Friday, February 5, 2016

RootsTech: The Genealogy Hub of the West

It is Friday morning here at RootsTech 2016. What a wonderful first few days! RootsTech is definitely the genealogy hub here in the West.

For those of you at home, I wanted to share a few of my favorite RootsTech things.

I was most touched by the inspirational message of Paula Madison and her story "Finding Samuel Lowe." Her story is in book form, a documentary, and there will be an upcoming webinar on 17 February. She is a "Black" woman. I put black in quotation marks because she is not only "Black." She is Chinese and of a clan going back before Christ! She is the 151st generation in her clan. Can you believe it?!

Paula's mother raised her three children in Harlem. Paula felt a sense of "not belonging" as her father was not around much and there were no other family, cousins, etc. On her journey to finding her lost maternal grandfather, Samuel Lowe, she finds her family, her place, and her ancestors. You can enjoy more of her story at

Peggy Clemens Lauritzen and myself
There have been other wonderful opening remarks that were certainly noteworthy. A comment by Steve Rockwood of FamilySearch International said, "We are the heart doctors of our families." He had a cute prop that made us all laugh. He gave us each a mask; you know, the kind a doctor wears. We all got a kick out of that. He reminded us die-hards that not everyone enjoys names and dates, but many of our relatives will enjoy a story from the heart.

Bruce Feiler, writer for Sunday New York Times, shared with the crowd that some of the most successful and happy children have grown up with a knowledge of their family history. Children who know their heritage can draw strength and encouragement from the stories of their ancestors.

Break-out sessions were wonderful too. I enjoyed giving my own presentation to a great group of both new and experienced genealogists. I will be giving a second presentation later today.

Now, the Expo Hall. Oh. My. Goodness. I have never seen anything like it! We are busting at the seams with people from all over the world. The small companies, the big companies, and everything in between has been well represented here in the hall. RootsBid booth (that's where I am) is right across from the media hub. The media hub is where all the genealogy bloggers and gurus hang, tweet, blog, and interview. My favorite thing? To see Thomas MacEntee in his Hawaiian shirt and bling sitting over there smiling away as he chats with all the passersby.
Me and Thomas MacEntee. Photo
bomber, Eric Jelle!

I have enjoyed meeting many new friends and catching up with some old friends too. The genealogy community is a safe haven. In nearly every case, genealogists are happy to share, encourage, and befriend anyone they meet!

Well, I am off and running. Don't forget that you too can enjoy sessions throughout the day via the live streaming provided at

Oh! I almost forgot. I was in awe at the Crescent Super Band who performed for us last night. These amazing teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 were true performers. I have never enjoyed jazz more than I did last night!

Crescent Super Band 

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