Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Reasons for Not Attending RootsTech 2012

RootsTech 2012 is still several months out, but it continues to generate buzz around the blogisphere and throughout most major social media channels. The researcher in me is always monitoring the conversation, studying the market and checking the pulse of the genealogy field.

I love reading about what others think of RootsTech. The vast majority of feedback is positive, but there is a small hesitation that exists in the corner of the discussion. Here are some of the reasons I've encountered for why some folks won't be coming to RootsTech 2012.

"I'm not a techie."
RootsTECH: the name alone is enough to scare off folks who feel their technological expertise is not adequate for the event. But look at the banner above. It says "family history and technology conference." It is a mix of these glorious things. If you're not a techie, this is the best place to get an introductory look at these tools that can help with your family history. The RootsTech "user" crowd is not a group of experts who speak a strange language. They are all regular people like you and me who enjoy family history and want to learn how to improve the experience.

"I don't want to deal with the snow."
Who does? When it comes to cold weather, I'm quite the sissy. Last year's RootsTech was surprisingly warm. The days were in the 40+ degree range, but the sun made it feel warmer. On the chance that it does snow, it generally doesn't stay down long, and the kind folks of Salt Lake City have the sidewalks cleaned asap. This I learned from another trip to town. While it is possible for a snow shower, the chances of an all-out multi-day blizzard are slim. Don't miss out on the opportunities in life because you're worried about what *might* happen.

"It's just not for me."
Yes it is. I've heard this statement in several discussion venues and to each and every one of you I say "yes it is." If you use a computer in any way, shape or form (even just barely), this conference is for you. Do you use family tree software? Do you have opinions on this software? Do you ever wish the developer would fix or improve certain features of the genealogy tools you use? RootsTech gives you the chance to interact with these people face-to-face. You don't have to understand the code or fancy language, just give them your feedback and suggestions. What other event allows you to do this?

Are you a professional genealogist (or on the path to being one)? Then RootsTech is for you. Part of being a researcher is being aware of the latest tools and technology available to you and your clients. Researchers in other fields understand that staying current is necessary to remain relevant and competitive in the industry. The same goes for professional genealogists.

"I can't afford it."
I get this one. When money is tight, conference attendance is but a dream. However, you can accomplish this goal with patience and determination. If RootsTech 2012 is out of the question, get out a coin jar and label it RootsTech 2013.  Start putting your spare change in there now. Next year at this time, count that change. If you have enough, then you're good to go. If not, re-label the jar RootsTech 2014. You will get there, trust me. Recently, I rolled over $200 worth of coins.

The RootsTech Early Bird rate is $129. Loyal readers of my blog know at one point, the rate was $99. That's $33 per day for a national genealogy conference! They even have a sharply discounted $35 student pass. You can't beat that, folks. Time to get out the jar.

One last thought:
I really believe in the RootsTech concept. It emphasizes discussion and exploration in a field that is ready for the mainstream spotlight. You don't just *attend* RootsTech, you participate in it and your input is greatly desired. You're presence makes it better.

[Disclosure: I am a RootsTech 2012 Official Blogger. However, this post is not influenced by the fact. These opinions are my own.  --Amy]


  1. I couldn't agree more on every point. Last year's inaugural RootsTech was the first major conference I had attended in many years. It was a watershed event for me and I can attribute a lot of my recent success to my attendance.

    It was also my first time visiting the Family History Library and I was completely overwhelmed. My advice for those in a similar scenario: go primarilly for the conference but take time to visit the FHL and orient yourself. Anything you find will be a bonus.

  2. Good point, Randy. I will probably touch on the Family History Library in a later post. One thing I noticed was that the library wasn't as crowded as I thought it would be. It can accommodate a lot of people and I never felt cramped for space.

  3. Good post Amy. I think the worry about snow is unfounded for the reasons you mentioned AND because you are inside most of the day at the Conference! So who cares what it's doing outside? And the two Conference hotels are super close so snow (if it happens) can be avoided for all but a few minutes. But then I live in Canada and we get way more snow than Salt Lake City! (grin)

    Another very valid reason as you noted is the expense but I like your idea of the saving jar.

    It is extremely expensive to fly from Canada to USA (Well to be honest to fly ANYWHERE within or outside of Canada if leaving from a Canadian airport is highway robbery but that's another topic...) But using your idea one could save for a future RootsTech Conference.

    Giving up one trip to Timmy's per day would add up (Canadians will know what I'm talking about!)

  4. Hi Amy, thanks for the headsup on the Rootstech student discount! I had no idea! It is really expensive to attend these conferences. I'm still reeling from FGS...and as you can guess, I'm just a student ;-)

  5. Genealogy Blogger, I know what Timmmy's is. There are several Canadians making the trip this year. I hope to see you in Salt Lake at some point. Timmy would understand!

    Ginger, I love that RootsTech has a student discount. I hope people are able to use it!

  6. I'm truly trying like crazy to get to RootsTech - simply because I feel like I HAVE to go. I've been scrimping and saving and praying and hoping. As long as there aren't any roadblocks (ie: my car breaks down or I get super sick), then it is possible for me to go.

    The only issue I will have is getting the time off of school because the conference happens during my semester. So once I know my Spring schedule, I can email the professors beforehand to make sure I can make arrangements.

    But I'll just have to wait and see.

  7. You make such a strong case Amy but I don't need convincing because I experienced Rootsech 2011. Wild horses couldn't keep me away next year.

    What you omitted was the opportunity to meet friendly people like you who took strange little foreigners like me under their wings and made us feel so at home in that huge crowd.

  8. Great post! This be my first time at Rootstech and I can't wait! And regarding the snow...last year while you were in SLC enjoying a balmy 40 degrees, down south here in Oklahoma we had a record setting blizzard and -30 F temps. I'll take my chances with Salt Lake City this year.

  9. Amen! One thing I'd add for people who think they aren't techies: You'll be with people who might know how to do stuff you don't. Why not take advantage of the free help? I sat down and showed someone how to use Google Reader at RootsTech last year, and I also showed someone how I track blog stats. If there's stuff you don't know how to do, take advantage of all the friendly friends who will be there and get some free help.

    I actually hate conferences, and have never looked forward to one in my entire life. I went to this one last year because I felt like I should, but this year, I can't WAIT to go.