RootsTech – Day 1

5 February 2016

Anyone who knows me will know that I am a night owl not an early bird. So, getting up when the alarm says 6am, halfway around the world, is not my idea of a good time! That said, the early start was so that we (the Ambassadors) could have a tour around the Expo Hall before it officially opened …. definitely worth it to know the lie of the land, figure out where everything is and generally plan the next three days…. Well, that’s what I hope to do, sometime, maybe….!

This is my first trip to RootsTech and I am taking my Ambassador role very seriously, networking with fellow professionals, commercial providers and promoting the event as much as physically possible both within the conference itself and to those not able to attend in person. I think it would be fair to say that I have never used Twitter and Facebook so much in any one day in my entire life. The mobile phone and laptop have not been far from my finger tips all day!

There have been key notes from Steve Rockwood, the MD for the Family History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and President/CEO of FamilySearch International – now that is a long job title. He and Paula Williams Madison (producer and subject of Finding Samuel Lowe) started the day off in style and there seem to be a number of photographs of members of the audience wearing masks??

OK, I have a confession to make. I did not manage to make it to even one ‘class’ yesterday. Not one. I did a few interviews with people (videos to follow) and a whole pile of writing and talking to people. Today (Friday), I will do better. Mainly because I have a ‘class’ to participate in myself! My guts will be for garters if I am not there, for sure. The plan is to hit some other ones too, if I can. The problem is that there is so much to choose from (15+ concurrent sessions) and so much to do here. It’s not the kind of place you can come once and take it all in. It’s an experience…. and a half!

One of the more American experiences was finding that suddenly a motorcycle was riding into the Expo Hall – Stan Ellsworth from American Ride. I am not sure that would happen at one of our genealogical conferences in the UK but I guess, anything is possible! Maybe we need to plan bigger – Who Do You Think You Are? Live in Birmingham is certainly not a patch on RootsTech (but then it is better than the event it replaced at the Royal Horticultural Halls).

The evening ‘Opening Social’ event was quite something – big and loud from the Crescent Super Band and Ryan Innes (a contestant on the fourth season of NBC’s The Voice in 2013) …. it took me back to my saxophone section roots in a Big Band in yesteryear. Even in the evenings there are so many different events (generally involving food) laid on by sponsors, you could easily have three dinners. Thankfully, I have not done so, otherwise I may not fit back in the aeroplane seats on the return trip!

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