12 February 2011

RootsTech: Day 2

RootsTech' day two - Friday - was perhaps even busier than opening day.

One innovation at this event was the Microsoft Playground, a large space filled with billiards and ping pong tables, Wii screens and aso offering back massages. It was very popular!

My DNA presentation - It's In Our Genes: Revealing History via Technology ( A DNA Project Case Study - was delivered to a nearly full large room. One geneablogger - Joan Miller of LuxeGen - was tweeting my talk. It is always a great pleasure to talk about our IberianAshkenaz DNA Project at FamilyTreeDNA.com and explain the history behind it and how it can be used as a model for others to set up their own DNA projects. People who attended it were meeting me the rest of the day and commenting how much they enjoyed it.

Many conference attendees who are regulars at other annual events commented on the absence of FamilyTreeDNA.com at RootsTech, and wondered why they hadn't attended.

I also participated in a blogging panel, moderated by our own Thomas MacEntee, along with  A.C. Ivory (one of our youngest geneabloggers at only 23 years of age), Lisa Alzo and Pat Richley AKA Dear Myrtle. There was much discussion and many comments by the panel with questions by attendees and the hour flew by before we knew it.

Sessions at RootsTech are only 60 minutes (45 minutes presentation followed by 15 minutes of Q&A), and that time really goes fast!

Some of today's presentations included several by Steve Morse as well as:
  • "Playground Rules for the Genealogy Internet Collaborative Space," with Janet Hovorka
  • "Powerpoint 2010 for Presenters" (several labs), with Barbara Renick and Gena Philibert Ortega
  • "Digital Images for Genealogists and Technologists," with Geoff Rasmussen
  • "Names in Stone: Unique Approach to Cemetery Research," with DAvid Day and Bruce Cheney
  • "Enhanced Smart Matches and Social Networking Technologies Applied to Facilitate Collaboration between Familes and Researchers," with Daniel Horowitz
  • "Use Your Android Phone for Genealogy and Family History," with David Lifferth
  • "Security and Disaster Recovery," with Kaeb J. Albee
  • "Finding Your Family's Stories Online," with Tami Glatz
  • "Genealogy Blogs: Impact and Influence in the Genealogy Commmunity," with Thomas MacEntee
  • "Collaborating with Genealogists to Redesign a Digital Library," with Kathleen Murray
  • "Easy Digital Newsletters," with Dear Myrtle
  • "Google News and Timeline," with Dan Lynch
That's only a few of today's nearly 50 sessions.

This evening, many of us went to the Family History Library for a late night schedule, including the newest Who Do You Think You Are? segment, with Tim McGraw. 

Tracing the Tribe is not really into country music, so I'm the first to admit I barely recognized his name and didn't know much about him. I was rather impressed in that he came across as a really nice guy who was interested in his connections.

Of course, the show makes it seem so simple. Each time, one of the researchers told Tim, "I have this document for you," the audience of genealogists laughed. We all knew the number of hours it took to be able to say that one short sentence!

One researcher had connected him back eight generations, his ancestors were mentioned in George Washington's journal - GW was then only 16 and on a surveying team in the Shenandoah Valley where he met Tim's Hite family.

Although some geneabloggers have reported that Tim seemed disinterested or disengaged, our group didn't feel that way. Indeed, we felt that Tim came across as a modest person who felt very connected to his ancestors and their place in history.

We were a tired bunch when we got back to our hotel!

The general comments among attendees and geneabloggers were that we were all looking forward to RootsTech 2012, which is set for February 2-4. You might want to mark it on your calendar now!

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