Tuesday, 27 February 2018

#NotAtRootsTech Survival Guide - 2018 Edition

It's that time of  year again... Every January, when my genea-buddies begin to congregate in Salt Lake City to take part in SLIG (the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy), I begin to whither and die a little inside. The jealousy and despair increase agonizingly as February passes and RootsTech approaches.

Photo courtesy of the fabulous Andrea Harding! (2017)
If you are a genea-n00b, you may not yet be aware of the extravaganza that is RootsTech. This conference is commonly considered the largest family history event on the planet, attended by over 30,000 registrants. Genea-learning cannot be avoided at this conference which offers upwards of 24 concurrent lectures and labs per time slot and a gigantic Expo Hall displaying international family history-related businesses, societies and organizations.

Held annually since 1998 (in its current format since 2011), RootsTech takes place at the lovely and humungous Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA which just happens to be only steps away from every family history researcher's mecca: The Family History Library (FHL).

This year, RootsTech takes place from Wednesday, February 28th through Saturday, March 3rd. 2018's theme: Connect. Belong.

If you're like me -- stuck at home -- don't worry, we can still connect and belong! Check out the following 18 ways to participate in RootsTech from wherever you are in the world:

Please Note:
This blog post will be updated throughout the conference as new and relevant items are discovered.

1. Get creative! Think outside the box!
You may not be able to take part in RootsTech in the same way those lucky devils, In-Person Genealogy Joe and Jane, will be able to but that doesn't mean you can't still have a fun and exciting conference experience. Consider this an opportunity to exercise your Creativity Muscles. [After all, we won't have the tens of thousands of steps on our FitBits to show for this conference! Better work SOME muscles!] If there's something you wish you could be present in Salt Lake City for, try to come up with a way to show your spirit from afar. If there just doesn't seem to be a way, make the most of what you can do from at home on your couch!

2. Display your #NotAtRootsTech pride!
[This is me executing number one (above)! hee hee]
Exhibitors, speakers and ambassadors all get spiffy badges to display on their social media accounts - why not us?? Add one of the following badges (measuring 250w x 208h in pixels) to your website/blog or just share your pride on social media! Just right click to save one to your computer.

I made them all (keeping with what seems to be the colour scheme for this year's RootsTech) and you have my permission to use them wherever your little heart desires. As you can see, some have black and some have white backgrounds. If you prefer one with a transparent background, let me know and I will do my best to accommodate.

I would love a link back to this blog post - but it is not mandatory. Or if you want to comment below and tell me where you've displayed your badge, that would rock too!

3. Watch the live-streamed sessions.
Many, many genealogy enthusiasts routinely watch RootsTech's live-streamed lectures remotely. Believe it or not, this IS something that people do! It's quite like watching live TV or YouTube, actually.

Broadcast sessions usually include inspiring key note speakers [like Olympic Champion figure skater, Scott Hamilton!! I'm so excited!! and super bummed I won't be there in the flesh...], the Innovation Showcase* and a variety of lectures on topics that are, probably, of interest to a broader range of people.

This year's Streaming Schedule and a little more information about each presentation can be found here: https://www.rootstech.org/live-stream-schedule REMEMBER: The times listed are in Mountain Standard Time (MST)! For your convenience, add two hours for Eastern Standard Time (EST).

To watch, simply navigate to the www.RootsTech.org homepage at the time of the session(s) in which you are interested. You will be prompted to enter your name and email address in order to gain access to the live stream. If you are late, don't worry! You can join at any time without disrupting the proceedings.

*The Innovation Showcase is going to be a bit different this year. For more information, click HERE.

