Thursday, February 12, 2015

RootsTech Day 1

#RootsTech day 1 started early.........

I went to breakfast and met Barb.    Barb makes jewelry - really lovely jewelry.   She uses a couple different mediums - but the most interesting is old spoons!   Yes - old spoons.   She hammers them out flat and designs tree of life type patterns then hand cuts them out.     You can find out more about Barb and Barb's Branches here.

I ended up visiting Barb's booth and I bought myself a new pendant - I love it.   This is one she made out of copper.   I think I'm going to head back tomorrow and check out rings!

There were 2 key note speakers again today.    The first one was Dennis Brimhall, President & CEO of Family Search.   I've heard him speak before.  He is a great speaker.  Very knowledgeable and funny!     

Next was Tan Le.  She told an incredible story of her journey from Vietnam to Australia and later to the United States.    It is an incredible story - and the audience was mesmerized. 

Next - I headed to my first break out of the day - Map My Ancestors.    This one was OK-nothing earth shattering or particularly new.   The presentation was a little dry.  It was being filmed and I got the impression that the presenter was a little nervous.

After lunch at Olive Garden, I headed to break out #2.    Genetic Genealogy:  The Birth of the DNA Revolution.   This was one of the best break outs ever.     It was presented by Bennett Greenspan of Family Tree DNA, and one of the most interesting and informative presentations on DNA I have ever heard.   The history, the process that led him to be one of the pioneers in the DNA for genealogy movement, and his ability to present complex material in an amazingly easy to understand format blew me away.   I debated between 3 breakouts - I am so glad I selected this one.     I walked away with a few ideas for tackling some of my own DNA mysteries.

Next - more DNA information - this time with CeCe Moore.    This presentation:  Exploring Family Stories with DNA from PBS' Finding your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. - was another one of my all time favorites.    The audience got a glimpse at the process that CeCe Moore uses to solve genealogy mysteries and some of the stories that never make it to the show.    Incredibly informative!  And yet more ideas to deal with some DNA mysteries I am working on.

Last break out of the day was:  Using Technology to Uncover your Genealogical Treasure Trove.    Somewhere I missed the boat on this one - I didn't realize that it focused specifically on tracking down the genealogy of African Americans.    But - despite this not being a topic that I've struggled with personally - this presenter was AMAZING.   This session was hosted by Janis Forte.  I've never heard of her.   She was fantastic!   Super funny, and down to earth, but with a lot of experience and hints of how to research this topic.   I could have listened to her for another hour easily!    

After the sessions - I headed to the opening night social - The One Voice Children's Choir with Alex Boye.  The kids were amazing and a pleasure to listen to............    I had to give the evil eye to the couple behind me and finally flat out told them to go talk somewhere else.    SOME PEOPLE!!!!!

Tonight - I'm going to log into and check it out - I signed up for the beta today and I'm anxious to see what is out there - though it's so late I won't have much time!

Tomorrow I will be there early - as First Lady Barbara Bush is one of the key note speakers and I expect it will be PACKED!!!

Oh - check this out - a water fountain with a water bottle filler!     Made me chuckle!

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