It’s Almost Here! RootsTech 2018 & Choices, Choices, Choices

RootsTech 2018 is only a couple of weeks away now. How will I ever fill up all that time? It’s more like how will I ever get to everything that I want to do!

Actually, my overall plan is the same as the other four years that I’ve attended RootsTech. I’ll be arriving in Salt Lake on Sunday, 27 February. After a good night’s sleep, I will be ready for the Family History Library when it opens on Monday morning.

My “to do” list (hard copy) is set to go, as are a couple of flash drives with lots of memory (128GB). I bring two, which hold duplicate files, in case one decides to stop working.

Although I travel with both a laptop and an iPad (I am not a fan of cell phones at all), the laptop remains in the hotel room. It will be used to write my blog posts at then end of each conference day.

I bring the iPad to the FHL with me each day to check email, keep up with the world news and, at times, have used it when the FHL internet has gone down.

On Monday morning, I spend a bit of my time watching Pat Richley-Erickson’s live broadcast of Mondays with Myrt, which she does in the Family History Library.

Lunch on Monday and Tuesday is generally spent with blogging friends, but every other minute is spent in the Family History Library digging out microfilms and books for records that are not yet digitized.

This year, RootsTech begins on Wednesday, so that definitely changes the order of business for the rest of the week.

First, I hate standing in long lines, so as soon as the Registration area is open, I will be there getting registered. The longer one waits, the longer that line gets!

My iPad also has another very important item on it:

RootsTech 2018 App

And, the app holds the key to the entire conference, as it has the schedule of all the sessions I’ve entered. It’s be a bit much to bore you with four entire days of conference sessions, but I’ll share a few of my choices and explain my strategy.

There are two steps that I always follow as I highlight possible conference sessions to attend.

First, and always foremost, is interest level.  Next, I need to evaluate the focus of the talk, which isn’t always easy since the class description is often the only guide. However, sometimes knowing the speaker tips my attendance one way or the other.

It the session title is something that draws me in AND I have heard the speaker before, it’s a lot simpler judging whether the talk will be at too much of a beginner level for me to benefit.

This year, there are a number of session titles that have piqued my interest, but the speakers are new to me.

That means that I will have two, or perhaps even three, possible sessions in one time slot.

For example, Wednesday’s options include Rebecca Whitman Kofod presenting Missing & Presumed Dead: A Case Study of Civil War Records. During the same time slot is Genealogy Tools & Tech Roundup by David Mann. Both are grouped in the intermediate class.

Both sessions sound promising. I’ll either pick just beforehand and see which strikes my mood or I will visit each session for half the time. I’ve done that many times before.

Thursday’s sessions present more quandaries. At 3:00, Drew Smith is presenting Use an Ancestor’s Fan Clubs to Get Past Brick Walls. Peggy Lauritzen is speaking on Migration Trails Across America.

Another choice to be made! In this case, I have heard both speakers in the past. I might go with Peggy’s session simply because I know much less about migration trails than I do about using FAN clubs.

Second, a genealogy conference is an opportunity to hear new speakers, too. Friday’s sessions give me a chance to listen to three presenters whose names I definitely know.

Curt Witcher’s talk is titled An Ancestor’s Death: A Time for Reaping. Not only is the title a fun play on words, but I get to here Mr. Witcher for the first time.

Last year, I missed Angela McGhie’s session, which was one of the only advanced sessions to be offered because the room had filled before I arrived. This year, her talk is Alternative Sources for Vital Events. Even though it’s in the intermediate level category, it might be too basic to appeal to me. I will probably listen for a short time and then head off to another session. I have three penciled in for 11:00 a.m. on Friday morning, so I will be scurrying from one session to another.

A third speaker, new-to-me, is David Lambert from the New England Historic Genealogical Society. I’ve spoken with him many times, but have never attended one of his presentations. I’ve been dabbling in the probate records online at AmericanAncestors, so his Understanding New England Probate Records caught my eye.

I’ll be honest – there are occasional times when nothing really appeals to me in a given time slot, but that isn’t any issue. I head to the exhibitors in the Expo Hall.

There are company reps to talk to and learn from, mini-presentations by several companies and lots of items to tempt me to spend my money.

If RootsTech 2018 is like other years, a few presentations will be available for viewing at home. If you aren’t able to attend in person, it will be a perfect opportunity for virtual participation.

 

 

 

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