RootsTech Round Up Day 1

Life at RootsTech can get rather hectic. And not getting any younger, I have been resting and recovering since returning home, downloading and sorting my photos. Apologies for not blogging last week, but I found it challenging to write, so I sent lots of tweets instead. You can follow me on twitter @historylady2013.  

 With over 150 presentations available to attend, and the major sponsors also offering short talks, there is plenty to do and see. This is a conference for people of all abilities, sharing a common interest, the pursuit of family history.

Day one started with classes at 9 a.m. but for me, the day started at 7.30, when Ambassadors were invited to join the team from Ancestry to learn about their latest developments and plans over breakfast on the Sunborn London Yacht Hotel which is moored at the Royal Victoria Dock, close to the Excel Centre where RootsTech itself was taking place. We listened to Todd Godfrey, the CEO of Ancestry tell us about the latest collections, John Eriksen, Senior Director Product Management explain the software tools being developed and. improved to help us solve DNA problems including sorting matches, Thrulines and hints. We can all help to improve hints by taking time to provide feedback on why we have accepted or rejected a hint.

Barry Starr, Scientific Communications and Research explained how the Ethnicities we see when we check our DNA results are arrived at. There are also then DNA Communities and Regions. The Reference Panels which are used to help define these has been doubled in size as more people test and more results from across the world are compared. With over 15 million tests results now available to analyse and compare, those DNA communities continue to grow. My own DNA results show not only British communities, but 3 US communities! I attribute my inclusion in these to the fact that the sister of one of my great great grandmothers emigrated to the States and has many, many descendants!

Christa Cowan Ancestry’s Genealogists completed the talks and explained something of the role of the ProGenealogists.

By 8.50, I had printed off my badge collected my RootsTech backpack and off to find my classroom for the session Getting the Most Out of the NEW Family Tree Maker. Having only just downloaded the software onto my computer, I was interested to learn more about its new capabilities and the talk, given by Robert Wilson did not disappoint. Later this week I am going to try and put into practice some of the things I learned about.

Next up was Thursday’s Keynote speech by Dan Snow. Dan’s speech was preceded by an excellent welcome by Nick Barrett, who introduced Steve Rockwood, the CEO of Family Search International, and Brad Argent from Ancestry who spoke about the stories of our Ancestors.

RootsTech host Nick Barrett
Steve Rockwood CEO FamilySearch Intrenational
Thursday Keynote Speaker Dan Snow

Rather than write about Dan’s amazing talk, you can watch his and the other general keynote sessions by clicking here https://www.rootstech.org/category/2019-london-keynotes-general-sessions

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Saturday 26th October

Next Saturday at 9 a.m. I will be at RootsTech London presenting my talk all about using workhouse records to add character to your ancestors’ lives. It is called Researching English and Welsh Workhouse Records.

Family historians often think of using workhouse records chiefly in terms of the admission or discharge of a pauper ancestor. However the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 created a bureaucratic system across England and Wales for the management of local poor law unions. Not all records have survived, but those which do frequently name individuals with some connection to the workhouse. For example, suppliers of foodstuffs clothing and services such as dentistry. Your Ancestor might have been a workhouse employee or been one of “the great and the good” who oversaw day to day management. You can find information about absconding parents, apprentice records and smallpox vaccination records. My presentation explains some of the records you might be able to find.

Even if you cant come along to my talk, you should be able to find me in the Media Hub, or at the Register of Qualified Genealogists Stand, so I hope you will come and say hello, and maybe collect a few ribbons to add to your badge!

Conference Etiquette

I thought it might be worthwhile to mention something about conference etiquette.

How many times have you sat in a presentation where attendees arrive late or leave the session early, often causing annoyance to other attendees and disturbing the presenter?

Or not turned off their mobile phone, or seem to spend more time twiddling with their phone throughout the session that listening to the speaker? That is discourteous to the speaker and other attendees. How about turning it off, or if you really need to keep it on, make sure it is in silent mode.

During the presentations, you may, or may not, be able to take photos of the presenter’s slides, so please respect any requests about not taking photographs. The presenter will have good reasons why photography is not permitted. I know that in my own presentation, strict conditions have been attached to my ability to use the material by the owner. I respect those conditions and I trust my audience members will too.

And finally , a little delicate but…..

If you think you might need to leave the presentation in order to make use of the facilities etc, please try and sit at the end of a row and towards the nearest exit in order that when you do get up to leave, you do not disrupt the enjoyment of others. Remember some of the presentations will be recorded so think : “Do I really want to feature in that video?” . It has been known to happen!

We all want to enjoy the amazing speakers who are presenting at RootsTech, so let us be courteous to them and to our colleagues, so we all enjoy the sessions.

