RootsTech Connect 2021: Final Thoughts

This year’s final reflection is unique because RootsTech 2021 Connect is now history, but it isn’t over.

I have to admit that I prefer the live version with the excitement of the Salt Palace, the hubbub and running into old friends along with making new ones, visiting in the Media hub and lunches at the church cafeteria and Blue Lemon. I also can’t talk about RootsTech without mentioning the Family History Library, which I sorely miss.

I might be in the minority here, but I also have to admit I missed all the walking. I enjoy the 5 or 6 blocks I walk from the SLC hotel to the Salt Palace or FHL and the time I spend walking during the conference. Walking my favorite form of exercise, but this year, I spent hours seated at my computer instead.

However, the finger pointing of blame can only go in one direction for missing out on that fun this year – the pandemic.

Having made my admissions, I have only praise for the entire FamilySearch and RootsTech 2021 teams that created the world’s largest virtual genealogy conference and pulled it off in stunning fashion.

My worst fear was that the moment the Keynote Speakers began, the website would crash and that didn’t happen. That, by itself, deserves a salute to the RootsTech team that made this all happen.

Highlights for Me

  • An entire year to view class sessions
  • Lots of chat rooms available to connect with others
  • Lots of new-to-me speakers presenting interesting topics
  • Keynote Speakers with a wide range of stories to tell
  • Expo Hall with lots of new-to-me vendors
  • RootsTech Connect 2021 after party

Not So Much of a Highlight for Me

This was my own choice because I wanted to blog early and often about the LIVE events, but I didn’t get to hear any Keynotes live because the Expo Hall was open. I also listened to only a small number of class sessions because I was sharing information about a number of events and activities.

I wish the Expo Hall had opened with vendors available during the Wednesday night preview. If they were on the chat, I didn’t get any reply to my questions until Thursday morning.

That meant I had to just go with the sales blurbs in their booths instead of having more personalized contact with them.

I realize with hundreds of thousands of attendees that chats might be very busy. Maybe next year, booths might be manned by more sales reps.

RootsTech Connect 2021 is officially part of the history books now. However, you can still register for the conference and access all the recorded Keynote Speakers and Class Sessions.

DISCLAIMER: I am an official RootsTech Connect 2021 ambassador and have received perks for promoting RootsTech conferences.




Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Favorite RootsTech Connect 2021 Moment, Experience, Session, Feature

With RootsTech Connect 2021 happening over the last three days, it’s been a really, really busy time. Fittingly, Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge is all about this year’s RootsTech experience.

1) Did you attend the free and virtual RootsTech Connect 2021 this week?  What was your favorite moment, experience, session, and/or feature?

Favorite Moment – It took more than a moment, but like Randy, I enjoyed listening to all the song contest finalists. Quite honestly, it was the only relaxing moment I’ve had since Wednesday night. I’m looking forward to hearing who won in the Youth, Amateur and Professional categories and to learn how my People’s Choice candidate did.

Favorite Experience – Learning about Name and Place, which has intrigued me enough to subscribe and start a project about Hajtovka, Slovakia. My grandmother’s maternal village is a good place to start a project as only a few hundred people have ever lived there at any given time.

Favorite Session – I’ve watched so few sessions that this is tough. I spent hours writing blog posts about Live Events and the Expo Hall, since they closed on Saturday. I enjoyed Thomas MacEntee’s Exploring Family History Tech with Thomas , Elsie Churchill’s How to Find English Sources for the Long 17th Century and Norwegian Farm Books: Norway’s Special Research Tool by Forrest Emmett

Favorite Feature – My favorite features were the demo videos in the Expo Hall. I needed a quick way to learn about many new-to-me companies for my blog posts. Those demo videos were life savers. I found that the response time from vendors was at least 30 minutes, if not way longer. Given that there were half a million attendees from around the world, that was not surprise, but it made quick questions impossible.

I’m sure I will be able to add many more sessions to my “favorite” class at RootsTech this year, but I have well over 100 in my playlist, so it’s good I have at least 365 more days to watch them all.

Thanks, Randy, for this week’s SNGF challenge!

RootsTech Connect 2021: Day 3 – LIVE Winding Down & Class Sessions Revving Up

It’s always sad to see the last day of a RootsTech conference. This year, it’s a very different feeling, given that this virtual conference is a hybrid of live events and pre-recorded class sessions.

As the live events wind down, attendees have a chance to catch their breath and get revved up for all the sessions, which cover a staggering number of topics.

Things to Know

  1. If you haven’t yet registered for RootsTech Connect 2021, but wish you had —– it’s not too late! Of course, the live events might have concluded, but that doesn’t preclude anyone from attending the pre-recorded sessions.
  2. What will be gone after today and no longer available at RootsTech? Chat features, Expo Hall discounts that are conference only, Song Contest voting, Photo mosaic additions and possibly some of the Demo Theater sessions if the exhibitor has chosen to remove them.
  3. Make any last minute purchases in the Expo Hall now!
  4. The Relatives at RootsTech app has been extended until 20 March 2021 – UPDATE: See Randy Seaver’s comment in this post.

What’s Left?

Oh, only about 1,000 class sessions presented by hundreds of speakers. Yesterday, I gave step-by-step instructions for setting up your playlist.

I’d like to stress one thing – particularly for less experienced genealogy researchers. As you choose sessions to add to your playlist, DON’T be boxed in by the idea that a session won’t teach you anything because you have no ancestry in X, Y and Z places.

I attend all types of genealogy webinars because it’s the METHODOLOGY that is important to me. I can often apply tips and seek out new potential resources in my ancestral towns that were discussed in, say, a class about resources in Belgium, where I have no known ancestral ties.

RootsTech Connect 2021 class sessions will be available for at least a year, so there are 365 days available to broaden your educational horizon and it’s FREE.

As RootsTech LIVE comes to an end, I’d like to share examples of the wide variety of pre-recorded classes at this year’s conference.

NOTE: You need to be logged in through your FamilySeaerch account and registered for RootsTech Connect 2021 for these links to work.

All of the Keynote Speaker sessions can also be added to your playlist. On the menu bar, choose Speakers and the Keynotes are listed first.

Exploring Family History Tech with Thomas – by Thomas MacEntee

Finding the Elusive Maiden Name by Ann G. Lawthers

DNA Triangulation: What, When and How by Roberta Estes

The Genealogy Research Process: The WANDER Method by Amy Johnson Crow

The Genetic Consequences of the Transatlantic Slave Trade by Steven Micheletti and Joanna Mountain (Part 1 of 3)

Sneak Peek of Reading the Old German Handwriting Online Course by Katherine Schober (Great tips in the Sneak Peek)

Researching Records of the Former Soviet Republics by Greg Nelson

Dutch Parish Records from the 17th and 18th Centuries by John Boeren

Finding Living Relatives in Austria by Markus Schönherr

Girls Must Feed Pigs: Things Our Ancestors Thought and Said by Darris G. Williams

Funeral Programs: A 20th-Century Genealogical Goldmine by Diane L. Richard

Jewish Genealogy Alphabet Soup by Nolan Altman

This is just a tiny sampling of the 1000+ sessions presented at RootsTech Connect 2021. Enjoy!

I have to give a huge shout out to the RootsTech team for putting together such a fabulous virtual conference.

DISCLAIMER: I am an official RootsTech Connect 2021 ambassador and have received perks for promoting RootsTech conferences.