Sunday, February 7, 2016

RootsTech, Days 3 & 4

(Note that you can see my entire RootsTech 2016 collection here.)

Where to start?  I'm writing this on a plane flying east from Salt Lake City.  This week at RootsTech was exhausting but exhilarating.  I learned, met new and wonderful fellow genealogy addicts, including some that I've known online for quite a while.  The genealogy blogging world is full of fun, wonderful people.
Genealogy Bloggers--I'm the one in the back row, 4 from the right in the pinkish/purple top

The expo hall itself was so huge and full of so many products, ideas and people that I could have spent the entire week there.  I managed to get a photo before it opened one morning--and it keeps going to the right for quite a ways!
RootsTech Expo Hall
I was asked to give a talk demonstrating JewishGen on the RootsTech Demo Stage.  This was the audience right before I began--I'm not sure if they were here to hear me speak or just to enjoy the very cushy chairs, but it was well-attended.
The talk went well, and there were good questions both during and after the talk.
Me Demoing JewishGen
As part of being a RootsTech Ambassador, I was able to meet with and speak to several of the keynote speakers.  AJ Jacobs, founder of the world's largest family reunion, among other things, was gracious enough to talk to myself and a few other ambassadors (I'm the one in the grey & white shirt).
He's currently working on a genealogy book called "It's All Relative."  His deadline was 3 months ago, but he's still working on it--his mind seems to jump from topic to topic each minute, so I can see why he's not a deadline kind of guy.  The book is about his family, as well as revolutions in genealogy like DNA and online research. He's also covering interesting themes in genealogy including cousin marriages and black sheep.

He can't believe the scope of RootsTech.  He put on a World Family Reunion with 3700 people in NY and 10000 others around the world; this is 3 times the size and all in one location.  His main goal is to get people interested in genealogy who weren't before.  His reunion was able to get lots of mainstream press coverage--he did a bit of research on various producers and reporters and then called them and asked them to do a favor for their cousin!

I asked about upcoming projects.  He is doing a project for TEDbooks, where they will take something simple like a cup of coffee and thank everyone that went into the making and distribution of it.

Quite an interesting guy!

I also attended a few more talks, including a DNA one by Tim Janzen.  He was able to do some incredible work verifying and connecting various family lines, solely on the basis of DNA.  I'd love to try what he's done, but unfortunately with my endogamous Jewish DNA, it isn't so straightforward!

Dear Myrtle held a bloggers after-party at her house.  It was wonderful to speak with more bloggers and fellow genealogists as the conference ended.
Many of the Jewish bloggers ended up chatting for a while as well.
Jewish Blogger Chat
I had a wonderful time and am already looking forward to next year!

Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Feel free to follow me (@larasgenealogy).

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