Friday, February 7, 2014

RootsTech Day 2

Well I am pleased to say that I enjoyed Day 2 better than Day 1.  Both of the speakers at the mornings opening session were excellent.  Judy Russell gave a very inspiring speech that strongly supported the theme of the conference, sharing our stories, by using examples from her own family history.  Not only did she have a good story to tell; but she is a very polished speaker.  She was followed by Dr. Spencer Wells.  Obviously a brilliant scientist, he did a superb job of describing, in a clear and understandable way, DNA and its application to genealogy.  He related that when testing of individuals began in 2005 about 10,000 people entered the data base. They reached 1M people in 2012 and in 2013 added 1M more.  He predicted that future growth will be even more spectacular.  I attended four additional sessions and felt I learned at least one new helpful thing in each of the sessions.

During the day I came to the recognition that this is the first conference I have attended that I didn't take hand written notes.  All of my notes were taken using Evernote on my iPad.  In one of the sessions the speaker noted that two years ago about 25% of the people who visited his booth in the exhibit hall had a smart phone.  He polled the audience and not only did almost everyone have a smart phone, about the same amount also had a tablet of some kind.  It has been related a couple times in the conference that mobile technology is one of the fasted, if not the fastest, growing technologies in our history.

There seem to be rumors floating around that there are going to be some more near term cooperative efforts announced between Ancestry and Family Search, and possibly others.  I have no idea if near term is day, weeks or months.  I was talking with a senior person from one of those companies when he made an apparent slip in response to a comment by a customer that he had read a comment by a blogger about the rumor.  His reaction led me to believe the rumor is true.  Later today, when a speaker from the same company was asked about the topic, he responded that he couldn't comment.

I ran into Lisa Alzo today.  She arrived last night after being delayed almost a day by weather back east.  She had a presentation scheduled for yesterday that had to be cancelled because of her delayed arrival. 

I have seen Randy Seaver a number of times.  As expected, he spends a lot of time in the media/blogger area.  I had to chide him a little today for wearing a short sleeved shirt.  He claimed to be comfortable; but I prefer long sleeves when it is in the 30s to 40s outside!

Tonight was Pizza night for RootsTech attendees at the Family History Library.  I went and spent about 30 minutes doing some research; but I had exhausted researching the documents and film that I had identified prior to the trip here and didn't have the drive to delve into the Catalog to identify more documents.  I also didn't want to have to stay up late tonight doing this blog.  As a side benefit I am watching the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony while doing the blog. 

Tomorrow will be the final day and then I fly out on Sunday morning back to San Diego. 

Following are some more photos:

Exhibit Hall
The big four vendors in the exhibit hall are Ancestry, Find My Past, Family Search and MyHeritage.  They each have large demo areas and banks of computers to allow attendees to use their product.  Family Search, the sponsor of RootsTech, has by far the largest display area.
Family Search Demo
During the 30 minute intervals between presentation sessions the Demo areas at the Big Four are particularly busy, as seen above.  These conferences are a great place to get any technical problems you may behaving solved, as the companies have most of their top technical people here. 
Since tomorrow is Saturday and there is no school, it is youth day at the conference. They expect about 4000 will attend tomorrow.  Should be interesting.