Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ten Must Haves For FGS/RootsTech 2015 - What To Bring

FGS Mobile App and RootsTech Mobile App (Google Play Store)

This week on Society Sunday, a few things to bring with you to Salt Lake City.

Comfortable Shoes – you will be walking around at your hotel, you will be walking to and around the Salt Palace, and you will be walking around Salt Lake City (SLC) checking out shops and restaurants. Although SLC has great public transportation – the area we will be in is flat and just lends itself to walking. So make sure you have comfortable shoes (and watch the weather forecasts – you might need your snow boots). But rest assured that the snow removal folks are out and about soon after any snow falls and I have always found the sidewalks are cleared quickly.

Layers for your Clothing – the temperature of the rooms at the Salt Palace, your hotel, and the Family History Library (FHL) will fluctuate. There is nothing worse than being too hot or too cold – you won’t be able to focus on what you are doing. Dress in layers so that you can be relaxed and comfortable. I also bring along those little cushioned socks – whether you are walking around in your hotel room, walking down the hallways, or working away with the microfilm in a cubby at the FHL, the socks come in handy.

SmartPhone – great for so many things including taking photos, scanning documents, recording your thoughts, and finding directions to restaurants and shops. Make sure you take the time now to learn how to use any of those apps you added for this trip but haven't tried out yet. The last thing you want to do is waste your time figuring out how to take photos, scans, use the gps/map app, or use the QR code feature. Make sure to use the lock feature on your smartphone (especially if you have personal information you don't want to share) and put your contact information on the owner information or personal message screen in case you and your phone get separated.

Conference Mobile Apps - be sure to download the mobile apps for RootsTech and FGS and spend a bit of time thinking about your schedule. Are there speakers you want to hear (no matter the topic)? Are there topics that are important to your 2015 research focus? In addition to a Plan A, have a Plan B. Know your limits – why are you attending FGS/RootsTech? If part of the reason is to meet other genealogists and network, give yourself enough breaks and opportunities to relax and visit. Do not over-schedule yourself so that you don’t take the time to learn something new from world-class presenters, engage with other family historians and genealogists, research at FHL, and just experience SLC. This is not the week for your new exercise program (unless it is walking) or your diet – give yourself a few breaks throughout the day to recharge your batteries.

Genealogy (or business) Cards & Address Labels – part of the fun of any conference is meeting up with old friends and making new friends. Bring along your genealogy cards – it is enough to have your name and email and your social media information. Some list their areas or locations of research or surnames in their family files. Genealogy cards are great to exchange (make a note on the card of something that stands out about the person to help jog your memory after the conference). Exhibitors might want your information and/or have drawings- again the genealogy card or your address label on their forms can be useful and save you time and effort during the conference.

Gadgets, Plug-ins and Charging Cords –give some thought to how you work best (is it using your tablet or smartphone OR using pen and paper) and then go with it. Only bring what you think you will use and when in doubt, bring less. RootsTech has kiosks for you to download and print the session syllabi so why not take advantage of that benefit (especially if you decide to change or add to your session choices). I find that I remember more and am a bit more thoughtful about my notes if I write them and so bring a journal and pens for that purpose. I also use a version of the Cornell note-taking system to take my notes. Remember this is about learning and interacting (be an active learner and remember that each of the speakers provided a syllabus so you should already have an outline to work with for any of your sessions). I always summarize my notes – the 2 or 3 aha moments I took away from each session (either during a break or later that night I record my thoughts on my smartphone).

A Few Sheets of Colored Paper – I learned this lesson the first time I went to the FHL. When viewing microfilm if you have a piece of light colored paper on the film table, for whatever reason, it makes the film pop and makes the words and writing easier to read. Trust me – it works.

Eye Drops and Mints – The only time I need eye drops is when I am in SLC - it might be the combination of the microfilm reader and the climate, but it is easier to have them from the get go, rather than trying to find them once you need them. Mints come in handy (quieter than chewing gum and they freshen your breath) - enough said.

Lock for your Laptop – If you are bringing your laptop to the FHL be sure to also bring a lock for it (the FHL desks and tables are set up for them) AND know how to use the lock with your laptop. It is better to be safe than sorry and keep in mind that no one wants their trip ruined by losing their laptop or all their work.

A Smile and a Sense of Adventure – It will be an overwhelming and exhausting couple of days AND it will be exhilarating and great fun. Be willing to try something new (either a session or a meal) and realize that the internet will be spotty, the Exhibit Hall will be busy, you won’t get into some sessions as they will fill up before you get there (remember Plan B?), you will oversleep one morning, you will have forgotten something, and something will go wrong. However, if you go into FGS/RootsTech 2015 with the attitude that you are going to have fun, learn, meet some new friends, and enjoy yourself whatever the day brings – you will.  

I am packing my comfortable shoes, my eye drops, my journal and pens, my genealogy cards and my sense of adventure. I think I will wear my smile on the plane and practice my good attitude from the get go. See you soon in Salt Lake City!

1 comment:

  1. Agree so much with being comfortable so you can concentrate. I recommend a warm scarf or wrap as one of the layers for presentation rooms if you are subject to getting chilled from a/c. I kept one in my bag at Jamboree last year and used it constantly. Have fun!


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