May 2018

RootsTech – Let the Games Begin!

Wednesday started right off with sessions. There was no morning Keynote and the Expo Hall wasn’t open until the evening.

Today was the first of my labs that I had signed up to take. I took my first lab last year and it was great. You pay extra for it but the class is smaller and you usually have hands-on experience.

My lab was Share Your Family’s Story with Custom Google Maps. This was an interesting lab and we learned how to pinpoint places of interest for our family as well as link them with stories and pictures.

After my lab I had a meeting with MyHeritageDNA. Before RootsTech they put a request out on Twitter for anyone going to RootsTech who would like to take a free MyHeritageDNA test and then provide some feedback on the results and their experience. So I said I was interested and was chosen to do a free MyHeritageDNA test. It was an interesting process. I have tested with all but one DNA company. I am a first generation Canadian, my parents are immigrants. I don’t usually find many matches that can be connected through my research but on MyHeritage I found two second cousins in the UK who had also taken the test.

Tried to get into a few sessions but the line ups were very long. They had a bar code on our name tags and everyone was being scanned before entering a session room. This backed things up a little. So I went back to the Family History Library to do more research. I didn’t worry about a couple of the sessions because they were being live streamed and knew I could watch them at home.


Ancestry had an additional booth that was located in the main hallway. They gave out buttons with country/place names on them and you had to find your match. You then returned to the booth with your match and you were each able to pick out a prize. They took your button and you were given a sticker. One booth in the Expo Hall had a white board with people who were looking for their matches. I finally found mine on Saturday afternoon and it was one of the attendees of Family Discovery Day. I won a USB port.




Then there was a General Session at the end of the day featuring FamilySearch’s own Steve Rockwood. He is always a thoughtful and entertaining speaker. He spoke about the emotional side of family history and FamilySearch’s efforts to preserve documents that were in dire need of rescuing.

Living DNA was a sponsor at RootsTech and David and Hannah did a presentation talking about the new innovations they were working on.

Then there was a panel discussion about the future of genealogy records.



You can watch Wednesday’s live streaming videos here.


After the General Session then the Expo Hall opened up. First I had to accomplish my mission. I had heard that JoyFlips were giving away a FamilyArchive Kit for free so I found their booth and received a special memory stick to download my images from their app. Do you know about their app? You can find out more here. This is something I am learning to use as I have just inherited boxes full of photographs and slides!



The Expo Hall was great fun. I found booths that I wanted to learn more about and some that were new. I used the app at home and highlighted booths that were of interest to me and then located them on a map so I could find them. Expo Hall is enormous! Maps are a necessity!

Then it was back to the hotel to get ready for an early start the next day!

© 2018 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

RootsTech – The Beginning!

It has been a couple of months since I returned from RootsTech and things have been very busy since I got home hence the delay in my RootsTech posts.


I arrived in Salt Lake City on Sunday evening. Imagine my surprise when before we even left Toronto we were told we would be 45 minutes early into Salt Lake City. The winds were with us but the pilot said he would have to slow down the trip as a gate wouldn’t be ready for us so we were 25 minutes early which was still good. Salt Lake City Airport on a Sunday evening was packed and people were arriving from around the world.


Monday was my first full day in Salt Lake City and I found the grocery store to get a few necessities in for the early morning starts later in the week. Then it was off to the Family History Library. I had decided to search the early Irish civil registrations that aren’t available yet on and are available digitally only at a Family History Library. I was working on two surname studies on my Toppin and Moon families. These lines have been hard to nail down and I thought a surname study might help. They are not common names in Ireland so hopefully I can find something to help with my own lines. Haven’t had a chance to sort through what I brought home yet but they are waiting for me.

Monday night was dinner at the Blue Lemon with a large group of Commonwealth Nations genealogists. It is always a fun night catching up with everyone we only connect with on social media. We were sharing travel stories, Family History Library experiences and other family history tales. I got to meet up with the winner of my RootsTech Pass!



Tuesday morning was spent at the Family History Library and then I went to line up for registration. There were long lines for registration but the RootsTech people were doing their best.


We were told that those who signed up early would get a free gift which was the whole RootsTech syllabus on a memory stick! This was great! I have downloaded mine to several places to save for future reference.

Once registration was complete it was back to the Family History Library to finish up my research.


Tuesday evening was the Media Dinner at the Salt Palace Convention Centre. The RootsTech Ambassadors come from all walks of life not just genealogy so it was fun to meet so many new people. I also decided to sit at a table where I didn’t know very many people which was even more fun. I met people from Michigan who I will meet again in May at the National Genealogical Society Conference. I got to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen yet and made some great new friends.



We were told about the Photo Story competition and they showed the pictures up on the screen during our meal. One of my friends saw the picture of her family up on the screen so a large whoop went up from the table.


Relative Race gave us a preview of the first episode of season 3 that was to air on the following Sunday evening. Did you know you can watch this show online? You can watch it here. 


There were prize draws at the table and it was just a fun evening of learning, preparation and camaraderie.


Then it was back to my room to get some rest before the start of the first day of RootsTech. It started a day early this year and there were some new methods used as well.


© 2018 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved