RootsTech 2018 – Opening Day

Opening Day of RootsTech 2018

This year’s RootsTech schedule is a bit different than in previous years. Registration began yesterday at noon and this morning jumped right into the class sessions at 9:30. The keynote with Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, wasn’t until 4:30 this afternoon. The Innovation Showcase followed his keynote.

The Expo Hall debuted tonight from 6-8. There are 197 vendors at RootsTech this year – which is heaven for anyone looking for anything genealogical – plus there are 60 (yes, 60!) new companies at RootsTech for the first time.

Day 1 – It was exciting to see that a number of my class choices were with speakers that I’ve never heard before. Because the keynote speech was at 4:30, there were four session slots that began earlier than usual.

9:30 – The Search for Anna Hansen: Finding German Records presented by Daniel Jones, MA, AG, caught my interest because I decided it was time to look back at my husband’s German lines. I’ve also heard that Germany is entering the genealogy world and records are becoming available on subscription sites.

This session was packed full of tips, tricks, history and methods of genealogical research in Germany. The room was large with two big screens to accommodate everyone and I’d be very surprised if each attendee didn’t learn a lot about German Research. Daniel Jones was a superb speaker.

11:00 – This slot had four sessions that caught my eye – Missing – Presumed Dead: A Case Study of Civil War Records with Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG, Translation and Transcription Tools for Genealogy with Thomas MacEntee, The Ancestors Await: Finding Your Ancestors Through Archival Research with Toni Carrier and the session I finally decided to attend – Genealogy Tools and Technology Roundup with David Mann, who is CTO and co-founder of Heirloom Software.

However, his talk was not centered on his company. Instead, David gave a broad overview of various technological tools and how to make appropriate choices that work for individual needs. I picked u several new tips. It was a worthwhile session as I am not the most techy person around by far!

1:30 – My choice here was clear – Curt Witcher is a name I’ve known for a long time, but have never had the opportunity to hear him speak. Beyond Hatched, Matched and Dispatched: More Stories was terrific.

The need to do thorough research was stressed in order to tell the stories of our ancestors’ lives. I really enjoyed his speaking style with some humor thrown in and he covered a lot of ground in one hour. A great summary of his talk is found in his closing words: Fill the Gaps. Find the Stories.

3:00 – The final class of the afternoon was another choice between two for me. Which Hans Jensen Is Mine? Navigating Patronymics in Scandinavian Research with Jenny Hansen and Finding Elusive Records at Family Search with Robert Kehrer both had something to offer.

I know that there are gems in the FamilySearch catalog, but in the end Jenny Hansen’s Scandinavian records was the winner. There is more work to be done on my Danish and Swedish lines and I need all the help I can get!

I feel badly that I didn’t get a photo of Jenny Hansen. The room was packed and I was seated in the last row.

She covered multiple record types and examples of following patronymic naming patterns in one hour. Her examples included Danish, Swedish and Norwegian records. Another session where I picked up some new pointers.

In summary, the speakers today were all top-notch1

After the close of the last session, the semi-finalists and winner of the Innovation Showcase were announced, but I will write about that event in a separate post.

The Expo Hall opened from 6-8 tonight. Many people had gone home, so although it was busy, it was a calm kind of busy, which made for fun browsing.

I made a quick sweep around the hall, which is huge. There are 60 new vendors on the floor this year, so my vendor review next week will have information on many new companies.

That’s it for Day 1. More to come tomorrow on Day 2!




2 thoughts on “RootsTech 2018 – Opening Day”

  1. I should make a note of all the recommended speakers, should I ever have the opportunity to hear them speak. Sounds like a great day.

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