The fifth RootsTech definitely knows how to put on a show. With 21,927 people registered to attend the joint conference through Saturday, expectations are high. The large ballroom at the Salt Palace has been filled with enthusiastic audiences and enthralling performances.
This morning's general session featured Genealogy Road Show cast (Josh Taylor, Kenyatta Berry and Mary Tedesco giving, essentially, a commercial for continued donations to the war of 1812 Save the Pensions digitization project sponsored by FGS and monetarily matched by Ancestry.
Dennis Brimhall, FamilySearch President and CEO, expressed his continued enthusiasm for the overall reach of RootsTech and for recruiting new interest in family history. Last year's conference, long with 1183 remote sites reached more than 200,000 people.
Recent FamilySearch efforts have been geared toward engaging more people with the joy of discovering their family history. Brimhall gave a personalized demonstration of the new FamilySearch Discovery Center. The first one opened yesterday in Salt Lake City. Activities encourage the use of fun, graphically interesting tools to enhance the discovery experience for potential family historians. It's definitely family history lite. But I can see where this may provide an entertaining time for the whole family.
Mike Mallin of MyHeritage, continued the joy of discovery theme. My Heritage sees their role in discovery as a gift of knowledge. They believe those new to family history want instant gratification. MyHeritage aims to provide it.
The morning was capped by the brilliantly presented, harrowing, touching and personal story of Tan Le, a Vietnamese immigrant who is founder and CEO of Emotiv, a company that conducts advanced studies of the human brain and those with neurological disorders. Le reprised her TED-talk for the RootsTech audience. It was awe inspiring.
One of Le's forebearers noted, "Yes, history may crush us, but we endured." That statement resonated with me, considering the history of the Jewish people.
A full day of presentations followed. More about that later.
The day ended with the RootsTech Opening Social featuring the excellent One Voice Children's Choir. They were joined by Alex Boye and young Lexi Walker for a performance of "Let it Go!" Their YouTube video of this piece has garnered more than 61,000,000 views.
After the Boye and Walker performance I ducked out to meet Alex Feller, Pamela Weisberger, Tammy Hepps, Elise Friedman, Adam Brown, and Amanda (from Geni) for dinner. Another nice evening.