The Expo Hall at RootsTech

The Expo Hall was huge! I am still not sure I covered the entire breadth of it during the conference. As an Ambassador we got to go into the Expo Hall for a tour before the Keynote Sessions on Thursday. The Expo Hall was still under construction and they only had a few hours left but when 10 o’clock rolled around they were ready to open!

 

 

It was nice to see the Expo Hall before the people arrived. It allowed for an uninterrupted view of the space. We didn’t get to spend long but were able to take some pictures. There were some lovely displays.

 

 

The Sponsors were all front and centre. You had Ancestry, Findmypast, MyHeritage and of course FamilySearch. FamilySearch had booths throughout the Expo Hall. The front booths were the ones that had seating and talks about using the websites. They were always busy. Ancestry had a big sale on DNA kits and you saw a lot of folks wandering around with large bags filled with kits. I would think there are a lot of requests going out right now to family members to take a test. Mine have done theirs and I have received notification that they have been received by Ancestry. Now we wait. Cue the Final Jeopardy theme.

 

 

 

FamilySearch had different booths around the Expo Hall. A unique one was the “We Hear You” booth. There was a car and you got into it and recorded a story or whatever you wanted. The theme was “the best conversations happen in the car.” It was a unique way to get people to share information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Call My Relative was another FamilySearch booth. Here you could record a quick conversation with a loved one. I never found out if it was for anywhere in the world but you went into a green call box to make the call.

 

 

Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems booth was all set up and ready for the demos. You didn’t have to be an attendee as Lisa streamed most of them live via Periscope. You can watch some of them on her website.

 

 

The Demo Theatre is a great place to sit down and rest your feet while learning something new. Even better if you could get one of the comfy seats. There were a wide variety of speakers promoting their products during the conference.

 

 

They brought a little bit of the Antiques Roadshow to RootsTech. You could bring a family heirloom or photo and have an expert look at it.

 

 

This was a wonderful display set up by Kindex the winner of the People’s Choice in the Innovators Showdown. Rescue your records!

 

 

There were small and large booths around the expo hall.

 

This was the display for Pictures & Stories Inc. They will help you create a book of your life. It made me think of the big red book they used on the television show This is Your Life. This was a stop for many photographs and selfies.

 

 

The world’s largest genealogy chart was on display and attracted a lot of attention. It was in an area where you could have your genealogy chart printed off.

 


The Expo Hall was usually busy. You had to pick your times to speak to vendors. Family Discovery Day, Saturday, was the busiest.

 

 

I am not sure I made it all the way around the Expo Hall but I did meet a lot of vendors and learned something new so that is a good thing. The Expo Hall is something you need to go around several times a day to make sure you have covered it. I would take different turns out of the media hub to make sure I covered as much as I could. The Innovator Alley was interesting as all the entrants had booths where they were explaining their ideas. While in this area I also found WordPress which is a format a lot of bloggers use, me included, and it was nice to get the chance to talk to someone about the software.

 

 

The Expo Hall is something I plan out every time I have gone to RootsTech or any conference for that matter. I go through the RootsTech app and read the vendor descriptions. I star the familiar ones I want to visit first. Then I go back and learn more about the other vendors and choose the ones I want to visit. It was fun and everyone was having a good time.

 

© 2017 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

Genealogy Serendipity Out of the Blue via Email!

A little background information first. In 1999 I started researching the life of Lady Diana Taylour. She lived in Oakville from 1936-1957 and someone felt that her grave deserved a flag on Remembrance Day. They couldn’t find the proof required by the Town, could I help. Well I found an obituary that provided the information the Town required. But…It caught my imagination. I couldn’t let this lady go. There was something about the obituary that had me wanting to know more.

It took me nearly 10 years but I finally found the real Lady Diana Taylour. In 2012 I wrote about it on my blog. It is a three part series. Part One, Part Two, Part Three

While I was doing this research on Lady Diana Taylour I had never seen a picture of her. I commented on this in the last post of the series.

Well image my surprise last week when on International Women’s Day I opened an email from a lady who was collaterally related to Lady Diana Taylour! She had found my blog posts! In the email she included a picture of Lady Diana Taylour taken in the 1940s. It is hard to make out the year it might be 1943. This is the first time I have ever laid eyes on the lady who captivated my life for so long! She was wearing her khaki green uniform as I had been told by many people she wore constantly. She looked familiar to me and it is how I imagined her to look.

I have permission to share the picture here with you so here is the moment when I finally put a face to the Lady Diana Taylour.

