Thursday, February 4, 2016

My Day 2 at RootsTech 2016 - Part 1: Activities

Seriously, RootsTech is already half over?  It seems like it just began.  These two days have been a blur. I feel like I haven't done much.

Here's my Day 2 (Thursday) activities at RootsTech 2016:

1)  The Expo Hall Tour was led by Paul Nauta of FamilySearch.  Amazingly, at 7:30 a.m. there were many exhibits that were not completed.  We saw the 50 foot wide wall chart being constructed n the floor.  At the Media Hub, I left my jacket on a chair back and my laptop case on the table so I could lighten my load in the Keynote Session.

2)  Paul led us "the back way" into Hall D and we found or Ambassador seats by 8 a.m.  At first I was next to Bernice Bennett, Valerie Elkins and Carol Rice, but Valerie and Carol moved up several rows when given the opportunity, and Jim Ericson came and sat beside me.

The three Keynote talks are available on video:

*  Steve Rockwood of FamilySearch:

During Steve's talk, he encouraged us to tell a 60-second story to the person next to us.  I told Jim about my grandfather, and he told me about his grandfather.  It was cool.  These were really off-the-cuff,but it illustrated how easily family stories could be transmitted.

*  The Introduction of Paula Williams Madison by Stan Ellsworth:

Stan rode in on his Harley motorcycle, and then expounded on the greatness of the USA, then introduced Paula.

*  Paula Williams Madison Keynote talk:

Paula's talk was funny and poignant, and told her amazing story of finding her Chinese born grandfather, named Samuel Lowe, who married a Jamaican wife, and then left Jamaica for China to marry a Chines wife, leaving Paula's grandmother with two small children, and they moved to Harlem., where Paula grew up.  She and her brothers found FamilySearch data, and then information in Ontario, and found their Chinese family.  When they visited China, they found 300 descendants of her grandfather who welcomed them to the family.  It's a wonderful family history story.  The eldest son of Samuel Lowe died last weekend, and Paula was leaving for the services in China.  You can read a lot more about her story on her web site at

*  Bruce Feiler's Keynote talk:

In this keynote talk, Bruce told his life story with humor and wisdom about family history - growing up in South Carolina, going to Yale, spent three years in Japan and wrote letters home, returned home to tell stories and write books, getting bone cancer, being treated, and now he is doing well.  Having cancer drove him to tell his stories to his children.  He made the point that high functioning families play and talk a lot about the family, it seems to be the secret sauce that holds a family together.

Watch the videos above for an enjoyable two hours.

3)  The Keynotes ran a bit late, and we finally left Hall D at 10:25 a.m.  I sneaked through the back door to the Media Hub, got my laptop set up, said hello to lots of media folks and some passersby, I had no time to blog or wander around the Expo Hall (it is big!).

4)  I left at 10:45 a.m. to go to Room 355 to prepare for the MyHeritage luncheon presentation that I made with Daniel Horowitz with Aaron Godfrey moderating.  I addressed Record Matches and Daniel described the other technologies available to MyHeritage users.  I enjoyed the lunch table with several MyHeritage staffers and geneabloggers.  After the talks, Daniel and I answered questions from the audience.

5)  I got back to the Media Hub at 1:30 p.m. and worked on the blog compendium for over an hour.  Several wonderful folks came by to chat and take a picture, and DearMYRTLE talked to the Mac Family Tree developer about his software, which looks interesting.  At around 3:30 p.m. I took my first walk around the Expo Hall but didn't talk to many folks.  The exhibits were pretty busy and my feet hurt.

6)  I left at 4:30 p.m. and went back to the hotel, and Linda and I went to the shopping center and then to JB's for dinner, but JB's was dark due to a power outage that also closed the Family History Library.  We ended up with dinner at the Radisson Copper Canyon restaurant.  Mediocre.

7)  We were back in the room by 7 p.m. to charge the electronics and write or add to blog posts.  It should be early to bed tonight because I didn't sleep well Wednesday night and didn't get a nap.

We have been watching TV tonight, and have already seen two commercials for MyHeritage and one for 23andMe.

Note that I did not attend any classes today.  I look forward to reading reviews by my geneablogging colleagues and reading the syllabus materials.

Pictures to follow!


Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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