Are you ready for #RootsTech 2020!

Well now that RootsTech London has come to a successful finish it is time to start planning for RootsTech 2020 in Salt Lake City. This is the 10th anniversary of RootsTech. The theme is “Discover the story of you.”

I remember going to Salt Lake City in April 2010 for the NGS conference and found another conference being held a few days before so signed up at the door. It was called “Conference on Computerized Family History and Genealogy – Strengthening Ties That Bind Families Together Forever.” I still have the syllabus!

As I was leaving that conference on the last day I told the organizers this was a fantastic conference and I would love to see it again. Now I am not sure this was the first RootsTech. Someone who knows better might be able to enlighten me.

My first trip to RootsTech was in 2015. This was the year that RootsTech and FGS had conferences going on at the same time in Salt Lake City.

In 2016 I was a member of the Not At RootsTech group and we had a great time with the live streaming and chatting on Twitter. I made friends on Twitter that I have met in person and it has been fantastic. The Not At RootsTech crowd are just as spontaneous and excited as the RootsTech crowd.

The last few years I have had the honour to be a RootsTech Ambassador. This has provided me with a different view point of the conference. It has also allowed me to make many new friends that I meet at other conferences and chat to occasionally online. These are friends from around the globe not just North America. It used to be I had to write to pen pals to get friends around the world now I attend a conference and chat on social media.

If you have never been to RootsTech then 2020 could be the year to attend. Here are 10 Reasons to Attend RootsTech 2020.

RootsTech passes would be a great Christmas present for your family history enthusiast. You can register here.

In the last four years I have only missed one RootsTech in person and I am going again in 2020. I really hope to see a lot of you there. Who’s with me!

© 2019 Passionate Genealogist


I received this news release from the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa. They are having an Irish Day on 10 March 2018.

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) is sponsoring a one-day series of Irish family history lectures – “Tracing your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors” – on Saturday, March 10 in Ottawa. The speakers are Fintan Mullan (Executive Director) and Gillian Hunt (Research Officer), of the Ulster Historical Foundation, Belfast, Northern Ireland. The event will take place at The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive. The Ottawa lectures are the only Canadian stop on their 15-city North American tour. Registration is online only, and closes on March 7. No walk-in registrations will be accepted. Fee: $30 for non-members, $20 for members with log-in. Box lunch available ($15), and must be ordered by March 2.

Go to the BIFHSGO Website for more details.


It’s Time to Start Thinking About RootsTech 2018!


I’ve been invited to be a RootsTech 2018 Ambassador! It was such an honour to be asked again. It was my first time being an Ambassador last year. I met so many new and interesting people not to mention all the genealogy related products and classes where I learned something new each day.

In 2018 RootsTech is being held from February 28th to March 3rd in the Salt Palace Convention Centre in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Registration is now open!




RootsTech is a place where global genealogists meet up every year. There are people coming from Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Belgium, Israel and other countries from around the world. We will spend almost a full week chatting about family history, sharing stories, learning about new records and technologies to help us on our ancestral trek. Sometimes you may even find a cousin or two.



You didn’t think I would forget to mention that Salt Lake City is the place for all those who research their family history. You will have access to the Family History Library and all the records the library contains. You won’t have to worry if it isn’t digitized yet as you will have access to microfilms. If you have been looking at something that has the icon indicating that you have to be at a Family History Centre computer to view then you will have no problem. Most of my research is done on Basement Level 2. This is the British, Irish and Australian section. There have always been available microfilm readers, computers and lots of help to aid you in your discoveries.

If you have never been to RootsTech then please give it serious consideration. Christmas is coming maybe Santa would give you a gift to remember. If you can’t make it don’t worry because there will be live streaming keynotes and lectures every day. There is a group called #NotatRootsTech and they are just as enthusiastic as those of us in attendance. I have been part of that group and you can almost feel like you are there in person.

RootsTech is a bucket list trip for many genealogists. It is a time when we can find like people who won’t glaze over when we start talking family history. You would think family would find their own history interesting but then many of you are very familiar with that glazed expression they get when we start talking about it.

Registration for RootsTech is open and you can also book your hotel rooms now.

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at RootsTech 2018!

© 2017 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved



#RootsTech 2017 – Have you attended RootsTech?


Have you attended a RootsTech conference? The first one I attended was 2015 when it was a joint conference with the Federation of Genealogical Societies. It was a family history experience! I had never been to a conference like RootsTech before. The number of attendees was the first thing you noticed. Then it was the variety in the marketplace and the technology that was being promoted. We had several groups that met up. One that was particularly fun was the Commonwealth dinner where genealogists from around the British Commonwealth got together. I finally got to meet people who wrote blogs that I was following. It was so nice to put a face to a name.

In 2016 I couldn’t attend in person but I did attend virtually. I watched all the live streaming and communicated with others who were attending virtually or in person via Twitter. I wrote about my experience in a blog post entitled “The Experiences of a “NOTatRootsTech Attendee.” Again I got to learn new things and meet new people.