4. Make the most of the RootsTech app!
Even people who are not attending RootsTech in person can download the official app! It is available for FREE download in both Android and Apple IOS formats. Why bother?
  • Information at your fingertips about every single speaker;
  • Rate the speakers you see on the live-stream to help RootsTech decide who to bring back in future years;
  • Fill in your profile information so other app users (and maybe cousins!) can find you;
  • Conversely, browse the attendee list (people who've made their profiles public) to make connections and, potentially, find cousins;
  • Follow the #RootsTech twitter feed or RootsTech Facebook Page posts, on-the-go;
  • Learn about the Exhibitors who are displaying their wares in the Expo Hall;
  • Follow the Show Pulse which tells you what is popular among app users;
  • Read official RootsTech blog posts;
  • Watch live-streamed and/or past sessions on-the-go;
  • Create a dream schedule (this makes me too sad but you might have fun with it!);
  • THE MAIN THING: Download handouts for each and every conference lecture. Frankly, some of these files won't be helpful to you. You won't care about some topics and, frankly, some lecturers are just crap at creating effective handouts; however, there will be at least a few containing tips and tidbits you didn't already know and/or spotlighting items about which you could use a reminder. There will likely be links to online resources you haven't explored, contact information for lecturers themselves, businesses, even events -- you never know what you might find... unless you look!
Here's a helpful blog post about using this app written by Canadian geneablogger, Gail Dever, and another from RootsTech entitled, "7 Ways the Mobile App Will Enhance Your RootsTech Experience".

5. Visit the virtual Expo Hall.
Crowds are non-existent when attending RootsTech from home. That's one huge plus when you consider how many people attend this event every year!

By following the virtual Exhibit Hall map and list of Exhibitors (scroll down the page for the latter), you can investigate all of the new and established vendors that RootsTech 2018 has to offer! Check out their websites, subscribe to their newsletters for inside information and special discounts or deals throughout the year, follow their blogs and social media accounts, create your wish list while shopping through their books, products, ephemera or software, explore lists of helpful links. Take your time and browse without being jostled or worried about stomped toes. 

6. Follow the hashtags on Twitter in real time.
Hashtags provide a direct way of participating, learning and interacting for those who cannot attend an event in person. Attendees or live participants post their real time experiences, photos, thoughts, links and tips from lectures and those of us at home get to share in the experience vicariously. Sometimes, in-person people (like the lovely Melanie McComb, aka The Shamrock Genealogist) even offer to do quick lookups at the FHL for #NotAtRootsTech peeps! See her recent tweet, HERE, but remember people like Melanie do this sort of thing out of the goodness of their hearts in attempt to Pay It Forward. Do your best to NOT take advantage of such generosity!

These days, most events (not just genealogy-related ones) will have an official hashtag. For RootsTech, the official hashtag is always #RootsTech regardless of the year; however, variants (such as #RT2018 or #RootsTech2018) are often used frequently enough that you should watch them as well.

Here is a list of hashtags I recommend following on Twitter during RootsTech this year:

By following these you may even discover a few more hashtags worth investigating! (HINT: check out #genchat, #genchatDNA and #AncestryHour). So, even if you are attending in-person, I highly recommend following hashtags on social media. You can't be everywhere at once! That RootsTech Expo Hall is seriously huge so it's a good bet you won't know what is happening on the opposite end, let alone whatever else is happening in the lecture sessions in other rooms!

Wondering how to follow even just one of these in real time? You could bookmark the above links in your browser so you can go back to them at your leisure. Alternatively, follow these steps:

  1. Get yourself a Twitter account. I recommend creating a handle /username with as few characters as possible.
  2. After you've logged in, enter the hashtag (#hashtag) of interest into the search box at the top, right-hand side of the page (pictured below). The default is to show you the Top posts first; those will be the ones with the most interaction regardless of when they occurred. I recommend clicking on the "Latest" tab/link (as pictured below) which will update automatically with the newest public posts containing your searched-for hashtag. You can scroll to view posts earlier in the day and so on.

It can be a pain in the buttinski trying to follow live events in this fashion or via the app on your phone, though. When conferences get really busy, the new posts can go by very quickly. Instead of enduring the resulting headache, I recommend TweetDeck which is a Twitter app that you can use on your phone or via the website URL.

How To Use TweetDeck
The good news is you don't need anything new or special to use TweetDeck on your laptop or computer!

