RootsTech 2023 Sneak Peek & Giveaway

Greetings, one and all! It’s that time of year, again – RootsTech season! The world’s largest family history conference is back this March 2-4, and I’m hoping most of you have already heard about the dual nature of this year’s conference: Approx. 180+ classes in person at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City with a similar number of (different) virtual classes available for FREE, online! Just to be clear, both of these options contain NEW classes – and are different from the thousands of on-demand classes that are currently available at the RootsTech website from the past couple of years. CLICK HERE to go directly to the 2023 session/speaker/exhibitor listings.

Which also means there are two ways to register – in-person – or virtually. The virtual option is FREE for all – but pre-registration is required for either choice.

If you will be in the SLC area, and would like a chance to attend the conference for free, scroll down to the giveaway section!

What’s new this year:

For RootsTech 2023, the theme is Uniting – and we can’t wait to unite once again with our fellow genealogists, family historians, colleagues, vendors, friends, etc. Some really great keynote speakers are being announced as we get closer to the conference, so keep an eye out for additional announcements as March approaches.

I too have a new slate of sessions to present, both on-site and online for this year’s conference:

  • Picture It: Photo Identification and Preservation Workshop @ the FS Library, Thursday, March 2 • 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM
  • Picture It: Photo Identification and Preservation Workshop @ the FS Library, Friday, March 3 • 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM
  • Listen Up! Podcasting Your Family History, Friday, March 3 • 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
  • FAN of the Enslaved: A Forensic Look at Two Family’s Journeys to Freedom, Friday, March 3 • 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
  • Navigating Racial Challenges in DNA Connections, Saturday, March 4 • 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM (Livestream – Online/Virtual)
  • Avoiding Ancestor Identity Theft: How to Add the Right People to Your Tree, Saturday, March 4 • 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

BTW, if you caught that one of my sessions has a seemingly duplicate entry – that’s because I am giving this very special workshop twice at the Family Search Library (formerly the FHL)! This 2 hour hands-on workshop is co-sponsored by the the FSL and the SAR Genealogical Research Library!

Here is a description of the Picture It workshops: Have you ever wanted to fully understand the difference between daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, and more? This intensive two hour workshop will take a deep dive into the various historic photograph formats that we encounter as family historians – followed by instructions on how to properly handle and preserve them based on format and access needs. Attendees will get a hands on experience as they receive their own pair of gloves to keep as each type of photograph is passed around the room. We will closely examine what each format looks like and feels like in person, sometimes using magnifying glasses to see the processing elements that signal type and production markers. During the preservation phase of the class, attendees will be introduced to the various types of enclosures and tools necessary to preserve their collection. At the end of the class, each attendee will also receive a few enclosure samples to take home. Free class, sponsored by the Family History Library and the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) Genealogical Research Library. Class limited to 40 attendees.

These off-site workshops held at the FSL is a new concept for RootsTech – so pay close attention to the session descriptions to find additional off-site workshops! And just a reminder that these two workshops are limited to 40 attendees each. Once you register for the conference, you will be able to add them to your schedule which should create a count for those keeping track.

Also new for this year – some special guests joining a couple of my sessions! For Navigating Racial Challenges in DNA Connections – I’ll be joined by genealogist, Donald Shores – who will be participating virtually, all the way from Missouri. And for Avoiding Ancestor Identity Theft: How to Add the Right People to Your Tree – I’ll have two special colleagues partnering in the presentation – Linda Colston, genealogist at Twin Oaks Genealogy, and Deborah Maddox, Staff Genealogist at the SAR.

We are all so excited to get back together in person – but equally as happy to know that the virtual RootsTech party is still going strong! And don’t forget all of those on-demand sessions still available at the RootsTech site right now!

Now for the Giveaway!

As a RootsTech influencer, I am tasked with giving away one free on-site registration to the 2023 conference – a $98 value*! This includes full access to all three days of the conference – featuring 180+ sessions, expo hall, keynote sessions, and main stage fun! You must enter by January 30th – and the winner will be announced on January 31st.

Here’s how to enter – just comment below to give me the name of your favorite ancestor. You may also comment on my Twitter or Instagram posts if you prefer. Only one entry per person, please.

Now – what are you waiting for?

*Note: This contest for on-site registration only and does not include any travel monies for arrival/attendance. The virtual conference is free for all.

Major Plot Twist

In looking at 2022 so far, I have to ask myself – How did I get here? The first half of 2022 has been quite the ride, which explains my hiatus on this site and the podcast. The year started out with a week of Covid – yay, holidays – followed by a flurry of major events: RootsTech, the 1950 Census release, filming season 2 of Kentucky Ancestors TV, and finally a position change that took me to an entirely different city. If you are chomping at the bit to learn more about said change in position (and haven’t figured it out by the logo), scroll to the bottom of this post.

