06 February 2012

RootsTech 2012: My experience

Learn more about what RootsTech is at their official website.

You can also read my limited comments about 2011's RootsTech, which I attended online.

February 2nd was the first day of RootsTech in 2012. Each day I wrote only a simple comment in my journal such as: "Wonderful!" and "Another amazing day at RootsTech!." On February 6th, I wrote about my experience as follows:

2 Feb Thur: I was engrosed in the experience with over 4,000 people there. It was my first LARGE genealogy conference. The expo hall was crowded early on with lines formed at certain booths. I had a card marked at several booths & had it turned in for a free t-shirt. I saw people I recognized from the Internet all over the place. Bloggers, tweeters, Facebook users, professional genealogists, FamilySearch employees etc. At lunch I saw Randy Seaver of GeneaMusings blog and sat with him. To my surprise, he mentioned that in his blog post about the day. [link added] I was pleased to meet my "boss" at FamilySearch also, Janell Vasquez[--At the time I was volunteering with FamilySearch genealogy research community Facebook pages, and got a paid-internship doing the same thing in March]. I attended classes by Lexmark on multi-function printers being customized for FamilySearch, YouTubing your Family History, [I attended] 1/2 [of the class on] Evernote..., 1/2 Gamification--making genealogy feel like a game, attracting users, and multi-lanuage high speed indexing with a group from Hong Kong. [I was impressed by the Hong Kong group who employ hundred of people in a specialized facility, give their employees ping-pong speed training, and have implemented an impressive system. They do some of the indexing for sites like Ancestry.com, under contract.]

3 Feb, Friday: Josh Coates of Mozy gave an entertaining presentation on data storage space increasing. I went to a presentation about JQuery and indexed on the new Android FamilySearch Indexing App that I excitedly found out about in the morning when I saw someone using it in [while watching] the keynote speech. I met a BYU Provo family history student named Angela and sat with her at Josh's keynote talk. I skipped a class to index & walk the expo hall some more. Oh & Thursday night was a funny comedy show by Ryan Hamilton. I went to a class on the FamilySearch Family Tree REST API and enjoyed hearing about the open source GEDCOMX movement [link added]. I talked to people about the FamilySearch Genealogy Research Communities throughout the conference. I met admins Larri-Anne & Christa Klemme Friday. I talked about GRCs with Randy Whited of FGS [Federation of Genealogical Societies] [link added] yesterday & mentioned them in his brainstorming class for societies. Then I mentioned them in the Meet FamilySearch's CEO class & Janell Vasquez's boss Art Johnson thanksed me for my comments afterward. During the FGS brainstorm Joyce Homan Executive Director of The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania recognized me as a PaHR-Access contributor and asked to get a picture with me.

The next day Saturday Feb. 4th was great too. I met a couple more admins such as Michael Melendez and Rick Koelz. Several of us admins had lunch together. Ancestry.com's keynote was exciting. They hav an amazing new census viewer and directory viewer. They made forward thinking comments about a semi-secret DNA project. Someday they say we will be able to determine an ancestor's town of origin from DNA. I was really excited about the new Indexing Linking tool FamilySearch has in closed beta. The BillionGraves [link added] presentation was fun too. There was a good class about advocating genealogy too. After lunch I spoke with Thomas MacEntee about FamilySearch Genealogy Research Communities and he offered to promote them by having us on his radio show[--we never got it lined up and his show has since discontinued]. 

That ends my RootsTech 2012 report as recorded in my journal. It was a very significant experience in education, networking, and preparing for my future career (and service) opportunities. Besides all that, one of my favorite parts of RootsTech 2012 was playing a game of pool in the middle of the expo hall.

RootsTech 2012 highlights in my other blog posts:
FamilySearch Indexing Android app
Announced yesterday at RootsTech: Check out "FamilySearch Indexing (Beta)" Android App.
From my post, "Happy Genealogists replace Angry Birds"

FamilySearch Indexing Linking
Last month, at RootsTech 2012, FamilySearch demoed their new FamilySearch Linking software. This program allows volunteers to link the pre-FamilySearch-Indexing indices to digital images. FamilySearch has had volunteers indexing records since the 1960s or so, but only recently has come out with the ability to link the actual digital images to the records on their website. To clarify: the "linking" is automatic for anything that has been indexed since 2006 with the FamilySearch Indexing software, but image linking is now being done for the older indices. This linking software is expected to remain in pilot until the end of the year. I requested access from FamilySearch--which you can do as well by contacting support@familysearch.org.
From my post, "FamilySearch Linking Demo"

It would be interesting to look at exactly what has and has not happened since some of the 2012 announcements, but I will leave that to future opportunity.

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