Chat about RootsTech and other conferences

This month the #ANZAncestryTime chat was all about conferences we had attended or plan to attend in 2022 but especially RootsTech.

Tips when watching RootsTech

When you watch a session you find particularly useful, don’t forget to check the syllabus that’s available and download it.

Pexels / Pixabay

Did you participate in all aspects of RootsTech ( main stage, sessions, playlist, expo hall, relatives around me)? What did you enjoy about each of these?

Nearly everyone mentioned they had a long playlist to watch throughout the rest of the year. Many were going to watch the keynotes after they were recorded as timing not always suited to Aussie/NZ times. Many had relatives at RootsTech but most were 8th+ cousins. Some had had replies to messages for those cousins who were closer.

The theme song was very catchy and like by many. Most wanted some sort of PDF created with all the sessions to make it easier to mark off those they wanted to watch. Some found the categories for filtering sessions was not easy to follow. Most followed themes eg Ireland, Scotland, DNA when choosing sessions for playlist.

Much discussion about Live Story from MyHeritage – many felt it was creepy putting words into our ancestors mouths.

If I had a wish for the Playlist it would be the option for another tick box or similar so you can remind yourself you’ve watched a session without removing it.

This year #RootsTech had a link to “Calendar” as part of the menu. This allowed attendees to find day/time for the Main Stage, live sessions, & Expo demonstrations. It helped me to keep focused on the 2022 live sessions for the first 3 days.

My #RootsTech spreadsheet, mainly created for me. Caveats: I only included English-speaking sessions; I assume times on website are MT, so I converted to ET; there may be typos; did NOT include speakers/descriptions.…

I would have like to be able to mark them as watched or have a Watched List

A bit of everything but with a main focus on #DNA sessions. Found the #RootsTech playlist problematic during the event because it couldn’t be ordered by day and time.

I started with DNA, Ireland, Scotland then specific speakers especially England, Australia, New Zealand

I have done that too Sue. Found a speaker I liked and watched all of theirs. One was a series on Scotland records. Most I knew about, but each had an extra record that I now know to try.

I chose two topics. Scotland and DNA. I have watched several talks on DNA and hope to watch one tomorrow as I ran out of time today. I am interested in mtDNA and YDNA.

I’ve been a bit more focused this year, in the hope I’ll actually watch everything on my playlist.

I watched a mix of sessions about Historical Records, DNA, Historical Places and a few others. I liked that they were listed by topic.

I didn’t participate in any live events as I found it hard to navigate and find sessions that I was interested at times that suited me. No cousins closer than sixth. I will definitely revisit some of the recorded sessions over the next few months

I also create a Watched RT2022 playlist for watched ones. This way I know where I am up to with the sessions. I find the playlist great for the conference. In later months I have found Youtube easier to manage as I have many other videos waiting to be watched.

I was quite excited this year to have had Relatives at Rootstech. Only 7 but they were all close Scots who went to America. Last year I have 0. I’ve contacted them but haven’t heard back yet

I confess to being a hopeless #RootsTech attendee. I think I saw just one session but I really enjoyed it. Hopefully I will catch up on more later. There’s never enough time is there to do everything?

each topic on the ethics discussion could have been an hour on its own

I’m saving the DNA talks for when my brain is in fully functioning mode

I’m saving my DNA talks too for when I can take time out and really concentrate

I found Paul Maier’s session on the Million Mito Project fascinating. Lots of good information about mtDNA

I started watching the series of videos by the one speaker rather than the one off.

I did some pre recorded sessions, visited the expo hall, checked out any chat on my two talks and did Relatives at RootsTech but no one really close. I was away from home and internet access not as good plus other things going on.

Watched a couple of live sessions, and now working my way through my playlist – focused on Ireland and NZ. Have enjoyed the ones seen so far!

I prioritised the mainstage and watched them all. Also watched sessions and visited expo hall. Really enjoyed the mainstage especially the dancing.

I listened to most of the keynote speakers and I contacted people via Relatives Around me. I enjoyed the Expo hall and joined the Essex FH Society. I really liked the theme song this year! I made a playlist but as yet have not watched everything.

viarami / Pixabay

What new skills, knowledge or perspectives did you gain from RootsTech? Have you put any of these into practice yet?

I just had a play with #Live Story on #MyHeritage tonight and so far have received the thumbs up from my son so think this is maybe the only way to get the younger generation interested in family history. “Way cool” was his response. 🙂

I’m interested in timeline feature / tool also. Useful for finding gaps and illogical facts like being before born before parents too.

