RootsTech London will have over 150 talks and an exhibition hall jam-packed with over 100 stalls. With so much to see and do you need to make sure you are getting ready to make the absolute best of this amazing learning opportunity. Luckily I’m here to give you some quick tips to make sure you make the most of this crazy family-history extravaganza! Seriously, I’m more excited about RootsTech than my 6-year old is about Frozen 2. Now that’s saying something!
Tip One: Download the App
The RootsTech app is free and available on both android and iPhone. Download it, ensure you are logged into the UK show and go explore. It’s got everything you could possibly need. Pretty short of a tardis. From within the app you can view all the talks, check out the speakers, decide upon your schedule, browse attendees, add friends AND download all the talk handouts. Oh, and take notes whilst watching the talks. Pretty cool, eh? I’ve certainly never seen anything like it at any of the other UK genealogy events I’ve attended. We’re talking mind blowing brilliance here. Downloading this will ensure you are in great shape to take advantage of everything RootsTech has to offer.
Tip Two: Check out the Free Livestream Schedule
I’m sure many of us are torn between attending 2 (or more) talks taking place at the same time. Be super efficient and make sure you check out the free livestream schedule on the RootsTech website here. These talks will be available both live and after the conference. It might help you choose which talks to attend in person.
Tip Three: Grab your Family Tree
Personally I use RootsMagic, which comes with a handy ‘on the go’ app. This means I can easily access my full family tree from my phone. Make sure that you can easily access your data. Whether that’s a printed tree or an Ancestry megalith, make sure you can clearly see your ancestors key events, facts, dates and addresses.
At many of the genealogy events I’ve been to in the past, local Family History Societies, have offered free ‘on the day’ look-ups. Basically, this means they’ll search for a baptism, marriage or burial on their data CD’s. Ensure you have your full family tree handy so that you can really utilise these freebies.
Tip Four: Bring a Brickwall List
RootsTech is going to be brim full of juicy genealogy brains to pick. OK, that makes me sound like a zombie. But seriously, they’ll be lots of other genealogists to chat to, plus societies or groups with fantastic local and niche knowledge. All on hand to give you advice.
Taking a list of your brickwalls, niggles, pickles and riddles to RootsTech, will help you to ensure you’re taking full advantage of all the big brains on offer. Soak up all the free advice you can.Tweet
Tip Five: Check your Existing Stash
I’ve got a bit of a thing for old maps. I’m less keen on buying the same map twice. Unfortunately I’ve actually done this!
I have quite a lot of genealogy books too, luckily I’ve yet to make a duplicate purchase. That’s probably because I’ve got them listed on Goodreads and I check my app before I buy any new books.
The expo is bound to be rammed with great offers on a whole range of family-tree paraphernalia. Make sure you don’t end up buying something you already own. Bring a list, or some photos, of your existing collection. Collating this will also help you to identify any gaps in your genealogy paraphernalia. RootsTech will be brimming with bargains. Having your collection gaps in mind will help you to head straight for the best deals for you – and you’re less likely to be swayed by bright shiny objects. Although if I manage to leave a conference without a map it’ll be a miracle! At the very least I’ll need one to get home. Ha!
Tip Six: Find Relatives at RootsTech by Adding Your Tree to FamilySearch
Users that load their trees onto FamilySearch can switch on a ‘find near me’ feature on the app version of the site. The app can look for other people nearby that have a tree that matches with yours. Turn it on at RootsTech and you might find you’re standing next to your 5th cousin. Maybe it’ll be me?!!
Tip Seven: Bring Death Certificates
Service records can be ordered from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for £30. Sending off your request by snail-mail normally has a turnaround of at least a few weeks. But, at RootsTech, the MOD are offering the same service with a 3 hour return. Personally I think this is incredibly exciting. If your ancestor was born less than 116 years ago then you’ll need to bring along their death certificate. Don’t forget it and end up missing out on this fab opportunity. Read here for full details.
Tip Eight: Get Social
Twitter has a particularly active group of genealogists. We regularly chat on a Tuesday at 7.30pm (GMT/BST) by using #AncestryHour. Come join in and then come meet some fellow genealogy addicts in person! Each RootsTech day I’ll be posting a pic of myself on twitter so that my lovely twitter friends will recognise me if they bump into me. Hopefully they won’t all run away and hide!
Bonus tip if you are not used to British weather…
You might want to bring a brolly (umbrella), warm coat, light coat and possibly suncream. Yes the rumours are true, British weather is pretty changeable. Although at the moment it looks like it’ll be raining ‘cats and dogs’. BBC Weather (either web page or app) gives a fairly good hourly breakdown to help you avoid any big downpours. Check it regularly as it does change throughout the day.
Getting ready for RootsTech? Tag me on Instagram (@genealogystories) and share you prep with me using #RootsTechReady
Want more info on RootsTech, and why you should attend?
If you’ve not booked your ticket yet then you might like to read this.