  1. You just sign in with your Twitter account information.
  2. Add a column for your Notifications so that you will immediately see any activity /responses directed at you.
  3. Add columns for each relevant hashtag by typing it in the search box at the top left of the page. This will automatically open up a new column and, thus, enable you to view and interact with all activity in real time. Alternatively, you could add multiple hashtags to one column by typing "OR" (without quotes) between each tag.

A glimpse of LDC's TweetDeck Dashboard.
Here is an article that will help you get started with TweetDeck. I recommend just playing with it; you aren't going to blow up your computer! But, if you require further assistance, Google is your friend.

If you just simply cannot follow in real time, don't fret! The internet is forever, my friend - for better or for worse. You can search for a hashtag at the end of the day or after an event, scroll back through the feed to the approximate time you started missing out and scan for gems. I don't recommend attempting to read every. single. tweet. because that's usually going to take a lot of time. Important stuff will usually be RE-tweeted (RT) anyway so you probably won't miss the really good bits.

7. INTERACT on Twitter.
Part, if not most, of the fun of virtually attending a live event is interacting with the other sad sacks who also couldn't make it to the real deal. You interact by Liking (clicking the heart), retweeting (RT), quoting (adding a comment to a RT) and replying to the posts of other tweeters. Go ahead - ask questions, make comments! Don't be shy! They can't see you in your jammies with your hair all messed up!

Don't forget to interact with vendors exhibiting in the Expo Hall. Keep an eye out for their impromptu contests or special conference-only deals or discounts. Remember, too, even if a company or organization is not officially hosting a booth (they're mad expensive), many of them are still in attendance and will make an effort to have a virtual presence during the conference and on the Expo Hall floor in order to connect with as many prospective members, clients and customers as possible.

Include the official hashtag as often as possible (unless the conversation gets more specific /personal and may not be of general interest).

8. Follow the hashtags on Facebook.
Did you know that hashtags are also something you can follow on Facebook? That's right! All you have to do is log into your Facebook account and enter the hashtag into the search bar at the top of the page.
The default is to show you All posts first. I prefer to follow the Posts tab/link (as pictured above). I find you see less posts searching via Facebook in this fashion but you frequently come across different, more in-depth content.

9. Make Facebook Friends or Follow-Backsies.
Further to numbers 7 and 8... This is a great opportunity to network! If you find yourself noticing particularly helpful tips, having a good conversation or enjoyable small talk with a particular tweep or individual on Facebook, don't let the virtual relationship end there! You clearly have at least one subject in common and each of you probably have a specialty or special knowledge that may complement the other's at some point in the future. You never know what contacts and connections may come in handy one day or which random networking efforts will end up becoming your new BFF, your Genealogy Conference Husband or Family History Twin.

So cultivate your new genea-relationships by continuing the social media interaction after the event. Everyone likes to be followed back on Twitter! Request their friendship on Facebook or the URL of their business page so you can follow them there, too. In the immediate future, you may benefit from more direct access to their posts related to the ongoing conference and subject matter. Following each other also enables you to send Private Messages (PMs or DMs, sometimes IMs).

10. Take the opportunity to share your blog, website, social media links or research interests.
You are stuck at home with a somewhat captive audience who is clearly interested in your favourite subjects: genealogy and family history! This is the perfect time to force upon others (in other words, share generously) your genealogy-related blogs, websites and URLs to other social media accounts you may use (ie, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc). Make a point of posting about your research quandaries, brick walls and place/surnames of interest. Including links to more information are helpful to include (ie, a blog post about your 3x great grandmother whose maiden name is thusfar unknown).

Of course you must not forget to include that official hashtag and a few of the other relevant ones, if possible. Do refrain, however, from spamming your information (in other words, sharing repeatedly and excessively). Any tweet generally has a lifespan of about 12 minutes BUT keep in mind that virtual attendees of an event like RootsTech are, likely, closely following the same event feeds (hashtag and conversation threads) as you. Err on the side of restraint so as not to annoy your new genea-pals.