I had one third cousin on the list. Have been in touch with some of that family line. Others mostly distant and questionable, with some very dodgy FS trees

Most of the sessions I’ve seen so far have reminded me of record sets I haven’t investigated fully or for a while. Also love hearing about techniques to tackle brick walls – always something to learn.

I watched the BNA one closely, wrote a bit about it for local genealogy magazine, then discovered they had a 30% off discount for a few days so I signed up!

93 in my list of Relatives at RootsTech. 9 people are 3rd cousins once or twice removed. All from a common ancestor in NZ and might be church people also. Nice to see closer matches.

Hi Brooke, As I’m a newbie to DNA I found some sessions and then looked up the name of the presenter, and worked out the order from there.

Last year, in addition to my YouTube playlist, I printed off the list and highlighted ones I was interested in and ticketed off those watched. I did not see a printable list this year.

I had trouble finding speakers or sessions with the search function. Whereas last year I printed it and then highlighted what I wanted. Not very techno but it worked

No new skills gained yet . I have suggested that short videos on using the UKFreeGen sites may be helpful for newbies to WikiTree

I have yet to put any into practice as I have been too busy. I had the excellent @scottishindexes conference last weekend, and I bought a new car as well, delivered today. Once I learn to drive it, I’ll be back to normal stuff.

Haven’t really had a chance yet but did try to confirm the relatives for whom I also had DNA matches. There are so many new things I find it hard to keep up with everything.

I’ll be looking at New York State, New England USA related sessions – Gedmatch’s new features were something I’m working on and I want to look further into DNA Painter and MyHeritage new features

Since watching the DNA sessions, I feel more confident to send off my AncestryDNA kit, first time testing!

I learnt about Jamaican Research. I was very keen for these sessions as I have Jamaican ancestry and wasn’t sure where to begin. I feel confident now to move ahead with my research

manfredsteger / Pixabay

Which speakers and sessions would you recommend? How did you connect with others during RootsTech?

checking the sponsors videos for news in the exhibitors hall. FTDNA and DNA Painter! Playing the others at fast speed, skimming the more razzmatazz or advertorial parts, the new features on offer are worth keeping up to date about.

Delighted to say that the recording of my Scavenger Hunt  @RootsTechConf workshop is finally online. You can watch here. I’ll be putting up a follow-on Q&A on my blog asap.…

finally found out that apparently I am automatically enrolled in the Million Mito project as I have done the ftdna mtdna test

I also liked this one by Beth Taylor – again you may need to watch it serveral times…  – grouping DNA matches

I liked this one – good tips and tools – it might be necessary to view it a couple of times –… – searching for close relatives

You’ll also want to read this guide by @legalgen that follows up on the ethics session at #RootsTech.…

I have given a few answers to this re the Scotland talks. But as I have yet to watch most, too early for recommendations. I connected with one speaker who I knew through @WikiTreers. No one connected with me

Joshua Taylor was great as he always is. He’s always my first choice. Fiona Brooker. Nick Barratt. Loved the Aussies. So many great speakers

Really enjoyed @UlsterHistory Gillian Hunt’s session on Irish landed estate records, and @FamHistAcademy Cathie Sherwood’s talk on Irish workhouses. Caught up with some geniemates via Zoom virtual pub sessions.

I recommend Andrea Bentschneider and Katherine Schober for German records

I really enjoyed Fiona Brooker’s session on Recording Memories…a bit different.

Sessions by @DrPennyW were interesting. Also the DNA painter ones are always helpful. others I enjoyed were Johsua Taylor, Tim Janzen, Nick Barratt, Michelle patient, Fiona Brooker, Cheryl Hudson Passey, Dianne Southard, Rob, Hamilton

The main way I connected with others was friends with messaging apps. Suggestions of sessions to watch were useful. I did try the chat however being interrupted by work did not help the conversation.

I’d recommend everyone watch Keynote Maysoon Zayid. She was amazing. Very funny and super inspiring

I had to check my diary. The three are called “Birth in Scotland”, “Marriage in Scotland” and “Death in Scotland”. Another good one was “Secrets of ScotlandsPeople” by Alison Spring.

another issue for me is that virtual conferences are not as interactive personally. It is too easy to say I will watch it later rather than get up early as you would in person.

I thought the roundtable Oz session on brickwalls with Michelle Patient, Fiona Brooker and Deb Carter was dynamic and well hosted. A credit to the regiment 🙂

Being away meant I didn’t really have time to participate but I did follow up comments/ questions on my talks.

didn’t watch speakers just joined some discussions some were poorly attended unfortunately

As noted before – live sessions that @fiona_memories & @patientgenie held. Helps that I am interested in NZ & DNA research. Another I enjoyed was DNA and the Settlers of Taranaki, NZ which was from 2021 and I missed it the first time around.

