As the jet lag passes and I start to feel human again I can begin to evaluate this year’s RootsTech.
This year was different for me because I travelled with friends, and was helping out Family Wise Limited, who were exhibiting for the first time. As a UK based research company, there were many, many inquiries about how to trace ancestors this side of the pond; what shocked me the most was they were looking for people in the 1600s, and for some reason, I’d assumed the majority of migration occurred in the early to mid 1800s. So I think I need to upskill myself!
Differently this year I didn’t attend the opening or closing ceremonies, and I only caught two of the Key Note Speeches (I do plan on catching up with the recorded sessions). Also different this year, I didn’t have to queue for hours to collect my registration so I didn’t experience the frustration that many did of having to stand in line for up to two hours.
There has also been a lot of chatter about how the speakers aren’t paid, how things could be done differently, and how the smaller vendors are being pushed to the periphery whilst ‘the big three‘ take centre stage in both talks and booth space. I hear you, but I also say that if you do attend these bigger conferences you should take the time to explore the halls fully, you should focus on the smaller vendors, you should go and visit them and you should support your local Family History Societies and the fayres they put on. I can’t comment on the speakers, as I’ve never been a speaker (and quite frankly the thought of it terrifies me). A small team organise the conference every year. We shouldn’t take away from their efforts, and I will be travelling there again next year. The saving has already begun.
Until the UK genealogical come together to produce a conference that encompasses learning opportunities, a range of vendors (including the big three) then I’ll continue to travel across the pond to what Salt Lake City has to offer.
So as Brigham Young led a group of people to Salt Lake City in 1847, I will continue to make my own voyage to the largest genealogical conference in the world.