As I attended Rootstech this year, the thought that kept running through my mind was “Hold on tight and don’t let go!” It’s a phrase that stems from my younger days of riding the rides at amusement parks and, in many ways, trying to keep up with new technology and advances in genealogical research reminds me of those days. Things are moving and changing rapidly and I feel a sense that if I don’t hang on tight, I will be left behind or worse—find myself lying clueless at the bottom of the “ride.” I attended Rootstech to learn about new technology and the records that are becoming available at a pace never before seen in the genealogy world.
The first day of Rootstech, I had the opportunity to take a pre-conference tour of the Expo hall, along with other bloggers. The hall was much larger than last year, but once again packed full of interesting things to see and do. In addition, it was great to meet and visit with some of the bloggers that I have been “following.” Prior to the opening keynote, I enjoyed visiting with Amy Coffin who writes the WeTree blog. I picked her brain a bit, sharing some of the challenges and uncertainties I have had with blogging and she was kind enough to share some of her thoughts and the things that experience has taught her. Thank you Amy.
The keynote speakers each morning were fantastic and the classes that followed covered a variety of subjects including blogging, technology and methodology. I enjoyed being able to take classes from Syd Lieberman, Lisa Louise Cooke, Karen Clifford, and Thomas W. Jones, in addition to others.
One theme that was repeated many times over the course of the conference was the importance of sharing our stories. It is the stories that attract and engage the younger generations and it is the stories that are most cherished over time. In the opening keynote, Dennis Brimhall, CEO of FamilySearch International, shared the thought that we often are frustrated by what our great grandparents did not do in terms of recording information for us, but then he went on to ask, what will our great grandchildren wish that we had recorded for them? It made me think that so often I am so focused on past history, I neglect recording my own history for future generations. I need to do better!
As I sat through the various classes, all vastly different in their subject matter, I kept asking myself, where do I want to go with my family history passion? Where do I see myself five years from now? What do I ultimately want to accomplish in family history? What am I doing now to ensure that I stay on track with my goals?
There are so many opportunities in family history and it is easy to become distracted. I really can’t do it all and, while taking a temporary detour in my path is just fine, I also need to periodically check to make sure that I am still pursuing things consistent with my goals.
In addition to checking my course along my path of family history, I now realize more than ever that I will have to keep up with the technology and with new records continually being made available all the while chanting …..hold on tight and don’t let go.
Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2013