Lineage Journeys – Summary of RootsTech 2019!

Goodbye to Salt Lake City for now!

Well, RootsTech 2019 is in the books … and thousands of us enjoyed a great experience! New this coming year is RootsTech London and of course 2020 is the 10th anniversary of RootsTech and promises to be another amazing experience!

Learned a lot this year! Returning for RootsTech for a second year gave the advantage that I knew more of what to expect, knew my way around the building and locations where I could prepare as a speaker and take time to blog, but also to network, meet other professionals and hook up with cousins. SOOOOO fun!

Lessons learned – participants sometimes don’t fully read the descriptions for presentations, so announcing at the beginning of my presentations who the audience is that I’m directing my information to; participants want to take pictures or record our presentations to share with others, and there’s an internal struggle to be honest about how we are working hard to make a living while also being transparent with how that works/doesn’t work when others share our content. And finally, by far the biggest learning is that there are thousands of truly dedicated family historians that want to get it right – to document their families through records, stories, photos and more so that present and future generations can appreciate the blessing of lives well-lived. And some great stories along the way – even with their own research journeys! I learned A LOT from the cousins I met, other attendees that offered me their perspectives.

So, if you haven’t attended RootsTech, DO!! Stay tuned – if I’m selected again to be a speaker or ambassador, I may have tickets to offer for a lucky family historian to get free registration to the conference!!

A Day Focused on DNA – RootsTech Day 3!

The double helix of DNA

Today’s theme for me here at RootsTech today is DNA!!! It began early – a “Power Hour” with Christi Lynn Jacobsen, Dana Leeds, and Diahan Southard – You CAN Do DNA. An excellent and well-taught overview of why DNA is important for genealogists. They used great examples, kept it simple and honed in on the important points. Of COURSE! They are all professionals working with DNA for years, so they have explained it over and over to clients. Great job!

Dana Leeds explaining the Leeds Method of color-coding your DNA matches to create clusters.

Then a series of classes with Blaine Bettinger (found out he’s my cousin! Well, it’s pretty distant – 8th cousin – but that matters, right?!). He too, a long-time professional with DNA, offered two presentations – the first on Essential Considerations for DNA Evidence, explained the pitfalls and potential issues in working with or utilizing DNA evidence to find family relationships. He is great with explaining complex information in easy-to-understand terms. His second presentation – Chromosome Mapping Tips and Techniques – shared about the DNA Painter tool and how it can be utilized with data from FamilyTree DNA, GEDMatch, 23AndMe, and MyHeritage (not Ancestry). Step by step, Blaine led us through the reasons to do chromosome mapping while also giving advice and his own experience about what works best. VERY helpful!

Blaine makes DNA understandable, easier to consider when doing genealogy. He explained DNA Painter (below).

My brain is fried – and NOT because the presenters didn’t do an awesome job of explaining DNA and using it with “paper” genealogy. It was just a lot to take in but I am so energized to dig into this when I return home. Very exciting way to help me make some potential breakthroughs in my family research, and to offer to clients in my Lineage Journeys work.

Day 2 at Roots Tech – whew!!!!

Ambassador day – Getting into the classes, Exhibit Hall, luncheons, keynHiotes, activities and more of RootsTech 2019!

Wow, the end of Day 2 of RootsTech and has it been a ride!!! I’m exhausted, happy, excited and needing some rest.

The day started with joining my fellow Ambassadors in the Media Hub and crazy, fun people like Mr. Thomas MacEntee from High Definition Genealogy.

The Media Hub – morning of Day 2 at about 10 a.m. An hour later, there were no seats available and people were standing. At least three interviews were happening and friends meeting up!
Crazy fun Thomas MacEntee of High Definition Genealogy is such a joy to be around. With mad skills in promotion, marketing, networking and all around sharing guy, his workshops are fantastic!!

I was able to observe some interviews – Patricia Keaton was one of those I listened in on. She was the Keynote Speaker this morning, sharing her career story and what she knows about her family. Patricia had the benefit of the work of Family Search and AncestryDNA and learned more about her family live on stage – it was very fun, touching.

Lunchtime was VERY special as I had the pleasure to meet Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the host of Finding Your Roots on PBS. We watched a new movie, initially shared at the Sundance Film Festival, entitled Railroad Ties. Following the meeting and interconnections between a group of people whose ancestors knew each other at a key time in American history (I won’t spoil the story line)…..get out your tissues!

Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. – Host of Finding Your Roots on PBS; Harvard professor in African American Studies.
Talking about Railroad Ties, a new movie first released at the Sundance Film Festival.

