Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Saturday, February 13, 2016

What I did at #RootsTech 2016

So far on Genealogy's Star, I have written 44 blog posts on #RootsTech 2016. On this blog I have written an additional 16 blog posts for a total of 60 blog posts mentioning the Conference. So, what did I do once I got to the Conference beside write some of these posts? The activities available at #RootsTech 2016 (and the previous conferences) fall into three or four major activities. Most of the conference attendees attend the classes. At this year's RootsTech there were 295 total class sessions offered. If you attended classes during every possible time slot, you could attend about 17 of those classes if you also attended the Innovator Summit on Wednesday. You can also view 27 classes online in the Video Archive for RootsTech and another nine recorded sessions from the Innovator Summit. The number of videos include the Keynote addresses. If you take out the Keynotes, there are only 17 classes recorded and published on the #RootsTech 2016 website for the Conference and only 5 classes recorded aside from keynotes and Innovator competition videoed for the Innovator Summit.

So, you had to be there to see what was going on.

As a blogger, I got a free pass to the conference. I did pay to go to the BYU Family History Technology Workshop on Tuesday, but the rest of my Conference experience was free. Another benefit I got from writing was a series of three lunch vouchers during the conference that helped pay for some of the food. I also paid for parking and managed to get a parking ticket for overstaying the time when I went to after Conference activities without making provisions to extend my parking. The bloggers also get the use of the media hub, a place to sit down and write with Internet connections and electricity to charge our devices. We also get the opportunity to interview some of the Keynote speakers and other celebrities at the conference and if we make the arrangements, we can interview other people who are at the conference.

Now, this was my sixth year at the #RootsTech Conference and my schedule began to fill up in the weeks before the conference started. By the time I got to #RootsTech, I had most of my days and nights completely planned with meetings, interviews and social events. I spent less time this year in the media hub than ever before and wrote fewer blog posts during the three days of the Conference than ever before for the simple reason that I would rather talk and learn while I had the opportunity.

I have to admit, I only went to one full class and a part of one other. The reason is also simple, I learn more from talking to people directly than I do in a class. Over the next few weeks, I will be following up with all the companies and products I talked about at the conference and afterwards. I am still in the mode of talking to vendors and developers. I have video conference yesterday with one developer and will likely have more.

I did not interview any of the people provided by FamilySearch. Although they are very interesting people, they had little to say about genealogy or product development. I see RootsTech as a superb opportunity to talk to all the vendors I can possible manage. I spend most of my time talking. In fact, on Thursday, I lost my voice for a while in the middle of presentation I did for I would rather talk to someone who was "off the record" and could talk about what they really planned to do, with the understanding that I not disclose anything said in confidence than I would to someone who will just repeat what they are saying in public.

I have been around long enough that most every one I see at #RootsTech is willing to talk to me and I make it clear that I do not disclose confidences. What I write ultimately reflects what I understand and glean from my conversations with the world. That is what I do at RootsTech.


  1. I'm so grateful that you do what you do, James. Keep it up. Thank you!

  2. Wish I was there this year, James, if only to talk to you.