google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html Road Trip to RootsTech | The Armchair Genealogist

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Road Trip to RootsTech

I’m heading to RootsTech in Salt Lake City, Utah in 22 days.(can you hear the squeal of excitement.)
I have registered for the conference, booked my hotel room and this week my must do is book the airline tickets.

I’m excited about this conference. As someone who watched from the sidelines last year, I was really compelled to attend this year. I love the forward thinking of this conference, and since my budget for conferences is limited I had to think long and hard before I made the decision. You can read more about my dilemma in  Help, Which Genealogy Conference Should I Choose. I believe I chose well.

Like I said, this will be my first time at RootsTech , therefore, to mark the experience, I would like to begin a new series Road Trip to RootsTech. During this series, I will convey my plans in preparing myself for the event, and of course report back to you as we get closer. I will report from and during the event and all through the eyes of a newcomer.

I think this could prove both beneficial to readers who haven’t attended RootsTech and are contemplating whether it’s the kind of conference for them. It may also prove beneficial for the RootsTech planners. Besides my goal of convey the pros and cons of the RootsTech conference, I hope to convey the benefits of attending any conference. They truly are motivational.

If you want to join me there is still time, early bird registration is in place until Friday Jan 13th. If you're still not sure about which conference is right for you, read Genealogy Conferences - Who Deserves Your Money? . You can find a round-up of this year's announced conferences at 2012 Genealogy Conferences.

Let’s start with preparation for the conference schedule. This past week a conference schedule was posted, I have briefly perused it, although I hear that a revised one is coming down the pipeline, so I will hold off on choosing exactly what I want to attend until that happens. I just checked, a new schedule is up therefore I need to take some time and decide what I want to see. I'll report back to you on my choices.

I am booked at the Hilton, I’m hoping it’s a few short blocks away from the event at the Salt Palace Convention Centre. At least that’s how it appears on Mapquest. My thoughts now turn to how cold an snowy it will be and whether I’m going to need to tromp around in ugly boots or I can wear more appealing footware. Yes, yes fess up your thinking it as well.

I’m also contemplating what electronics I will bring. My netbook, smartphone or good old paper and pen. My smartphone is set up on a Canadian account so I will have to look at setting up something to use in the States that won’t cost me a fortune in roaming charges to tweet and text. My netbook will be great for posting, I may use it for note taking in the lectures.  I’m still mulling this one over. Pen and paper may work fine for me. I do like to have the syallabus in front of me during lectures, I like to highlight and make notes on it. I’m going to presume those will be available for download closer to the date. 

Next, up this week, book my airline flight, direct out of Detroit looks to be my best option at the moment. Buffalo is slightly closer but no directs and Toronto well just way too expensive, airport taxes are equal to the cost of the flight.

My husband and daughter are coming with me, maybe daughter #1 one as well, we will know better this week when she gets her school schedule. They love to ski and I would have real guilt leaving them behind when I am in one of the ski capitals of the world. However, the ground rules are clear, we will meet for dinner but that might be the extent of our time together. I love that we are able to both enjoy our passions and still come together at the end of the day. I just don’t want Mother's guilt by not spending time with them. They know why I am going and so I don’t think this will be a problem. Well, as for me and skiing, those days are over.

At some point during my quick trip I need to schedule sometime at “The Library”. Flying in on Wednesday evening and returning on Sunday leaves me little room for research. I hear that the FHL will be open late on Friday evening. Therefore, that is the plan. I need to make some time to get on Family Search and write down the microfilms I need so I am ready to move quickly when I get there.

Amy Coffin, from We Tree Genealogy suggested the other day, I go in with a list, and just keep knocking off the films until they kick me out. I’m going to take her advice. Having never been to FHL, I am a little anxious and having limited time I really want to make the most of it. Nancy Shively and I bonded over this on Facebook and now we have a date for that Friday night…looking forward to it.

So the road to RootsTech has become, plenty of things to think about, plenty to prepare for before we leave in 22 days. Anything I’ve missed? What else should I be preparing before I head out? I know some of you have this down to a science. All advice is welcome.


Jill Ball said...

Look forward to catchng up at Rootstech and following your Roadtrip.

FYI The syllabus in 2011 was on CD and handed out at registration so if it is again this year you will need to download it and figure out what you need to print and how to do it. It was 416 pages last year!

Lynn Palermo said...

Thanks Jill, well that presents a problem if it is only available via CD, since the netbook I will have with me does not have a disc drive. Hmmm!

Lauren Mahieu said...

Lynn, I'm right there with you, trying to figure out what is most important to me to research. I still need to make my list of books and films to look at, and haven't really given myself much extra time for research. I like Amy's advice and will probably be thrown out with you!

Anonymous said...

If there's something you want to go to, make sure you sign up for it (if required) and get there early! They don't control the doors well, and you could easily lose your place to someone who just wandered in.

Stayed at the Hilton last year, it was easy walking distance. Gets even easier once you figure out which back door is closest to your hotel. ;)

Have an idea of what you want to get out of the conference before you go -- Last year, I thought I had a pretty clear idea of what RootsTech was, got there and it was different. I sat through many disappointing lectures & wasn't even sure I was going again. This time, I'm going with specific objectives and having tried this approach at other conferences, I think it works better (at least for me).

