Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Twelve Takeaways from RootsTech 2017

Here are twelve takeaways from the RootsTech 2017 genealogy conference last week in Salt Lake City (February 8 to 11):

1)  The Expo Hall is really big now - it takes all of the available real estate in the Salt Palace.  The Media Hub sits in the south end of the Hall, and was really busy since FamilySearch increased the number of Ambassadors this year.  I didn't see some of the genealogy oriented Ambassadors in the Media Hub at all.

2)  The Keynote talks by LeVar Burton and CeCe Moore were excellent and moving and pertained to genealogy and family history.  The Property Brothers and Buddy Valastro talked and showed some family photos, but I wasn't particularly interested.  The major sponsor keynote talks were relatively short and helpful and focused on new features.

3)  The Findmypast brochure with Linda's matrilineal line timeline story (see Linda's Family is in the Findmypast Brochure at #RootsTech) was well done, and she was surprised and happy about it.  I shared it with many friends.

4)  I did two talks for MyHeritage at their exhibit on Record Matches and the Compilation of Published Sources collection.  This was my first time doing that, although I did the luncheon talk last year.  I should have practiced more, but ran out of time because I had to change most of the slides after 1 February when MyHeritage changed their Discoveries tab.  

5)  The Expo Hall featured a number of additional educational opportunities on the Demo Stage and in small in-exhibit theaters for Ancestry, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, Findmypast, Family Tree Maker, Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems, GenealogyDOTCoach, BillionGraves, Family Tree Guide, and several more vendors, with a daily schedule of 15 to 30 minute talks on various subjects.  A RootsTech attendee could come to just the Expo Hall and learn a lot.

6)  The Expo Hall didn't seem as crowded during class times as in past years.  The lines were long at the AncestryDNA exhibit because they were selling test kits for $49 each.  

7)  The only class I attended was the Innovator Summit Semi-Finals on Wednesday.  I was pleased that my friend and geneablogger Louis Kessler made the cut and then came in third in the finals.  It was fun to see his excitement in participating in the event and winning third place.

8)  The DearMYRTLE geneabloggers after party was excellent fun on Saturday night, with good food, drinks, friends, and lots of sharing.  See my photos at Photos From the DearMYRTLE's Geneabloggers After Party at RootsTech 2017 .

9)  The MyHeritage after-party on Friday night was fun with food, drinks, games, and karaoke.  It was difficult to talk at the tables because the music was too loud.  See some of my photos at Photos From the #RootsTech 2017 MyHeritage Party.

10)  I spent Wednesday morning from 8:15 to 11:30 a.m. and then from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Family History Library.  I found deeds for a number of my ancestors, and tried to find Hilperton (Wiltshire) records on microfilm, but didn't succeed in finding anything new.  I came away with only about 50 images on my iPhone.  It was great to be able to share my John Richman problem with Kirsty Gray and her cohorts.  I tried the Family Discovery Experience in the morning but there was a computer problem, so tried again in the afternoon and got through it.  

11)  The FamilySearch sponsored Media Dinner on Tuesday night was fun because I got to meet and talk to many of my geneablogging colleagues and management personnel from several vendors, plus the Innovator Showdown exhibits.  Unfortunately, FamilySearch didn't provide anything new about their record collections or family tree.

12)  Linda really liked the Thursday Night Rodgers and Hammerstein music program and presentation at the LDS Conference Center.  


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Louis Kessler said...

7) - It was great seeing and talking to you again, Randy. I love your list of RootsTech blog posts and I keep coming back to them to make sure I read them all. If I have one complaint about RootsTech, it's that they have too many great speakers and things going on at the same time. This year, I couldn't squeeze any time to get to the Family History Library.

Keep up your fantastic blog postings. I always look forward to them and never miss them.


Helen V Smith said...

As an Ambassador I could have been in the Media Centre but it always looked too busy at the times I was free so never went in.

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

Lots of great points Randy. I was sorry to miss the My heritage shindig due to a "bug"