RootsTech Showcases New Technology to Help Genealogists

Board certified genealogist Joan Shurtliff attended RootsTech, the Family History and Technology Conference in Salt Lake City (March 21-23), and reports back on the latest and greatest in genealogical technology designed to make genealogists’ ancestry searches easier and more efficient. Describing SLC as a “Genealogist’s Mecca” – Joan not only attended various presentations, but she also found time to work the stacks at the Family History Library, conducting her own genealogical research. She left SLC – also known as the Crossroads of the West – with the knowledge of what is new at the Family History Library, and what is cutting edge in genealogical technology for the family genealogy researcher. She also took with her an infusion of enthusiasm delivered by more than 7,000 Conference attendees. (photo credit Joan Shurtliff 2013)

(photo credit Joan Shurtliff 2013)

Salt Lake City – a genealogist’s Mecca – and I am here this week doing some research and attending the RootsTech Conference. I will leave with two things: the knowledge of what is new at the Family History Library, and what is cutting edge in genealogical research technology for the family genealogy researcher. I will carry home with me the enthusiasm of more than 7,000 Conference attendees who all converged at the Crossroads of the West for one main reason – their love of family genealogy and genealogical research.

First, there is always something new at the Family History Library. I’ll begin with a short story about me. In order to make things easier and save paper, I wore a flash drive on a lanyard to store information. There is no reason not to have a flash drive, and the staff seems to encourage it. Both copy machines and microfilm printers are flash drive compatible. I wore my flash drive around my neck like a badge of honor busily saving images on it. One afternoon it went somewhere, and I couldn’t find it. I went to the place where I last used it, and a young volunteer laughed as he pointed out that the flash drive was in back. Shades of the lady who couldn’t find her glasses because they were on top of her head.

The Family History Library is also adding classrooms and speakers with genealogical specialties. I attended a session on German last names and how they developed. It was very informative. Plans are in the works for some major changes in the FamilySearch website in the near future, so keep an eye out for that.

Visiting the Family History Library periodically is recommended for genealogical researchers. If nothing else, it is a good reminder that family search genealogy resources and technology continue to change. It is easy to get satisfied with the way things are. The thing is – if we want to attract new members to local societies, then we need to keep up with technology. Bottom line for genealogists – be prepared to change with the times. It will happen whether we want it to or not. I don’t know about you, but personally, I don’t want to go back to manual typewriters and carbon paper.

And, in its own way, a major theme of the RootsTech Conference is change. It is a veritable hub of genealogy research technology and a great place to find out what new resources are available for genealogists. Family history is more than pedigree charts, genealogy trees, and family group sheets; it is also about stories – the stories of how our ancestors lived and, in their own small way, changed the world.

I don’t read as much fiction as I used to, because the stories of my ancestors are so much better. Most families have the “steady-as-she-goes” ancestors who made sure that needs were taken care of; they were the reliable ones. To balance things out, though, there are the characters in the genealogy tree who were anything but dull. It could have been an uncle who made moonshine and managed to keep one step ahead of the county sheriff, or a cousin who ran away to join the circus.

That is one of the goals of RecordClick. Our experienced genealogists can help you discover who your ancestors were, but we can do more. We can help find the stories that make your family anestry special. Each family is unique and has a history worth sharing. We promise accuracy and documentation in our genealogical research.

What is your family’s story?

Joan Shurtliff is a Board Certified Genealogist. She is a member of the South Dakota Genealogy Society (SDGS), where she received the Outstanding Member Award for 2011. She currently serves as a Quarterly Editor for the SDGS. Ms. Shurtliff has ties to several early settlers and 1870 Nebraska homesteaders.