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

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Why I Suggest You Attend RootsTech 2017

Genealogy is overall a rather solitary activity. Most of us spend time sitting in front of a computer or absorbed in historical records. We often find it difficult to discuss what we do with those around us who do not value our interest in ancestral research to the same extent we do. Attend a large genealogy conference, especially RootsTech 2017 can have a vast impact on your perception of the genealogical community. There really are thousands of people who are willing to come to Salt Lake City, Utah in the dead of winter to do something besides ski in the surrounding mountains and who are all related by a common interest in genealogy.

Granted, many of us are older and not as physically active as we once may have been. The venue for RootsTech 2017 is the huge Salt Palace Convention Center. It does take time and money to attend and as I am acutely aware, genealogists are mostly people who put a huge premium on both. I suggest that going to RootsTech 2017 is like visiting a new country for the first time. You don't have the time or the energy to do everything or go to all the classes you may want to experience, but just being there and experiencing the high energy level of the participants will help to rejuvenate your interest and dedication to genealogy and there are always a lot of soft couches and other places to sit and just watch the crowds for a while.

Personally, I find it is a great opportunity to meet and greet. I spend nearly all my time when I am not writing, talking to people and listening to what is going on in the greater genealogical community. I am really very at home in that type of environment; surrounded by people who share my passion for genealogy.

The classes are wonderful and one of the main draws, but I would suggest that much of what is really going on in genealogy is happening on the huge exhibit floor. It may seem busy and crowded at times, but the vendors and other organizations there are staffed by people who are mostly experts in their particular area of interest. This is where I spend most of my time. As a blogger, FamilySearch provides a "Media Center" where we can gather, interview people and rest from time to time. If you have any favorite bloggers, you may find them congregated there.

Personally, I have some long-term friendship type relationships with some of the vendors and RootsTech 2017 will once again give me an opportunity to visit with them and see what is going on in their particular companies or organizations. Obviously, with so much going on, I will always miss something. But, I try hard to see and talk to as many people as possible.

The last few years, I have spent more time with some particular companies. This will likely happen again this coming year. But what I hear and what I see usually keeps me informed for months following the conference.

I am sure that you will find your own best area to focus on. But time is running out. Making arrangements to come to the Conference should begin now. Oh, the food is really good also and you are right in the middle of downtown Salt Lake City and right next to Temple Square and the famous Tabernacle Choir. Salt Lake has a free TRAX light rail system in the downtown area. You are also only a short block or two away from the Family History Library. If you want to take advantage of the Family History Library, I suggest you come early to the Conference or stay late after it is over. During the Conference it is a rather busy place. This year they will be holding the grand opening of the new Family Discovery Center on the first floor of the Family History Library during RootsTech 2017.

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