Monday, 5 March 2018


Perhaps you've noticed I was quiet on the blog about RootsTech going on last week.

I went to RootsTech a few years ago and found it a fascinating experience. There were excellent talks, networking opportunities, a huge marketplace, American razzmatazz and hordes of folks at all levels of expertise. If you can't find something that appeals you're brain dead.

Trouble was it was just too much. I was only getting a small part of what was on offer, and it was so crowded on a couple of occasions I couldn't find a seat in the talk I'd chosen.

I'd rather attend a smaller more specialized event, like the Genetic Genealogy Ireland talks at Back to Our Past, Belfast, I recently returned from.

Then there's T****. When he was elected I decided to be selective about travel to the US. I'm not going to cut off my nose to spite my face but will need a compelling reason to travel there. I'd be more inclined to visit states that didn't vote for him, like New York, Colorado and California.

Airfare, accommodation, food and registration adds up. I'm not inclined to spend say $1,000 which goes to bolster the economy of T****'s America, especially states like Utah that voted for him.

Now the threat of starting a trade war doesn't help.

There are recording of some RootsTech sessions, including some that were not part of the live feed, available for replay through

I've not looked at any. If you have are there any you recommend?


Pat Ryan - genealogist forever said...

I 100% agree.

Linda Reid said...

I agree about the razzmatazz that the Americans love. I cringe when speakers start off saying "Are we having fun?" I always hope that the audience will yell "No, but we might learn something if you got started!"

Anonymous said...

Please do not mix politics & genealogy...the US is so polarized with their two party system that you are offending your readers, most of whom do NOT agree with you. Roots tech was amazing with or without you.

Unknown said...

I am American. Most Americans agree with your sentiments at this point, and I am sure that most of your readers do as well. It is true that we are terribly polarized, probably on a par with 1860 or 1775. But it is important to speak out for what is right. So thank you.

Celia Lewis said...

Here's my favourites, John I was also #NotAtRootsTech:
1. Thursday, RT9906 - Yaniv Erlich "MyHeritage DNA 101 From Test to Results." Excellent point by point presentation by very knowledgeable speaker.
2. Friday, RT4821 - Myko Clelland "FindMyPast's British & Irish Hidden Gems." Well worth watching for his examples of searching process, and showing some marvellous databases; a technological glitch toward the end was a bit challenging, but still worth watching.
3. Friday, RT5203 - Amy J. Crow & Curt Witcher "How NOT to Leave Your Genealogy Behind" They did a nice dog & pony show about things to plan for in our genealogy history for our "heirs": books/binders/piles of stuff. Preparation is important. Well done.
4. Friday, RT4383 - Robert Kehrer [FS] "Finding Elusive Records at FamilySearch." Definitely an Intermediate level workshop. He showed a myriad number of ways to search into FS databases. Worth watching several times over.
5. Saturday - the morning session with Dr. Henry Gates was inspiring - he should be at RootsTech every year! And later in the morning session, Natalia Lafourcade was marvellous and charming. A treat.
6. Saturday, RT4874 - Audrey Collins "Civil Registration Indexes of England & Wales. Marvellous - great history along with her humour and background knowledge, Audrey was a must-watch!
7. Saturday, RT5272 - Curt Witcher "Pain in the Access: More Web for Your Genealogy" Excellent workshop with excellent reminders of the many many digital databases often overlooked by beginners [and even intermediates like me!]. He's charming, knowledgeable, used excellent examples to encourage the audience to re-think their research strategies.

I watched a number of other live-streamed items, but wasn't too impressed with them for various reasons. Other people might have enjoyed them. This is just my own personal list.
Cheers - Celia

Trevor Rix said...

Well said John. We attended RootsTech 2014 and were disappointed for the same reasons. Too busy, too much Hype and not enough Tech. I am now content to watch the lectures being streamed but of course many of the lectures are not streamed.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting the URL for the RootsTech video replays. I totally enjoyed the sessions I was able to watch last week, and plan to look up those I missed on the replay pages, as well as to review others in order to take some more detailed notes. I especially recommend Jennifer Holik's session on researching WWII soldiers (using techniques also applicable to soldiers who served in WWI and the Korean War) despite the loss of so many individual service records in the St. Louis record center to fire. It had never occurred to me until a few months ago to try to reconstruct my uncle's WWII experience using work arounds, the way we do for our 18th century ancestors who were common soldiers, not officers.

On your other point, I'm an American who totally agrees with Mary Lee Keane. I lived through the extremely polarized 1960s, but the divisions I saw then, when young men I knew and cared deeply for, were spat upon and demonized for either burning their draft cards and moving to Canada, or agreeing to serve when drafted, were as nothing compared to the demonization and even physical threats being experienced by my countrymen and women today. My mind often turns to the days of the American Revolution, as I wonder how many of today's "Patriots," knowing only as much as our forebears were able to know at the time they were asked to make their decision with no inkling of how it was all going to turn out, would have chosen the American side. Without the benefit of our own 20/20 hindsight, I suspect that many of them would have chosen the comfortably predictable safety of the status quo over the great leap into the unknown that they could see was going to be an inevitable part of the reality of American independence.

LDC said...

Don't care much about offending anyone who supports Lord Commander Marmalade, especially those who don't have enough strength of character to sign their real name to such comments.
I also have made no secret of my refusal to travel to the USA until this disgusting regime is gone. My tourism dollars won't make much difference alone but I'll feel a better human being for it and, clearly, I'm not the only non-American who feels this way.

Chad said...

Actually, a majority of Utah voters voted for someone OTHER than Trump, myself included. Trump received only 45.5% of the votes cast.,_2016

JDR said...

Thank you for the clarification Chad. I stand corrected. More Utah voters went with T**** than anyone else so he got all the state's Electoral College votes. Had their not been a third "favourite son" candidate would the Electoral College result have been different?
I note that Salt Lake gave more votes to Clinton than T**** but a decision not to travel there is rough justice, just like the tariffs being broached.