Saturday, March 3, 2018
Not Even Late to the Party
If you are not in Salt Lake City right now, you are probably missing the world's hugest genea-party in progress through this evening. That's okay; if you are not one of the umpteen thousand participants from around the world who have gathered for RootsTech, you can be part of the #NotAtRootsTech live streaming crowd—even display a not-so-official badge, courtesy of "LDC"—and know you are one of an estimated seventy thousand in combined attendance.
I'm not one of those seventy thousand. At least, not this year. Well, amend that: I was for one brief moment, when one of my class members caught me on Facebook and tagged me with a link to the innovation panel discussion on day one. Other than that, I tend to be the wet blanket who avoids crowds at all costs. My learning style is more suited to marinating at SLIG than running the RootsTech marathon.
Still, I've been tempted. Just the other day, I was reading through Randy Seaver's RootsTech blog compendium and ran across a little something. It was a post by Jill Ball, "Relatives at RootsTech?" She has traveled all the way from Australia to attend the conference, where she was game to download the mobile app for the FamilySearch family tree. On that app—at least for those fortunate enough to actually be at the convention site in Salt Lake City—it's possible to tap on the banner labeled "Find Relatives at RootsTech" and opt in to display anyone else on site who is on your FamilySearch tree and at RootsTech.
I'm so jealous. I've been wanting to see an app like that for genealogical conferences ever since I read about the project promoted last year at the Ontario Genealogical Society conference. The folks at OGS called theirs the "Wall of Ancestors," and admittedly it wasn't exactly the same feature, but the idea behind it was right: give people a way to see if any of their fellow attendees share a spot on the same family tree. It is, after all, an app for a genealogical conference.
That is such a big deal for me that I might actually agree to come out of hiding and attend next year's RootsTech. Maybe. Or at least hope that another conference's organizers might be tempted to test the waters closer to home.