RootsTech 2020 Salt Lake City

Well wow! Not only am I a RootsTech Ambassador and speaker in London, but I am also speaking AND also an Ambassador at the 10th RootsTech in Salt Lake City in 2020. I can’t quite believe it and I had to pinch myself on Tuesday when I received my email. This will be my fourth visit to Salt Lake City for RootsTech. I was unable to attend last year, but am really looking forward to being an Ambassador again.

I am so excited at the thought of meeting so many of my fellow Ambassadors and spreading the word about what will undoubtedly be a great event as RootsTech celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Bookings are now open, and you can read all about it here: https://media.familysearch.org/rootstech-2020-slc-opens-registration/?fbclid=IwAR1PQ0CXk6bgAbdPV4V5M5tXBkrRFwp8c3fNVRELzBhrA8q408sISmdtr00

Early Bird booking is available until October 11th, so act now to by your tickets and come to the most amazing event.

Are you getting ready for RootsTech London?

Preparation is key to any successful trip.

By now you will probably have booked your accommodation, made your travel arrangements, organised your passport and checked if you need a visa or entry clearance if you are coming from abroad.

If you want to bring some home comforts have you checked the UK customs regulations about what can be brought in?

You might need to get to grips with the various modes of transport across London (and the UK in general if you are coming from abroad) This website has some useful suggestions.

https://www.visitlondon.com/traveller-information/getting-around-london/london-maps-and-guides/apps

And most of all, booked your ticket? There is still time to book a ticket to come to RootsTech London, and discounts are still available.

Visitors may want to visit some of our local archives/museums/libraries to research their ancestors whilst in the UK. Many, if not most, will require you to bring identification with you. Your passport or a driver’s photo licence will usually suffice for photo ID, but a recent utility bill or bank statement will be needed for proof of current address. If you use internet banking etc, you might want to print off the most recent statement. I once saw a gentleman unable to obtain a reader’s ticket to The National Archives in Kew as he had not brought the correct ID that day. So make sure you check the requirements for each and every place you want to visit to make sure you have the correct information to ensure you are not disappointed.

For the event itself make sure you have comfortable shoes. You will be on your feet for much of the day. Wear layered clothing. In October it is usually quite chilly in the mornings and evenings, even on sunny days. However, it can get uncomfortably warm inside venues, so the ability to remove or add a layer of clothing as necessary is always useful.

I prefer to use a backpack to store my “loot” in order to spread the weight of the contents across my shoulders. It also means I have both hands free when I am looking at items for sale, taking notes etc. A water bottle is a must, as are pencils and notepads or your electronic gadgets of choice for note taking in the presentations.

Don’t forget to bring chargers, and adapters. In the UK we use 3 pin plugs but if you forget to bring adapters, quite often the larger supermarkets and branches of Boots the Chemist sell travel items so might be able to help.

RootsTech London is going to be a great experience for us all and I hope to see you there.

RootsTech Keynote Speakers Announced

We have known for some time that Donny Osmond was the Saturday keynote speaker at RootsTech London in October. It has now been announced that popular historian Dan Snow @thehistoryman will be the keynote speaker on Thursday, and that Nick Barrett @familyhistorysh will, in addition to delivering his presentations will also be co delivering the Friday Keynote alongside Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International.

The speaker schedule have been available for a while, so now is the time to start planning what talks you want to attend and optimise your time. The link to the speaker schedule can be found here https://www.rootstech.org/schedule

If you have a smart phone or similar gadget, you will soon be able to download an App which will provide you with lots of tools to help you with your planning. It is hoped the updated App will be available later this month. It is a great way to connect with friends and colleagues. If, like me, you already have the app installed, it does not yet have the London event installed.

Some of the talks will be recorded or streamed live. The app is a good way to help those who are #notatRootsTech to see some of these sessions and get a flavour of what attendees will be experiencing.

I am an ambassador for RootsTech London, and obtain free admission.

And The Winner Is……

Knowing at least two of the entrants to my competition personally, I decided to enlist the help of my grandson Toby in selecting a winner. He thought all the entries were pretty weird but eventually chose the word Progonoplexia

Being heartless, I will not tell you what it means, but trust you will all be scurrying off to search our old friend Google to find the answer. It is fair to say that it is a very appropriate word!

My competition to win a 3 day pass to RootsTech London in October is …..(drum roll) ….

RootsTech Ambassador Jill Ball, who entered in order to try and win a ticket for her husband Robert.  

Jill is a well known family historian and blogger in addition to compiling the geneadictionary which you can find here.

https://geneadictionary.wordpress.com/dictionary/

I have myself contrubuted two entries to the geneadictionary – gineology – “hic….consuming gin and tonic whilst discussing family history ” and Genie Chum – an English version of Genimate.

Well done Jill , and I look forward to meeting Robert again later this year in London.

Rootstech Latest News

RootsTech London has news about their Exhibition Hall. You can read all about it here:

https://www.rootstech.org/blog/london-exhibition-hall-highlight#__prclt=QMaB8ex5

If you have not already done so, you still have time to win a free 3 day pass.

