Thursday, February 20, 2014

SLCC Genealogy Course: Post #19 - RootsTech Tips

For this week's assignment for my Salt Lake Community College Genealogy Course, I needed to write a one-page report on a genealogy conference or webinar I attended. This is a little over a page but I think I will be forgiven.

The genealogy conference that I attended for this assignment was RootsTech. This conference started in 2011 under the sponsorship of FamilySearch. Each year its been held in the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah. This was my 4th year of attending RootsTech as an official blogger.

This year RootsTech moved to a larger, nicer area of the Salt Palace. In previous years, the demand for the two elevators available for a large number of older and disabled attendees was overwhelming. In this new area, the access to escalators was a huge improvement.

In years past, I would commute from my home in American Fork to the Salt Palace to attend four days of activities for RootsTech. Since we only have one car in the family, I used FrontRunner, Trax or carpooled in the morning to get there. Afterwards I took Trax to my husband’s work and waited until he was finished to ride home with him. Since he works the swing shift, it was around 11:30 pm when we got home. This year I decided to stay in a hotel next door to the Salt Palace. This made a huge difference on my energy, health and mental clarity. I have decided the benefits outweigh the cost of the hotel so I would definitely do this again.

One of the big problems I have when attending conferences is what to eat. I have dietary concerns, which are compounded by local options, time, and expense. If I bring my own food, I am faced with the need for refrigeration or a cooler. You can only carry so much stuff around with you at a conference, and I refuse to be an electric scooter or wheelie bag person. Simply because I am aggressive trying to get into classes that are in high demand.

I found the perfect food solution for me at my local Good Earth Natural Foods store. It is a complete meal in a round tin with a cardboard wrapper, that includes a spork, napkin, and salt & pepper packets. It has an easy peel top and requires no refrigeration. The name is French Bistro (Gourmet on the Go) made by St. Dalfour in France. It is gluten free and has no crazy ingredients that would make me sick. I tried the Wild Pink Salmon with Vegetables, and their Three Beans with Sweetcorn meals. I found them very tasty right from the can. It was satisfying and filling, plus terribly convenient to store in my tote bag. I plan to buy a stash of these meals so I always have them on hand for my next conference.

I spent an entire day of the conference just going through the Expo Hall and talking to vendors. This was very educational and fun. All I take from the vendor booths are business cards. I hate lugging a ton of fliers and really hate throwing them away afterwards. Business cards are a perfect solution, even better if the backs are blank so you can make notes on them. After the conference, I enter the business cards into my electronic address book and note when and where I first saw them. I will group them under Genealogy Business so I can search or look through them all at a glance. The other thing with vendors is I make sure I carry my own business card to hand out or a supply of sticky address labels with all my contact info needed for entering their contests. That way I am not bogged down time wise filling out entry forms. The vendors really like it when you do that because now they don’t have to decipher your handwriting either.

Before a conference, I will sit down and select the classes I wish to attend. I would write up an itinerary with all my class info and carry a paper copy around with me. This year I set everything up in Evernote on my tablet. I had a notebook for each day’s events. I made notes for each class and included a copy of the syllabus pdf. In Evernote you can write on top of the pdf so it was perfect for me. At conferences, wifi is not always available so I made sure prior to the conference, that I could access what I uploaded inside of my tablet with the wifi turned off.

The keynote addresses, classes and events that I attended at RootsTech taught me so much that I can’t describe it all. I came away with a new vision for my blog, and learned about new programs and websites that will bring my genealogy to a new level. The innovator summit classes really make me excited about where technology is going in the future.

The direction now with getting the youth involved in family history just makes so much sense to me. Not only will understanding their heritage benefit them, it will benefit their older family members too. Getting the youth involved in helping older family members record their history fits needs in both directions.

I think the future is bright for those interested in becoming professional genealogists. As more and more people become involved in working on their family history, they will turn to professionals for assistance when they are stuck. Companies that serve genealogists will also need the services of the professional genealogists as consultants. I just see exciting times ahead for everyone involved in this past-time and industry.

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