This year I am attending RootsTech again and have the distinct pleasure of being a RootsTech Ambassador for the first time. I have followed Ambassadors from previous years on social media and this year I get to share their experience.


Several announcements have already been made. Keynote speakers include: Levar Burton, Buddy ‘Cake Boss’ Valastro and Jonathan and Drew Scott (HGTV’s Property Brothers) who just happen to be from Canada. CeCe Moore will be one of the keynote speakers on Saturday. I have heard her speak before and she is great.

The Innovation Summit semi-finalists have been announced. There is a wonderful selection and I look forward to learning more about them. You can read more about the semi-finalists and other entries on the Innovator Summit page. There is a Canadian in the semi-finals.

I’ve looked at RootsTech from both sides now. I enjoy attending in person and virtually. There is a social aspect to both ways. I enjoy attending in person because you get to see so many new innovations and learn new ideas. You have the ability to get to know your social media connections in person and meet unlimited new friends from around the world. Hopefully even a cousin or two!

The RootsTech Opening event is “Music, It Runs in the Family.” The event will feature “music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and special guest soloist Dallyn Vail Bayles and memories by Rogers and Hammerstein, with narration by Oscar “Andy” Hammerstein III.” This event sounds like a great experience. There are other events being held during the conference and you can find out more on the Events Page.

Please join us at RootsTech 2017 in February! You can learn more on the website and check out the program schedule. There are some interesting labs and I have signed up for one. This is a chance to learn something new and get new tips on using technology.

I hope to see you all there! Come and look for me in the media hub as I would love to meet you!


© 2017 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

What I Did This Summer

Do you remember the essay you usually had to write the first week of school about what you did this summer? Well I thought I would fill you in on what I did this summer.


The summer started with completing client work.  I enjoy client work because it provides me with the opportunity to do research. Each project is completely different and there is always an element of surprise. Next it was preparing for the speaking engagements that were coming up in September, October and November. Lectures had to be created/updated, syllabus material had to be sent in and travel details organized.


While my client work and lecture preparation did keep me fairly busy I did manage to squeeze in a holiday this summer. Those that know me will understand that it was a trip to a genealogy conference. Every holiday I take has some element of genealogy be it a conference, research or both.


My conference buddy and I traveled to Minneapolis Minnesota to attend the Celtic Connections Conference co-hosted by IGSI (Irish Genealogical Society International) and TIARA (The Irish Ancestral Research Association). It was a two day conference and the featured speakers were: John Grenham, Dr. Bruce Durie, William Rouslton, Brian Donovan, Brian Mitchell and a good selection of local speakers. I went to hear these experts speak and wasn’t disappointed.


The lectures were informative and entertaining. Topics included: Irish place names, landed estate records, land valuations, Scottish research, records at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and many more. It was an information filled weekend. We attended the banquet on Friday night and heard Kieran Folliard speak on “The Changing Face of an Irish Immigrant.” He is an Irish immigrant who lives and works in the Minneapolis area.


Minnesota Genealogical Society Library and Research Center

Minnesota Genealogical Society Library and Research Center


Minnesota Genealogical Society Library and Research Center

Minnesota Genealogical Society Library and Research Center


Minnesota Genealogical Society Library and Research Center

Minnesota Genealogical Society Library and Research Center

The day before the conference started we went to visit the Minnesota Genealogical Society Library and Research Center in the morning. Their collection includes a large Irish and Canadian section.


First Avenue Club

First Avenue Club


First Avenue Club Wall of Fame

First Avenue Club Wall of Fame


In the afternoon we went on a tour of Minneapolis/St. Paul so that we could see a bit of the area. This included Minnehaha Falls, The First Avenue club where Prince got his start and the house from the Mary Tyler Moore Show. The tour was a good way to see Minneapolis/St. Paul. I had never visited Minneapolis before and wanted to see some of it. It was also the first time I saw the Mississippi River.


Mississippi River

Mississippi River


Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls


We spent most of our time driving to and from the conference but it was a lovely drive through Northern Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota and the weather cooperated. I hadn’t been that far North in Ontario since the mid-1970s so it brought back some memories.

Standing in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario looking at Sault Ste. Marie Michigan.

Standing in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario looking at Sault Ste. Marie Michigan.



I love conferences. It is a chance to learn new things and meet new people. It was a small conference so the chance to meet and chat was easier than some of the bigger ones. My conference buddy and I even got a chance to get to know the speakers who kindly shared their knowledge with us.


It was a great time. This was the second time this conference has been held. It is shared between Minnesota and Massachusetts and will be held in Massachusetts in 2018.


If you have a chance to go to a genealogy conference then I would recommend giving it a try. If some of the bigger conferences are out of reach then attend a regional one. Every conference is a learning experience and you never know who you might meet.


© 2016 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved



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