Genealogy Research

9 Tips to Have the BEST RootsTech 2023 Experience

Learn tips to get the most out of RootsTech 2023 whether attending in person or virutally! Genealogy lectures, the expo hall and so much more!

Way back when I attended my very first genealogy conference, I was a newbie.

I was brand new to genealogy research, but eager to learn all I could to find my ancestors and grow my family tree.

I signed up to attend a National Genealogical Society conference that was 4 days of lectures, an expo hall and a chance to talk to people whose eyes did not glaze over at the mention of the ancestors. Yes, these were my people.

I did not want to waste a moment. I attended a lecture every session! I walked miles in the expo hall – Okay, maybe not miles, my pedometer was quite happy! I packed my own lunch so I didn’t have to leave the convention center for food.

I completely immersed myself in genealogy for 4 days.

It was wonderful!  It was utterly exhausting!  By the end, I hardly knew how to spell my own name, much less my ancestor’s. 

But I learned my lesson.  

Now I make a plan! [You know I love a good plan!]

Create A RootsTech 2023 PLAN!

Let’s get started on creating your RootsTech 2023 plan. Whether you are attending in-person on virtually from you living room couch, you need a plan.

The best news is ….. This process works for ANY CONFERENCE that you might attend in the future.

Item #1 – The first thing you want to do even before registering is to decide your priorities.

Why do you to want to attend this conference? What is your goal? 

Is it knowledge around a specific area of research?

Is it to connect with other researchers?

Is it to talk with specific vendors to learn how to better use their websites or products?

Item #2 – Plan on the lectures you wish to attend.

Large conferences often have multiple tracks for lectures. That means you have a choice of several talks or lectures at any given time slot.

Set aside time to review and decide on  the lectures you will attend at what time.

Sometimes you will have to decide between 2 lectures happening at the same time.  Check if one is being recorded and is available for viewing later. If so, make a note and attend the one that is not being recorded.

Item #3 – Make note of specific vendors in the Expo Hall you want to connect with.

The expo hall is the heart beat of the conference one of the most fun aspects of any genealogy conference experience.

Big or small the expor hall is a great place to interact with the companies and genealogical societies whose products you use or hope to use. 

Most genealogy conferences including RootsTech publish their vendor list ahead of time. I actually spend a lot of time on reviewing this before the conference ever begins.

Make a list of which vendor booths you want to check out. Do you have specific questions for a vendor or company of a product you already use. 

Often vendors are debuting new features or products at a conference. Make time to learn about them. 

If you are attending a a virtual conference, don’t skip the virtual vendor hall! Yes, you can peruse products, attend mini lectures and talk with the exhibitors.

And make plenty of time to peruse the books in the booths!  Genealogists are a book loving group!

Item #4 – Consider who you want to talk and connect with while at that genealogy conference.

Are some of your fellow genealogy friends going to be there? Plan to meet up for a coffee.  If possible, make these plans ahead of time. Time goes by fast when you are at a conference. 

Want to meet your genealogy “idol”?  Now’s your chance! 

At one of the early genealogy conferences I attended, I made sure to stop by the Genealogy Gems booth and meet Lisa Louise Cooke! I was a bit star struck, After all, listening to her podcast is how I got started creating the Are You My Cousin? Blog! Now we’ve become friends. 🙂

3 women at a dinner smiling together
Devon Noel Lee (Family History Fanatics), Me, Lisa Louise Cooke (Genealogy Gems)

Item #5 – Download the conference app.

These days most conferences have an app you can download.  The RootsTech app is an excellent example. 

RootsTech app screenshot
RootsTech 2023 App

You’ll have the conference schedule, syllabi, vendor list and all the other fun things they include.  It’s also where you can stay up to date on changes that might occur in the schedule.

Some apps even allow for messaging other attendees during the event.

Item #6 – Plan for rest breaks. 

It is so easy to go-go-go at an excited pace all day and evening at a large genealogy conference like RootsTech.

So, plan for rest breaks.  

If you are close enough, go back to your hotel room for a quiet break. If not, find a quiet area in the conference space and take a break from the ancestors for a bit.

Many do not realize it, but I am quite introverted.  I have lots of energy at conferences because I take strategic breaks to recharge. 

Item #7 – Always take a water bottle!

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.

It’s easy to forget to drink water amidst the excitement of a RootsTech or other genealogy conference. One thing I learned about attending RootsTech is the climate is much drier than my home state as well as the altitude is higher. Staying hydrated helped combat headaches and fatigue.

#8 – At the end of each conference day, make any notes about things you want to remember or follow up on.

Take 2 or 3 minutes at the end of each day to make a note about someone or something you want to follow up on after the conference is over. 

Get this information out of your mind and down on paper or in your note taking app.  I use Google Keep. Do not trust yourself to remember the information after the conference is over.

Item #9 – Attend the mini-sessions and lectures that take place in the vendor hall and in individual booths.

These are amazing opportunities for learning, and to get your questions answered.

Whether you attend RootsTech 2023 in-person or virtually (or any other genealogy education experience) make your plan ahead of time. You will come home knowing you attended the lectures you wanted to hear, talked with fellow genealogy researchers and tried out new products and features in the exhibit hall.

Plus, you won’t have to sleep for 3 days to recover!

Find more tips in this previous 2022 video!

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