RootsTech 2016, Day 2

Day 2 began with a keynote speaker, which I have to admit I did not attend. The Family History Library was calling my name. . . I have been trying to prove some of the statements written decades ago about the Stufflebean/m descendants of Revolutionary War soldier John, aside from my husband’s direct line. That is a story for another day. Today, it is all about RootsTech.

I did arrive in the convention center for the opening of the Expo Hall. My first view was the FamilySearch space, which is huge.

There was little time to wander around, but I did notice that many returning vendors are about in the same area of the hall as last year. That will be a big help when I return there later today.

Session 1 ran from 11 to 12. I had four possibilities on the list – Are My Roots Showing? Security and Online Genealogy, by Deborah Gamble, State Archives and Libraries: Free Online Sources by Kory Meyerink, and Genealogical and Historical Societies to the Rescue by D. Joshua Taylor. My choice ended up being #4 – 7 Unique Technologies for Genealogy Discoveries presented by Mike Mansfield from MyHeritage. After all, this is a genealogy-technology conference and I already know that state archives and genealogical/Historical societies are way under-used resources.
My choice turned out to be not for me, as the 7 technologies were linked to MyHeritage, of which I am already a member. I was already familiar with using the tips so I decided to head to Deborah Gamble’s talk about online security.
She shared tips about using password managers and credit cards with chips in them. Many in the audience seemed to be new to the technology world – yes, the average age was in the senior citizen range – and many, many questions were asked. Deborah also shared tips about protecting recently deceased family members, which, sadly, is a necessity today. She then moved on to protecting ancestral information on websites.
I had read that the Expo Hall would have 20% more vendors this year, but I’m not sure I believe that. I felt like there was a lot more open space this year AND, while it was busy, it was no where near as packed today as it was last year. That’s not to say there isn’t a ton of fun booths to visit, but it wasn’t cramped feeling in there today.
After lunch, Thomas Jones’ talk, Inferential Genealogy: Deducing Ancestors’ Identities Indirectly, was my destination. The room was full long before the session began.
Inferred relationships are sometimes the only “proof” that can be found for families. A case study on a colonial American family was presented.
Beginning with a focused question, he took the audience through the steps needed to be able to draw a reasonable conclusion using inferential records. Careful review of available records often allows a genealogist to build a strong argument for or against unproven “facts” in your family history. This session was excellent!
Next on my agenda was another problem solving type session, Finding Immigrant Origins – A Case Study on Finding the Elusive Immigrant by Daniel Ouimette.
I really enjoy case study talks because it is a way to fine tune strategies I have tried in my research and to learn some new techniques. I am a lot newer to blogging than I am to genealogy so seeking out more advanced tips is almost always my goal. Daniel outlined the two step process that most use to identify ancestral homes, researching your ancestor after he/she arrived and then jumping across the pond to search in the country of origin. The key to success is painting the picture with the details that are gathered. A family researcher then needs to look a bit outside the box to make sure an inclusive review of all available records is completed.
By the end of the day, I was worn out. I decided to just wander through the Expo Hall one full time so I had an idea of where all the vendors were located. On the way, I passed the Family Discovery Zone.
There were also several vendors and organizations offering free scanning.
It was a great first full day. The only (major) disappointment came about 5:30 p.m. when an announcement was made in the convention center that, due to a power outage in the Family History Library with no estimated time of restoration available, the library was closed for the night. That put a big crimp in our evening plans!
It is expected that all will be up and running in the morning. Hope so, because we plan to be in there again tomorrow morning when it opens.
That’s the wrap up for Day 2.

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