Sunday, March 1, 2020

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (on Sunday!): RootsTech!!

Here I thought Randy Seaver wasn't going to have a Saturday Night Genealogy Fun during RootsTech, but what does he do?  He makes RootsTech the theme!  But I had no chance to answer the questions yesterday, so I'm playing catch-up today.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music here), is:

(1) Have you gone to Rootstech?  If so, which years?  

(2) Describe your experience.

(3) Who was your favorite speaker?  

(4) Did you talk with any genealogy "rock stars?"

(5) What was something you learned that you use over and over?

(6) Describe something you enjoyed in the vendor area.

(7) Do you watch the streamed classes live? 

(8) Did you visit the Family History Library?  Describe your experience.

(9) What was your favorite Salt Lake City experience not genealogically related (a restaurant, a landmark, etc.)?

(10) What was a pleasant surprise about your visit that you did not expect?

My thanks to reader Jacquie Schattner for creating this list of questions!!

Okay, here are my answers.

1.  Yes.  I went for the first time in 2015, because I won a contest through Randy's blog, and I have been to the last four, 2017–2020.

2.  I try to attend as many sessions as possible, because I want to get the most out of this kind of educational opportunity.  I usually make a pass through the exhibitor hall once or twice.

3.  My favorite speaker from all the RootsTechs I have attended is probably Myko Clelland of FindMyPast.  I have attended several of his sessions over the years.  I really enjoy his presentation style.

4.  I have spoken with Blaine Bettinger, Thomas MacEntee, and Judy Russell.

5. I learned invaluable information about FamilySearch's Freedmen's Bureau online records collection in 2017 when I attended Ken Nelson's talk about how the collection was assessed, digitized, and indexed.  Because I teach about the Freedmen's Bureau records myself, learning this background information helped me understand the collection better and therefore teach about it better.

6.  My all-time favorite vendor experience at RootsTech was in 2015, when E-Z Photo allowed attendees to scan as many photos as they wanted on very cool Kodak scanners (which then became available in many Family History Centers).  I was able to scan about 350 photos in half an hour, two sided, at high resolution, and 500 total before the end of the conference.

7.  Nope.

8.  I didn't visit the Family History Library this year, but I have during my previous RootsTech trips.  I always found something related to my research.

9.  My favorite Salt Lake City experience not related to genealogy was when I was able to attend concerts by the Utah Symphony, which I did twice.

10.  I had a very pleasant surprise this year, when by pure chance I met someone who is helping coordinate a genealogy society for research in India and the Indian diaspora.  I am still working on trying to find more information about my stepsons' grandfather's family (he was from Punjab).  The group had a meeting on Saturday evening this year, which I was able to attend.  I'm optimistic that this will help a lot of people learn more about their families.


  1. I was hoping you would respond. Enjoyed reading your answers.

    1. Thanks, Jacquie. How nice to know you were looking forward to my answers. :)

  2. Like you, I like to attend as many talks as possible. Good luck with your Indian research

  3. I think 2015 was my favorite year - it was my first time, plus it ran in tandem with FGS, making things a bit crazy but fun.

    1. I tend to agree with you. It was also my first year, and the fact that FGS piggybacked on RootsTech that year meant I had a much broader choice of presentations than I have since then.


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