RootsTech 2021 Day 2: Hints, Chats & Bittersweet Memories

The RootsTech Expo Hall opened last night, followed by the sessions four hours later. We learned a lot about navigating the system, and how to use the various chats too.

News items first.

Relatives at RootsTech is Available ONLY During RootsTech

That cool “Relatives at RootsTech” feature won’t be available after RootsTech ends. So, if you want to see who your relatives are at RootsTech, you must do it now. Scroll down when you sign in to the conference or click here.

If you add your relatives to a friend list, that list will be available until March 20th-ish.

HINT – If you are looking for mitochondrial DNA candidates for a particular ancestor, this is an avenue to make those discoveries and find a candidate who descends through that ancestor to the current generation through all females. The current generation can be male.

I selected the paternal side of my tree, then clicked to show how we’re related. In this case, Alexander Smith is a male, so my relative who descends from Alexander Smith is NOT a candidate to test for Margaret Herrell’s mitochondrial DNA.

We can search by surname, but not by ancestor.

I can bookmark the sessions I want to watch and watch them over the next year, but I won’t have access to these relatives beyond the conference. My priorities for the next couple days have just shifted.

Make yourself a list of Y and mitochondrial candidates that you need and have at it!

Search Bug

Searching for a presenter by name may or may not work, and may not work correctly.

Putting quotes around the name may or may not help. For example, Judy Russell and Tom Jones aren’t showing up reliably in searches, but trust me, they are both “there.”

Use the lists and search by session name, or by topic. Or scroll. Otherwise, you’re going to miss people and sessions you want to see – including sessions in the next category.

Tips and Tricks

Yesterday, in the Sneak Preview article we discussed that there are:

There’s a fifth category. I didn’t realize these sessions weren’t listed with the regular sessions, but they aren’t. I wouldn’t have realized it at all if I hadn’t known someone who recorded one and couldn’t find her session. They are collectively called “Tips and Tricks,” and they are shorter videos of just a few minutes each, from 3-20 minutes, recorded by volunteers. (A big thank you to those folks.)

Here’s a great example. Katherine Borges recorded “DNA and Lineage Societies.” It’s a lovely and informative presentation and explains the various societies, such as DAR, SAR, Mayflower and others, and how they utilize DNA. How does that work anyway? Watch Katherine’s session to find out.

Did you know that one of the societies uses X DNA too?

Katherine talks about the “DNA jackpot lottery” which always makes me chuckle.

Many lineage societies have DNA Projects at FamilyTreeDNA too.

Take a look by scrolling down on the FamilyTreeDNA page, here, until you see the search box, then type in a keyword like DAR or Mayflower.

You won’t find Katherine’s presentation by searching for her name, unfortunately.

The ONLY way you can find these Tips and Tricks sessions is to scroll through each of the various categories, on this page, and read what’s available.

I’m hoping that RootsTech will make available a list of these Tips and Tricks sessions. If they do, even if it’s after the show, I’ll publish it so you don’t miss anything. You can add these sessions to your playlist.

Chat Rooms & Ask Us Anything

Remember those very nice people wearing the teal “ask me anything” shirts at RootsTech in the exhibit hall? Well, they’re still here, just differently.

On the upper toolbar, that teal or blue circle with the chat icon – that’s “ask us anything.” Just click.

To ask a vendor questions, you MUST go to their booth first in the Expo hall.

Once there, you can do two things.

You can request to “chat with an expert” which then opens a list of experts who are available at that time to chat one-on-one.

If you want to ask a general question, not one-on-one with someone, while on that vendor’s page, you can click on the Connect button on the lower right-hand corner of the page.

Hint: If you try to chat or connect and see a yellow ! mark and receive a message about not being able to connect to the chat server, be sure you actually signed in to the conference. If so, sign out and sign in again.

Yes, unfortunately, the chats have been a bit glitchy, but trying again or waiting a bit to try again usually takes care of the problem.

Once you click on the Connect button, this window will open.

You’ll then see the list of chat rooms that you’ve visited. At the top of the list is the chat room for the vendor’s page that you are currently visiting.

Just click on that chat room to review the messages and ask your question.

Note that at the top, you have two tabs – one for chat rooms and one for direct messages.

