Well, I attended Rootstech last week in Salt Lake City. It has taken a few days for me to process all the information and to sort out all my thoughts and feelings about the event.
What is Rootstech? Rootstech is a new conference spearheaded by FamilySearch along with other genealogy organizations and companies who were joined with top companies in the technology industry “designed to bring technologists together with genealogists, so they can learn from each other and find solutions to the challenges we face in family history research today.”
Here are my conclusions about the experience:
* Being a good genealogist with limited technology skills may have been sufficient in the past, but in order to fully access newer resources, databases and online information in the future we will need to become more technology mature.
* Every field has its own language and way of defining things. I think many genealogists who are new to technology are resistant due to the lack of understanding of the lingo – from there they often venture no farther. New terms like ‘cloud computing’ and API, apps, and even URL sounds very intimidating to older generations who are just beginning to figure out gigs and RAMS (hint- bigger is better)
* But genealogists need to remember that lingo is often what scares away people from genealogy. We often assume everyone knows the difference between a pedigree chart and a family group chart, or even what a gedcom is.
Any new field is going to have a steep learning curve in the beginning. To push genealogy research to the next level we will need better tools. Learning new technology can be frustrating, discouraging and exhausting at times. Genealogist should be very comfortable with those feelings, as it is a frequent experience when trying to break through those ‘brick walls’ we encounter in searching for those elusive ancestors.
* Learning new technology is good IF…after learning some good and necessary new skills, apps, programs and software we use the “time we save” for doing what we love to do – genealogy research! Ahhhh there’s the catch! Technology can be just as addicting as genealogy after awhile.
* Its good to take some time to invest in learning new skills, I think it is time that will pay huge dividends in the future – as long as I don’t let it become a new obsession. The goal is become more efficient and make use of greater resources. Not fill every waking moment on gen or tech…I hope I am listening!
Because I love you all, here is something I want to share that I just LOVE. My Valentines gift for you. It’s a genealogy toolbar developed by Tami Glatz, blogger of the Relatively Curious. This is technology you will love too. On her blog, at the top is a toolbar you can upload for free and it will instantly link you to some great sites for online genealogy research – definitely a timesaver. Thank you Tami – you are awesome! And thank you to everyone involved with the success of Rootstech. I look forward to version 2.0 next year Feb 2-4, 2012 to be held at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City.
Also special thank you to all the genealogy bloggers I met and twitted with – you are fun, generous and very helpful – you are great! Look forward to getting to know you all better.
I think this marriage is going to last!