One little detail that I left out of my previous post was a very special RootsTech Eve event: GSI – Genealogy Solves It – DNA Mystery Dinner! This brand-new DNA/genealogy based murder mystery dinner was created by authors and DNA chums, Nathan Dylan Goodwin and Diahan Southard. These two are well known genie celebrities – you may have read one of their books, or attended a class given by either. Regardless, I’m sure you’ve heard their names over the years.
Just in case you haven’t a clue who I’m talking about…. With DNA as the foundation of their work (and careers) – Nathan writes genealogy/DNA murder mystery fiction books – Diahan writes and teaches about DNA and genealogy – the pair decided to create a unique experience that not only educated but greatly entertained their audience!
In review, I can honestly say I was a tad jolted at the attendance price tag when one of my friends excitedly sent me the announcement. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $150. However, here’s what we got for that price – personally signed copies of both of their current titles: Your DNA Guide and The Sawtooth Slayer (a $50 value). Attendees also received a lovely dinner with dessert. A goodie swag bag (embellished with gold glittery event acronym on the side) was also provided that included the case workbook, a mechanical pencil, a 60% off coupon from MyHeritage, and a sealed evidence bag with tons of little clues to help solve the case. (Really loved the sealed evidence bag – nice touch!) In other words – all of this fit very nicely into that price tag.
Then, for the next four hours, each attendee had to work on solving the case – with their fellow team members at the table. If you just groaned at the thought of four hours – I am delighted to report, it passed very quickly because we were all having so much fun! I really had my doubts about their ability to create an event that could entertain and educate without overwhelming us with DNA fundamentals. But the details that went into the creation of this event made it a delight from start to finish.
I’m going to concentrate on the details for a second – without revealing the nuts and bolts of their event. The hosts were all dressed in steampunk inspired costumes. The workbook was professionally printed on very high quality paper with gradual lessons that utilized the clues encountered along the way. There were fun moments when we had to roam about the room and ask for other clues, which got us up out of our seats. There were special celebrity genie guest appearances in the form of videos that took on character identities from the Sawtooth Slayer – including a surprise guest in the room (Shhhh – Rich Venezia!) and surprise video from CeCe Moore congratulating us on our work!
Once we got to open the sealed evidence bag, the red viewer and sealed envelopes for phased openings kept us all busy and in hot pursuit of the killer. What a feat they pulled off! To keep a large group of seasoned genealogists laughing, entertained, and engaged for four hours is nothing short of a miracle. I don’t think I spotted one bored person in the room. Oh – and BTW – I was one of the winners of a year’s subscription to the full MyHeritage site! That was a fun little nugget of adventure as we looked for gold stickers on our chairs.
This was such an epic night – and I am comfortable declaring it a rousing success! The word on the street is that they intend to create more of these events in the future – and perhaps – even some virtually! My advice to them on a virtual model – make sure the cost includes shipping everyone the swag, evidence bag and clue packets – these demonstrate the time and effort that went into making this event – plus, it’s a fun, tactile, way to get your hands dirty in the genealogy and DNA!
Be watching their websites to catch future events – you don’t want to miss out on this unique genealogy/DNA experience! BTW, as a post script – Nathan put out a link to gauge interest in future events (both in-person and virtually) – please visit his site to express your support!