Don't forget to use hashtags that are NOT specific to the event, too!
Especially on a Friday, use the hashtag #FollowFriday or #FF to put your links out there. These two particular tags are specifically meant to direct people towards new accounts and content to follow. It is also an excellent idea to share the tweets or public info of any newfound friends!

Depending on the days an event takes place, you could also make use of hashtags such as #SurnameSaturday, #MondayMotivation, #TravelTuesday or #ThrowbackThursday to share your surnames or other research interests. These types of tags reach a broader audience than just conference attendees. Which brings up a solid point -- remember that many people who travel for a conference such as RootsTech may arrive a few days early and/or stay a few days late. These people may be especially tuned in to social media during off-peak times and it's these you might connect with by posting and checking the the official hashtags pre and post event.

I should mention that anyone can make up a hashtag. Businesses and events create and publicize their own in an attempt at continuity in order to best promote themselves but any old body can make one up. The key is using hashtags that have a broad audience, that most people will think to search for and, therefore, see. The Twitter phone app does a great job of telling you how many times a hashtag has been tweeted per day but, if you choose to use the website version of Twitter, you will not have access to that automated feature.

11. Watch for BONUS live-streamed sessions!
Attendees, exhibitors, and speakers have been known to broadcast live from RootsTech via YouTube, Periscope or Facebook Live. Sometimes you can participate from afar in Q&A sessions, watch interviews of genea-celebs or explore the Expo Hall via drone. These may only be announced as they occur on social media, so get following those hashtags and accounts!

Here are a couple I know about already:
  • [NEW as of March 1st 2:45am EST] My newest blog post: RootsTech 2018 a la YouTube is a collection of YouTube videos and recorded Facebook Live broadcasts pertaining to this year's event. This Guide was getting too long for scrolling so I decided to make a new post and link to it instead of adding. Soooo... What are you waiting for?? Get some popcorn and get watching!
  • Follow DearMYRTLE's Ambush Cam and shenanigans
    Usually not-quite-live but soon enough after-the-fact to be relevant and to make you feel like you're participating from home, DearMYRTLE posts short videos on her YouTube channel and keeps her social media accounts up to date! Stalk her around RootsTech 2018 on Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, and her blog to make sure you don't miss anything!
    Just who is this DearMYRTLE character, you ask? Check out this genea-celeb's bio, HERE.
    Pre-RootsTech Event Recording: On Monday, February 26th, DearMYRTLE broadcast her usual "Monday's With Myrt" LIVE from "the third-floor glass-enclosed nerve center at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah". This pre-RT event typical includes chats with drop-ins by genea-celebs and regular viewers who are attending the conference. You should be able to view the recording and post your own comments by following [NEW as of 28 Feb at 7:20pm EST] this link, HERE.
  • On Wednesday, Feb 28th at 4:00pm MST / 6:00pm EST go to the Legacy Tree Genealogists Facebook page to learn more during a Live Q&A about working for the world's highest-rated genealogy research firm. [NEW as of 28 Feb at 7:20pm EST] Link to recording of this live feed, HERE.
  • On Thursday, March 1st at 1:30pm MST / 3:30pm EST, watch a Facebook Live session about Heritage and History with Maureen Taylor and Amy Johnson Crow LIVE from the Expo Hall.
  • Saturday, March 3rd is Family Discovery Day at RootsTech. Watch the live broadcast of "My Family, Mi Herencia" featuring Luz de Las Naciones. This is a multilingual production that celebrates cultures and stories from Latin America and features over 1000 people in the cast, including a youth and young adult choir, musicians, storytellers and dance groups. Here is the link to the live broadcast: lds.org/latino2018 [via Renee Zamora at Renee's Genealogy Blog]

12. Participate in WikiTree Friday on March 2nd!
In the Facebook WikiTree Members Group, my genea-bud Mags Gaulden of Grandma's Genes recently announced that Friday, March 2nd will be the Official WikiTree Day at RootsTech 2018. What does this mean? Well, I'll tell you! It's Wear ORANGE Day! WikiTreers are asked to wear orange to show their WikiTree pride and spread the word about WikiTree - the free family tree, one accurate, shared tree that connects us all and is accessible to us all for free, forever - with a hug, a smile or fist bump!

