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The Salt Lake Scene

RootsTech Genealogy Event Coming to Salt Lake

Exciting news hit my desk this week from the folks at FamilySearch.  In an effort to encourage innovation and technology in the pursuit of family history research they are launching the first annual RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, February 10-12, 2011.

It makes perfect sense that this exciting new event should be held in Salt Lake, the home of the Family History Library.  I have no doubt that genealogists from around the country, and perhaps the world, will flock to RootsTech to learn the latest technologies, as well as find a creative sandbox to play in.

Genealogy has benefited immensely by technology, and specifically the Internet.  It's been an adventure for me personally to be sharing genealogical expertise and inspiration with genealogists around the world with the Genealogy Gems Podcast, which has only become possible in the last 5 years due to the invention of podcasting.  Since then, I've launched the free Genealogy Gems Toolbar which allows listeners to tune in no matter where they are surfing on the Web and have one click access to the best online resources.  And in addition to the new Genealogy Gems iPhone App which we launched earlier this year, the show has just been added to the brand new BlackBerry Podcast Directory.  Things are moving at lightening speed - and I love it!

Genealogy Gems Toolbar

Mark your calendars for February 10 - 12, 2011, and then read on for all the exciting details...

New RootsTech Conference to Bring Technologists Face-to-face with Genealogists


SALT LAKE CITY —Technologists and genealogists from around the world will gather at the first annual RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 10-12, 2011. The new conference, hosted by FamilySearch and sponsored by leading genealogical organizations, aims to bring technologists and genealogists together to help deepen understanding of current technologies and discover new ideas in applying technology to genealogy.  Learn more at rootstech.familysearch.org.

“When the users and creators of technology come together, innovation occurs,” said Jay Verkler, president and CEO of FamilySearch. “The RootsTech Conference will accelerate that innovation through panels, discussion groups, and interactive demonstrations.”

Josh Taylor, Director of Education and Programs for the New England Historic Genealogical Society, says the time is right for such a conference.

“The collection of technologies present at the last National Genealogical Society Conference in Salt Lake City was so impressive that we see a need and opportunity for a strong annual technology genealogy conference to pursue solutions for the unique challenges facing genealogists,” Taylor said.

The RootsTech Conference is designed to foster innovation by bringing technology users and creators together in a meaningful way. Thousands of genealogists who use technology in pursuit of one of the most popular hobbies in the world will discover how new and emerging technologies can improve and simplify their activities. Genealogists will be treated to technology prototype demonstrations, interactive workshops, and opportunities to test innovative new product and service concepts. Technology providers will get the opportunity to demonstrate product concepts face-to-face to their customer—the family history enthusiast—and better understand their needs.

“Technology is driving a revolution in family history,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry.com. “We’re excited to participate in the RootsTech Conference, and we see it as a great chance to explore with genealogists how technology can help them even more in the future.”

The RootsTech 2011 conference will be hosted by FamilySearch and sponsored by Ancestry.com, New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), Brigham Young University, and other leaders in the genealogy community.

“Brigham Young University is pleased to participate in this conference, which brings together the Conference on Computerized Family History and Genealogy and the Family History Technology Workshop under the same umbrella. We think this creates a new and unique national forum for genealogists, software developers, and researchers to move genealogy forward,” said Christophe Giraude-Carrier, Associate Chair and Associate Professor of the Department of Computer Science at Brigham Young University.

Technology creators will discover new and existing technologies and techniques to help their development practices and also see how they can be applied to the unique discipline of genealogy. Anticipated themes for the conference include: using social networking to collaborate as families and societies, data backup and digital preservation, using multimedia, records and media digitization, how to use cloud computing to deploy reliable, scalable systems, handwriting recognition and automated transcription, mobile computing devices and applications, GPS mapping, and much more.

Read more from Lisa Louise Cooke at GenealogyGems.com.