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!
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:
- Regular class presentations
- DNA Learning Center sessions
- Demo Theater presentations (accessible in each vendor’s booth)
- Vendors’ sessions in their virtual booths
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.
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.
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.
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.
I miss Bob.
I’ve never been so grateful for the past. Things I took for granted. Often little things.
Hearing someone’s voice.
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.
I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.
Thank you so much.
DNA Purchases and Free Transfers
- FamilyTreeDNA – Y, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA testing
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Genealogy Products and Services
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- Legacy Family Tree Webinars – Genealogy and DNA classes, subscription-based, some free
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- Charting Companion – Charts and Reports to use with your genealogy software or FamilySearch
- Legacy Tree Genealogists – Professional genealogy research
- com – Lots of wonderful genealogy research books