There will also be a group photo taking place at noon MST at the WikiTree booth in the Expo Hall. Now, if you're at home like me, you won't be there for the photo but that doesn't mean we can't still participate! I hereby challenge you ALL to post a photo on social media of yourself (or your pet, I'm easy!) dressed in orange to celebrate WikiTree Day!

Make sure to include the #NotAtRootsTech and #RootsTech hashtags on whichever social media outlet you choose. Make sure your post is Public so we all can see it and share it. You may want to include a link to your WikiTree profile page or a couple of your surnames of interest too. Just sayin!

WikiTree will be presenting in the Demo Theatre on Friday at 4pm MST and, while #NotAtRootsTech peeps will likely miss out on this session, Mags has been known to LiveCast during genealogy conferences. So keep an eye out!

13. Participate in the Genealogy Photo A Day Challenge starting March 1st! [NEW as of 28 Feb @ 1am EST]
Take and/or just share photos you already have according to the daily prompts. Use the hashtag #GenealogyPhotoADay on social media (and #NotAtRootsTech too!) to join in the fun. Thanks to Melissa at Genealogy Girl Talks and Melanie McComb, The Shamrock Genealogist for this graphic and for creating the prompts!

14. Read and follow Randy Seaver's RootsTech 2018 Compendium blog posts
This blog post is a genea-community fave! Click THIS LINK to read. Looked forward to by many (including moi!) every year, this post will be updated, at least, daily throughout the conference with links to relevant blog posts by genea-peeps talking about their experiences at this year's RootsTech. Live vicariously through the prose of posters present! Enjoy the photos! Resist the devious draw of gluttony and hold fast to the inspiration and motivation! You can do it. I believe in you. Then, make sure to spread the love by commenting with your thanks and sharing on social media.
Still hungry for more? Review the 2017 RootsTech excitement HERE.

15. Keep an eye out for RootsTech SALES and DEALS!

While you're reviewing all of those vendor websites, newsletters, blogs and social media pages, you absolutely MUST keep watch for any special offers, discounts, freebies (ie, shipping) or sales of which non-attendees might be eligible to take advantage.

