Yesterday was the fourth day of RootsTech and sadly the last day.
I attended the first MyHeritage Friends breakfast. I gathered with some of the same people that were at the fabulous MyHeritage After party the night prior. Daniel Horowitz from MyHeritage gave a short talk about what's involved in the MyHeritage Friends program. I'm looking forward to partnering with MyHeritage on new features and giving feedback.
Next it twas time for the opening presentation with key note speeches by singer Natalia LaFourcade and Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Natalia stunned the audience with her beautiful voice and talked about how her heritage mattered to her. Dr. Gates shared information about his life as well and also talked about how his program The Finding Your Roots: The Seedlings show involves teaching middle school children about science, DNA and genealogy, It's such a beautiful program and I hope more young people are encouraged to start learning about their past. We then had a speech by Cece Moore, well known genetic genealogist. She talked about her work helping adoptees trace their family tree.
Interview with Cece Moore
Interview with Dr. Gates (part 1 and 2):
Following interviews, I then attended the Ancestry lunch. Jenn Utley gave a talk and talked about some behind the scenes on Long Lost Family as well as the infamous 4th of July commercial that Ancestry put out. The commercial included doing descendancy research on every signer of the Constitution and almost all spots were filled. This was so neat to see, esp. the different outfits different people wore to evoke the image of the famous painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
I then walked around the Exhibit Hall to visit the various vendors. I participated in the scavenger hunt at most booths and then discussed accreditation with a few institutes. My future feels brighter after talking with so many people this week. I may be young but I'm in this for the long haul.
I wrapped up with a lecture on World War I records in U.S. and Canada by my friend David Allen Lambert. It was an informative talk and will be very helpful with my WWI ancestors, particularly those that served in Canada. I think it's important we support our genealogy friends and I always enjoy his talks.
I didn't attend as many lectures as I did last year but I realize that face to face time and bonding with friends is much more valuable in addition to interviewing key people (how many people can say they met and interviewed Scott Hamilton). These are opportunities of a lifetime. The classes will repeat at other conferences and online It also helps that I have my syllabus (which is the size of a phone book!) handy to review tips from genealogy experts.
It was bittersweet saying goodbye to old and new friends. I particularly loved seeing all of the familiar and new faces at the NextGen meetup. It was wonderful to hang out with so many great people. I do feel like I connect and belong in this community (this year's RootsTech theme).
I know I'll be back again and also at new conferences this year, You can see me lecture in a few weeks at the Michigan in Perspective: The Local History Conference as well as at Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Guelph, Ontario (6/1 - 6/3).