11 December 2011

Don't boycott RootsTech 2012

Last night I lay in bed thinking about all the controversy surrounding RootsTech and booksellers. I was itching to write about it. I did comment on FaceBook several times last night but kept feeling like I wanted to say more. When I began to see the comments about boycotting RootsTech I decided to comment further right here.

Am I registered for RootsTech? Yes. Will I still be attending? Yes. Am I unhappy about the book dealers not being there? To a point. RootsTech can set its own parameters but apply them equally. Do I like the way this has all been handled? Nope. I am in favor of RootsTech. RootsTech and its parent, FamilySearch, are important to the family history community. We need them. They need "us" too. In today's social media (tech!) world news both good and bad spreads quickly and takes interesting twists and turns.

I was not at RootsTech last February but have read first-hand accounts and talked with many people about the wonderful experience they had. When the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy changed the dates to be closer to RT I decided that I might stay for RT. At another genealogy conference I was urged by several FamilySearch employees to sign up for RT and I did. I am looking forward to it.

Recent first-hand reports from some of our field's important book dealers dismayed me. Some have told about being strongly encouraged to sign up for booth space at the 2012 RootsTech. They did and recently were informed they were not being provided the space. Huh? They were told (quoting from Leland Meitzler's own blog):
RootsTech exhibit hall is for technically related products and services. We are purposefully not accepting applications from genealogical studies, book publishers, book resellers or arts and crafts dealers.
Please call to discuss if you like.
Gordon Clarke
RootsTech Exhibit Hall Coordinator"
I am not sure what "genealogical studies" means but then checked the RootsTech website and found this description:
"Don’t miss the Expo Hall where you can experience high-tech product demos in the Demo Theater, as well as relevant and exciting genealogy and technology exhibitors. You can also explore the Family History Library mini-lab, RootsTech Playground game area, get some refreshment and take advantage of networking opportunities."

I was more confused. Then I looked at the map of the Hall and found hotels, genealogical societies, and other entities that really don't seem to fit in this hall the way it was described to the rejection note book sellers have received. Were those organizations told they could not bring any of their book inventory to sell or could not take book orders? Hmmmmm. I have stayed in both of the hotel vendors in Salt Lake City and like them both but just can't figure out their tech connection. By the way, many of our genealogy booksellers also sell CDs, flash drives, and tech equipment. Why are organizations or businesses that promote professional genealogists for hire OK for the Hall? They must be relevant genealogy exhibitors but book sellers are not?

I think it's more that they are letting in other organizations and businesses that are not strictly tech. There is a double standard.

I have chaired large genealogy related conferences and know that there are a few things said, written, planned, or done that we wish we could take back or had done differently. I hope RootsTech does as it now says on its FaceBook page and revisits how this was handled. Why encourage and then take away? Why not apply the guidelines the same to all vendors? Why lump our devoted booksellers with arts and craft dealers? How many of the booksellers have been ramping up inventory for RT, made hotel, shipping, airline, and other other arrangements? Ouch. Do the speakers who are authors know they won't be available in the Expo Hall? Speakers are not paid for this event nor is their travel covered. They do it at their own expense and I am guessing some of them hoped to sell some books. 

It's their conference and they can make whatever guidelines they want, but apply them equally. And inform the people you are encouraging to vend or attend that you are changing your mind. Now, let's support RootsTech and encourage the organizers to think this through and let's all get along. I have been so pleased that most comments I have read online have been civil but also pointed. Let's play nice and keep RootsTech alive. See you there in February!

More on the subject: (Many others have blogged about this, too! Just search on RootsTech and limit your search to the past day or so.)
I know many of the speakers and am even a member and volunteer with some of the organizations already listed in the Expo Hall. I will be there to support them. Now I better get back to compiling the syllabus material for my course at the Salt Lake Institute - this material is a mix of websites, online books, and even many printed books.

10 December 2011

Christmas list: genealogy books & supplies

Another idea for the family historian's Christmas wish list is books. Yes, we can go to the major online websites or bookstores, but we also need to support our wonderful genealogy booksellers and publishers. I have listed a few below and I have purchased things from all of them. Let your gift-buying relatives know about where to get those genealogy books on your list. There are many other book dealers that carry family history related books. One place to find links to a variety of publishers, sellers, stores, and related businesses is http://www.cyndislist.com/books. Don't forget about the books that genealogical societies sell, too.

09 December 2011

Cemetery found under ball field in Jeffersonville, Indiana

A Louisville, Kentucky TV station reported on cemetery that was found under a baseball field in Jeffersonville (Clark County), Indiana. Archaeologists have been brought in. I wonder if any area genealogists will be contributing to the documentation of this cemetery? Might some early genealogists or a DAR Chapter have done any research on this? According to the article, one archaeologist thinks that burials began in the early 1800s. It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds.

Click here to read the WKLY TV report.

08 December 2011

Great places to Christmas shop

Are you looking for some unique Christmas gifts? When's the last time you checked at the gift shops in the historical societies and museums in your area? I was at the Minnesota Historical Society's gift shops in St. Paul a couple days ago. I found some great things and will probably stop back there for a few more items.

Many county level historical societies have gift shops. So do history, science, and children's museums. Some public libraries also have gift shops.

I almost laughed at the Janet Lennon paper dolls. No, I didn't buy them.

02 December 2011

Tonight's Geneabloggers Radio correction

The correct link for tonight's show is http://www.blogtalkradio.com/geneabloggers/2011/12/03/capturing-family-memories-all-year-round. Please see the previous post for more details.

Radio shows for genealogists

The weekend is nigh and for family historians that means we have two opportunities to "talk" and listen to genealogy on the radio. Well, on our computer. In addition to listening to the shows be sure to sign in and join in the chat rooms.

Friday, December 2d (that's today already!)
Geneabloggers Radio hosted by Thomas MacEntee
8:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. CST. Click here to be reminded via email: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/geneabloggers/2011/11/19/celebrate-your-family-in-film
This week's show is entitled Capturing Family Memories – All Year Round. Special guests will include: Stefani Twyford, President and Founder of Legacy Multimedia in Houston, Texas who will help us understand why

01 December 2011

NGS Conference registration now open

Registration is now open for the National Genealogical Society's annual Family History Conference which will be held 9–12 May 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The online searchable program is available at http://members.ngsgenealogy.org/Conferences/2012Program.cfm and the PDF brochure is available at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/conference_info. The brochure includes an overview of the sessions, workshops, tours, pre-conference events, registration times, and rates as well as general conference and Duke Energy Convention Center details.

To register online, visit the NGS website at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/attendee_registration and complete the registration form. I'll see you there next May.                                                                         

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy still has some open spots!

Yes, you read that correctly! A few of the courses have a waiting list and it never hurts to get on those. Some courses, like the one I coordinate, have agreed to add a few more students so that we don't turn you away. Not all course set-ups allow for that, but I was happy to be able to do this. I hope you are able to join us in January 2012.

I coordinate and teach in Course 1: American Research and Records: Focus on Families which is an intermediate level course that provides in-depth learning on 19th-21st century U.S. sources and the methodology for using them. The 2012 course focuses on topics related to researching families and individuals. Informative and interactive classroom hours on five mornings and one afternoon delve into significant records and strategies that take you beyond basic research tools both online and off. On-site scheduled consultations at the FHL from course instructors on three afternoons provide one-on-one