Last week I spent time at my favorite conference; the largest genealogy conference in the world; RootsTech 2018. Each year RootsTech is the highlight of my year because it’s the one conference I go to not as the owner of Shop the Hound but as a genealogist. This year was even more special because I went to RootsTech as a first time Ambassador.
With the addition of an extra day of classes at RootTech I was able to enjoy a really good class about DNA called; “How Close Are We Really” with Paul Woodbury from Legacy Tree Genealogist. Unfortunately, this DNA class wasn’t recorded but other DNA ones that were recorded this year and from previous years can be found HERE. You can also watch other videos about Technology and Genealogy.
Each day there is a Keynote address; Wednesday ended with Steve Rockwood the President of Family Search, Thursday the day began with Brandon Stanton the creator of Humans of New York, Friday morning was Scott Hamilton; Olympic Skier and as he titled himself; “the collector of diseases” and Saturday morning was with Dr. Louis Gates Jr. of Finding your Roots and Natalia Lafourcade , pop-rock singer and songwriter.
Although I had been dreaming of seeing Dr. Louis Gates in person it was actually Scott Hamilton’s keynote that I found the most uplifting.
Scott was adopted at 6 weeks of age and he told the story of when his adopted parents brought him home from the hospital his sister said that he wasn’t very cute.
When Scott was very young he spent years going to hospitals and being tested trying to understand why he didn’t grow. This took a terrible toll on his family so finally, the Dr’s said to his parents; “go, take the day off from sickness”. So they did; they went to a skating rink. It was then that his love of skating came about and as he started skating his health got better. He continued to skate but he wasn’t really any good at skating. His parents put all their time and money into his training but once again illness struck the family; his mother was diagnosed with cancer. It was then that she told her son that they could only pay for one more year of skating.
At that point, Scott decided that he was going to be “all in”. It was also about that time that he met a couple Helen and Frank McLoraine. Helen and Frank had no children and were well off so they began sponsoring Scott. Scott told us that after his mother died he honored his mom in everything he did.
It was easy to tell that Scott realized that he was who he was because of the people who had come into his life. The McLoraine’s, his “other mother” coach Barb Camp and coach; Don Law.
The part I also found so uplifting was his telling of his marriage to Tracy Rose Robinson and about having their two biological children; Aidan and Maxx and how he finally saw someone who looked like him. He told the story about how when his son Maxx was born with red hair and Scott said to himself; “I’m Irish”. He and his wife didn’t stop at two children. On a trip to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, they adopted two more children; Jean Paul and Evelyne.
I won’t tell you the whole story, but if you’d like to learn more you can do what I did and buy his book; Finishing First: Winning Changes Everything.
I’ve been to a lot of conferences over the years but I can’t tell you how much fun I have when I go to RootsTech. I go to classes and I explore every inch of the Marketplace. Learning what’s new in the industry. But the best part of all is meeting old friends and making new ones. After all isn’t it all about Connecting and Belonging?
Note: My article may contain affiliate links that I make a small about of money on. A portion of the money I make is donated to the Alzheimer’s Society and to support The DNA Angel Project Draws.