Monday, February 6, 2012

RootsTech - As Seen From Oregon

For three days last week I attended the RootsTech conference while sitting in my office at home. I am not a Techie person, so this conference did not compel me to go to Utah. But, when it was offered to view fifteen of the sessions online for free, I felt it was too good a deal to pass up. To the sponsors and those involved in putting on the conference I want to express my heart-felt appreciation.

For those who do not enjoy large crowds, cold snowy weather, walking long distances, this truly was a wonderful opportunity. True, I did not have the privilege of meeting with many of my peers, but for this year I at least had this option. Other advantages included a private restroom without lines, a refrigerator stocked with my favorite foods and drinks, no distractions from fellow attendees, a clear view of the action, it was easier to take notes, and warm, sunny weather. Then there were the cost savings of airfare, hotel room, meals out, other transportation, and purchases from the vendor area.

With over 4,200 attendees at the conference, I can only imagine how many of us took advantage of the free offer to view these sessions from wherever we were. The professionalism of the website and live stream viewing was very impressive. They captured a very Techie atmosphere. The only suggestion I have for next year is to offer a double screen view, so one can view the speaker and the digital presentation at the same time. The screen shots often changed before one could read through them.  I loved all the men in their blue shirts

On Thursday, February 2:
Jay L. Verkler,  "Inventing the Future, as a Community," shared many upcoming projects for familysearch. He shared how the use of google will facilitate research. That cooperation among developing companies will enhance the research experience. There is a need to preserve the data and make it available.
D. Joshua Taylor spoke about, "Do I Trust the Cloud?" For many of us this is a critical issue. It is an evolving tool, which genealogists should embrace. He emphasized that privacy and security protections are being enhanced.
Kory Meyerink, "Effective Database Search Tactics," provided instruction on how to improve our research by changing how we approach our searches.    
Thomas MacEntee, "Twitter – It’s Not Just “What I Had for Breakfast” Anymore," discussed the changes in how genealogists use Twitter. 
Barbara Renick, "Eleven Layers of Online Searches," shared her tips on successful online research. Her everyday experiences, have enabled her to define best practices in genealogical research.  

Friday, February 3:
Josh Coates, "Exabyte Social Clouds and Other Monstrosities," started the day with some high energy. This was truly watching a Techie in action. His vision of the future of technology and where it can take us as genealogists is amazing.
Laura G. Prescott, "Publish Your Genealogy Online," was an overview of how to present our research work online so others can collaborate with us. She discussed the many options for individuals to consider in making our material available.   
Robert Gardner, "Optimize Your Site for Search Engines," discussed how to make our websites and blogs more noticeable on the web. The use of certain tools make it more likely that others doing similar research will connect to us. 
Sandra Crowly, "Genealogists “Go Mobile”," suggested that going mobile is the wave of the future and will greatly impact of how we do research. She noted that technology should work for us and not us for it; will it work for you? 
Dave Barney, "Google’s Toolbar and Genealogy," was a very clear presentation on the uses of google in our work. He was informative and enthusiastic about the uses of the google tools, demonstrating the power of the various options.     

Saturday, February 4:
Tim Sullivan and Panel, "Making the Most of Technology to Further the Family History Industry," was a refreshing view into the people who are creating the future of genealogy research online. They take their jobs very seriously, wanting to make improvements that will benefit researchers.
Lisa Louise Cooke, "Genealogy Podcasts and Blogs 101," offered very useful suggestions for those of us reading, writing and subscribing to these Internet tools. She provided wonderful suggestions for those of us who write blogs.    
Ron Tanner, "Future of FamilySearch Family Tree," presented by the crazy guy. He shared the past, present and future of using the online family tree at He was frank, honest and open about content of these trees.
Noah Tatuk, "Privacy in a Collaborative Environment," is a must view for me in the future. Unfortunately work took me away before this final session.

For all of these and other classes except maybe the keynote speakers of each day, one can download the syllabus for free from the website at: 

Free is a very good price for the wealth of information provided in these presentations. Next year, I may choose to attend the conference to enjoy the personal connections with so many wonderful genealogy friends. Thank you again, to all those who make this conference available to the genealogy and technology geeks, as they merge to make family history research the wave of the future.


  1. An interesting bonus was my four-year-old granddaughter watching with me on Saturday. She was very amused by the crazy genealogist.

  2. Nice summary Susan! I'm really glad you were able to get in on the action while in the comfort of your home. I think we're going to see a lot more of this kind of conference in the future. I have more write ups about the conference on my blog:

  3. Ron Tanner is a very funny guy in every setting, not just giving a presentation. Brilliant. I hope he comes through with what he described.