Monday, February 16, 2015

RootsTech + FGS: 2015's Genealogical Extravaganza!

As I reflect on last week's 2015 RootsTech + Federation of Genealogical Societies combined conference in Salt Lake City, I'm left wondering how to sum it all up and share the experience.
Salt Lake City Street Art

If I had to choose only one word, it would have to be extravaganza. And that may be an understatement. The event was simply wild and off the hook - out of this world! Unprecedented even. It was a genealogical extravaganza.

I shouldn't sound so surprised. After all, it was billed by event organizers as the world's largest family history conference.

By the Numbers
  • There were so many people. Over 20,000 of them! 
  • There were tons of sessions. Nearly 300 of them!
  • There were a slew of exhibitors. 140 vendors!
  • Several motivating keynotes, including: a former First Lady, a multi-platinum recording artist, and New York Times bestselling author!
The Sessions
Laura Bush Gives Keynote
Over the course of four days, I attended 26 keynotes, sessions, and social events. The speakers were a who's who of genealogy's experts and rock stars, including Lisa Louise Cooke, Thomas Jones, CeCe Moore, Judy G. Russell, D. Joshua Taylor, and Maureen Taylor. And that's only to name a very few.

I've returned home with pages of notes.  I'm eager to apply what I've learned, including how to incorporate technology like Evernote into my work, be a more ethical genealogist, problem solve brick walls with probate records, and use tax records for all they're worth! And those are only the CliffsNotes!

Really, the hard work is ahead of me. I need to get down to brass tacks and apply this past week's learning. My research stands to benefit!

Location, Location, Location!
You couldn't ask for a better location. Salt Lake City is synonymous with family history (Hello?! Family History Library, millions of microfilm, and a GRANITE MOUNTAIN!). It's a beautiful city with the mountains jutting majestically beyond the skyline, and the weather - although unseasonable - was wonderful.

The greatest challenge was finding time to slip away from the conference and dive into the Family History Library's records. Fortunately, their extended evening hours made for productive research post-conference. It was genealogy 24/7, folks! More on my research will follow in a separate post.

In sum, this was a conference unlike any other. It was an extravaganza of learning, connecting and advancing family history. I'm already eager for next year, and I hope that you'll consider marking your calendar, too! 

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