And the fun continued as a met up with others at the Family History Library for a follow up conversation about my Wednesday “Mobile Apps for Genealogy” session.

The evening ended with some appetizers and conversation with the Genealogy Business Alliance group at the Marriott. Networking with other business owners, I wanted to learn more about ways to share Lineage Journeys with others.

Live From Salt Lake City!

Just the first day .. not as many people yet, but by Friday and Saturday, there will be probably 14,000!!

From RootsTech 2019, where there will soon be over 14,000 people taking hundreds of classes and networking, finding cousins and having fun!

My first workshop, You CAN Take It With You:  Mobile Genealogy Tools for Genealogists, went SOOO well and there must have been over 600 people in the room.  Great questions, energy – we even did “stand up, sit down” exercises.  AND cousin meet-ups!  How fun!

In the midst of the “stand up if you ….” exercise with over 600 people in the room!

Today felt like a day of healing and reconciliation … certainly, there is much more to do, but a beginning and significant movement in the right direction.  Friend and fellow GeneaBlogger Tribe member Cheri Hudson Passey offered a workshop “Discovering Slave Owners in the Family Tree” that was so impactful that people were crying, and not bad tears but those tears of recognized loss and finding common ground for healing.  We also learned about the incredible donation of $2 Million to the International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, announced at the Opening Session!  Wow!  There will be a family history center within the museum that will help anyone seeking information about their family, especially focusing on the African diaspora and records that will help in tracing those that were enslaved.  An incredible opportunity for everyone to learn, share, grieve, and hopefully gain some healing, pride in the strength of ancestors.

Part of the magic of RootsTech is the networking, mingling, meeting cousins.  Also having opportunities for growth from those synchronistic meetings or information that those of us long in the genealogy field know to expect.  My research time at the Family History Library on Monday and Tuesday led to some really great information for my clients (one in French-Canadian and another in Native research) AND some perfectly wonderful experiences for myself.

Met another wonderful French-Canadian cousin! Meet Amberly Peterson Beck!

As I have just begun the research on the Polish family on my dad’s side, I had recently found the name of the village that my great-grandparents immigrated from – Gorlice, Malopolska, Poland (it wasn’t always Poland, as it was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire).  The Niemczyk, Niemiec, Nimer, Nemshak family (yes, they changed the name a number of times) immigrated in about 1880 but no one in the family knew where they came from.  The family worked hard to fit into their initial American community in Chicopee, Massachusetts and later in Detroit, Michigan but not many stories of “the old country” apparently were shared.  Reaching out to cousins, there was much to go on.  So, I went down to the International section of the Family History Library and, wonder of wonders, there is a specialist FROM POLAND who is a Missionary there.  She was awesome!  AND introduced me to two young men, themselves Polish and here doing research.  AND …. Wait for it … they are from the Malopolska region!! Yes!!  So they are going to take the information that I know about my family and see what they might find when they are in the Polish archives.  :::::::::::::::crossing my fingers::::::::::::::::::::::::

Hopefully the pictures here will show you just how great RootsTech 2019 is and what a great experience it is.  And it’s only the beginning of Day 2 as I write this.  Stay tuned for more!

On The Road – Preparing for RootsTech 2019!!!!!

The Expo Hall is HUGE!!!

SOOO excited – RootsTech2019 is almost here!!!!

The countdown is ON! I’m finalizing my presentations, collecting my equipment, reviewing and updating my talks – I’m so pleased that Lineage Journeys/I was selected to speak again. I’m presenting You CAN Take It With You: Mobile Apps for Genealogy and Native, First Nations, Indian: Researching Indigenous People . 

Hope you will join me at RootsTech 2019!!!

There is so much to say about how fun RootsTech is – AND it can be overwhelming! The Expo Hall, Salt Palace is so HUGE so you have to be very disciplined about selecting your classes, planning your days there and probably allowing time to be at the Family History Library (really, it’s a very short walk!).

