More than 200,000 family historians from around the world have registered for the first virtual RootsTech Connect, which takes place on 25–27 February.

First established in 1998, RootsTech is an annual family history conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, with a European event held in London in October 2019.

FamilySearch, which runs RootsTech, announced in September that the 2021 event would be free, virtual and global in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the time of writing, 205,281 people from 201 different countries have signed up to attend, with 88 per cent saying that it is their first RootsTech experience.

Genetic genealogy expert Debbie Kennett, a regular contributor to Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, will deliver a talk at RootsTech Connect.

She said: “It truly is an international event. It will be a wonderful opportunity to highlight all the fantastic family history research being done around the world.”

It will be a wonderful opportunity to highlight all the fantastic family history research being done around the world.

RootsTech Connect will feature a full programme of talks on all aspects of family history from international experts, which will be available in multiple languages.

Each talk is 20 minutes long, modelled on the hugely popular series of online TED Talks. The videos will be available to registrants for a year after the show.

There will also be a programme of keynote addresses by famous figures from around the world. Among them is British actor Sunetra Sarker, who traced her family history on Who Do You Think You Are? in 2017 and has previously spoken at Who Do You Think You Are? Live.

The other keynote speakers announced are Indian actor, writer, director and producer Erick Avari; Uruguayan footballer Diego Lugano; US genealogist and author Sharon Morgan; Australian inspirational speaker Nick Vujicic; Mexican golf champion Lorena Ochoa; and Italian pianist and composer Francesco Lotoro.

The show will be available 24 hours a day to fit in with different time zones.

There will be a virtual Expo Hall offering the chance to chat to major family history companies such as Ancestry and Findmypast as well as smaller organisations, and to enjoy free downloads and special offers.

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine will have a stall at the Expo Hall and will be available to meet readers, answer your questions about the magazine and offer a special subscriptions deal of our next six issues for just £9.99.

If you upload your family tree to the Family Tree on FamilySearch, then the RootsTech app will tell you whether you have distant family members attending the show, and there will be exclusive opportunities to communicate with other attendees through message boards, social-media interactions and video chats.

Else Churchill from the Society of Genealogists in London, who will also speak at RootsTech Connect, said: “I think it’s an amazing jolt in the arm for our community.

"FamilySearch has always been innovative, and this virtual event is going to be enormous. It’s fantastic that they’re making this kind of investment.”

Rosemary Collins is the staff writer of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine