Rootstech 2014 was truly bigger and better than ever in most every way. The exhibit hall was 50% bigger, the classrooms were bigger, and even, and maybe I should say especially, the CROWDS were bigger! There was an unprecedented number of adults and youth in attendance this year, but the event was managed well and I was able to see, do and attend everything that I had wanted.
In the opening,
FamilySearch was excited to announce the coming of an obituary project which will add thousands of obituaries to their already huge collection of free online records. We were told that most obituaries contain at least seven family members (but often more), so this will be a big help to us in piecing together our families.
The keynote speakers each morning were fabulous and, while varied in experience and approach, each shared things that inspired and motivated us in a different aspect of our family history. We heard from Stephanie Nielsen, Annelies van den Belt, Ree Drummond, Dr. Spencer Wells, Todd Hansen and Judy Russell. Each speaker was great, but as a friend said, Judy Russell really hit the ball out of the park. Utilizing her great talents as a “Scotch Irish Story Teller,” she encouraged us to take time to record not only our ancestor’s history, but our own, emphasizing that information about people can become completely lost in as few as three generations unless it is recorded accurately.
As for the classes, I tried to branch out and and take a greater variety this time and it paid off. I tend to shy away from some of the more techie type classes (I know, I know—that is somewhat the point of a genealogy “tech” conference!) So I decided to just be brave and to try and learn some things outside of my comfort zone and I was so glad that I did. I came away with lists of more things to read, apps to download and programs to try.
The Expo Hall was immense and packed full of vendors selling everything imaginable related to family history. I took full advantage of the opportunity to visit with those manning the booths about their products and services. It was a great opportunity to learn more about how various things might help me with my passion for genealogy.
In addition, there were some fun things to do. Large plush couches ensured that we watched demonstrations in comfort and free popcorn and soft drinks were available to all. FamilySearch had several fun things to do, such as an area where they took your picture and inserted it in an old picture. Can you pick my face out in the picture below? (I am the one holding the baby.)
And believe it or not, next year promises to be even bigger and better! Next year, the Federation of Genealogical Societies will hold their National Convention in conjunction with Roostech on February 12-14th in Salt Lake City.
I already have the dates marked on my calendar, do you?