Heading to RootsTech and Day Zero

9 February 2017

Since the last blog, many miles have been travelled to RootsTech (and even more kilometres) on foot, bus, boat, car and plane. My MileIQ app on my mobile keeps asking me to classify journeys as personal or business and I keep telling it ‘I am on public transport’ or similar!

The boat part of our travels was on Monday to Alcatraz, 1.25 miles offshore from San Francisco. For any hermits who don’t know what Alcatraz was, Alcatraz Island housed a maximum high-security federal prison, which operated from 1934 to 1963. Interestingly, there were only four different wardens during that time in what must have been very challenging working conditions. Walking around the cell block, recreation area, library etc., the prison can best be described as bleak and it is understandable that prisoners arrived on the island either resigned to their fate or argumentative and angry. The weather was less than pleasant which made the experience all the more ‘real’. Thankfully (although many expressed their amazement), @HistoryLady2013 and I were allowed off the island to continue our trip!

The step count on my prison bracelet …. I mean Fitbit …. almost hit 100,000 steps this week. That’s a total I haven’t seen for some time…. but the goal was not achieved due to a minor travel challenge. No ‘plane to take us from San Francisco to Salt Lake City! Argh!!!! Cinderella had a ball to attend!!! One of the (many) benefits of being an Ambassador at RootsTech is that you get to attend the Media Dinner which, this year, was on Tuesday. We were due to arrive at half 4 which would have been a challenge enough to get there for 6pm. Flight delay made it impossible.

Never one to see challenges as any more than just that ….  leapt over hurdles and produced a minor canter up the Convention Center corridors to arrive only 20 minutes late for the dinner. Nothing short of a miracle! Great introduction to the conference from the ‘key players’ and managed to bag myself a seat on a fabulously international table with Daniel Horowitz from My Heritage, Brandon Beckstead who is on the RootsTech organising team, Myko Clelland from FindmyPast and several new friends.

Having missed the networking before the dinner, I made quick work of meeting up with friends and also connecting with people who I had only previously ‘met’ online. RootsTech really is the place to be.

I always refer to the Innovator Summit day (Wednesday) as Day Zero at RootsTech. It’s an awesome concept with so many new and innovative ideas but, more often than not, that’s the day I use for networking, researching and getting prepared for the three days ahead. I have a rather irritating lady on one of our cases at the moment who seems to change her name more frequently than one might consider healthy! She received more than her fair share of attention and still remains elusive…. Her marriage certificate arrival tomorrow in the office may help to ward off insanity. Oh the traumas of a professional genealogist!

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