If I were to summarize RootsTech in a few words, I'd use the words energizing and empowering. Believe me; you needed all the energy you could muster to take in all that was RootsTech this year.
RootsTech 2014 is behind us and plans are already being laid for next year. Hopefully many of you are considering attending either for the first time or as a returning participant. Here is my summary and reflections on the experience.
Without exception, every single keynote was over the top. All are available for viewing at the RootsTech website. My personal favorites were Spencer Wells of the Geno 2.0 project and our own Judy Russell.
The most moving keynote was Saturday’s with Stephanie Nielsen. Stephanie used to live in Mesa, AZ, where I live. A few years ago she was in a horrific plane crash, was burned over 80% of her body and spent months in a coma. Her story of healing, recovery and the love for her family is incredibly moving. Seriously folks, if you’re going through a bad spot in your life, you need to listen to Stephanie’s story. If Stephanie can come back, you can.
I was very impressed with the new location for RootsTech in the Salt Palace. The hallways were wide making it easy to navigate between classes. There was plenty of signage. Numerous volunteers were available to direct people. They even had water stands throughout the facility to keep attendees hydrated. The dry winter air in Salt Lake City does take it out of you!
The biggest problem was an overloaded wifi making it difficult to blog and tweet at times. But then this is the group that took down the 1940 census website the day it was unveiled! Need I say more?
The Exhibit Hall
Loved the exhibit hall. The aisles were wide making it much easier to navigate. There were many booths to investigate. So many I didn't get to all I wanted to. The Backblaze demo theatre was the perfect place to relax and hear about the various products. The centrally placed complimentary beverage bar helped keep everyone hydrated and awake.
There was no shortage of choices of classes at all skill levels. I felt there were more aimed at the beginner level which makes sense when you have 8,000 attendees. More are going to be beginners than anything else. Personally, I usually gravitate towards the more advanced classes. I was able to satisfactorily fill my schedule with appropriate level classes. It is my hope the organizers can continue to offer as many or even more classes at the intermediate to advanced level.
Thursday night entertainment
The achapella group Vocal Point put on a concert for all attendees. I'm a huge fan since they appeared on the TV show The Sing Off. The evening was even more special when purely by chance one of my classmates from the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, Michelle Taggart, who writes A Southern Sleuth, sat down next to me. We had a great time visiting and enjoying the concert.
RootsTech is on my schedule for next year. No question about it.
If you would like to read more of my posts about RootsTech 2014 here is a list of all of them appearing both here on The In-Depth Genealogist and on my personal blog, The Turning of Generations.