RootsTech 2017 – An Overview

RootsTech 2017 – An Overview

RootsTech came, and RootsTech went. And that’s it for another year.

It kind of reminds me of Christmas. There is so much excitement and buildup to it, then the crazyness of it all while it’s on, and suddenly it’s all over, and everyone heads on home, back to their own part of the world. And then the post-RootsTech blues set in.

So while I can’t convey the whole vibe that RootsTech has, I’ll do my best by sharing a few pictures with you of my experience there.

I’ll be honest I can’t give you any report on the keynote sessions, or even a single talk as I didn’t get to any. My RootsTech experience was in the Expo Hall. Since I went as an exhibitor, that’s where I hung out.

Everything about RootsTech is BIG. Actually it would be more technically correct to GIANT. The venue (the Salt Palace Convention Centre) itself is massive. The banners were massive, the room the keynote talks were in is big enough to hold 10,000 people. The Expo Hall is the size of several football fields, with hundreds of exhibitors. It’s a massive event, unlike any other genealogy event in the world … and I know I’ve said it before, but if you EVER get the opportunity to go, DO IT!

This quote did the rounds on Twitter, and it most certainly is true.

“RootsTech is Disneyland for Genealogists!”

The Expo hall not only had hundreds of exhibitors, big and small, there were also places to get one-on-one research, the comfy lounge chair area for the demo theatre, numerous mini-theatres within stands to learn more about something specific. You could get heirlooms valued, tell a family story in the ‘story booth’, get photos or old books scanned, get charts printed out, use the ‘Cyber Cafe’ area to not recharge your devices, but also use their computers to check info on FamilySearch or elsewhere. The list goes on and on … and it’s not hard to spend three whole days just in the Expo hall.

Now for some pics …

the main entrance to the Salt Palace Conventre Centre

the main entrance to the Salt Palace Convention Center

just follow the arrows

just follow the arrows

hallway in the Salt Palace Convention Center

hallway in the Salt Palace Convention Center

THE UNLOCK THE PAST STAND
We exhibited as Unlock the Past again, our third time, and we were promoting our Unlock the Past Guide books, which we weren’t selling, but Maia’s Books (nearby in the hall) was. We also advertised our Alaskan genealogy cruise and the Israel tour to the US folk.  

our Unlock the Past stand, complete with Aussie flag

our Unlock the Past stand, complete with Aussie flag

our Unlock the Past guide books on display at Maia’s Books

our Unlock the Past guide books on display at Maia’s Books

THE AUSTRALIANS
It seems to have become a tradition (at least the three times that we’ve been there exhibiting), to have an “Australians at RootsTech” group photo.  We did pretty well this year, with only three  or four known missing. But 15 of us turned up for it, and here’s the proof.

While the number is tiny in comparison to the 30,000 or so that attended RootsTech, it’s impressive that that number of Aussies are willing to travel the 14,000km (approx 8500 miles) just to get there.

the Australians at RootsTech 2017

Back L-R: Graham Walter, John Heath, Rosemary McKenzie, Pauleen Cass, Peter Cass, Martyn Killion, Melissa Hulbert, Alan Phillips
Front L-R: Alona Tester, Helen Smith, Kerry Farmer, Lillian Magill, Heather Garnsey (behind), Jenny Joyce, Jill Ball

THE GIANT BOOK
I was fascinated by the “giant” book at the Pictures and Stories stand, it was certainly an attention getter. Owners, Tom and Alison Taylor help people create videos or coffee-table style books of their history. I loved their stand, loved meeting them, and REALLY loved their giant book!

the giant book

the giant book

the Pictures and Stories stand

the Pictures and Stories stand – the giant book is just to the right and missed the pic

GIANT CHARTS
There was no way you could miss Genealogy Wall Charts stand. After all it is the  worlds largest genealogy chart measuring 30ft x 100ft (9m x 30m) and contains over 200,000 names. The front is 50ft, with the back another 50ft. The rest of their stand was impressive, with a large array of laptops that you could use to upload your gedcom, then create your chart, so they could print it out on the spot using their large plotter printers that they brought along. Impressive in every sense of the word.

