Did you attend RootsTech 2020 or watch the live streams? If so then you know that the overarching theme of the conference was “The Story of You.” Besides the excitement of the keynotes, expo hall, and presentations – I was impressed with the small and simple things that make up our stories. Do we get so involved in finding the stories of our ancestors that we forget to record our own?
Nicole and I started our RootsTech story in 2016, so this was our 5th time attending this massive conference. Each year has been different depending on our activities.
2016 – Attendees
2017 – Ambassadors, Presenters (Nicole only)
2018 – Ambassadors, Presenters
2019 – Ambassadors, Presenters, Exhibitors (Saturday only)
2020 – Ambassadors, Presenters, Exhibitors (full week)
As you can see, our RootsTech story has changed with each conference. Our story has expanded to include the story of all of you that we have met through the years. This year especially, we met many of you who visited our booth to get a green Research Like a Pro ribbon, buy our products, and say hello. We treasure each of you as podcast listeners and blog readers!
From my perspective, here is a recap of the conference:
My takeaway from the session is that our story is around us every day. How often do we take the simple pictures aside from family reunions and holidays? Some of my favorite photos are of everyday moments showing the personality of a child or the relationship of two siblings. A picture truly is worth a thousand words.
Nicole and I attended excellent sessions by Joshua Taylor, Roberta Estes, and Peggy Lauritzen. Learning from the experts is always a good idea! We gained new insights into our farmer ancestors, Native American DNA, and colonial census records and how to better tell their stories. We were thrilled to have Robin’s presentation live streamed and available on the website for free viewing.
Here’s a recap of our presentations:
Healing & Family History-The Emotional Side of DNA
Robin told many personal stories of the healing that takes place through family history and DNA discoveries. She gave helpful tips for navigating the challenges that come with connecting to new relatives.
Engaging the Family in Telling Your Family Story
Nicole Dyer, Jana Greenhalgh, Olivia Jewell
Nicole shared ideas for engaging the family in telling the family story as part of a Power Hour. She discussed using DNA testing, making family history books with children, and holding ancestor skit nights. The presentation was recorded and will be part of the virtual pass.
Accreditation: What, Why, and How
Diana Elder, Jenny Hansen, Lisa Stokes
I enjoyed giving an overview of the Accreditation process during my Power Hour. Even better was talking to those interested in moving their skills to a new level. This session was also recorded for the virtual pass.
Track Your Family with a Timeline
Sharing how an organized process can help to break down a brick wall is one of my favorite ways to teach. I showed how two identities had been merged into one and how a timeline helped to separate them – giving new research opportunities. I even learned how to pronounce “Worcester, Massachusetts” like a native, or sort of.
Research Plans, Source Citations, and Research Logs, Oh My!
This presentation was part of the Friday Accreditation track and I ended up teaching it three times. Walking into the class 30 minutes early and seeing it nearly filled I knew there would be a lot of unhappy people trying to get in with no seats available. I offered to teach it again following the first session. That worked for some people, but for those attending the Accreditation track, that wasn’t a viable solution. The RootsTech staff asked if I’d teach it again that evening and be recorded for the free video archive. So I ended up teaching the class once again – to a mostly empty room since it was after hours. The video should be up soon, so enjoy!
It’s hard to explain the vibrancy of the RootsTech Expo Hall if you haven’t personally witnessed it. Just imagine thousands of people spread out checking out the various offerings from DNA to photos.
The Family Locket Genealogist’s booth was busy from the beginning to the end. We sold our products, met old friends and made new friends. A big thanks to all who stopped by!
A recap of my story of RootsTech 2020 wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the many friends we connected with through the week. Having a common love of family history and genealogy binds us together. One of my favorite memories? The podcast listener who asked me to keep talking, then said: “There it is . . . there’s the voice.” She listens to our podcast on the way to work every day and loved connecting my voice to my face.
RootsTech 2020 is over but the inspiration, learning, and connections we made are just the beginning of rest of our story.
Best of luck in all your genealogical endeavors!