My Rootstech playlist so far on YT. YTube playlists can be public or private ( have a couple of Shotbox ones in it, just ignore those)…

Karen Evans had some great sessions on UK ancestors on a budget

What’s the LucidChart one? Love using it for displaying DNA matches – will have to check it out.

Its a program that allows you to create flow chats and diagrams and the session used it in conjunction with DNA results and matches

crystal710 / Pixabay

What other online or in person conferences have you attended recently or are you planning to attend this year?

I find the interaction with an in-person conference that makes it better for me. Plus visited close cousins in the USA and UK when in RT was in London

Working on the Christchurch Family History Expo being in person this year. Cross your fingers for us.

Most recent conference attended was @scottishindexes – always worthwhile! Hopefully in-person events here this year for August #FamilyHistoryMonth, and am booked for #FHDU in Sydney in November.

I am going to the @GuildOneName conference next month in Oxford it was postponed for the last 2 years looking forward to meeting in person

I am running talks and workshops at local library but only getting low numbers due to Covid still but allows more specific Q&A

I can’t attend in person conferences as travelling and eating away from home are too difficult for me now. Really pleased that we have these online now. I will attend future @scottishindexes conferences if online.

And I love to hear the Scottish accents. That would have been how my grandfather spoke, but he died when I was two. Such a variety of talks and so much knowledge. Reminds me to download the handouts.

I have attended a couple of online ones in the last year and joined virtual family history society sessions attended a hybrid one last night

I attended tonight so that I could get an idea of what to follow up. And how others participate in this virtual world. If there is a hybrid in 2023 then my intention would be to go in person

I’m a bit nervous about attending a big person to person event but I’ll be still wearing mask and being very careful. I’m keen to start living a covid normal life.

we have other travel plans to Maldives in Dec 2022 and then Scandinavia UK & Portugal in June – July 2023 which will involve some family history road tripping – so $’s won’t stretch to Roots Tech 2023 so hybrid will work better for me

I can’t wait to return to beautiful Norfolk island for @AFFO2015 I’ll see a few genea-friends for the first time in ages!

have been to a few and how I interact depends on how long the talks remain on the website. If you only have 72 hours then I try to watch in person or clear the weekend. If it is longer I usually have the mad rush to watch everything just before it closes.

I attended the @scottishindexes conference last weekend and will be going to Congress on Norfolk Island as well as the Qld State Conference at Redcliffe both IN PERSON! And a few others in between

As I am still wearing a mask when indoors at any shops etc, I wont be doing anything in person only online – hopefully the Female Convict Research sessions in early May and FHDU22 later in the year

I have booked accommodation for the QLD state conference at Redcliffe 21-23 Oct – Sands of Time. Thinking about the Family History Down Under in Nov or the virtual if I do not go.

Blogposts about RootsTech sessions

Judy: Dos and don’ts about DNA

Roberta: DNA sessions at RootsTech

Maggie: a Legacy webinar re DNA tools

Sue: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3

Readers: What did you find most useful from RootsTech? Why?

Roots Tech Connect chat

RootsTechConnect recommendations and comments

  1. What RootsTech sessions and keynotes did you enjoy and why?
  2. Did you use Relatives Around Me, Chat Rooms or other RootsTech activities?
  3. Did you visit the Expo Hall and find anything interesting?
  4. What research will you be following up on from RootsTech? Was RootsTech a good experience for you?

Here is the link to Roots Tech Connect for all the sessions etc. If you registered, sign in and add to playlist or watch from your playlist.

sasint / Pixabay

Jill: I think it’s the price we pay to thank @FamilySearch for #RootstechConnect. How clever are they to promote this activity and get their tree cleaned up.

Caitie G: I thought the way they set up the Expo Hall was really neat. Consider me impressed. I was wondering how a virtual expo hall would work. I gained some freebies, made use of the pdf downloaded available & used 2 discount codes.

A comprehensive list of DNA related sessions at Roots Tech collated by Roberta Estes

Brooke: I’ll bookmark this list of DNA sessions, but what I really need is a list ordered from Beginner to Advanced. Where do I start?

Tara: Honestly? I wandered through expo hall, popped into a few chatrooms (all empty/quiet), and added lots of talks to my playlist but the focus for the weekend was writing the initial report for this man so I’m opting for delayed gratification with #RootsTechConnect – had had call about interesting findings.

SOPS: Maybe there’s potential, where folks aren’t in lockdown or (for those who are) after lockdown, to have in-person gatherings at which a selection of #RootsTechConnect presentations are watched and then discussed?