part of their display from the front

part of their display from the front

the mega-chart from the back

the mega-chart from the back

a few charts they had printed out

a few charts they had printed out

GREEN TELEPHONE BOXES
I’m pretty sure the telephone boxes were part of the FamilySearch Discovery display.  But I’ll be honest I only saw them in passing and didn’t stay to check them out myself. But I understand that you could go in one, tell a family story and have it recorded. It obviously worked for some, and it made an interesting addition to their display.

record a family story in a green telephone booth? Sure, why not

record a family story in a green telephone booth? Sure, why not

THE GENEABLOGGERS
The geneabloggers are a wonderful group of people who always make me feel so welcome, it’s a real community. It’s fabulous to meet fellow bloggers from all parts of the world that I know of, but have never met in person, and to catch up with others that I have met before.

Wearing blogger beads makes it easy to identify others who are genealogy bloggers, and get chatting with them. And we did have a group photo, but sadly there were a number who didn’t make it for one reason or another …

the group photo

the group photo

THE AUTOGRAPH BOOK
This is my third trip to RootsTech, and the third time I did the autograph book thing, using a new book each time. I seem to have become known for this.

Anyway I did it for the same reason each time – to make myself go and meet people. I admit I’m more of an introvert and shy natured, so it’s not exactly my thing to go and approach people. But I did, and as an added bonus I have this fabulous momento of my trip. I did well this time as I nearly filled up the whole book.

There are so many wonderful messages that people have written. And a message to the 95 people who signed my book this year, here is a heartfelt “THANKYOU”. It really is a very special record of those I met.

my 2017 RootsTech autograph book

my 2017 RootsTech autograph book

THE MUG RUG
I couldn’t do a post about RootsTech without mentioning the “Mug Rug”. Fellow Aussie, and first time RootsTecher, Jennie Fairs gave me one of her very special, handmade mug rugs.

It came with the following message on the tag:

“Your RootsTech 2017 souvenir Mug Rug was handmade by Jennie Fairs from Kirrawee, Australia.

Larger than a coaster but smaller than a placemat, it’s perfect to place on your desk to keep it free from those annoying coffee rings and crumbs – even the odd wine or beer stain.

It can be cold-water washed but please be gently and lay it flat to dry. More importantly, you Mug Rug is unique – no two are alike, and only 14 individual Mug Rugs were made.”

Each has Australian themed fabric, and includes the RootsTech 2017 logo. Thankyou Jennie, I am truly honoured to have received one.

the front

the front

the back

the back

DNA KITS, HOW MANY IS ENOUGH?
DNA was a huge thing at RootsTech, with AncestryDNA, 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, Living DNA and MyHeritage DNA all there – and all having super specials.

who can resist a half price sale?

who can resist a half price sale?

someone went shopping!

someone went shopping!

typical suitcase contents of those who attended RootsTech

typical suitcase contents of those who attended RootsTech (photo courtesy of Helen Smith)

THE BLING
The bling is part of the fun of RootsTech. From the blogger beads, to the ribbons, to the badges … it’s all fun!

registration kit, name tage, blogger beads, and a few ribbons

registration kit with program, name tag, blogger beads, and a few ribbons

my collection of bling: ribbons, badges, beads and wristbands

my collection of bling: ribbons, badges, beads and wristbands

ok, not technically bling, but was a gift from MyHeritage DNA ... Thankyou, it was well used on the way home

ok, not technically bling, but this travel pillow was a gift from MyHeritage DNA … Thankyou, it was well used on the way home

the ribbon king ... Roger Moffat (with Gordon Erickson) takes ribbons to the next level!

the ribbon king … Roger Moffat (with Gordon Erickson) takes ribbons to the next level! (photo courtesy of Jill Ball)

So if you gathered from my photos that it looks like a whole lot of fun – you guessed right. It really is.

And just one more thankyou before I finish … a huge THANKYOU to FamilySearch for yet another spectacular RootsTech! Such a great time, and so many memories.

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