Thursday, February 11, 2016

Jana's RootsTech Recap

A week later, I'm done with my mommy-at-RootsTech recovery period (aka. time to sleep, catch up on housework, and remind my children that they're still my #1 priority) ... Now it's time for a recap!!

That conference was AMAZING!!! As mother, genealogist, teacher, and content-editor at "The Genealogy Kids" (and as an official RootsTech Ambassador) I had my eyes open all four days of the conference for kid-friendly genealogy -- tools, products, classes. 

In general, I was impressed with the offerings. The only real youth class was the Taysom Hill/Britain Covey session on Saturday, but all the Family Discovery Day general sessions were family style, and my kids were so excited about the Expo Hall I could hardly get them to sit down anyway. My son came home saying, "we need a booth in the expo hall next year." He is now charged with the task of coming up with some amazing genealogy product or cause in one year's time. ;)  Who wouldn't come out of that expo hall fired up to be a part of something great and contribute to the community?!  And I have to add that it was a joy to volunteer a few hours at the BYU-I booth and talk to great people (I'm an online adjunct faculty member for the BYU-I online family history degree program).

For more details about our Expo Hall finds, see our posts:

Kid stuff in the expo hall at RootsTech

and

RootsTech Expo Hall Treasure Hunt

This was the first year the conference asked a teenager to be an Ambassador. I had opportunities to chat with 14-year old Ruby and was so impressed by her love for family history. What an example to other kids and to adults! We need more youth like Ruby leading in the genealogy world.

I made this conference a multi-generational experience by attending with my dad and my kids.  It made it much more fun, even though our interests varied and we split up a lot. I also like to think that this "multi-generational" experience extended further to my generations past. I, like Sheri Dew and Wendy Nelson, believe in angels. The power and spirit in this conference was so strong, I think we must have been surrounded! Hard to believe, but maybe the expo hall was even more crowded than it looked!

Can't wait for next year!  Great job, RootsTech team.  Thanks for looking for ways to involve the next generation of family historians.  I look forward to more and more progress on that front.  These little ones need their family history.  Just as Bruce Feiler mentioned in his keynote, they'll be stronger if they know their family past.

Anyone ever thought of a RootsTech Junior conference?  Kid classes, labs, networking events?  Just food for thought.  Family Discovery Day really is a great start.