RootsTech 2022: This year’s RootsTech was much like 2021 – videos submitted – to be posted to my profile of available videos. I was delighted recently to see that they have added my in-person session from 2020: Tackling Difficult Chapters of Your Family History. Meaning, if you visit my RootsTech speaker profile page, there are now 7 videos to choose from! BTW, the plans for RootsTech 2023 were recently announced – giving us the happy news that the event will be a hybrid – some classes in-person at SLC, and many available via video. So get ready to enjoy to another stellar year – in the Salt Palace, or from the comfort of your own home! More to come on this subject as we get closer to the event. And just for a tease – I just received word that you’ll officially see me there in person and via video. Time to make some plans!

1950 Census: Because of the timing with filming Season 2 of KA, I just never got to enjoy the hype behind the 1950 Census. I did get into the various platforms to find some of my people, but from that weekend on, my plot twist was also in full swing. I was sorry to miss a lot of the fun since the 1940 Census was a rip-roaring good time, but as you read on, I’m sure you’ll understand. Besides, the day of its release coincided with my final plot twist on the list!

Kentucky Ancestors TV Show – Season 2: Preparation for filming Season 2 of this award-winning statewide TV show was my entire existence for many, many months. And just to put this in perspective – filming took place on the same weekend as RootsTech! Crazy times! I have to say, as a Producer on the show, I was particularly proud of the episodes we put together for this season. We had a new host, former Miss America and 2nd Lady of Kentucky, Heather French Henry. We of course greatly missed Season 1’s Renee Shaw, but due to contractual obligations, she was not available for Season 2.

All I can say about Kentucky Ancestors TV is that I was extremely sorry to say goodbye. This had been my baby since 2016 – a very intense labor of love. And while I was willing to stay on to produce content for future seasons, they decided to move in a different direction. However, the memories I will take with me as my one shot as a Producer will be cherished forever! So many people made this happen, but I’d particularly like to thank my Co-Producer, Greg Hardison, and my Genealogy research partner in crime, Linda Colston. Without these two, there wouldn’t be a show. And finally, a big shout out to the KHS Foundation and its Executive Director, Doug High, who provided funding, Studio 46, production advice, and the air time necessary to take this show across the state. Again, so many people to thank – most are in the episode credits – so be sure to tune in to support this amazing genealogy show.

BTW, if you’d like to catch this season’s episodes – be watching local Kentucky and Cincinnati stations through August, or wait for the release of each episode at the end of the month on their YouTube channel.

The Final Plot Twist: As I mentioned earlier – these previous events were then overshadowed by the biggest plot twist of all: After 10 years at the Kentucky Historical Society, I left to join the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution Headquarters as their new Library Director! This was a huge honor and for the past several months, I have been settling in and planning future programs, etc. And of course, when was my first day on the job for the SAR? April 1st – the same day as the release of the 1950 Census! Plus, as we were filming Season 2, we were all a bit sad as everyone knew I was leaving a month after filming.

So, what could lure me away from a place I loved? The place I firmly believed was my dream job? Well, another dream job came knocking. The SAR Genealogical Research Library in downtown Louisville Kentucky is the national library for the SAR. That’s right, NOT in Washington D.C., but right in my backyard, here in Kentucky! They’ve been here for decades, and in their current location for about 12 years.

With an amazing national collection, I can’t wait to share more with you all over the coming months. Just a reminder that the 250th Anniversary of America’s birth is coming in the next 4 years, so the programming will build at a very fast pace. We are busy developing a new library webpage portal for continued content, events, and resources for researching your American Revolution era ancestors. While we wait for this aspect to go live, please be sure to join our Facebook page, and like us on Twitter. Both of those places will announce future content and programs as they become available. If you’re ever in the Louisville area, please stop in to see us (right across the street from the Louisville Slugger Museum) – research is $5 per day OR FREE for SAR members and their spouses, DAR/CAR/SR members – but if you don’t fit into any of those groups – please consider joining our Friends of the Library program – for $25 per year, you support our mission and receive free admission all year long! Plus, you get beautiful little pin to showcase on your favorite genealogy/research garb!

So, that’s it in a nutshell, folks – a wild and crazy year – and it’s only half over! BTW, as a PS – another reason the podcast has went begging – just after I started with the SAR, I came down with a nasty head cold that went into really bad laryngitis – I only recently got my voice back to full strength. Be watching for new episodes of BloodRoot coming very soon!