Sharn: There was still a buzz of excitement but I also missed the camaraderie of an in person conference. Made up for by the sheer numbers this even reached though

Hilary: I think if they improve the ability to chat with others it would improve #RootsTechConnect for the online audience even if there is an in person event next year

Jill: Yes, the ability to nest posts would improve the communication. Just imagine what they will give us at #RootstechConnect next year as they modify and improve on their platform

Fran: I also think people did not realise the chat was available for sessions 24 hours a day.

Shauna: most of the chat rooms I visited were mostly empty and not many visited my talk chat room. I had a few questions but expected more. I think everyone was too busy listening to talks.

Sue: had a quick chat with @DanielGenealogy and one of the #RootsTechConnect ask us anything people and also the Aussies at RootsTech room. Not sure how many people found the chat rooms. I only did by accident

Peggy_Marco / Pixabay

Maggie: So many sessions to watch on my playlist, and now more added after recommendations tonight. Will have to schedule a regular time to watch so I get through them all! Really enjoyed #RootsTechConnect, and hope they keep some of it virtual for next year

SOPS: #RootsTechConnect was definitely a good experience and the great thing is that it’s not over, with the presentations being available until next year. I still have lots to catch up with on my playlist, especially as I’ll be adding to it thanks to this chat!

Sharn: I will be spending time going sideways and forward on my tree to make connections. And following up on Irish tips as well as English Land Surveys

Jill: I set up and monitored a Chat Room for Aussies at #Rootstechconnect but most Australians communicated via a Facebook Group we admins had set up 5 months ago. That kept us very busy

Sue: Think having our Facebook group helped with some newbies as they had somewhere to ask questions and get immediate answers to help them through the #RootsTechConnect Kudos to @geniaus and co.

Fran: And it is not too long after #RootsTechConnect to say again to @geniaus a big thanks for looking after us. You a fab job Jill, with the team Robbie and John.

Fiona: Colouring pictures were cool.

SOPS: I didn’t buy anything (would have liked to have seen more societies / vendors there), but I did find a couple of vendors offering society outreach / support programmes which I’m pursuing as possible Society membership benefits.

ANZ: Yes less vendors than at a real conference but perhaps that will change next year if RootsTech is virtual again. It’s a learning curve for everyone

Hilary: I will also be making sure my relatives are correct on the Family Search tree if I can so I can make better connections next year

Jill: I think many of the attendees were new to online events and didn’t have time to explore all of the features of the site at #RootsTechConnect that BTW was fabulous and so stable. Kudos to @RootsTechConf and @FamilySearch

Fran: I joined the Essex Society for Family History. Extra years members so was a good deal. Must make an effort to use the resources available. I have been to the Records office at Chelmsford so thinking the local familyhistorians a good place to follow up

Fiona and Shauna: I agree re the chat being quieter than I expected (and not just for my talks).

Maggie: I attended the @familytreemaguk Breakfast club – that was fun!

SOPS: I attended that one and the Afternoon Tea the next day, where I ended up talking about DNA tests revealing a family secret!

Maggie: I would have been there for that but for the dark o’clockness here.

SOPS: Yes, it would have been an unearthly time in your part of the world! It was good that the two sessions were at very different times to enable people in different timezones to take part in at least one of them

TerriC / Pixabay

Sue: I like the fact that it is available all year not just one mad rush over the weekend. More needed to explain how to make connections with others around the world. Loved the song competition even though I only saw finalists on mainstage

Fiona: The conference you get to actually see presentations at, even when you are presenting. Having the presentations finished in December takes the last minute need to tweak away so you can enjoy the conference.

Sylvia: But also means that you cant include any last minute amendments when new information comes to light

Hilary: My favourite of the exihibitors was Audiobiography as they do stickers which you can use to share audio with your pictures

Sue: I have recently found out that I can download magazines on my ipad through the Libby app and my state library card – now reading latest familytreeUK then WDYTYA will be next.

SOPS: I finally added myself and my immediate ancestors to the FS family tree and apparently I had 674 relatives at RootsTech. I’m taking that number with a cellarful of salt but look forward to exploring the connections / errors at some point!

Shauna: I loved the Exhibition Hall and got some good bargains – several free magazines and a free online genealogy course. It was easy to spend money there but I resisted and only took freebies

Maggie: Hard to keep up with everything. I think there was a Twitter party at some point, but couldn’t remember what day/timezone it was in!

Sharn: @cassmob gave me a tip about a program called Name and Place which is designed to store information for One Place Studies and House Histories. I watched the sessions and was so impressed I signed up! No more notebooks for me

Maggie: And @genejean offers great support for N&P!

