Day 2 of Roots Tech (with link to sessions!)

Just a little summary of what we did at Roots Tech on the second day, Friday, February 13…
This day’s sponsor: Findmypast.com
Keynote speakers: D. Joshua Taylor (who is Family History Director at Findmypast) and his two co-hosts on Genealogy Roadshow, Kenyatta Berry and Mary Tedesco.
Laura Bush, former First Lady of the United States.

Laura Bush #rootstech

Laura Bush #rootstech 2015


And her daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, who is currently a presenter on NBC’s Today Show and an at-large editor for Southern Living magazine. Fascinating commentary from each of these popular stars in American culture and entertainment had the audience enthralled. Honestly, I came away feeling that Laura Bush, someone who is the closest thing to royalty in the US, and who has been right at the heart of some of the most shock-and-awe historical events of the past few decades, was everyone’s personal friend, neighbor, and down-home confidant. What a fantastic morning; I didn’t want it to end.

But I had to get to class and see what Roots Tech had in store to teach me.

My first class was called Impossible Immigrant, taught by Warren Bittner. It was my favorite class of the entire conference, because it spoke deep down into my heart and soul that Bittner found his seemingly untraceable ancestor from Germany, and therefore, I can hope to find some of mine, too! He presented the class as a case history, which format he tended to like as far as genealogy classes go. I liked it immensely.

Next, we had lunch with some great friends and co-workers from the mission.

We messed around in the Expo Hall, and [my fault entirely] missed the class we wanted to go to next. So we went to another class about Your Digital Afterlife, by John Wylie. By the time it was over, the crowd was growing into a crush outside, and it was a hassle getting anywhere. I heard people muttering “s’like salmon swimming upstream” en route to class more than once! So we skipped the last class of the day and went back to the room, where I hoisted my swollen ankles upward and caught up on some jet-lag induced sleep deprivation. Next on the agenda was the Cultural Event, which was supposedly an hour but we suspected it would be longer, and we were correct! We were treated to performances on the Expo Hall stage from a cowboy band, a Scottish pipe and drum troupe with adorable Highland dancers, and Chinese, Asian, and Polynesian dancers.

Peaches Bill Band at #rootstech

Back in the Saddle Again, with the Pecos Bill Band

Then we walked to the City Creek Mall and had dinner at the Blue Lemon, where we had fresh black bean ravioli, artichoke and tomato chicken, slow-braised short ribs with house-made demi-glace, and our meals were delicious–and so must have been the eventual meals of the hundreds of other diners, who were lined up waiting to get in.

BTW, if you want to view some of the sessions of Roots Tech 2105 that were recorded, you have only to go to the Rootstech.org link and click on the link “Previous Sessions” and then choose from many.

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 and Hearts

Crazy to think that Roots Tech 2014 is already over. I’ve been doing some in-depth consciousness-raising the past three days. So many resources! It’s been like sunlight breaking through the cloud cover and illuminating fascinating new discoveries.

The last day of the conference started with a keynote from Todd Hansen, the guy who hosts Story Trek television show.

I watched his presentation with tears overflowing, as he talked about the origins of his show. Most people he interviews say at first they don’t have a story to tell, or that their story wouldn’t be interesting to other people. Then Hansen, using his unique and strange talents, starts tugging and plucking away at the heart-strings of everyone involved in the story until the brick walls of remorse, denial, and despair are torn away, and what remains is a beautiful spiritual sibling, to whom we can now no longer be indifferent, increasing our level of compassion.

And after Hansen’s address, I had the opportunity to weep openly for more extended moments as Stephanie Nielson took the stage. Nielson is a mommy blogger who was badly burned in a plane crash four years ago. Her story of recovery and hope are deeply inspirational to anyone who has ever doubted if they could overcome a personal challenge.

I went to some fantastic classes today:

Facial Detection and Recognition for Genealogy by Charley Smart, marketing VP for Eclipse Identity Recognition Corp.

Finding Biographical Information Online by Kelly Summers

DNA Match-Maker, Make Me a Match by Anna Swayne of Ancestry.com. (to name a few!)

Got to hang out all day with cherished people.

And ended a fabulous day by having dinner at Sawadee, a Thai restaurant in Salt Lake City that was highly recommended by missionary friends.

Roots Tech Techie

Temple Square, Salt Lake City view

Greetings from Salt Lake City

Guess what the “object” is here for Weekly Photo challenge? This photo might also be considered for the next day Weekly Photo Challenge theme “Selfie.” Selfie being rather loosely, creatively defined…

I greet you from the tenth floor of the Joseph Smith building on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, with the stunningly beautiful Salt Lake City temple in the background.

I’ve been enjoying Roots Tech 2014, a genealogy conference with 11,000 attendees on site at the Salt Palace Convention Center, and thousands more attending each of the 3 days via webcast. Go to rootstech.org for info if you’d like to tune in to the daily courses that are being streamed live, and for recordings coming up.

So far I’ve seen some terrific presentations and had fun with friends. Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, gave a heart-warming talk at yesterday’s keynote, relating how she got started blogging and how she developed her blog as a tool for doing family history.
Inspiration for all us tiny cogs in the blogiverse-machine! She started as a mom blogging day-to-day events on her farm with her family, and moved up to authoring cook books, children’s books, and starring in her own television show on the Food Network.

At the keynote address, Dennis Brimhall, the CEO of Family Search, gave a rousing speech about future upgrades to the program. Technology is rolling ahead like never before. Another speaker, Anneliese Van den Belt, CEO of findmypast.org, spoke of “happy moments” that drive and fulfill us as we search for our relatives.

ON the agenda: a class on internet genealogy by Tom Jones, author of Mastering Genealogical Proof and lecturer at Boston U; a little exploring Jewish Roots with Pamela Weisberger, program chair for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles; and searching for records of ancestors who may have been in prison, with Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist. All were excellent presentations with much audience participation.

A couple of great receptions. First, a welcome with food and entertainment by Voice Male, a beat-box ensemble. Second night was another beat-boxing group from BYU, Vocal Point.

(this is not what Vocal Point sang for us, but a recent you tube)

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