it,” Roula Akiki said. “We felt very welcomed by the FamilySearch staff and management. Their willingness to meet with the Lebanese delegates and answer their questions was impressive.”

Maroun Akiki serves as the president of the Beirut Lebanon District in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Roula is the district’s Relief Society president. As Latter-day Saints, they take a special interest in the history of their families, and they feel a strong motivation to link themselves to their ancestors not only in this life but throughout eternity.

In London, the Akikis were especially pleased to learn from presenters who focused on techniques that could be used by Middle Easterners. This year’s virtual conference will offer even more in that regard. Seven of the sessions will focus on family history for those from Middle Eastern countries, but there are over 2,000 other classes available.

Maroun Abou Kassm, Omar Kadri, Roula Akiki and Perla Najjar participate in the 2019 RootsTech conference in London. Photo courtesy of Omar Kadri. 2019 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Akikis appreciated the variety of options at the conference they attended. “We were impressed by the different sessions running at the same time to satisfy the curiosity of the genealogist, historian, archivist, the [person] passionate about genealogy or just the beginner,” Roula Akiki said.

They were both impressed with the advancement they achieved in their own knowledge and skills. Maroun Akiki said, “We did not have to be professional to participate in the conference. RootsTech opened and paved the way to discover and share family stories and appreciate genealogical research.”

The 2021 RootsTech Connect conference satisfies a deep desire most people have to discover their own heritage and provides training in sharing that heritage with generations to come. For free registration and to learn more about the virtual conference, visit

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