February 11, 2014

Thanks for RootsTech, from the Virtual Seats

RootsTech 2014 was at the center of the world genealogical stage last week, and even those who couldn’t make it to Salt Lake City were invited to watch. I had a lot of fun following along from home, and just want to say thanks to everyone who made that possible.

First of all, hats off to FamilySearch for hosting RootsTech and giving everyone free live access to the keynote addresses, 15 sessions, and syllabus. Well done! The quality of the live streaming was amazing from the opening moments on. It was neat having the Twitter feed streaming on the home page as well. I only noticed a few glitches in the transmission and schedule; perhaps a small announcement board would help keep everyone updated. Overall, what a remarkable production. Thanks to those at FamilySearch with the vision to reach out to home viewers, and to the technicians working behind the scenes.

Thanks also to the corporate sponsors of RootsTech for their funding and support. I can’t imagine how much it costs to put something like this on.

A big thanks to the many bloggers in attendance who shared their pictures, experiences, thoughts, and discoveries with us. Your posts really captured the essence of RootsTech. A major genealogy conference is a whirlwind of activity, and I know how difficult it can be to carve out time to write blog posts. But you all did a great job, and your efforts are really appreciated. I look forward to reading more of your recaps and reflections this week.

Thanks to all those who kept up the lively exchange of ideas, news, links, and messages on Twitter. It was a fun way to join in with RootsTech. I felt connected to others watching from home, and particularly enjoyed hearing from people at the conference who were attending different sessions.

And of course, thanks to all the speakers who shared their knowledge and passion with us. I can’t wait to see some of the sessions I missed on video, which are now appearing at Even the speakers who weren’t part of the broadcast schedule generously shared their handouts. Think of all the hard work and knowledge that syllabus represents! Speaking of which, here are a few items for you:

If I had to pick one highlight of my virtual RootsTech experience, it would be Friday morning’s keynote address with Judy Russell and Spencer Wells. Judy, The Legal Genealogist, eloquently made the point that we run the risk of losing family history stories in just three generations. We need to purposefully and accurately record our family stories—starting with ourselves, our parents and grandparents—in order to preserve them. As Judy points out in her corresponding blog post, genealogy standards give us the framework we need to do this. Spencer Wells discussed the use of genetic testing to pick up the trail of our deep ancestry after the paper trail of traditional genealogy runs out. If you didn’t get the chance to hear these captivating speakers the first time—or if you’d like to hear them again—you can catch the video here (there aren’t any handout materials for the keynote sessions, in case you’re wondering).

I hope everyone involved with RootsTech gets some well-deserved rest now that the conference is over. From my seat in the virtual gallery, it was wonderful to be able to learn and share a little bit of the experience with you.

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1 comment:

  1. Well said, Shelley. I posted a thanks to the bloggers but neglected to thank the presenters and all others who made RootsTech possible. I second your thanks.


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