26    Mar 20132 comments

RootsTech 2013: Wrap-up

This year's RootsTech was only the third edition, and it has grown exponentially every year. Some 7,000 attendees - plus nearly 2,000 young people (ages 12-18) on Saturday - flocked to the Salt Palace Convention Center. It is now the largest such event in the US.

RootsTech 2013: Our Team

While the weather ranged from near-blizzard conditions to rain to sunshine, the halls - with some 100 exhibitors - and classrooms housing some 250 programs, drew excited crowds. According to organizer FamilySearch, attendees came from 49 states and 17 countries.

Additionally, FamilySearch announced that some 10,000 people viewed programs and keynotes via live streaming video online, while remote satellite broadcasts took place at 17 Family History centers in seven countries, attended by another 4,000 participated by remote satellite broadcast at Family History centers in 17 locations in seven countries.

Mark your calenders for RootsTech 2014 (February 6-8, 2014). FamilySearch said that they plan to export the event to some 600 locations worldwide (16 US locations and several other countries).

MyHeritage's busy booth

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28    Feb 20130 comments

Family History: What do we do with our ’stuff’?

One of my favorite blogs is The Signal, the digital preservation blog of the Library of Congress. A hot topic there centers on personal digital archiving, and much of that relates to family history and genealogy.

The LOC’s Mike Ashenfelder, who writes online articles about personal digital archiving, digital preservation leaders and developments in digital preservation, writes on preserving personal genealogical collections in a digital age.

The popularity of genealogy websites and TV shows is rapidly growing, mainly because the Internet has made it so convenient to access family history information. Almost everything can be done through the computer now. Before the digital age, genealogical research was not only  laborious and time consuming, it also resulted in boxes of documents: photos, charts, letters, copies of records and more. Online genealogy has  replaced all that paper with digital files. But the trade-off for the ease of finding and gathering the stuff is the challenge of preserving it.

About genealogical databases, Ashenfelder writes:

that relational databases are the engines that drive digital genealogy. Databases make it possible to quickly search through enormous quantities of records, find the person you’re looking for and discover related people and events. And when institutions collaborate and share databases, statistical information becomes enriched.

And, considering some demographics of family history aficionados, digital estate planning now a popular topic. What happens to our digital possessions after we die? And what can we do to preserve them? Getting your digital affairs in order offers much practical information.

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30    Jan 20130 comments

Innovation: What’s next?

When was the last time you used a typewriter?

Technology crept into my life when I switched from my beloved black portable manual Remington typewriter to an IBM electric.

Just a few years ago - relatively speaking - personal computers were just appearing on the scene. We researched the old-fashioned way - handwriting letters, loading rolls of film in our cameras, visiting dusty archives and winding through endless rolls of microfilm in resource centers. It took hours of effort to search for family information.

Today we connect in ways we couldn't imagine only a short time ago. We communicate almost instantaneously with email and messaging, and we access ever-expanding Internet resources for family history. Everyone is connected by computer, by smartphone, by technology.

Once upon a time, my tech arsenal consisted of an electric typewriter. Period.

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