This is the next instalment of my Special Moments, Magic Memories series for the 2022 A to Z Blog Challenge
“What is RootsTech?” I hear the non-genealogists among us ask? For the genea-junkies among us it’s a familiar term evoking excitement and envy at the opportunity to meet fellow enthusiasts and learn more about our hobby/obsession. Of course, that was (like so many other things), in pre-Covid times. Since then the organisers have segued to a virtual conference which has numbered attendees near the millions, not thousands. Like many of us I wonder whether it will ever return to an in-person event. It is now free with sessions recorded and available to view for one to two years. Anyone, anywhere can learn from the presentations, and enables people from around the globe to participate. A team of bloggers is participating in the 2022 A to Z challenge and highlighting particular talks. It’s a great way for anyone to see what appeals to them.
Inspired by the enthusiasm of my Sydney mate GeniAus, the pioneer of Aussies at RootsTech, I ventured forth to Salt Lake City and the Salt Palace back in 2015 to suss it out for myself. It truly was a WOW experience. Not only were there huge learning opportunities, there was the temptation of researching in that mecca of genealogy, the LDS Family History Library…very much a WOW. The icing on the cake was meeting people I’d only known virtually from blogging – it was like meeting familiar friends even though we came from distant places. That year they combined RootsTech with the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) conference so it was bigger than Ben Hur. The bloggers were given early access to the Expo Hall and invitations to meet the Keynotes, so I was thrilled to meet Vietnamese Aussie Tan Le, one of the keynotes who got a standing ovation. With up to 20,000 attendees a day you can well imagine how much your brain boggled, let alone how many steps you covered. You can read my reviews here and here. The end of conference social at one of the blogger’s homes was a highlight and gave us all a chance to chat informally. Certainly a WOW.
I had a second taste of RootsTech in 2017, adding it on to our Canadian holiday. Mr Cassmob was the newbie that year but he coped well with the scale of the event. It was exciting to introduce him to research in the Family History Library and to connect with friends I/we had met. It was funny being asked to “say something” so people could listen to our Aussie accents. While I thoroughly enjoyed the experience once again, I decided I would not be prioritising another in-person RootsTech, until….
Along came RootsTech 2019 London. There was another level of appeal with the London conference. It was smaller, less razzamataz, good speakers and I was able to meet with research mates I’d met through study or an Irish Conference. On top of which I added some days in the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh and a visit to the ancestral home at Bothkennar. In fact with tons of British ancestry, most of the Aussies combined an ancestral research visit and research with the conference. Winner! Here is my review of the 2019 Conference.
With the recent visit of Princess Anne to Papua New Guinea, Queen Elizabeth’s visit to PNG in 1974 has been heavily discussed on the Facebook page “I used to live in PNG”. We were living in Goroka in 1974 and the WOW was seeing Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Princess Anne and Capt Mark Philips and Lord Mountbatten in person but also with minimal security and from a small distance.
Are you a genealogist/family historian? Have you been to the Family History Library in Salt Lake or would you like to?
Have you been part of the crowd during a royal visit or event?