Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What's in My RootsTech Bag?

With RootsTech around the corner, it seems like everyone is blogging about what they're going to bring or what classes to attend. My friend Miriam of AnceStories made a great preparation list. Blogger extraordinaire Randy Seaver already has his class schedule picked out.

I'm hesitant to write a post about what YOU should bring to RootsTech. That's up to you. Mink stole? Feather boa? Ten-gallon hat? Whatever works, man.

This will be my fourth RootsTech appearance. Here are some of my must-bring things:

Comfortable shoes
That Salt Palace is BIG. The halls are long, and my first and second classes of the day will naturally be on opposite sides of the building. Then between sessions I'll dash in to the vendor hall quickly, only to see someone I haven't seen in a long time and we'll spend an hour standing and talking. Then I'll see a vendor I haven't seen in a long time and we'll stand around and talk. Basically there's a lot of standing and walking at RootsTech so comfortable shoes are a must.

A coat that's probably not warm enough
I'm from California and I live in Houston. Coats are for the morning before the sun comes up and warms everything. It turns out the sun doesn't always warm up everything in Utah in February, so I have to bring a coat. But I don't want to bring a giant coat because I don't live a coat life. I bring a coat that keeps me from getting frostbite as I walk quickly between hotel, convention center and the library. No puffy coats for this sunbelt girl.

A box of Cheez-Its
Yes, I pack this. Why? So I don't have to look for a store that has them. Because sometimes you run out of time at a conference and a handful of Cheez-Its is all you have until you can get a square meal. As an added bonus, you can buy stuff at RootsTech and there's room in your suitcase for the home trip where the Cheez-It box once was.

My flash drive
I need my flash drive for all of the exciting things I shall find at the Family History Library. My flash drive is attached to a large key ring so I don't lose it. Except sometimes I forget it places, so there's a document at the top of the list in the drive that has my contact info on it.

My tech toys
My phone. I'm not a phone talker, I'm a phone user. It's always in my pocket. I'll bring my iPad for live tweeting some of the sessions and things. I wasn't going to bring my computer, but someone at Backblaze (a RootsTech sponsor, by the way) told me there's "a little somethin' somethin" for those with computers who stop by their booth. Besides, I prefer to blog from my laptop anyway so more blog posts for you!

My spiral notebook
Yeah, I'm the rebel who brings paper to a tech conference. The truth is that I'm a scribbler. Sometimes I need to take notes rapidly with arrows and boxes and such. No app can handle this. I've tried. I'm a lefty whose hand pushes down on the writing surface. Even the handwriting notepad apps can't handle that, so paper it is.

Cough drops
This is for your benefit, not mine. Also, I buy the kind in the paper wrapper, so you'll never hear me messing with plastic. Who are those people who jiggle cellophane wrappers throughout a session? Not me.

A big, empty schedule
'Tis true. I don't plan ahead. I have a couple appointments set up, but I do not pick classes ahead of time. I want to see where the conference takes me. Last year I discovered the demo area in the vendor hall and spent a third of the conference there just listening to the product talks. Any class schedule I had wouldn't have mattered anyway. Change of plans. I love that about RootsTech. My intent is to hit a lot of DNA sessions, but you never know.

So there you go...a list of what's in my RootsTech bag. What's in yours?


  1. I love your suggestions Amy, so practical. And you can't go wrong having snacks and comfy shoes! I'm so disappointed I won't be there this year (alas geneacruising takes over this year). And I know few Aussie are making the trek north to RT this year, but the big lot will be be back in 2015 (myself included)! Have an awesome time!

    1. Alona, I will miss seeing you this year but your excuse is a VERY good one! Please post photos. I'll miss several of my Aussie friends, but 2015 will be wonderful.

  2. Amy, I'm looking forward to meeting you at last! Thanks for the shout out to my blog.

    1. ...and Oops! We HAVE met. At Jamboree 2010. Don't fault me my crazy memory...that seemed like a lifetime ago! I'm looking forward to seeing you AGAIN! Woot woot!!!

  3. Amy, this was great. Loved it. Practical advice mixed in with a great does of humor. I can sympathize with the notepad - I'll have one too - for largely the same reasons (except I'm not a lefty). When are they going to come out with a note taking app that works for visual people that isn't cumbersome? Ok. Great post! ~ Jen

  4. Perhaps someday I'll be able to make the trip from Australia to RootsTech. In the meantime, I enjoy reading about it. I know what you mean about the flash drive. When my local State Archives first installed microfilm readers that could scan to a USB device, I was sure I'd leave mine behind. I therefore attached a piece of string so I could tie it to my wrist. I'd rather look silly than lose that USB!

  5. Thank's Amy for great tips! I will probably bring something else than Cheez-Its, but I will for sure bring some snacks! And I will bring my computer AND a spiral notebook (and my phone..) Hopefully the Internet-connection for the visitors are better this year, as I have a Norwegian phone, and I dont have a data-plan for USA for it.. (expensive!).

    Looking forward to it all!!!!

  6. Loving it! Unfortunately, I cannot come over from Germany. That means, I am so much looking forward to everyone who is liveblogging the event. Have fun and enjoy!

  7. I like your list, except for the suggestion to have a big empty schedule. I prefer planning which sessions I will attend with the proviso to myself that I may change anything on the list once I get there. Like any trip-planning is much of the fun.