Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Rootstech - Day 4

Saturday, sponsored by Ancestry, felt different right from the start. Far more people were about, several thousand more in fact, and many of these were very young and carrying their new colourful day packs as on the left here. This gave the day an even happier, more energetic buzz, I thought.

Ancestry's introductory remarks at the Opening Session were few, and to me too close to previous DNA testing promises from Ancestry - spelling F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-O-N for many. The speakers though were Todd Hansen of the Story Trek TV programme and Stephanie Nielsen of NieNie Dialogues. Their talks were both quite emotional presentations meant to point out that "everyone has a story", and that ordinary people can do extraordinary things when necessary.

The first session I attended was Tim Janzen's on Using Third Party Tools to Help You Get More from Your DNA Test Results. Tim shared many, many examples and a number of genetic genealogy's other notables were in the room and contributed as well. A great session, packed with solid information. I did attend as many DNA sessions as I could fit in and this was certainly the most important one for me.

And as pointed out at the session, if you are interested in DNA testing for genealogy, think about attending the first Institute for Genetic Genealogy Conference this August in Washington, DC, USA.

Part of Ancestry's display area at RootsTech 2014.

After that came another tasty lunch, this time sponsored by the New England History Genealogical Society. My genealogical society subscribes to the NEHGS website, AmericanAncestors.org - such a useful research website. The talk was a well organized presentation on what's new with NEHGS on the web which I was very glad to listen to. I sent info home about the new NEHGS blog, Vita-Brevis.org, during the lunch.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society's display area, RootsTech 2014.

Next up was a talk on Using Mocavo by Michael Leclerc. This session was marked as for all levels, but as he said, his was a 1,000 foot view of Mocavo, more for beginners, but since I often use and recommend it, I stayed hoping to learn some tips and hear what's new.  I did get some tips, but Michael didn't let much slip about what might be coming. One strong message though was Mocavo's committment to add 1,000 databases a working day (each could be what I'd call one record, like a book, or a set) to total 5,000 a week.

A Developer's Challenge session had been announced at the morning's Opening Session. Although several of us were there on time waiting, nothing ever happened and I never heard or saw an explanation. Very, very disappointing. The attention given to the Developer's Challenge was much better than last year, but!

Consequently I did spend a bit more time in the Expo Hall (bought another book or two!) and watched a few presentations in the Demo Theatre. The Olympics were on many people's minds even there. And Canada was doing very well! Comfy seating in the Demo area (seen on the left) and free popcorn too,  all thanks to BackBlaze, the backup company.

The last presentation I attended was by Brandi Burns, on Using Prezi to Visualize and Reinvent Your Family Tree. I've played with Prezi a few times and was interested to see how someone else would use it. Brandi had a number of good ideas and showed a variety of options. Although Prezi wouldn't be good for all presentations, I can now envision using it for a talk I had in mind on our Swedish families. This session would be good as a lab as Brandi had originally intended.

Brandi's fun example, XOXO Boise, included a mention of bronc rider Mary Ellen 'Bonnie' (née Treadwell) McCarroll. I hadn't realized her first professional event was in Vancouver, BC, Canada where I live and I will have to have a look at the old Vancouver area newspapers to see what was said about her. I have a friend who is big on cowgirls. Perhaps she's done that research already?

But no doubt about it, Saturday's RootsTech highlight was the after party held by DearMYRTLE and Mr. Myrt and the family. A great international gathering of geneabloggers! Are you on Facebook? There are photos there to prove it. I was especially happy to meet Miriam Robbins, of AncesStories, who is from Spokane, Washington and another Northwest America blogger. She has a good photo of most of us on her blog.

The timing isn't the best for me, but I plan to see them all again in 2015, February 11-14, we hope along with our cruising blogger 'cousins' like Thomas MacEntee and Jill Ball.

Over the next few days I'll be sharing about some of the services and products I found most interesting at RootsTech 2014 and I'll be writing a summary of my overall impressions of the conference itself too.

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