Home History 2.0: Genealogy meets technology at RootsTech

One of our self-appointed jobs at Houstory is to appeal to all skill levels of home genealogist — from beginners to seasoned veterans. This week’s entry isn’t so much for the avid genealogist or home historian — who undoubtedly already know about a ‘little’ conference called RootsTech — but rather the aspiring or occasional researcher.

For those not familiar, the RootsTech conference — which started in 2011 and recently completed its second show last month in Salt Lake City, Utah– has already grown into a wildly popular event for the genealogist community. In fact, as genealogist Dick Eastman wrote last month in his newsletter, Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter:”The RootsTech conference kicked off this morning in Salt Lake City with more than 4,100 attendees. No, that number is not a misprint. More than four thousand, one hundred genealogists pre-registered. However, when I walked past the registration desk in mid-morning, I saw a long line of people waiting to purchase tickets at the door. Unofficially, I was told that the number of attendees had risen to more than 4,400 by late afternoon. That number certainly will rise further during the next two days of the conference. RootsTech is now by far the most popular genealogy conference in North America.”

So, after just two years, it’s obvious something is resonating with folks. So, what is RootsTech exactly? And why should home genealogists care?

“RootsTech is a leading edge conference designed to bring technologists together with genealogists, so they can learn from each other and find solutions to the challenges they face in family history research today,” says the RootsTech Web site, http://rootstech.org. “At RootsTech, genealogists and family historians will discover emerging technologies to improve their family history research experience. Technology developers will learn the skills to deliver innovative applications and systems. They will also have the opportunity to receive instant feedback from peers and users on their ideas and creations. Attendees will learn from hands-on workshops and interactive presentations at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced level.”

Obviously, what makes the conference special are the many presenters who shared their expertise. What makes this year’s event even more exciting is that RootsTech has posted these presentations online, free of charge. So, if you have some spare time here and there, we would encourage you to take a look at the RootsTech 2012 Videos.

This marriage of technology and genealogy has grown dramatically in recent years, and — as events like the upcoming digital release of 1940 census records indicates — will only get stronger.

So, why should it matter to you, the home historian? If you think about it — for most of us — researching a home’s history is simply researching another family’s genealogy. Even if you are not looking into your lines, understanding the principles of sound genealogical strategies (or technologies) is more than a benefit. In this day-and-age, it’s a necessity.


  1. …”researching a home’s history is simply researching another family’s genealogy.” This is so true! Genealogists are ahead of the game when they begin researching house history because they are already aware of many of the wonderful resources available and know how to use them. Tracing the genealogy of the first family who owned my home led me to a great-granddaughter in another state who was willing to meet me and share family and house photos with me.

  2. Wow — a great granddaughter? And you had no idea that your home was associated with your great granddaughter before starting? That’s incredible, actually. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh, it wasn’t MY great-granddaughter – LOL! She is the relative of Claude Morton who first lived in my house. And it was his obituary that answered definitely that he was indeed the person who had the house built in 1902.