Since my return from Rootstech last week, I have been reading various blogs and tweets about the event, and so here is my contribution.
Rootstech is certainly the largest event in the world. It brings together family historians with a wide range of skills, from novice to the experienced professional researcher. More than 30,000 visitors came from across the world to attend the event at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City. In addition to the keynote sessions, almost 300 classes and computer labs were available for attendees to choose from. I ordered a copy of the course notes, as it is impossible to attend them all! The bound volume is about 4 centimetres thick and I narrowly avoided excess baggage charges bringing it back home.
Sadly, Rootstech was poorly attended by British genealogists. Obviously the cost of travel and accommodation involves some not inconsiderable expense and of course you need to factor in costs for food and refreshments. That being said, there is a way for non-attendees to get at least a flavour of the event. The keynote sessions were available via live streaming, and several sessions were recorded and are now available on line. These can be viewed at https://www.rootstech.org/videos-wed, https://www.rootstech.org/videos-thu, https://www.rootstech.org/videos-fri, https://www.rootstech.org/videos-sat.
The archive for the 2016 event is also available via the Rootstech website.
As well as attending various classes (and collecting ribbons) I also helped out on the University of Dundee Centre for Archives and Information Studies. In addition to enquiries about studying with the university, we fielded hundreds of enquiries about the “Hows, whys and wherefores” of researching in the UK. People want to visit their ancestral homelands yet, apart from honourable exceptions, there was scant presence from either the British tourism or genealogy community to advise them on how to go about it. This is surely ‘missing a trick’. In England in particular, very little has been done to market the concept of Ancestral Tourism, something the Scots have embraced with enthusiasm. I do think that as British genealogists and family historians, we need to do more to promote both our country and our skills.
Maybe next year…..