Thursday, April 11, 2013

RootsTech 2014 has the potential to break all records because...


Because of satellite technology built-in to LDS chapels throughout the world, we can expect higher numbers to participate in this major annual genealogy conference.

A James Tanner blog post titled An Important Comment drew Ol’ Myrt’s attention this morning. +Tessa Keough said "Why do some other countries do so well with family history/genealogy - England, Scotland, Sweden, Norway to name a few. [...] Why does family history/genealogy attract so many more people in Britain than it does in the USA? Why does their big conference in England -WDYTYALive - attract people from all backgrounds, including age, sex, economic, education, religion/non religion?"

Ol’ Myrt’s response: As far as nationwide participation in a big conference like Who Do You Think You Are LIVE!, we must remember each country mentioned by Tessa is smaller than the average US state. It’s logical, if we focused our entire efforts toward the population of say, Missouri, we’d have a mighty big turnout, particularly if we held the event in the same city year after year. Organizations like FGS and NGS vary the venue to bring the conference “experience” to a different group each year, though it's clearly like "reinventing the wheel" for each conference. RootsTech doesn't suffer from the attendant lack of momentum, offering it's Salt Lake City venue annually, literally at the door-step of the world-famous Family History Library.

Concerning lack of diversity in US genealogy conferences, WDYTYALive! reaches out beyond  genealogy to include history, antiques, and military enthusiasts. Here in the US, we need only look to our recent RootsTech 2013 annual conference. RT pushed the boundaries by including Story@home. Many bashed this step since Story@home isn't techy, yet it brought new folks into our "genealogy" space. And for the first time over 2,000 young people joined the mix at RootsTech 2013 on Saturday when they weren't in school. (That's a simply awesome figure!) Others complained not enough tech was shown in the RootsTech 2013 live stream.  Ol' Myrt here thinks we're lucky to have live streaming available. This is very expensive to produce. While there is certainly room for growth and improvement, it cannot happen in a negative environment fraught with what I  can only describe as severe criticism.

Perhaps the breakthrough comes next year when RootsTech 2014 broadcasts to an estimated 100,000 world-wide using the satellite technology currently employed for periodic LDS church conferences and training sessions at regional LDS chapels. Yet the announcement of this step has been criticized by some who feel this makes RootsTech too LDS-centric. (Seriously? Who else has offered the use of tried-and-true technology with such global reach?)

The LDS church is generous to offer the technology but this type of "global meeting" also works toward educating it's members about the possibilities for recording an individual's family heritage. It just happens that in a typical community, it isn't just Mormons who care about heritage. With this offering comes the possibility for many more to benefit from RootsTech 2014, particularly those who may not have a home computer or high-speed internet access.

Satellite_dish_1_C-Band.jpg ‎WikiMedia Commons.

Imagine folks traveling to their local FamilySearch Center in Scotland to watch RootsTech 2014 live streams via satellite, and then attend a variety of locally-run classes on Scottish record groups, accessing records online, and the FamilySearch microfilm/fiche ordering process.

Meaningful live streaming to these satellite RootsTech2014 sites should cover research methodology, applicable regardless of country-specific research.

Satellite live streaming

+ local classes
creates the possibility of meaningful learning experiences for global RootsTech 2014 attendees.

Shipley, are you listening? It's all about getting the word out. Those international FamilySearch Centers need to create their classroom instruction schedules now. If you are serious about your comments in the first few minutes of Saturday morning session, then let's help those local folks get things rolling. Ol' Myrt here would like to be part of the solution, not just as an overly-wordy blogger.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.

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Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
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  1. Me encanta tu punto de vista y tus apreciaciones. Será muy bueno tener conferencias transmitidas en parte y con especialistas locales.
    Mucha gente puede aprender, pero necesita de mucho planeamiento y anticipación para ello.
    Estamos dispuestos a que funcione en todos los sitios, y estamos esperándolo además :)

  2. Pat,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!

  3. I for one, will be grateful beyond belief to see more of Roots Tech streaming. Unless I win a lottery, I don't see myself going. Budget just doesn't allow it. I really enjoyed what they offered this year, and I think your idea of having local classes to go along with it is fabulous!