RootsTech – The Final Frontier

8 February 2016

During the course of the last three days (and even before the conference began), I have learnt an enormous amount…. more about the Mormon faith, more about Utah, more about family history/genealogy and more about pollution. Yes, you read that correctly. I am not one for sniffs and snivels, or coughs and colds…. but since Tuesday, I have been struggling with both. Without going into the graphic details (which is clearly not what you came to this blog for), my ailments were not of the viral variety. So, I decided to do some research into why – altitude aside – I was struggling in the sinus region. The answer is short (you’ll be pleased to know!). The American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2015 report puts the greater Salt Lake City area at No. 7 in the most polluted cities in the USA (generally for short-term spikes in particle pollution). According to the report in the Salt Lake Tribune (29 April 2015), “Air that’s unhealthy to breathe is especially hard on the 289,284 Utahns — 11 percent of the population — with lung problems such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), for the very young and the old”.

Thankfully, RootsTech Day 3 has, for the most part (once again), been an indoor affair. For the second day running (the first day, we were shown around as a large group of Ambassadors), I was the first one in the Media Hub. An early start means that blog posts can be scheduled, Facebook messages planned and Tweets in hand for the rest of the day. For today, I was determined to get out of the Media Hub and see at least one lecture and network with some more exhibitors. I succeeded!

Family History Takes Place: Geography and Genealogy had my name written all over it. Having been a founder member of the Society for One-Place Studies, I could not possibly miss it! Dan(iel) Reeves and Dan Shellman were speaking about “the geographical context of our ancestors’ lives at culturally sensitive places, proximity versus jurisdiction, historical changes to places, and data sharing implications with others”…. this fitted right into my thinking with comments such as “every event in history has its time and its place” and “people make places“. I tweeted like a crazy person and it was great to see some interaction from the #NotAtRootsTech community.

I don’t think I would be talking out of school if I told you that many of the Ambassadors ‘hit the wall’ early afternoon. It ain’t easy you know…. but Jill Ball and I managed to score a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card when an interviewer failed to turn up to interview the winner of the Innovation Summit. So, as we were there in the Media Hub (and are well-known good eggs!), we were given the opportunity to interview Gabriel Roybal from TapGenes. Well, that gave us a third wind! I would recommend you take a look at the TapGenes website…. a totally free app which “helps you crowd source your family’s health information, helping you understand the thread that ties your family’s health together”. I have already registered and will be delving deeper.

My RootsTech day ended with an interview with Shannon Combs Bennett and Jennifer Alford from The In-Depth Genealogist, along with my colleagues, Jill Ball and Judy G. Russell. We were talking about Ethical Dilemmas (à la panel session yesterday) and, strangely enough, managed only questions from Shannon and Jennifer, as we all talked so much!

Having finished my tasks for the day, the tortoise shell (otherwise known as my rather extensive backpack) was deposited back at the hotel and we (me and CiCoNO) took our last trip to the City Creek Shopping Centre. You may well ask why we did not wait until tomorrow (Sunday) for our shopping trip. Simple. It’s not open! It is owned by the Mormon Church and Sunday is a day of rest.

Purchases made (we won’t say what so we don’t spoil the return home surprises!), we met up briefly for a hot chocolate with Andrea and Mr Andrea (Matthew) Harding to plan our escapades on the road tomorrow. Park City and Utah Olympic Park….. so excited! Watch out for tomorrow’s blog for more information and pictures.

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