The FamilySearch Discovery Center Tour at RootsTech

As an Ambassador we were given the opportunity to have a tour of the new Discovery Center in the Family History Library. It is located on the main floor as you walk in the door. You can’t miss it.

 

 

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Discovery Center so just picked up my iPad from the desk and jumped in. You had to sign in using your FamilySearch account or an email address. I couldn’t remember my password so just signed in with an email address. You also took a selfie with the iPad so your image was on the front page. There were people to help you at each station.

 

 

When we arrived at the first display we attached our iPads and started exploring. You add in your name, year of birth and some timeline information is on the screen. You can learn the meaning of your first and last name and how many people have those names in the United States. There are 521,774 Ruth’s but only 231,608 Blair’s in the United States. I found out the top television shows were the Flintstones and the Andy Griffith Show. The top movie was the Apartment with Jack Lemmon, Fred McMurray and Shirley MacLaine. A first class US stamp cost 4 cents and a US gallon of gas was 31 cents.

 

 

 

 

 


The next station was Picture My Heritage. Here you could have your picture taken in the dress of your ancestor’s country of origin. This was a little difficult because you used hand movements to get the options on the screen to work.

 

 

The Record Our Story rooms were very interesting. Here you can record your life story as a single person, couple or family. There are larger rooms for families. You sit down and touch the screen to start the process. You can start talking or answer questions. I chose to answer questions and they were thought provoking. All this was being recorded on my iPad as it was docked at each station I visited.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a section where you could select a relative and find out more about the times they lived in. I didn’t have my tree there so I picked an ancestor and added some information. Across the bottom are images of the Temple and the world. The Temple will provide an LDS timeline and the world is a general timeline. Part of Jane’s timeline was the first use of insulin on a patient by Frederick Banting and Charles Best. Disposable diapers were invented when Jane was 75 years old.

 


The next section was picking a place or origin for your ancestor and having your picture taken with it in the background. So I chose an Irish background and they had a lovely thatched cottage for my picture.

 

 

The last section was finding out who your famous relatives were and since I didn’t have a tree on FamilySearch this wasn’t available to me. I did watch my friends doing it and they were having a great time. Some even found they were distant cousins to each other.

This is the image you would get if you had a tree on FamilySearch.

 

 

When you are finished you hand back the iPad. I thought since I had used an email to sign in with that I would get the pictures and recordings I had done but that was not the case. Only those who signed in with their FamilySearch account got the images and recordings. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get them but was glad I had taken a few pictures along the way.

This was great fun and it wasn’t just the children in the area who were really enjoying themselves, the adults were having just as much fun.

 

© 2017 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

Share #52Stories from your personal history cards from RootsTech

These cards were part of the gifts we received at the FamilySearch media dinner on Tuesday night at RootsTech. They are a great idea.’

 

 

 

They have questions written on both sides of the card and by answering these questions you begin writing your personal story.

The question may be something simple like “What is your occupation?” You can answer simply or you can expand on it and it leads you to think about other jobs you have had. There are quite a few of us who have had several occupations during our working career.

 

 

Then there is the question “Do you remember how your elementary school smelled? Or where your desk was in 3rd grade? Share some school memories.” This will end up going beyond elementary school. It could even lead to you digging out some old school pictures and report cards that will bring back more memories.

 

These questions are just the start. “What do you look forward to every summer? People, places, things, events, food, hobbies, traditions?” This will be different for all of us. It could involve your family and extended family and lead to talking to cousins, aunts and uncles to find out more. Each of us will have a slightly different memory of the same event.

These small cards with questions on them can lead you down memory lane and to new adventures.

© 2017 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

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

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

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