One of the benefits of being a Rootstech Ambassador is that I am able to offer one lucky winner a 3 day pass, worth £149.

The Pass includes admission to the following:

• _Over 150 classes

• _Keynote/ General sessions

• _Expo Hall

• _Evening event

Note: If you have already purchased a RootsTech London pass, you can get a full refund.

The prize does not include transport or accommodation.

To have a chance of winning, all you need to do is to enter my Wacky Word Competition.

The Rules of Competition

  • What is the wackiest word you have come across whilst researching your family tree and which had you reaching for the dictionary?
  • Explain the circumstances where you found it and its meaning.
  • Cite your source.

The judge’s decision if final.

Closing date for Entries is 4 August 2019.

Send your entry by email to: sylvia@recoveryourroots.co.uk

Disclaimer

As a RootsTech Ambassador, I receive free admission to the event.

RootsTech London Competition Time.

Plans for RootsTech London are well advanced, the list of classes, (as RootsTech like to call the workshops) has been issued. There are more than 150 sessions you can choose from and the admission is included in the price of your ticket. Yours truly is speaking on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. when I will be speaking about Researching English and Welsh Workhouse Records.

You can check out all the classes here:

https://www.rootstech.org/schedule

If you are particularly interested in DNA and what can be done with your test results, here is the link.

https://www.rootstech.org/blog/dna-classes-at-rootstech-london?fbclid=IwAR3ynHJOzMxsLTCnuADYdTtKLE8_xI-_yr4w5E6DOSbUZQQNeDNjqb68rfc#__prclt=iPwN4Mjr

There will be a large exhibition area with more than 100 stands.

Making it the perfect place to discover what’s new in the industry, meet exhibitors, and meet and make friends.

One of the benefits of being a Rootstech Ambassador is that I am able to offer one lucky winner a 3 day pass, worth £149.

The Pass includes admission to the following:

• _Over 150 classes

• _Keynote/ General sessions

• _Expo Hall

• _Evening event

Note: If you have already purchased a RootsTech London pass, you can get a full refund.

The prize does not include transport or accommodation.

To have a chance of winning, all you need to do is to enter my Wacky Word Competition.

The Rules of Competition

  • What is the wackiest word you have come across whilst researching your family tree and which had you reaching for the dictionary?
  • Explain the circumstances where you found it and its meaning.
  • Cite your source.

The judge’s decision if final.

Closing date for Entries is 4 August 2019.

Send your entry by email to: sylvia@recoveryourroots.co.uk

Disclaimer

As a RootsTech Ambassador, I receive free admission to the event.

Family History Events 2019

2019 is a busy year for Family History events in the UK as a quick look at the calendar of events, available on http://geneva.weald.org.uk/ will testify. And not everything is on the list! Events range from local society meetings, escorted walks, conferences and study days, larger one day shows and even larger 2 or 3 day events. So if you are planning an event, its a good idea to check the calendar before selecting a date, and its a good idea for organisers to get their event listed too. It is impossible for anyone to attend every event of course but for the family historian, there are plenty of opportunities to pursue their interest each year.

2019 has seen three new events join the calendar, FamilyTreeLive in April held at Alexandra Palace London, THE Genealogy Show held at the NEC Birmingham in June and RootsTech which will be happening in October at ExCeL London. Each event is unique in itself, and having attended RootsTech in Salt Lake City on three occasions, it will be interesting to see how the format translates to the UK. I can’t comment on the FamilyTreeLive event as I was attending a genealogical conference in Edmonton in Alberta Canada where I was a speaker at the same time. I also presented at THE Genealogy Show in Birmingham and will be speaking at RootsTech in London, where I am also be an Ambassador.

In the coming weeks I will be writing more about RootsTech London in my capacity as Ambassador, but at this stage will just say that, in my opinion, anyone with an interest in family history should include RootsTech on their “bucket list” to experience the difference between that event and the types of events we are accustomed to, and by bringing the event to London, the organisers are making the event more accessible for European family historians.

Finally, I want to congratulate the team behind organising THE Genealogy Show. Starting with a conversation on an aeroplane in March on the return from RootsTech 2018, to put on such a high quality event in such a short time, is nothing short of an amazing achievement. The show attracted top flight international speakers, many speaking in the UK for the first time. There was an exhibition area with more than 70 exhibitors and it was good to see a great turn out of many of the country’s Family History Societies. The lecture theatres were enclosed, making it easier for both speakers and audience members alike as the noise from the main hall did not distract. It also meant that only those who had bought a ticket heard the talk, keeping the “cheeky peekers” at bay!

The venue was accessible for attendees with mobility needs, and there were plenty of places for attendees to sit down to rest their feet. The organisers have already announced dates for 2020 – 26 and 27th June, so pop the date in your diary now.