 

Lady Diana Taylour

 

© 2017 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

My Adventures at RootsTech – The Final Hurrah

 

 

The last day of RootsTech is always a busy one because of Family Discovery Day and it is also sad because it is almost over. The Keynote Speakers today were CeCe Moore and Buddy Valastro aka “The Cake Boss.”

 


Before each of the Keynote sessions started Jason Hewlett would come on stage to warm up the audience. He was fantastic and so much fun. Music and laughter woke up the audience who had to be ready for the opening cheer. On Saturday he introduced us to the Genea-gecko. I guess every living thing has an interest in where they came from.

 

 

Ancestry started the session with an announcement about how AncestryDNA will be going beyond ethnicity to find community. They are going to use the information from DNA to try and create communities and see where the people may have originated. They will add historic and political information to explain why there may have been mass migration in recent times.

 

 

CeCe Moore was next and she didn’t disappoint. If you have never heard CeCe speak then check out her session on the RootsTech Saturday Sessions page. She talked about how our genealogy is coming alive through DNA and how our experience and those of our ancestors will always be found in our DNA. My main take away was that now people are starting their family history journey by doing a DNA test and then following the paper trail. This is a reversal of how it used to be done.

Did you ever set foot in a country and feel like you were home? CeCe said that there is a connection between a biological relative and an ancestral location. She believes that DNA passes down genetic memories of places, personal choices and creative ideas. She spoke of how DNA has brought forgiveness and healing to families. It is important to know the roots your family installed in you to make you who you are today. Looking ahead in DNA CeCe believes that in 10 years we will be able to reverse engineer our ancestors DNA. We will be able to see what they looked like.

 

 

 

Up next was Buddy Valastro and he spoke about the ancestral journeys of his family, how they arrived from Italy, went back and then came back to America. He talked about how the family dinner table was a time to share your day and family stories. I remember this as part of my childhood but it seems to be disappearing in today’s busy world.

 

Buddy also spoke on one of the themes of RootsTech and that was family food traditions. Passing on family recipes is an important part of our family history.  He has never forgotten where he came from and that has helped him build his business and raise his family.

 

Partial line up to view the Cake Competition entries

 

Buddy Valastro had an extra job at RootsTech as he was a judge for the Cake Competition. There were four categories: Wedding, Birthday, Holiday and Graduation. There were three finalists and one grand prize in each category. There was also a People’s Choice. The Deseret News has an article about the winners.

 

The lab I attended today was “Create Genealogy Videos and Images Quickly for Free with Spark.” I have had this app on my iPad for a while but didn’t know how to use it so this helped me focus and now I am looking to create my first video. Maybe I will do it with photos from RootsTech and post it online? Shannon Combs-Bennett was the lecturer and she had people in the room to help if we got stuck. Again this hands on lab helped me get comfortable with a new program and that is always a good thing.

 

 

Family Discovery Day is a very busy day at RootsTech. There are special events and sessions on for the Members of the LDS Church and it is fun to watch the children enjoying family history. Some were on a treasure hunt and wanted pictures with some of us who had long ribbons on our badges. We were all busy collection them from each other and vendors during the conference. One person was unbeatable. Still some of us had to start adding them down the side or going so long then starting again at the top behind the first row. Here is a shot of mine. I couldn’t get it all in the picture.

 

You can view the Saturday live streaming on the RootsTech website.

© 2017 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

My Adventures at RootsTech – The Midway Point

 

Friday was another early start. Friday was the very first African American Day at RootsTech. The Keynotes started off with an announcement from Findmypast. They have updated the US Marriage Collection. It is the largest collection of US marriages ever published. There are nearly 70 million records available online.

 

 

Findmypast have partnered with Twile who have created a family history infographic. All you have to do is upload your gedcom to the Twile website. It is free.

 

 

The last announcement from Findmypast was the Catholic Heritage Archive. They are digitizing the records from the Archdioceses of New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. There will eventually be Catholic records from Ireland included in this database.

 

 

The Keynote speaker today was LeVar Burton and everyone wanted to hear him speak. We weren’t disappointed. His keynote was eloquent and emotional. He had the audience in tears. You could feel the power of his passion in the room. His Mother was a huge influence in his life and when FamilySearch presented him with his Mother’s family history he was visibly moved.

 

 

 

The Ambassadors has an opportunity to interview him but his keynote will not be available online due to contract restrictions.

The Innovators Showdown Finals were held right after the General Session on Friday. The winner was OldNews USA. Second place went to QromaTag and third place went to Canada’s own Double Match Triangulator. The People’s Choice was Kindex.

