Thursday, March 7, 2019

RootsTech 2019: Part 3

RootsTech 2019 was so full that I couldn't get it all in with just one post. Part 1 covered Wednesday and Thursday, and Part 2 covered Friday.

This will be the third and final post in my series on RootsTech 2019. It will cover the last day of RootsTech, Saturday 2 March, as well as my adventures in Salt Lake City on Sunday!

Though I was sad to miss the first Saturday of Souls liturgy during RootsTech, it was fitting that it was because I was at RootsTech working on my genealogy skills! To learn more about the Orthodox Christian remembrance of the departed, you can check out this great resource. Also, check out my Four Reasons Behind My Blog's Name to see the importance of remembering our departed loved ones in the Orthodox Church.

Our keynote speaker - and entertainer - was Japanese-Hawaiian ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro. He was a blast! There were moments where I thought, "I didn't know a ukulele could hit that note!" It was awesome to see a musician so much in his groove, getting into his music. During his keynote speech, he shared several nuggets of wisdom for us:

  • “I am what I am because of you.” What a beautiful Japanese phrase!
  • “Lose to win.” You lose for someone else’s win. Someone else’s sacrifice made our present reality possible.
  • “In music it is so important to feel. If you don’t attach a meaning to every note, you’re not making music. You’re just making sound.”
  • “Music is pure emotion.”
  • “The purpose of memory is not only to remember the past but to better predict the future.”
  • “Make a sacrifice to give someone else the opportunity to be grateful.”
  • “We owe a great debt to those who came before us.”
  • Message for youth: 
    • Study hard. 
    • Find your passion. 
    • Practice! 
    • There are times it’ll get tough. Push through and you’ll come out a tougher person. 
    • Be drug free. 

Scott Fisher from Extreme Genes having a laugh with Jake Shimabukuro during his interview.

The Media Hub was a great place to visit with other bloggers - who were part of RootsTech Ambassadors - as well as speakers at the conference.

I even got to meet Ali, the winner of my RootsTech pass giveaway! 

Here's the whole group of Ambassadors for RootsTech 2019! What a great group; am I right?!

Here is my schedule from Saturday:

  • 9:30am - Finding Substitutes for Vital Records – Peggy Clemens Lauritzen
  • 11:00am - General Session: Jake Shimabukuro
  • 1:30pm - Census Sense: Clues and Conundrums for Intermediate Researchers – Patti Gillespie
  • 3:00pm - It’s Called FAMILY History: Top Tips for Collaborating with Living Family Members – Crista Cowan & Stephen Cowan

After RootsTech was finished, I headed north to South Ogden for a Greek "Apokreas" Dinner at Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church. An apokreas or apokreatiko dinner is the Greek equivalent (both linguistically and culturally) to the Carnival. It marks the end of eating meat before Great Lent begins. Since Great Lent is a time when Orthodox Christians abstain from meat and dairy products, we have a week prior when we can still eat dairy products, as a way of easing into the fast. So an apokreatiko night is a way to get rid of the meat products in the home, and also to have one last celebration before the great feast of Pascha (Easter).

It was great to reconnect with my friends who are members of Holy Transfiguration, and I had a great time enjoying the hospitality of their community! 

On Sunday morning, I headed back downtown to Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church for the Divine Liturgy. What a lovely community! Everyone was so welcoming, and I felt that they were truly embracing the entire city in their hospitality. They even recited the Our Father in EIGHT languages: English, Slavonic, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Georgian, Serbian, and Greek. They may have said it in Arabic too, but I can't recall. The sermon was right on point too and since it was the Sunday of the Last Judgement (Matthew 25), we heard about the importance of our actions in the Christian life. A beautiful - and indeed convicting - message.

Isn't this a beautiful worship space?!

AND they have seven catechumens (people who are studying the Orthodox Christian faith to be received into the Church by baptism and/or chrismation)! Such an active community!

After the Divine Liturgy - and the delicious lunch following in the church hall - I headed out for coffee with a genealogy friend of mine. I even got to see AncestryProGenealogists headquarters! AH! SO COOL! 

Sunday night, I had the absolute pleasure of having dinner with the family of my third cousin, Autumn! She shares my Vaughan & Ogburn family line from Dinwiddie and Brunswick counties in Virginia. We got to know each other better over a tasty table of tacos, and then chatted over old family photos and ice cream. What a fun evening! Here's a photo of me and Autumn in the Expo Hall at RootsTech.

After dinner with my cousins, I was back to the airport and my journey brought me back to Virginia in the wee hours of Monday. RootsTech 2019 was an absolute blast! I'm so grateful that I was able to attend, and I'm honored to have served as an Ambassador this year. The RootsTech staff made this year so smooth and successful, from registration to class size, to the class schedule to the entertainment. 

RootsTech is a big conference. But do you ever wonder just how big *big* is when it comes to RootsTech? RootsTech 2019 At A Glance sure does put it into context. You can read more about the stats in RootsTech in Review here.

Did you make it to RootsTech 2019? Don't forget to rate your courses on the RootsTech app! The instructors will certainly appreciate the honest feedback so that they can continue to improve their lessons.


RootsTech 2019 has come and gone. It brought me tons of new ideas, new friends, great connections, 28 pages of notes, new books, a MyHeritage beanie, and the conviction that I've *got* to get my certification and/or accreditation as a professional genealogist. 

I'm committed! My ancestors - and your ancestors - deserve the best researcher, the most passionate story-teller, and the dignity of being remembered.

So let's keep encountering our ancestors through family history and remembering the past made present today!

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