RootsTech has been an enormously inspirational event for me. RootsTech 2016 was my first year attending the conference in person and 2017 was my first year as an ambassador and speaker. It is by far my favorite genealogy experience. Diana and I feel privileged to be RootsTech ambassadors again for 2018. We are both speaking at the conference this year, which we are thrilled about.
So, I mentioned that RootsTech is inspirational. Both times I have attended, I have come away with so many ideas and new plans. Here are three things that I learned from RootsTech 2016 and 2017 that inspired me to action:
1. Family history is for everyone.
At first, I thought it was strange that RootsTech invited non-genealogists to be keynote speakers. Now I understand why…family history is for everyone! From LeVar Burton to Bruce Feiler, I have learned that asking someone to speak about their roots brings inspirational and emotional stories. All people have some kind of connection to their ancestors, whether it’s their mother, or their 4th great grandfather. We all have a curiosity and love for those who have gone before us.
After RootsTech 2016, I read two articles from RootsTech ambassadors about how the family history industry includes so many more people than the stereotypical genealogist – Amy Johnson Crow’s Room for Everyone post and Laurie Roberts’ Genealogy Is Not For Old People article. The conference that year had included several speakers that talked about involving young people in family history and I was completely inspired by that. So, Diana and I decided to start a series of spotlights/interviews on our blog called “Family History is for Everyone.” We interviewed people from all walks of life who were involved family history. I also began compiling a list of all the articles, ideas, and blog posts online about how to include children/teens in family history, and began writing my own ideas about how to involved children in family history.
2. All family historians have unique contributions to make.
I applied to teach at RootsTech 2017 with two other bloggers who write about family history ideas for kids, and we were accepted to teach “Kid Genealogists: Inspiring the Next Generation.” Whether you know a lot about Croatian genealogy, creating apps for finding ancestors on the go, or digitizing old family documents, your knowledge and experience can help and inspire someone else. Everyone has a contribution to make to the family history world – what will yours be? If you’re not sure, RootsTech is an absolute MUST.
3. Genealogy skills are needed.
With the rise of television shows like “Who do you think you are?” and “Finding your roots,” more people than ever are becoming interested in researching their family history. The market for genealogy education and professional research are growing. I was fully aware of this before I attended RootsTech for the first time because of the many friends and community members who would ask me for help. I love helping them find their ancestors!
When I attended RootsTech 2016, I met an Accredited Genealogist. She told me about the process for applying and I was inspired! I wanted to be like her and earn the credential as well. I told my mom, Diana, that I wanted to do it, and encouraged her to think about it. She decided to do it. Two years later, and she is done!
I am making slow and steady progress. Currently I work on accreditation during my baby’s naptime for 1-2 hours a day. The region I chose is the mid-south states (Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri).
With all my research in the southern states combined with my 7-year-old son’s interest in military conflicts, I have learned a lot about Confederate soldier research. This is the subject I’ll be presenting about at RootsTech on Saturday at 3pm. See the full RootsTech schedule here.
My long term goal is to earn the Accredited Genealogist credential and write genealogy curriculum for secondary social studies teachers. After researching the “family history for children” topic for the last two years, I’ve noticed that many genealogists got their start when they or their child was assigned a family history project at school. I am working with a teacher in my area who already does a fabulous family history assignment for his 8th graders, as a consultant. I’ll go to his class and teach them about genealogy one day this month and I’m really looking forward to it.
Whether I go back to teaching, write curriculum, or something else, I really feel that the secondary education world is where my unique contribution to the family history industry will be. I have many ideas, and I am so thankful for the inspiration and that has come to me during RootsTech. To me, there is nothing more uplifting and positive than influence family history has to help families connect with each other and gain strength from the past.
This year’s theme for the conference is: “Connect. Belong.” From the RootsTech Blog:
We understand that the journey of connecting and belonging is different for everyone, and while each of our experiences and journeys is unique, family history connects us in many different ways and helps us feel a sense of belonging.
It’s our goal at RootsTech to advance your personal journey. Come see what’s new at the conference this year, make connections, and discover where you belong.
Giveaway (Contest Closed)
If you want to win a pass to attend RootsTech and be inspired, follow each of the steps below:
- Subscribe to our mailing list by clicking here.
- Leave a comment in answer to this question: “What has inspired you along your unique family history journey?”
- Complete #1 and #2 by November 29, 11:59 MST.
I will choose a winner at random on November 30 and announce it on our Facebook page. I will also contact the winner by email. Here is some more information about the contest:
The winner will receive a complimentary RootsTech 2018 4-day pass ($279 value) with access to:
- Over 300 classes
- Keynote / General sessions
- RootsTech classes
- Innovation Showcase
- Expo hall
- Evening events
This 4-Day Pass DOES NOT include airfare, hotel or the coverage of any other expenses.
If the winner has already registered for RootsTech 2018, the original registration fee will be refunded.
One entry per person. Contest ends November 29, 11:59 MST. (Contest Closed)