The Exhibitors area is also HUGE – but so worthwhile! There are always discounts for purchasing items at the event (think “DNA kits”!) , getting your family tree printed out on large paper, exploring jewelry with a family history theme, activities, booth workshops, books, tapes, things to buy, people to meet, freebee stuff to get …. yeah, overwhelming. But here’s what I learned from attending last year – my first year: 1- Wear comfortable shoes. You are going to walk A LOT! 2 – Plan ahead. RootsTech has a mobile app with the classes, exhibitors, special events, everything you’d want to know and you can create a schedule using it. DO IT! 3 – Either pre-print your handouts or plan to use the app – you can take notes on your phone or tablet from the app. Yeah, it’s pretty fun! 4 – Plan ahead for your personal needs. There is plenty of food on site – vendors, sit down places, variety. But maybe bring some snack bars or energy bars. And if you are thinking about saving money, some of the hotels include breakfast in your registration (be sure to check!) but many hotels have refrigerators in the room so bring things for meals. There is a grocery store nearby or you could use one of the many food delivery apps to have food delivered to you (yeah, there is a delivery fee and you have to sign up for most). But I brought breakfast foods so that I didn’t have to go out early – I could relax over breakfast in my room (PB&J is easy to bring, as is tea!).

Don’t take it just from me! Here’s a video from our RootsTech hosts about what to think about: The Road to RootsTech

There is also an option to check out some of the content from home – it’s really better to come there, but if you can’t, explore this option: Virtual Roots Tech! VERY reasonably priced, you get great content and you can learn from home. Saves on travel, hotel costs while also giving you access to experts and subjects that are of interest. There are 18 recorded sessions for only $129! A great value!

Hope to see you there – but if you buy the Virtual Pass, watch in the background! Maybe you’ll see me waving!! And watch here during the event, as I will be posting that week about what I’m hearing, seeing and learning as well is pictures of people I meet and the fun we are all having. If you attend, reach out via cell phone/mobile app – I may be with the GeneaBloggers Tribe, the Archives of Michigan, in the Ambassadors area, or around the exhibit hall – let’s meet up!

Amazing Speakers, Content in RootsTech 2019

Stage image

There is A LOT that is fun at RootsTech beyond the genealogy research, learning and cousin-connections happening …. it’s ALL fun, right? But the general sessions take it up a notch with some content that is inspiring, with music, prizes, and lots of enthusiasm.

A really great feature of the RootsTech website and team is that they produce a bunch of great videos that share about aspects of the conference. Here is one about the plans for the keynotes/speakers and entertainment that will be happening:
RootsTech 2019 video. As an overview, on Wednesday, Steve Rockwood (CEO of FamilySearch) will start things off with updates, what’s coming and the opening of the vendor hall. Thursday, Patricia Heaton, star from Everybody Loves Raymond, will be sharing about being a “real life” mom and a book she has written about family, motherhood and her experiences. Friday could be really emotional as star Saroo Brierley, from the movie Lion (have you seen in?? Boy becomes lost from family, is taken in by another family, later in life seeks out his birth family … very cool film!), will offer his perspective on family, belonging and connecting. Friday night is a special evening event that includes dancer Derek Hough, who will encourage everyone to get on their feet and learn some dances (…. lots of music, motion and fun!). Saturday’s closing general session will feature Jake Shimabukuro, an incredible Hawaiian ukulele artist who is fun, entertaining and VERY skilled (can you imagine Bohemian Rhapsody on ukulele!?!!!).

I was SOOOO wowed by the content of these general sessions that the energy carried me through long days. The excitement of it all is infectious and, if you are going, you will SOOO want to be in the room. They are moving these to 11 a.m. this year – so that there are workshops before these keynotes and then you go out for more after. Really great stuff! Are you coming? Let’s meet up – Lineage Journeys are gearing up!!!!

Count Down to RootsTech 2019!!!

Count Down to RootsTech 2019 has begun!

Every day begins with Keynote Speakers, excitement, music, contests and more!!!

It’s just before Thanksgiving and I’m beginning to get SOOOO excited about the upcoming RootsTech 2019!!  Maybe you are thinking about going, or maybe (if you can’t go) you are wondering if there is livestreaming, or workshops that you can look at after …… YES, YES, and YES!!  You can STILL register – click here for Registration!!  

And there is SOOO much to do when you get there – here’s just one picture of the vendors’ area …. demos, speakers, things to buy, networking, learning, and so much more.  Food, a place to sit and catch or breath, meet up with newly-found cousins!

The vendors are friendly, helpful, offer demos and speakers, and SOOO much to buy – LOTS of discounted merchandise!  DNA kits are on sale (very special prices!) and every kind of book, jewelry, t-shirts, etc. than you could imagine!!

SOOOO more to come!  In the coming weeks, I’ll give you some idea about who the BIG speakers will be, and about my workshops (YES – I’m a speaker), and if you want me to get you something from the vendors, we can make arrangements (starting thinking about DNA kits?)!
MORE TO COME!!   Join me at RootsTech 2019???