Reflections on RootsTech 2018

A rather belated round up of RoosTech 2018, but the reason will become clear!

Although RootsTech 2018 was my third experience as an attendee, this was the first year I attended as an Ambassador.  I was delighted to be invited to be an Ambassador and receive the benefits awarded to the Ambassadors. These included the opportunity to be able to give a free admission to a lucky attendee, who came along and said hello to me, to receive advance notice of events and press releases in addition to having access to speakers in the Media Hub. The Media Hub provided a dedicated space where I could work, meet my fellow ambassadors, make some new friends and meet face to face some of the people I follow on Twitter.

You may have heard about the App which enabled cousins attending RoosTech to connect. By adding your family tree to the Family Search website, the data was crunched and up came a list of attendees to whom you were related. This was very popular with attendees and many conversations were stimulated between delegates who were able to meet. I do not keep my family tree on FamilySearch but having recently started to work on my DNA results I had managed to identify a link to my great x 3 grandparents. I decided to put a small branch of my tree onto FamilySearch and within a few hours, the App identified 21 cousins attending the event – all 4th cousins of 4th cousin once removed, and I had great pleasure in meeting two of the attendees too.

The whole event went past in a bit of a whirl, talks to attend, people to meet and of course helping the exhibition stand for the University of Dundee, with whom I am currently studying. There were some amazing keynote speakers. I must admit some of the names were unfamiliar to me but I enjoyed them all and one in particular, by Olympic Gold Medallist Scott Hamilton, was particularly moving on many levels. You can see the keynote speakers by following the link https://www.rootstech.org/rootstech-2018-videos

I also made my speaking debut in the USA, being part of a 3 woman panel which included Kirsty Gray of Family Wise Ltd and Dr Patricia Whatley from University of Dundee. Family Wise was a Bronze Sponsor at RootsTech. The talk, or class as they like to describe them at RootsTech, discussed using Parish Chest Records in England and Scottish Poor Law records and Kirk Records of Scotland to trace ancestors. The class stimulated a lively question and answer session and subsequently several people stopped by our respective exhibition areas to continue their questions.

People resident in the UK frequently ask me if RootsTech is worth attending. Yes, it’s a big expense for travel, accommodation and food, but anyone who is serious about their family history really should have RootsTech on their Genealogical Bucket List.

The trouble with an eleven hour flight is when your travelling companion says something along the lines of “we really need to try and have an event to replace WhoDoYouThinkYouAre Live?” and you spend the remainder of the flight starting to plan it….

Do come and see us at https://www.thegenealogyshow.uk/

in Birmingham in 2019 and you can follow us on Twitter @THEGenShow2019

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