The little number in the bottom right corner is the number of messages and chats that have messages you haven’t seen.

You can leave a room by clicking on the three dots for other options.

Another thing you can do is to search for rooms or topics.

Click on the little search icon in the top right, above.

I just searched for Canada.

Hint: Vendor’s booths do NOT show up in the chat search unless they have added a second booth.

Each presentation or session also has an associated chat room. Go to that session and after watching, click on either “Join Chat Room” beneath the descriptive text, or click on Connect in the corner.

My Sessions

Now that RootsTech is open, you can watch all regular sessions, including mine. DNA Learning Center sessions are released on a preset schedule.

Here’s the link to my session, DNA Triangulation: What, Why, and How at FamilySearch.

There are three interesting things.

  • First, you can share sessions on social media; Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Please share sessions that you enjoy that others might enjoy too.
  • Second please leave positive feedback for speakers. It’s the social media equivalent of clapping or “thank you.” Speakers can’t see you and many have volunteered many hours to create these sessions and are devoting more time answering questions in chat rooms.
  • Third, the information about how to auto-translate is quite interesting. Clicking on that link takes you to a “Quicktip Selecting auto-translate in youtube.”

Youtube you ask?

Yes, RootsTech is using YouTube as the delivery platform on the FamilySearch channel. You can share the YouTube link for sessions too. Here’s the YouTube link for this session. These are not searchable, just so you know.

Be sure to check the Downloadable Resources, beneath each regular session. I provided links to a number of articles that help explain the details that I couldn’t cover in a single presentation.

Note that DNA Learning Center sessions are created by volunteers and don’t have associated downloadable documents.

My second session, in the DNA Learning Center, Revealing Your Mother’s Ancestors and Where They Came From is live now too. Be sure you are signed in to the conference to play the video.

We had SO MUCH FUN in the chat for this session right after it finished. Great questions and Dr. Miguel Vilar, former Lead Scientist for the Genographic Project and Million Mito Project colleague joined us and helped to answer questions too. You just never know who you’ll find at RootsTech😊

Here’s the YouTube link for this session.

I’m sharing feedback from Debra in the chat. This is why we speakers do what we do! Thank you Debra for this incredible compliment. I surely hope Debra and all of you break down those pesky brick walls too.

Memories

A few years ago, I had some custom chromosome browser fabric made that portrays my family members’ matching DNA painted on my chromosomes. Yes, I know that’s terribly, horribly geeky, but it sure is FUN!.

I had the background painted purple because that’s my favorite color. I’ve been wearing this outfit off and on for 3 or 4 years now – just to conferences.

I asked my husband to take this photo this morning for today’s DNA conference clothing.

Later today, I was feeling somewhat melancholy. I miss people and I’m missing my so-very-many-friends at RootsTech.

And then, something amazing happened.

I was searching around my system for a good “RootsTech past” photo when this one popped up.

Wouldn’t you know it, I was wearing this exact same dress.

What a coincidence, right?

But there’s more…

I’m laughing with my friend, Bob McLaren, who was at RootsTech for as many years as I can remember, volunteering in the FamilyTreeDNA booth, always wearing his McLaren kilt and clan regalia.

Bob loved genealogy, DNA, and interacting with people, which is why he was always at genealogy conferences.

Everyone knew and remembered Bob simply as the “man wearing the kilt.” We all loved him, and it showed.

We lost Bob unexpectedly in 2020.

This is exactly why RootsTech is so important.

Connections.

Hugs.

Laughter.

Memories.

Were it not for genealogy, I would never have met Bob, some 17 or 18 years ago.

Were it not for conferences, I wouldn’t have seen Bob each and every one of those years.

I miss Bob ribbing me.

I’m a Campbell you know, and well, those Campbell’s and McLaren clans just didn’t get along very well up in the Scottish Highlands. Never let it be said that clans let bygones be bygones. That’s heresy! Just ask Bob.

I vividly remember one time telling Bob that I was pretty sure I saw where those McLaren’s DNA matched a Campbell man. Bob didn’t much care for that news and wasn’t’ shy about telling me so. That’s OK, because it was a yarn I spun for his benefit.

I alleged that SOME Campbell and SOME McLaren had apparently liked each other just fine and he insisted that would never have happened. Our debate resumed every single year. It was, of course, a tradition we both enjoyed.

