DAR Genealogy Travels to RootsTech 2019

Written by: Pamela Loos-Noji, DAR Staff Genalogist
March 15, 2019

I was excited to be one of the three DAR genealogists to be representing DAR Headquarters at the RootsTech 2019 conference in Salt Lake City, UT. Simply walking into the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City was intimidating, it is humongous.  Early on Wednesday, setup in the exhibit hall was just beginning.  Mini forklifts and Segways were darting about and the carpet installers were banging and taping.  Thank goodness there were some electricians with tools and a bit of brawn to help us with a problematic banner pole.

When it was all set up the lights and colors of all the booths, including ours, was a wonderful sight.  Some vendors areas were so large that they could have demonstrations and lectures right there.  As you might imagine, when the exhibit hall opened for the first time on Wednesday evening, the place was loud and bustling.

There are still some people out there who do not know about DAR, however, everyone who came to the booth usually said things like, “I’ve always meant to join” or “I must have a patriot in my line” or “my grandmother was a member.”  Unfortunately, the latter was not always true and we were not able to find them in the member’s database.  However, on one occasion, I did find the original application of a woman’s grandmother!  She was moved, almost to tears, when she saw her grandmother’s signature – tangible proof of her existence.  People from all over the world stopped by to ask questions which we did our best to answer.  

The Utah DAR members were super.  They signed up in droves to help out at the booth in shifts and brought candy, enthusiasm, and lots of cheer.  We would like to give a special shout out to Susan Holt, UT State Regent; Brenda Reeder, Past UT State Regent; Hollie Gilliland, Regent of the Golden Spike Chapter; Bette Bohman; and Dawn Fleishans, who is the organizing regent for a new chapter in South Jordan.  These ladies hardly left our side and answered all Utah-specific questions for us.

Some genealogy celebrities even stopped by!  David Allen Lambert, NEHGS, said hello.  Drew Smith of the GenealogyGuys podcast let us know that the DAR library had won an award (accepted by our own Elizabeth Ernst).  And, Genealogy Roadshow host and DAR member, Mary Tedesco came and helped out at the booth.  She also helped present a copy of the DARopoly game won by our second raffle winner.  Three happy people walked away from our booth the proud owners of the game.

Marilyn Mills, Audra Sombke, and I represented Headquarters at the conference this year.  All of us were very busy and did not have lots of time to attend lectures.  Marilyn focused on DNA presentations as that is one of her special skills that she uses in the course of her work in the Genealogy Dept.  Her two favorite presentations were Angie Bush on DNA for Adoptees and Blaine Bettinger on a Deep Dive into Understanding DNA.  Audra kept her eyes and ears open for news about FamilySearch and all records of the LDS Church.  I went to lectures on German and English research.  Lecturer Katherine Schober made it look so easy to read early German script and, Else Churchill of the Society of Genealogists in London’s lecture on under-used quarter session records made me want to run to the computer and start searching. 

All of us agreed that the RootsTech 2019 Conference was wonderful.  Our greatest regret is that none of us could stay and do research at the LDS library.  Maybe next year!  

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