SALT LAKE CITY -- Top of Utah residents are invited to participate in RootsTech, the largest paid family history conference in the United States, coming March 21-23 to the Salt Palace Convention Center.
"We are fortunate to have such a world-class conference right here in our backyard," said Paul Nauta, spokesman for the event. "We have over 250 classes and speakers. It's getting bigger and bigger."
Now in its third year, RootsTech 2013 is evidence of the increase of family history interest and technology, said Nauta.
"There has just been an explosion in the last few years for social value with Pinterest and Facebook," Nauta said. "The core of all these emergings is the need for people to connect."
The conference, now two weeks away, already has received more registrations than the number of people who attended last year.
There are more than 4,200 registrations to date.
Last year, 4,100 people representing 46 states and 23 countries attended the event.
And those still interested in registering are encouraged to do so now. March 15 is the last day for an early-bird discount on the entire three-day conference.
After Friday, the price goes from $179 to $219.
But participation in many conference events is free.
A Thursday track for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have assignments in family history is free, and it includes presentations by three general authorities of the church and a women's auxiliary leader.
Also free are all the exhibits in an exhibition hall throughout the conference. Vendors will give free presentations throughout the event each day.
There is a free mini concert by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on Thursday night as part of the attraction.
And newcomers to family history may attend an entire day of instruction any of the three days for just $19 and receive instruction in a special newcomers instruction track.
Those who have student identification may attend all three days for $39.
And with registration at any level, participants may attend a free storytelling concert Friday night.
Nauta said storytelling will be a major theme of the conference, with an entire track dedicated to capturing stories. RootsTech, he said, is a growing conference that focuses on ways people can capture the stories that reveal the essence of who they and their families are.
In addition to all the opportunities to learn about family history, Nauta said the conference offers a special experience.
"It's kind of like a conference, but it's different," he said. "It's upbeat. It's fun -- a lot of excitement in the air."
Register and find more information online at RootsTech.org.
The Salt Palace Convention Center is at 100 S. West Temple in Salt Lake City.