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!!
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!
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.
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
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!
Leaving Salt Lake City after an incredible, intense, really fun week at SLIG – Salt Lake Institute for Genealogy. I took the course “Exploring Native American Research”. Learning about the records of the Native tribes of the United States was so interesting, varied and we learned at depth. We each received a different person to research, based on our personal request about learning about a particular tribe. I had a very interesting man, Edgar L. Powell, a Choctaw man who was a long-time Methodist minister in Indian Territory. Three marriages, five children (at least that I found) and frequently moving to serve congregations that asked him to come.
What was the best about the research on Edgar, and the
Choctaw, was that the same or very similar records exist for my Lakota
family. My Métis family in Québec have
different records and some the same so I’ll look into some of that later, but
in the meantime, while I was at the Family History Library, I took advantage of
the time to also look into some of the Lakota records. Interesting, impactful and fun!
We had to write a short report on the person we researched, and we received some instructions from one of our instructors, Rick Fogarty (he was a great teacher!!), apparently none of us heard them!!! LOL! Rick said that we were all over-achievers because we went well beyond what he asked of us. Too funny ….. the challenge of working with, teaching a group of skilled researchers who are used to doing client work and having the professional passion to do anything we do with the same attention to detail that we give to our clients. LOL!
Rick and fellow teacher/researcher/mom Billie Fogarty gave us SO much to think about! Sharing about record groups, examples of ways to analyze the records, information about the kinds of records that were created for the various ways that the government and tribe would document the people. We heard from Paula Stuart Warren about her many years of research and work in the Native/tribal research area (she had been one of my first teachers at lectures I attended back in the 1990s!), sharing many examples from a wide variety of tribes including her experiences working with tribal enrollment offices.
Last night was the final banquet with awards, door prizes (wish I would have won!), and a really great keynote by Dr. Tom Jones, one of the early teachers that I learned from back in the 1990s. I had the privilege of learning from him at my first institute last summer – GRIP: Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. I took at documentation/citations course from him to improve my ability to cite my research.
All in all, it was both overwhelming, exciting, hard, challenging and engaging. We had the “challenge” of a really cold room so we all were drinking hot beverages, wearing layers. The hotel eventually figured it out and the room finally was better on Thursday and Friday. I was so impressed with SLIG! I really want to attend again – not sure about next year, although there are always DNA courses so that may be what I sign up for. I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn from such high-quality, nationally-recognized speakers. Such a memorable week!! The work of Lineage Journeys, the content that I provide to my clients will be better thanks to these great instructors – Rick and Billie Fogarty, Paula Stuart-Warren, Melissa Johnson, and Paul Graham! In the Lakota language, wopila – thank you.
It’s a little under a week after I first arrived in Salt Lake City for my first RootsTech – the 2018 conference was beginning the next morning, and my presentation too. As it has been a week since it began AND I’ve been home since Monday night, I’ve rested, unpacked and recovered. So in this review of my experience, there is a lot to cover.
First, there is the sheer size of the event – OMG!!! Over 14,000 of your best friends … well, ok, I didn’t meet them all. A special mobile app that linked the attendees on site with their FamilySearch tree gave all of us the opportunity to find cousins!!! I had 212 cousins at the height of the conference and was able to meet up with two of them. How exciting!! The mobile app showed you how you were related – all of mine where in the French-Canadian lines on my tree. SOOOO fun! I hope they continue doing that because we all enjoyed seeing how we connected.
I met the winner of my free RootsTech pass competition – Kimberly Savage arrived at my second workshop on Saturday to introduce herself to me and reported that she’d been having a great time. Here is Kimberly and I when we met!! Glad you had fun, Kimberly.
And then there were the presentations – which I was THRILLED went so well. Acadian & French-Canadian Research and You CAN Take It With You: Mobile Apps for Genealogists. By my estimate, attended by between 150 and 200 people, the participants asked great questions, were engaged, came up before and after the presentation to connect with me and I’ll hope the information helped them.
Being an Ambassador too, had some great perks! Here’s the group of fellow bloggers (GeneaBloggers TRIBE) in the Media Hub where we interviewed speakers and keynote presenters, had a place to write our social media and blog posts, and rest. Yea, you needed a place to rest …. for this first-timer, it was very overwhelming, in a good way!
So heaven for a week looked like constant, nonstop conversation, learning and content about genealogy – cousin conversations, stories, researching and how to connect it all. I think I’ll be on a “high” for a while because it was so great for me. I sooooo hope I get to do it again.