RootsTech / FGS Conference and the Mecca

I was able to spend last week in Salt Lake City, UT for the joint Rootstech / FGS Conference. I was not there for fun and games, it was mostly work for me and the team over at The In-Depth Genealogist. We arrived a few days before the conference so we could get a little research in at the Mecca (Family History Library). No matter how big your local FHC is, you will never be prepared for the volume of records the SLC FHC has. I did not do a lot of preplanning for my personal research needs, I knew my time would be limited and for me just getting to grasp what they have was what I was looking to do.

Shannon, Terri and Jen outside FHC
Shannon, Terri and Jen outside FHC

However, I was able to look into the following:

  1. I was able to go through the two rolls of Irish films I wanted to. I was hoping to find a baptismal record for Edward Connell / O’Connell who appears in the 1870 US Census, it states he was born in Ireland though I have no other record of it. Unfortunately, there were no records of his baptism to be found.
  2. My Revolutionary War Soldier’s record state that he was born in Pennsylvania in 1752. When I looked at PA records, I found reference to a William Richmond who was born in Scotland in 1752. I took a few screen shots of the Scottish records that the FHC center had on William Richmond, but I am not 100% that this is my guy, yet!

We also spent some time in the conference room on the third floor. IT has an amazing view of the mountains. Here, we filmed IDG’s episode of Chit Chat Live: On the Road! That was fun, we went old school and used my cam corder instead of recording via Google Hangouts on Air. It took me a bit to remember how to edit everything together, but with some help from YouTube videos. I got it taken care of.

For the conference, the sheer number of people there was amazing! I believe at the opening keynote address they stated 21,oo0+ registered. On Saturday for family day, there were kids. A TON OF KIDS. I was told that number was pretty close to 5,000.

Unfortunately, I did not attend any of the sessions. I was way too busy in the vendor hall working. Here I got to see many old friends and make some new ones. It is amazing how social media plays into our daily lives. The people we talk with, and never met, become good friends. When you finally get to meet that person in real life. It is wonderful!

However, I was able to attend the keynote address each day. I was excited for Friday and Saturday’s keynote address!

First Lady Laura Bush and daughter, Jenna Bush Hagar
©Terri O’Connell 2015
  • Friday was former First Lady Laura Busch and her daughter, Jenna Bush Hagar. I try to catch the Today Show every morning and Jenna has been a contributing correspondant for a few years. I truly enjoy her segments. I really enjoy when she interviews her family, especially her father, President George W. Bush. I am by no means, a political person. I try not to discuss politics, but Jenna has a way that keeps her interviews with her family, personal. I like that. It gives us a glimpse of the family inside the White House. Though, with the keynote address there was  plenty of politics that were brought in. Nothing to do with current things, but all about her dad. Most of the discussion came from Laura Bush in her speech, but Jenna also added a few things as she interviewed her mom. Laura is a wonderful story teller, and it was wonderful to hear some of the family stories that happened within the White House. These stories make the family real. Yes, I know they are real, but the public only gets the info that the news gives us. These stories made them a family that share the same things we do; birthdays, holidays and weddings. Laura did tell us a few times that George wrote a book about his father, 41: A Portrait of My Father.
Donny Osmond
©Terri O’Connell 2015
  • Saturday was AJ Jacobs and Donny Osmond! When they announced Donny would be a keynote speaker, I turned into the young girl who loved to watch the Donny and Marie Variety Show. I know that is silly, but its what happened. Donny came out and told some wonderful family stories. When he talked about his Dad, you could see him choke up and how it emotionally is hard for him to talk about the father he loved so dearly. It brought tears to my eyes as well. Donny also talked about the first time he was out with his wife. It was at the Salt Palace for a concert, he was on a double date with his brother. Donny’s wife was his brothers date. He said that he knew, while in the Salt Palace that he would marry her. Such a sweet story for him to share with everyone. He also sang for us! Yes, he sang his hit Puppy Love. He also sang Andy Williams song, Moon River and a few others. For you Donny fans, he has an app that you can download on your mobile device and it gives you his latest album free. FREE!! This is something I will never forget!

Thanks Donny for spending Valentines Day with me!

My biggest take-away for this week is this. Do not come a few days early. Come the day before, enjoy the conference and stay a few days after the conference. Believe me, you will need the few days to just relax. Going home to all the responsibilities there is just too much. I still have many things to take care of and no energy to do so. This conference put me on my rear!




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