Saturday, February 11, 2017

RootsTech 2017: DAY FOUR, or some final thoughts

Today was another really successful and awesome day at RootsTech 2017.

But I have to wake up in 3 hours to catch my plane, so this will have to be extremely short.

The Cake Boss guy, Buddy Valastro, spoke in the morning. He was pretty long-winded and arrogant, in my opinion. But the guy sitting next to me in one of the classes (from Norfolk, England originally) was really inspired by him, and found the previous day’s African American history focus to be “over the top”, which was totally not my own experience or perception. To each his own. I watched every single episode of Cake Boss when I was breastfeeding kid #3; I like the Cake Boss. But he didn’t talk nearly enough about his family.

In the morning I learned a little bit more about the weirdness that is US Copyright Law. I also learned about how to set up google alerts for genealogy - most of that class was pretty intuitive, but there were some things I really would not have learned if I hadn’t been there. Like, really - because I would have tuned out to the rebroadcast, or been doing something else on another screen. Or laundry. I think that was the best “technical” class that I attended, in terms of what it will (or has the potential to) do for my future research.

I heard President Nelson and his wife speak. It was very scripted. Somehow, though, the message came through and was very inspiring to me. It was a good, uplifting message that was centered on Christ and the power that comes through doing temple and family history work. Of course I love this message. It is the key element of my own personal faith and spirituality.

I walked around the expo hall, bought way too much stuff, posed in a photo with all the other geneabloggers, and that is where I met another fellow Czech. I didn’t expect to meet any this trip. I met 3, plus one of the speakers used my great great grandma’s surname Brosch/Brosh in her presentation, so we got hooked up.

The really exciting thing happened after the conference, when I did some really important hands-on genealogy work. I went to visit my grandma’s cousin Lorraine. She is 96 years old. She was the nicest woman I have ever met. She has dedicated her life to temple and family history work. Of course, times have changed dramatically. It was illustrated right before my eyes just exactly how much. I will have to write about this later, though, because I’m very, very tired.

Some of the main take aways from this conference:
  • As a newbie, I felt somewhat like an outsider. I had not been expecting to feel that way. But this is why: genealogy work, like any work, really, is more about relationships than it is about skill and head knowledge. Perhaps slightly less about relationships than other fields, since we get to work with dead people. I am so glad that Sondra came with me. It would have been very lonely without her. This trip makes me want to reach out into the community more and work on building strong relationships. You know, as long as it’s with people interested in Czech stuff.
  • ...but on the other hand, some of the snobbery was over the top. It made me think about how I want to be when I am a more seasoned genealogist. I don’t want to walk around acting like I own the world. I want to encourage learning, participation, and especially the love of family history. I had a recent experience that solidifies my desire to make “genealogical humility” be one of my core values. I don’t want my head knowledge to get in the way of helping people access their history and ancestors. I really care about and value this work; it’s not at all about being “the best” or proving my skills. I admit, it is really easy to get sucked into genealogical pride. But it’s a trap, and it comes at a terrible cost, as I am learning through a painful miscommunication with some of my ward members.
  • DNA is totally weird. And interesting, but also...weird. I don’t know what I think. But I’m going to find out, I guess.
  • The best possible way for me to increase my access to Czech genealogy is by learning Czech. This was confirmed over and over again to me in the various messages of the speakers. It is worth all of my time and effort.
  • I have the world’s kindest sister in law. I owe her deeply for her sacrifices this week.


  1. Nice blogs. Thanks.
    Happy to help with DNA.
    And you can do a lot without Czech, no worries - but good luck learning. Hodne stesti.

  2. This was the first year that I went to RootsTech as well. However everyone that I spoke to was very kind and willing to help give suggestions etc, even the "stars" of the current genealogy community.