OGS @ RootsTech 2018


OGS @ RootsTech 2018

RootsTech, held every year in Salt Lake City, is not only the premier genealogy/family history conference on the calendar, it also is the largest such event in the world, with upwards of 30,000 people attending. While the numbers are skewed by Saturday’s Family Day (what a great introduction for youngsters and the not quite yet committed genealogists), the serious paid attendance is nonetheless incredible.

With some 300+ educational sessions, multiple keynote addresses, private meetings, sponsored luncheons, dinners and parties, and an Expo Hall with more than 175 vendors, from the smallest to the largest, RootsTech, sponsored by FamilySearch, has something for everyone (at least, every genealogist).

RootsTech 2018, held this year fromWedesday February 28th to Saturday March 3rd, saw the first formal participation by OGS as a vendor.

Why did OGS incur the expense of attending RootsTech and sending a team of 4, Vice-President Steve Fulton, Directors David Thompson and Dianna Fulton, and Kent Vice-Chair/Essex Newsletter Coordinator Cindy Robichaud, to Salt Lake City? In one word: Awareness.  Did you know that in the 1900 US federal census more than 1,171,000 persons indicated their birthplace as Canada? That could easily result in more than 37 million Americans today with a claim to Canadian ancestry.  That’s more than the current population of Canada.  However, Americans comprise less than 10% of the OGS membership.

OGS is well known in Canada, but almost unknown in the United States. OGS is committed to changing that lack of awareness, and our participation in the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Pittsburgh in September was a first step. RootsTech was a second step.

Throughout the 6 days we were in Salt Lake City, we spoke with many hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans. We explained who OGS is, we talked about the broad local reach of the 30 OGS Branches, and we described the sorts of resources which are available at both the Society and Branch levels, both free resources, paid resources, and resources available only to members.

We had private formal meetings with Findmypast, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, Family Tree Maker, The New England Historic Genealogical Society and The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, as well as individual meetings with vendors, speakers and bloggers from around the country and the world.

Hopefully, you will also have seen our Facebook Live interview with speaker, blogger and author Thomas MacEntee where we announced the acquisition of 18 hours of DNA Boot Camp webinars available to OGS members in the Members Corner of the OGS website.

Having endured airport delays during a snowstorm in Salt Lake City last Sunday, we returned home tired, but inspired. Watch for more outreach from OGS to raise awareness of OGS among our American cousins of our fine work and the invaluable resources held by OGS and its Branches and Special Interest Groups.

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