Amazing Speakers, Content in RootsTech 2019

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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!!!!

What Death Notices Might Be Used For

For those of us “of a certain age”, membership in AARP gives us access to their great publications.  In the recent AARP Bulletin, an article entitled Death Notice Double-Cross https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2018/scams-using-obituaries.html provides a perspective that we genealogists need to think about and talk with our families about.

As many of us, when a loved one dies, write (either ourselves or with the help of a funeral home) an obituary that often contain birth date, death date, names of family survivors and more information about the deceased’s life, there is an opportunity for scam artists.  As genealogists, we find obituaries to fill in gaps in  information that we otherwise haven’t found.  A mother’s maiden name, birthplace of the deceased, names of descendants and more are usual items that I know have helped me personally in looking for ancestors in our family.  However, the AARP article cautions against using these pieces of information in obituary notices because of the potential scam opportunities.  While those of us still living and mourning a loss want to honor a lifetime (and I can admit to wanting to document their life for future family historians),  there are immediate concerns here to consider.  Scams of course are becoming more and more creative and brazen.   There is good advice here!

Perhaps the answer for us in these modern times is to consider how and where we share this important information.  Maybe consider sharing the deceased person’s age without giving the birth date or place.  Don’t provide mother’s maiden name or the address of the family.  And maybe provide instead what the person’s great works were or the legacy of the volunteer roles they had – items that enrich what is known about a person.  My concern about this is that the incredible value to us in the obituary, as family historians, is often the information that is only source of some key pieces of fundamental facts of birth, marriage or death.  As a researcher, I’m dealing with obituaries well out of the reach of scammers, but protect yourself in the present so that there isn’t an additional story of sorry if a scammer takes advantage of your loss.