I had the opportunity to tour the RootsTech exhibit hall a few hours before the official opening. I like doing this each year so I can get good photos before the crowds descend. Below are some of those photos. You'll notice the convention center crew was still setting up, so don't mind the mess.
This photo was taken at 7:15 a.m. It is the line of people waiting to get in to the General Session that started at 8:30 a.m. I've never seen such a crowd so early. I'm guessing the Property Brothers as keynote speakers had something to do with it.
This is the main entrance. There's a RootsTech logo in the carpet under that white square.
This portion of the exhibit hall is referred to as Innovators Alley.
MyHeritage is really plugging their new DNA testing service. They also have a dedicated seating area for presentations. Several larger exhibitors has similar meeting areas.
Another example of a vendor seating area.
This is the Demo Theater. Vendors give 20-minute presentations on their products. It's RootsTech Lite. I enjoy this format because I can learn about several new items in a short amount of time.
Yep. Those are phone booths and you really can call your relatives. There's a real push to record family stories, so this is one easy way to do it.
New at RootsTech this year is "Heirloom Show and Tell." Experts are on hand to assist you in determining an heirloom's value and other information.
That's it for my report from the exhibit hall. After the tour, it was on to the general session to kick off RootsTech 2017.
I had the pleasure of attending the RootsTech Media Dinner. This is an annual event held before RootsTech for Ambassadors and media types to get briefed on what to expect at this week's events.
Here's a brief lowdown: Innovator Summit maxed out at 1,400 attendees. The RootsTech registrations are at about 12,000. When you factor in Family Day on Saturday, there will be 30,000 attendees!
FamilySearch is still promoting their mission of capturing family stories. Now they're encouraging us to explore our family stories through our recipes. See more at FamilySearch.org/recipes.
One thing you'll notice about RootsTech is more signage around town. Magenta banners decorate the lightposts and there's even a lovely lady greeting those arriving at the Salt Palace.
A view of about one quarter of the room during the media dinner.
My favorite swag of the evening: family tree cookie cutters!
They had a caricature artist at the dinner. Mine is great: giant head on a toothpick neck.
FamilySearch also made available the contestants for the Innovator Showdown. It was a great opportunity to see the products and their developers up close.
RootsTech is off to a great start. Stay tuned for more...
Disclaimer: My admission to RootsTech was provided by RootsTech. The opinions posted here, however, are my own...as are my credit card charges for the flight and hotel.
The Discovery Center is free and open to the public. It is a fun way to share family history with the whole family. Today I had the opportunity to tour the Family History Library's Discovery Experience, which is set to open to the public February 8, 2017.
The Discovery Center is the first thing you'll notice when entering the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The interactive exploration space is over 10,000 square feet, complete computers and touch screens that invite family history exploration.
Visitors are given personal tablets to facilitate the Discovery Center experience. Users log on to their FamilySearch accounts to start the adventure. If you don't have a FamilySearch account, there are volunteers to help you create one and climb your family's tree. It's free.
There are seven interactive stations where you dock your tablet to access the data in your own family tree. The stations are:
What About Me? What is special about my birth year?
Where I Come From: How in the world did you get here?
My Time Machine: What was life like for my family a century ago?
Record My Story: What are my most prized memories?
Picture My Story: How would you look dressed like your ancestor?
Picture Our Heritage: Why is our world culture so important?
My Famous Relatives: Am I related to someone who made history?
Interactive exploration is at the heart of the Discovery Center. Children are encouraged to utilize the touchscreens. They can input their birth years and see special events that happened at that time. During my visit, I saw a French-speaking family accessing family history information in their native language.
Personal tablet that Discovery Center visitors borrow for the duration.
Interactive station where you learn what life was like for your ancestors. Notice the pink squares below the monitors. Those are the users' docked tablets, each telling the story of one's ancestors.
Station where you're photographed in another time and place. The white docking station on the right is how the experience is tailored to your own ancestral heritage.
The Discovery Center is free and open to the public. It is a fun way to share family history with the whole family.
Amy Lenertz, MLIS is the founder of Raincross Information Services.