Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Worldwide Genealogists Are Getting Ready For RootsTech/FGS 2015!

made with - thanks
I am pretty excited to be attending RootsTech/FGS 2015 which starts next week in Salt Lake City. It appears that the weather is going to surprise all of us and we will have pleasant temperatures and no chance of snow. I have been to Salt Lake City three times in the late January time-frame and although we had cold temperatures and snow, the City does an amazing job of clearing sidewalks. No matter the weather, it is a beautiful and clean city to walk, shop and visit mecca (the Family History Library).

I am an FGS Ambassador so I have posted on my personal blog for the past few Sundays about preparing for the conference. Over the weekend I worked on my packing list, made a shopping list for the few things I needed to pick up, and worked on some handouts to use with my session “Who Does That? An Introduction to One-Name (surname) Studies.” I think we will have a good time on Friday, February 13th (thank goodness I am not superstitious!) at 1:00 pm and if you have any interest in learning a bit about surname research or one-name studies, please join me! 

I am a member of the Guild of One-Name Studies and am quite excited to finally meet several other Guild members – Jill Ball, Julie Goucher, Paul Howes, Drew Smith, Helen Smith, Darris Williams, Russ Worthington – to name a few. It will also be nice to finally meet up with several of my genealogy friends (although I “know” them online, we haven’t met in person) Jen Baldwin, Linda McCauley, Caroline Pointer, Pat Richley-Erickson, Cheri Hudson Passey, and Thomas MacEntee.

So this morning I sat down and played with both the online and the mobile versions of the schedule/agenda for the conference. It is a bit overwhelming and if you are going to RootsTech/FGS you will definitely want to spend some time reviewing all your choices. Here are a few tips that might help you go through the process. 
  1. Be sure to have your transportation and accommodation information on both your smartphone/tablet and printed out (you just know Murphy’s Law will wreak havoc otherwise). Are there any special things you need to think about – like checking in with the airlines, confirming your hotel reservation, determining if you will have excess luggage charges, contacting your credit card companies to let them know you will be traveling (and charging in a distant place), having cash (you remember cash) for the taxis, porters, or last minute minor purchases.
  2. Put together a rough draft of your schedule. I use a page a day while I am playing around and I list the days and time to check in (and register) with RootsTech and/or FGS. Do you know where you are going at the Salt Palace and what you need to pick up your registration packet (hint – photo identification). Get that “stuff” early so you can go through it at your leisure and “lighten your load.” Have a highlighter or pen handy for making notes on the conference guide and marking the booths at the Exhibit Hall that you don’t want to miss. You can also do this on the mobile apps – so whether you are old school (paper and pen) or new school (mobile apps) or a combination of both, take the time to note the “must see” and “must do” booths and sessions.
  3.  What is on my page a day sheets right now?
    • The general session (and whether I plan to attend)
    • The sessions I am interested in by session number, title, time and location (and if there are alternates, I make a note of both – something may change, a session might be full, or I might not decide until the last minute – bring a coin to toss!)
    • My plans for lunch – whether a planned lunch or an idea of a walk and a place nearby to try
    • The late afternoon or evening social or program (and whether I registered and have my ticket or confirmation)
    • My plans for dinner – I will be meeting up with Jill Ball and the Aussie contingent on Tuesday and attending the “after party” at Dear Myrtle’s home on Saturday. In both cases I have responded to the invitation, checked the location, signed up for transportation if need be, and put the information on my sheet.
  4. Looking at the page a day sheets shows how much of my time I have pre-scheduled and will be helpful when I decide to print out the syllabus for my final selections – and know there will be print kiosks at RootsTech so why not take advantage of getting your printing done on-site once you have made your selections.
  5. I am not going to schedule my sessions back to back to back for the four day conference (I am attending both FGS and RootsTech). Wednesday will be a busy day as it is Society Day and I have lots to learn for the genealogy societies and groups that I belong to, but I will still limit it to four sessions because you start to burn out and stop enjoying and learning if you get too tired. I did check to see which sessions were being recorded and that will help me narrow down my “in person” choices. Thursday is a four session day and Friday and Saturday are both three session days. I certainly want a mix of attending sessions, visiting booths at the exhibit hall, visiting with genealogists at lunches, evening socials and just that sit down and chat time (preferably with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine – depending on the time of day).
  6. I intend to focus on sessions that are new to me and will raise the bar a bit (mostly intermediate and advanced sessions OR sessions on topics I am not familiar with and haven’t had in my personal family history). Right now I am leaning toward 21st Century Italian Genealogy, Native American Research, African American Research, Railroad Records Research, Manuscripts & More, and School Records – to name a few. Hopefully these new ethnic and record type courses will provide some “aha” moments with my own research or add to my knowledge base.
  7. Together with three Guild members, I plan to work the FGS Society Showcase on behalf of the Guild on Saturday morning – probably from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. If you have questions about surname research, one-name studies, researching record sets in various parts of the world – or you simply want to pick up our Guild flyer and chat about how to find out more about your particular surnames, please stop by. I think the FGS Society Showcase will be amazing with flyers from genealogical and historical organizations and societies. It promises to be one of the highlights of the Exhibit Hall with many FGS member groups represented (flyers are available whenever the Exhibit Hall is open so definitely put the FGS Society Showcase on your “must visit” list). 
  8. My conference pie (love pie!) is divided into sessions, exhibit hall, meals, research at the FHL, volunteer time, and a little bit of walking to clear my head and get that exercise in. 
How is your conference pie being sliced and what have I left out? Let me know in the comments and please add me to your list of friends in the mobile app (the next project on my to-do list) and let’s meet up, if only to say hi and exchange genealogy cards. This time next week I will be through with my Society Day sessions and ready for the Behind the Scenes FGS Opening Social – hope to see you in Salt Lake City in a week. 

Catch up on your sleep this week and have a safe journey. 


  1. I'm keen to come to your talk! I've printed out the info for it :)

  2. I haven't sliced up my conference pie yet. Hoping that I will have planning time on the weekend before all my genimates join me in Salt Lake City.

    1. Jill I arrive on Sunday and am going to Mondays with Myrt on the Monday. Are you planning on joining us?

  3. Looking forward to meeting you too! Thanks for putting me in such good company!

  4. Looking forward to meeting you too! Thanks for putting me in such good company!

  5. I am looking forward to meeting each of you - Caitlin you are so lucky to have started early and I love your vlogging. Jill and Cheri it will be great to meet up - and it is in less than a week. I need to finish packing.

  6. Tessa Keough looking forward to meeting you next week.

  7. Great post Tessa! You've reminded me to check a couple of things....forgot to tell the bank I'll be overseas. Whoops! Look forward to meeting you on Tuesday.

  8. Keeping for Future reference! Great tips and information.


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World Wide Genealogy Team