I was impressed to learn that 3,000 people are attending the Rootstech conference in Salt Lake City this week. Although it's the conference's first year, it already has an attendance larger than any other US genealogy conference.
What this means, and the way times are changing, was crystallized for me in the following tweets:
- Many seem to want a simpler way to handle sources. ESM too complicated and lengthy.
- Many agree ESM "too academic" for regular genealogy research.
- How many HS grads do you expect to use Masters level citations?
- I'm surprised how many people in the Sources session don't know who Elizabeth Mills is.
On the other is technological genealogy, characterized by a NASA-like further, faster, cheaper approach and by Ancestry.com with its ad "you don't have to know what you're looking for, you just start looking."
Let me give you an example of where it seems to me the GPS failed and technology succeeded. A great-great-grandfather of mine did a run from the UK never to be heard of again. Even the promise of an inheritance didn't tempt him back, although likely he never heard of it.
He could have gone anywhere in the world. The GPS says I must make a reasonably exhaustive search. In this case does it mean I must search everywhere in the world?
What happened was I searched every new database that became available. One day it was US military records on Ancestry, I put in the name and there he was. If I'd been searching before technology made that possible I would probably have checked out Canada and Australia before going to US records with the only result being a little great deal of wasted effort.