Friday, March 29, 2013

RootsTech Conference presentations available free online

March 21-23, 2013,  Family Search  hosted the annual Roots Tech Genealogical Conference in Salt Lake City. This conference was  sponsored by,, Find My Past NGS (National Genealogical Society), and FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies, among others. More than 4,000 people attended from the US, Canada, and 23 other countries, making this an international genealogical event.

The purpose of this annual conference is to focus on the use of technology in genealogy, with an emphasis on helping people to become familiar with various technological innovations and to learn how these methods can be used in their own genealogical research. There are many opportunities provided for those in attendance to become updated on the latest tech tools. Keeping true to the technological theme of the conference, each day several presentations were live-streamed so that those of us who did not attend would have an opportunity to participate. I viewed several of those sessions over the last few days and found them to be quite  informative.

One session that I found particularly interesting was a panel discussion held on Thursday, entitled The Future of Genealogy. Panel members included  Josh Taylor, from FindMy Past, formerly from New England Historic Genealogical Society and Dick Eastman, who publishes Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter. In response to the question, "What is holding back the growth of genealogy?", they both agreed on two points. First was records access -- however, they did not mention privacy issues, rather that records are becoming unavailable due to financial limitations. Repositories worldwide are beginning to limit public access to their records because they have had to decrease staffing.  Secondly, they both stressed that "we" are the biggest problem -- both genealogical societies and individuals are not changing to keep up with the 21st century. We need to learn to take advantage of new technological methods and resources to research and share our discoveries.

 Some of the topics included in other sessions were:
  •  What is new or coming soon on Google and Family Search
  •  Social media
  •  Telling Stories
  •  Researching your genealogy online
These sessions are still available and may be viewed online at Roots Tech. In addition to the livestreamed sessions from this year, you may also view a few from last year's conference at RootsTech 2012.

This is a great way to keep up to date with the technology being used today, as well as learrning what is new for genealogists, without having to spend a lot of money to attend a large conference.

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