Thursday, January 26, 2012

A RootsTech Moment with Janet Hovorka of Family ChartMasters

One of the sessions offered at RootsTech 2012 is "Advocating Genealogy and Growing the Market: Issues of the New Genealogist," being taught by Janet Hovorka. You may also know her at The Chart Chick and part of the Family ChartMasters team. 

I asked Janet some questions about her session and RootsTech in general, and she was kind enough to share with us:

Is this a new presentation? What compelled you to discuss the issues of genealogy advocacy as it pertains to the growing market?
This is a new presentation.  I did try it out last month at the BYU Family History Center for a dry run.  I proposed this session for RootsTech because it was a topic I wanted to hear a lecture on and I'm hoping we'll have a good discussion.  I am fascinated with what attracts people to genealogy, and why some people appear not to be interested in genealogy.  I wanted to explore the issues in the genealogy community that create a welcoming environment and how we can all help to grow this hobby and share all the fun.  And I want to catalog the things the genealogy community does that turn off newcomers so that we can learn to be more hospitable.  

Can you briefly describe the session?
We are going to start with some definitions of the different levels of genealogists using Ancestry Insider's Genealogical Maturity Model.  Then we are going to discuss why new genealogists need advanced genealogists and why advanced genealogists need new genealogists.  I have several discussion points here to get the feeling of the students on these issues.  I'm hoping we can learn from each other.  Then we are going to talk about some of the brick walls new genealogists run into when they begin interacting in the community.  And finally we will discuss a vision for a healthy society that embraces newcomers.  

What can visitors expect to see in the Family ChartMasters booth?
We are redoing our booth materials for RootsTech this year.  We want to show off some of the fantastic charts that we do and display why we really are the masters of printing genealogy charts.  We can print any chart you want to dream up.  You'll be able to get all sorts of ideas for how you can display your family history in beautiful ways.  We want you to be able to share it with your family and others around you.  We'll also have our fill-in-the-blank charts on sale in case you just want to take one and work with it before you're ready to print one of our masterpieces.  

Do you have any advice for RootsTech first-timers?
I think my best advice for RootsTech first timers is just to be friendly and introduce yourself to people.  When you go to class, sit down by someone and talk to them.  And when you come to the vendor's hall, be friendly and ask lots of questions.  At RootsTech you'll get to rub shoulders with the people you see online, the authors of your favorite genealogy books, and the genealogy product developers.  They are all very friendly.  I love working with genealogists.  They are the nicest people in the world.  I'm sure newcomers to RootsTech will find the same.  

Great advice! Thanks again to Janet Havorka for taking the time to share her insights. Be sure to meet her if you're going to RootsTech. 

Disclosure: I am an official RootsTech blogger. 

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