Don't forget to SHARE finds like the following with the rest of your "locationally-challenged" friends via social media!
    Going In-Depth Digital Magazine COUPON CODE
  1. A discounted subscription to the monthly digital magazine, Going In-Depth, is currently being advertised on The In-Depth Genealogist Facebook page. Normally priced at $35.00 USD, the coupon code "2018ROOTS" grants you a $15 savings on an annual subscription until midnight EST 6 Mar 2018. For this amazing price, not only do you get access to the monthly magazine but also free downloads of over 50 past issues and 10% OFF all purchases of PDFs, books and magazines in their shop as well as future offerings (ie, webinars and courses).
  2. Evidentia Software is also offering a RootsTech special since they are not able to participate in-person this year. From now until March 5th, get 15% OFF everything on their website plus FREE shipping!
  3. JoyFlips is hosting a biiiiiig contest for RootsTech attendees. Unfortunately, those of us #NotAtRootsTech are not eligible to enter. However, they are still offering a super deal to anyone not attending the conference in person! Open a JoyFlips account between February 28th and March 3rd 2018 to receive 50% OFF the normal price of $40.00 USD, including FREE shipping if ordered by March 31st 2018.
  4. The eBook version of "Research Like A Pro: A Genealogist's Guide" by Diana Elder with Nicole Dyer will be available for purchase for the first time ever on Thursday, March 1st at Amazon.com. For more information about the contents of this eBook, check out this webpage.
    The Deal: If you purchase the eBook in the first week, you will be able to take advantage of the introductory pricing! Regularly $9.99 USD, the eBook will be available for only $4.99 USD. This offer ends Thursday, March 8th at 11:59pm MST / 1:59am EST. An Added Perk: Email your receipt to nicole@familylocket.com to be added to an exclusive Facebook group where you will receive tips and advice from other users.
  5. Family History Fanatics are offering At-Home Sufferers the same deals they are offering in the Expo Hall! Save when you purchase book bundles, register for the Moments Of Their Lives eConference by March 3rd to get $10.00 USD OFF, register for Boot Camps before March 30th to receive 50% OFF and, finally, get 50% OFF when you purchase any of five recorded webinars. See more about these deals HERE.
  6. [NEW as of March 2nd at 8am EST] Billion Graves, the world's largest GPS cemetery database, is offering a Plus subscription for only $2/month, billed annually (regular $79.99 USD/ year). That's a 67% discount! In addition, by signing up today, you'll lock in this special price FOR LIFE!
    At checkout, enter the code: RootsTech2018e
    *Deal valid for annual purchases only at $24.99 USD. $2/month in the equivalent monthly breakdown. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Discounted price for new BG+ subscribers only.
  7. [NEW as of 28 Feb at 1:45pm EST] LivingDNA.org has dropped the price of their DNA test kits to $89.00 USD to celebrate the launch of their new Family Networks feature. Use code ROOTS18 at checkout. Code works for USA only.
  8. [NEW as of 28 Feb at 1:45pm EST] Revgenea Software is offering 50% OFF the cost of their one-time premium upgrade for OldNews USA for Android. This upgrade allows unlimited use of the app. Sale price $1.99 USD. Promotion ends March 3rd. OldNews USA is the app that won the RootsTech 2017 Innovator Showdown.
  9. [NEW as of 28 Feb 2:30pm EST] Get a FREE trial download of the imaging software, Vivid-Pix RESTORE, from ShopTheHound.com! Use promo code 3Hound at checkout via this link.
    [NEW as of 27 Feb at 5:30pm EST] 
    The National Institute for Genealogical Studies is offering some exciting discounts in honour of RootsTech that - guess what?!!? - #NotAtRootsTech people qualify for too! Please DM the National Institute's Twitter account during conference or use their Contact page to ask any questions or address any concerns you may have. These deals expire on March 5th 2018.

16. Make sure to enter the contests you are eligible to win!
There won't be many but every year there are a couple more. Sometimes you can win just by participating on social media! Last year, I won a free Promethease report and tshirt from SNPedia. Find SNPedia on Twitter, HERE.

TIP: Double-check that you are eligible to win from your place of residence.

The following is a list of contests that people #NotAtRootsTech are welcome to enter this year:
  1. RootsTech Conference organizers invite those of us not in attendance to participate on social media while watching the live-stream for our chance to win giveaways! In-person and virtual attendees will both be eligible to win these contests. Winners will be selected at random throughout the day. Prizes such as RootsTech tshirts, hats and other merchandise will be mailed to at-home viewers.

    To Enter: Watch for an official giveaway tweet from the RootsTech account @RootsTechConf on Wednesday, February 28th. Then, to enter, simply tweet a photo of yourself* watching the conference. Be sure to include the #NotAtRootsTech hashtag to qualify!

