Here is my Rootstech Roundup for the 2015 conference. Last year, even with a bad cold, I blogged about the conference and the sessions I attended during and after the conference. This year I focused on networking and meeting other bloggers in the flesh rather than the virtual world. There are so many great family history bloggers that you meet online throughout the year and I was excited to catch up with so many. So here goes my first blog for Rootstech 2015, after the conference is finished and all wrapped up.
Networking the Rootstech Conference
Family History bloggers are real people, super friendly, inclusive and make you feel welcome. I’m a bit of a blogger groupie (as my Problogger conference friends know) and follow so many family history bloggers. At Rootstech I got to meet some of the stars. I even got the official Rootstech blogger beads. Being a wearer of “statement necklaces” this was “so me”! Just so that I remember it did happen and was not a dream, here is me actually standing with the famous “Cousin Russ” second from the left in the back row.
The bloggers hanging around in the media centre included Sharn White, Hillary Gadsby, Jill Ball AKA GeniAUS, Pat Richley-Erickson AKA Dear Myrtle, Caitlin Gow, Alona Tester, Russ Worthington AKA Cousin Russ, Randy Seaver, Thomas MacEntee, Cheryl Hudson Passey, Roger Moffat, Pauleen Cass, and keynote speaker A.J. Jacobs who is holding the upside down version of “I am a cousin!” banner with Alona because many of us are from Down Under (Australia). Once I get home and with my favourite, easy to use mouse, I will give you a post with links to their fab blogs.
Visiting the Family History Library
For the first few days before the conference, I hung out at the Family History Library doing research in the British Collection on Level B2. Yes, it is in the basement. The countries covered in the British collection included Australia, Channel Islands, England, Ireland, Isle of Man, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales.
Here I started meeting fellow researchers and bloggers from the British Commonwealth and USA. Jenny Joyce, Roger Moffat, Jill Ball, Rosemary Morgan and Hillary Gadsby absent off researching when this photo was taken.
Tuesday Night was the British Commonwealth Dinner Night
Attended by around 20 Family History fanatics from around the world and hosted by Jill Ball from Australia this was a reunion for some and a first time meet up for others like me. Thanks, Jill for organising the meetup.
This time the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) joined up with Rootstech to run a combined conference. The FGS started regular sessions on Wednesday while Rootstechs ran the specialist innovator sessions for those interested in technology development for family history.
Sessions continued Thursday, Friday and Saturday for both FGS and Rootstech. A very popular topic was Evernote with a number of different sessions by different speakers. I selected sessions to increase my researching and documenting skills such as “Getting the most out of Genealogical Evidence” in the FGS stream or “Deciphering Old Handwriting” in the Rootstech Stream.
Many of the vendors in the Exhibits Hall also rang short sessions focusing on how to get more out of their products or new product features being presented at the conference. Then there was the “outside the box” sessions with popular speaker, Lisa Louise Cooke. I enjoyed the Google Search one.
The Key Note Speakers
The standout one for me was Tan Le. It may be a horrific story that we Aussies have heard before still she held the audience with her every word and I was so pleased she had been invited to share her family story. More now understand the plight of a true refuge. She had a standing ovation from the audience.
I enjoyed Donny Osmond, surprisingly, as one tweeter commented. He entertained with a mixture of singing, comedy, snippets of old television shows and family tales.
The parts of the large audience not able to easily see the live stage show could follow with the 5 or 6 super large screens so no one missed out seeing him or any other keynote speakers over the days of the event.
BTW Donny did not get his smile from his great grandmother.
On another day was the enjoyable and compelling talk by Laura Bush. She spoke about family and her time in the White House when her husband, George W. Bush, was President.
Big, Bigger, Best. So much larger than last years Rootstech exhibition hall. There were large stands by the main sponsors to small traders, food areas, the media hub and more. Some comments I heard said that they did not like all the “traders” with trinkets, jewellery and “harder sell” attitude with some stands however I think you have to take these at face value. They would not bother to come and pay the fees or sponsorship if enough people did not purchase from them so overall the exhibition area is a welcome section of the conference.
I enjoyed the conference immensely and hope I can attend again in the future. I keep adding a sentence here and there in what was going to be a quick summary of events so will stop writing now or I will never finish this post.
Thanks to my new blogger friends for loads of photos!!!