Shauna: I was fascinated by Relatives Around Me – not many Oz or UK connections but lots of Americans mostly at the 7th cousin or further back range. Some I looked into were clearly wrong so I think you need to be careful and check.

Sharn: I enjoyed Maurice Gleeson’s sessions. Lots of Good tips in Finding the Irish Who Stayed Behind

Carmel: I enjoyed too many sessions to list, for clear explanations could not go past the session on the Internet archive and the 3 part series on Treasures

Fran: Carmel, is the treasures one called Treasures and The Truth: How to Record Family History. If so I will add this to my list. Looks to have a technical side. I had passed it thinking it was about trinkets from the title.

Carmel: Yes Fran, she goes from reasons to share simple things through to making a video using PowerPoint with audio. good step by step with screen shots etc Good to share at local genie groups.

Sue: ended up with 7 relatives – 2 proven, 1 possible proven and 4 from line I haven’t completely proven yet.

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

Sharn: Among my favourite sessions were those by Katherine Schrober who teaches how to decipher old German handwriting. I have attended talks by her in person and always learn something new!

Shauna: I mostly listened to Australian speakers or Irish talks. I really liked @mauricegleeson talk on Finding Cousins. He had some good Irish map tips

Margaret R: I am heading to bed but Fiona’s Boats one was a hit for me- since I had family come from Victoria to NZ. Hope to use her techniques soon.

Sue: I chose to add to my playlist rather than watch a lot as was running back and forward to doctors and treatment with my mum. Now I can settle in and start watching and learning

Jill: Heather Garnsey @HGarnsey was a standout Aussie at #RootstechConnect – she is such a professional. A great Ambassador for us

Sharn: I was particularly pleased to hear Rob Hamilton’s session about Masonic records since I recently discovered my grandfather was a mason. Always good to learn about your ancestors’ lives.

Carmel: I watched the Aus/NZ ones too, well done to all those presenters Fiona, Shauna, Heather etc. Liked the short FamilySearch sessions too.

Sharn: I really enjoyed The Genealogist’s “Using Map Explorer” session. I love to overlay historical maps on Google earth to find ancestral places and this does it for you!

Fran: I also watched Fiona, @fiona_memories, They came on Boats and have all the rest and @patientgenie saved to a playlist in Youtube so I can watch the ones I missed and recheck things when I need to follow up.

Margaret B: I was away travelling, so only just starting to watch now I have caught up with emails, etc. So far the talk on the X-Chromosome has been excellent.

Sharn: Of the sessions I have watched really enjoyed Nick Barrrat’s talks especially the one on Land Surveys. I watched quite a few DNA talks. I watched all the Australian and NZ sessions and must applaud our ANZ speakers

LaCasadeGoethe / Pixabay

Jill: A fave of mine at #rootstechConnect was the presentation about the Internet Archive. I have used it for years but learnt that I could borrow books if I signed up

Hilary: Of the few I have watched I enjoyed the one with Sunetra Sarker who had previously been on WDYTYA in UK

Fran: I like Sunetra also. Took me to the last session to finally catch her with a time I could watch and listen. I must hunt out the WDYTYA. She has some interesting ancestors.

Else: I keep going in about gaps and know your parish etc but anyone serious about English #genealogy should know that records aren’t “all online” but everyone must watch @Dave_Lifelines Rootstech Session: Where Have All the Registers Gone?

Jill: Lots of fave sessions #RootstechConnect.I liked it when: I could see the presenter who spoke slowly, had slides with images & little text & shared handouts or slidedecks. Best of all were those like @Dave_Lifelines who gave step by step online live demos.

Fran: Planning how I am going use the relationship database I learnt about. @airtable: Organizing Your Research with a Relational Database with Cheri Daniels. @Historiana. Also Nicole Dyer, @familylocket How to Use Airtable for a DNA Research Log.  Also liked the quick sessions on DNA, tech tools and more. Many were reminders of things I knew already however sometimes we need reminders

Sue: I enjoyed all I have seen so far, but for my beginners at the library I reckon the small 4 minute sessions from Ancestry, MyHeritage were great

Jill: The standout keynotes for me at #RootstechConnect were @sarker and @ATuminez. Strong, vivacious women

Blog posts about Roots Tech

Jennifer: Counting down the days, Ready set go

Carmel: An alternative home for your playlist, recommended sessions to watch

Paul: His experience at Roots Tech

Fran: Did a 14 day countdown to RootsTech – a new post each day – make sure you check out the older posts link at bottom of page

Randy Seaver: Compendium of Roots Tech blog posts from around the world, being updated daily

Readers: What was your favourite keynote and/or session? Why?