    *Last year, I was told that your face did NOT have to be in the photo in order to qualify; I assume this will be the case again this year but I will update if necessary.
  2. Shop The Hound is hosting the RootsTech edition of The DNA Angel Project. The prize will be a surprise! The bundle will be worth over $100.00 USD, made up of all things DNA and discovered by Canada's Family History Hound in the Expo Hall!
    ENTER HERE by Saturday, March 3rd at 11:45pm CST for your chance to win!
  3. [NEW as of Feb 28th at 1:50pm EST]"Like" the Revgenea Software Facebook page for a chance to win a promo code that will give you a FREE copy of OldNews USA app for iOS, planned for launch in April 2018. Winners will be drawn at random and notified by a post to this page. Contest ends 10 March 2018.
  4. [NEW as of 28 Feb at 3:20pm EST]Enter to win a digital recorder from Evalogue Life. Contest ends March 10th at 11:45pm MST. Enter HERE.
  5. [NEW as of 28 Feb at 7:15pm EST]Enter to win a FREE Discovery Plan from Legacy Tree Genealogists (valued at $350.00 USD). A Discovery Plan is perfect for novice and experienced researchers alike! Their team of genealogists will create a detailed research plan to help you discover more about your ancestry. Winner will be announced LIVE on the Legacy Tree Genealogists Facebook page on Saturday, March 3rd at 4pm MST. Enter HERE.
  6. [NEW as of March 1st at 1:00am EST] Lifetimes.co invites new users to register and upload a GEDCOM file during RootsTech 2018 in order to be entered into daily draws to win a LifeTimes merchandise pack (tshirt and cap). I haven't confirmed (yet) if #NotAtRootsTech peeps are eligible but they posted this on social media and you don't have to be present to upload a GEDCOM sooooo.... We'll see! Good luck!

17. Watch Instagram Stories... and LIVE casts?? [NEW as of 28 Feb @ 1:40am EST]
Now, I'm not a huge Instagram user so we all have to thank Melissa at Genealogy Girl Talks profusely for this tip! I was actually wondering what those "Stories" were all about in my app. LOL

You have to be following people in order to see any stories they post. You can see them via the Instagram app or the website at Instagram.com. If someone has shared a story you have not seen yet, you will see a colourful ring around their profile picture.

Apparently LIVE stories are a thing as well! Who knew! (Not me, clearly). When someone you are following on Instagram shares a live video, their profile pic will appear at the top of your feed with a colourful ring around it and the word Live. Tap their profile pic to view the live video stream.

I am still uncertain how to view a Live Story after-the-fact. I think doing so requires the poster to share it afterwards. If you know, tell me would ya?? When I figure it out, update.

Instagrammers who have, apparently, already been live streaming from SLC include:
Here is your friendly neighbourhood Instagram Stories Help page for further infoz. I just used this and paraphrased above but there is a lot more helpful stuff waiting there.
This article also appears to share a lot of helpful information about using Instagram Stories.

If you want to add yourself or your fave genealogy Instagrammer to this list, comment below or otherwise contact me.

[NEW as of March 1st 2:45am EST, updated as of 2 Mar at 1:30am EST]
My newest blog post: RootsTech 2018 a la YouTube is a collection of YouTube videos and recorded Facebook Live broadcasts pertaining to this year's event. This Guide was getting too long for scrolling so I decided to make a new post and link to it instead of adding. Soooo... What are you waiting for?? Get some popcorn and get watching!

18. Watch and/or RE-watch the recordings of the live-streamed sessions at your leisure
All live-streamed sessions are recorded and, generally, posted
  1. to the www.RootsTech.org website within hours of the conclusion of the day's events. Scroll down past the schedule of upcoming sessions currently on the main page to the Did You Miss A Session? section. Click on the appropriate day.
    Wednesday's sessions can be watched HERE.
    Thursday's sessions can be watched HERE.
    Friday's sessions can be watched HERE.
    Saturday's sessions can be watched HERE.
    This video archive is usually available, at least, until the following year's event takes place.
  2. Alternatively, watch from the Mormon Channel on YouTube.
  3. [NEW as of March 1st 2:45am EST, updated as of 2 Mar at 1:30am EST] My newest blog post: RootsTech 2018 a la YouTube is a collection of YouTube videos and recorded Facebook Live broadcasts pertaining to this year's event. This Guide was getting too long for scrolling so I decided to make a new post and link to it instead of adding. Soooo... What are you waiting for?? Get some popcorn and get watching! This blog includes links to the YouTube version of the daily live-stream program.

19. Get acquainted with relative-locating apps!
It sucks that we can't make use of these bad boys in-person at RootsTech this year but now is our chance to get prepared to use them at whatever next conference we get to attend! I know I could use the practice.

