After a leisurely breakfast at J.B.s Restaurant ($7.95 All You Can Eat Senior Citizen Breakfast Buffet!), we headed across the street for our first official day at RootsTech 2019. I steeled myself for the mass of humanity we had experienced last year. Again, congrats to the organizers! Gone were the lengthy lines. No more badge scanning to get into a class. WooHoo!!
My first class was “Discovering Immigration Stories from Both Sides of the Pond” with Lisa Alzo. I always enjoy listening to Lisa present. Of course, I might be a bit biased. I have taken two online writing classes with her (Write Stuff 1 and 2) and am currently taking Write Stuff 3: Selling the Story. My book, “Opulent in Aliases” would never have been finished without the skills I learned and the support I received from Lisa.
My next class was “Untangling the Knots in Your Family Tree” with Olivia Jewell. This presentation was chock full of great tips. Olivia prompted some laughter from the audience when, after very quickly demonstrating a specific strategy, she said, “Simple, right?” After asking why we were all laughing, she reviewed the same steps more slowly!
Another change this year was the free box lunch provided for every attendee. last year, the crowds for the concession stands were ridiculous. If you chose to get food from one, you most likely missed the session you wanted to attend. From what I understand the decision to provide the box lunches was based partly on that problem as well as the fact that is would have been logistically impossible to set up the food vendors in time this year. So, another win-win! Not only were we able to get a great lunch, which we ate while attending Blaine Bettinger and Angie Bush’s session, “Everyone Has a Story, Even You!,” we picked up another box later in the day for our dinner!! So frugal!!
My last session of the day was “A Step-by-Step Guide to MyHeritage DNA” with Ran Snir. Ran – you did a great job, but I still am having trouble grasping the whole autosomal, chromosome matching thing!! I’ll get there. One thing was made clear to me at this presentation, though. My Heritage really does have some excellent tools. I am making it a goal to learn more about how to effectively use the website.
We skipped the Keynote with Steve Rockwood, CEO of Family Search in order to eat dinner. The Expo Hall opened at 6 and we didn’t want to miss a minute exploring all the great vendors there.
While walking around, we discovered an Ancestry booth where you could take a picture (and potentially end up in an Ancestry ad!) That was fun!
My first stop in the Expo Hall was to meet Jenny Hawran, (Blog: Like Herding Cats) I was this year’s winner of Jenny’s Ambassador Pass, which meant a free ticket to RootsTech! We had a great chat – she’s from Windsor, CT by the way! I learned a bit about the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and the services they offer to support local societies. Sounds like something that might be helpful to JGSCT (Jewish Genealogical Society of Connecticut) of which I am a board member. My photo op there paid off – I won a $10 gift card to PF Changs!
We went back to our room around 8:30 and spent the next two hours reviewing all we learned during the day (Well, Cheryl did. I actually wrote a blog post for Week 9 of Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks blog challenge!!)
Tomorrow would be another full day!!