FGS Conference-RootsTech 2015

The FGS Conference-RootsTech 2015 event has been on my mind lately, probably because we just got back from a one month vacation and I have jumped directly back into genealogy and blogging. On top of that, a friend from California asked if I was up for a four day trip to the library in Salt Lake City in December. It took all of 30 seconds for me to write back and say yes!

I have attended only one FGS conference in the past; that was in 2002 when it was held in Ontario, California. At the time, I only lived about 15 minutes from the convention center.  I can’t honestly say I remember a lot about that conference and I have no photos from it – too many years have gone by – but I know I enjoyed it because I have never met a genealogy conference that I attended and didn’t enjoy and learn new things.

Fourteen years ago, the internet and genealogical technology were still in the infancy stage. What is exciting to me this time around is learning more about the technology advances and how family history researchers and genealogical societies are adapting to this changing world.

I have been reviewing the speakers and sessions on the FGS 2015 conference website with interest. Back in 2002, I already had 22 years of research experience, but I wanted to learn about “new”new sources of information, the growth of the world wide web and the opportunities it presented and, hopefully, make some new friends who had the same genealogical interests that I did.

Now that I can claim 35 years of research experience, what will my focus be this time around? Well, more or less, it will be exactly the same:

New projects are being completed and introduced by genealogical societies and libraries, near and far. How can these works be accessed?

New technological items and software are being developed and released. How can they advance genealogical research?

New distant cousins/genealogy society members share family tree information. How can I get in touch with them and follow up on new leads?

My interest in various sessions has evolved through time, but hasn’t really changed all that much, either. I rarely choose sessions only because of the speaker, but sometimes attend multiple sessions given by one presenter because he/she is talking about topics that extend my learning. That is the key for me – each session must have the potential to teach me at least one thing I didn’t know beforehand.

I love hearing solutions to difficult research problems in case studies because they teach me to think outside the box when researching my own brick walls. Thomas Jones’ sessions on Getting the Most Out of Genealogical Evidence and Problem Solving with Probate are possible sessions that I may attend. I enjoyed a case study presentation that he gave at RootsTech 2014.

I am looking forward to strengthening my technology skills. I may be a digital immigrant (as opposed to digital natives – children who were born in the internet era), but I am willing to adopt new technologies that work well with genealogical research. (An aside – it makes me sad to think of a local contemporary of mine who sees no need to advance internet skills beyond a certain well known subscription website. There is so much more out there.) I’m also a member of the Pima County Genealogy Society in Tucson, which organized in 2012, and I hope to bring back some new ideas for them, too.

Sessions on Evernote, new genealogical software and blogging are of particular interest. Thomas MacEntee’s sessions on Tech Soup – Technology by the Bowlful for Your Genealogy Society and After You’re Gone: Future Proofing Your Genealogical Research are on my “attend” list along with Tradition and Technology: Finding Your Society’s Balance by D. Joshua Taylor. My problem is going to be choosing one session over another to attend in person because I have already noted time conflicts with sessions of interest.

The Expo Hall is another “must” on my conference list. The variety of genealogically themed vendors is terrific. Old, tried and true products are displayed, but new products are also showcased. I learn a lot, particularly about the technology end of things, by talking to the vendors, some of whom are also conference presenters. The Expo Hall visits are probably going to happen during the lunch breaks or when I need a short breather from brain overload caused by all the new, fun information going into my head!

What would a visit to Salt Lake City be without a visit to “the” library? I am not sure how I’ll fit in library time – likely it will be in the evenings – but I am not capable of visiting Salt Lake without a stop in the FamilySearch Library. It will be squeezed in somewhere and, yes, I realize that my opening paragraph talks about my upcoming research visit there in December. There can never been too much time spent in that library!

All of this leads me to highly recommend attendance at the FGS Conference 2015 in Salt Lake City. Teaming up with RootsTech 2015 should double the possibilities of fun and learning for all.

If you haven’t registered yet, the early bird special is still available.


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