But not this year.

There’s silence.

Just silence.

I miss Bob.

I’ve never been so grateful for the past. Things I took for granted. Often little things.

Hearing someone’s voice.

Their laughter.

People I thought I’d see again “next year,” or before.

People I’m so blessed, so privileged to know.

People I love.

People I want to hug.

I so look forward to the future. Next year.

I miss people.

I will forever miss Bob, but I know he is with me today.

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28 thoughts on “RootsTech 2021 Day 2: Hints, Chats & Bittersweet Memories

  1. Hi Roberta. After reading the mention about adding relatives as friends, I started adding everyone who appear as my relatives. Consider one line of my family were Mormon polygamists going clear back to the beginning of the church up until they fled back from Mexico during the Mexican Revolution in 1912, I have several hundred second, third and fourth cousin connections. However, RootsTech maxed out my adding to the list at 150. Do you know if there is a workaround?

  2. You mentioned that the connect feature went away after the conference, but I missed if you said anything about availability of the sessions or my playlist. Will I be able to view after Saturday?

  3. We are cousins if the genealogy of both are lines is correct. I feel my line is 90% correct. Listed as marty flanagan.

  4. Yet again Roberta I am left with tears in my eyes reading your blog. Thank you for your ongoing huge commitment to Genealogy and regular and always informative blogs.
    Sharyn Guthrie

  5. Roberta, thanks so much for these timely insights. I focussed on presentations – as if they were going to disappear on Sunday.

    And, yes, I watched your triangle piece First. But Now, I will work through my little number of 287 only cousins ASAP.

  6. I’ve watched both your mtDNA and Triangulation presentations. Excellent info and I also wanted to say that you have a very nice speaking voice.

    • Thank you. We don’t hear ourselves as other people hear us. I’m always reminded that I’ve never lost my accent.

  7. Roberta, thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to blog this info! Now I need to add some friends from my relative list, and check out Judy Russell’s presentation(s) and Tom Jones’ as well. Appreciate the tips.

  8. Miss Roberta, I am so happy to receive this and look forward to ensure my dna family tree is as solid as a rock factually. My greatest challenge has been accidentally creating duplicates when I save important new records to my tree. Cannot see the forest because of the trees has an entirely new dimension 😂 Thank you.
    Debbie West

    • I’m not sure where that tree is, but Ancestry has been experiencing duplicate glitches this past week or so. I would wait to add to that tree until things settle down.

  9. I read your article and you said that you’d focus on Relatives since it was only available during the weekend. I didn’t think I’d do that, because I thought I’d like to see some of the programs. Instead I spent all morning looking through my relatives and sending emails to many of them. At first I thought there were just 300 of them, then as I got toward the bottom, I noticed it said 300 of 37,000. Oh, no! I don’t have time for all of that!

    But it was interesting to see the different lines of my family represented from so many different places.

  10. Thank you for your kind thoughts and memories of Bob. I, too, will miss seeing him at the various conferences, once we can go back in person.

  11. They now say relatives will be available until 20 March. (i have more than 60,000 – don’t think i am going to look for peeps!)

  12. Very informative. Even though I have attended all RootsTech conferences and watched the webinars outlining what we would find at this virtual conference, I was still lost not knowing where to go first. Thanks for the heads up about the Tips and Tricks. That suggestion was, as is usual with your blog posts, very useful information. Thanks for taking the time to help us navigate the overwhelming amount of information for this virtual conference.

  13. I really enjoyed your presentation on Trangulation which I viewed this afternoon. I decided to go ahead and transfer my Ancestry raw data to FamilyTreeDNA. When it came to review the V1 versus V2 file format question, I opened the zip file and discovered this:

    #AncestryDNA raw data download
    #This file was generated by AncestryDNA at: 03/02/2021 00:02:58 UTC
    #Data was collected using AncestryDNA array version: V2.0
    #Data is formatted using AncestryDNA converter version: V1.0

    I was expecting one or the other. How should I proceed? My apologies if you have addressed this problem before.

    Thanks,

    Ian

    • Hmm, most people don’t open it, so I don’t know. Sometimes opening the file interferes with the upload. I would download again and just upload it.

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