Last year, they had "press passes" for bloggers that allowed them access to a specific area so they could blog from the conference. Have you signed up as a blogger?

Printers are available for use, as are computers. This IS a tech conference, after all! :)

Lynn Palermo said...

@Lauren safety in numbers! See you there.
@Anonymous- thanks for all the great advice, as my first time it is hard to know what to expect, happy to hear there will be printers available. I think I do know what I'm looking for, but will see it that pans out. Not sure what you are referring to in terms of signing up for events?? Such as?

Banai Lynn Feldstein said...

Is it a road trip if you fly? I thought you had to drive... ;-)

The Hilton is right near the convention center, but RootsTech takes place at the opposite end of the center. Another commenter mentioned a back door. You will have a trek through the center, but at least it will be indoors.

When returning from the FHL to your hotel, the walk will be even longer. You can take Trax (I hope they run late enough), and there's a station on the street directly behind the Hilton. Once you know how to pass through the building on the other side, it makes that trip a little easier. Trax is our light rail train and is free in the downtown area.

Check the FHL catalog before you leave to be sure you don't need anything from the vault. You'll want to order those early in case they get flooded with requests. It only takes a day or two, but they can only do so many per day.

Yes, last year's syllabus was on CD. I remember that the PDF was so protected that I couldn't even extract a couple pages and had to bring the entire file or print the pages. I just went without it. If it's on CD again, you should be able to find someone willing to get you the file somehow. But FamilySearch donated flash drives for the last IAJGS conference syllabus. You think they won't figure to do that at their own conference this year? I hope they do that.

We have had a very dry winter so far. Either it will stay this way, or we'll get a huge dump of snow right before or during RootsTech. Sorry. Wear comfortable shoes anyway. There's a lot of walking at the conference.

Lynn Palermo said...

Banai - Thank you for all the info. If the syllabus was on flashdrive that would be great, online would be great as well. As far as winter goes, it been pretty light here in Canada, so a dump of snow after I get there or before would be fine. Just not my day of travel, however, being snowed in for a couple extras days wouldn't be problem. Yeah, always my problem, lovely yet functional footwear.

Ellen T said...

I went to Roots Tech last year and thought it was great. There was an excitment in the air. I was luckier than Anonymous as the talks I'd picked were informative. Some I got alot out of some just a bit. I go with my parnter; Kevin, who is on the tech side.. I'm from the user side, so I got see if from both perspectives.
See you there
Family History Hound

Lynn Palermo said...

Thanks Ellen, see you there!

Anonymous said...

As a first time attendee of RootsTech I'm perplexed and concerned about how well the conference is organized (or isn't). The schedule comes out online less than a month before - and it's still being updated? A syllabus only on CD, and NOT available before the conference? Promises of email updates and none received yet? Having attended both FGS and NGS national conferences makes me think that RootsTech doesn't need to re-invent the wheel - there's proven ways of presenting a conference. Schedules of sessions presented on a daily grid seems far more easy to read than the online schedule currently available on the RootsTech website. And for a tech conference, wouldn't it make simple sense to provide the syllabus online well before the conference begins, and, more importantly, online for attendees to access during the sessions. The conference center is completely wi-fi accessible, right? Why does it seem that RootsTech just isn't well-organized? Someone please calm my fears that attending RootsTech is going to end up being lost time and dollars when I could have waited to attend this year's other major conferences.

Lynn Palermo said...

@Anonymous, I feel your anxiety, but by all accounts, (those that attended last year) it was a success. I agree with some of your observations thus far. I have been to the NGS and I do hope that it meets my expectations and then some. Time will tell.

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

I look forward to reading your "road trip" posts. I'll be there on the 29th. Feel free to find me and I'll steer you in the right direction at the FHL.

Lynn Palermo said...

Thanks Amy, I have a list of bloggers I am looking forward to meeting and you're on the top of list. See you there.

Biff Barnes said...

I hope we'll get a chance to meet you in person at RootsTech. It would be fun to meet the person behind the blog I enjoy following. See you at the Salt palace.

Lynn Palermo said...

Ahhh...Thank You Biff, I feel the same. You are on my list, see you there.

Russ Worthington said...


Thanks for the reminder. Just selected the Classes that I want to attend, with a 2nd and 3rd choice for each.

Still trying to figure out transportation from hotel in West Valley City to the Salt Palace.

Then to figure out whatelse to bring. iPad is a definate, but what else. Trying to stay away from a backpack, but it is on standby.

Hope to meet you at RootsTech.


CMPointer said...

Yeah, the footwear is my problem too. Seriously. *BigSigh* This is my 1st time to Salt Lake & I can't wait either.

I'm not real worried about the sessions here at Rootstech because there's always the FHL, right?

I'm gonna take my new laptop, Umber. She's big and beautiful, yet surprisingly lightweight. And, of course, my iPhone. I never go anywhere without it. Just ask Amy. ;)

I think some things aren't real organized, but I don't think we have anything to really worry about.

I've found I'm not real strict with my session pickings anymore, but they are fun to pick and plan out, but then I usually don't follow it.

Looking forward to meeting you!! This is gonna be a lotta FUN!