Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, February 5, 2016

#RootsTech 2016 My Experience So Far

In past years when I came to #RootsTech  I thought I was involved. Even when I helped out by giving one of the Keynote addresses and presented classes, I somehow found the time to write and walk around and chat with the vendors. For the past few years, any idea that I had that I would go to classes was a pipe dream. I never even looked at the class schedule. Well, this year I finally began to understand what busy means. Thursday afternoon, I lot most of my voice presenting a class for If you know me, that is extremely rare. The genealogical community has really zoomed past the era when it was a bunch of old guys researching their ancestors. If I thought that I had a lot going on before, I was mistaken.

The interesting part of this whole experience is that it will not end when I drive back to Provo on Saturday. I am already scheduled at the BYU Family History Library to present a webinar on Monday. Maybe, by next week, I will be able to sort out part of the information I have absorbed so far.

Just one example of the changes that are coming. Dick Eastman in his blog broke the news yesterday that has announced the Largest Online Collection of U.S. Marriages from 1650-2010. In conjunction with, the database contains more than 150 million records and 450 million names.

One of my observations is that the companies competing in this year's Innovator Summit are vastly different than they were just a few years ago. When I was participating as a judge for the event, the programs were mostly proposals with a few lines of code. The programs entering this year were all full-blown, already actively online companies with a user base. The competition was high level and fierce.

Brigham Young University, in contrast to past years, has a huge consolidated booth with many of the different departments represented.

The Exhibit floor is not just bigger, it is almost overwhelming and the number of people I can talk to and who talk to me has exploded. I literally did not stop talking yesterday, except for when I was listening the entire day.

I hope that those who are coming to RootsTech 2016 feel the difference. The level of involvement and the content of the classes and the other events may be overwhelming but it is promising to shift the entire community into a much higher gear. has done an excellent job, despite the difficulty of managing these diverse interests, in pulling of a great Conference. We are all wondering what will happen tomorrow when many more thousands of people show up.

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