Monday, March 25, 2013

A NH Yankee at Day Three of RootsTech 2013

David Pogue, Keynote Speaker on the last day of RootsTech

All I can say is “Wow!” you need to watch the video of David Pogue at the keynote session. Even I need to find time to watch this video because his fast paced, hilarious talk had me laughing so hard I missed several of his informative bits. Thousands of genealogists are suddenly learning to play the ocarina with their iPhone. If you want to be in on this inside joke click this link 

Blogger James Tanner from the blog "Genealogy's Star" 
Of course, I was feeling sympathetic for James Tanner, who was filling in for Gilad Japhet of the MyHeritage website as the second keynote speaker.  What an act to follow at the last moment! However, his talk was also fast paced, informative and gently humorous. It was full of the kind of announcements that make keynotes memorable. He was great! Kudos to a fellow blogger for pulling off a great follow up.  His message about new developments at was even more powerful coming from a blogger, than from the company CEO.

The last day of RootsTech was full of ambivalence. Do I spend more time chatting up vendors? Do I rush off to a session? Do I meet up with friends I won't see again for another few years? Do I search out bloggers I haven't hugged yet? Well, I managed to squeeze in all of these activities before 3 pm  by tweeting my location, and checking Facebook statuses. Using a mobile device helped, even with spotty connections around the Salt Palace Convention Center.

Sonia Meza and her translator, Debbie Shurtz Gertler
We had our most emotional moment at RootsTech when attending Sonia Meza Morales’s presentation on “Finding Spanish Records from your Sofa”.  Sonia had come all the way from Madrid, Spain to present this lecture, and two other presentations given at the Family History Library.  Her talks at the library were well attended, but at RootsTech the room was barely half full.  Knowing that the Western and Southwestern parts of the United States are highly populated with Hispanic citizens, she was quite sad that they were not represented proportionately at the conference. The attendees were a sea of white and English speaking faces. Why? Her spontaneous plea for more genealogy involvement, collaboration and education with the Hispanic community was the one emotional moment that touched me the most this weekend.  I hope to stay in contact with Sonia after RootsTech and work on this problem.  We'll meet up with her in Madrid, hopefully in May.

Even though we needed to pack up (we had to check out at 4am for our flight home) and sleep, we walked down to the Radisson so we could enjoy an adult beverage and maybe say a few goodbyes to fellow bloggers. This was a great idea, and we met up with so many old and new friends who were finally just taking time to RELAX. I even had a chance to meet a few new genie friends like Tonia Kendrick, Drew Smith and Cyndi Howell.  Another important lesson learned at RootsTech- never miss a chance to chat up other genealogists, even if you are tired!

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

1 comment:

  1. Love all your posts about the conference! I hope I can someday attend. Thanks for sharing your experiences!