The lecture I attended today was “Go Paperless: Digitize & Streamline Your Research” with Janine Adams and Brooks Duncan. Janine Adams writes the Organize Your Family History blog and Brooks Duncan is from British Columbia and dealt with the technical side. It was a very interesting lecture and I am starting to get things in place to get some of my family history digitized. I will not go completely paperless as I like to be able to touch and read documents. I have difficulty reading some digitized documents.

 

In the Evening it was the Culture Celebration: Celebrate Your Heritage in the Expo Hall. It was open to 7 pm and the place was filled with music from many different countries around the world. I went to the Genealogy Gems booth and watched Journaling and Scrapbooking with Amie Tennant. Got some great tips from this one. You can watch some of the demo hall lectures on the Genealogy Gems Podcast Facebook page.

 


Friday night was the MyHeritage After Party and I had heard great things from people who had attended last year. It did not disappoint. This party was a lot of fun. They had games to play in order to win tickets for the door prizes. Things like bouncing pencils into cups and using a straw to pile up bolts one of top of the other just to name a few. Some of these were really hard and after a few tries they gave you a ticket for trying. If you did it you got extra tickets. There was karaoke and they had some wonderful mock cocktails. There was a picture booth where we could have a little fun with props and when we were leaving they gave us a neck cushion for the plane ride home.

I spent most of Thursday and Friday walking around the Expo Hall. I knew that there were a lot of attendees expected for Family Discovery Day and that the Expo Hall would be busy. I was able to wander and talk to vendors about their products and ask questions. I will talk about the Expo Hall in another post.

Friday Live Streaming Sessions

© 2017 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

My Adventures at RootsTech – The Official Start!

 

The first official day of RootsTech started very early for the RootsTech Ambassadors. Before the Keynote we had a tour of the marketplace. It was lovely view everything before it was full of genealogists and family historians wanting to learn about the new and latest offerings as well as visiting vendors with whom they are familiar.

 

 

Next was the Keynote session featuring Drew and Jonathan Scott aka the Property Brothers. The first Keynote speaker was Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International. He shared the importance of family food traditions. This was a theme of this year’s conference. The importance of family food traditions and how they are connected to your family history. Steve shared the importance of the Rocky Road fudge his Mother made every Christmas and how it is now being passed down to the next generation.

 

 

FamilySearch have a new section on their website where you can download and share family food traditions. You can even add a special family recipe. What are your family food traditions?

 

Jonathan Wing from FamilySearch came on stage to share his family stories. He is originally from Ontario Canada so got a large cheer from the Canadian’s in the audience. His story travelled the world but then don’t do most of our family stories. They shared that FamilySearch had the largest collection of Chinese records outside of China.

 

FamilySearch have heard us. You can upload your gedcom and no one can change your information. It can be a read only file.

 

 

Drew and Jonathan Scott are high energy and very charismatic. They shared their family stories from Alberta and British Columbia. Their family trips to Scotland and other places around the world. Their parents encouraged curiosity. This comes through with the interests they shared with us. You can see the importance of their family history in the stories they shared. Particularly with Jonathan and his finesse playing the bag pipes. My Dad played the pipes so I learned an appreciation early on. Their Mother came from Ontario and they remembered her high school cheer, which they duly performed for the Ambassadors who were interviewing them after the show.

 

 

 

One of the Ambassadors that I got to meet was Lara Diamond. She lectures on Jewish genealogy and had a live streamed lecture at RootsTech. You can view it on their website. She writes the “Lara’s Jewnealogy” blog. I recommend it for anyone doing Jewish or Eastern European research.

 

This year RootsTech added a Getting Started stream for those just beginning this wonderful journey.

 

I did my first lab this year, well two of them actually. You paid extra and it was held in the computer lab. They were between one and two hours long. The first one I did was on Thursday and was called “How to edit digital photos using free editing software.” I am technically challenged and need a little help getting started with some programs. This one used Pic Monkey and I found myself getting very comfortable with the basic steps and now am ready to go in and try it on my own. Things change so quickly in technology that sometimes it is hard to keep up with all the changes. These labs help.

 

 

Thursday ended with the incredibly moving performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Oscar “Andy” Hammerstein III and guest soloist Dallyn Vail Bayles at the Conference Center at Temple Square. We heard music from Carousel, Sound of Music, The King and I and other memorable Rodgers and Hammerstein productions.

You can watch Thursday’s live streaming on the RootsTech website.

© 2017 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

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