  1. FamilySearch's FamilyTree Mobile app is available in both android and Apple IOS versions. In order for the Relatives at RootsTech function to work, you need to have a tree on FamilySearch.org.
  2. Ancestry's We're Related app is also available in both android and Apple IOS formats. It offers a Find Relatives Nearby feature to accompany the one that shows whether or not you are related to your friends or anyone famous.
    Caveat: The results that this app provides should be taken with a grain of salt as they are based on the trees on Ancestry which, whether private or public, are input by users with varying degrees of skill and, in short, correctness.
  3. Geni.com's Geni Pathfinder app uses QR scanning to help you discover how you are related to others in Geni's World Family Tree. [NEW as of 27 Feb at 5:30pm EST]

BONUS: Here's a link from FamilySearch to a whole whack of family tree and genealogy apps! I believe most, if not all, are FREE to download and use.

20. Play the Legacy Republic Makeover Game!
Play Legacy Republic's RootsTech 2018 Expo Hall game! Determine your new name and then post to social media with the hashtag #LRMakeover (and, hopefully, #NotAtRootsTech and #RootsTech). I'm Professor Squarepants! Nice to meet you!
Go to this tweet and click on the photo to make it bigger / readable.

21. Post-Event / Bonuses
Some of the RootsTech Exhibitors are planning to include #NotAtRootsTech peeps in their post-conference shenanigans:
  1. Kindex is a service which helps you to index your private record collections and create your own searchable primary source archive. Kindex was voted People's Choice Winner at RootsTech 2017's Innovator Showdown. They have advised me via Twitter that they will be adding key segments of their RootsTech 2018 presentation, "Hoarder to Order: a step-by-step family record rescue" to their blog, specifically using the #NotAtRootsTech hashtag in order to include those of us who are locationally-challenged. Hooray for Kindex!
  2. Last year, Lisa Louise Cooke included virtual RootsTech attendees by offering live-streamed power sessions from her booth in the Expo Hall. This year, no such luck. At-Home Peeps are encouraged to sign up for her free weekly "Genealogy Gems" newsletter. Over the coming weeks, she promises to share the best RootsTech news, presentations and exclusive interviews in the (free) Genealogy Gems Podcast, on her blog and her YouTube channel, saying she will point to them in the newsletter. In a comment on her website, Lisa says that "[presentations] won't be live-streamed [this year] but we have something better coming." Here's hoping!
    BONUS: sign up for the newsletter on her website's home page HERE to receive the free newsletter AND a free eBook.
  3. [NEW as of March 2nd at 2:15am EST] D. Joshua Taylor has uploaded a PDF copy of the slides for his RootsTech 2018 presentation: "Call to Action! Diversity in Family History Technology". In his blog post, HERE, he says the presentation looks specifically at the tools we use to find and share family history.
  4. [NEW as of March 2nd at Too Early o'clock EST] Keep an eye out for an "hilarious" talk to be reposted on the Facebook page of Family History Ron sometime after RootsTech! (Thanks to Michael W. McCormick via Twitter for the heads up).

Soooooo... isn't that enough??? Which of these tips has helped most to alleviate your irritation, depression and jealousy this RootsTech season? Please share any other tips, discounts, freebies or contests that you come across by posting a comment below.


  1. Hey LDC - I downloaded the app on my phone so that I could access the conference hand outs. how do I download those?

    1. 1. Click on Schedule;
      2. Click on class you're interested in;
      3. Scroll down until you see the section marked Handout;
      4. Click to download that file;
      5. Choose to Download (to your phone, these will be accessible in the Download section from the main screen), to Email (send the file to yourself) or to Take Notes on Handout. Personally, I always email them to myself. It saves space on my phone.

      Have fun! There are SOOOOOO many to choose from!

  2. Just thought I'd share our #notatrootstech discount page https://www.familyhistoryfanatics.com/notatrootstech.


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