RootsTech 2014 and a month of Mormon

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Any genealogist worth one’s salt (yes, pun intended) at some time must make the pilgrimage to the city which boasts the most family history records on earth.  This was my first time there and having exhausted the microfilm deliveries in my local Family History Center, it was time to develop a robust research plan and couple a trip to the Family History Library (FHL) with RootsTech 2014, the largest US gathering of all things genealogy, technology, history, story.

Sparing the play-by-play (which is what Twitter and Facebook are for), I will glean some of the highlights. Day 1, Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. Her keynote was filled with the luscious ingredients of family, farm and food woven together to create a beautiful and moving story about her life on the plains and humble blog beginnings to the amazing brand she has created. Her story was peppered with images of her children, her basset hounds, a close-up of her Marlboro Man husband’s backside in Wranglers and a precious image of a cow walking right up to the open home windows to say hello. Oh and of course pictures of delectable food dishes! I had no idea after the moving keynote event that I would get an opportunity for a selfie and a quick Q&A with her!

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The FindMyPast seminars were one of the most informative and additive to my Irish research, however if I could skip the sponsored lunch with them that I paid $25 for to watch them go back in time in a Delorean and the Dr. Who TARDIS, I would. I was on a mission to replace that moment in time with much better food and never ate a thing in the convention center. 

Other seminars that were particularly useful to me were digital organization and workflows, blog features with WordPress, and communicating in a sea of social media.

I did have a ticket for late night at the FHL on Friday night, but I started to get smart about planning my days so I could beat the crowd. I skipped the next 2 days of keynotes after discovering they would be online at rootstech.org later. No sense in smearing my mascara each morning during those emotional speeches so instead I went to the library. Here was my view:

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Yes, I geeked out here while most people were on date night. While I think I only uncovered one piece of info to help my own research along, it was always a nice visit there. All of the volunteers (read Mormons on missions) were a delight and so flirtatious even the eldest of the ladies!

Food-well once I got past the conference food experience, I was on the hunt for local, tasty eats and I have a couple recommendations which are all within walking distance from the Salt Palace Convention Center. Sixth and Vine is a yummy American comfort food stop in Nordstrom. You get to watch your meal prepared before your eyes (counter service for 1) and it warms your soul. I got braised short ribs with mashed potatoes, spinach and the best onion rings I’ve ever had. Dinner was Naked Fish and I had the best sushi I’ve ever had-seriously, no lie, it was like butter. The spicy garlic edamame was very tasty as was the vegetable tempura but you must try the sushi!

To wrap up these highlights in a pretty bow, I have to say the thing I yearned to do the most with each spare moment was to view the sights around Temple Square. The architecture is magnificent and no detail spared. The Tabernacle was acoustically the coolest place to whisper in and hear your sound travel on the wind. As I was wandering through, I came across a man training his Belgian Malinois puppy. Why is this a highlight? Because my conversation with him made me realize I should never get one of this amazing breed even as badly as I had wanted one before. Too much drive and needs constant training, like all day and shouldn’t be left alone. OK, that’s all I needed to hear.

So in a matter of days, I was back to my reality at home and then snowed in for 3 days with the kids. I still have so much more to blog about and need some real time to do so. But this month would not be complete without a Broadway Show about…you guessed it, Mormons.

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