Family Discovery Day at Roots Tech 2015

In addition to being the last day of Roots Tech in Salt Lake City, and Valentine’s Day, Feb 14th was also Family Discovery Day. What a phenomenal day it was! The weather was beautiful, and thousands of people turned out to participate in classes, workshops, entertainment, games and celebrity hobnobbing!

My fulfilling focus of the day was meeting and adoring a new family member. He was anxious to participate in the festivities from whatever angle possible.

Roots Tech baby

Roots Tech baby

Although Discovery Day was a free event, registration was required, so crowd control could be managed. We were given a special packet at registration, which included a map of the Salt Palace Convention Center, an agenda, a list of activities going on, and several copies of the My Family booklet to record your pedigree with the first couple of generations and get you started in Family History research.

Family Discovery Day knapsack

Discovery Day knapsack packet

The Family Discovery Day classes and activities were pure genius, as chosen for this group. Classes addressed those with leadership roles, youth involvement, finding missing people in your pedigree, making better use of programs and resources readily available. In the Expo Hall, special game areas were roped off and the Family Search booth included stations with open terminals for experimentation in several steps of goal accomplishment. A few very large screens at one end of the booth were equipped with some program features of the Discovery Center model, enabling viewers to pull up animated story lines about themselves and their family origins. Lots of free and reasonably priced refreshments were available in the Expo Hall.

Classes in the ballroom corridor were jam-packed to the point that a few of the most popular ones were re-situated in overflow rooms with delayed-release recorded video of the instructors presented on screens that were quickly hoisted into action. The corridor opened up into a huge lobby that was crammed to capacity with autograph-seekers of on-site celebrities: the cast of Studio C television show and David Archuleta, to name a few.

Keynote addresses from popular Al Fox Caraway and Olympian Noelle Picus-Pace, were in the huge Hall D. At the end of Picus-Pace’s presentation, her cute husband of one year presented her with roses on-stage for their Valentine’s Day anniversary. All together now: “Awwwww…” LDS Church leader Neil L Anderson presented a new challenge, similar to 2014’s goal of “Find” names of ancestors, with an added “Teach” for 2015. The focus this year is to gain proficiency in family history work, and then help someone else get started as well. As many shared experiences in this conference attest, young people love discovering things about their ancestors.

Neil L Anderson

Neil L Anderson #rootstech
Find, Take, Teach

Now that Roots Tech is over, those who monitor the Family Search toll-free number for calls, chats, and email questions are swamped with communications, so it’s obvious to conclude that the symposium was a great success, inspiring many to up their involvement in family history research.

The closing session was possibly the biggest event of Discovery Day, featuring LDS dignitaries and mega-star David Archuleta. I wasn’t on hand to attend that session, but the excitement and thrills of rubbing shoulders with him and the other family-centric celebrity guests in the Salt Palace, was all around!

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A Sumptuous Prelude to Roots Tech 2015

Roots Tech 2015, the monumental genealogy symposium, is now over and I’m catching my breath to write down some of the highlights! I’ve already filled out their email summaries, giving what I thought were favorites for each day and for the whole event, but they don’t know all the background issues that made it so memorable for me.

First off, to be a Family Search missionary at Roots Tech makes attending a highly charged experience. You get a very substantial discount to register as a missionary, so the price is definitely right. You get invited to some special events the public doesn’t know about: Missionary Appreciation gala Wednesday night preceding the kick-off of the conference. You can have lunch with some of your fellow missionaries, whose names you’re used to seeing on the Skype chats but you may have never met in person. You are in close proximity to venerated LDS landmarks in temple square. You’re gifted with opportunities to chat with other missionaries from all over and share experiences. And there’s also the happenstance that you have relatives who live nearby and who have a brand new baby to meet and greet, for the first time!

Ryan Shupe Band

Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband #rootstech

This very bad snapshot is of the entertainment at Missionary Appreciation Night. Here’s a link if you want to check out the real scope of the band, which included some excellent fiddle, mandolin, banjo, bass guitar, drums and guitar.

Salt Lake Conference Center Theater

Venue for Appreciation Night

The Theater was an elegant spot for Appreciation Night. We were treated to some heartwarming words from our leaders, then the Rubberband engaged the audience with a high-energy concert. After the performance, we filed into a vast dining hall for a sumptuous buffet dinner. And then we walked back to our hotel through the magnificent winter scenes of Temple Square.

Temple Square

Temple Square, Salt Lake City #rootstech2015

Roots Tech Simpatico

Goodbye Provo Canyon!

Provo Canyon

Carry on, carry on, carry on!

Back home in Florida, I will flesh out the Roots Tech 2014 blog-a-rama with Day 2, which I haven’t yet written about.

Keynotes blew me away: Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist, talked about Scots-Irish ancestors and their propensity for story telling. And the possibilities of searching in places where the chances are slim that you’ll find a gold nugget of info, then you do! I attended her Thursday class on Black Sheep (the one about ancestors who were in prison). Awesome! Dr. Spencer Wells, who does population migration studies for National Geographic, utilizing DNA samples, gave such a fascinating talk that I realized I had to jump on the DNA bandwagon.

A short interview après-speech: does his face look like Sundance might have been on his agenda recently?

ancestry.com DNA test kit

ancestry.com DNA test kit

I went to 2 Mac genealogy classes that day. Crazy, huh? I’m a neophyte Mac user and I took advantage of the chance to learn some arcane Apple tricks to supplement what I do on my PC. The most appealing thing I want to take back from Jimmy Zimmerman’s class is Alfred. Batman has Alfred, everyone needs an Alfred! The other class was by taught by Nancy E. Loe of Sassy Jane Genealogy.com. From that class I learned an easy tip for adding the accent grave in the above après: all you do is hold down the e key for a few seconds, and a pop-up menu with diacritical mark options will show up.

The other class I attended was Cartography for Genealogists by Pamela Weisberger, who also taught the Jewish Roots class. Weisberger showed many great sites and sources, including her Gesher Galicia Map Room and the amazing David Rumsey Collection.

I found a sewing book that is simpatico with this conference.

fashion patterns c. 1900

Historical Costumes

Mastering Genealogical Proof

Dr. Jones’ book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went to Dr. Jones’ class Thursday, and was so impressed with his work I snagged a copy of his recent book.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers

my brother and I reflected in our ancestors' grave marker

my brother and I reflected in our ancestors’ grave marker

I’m part of them, they’re part of me.

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