I have been struggling to write this post for weeks. Mainly because I fear that I am going to be in a minority and because I don’t deliberately want to upset anyone, so let me start by apologising to those of you who had a really great time and thought RootsTech was the best thing since sliced bread.
I surely can’t be the only genealogist that wasn’t really interested in what was happening at the RootsTech conference in the US last month. I read some of the blog posts, listened to a few interviews and even watched one of the presentations, but still I struggled to get excited or enthused about the conference.
To be honest I am still not really sure what the point of the whole thing was. Something to do with getting developers and genealogists talking to each other I guess, but was that really it? Perhaps it is just me not getting the message? Wasn’t there something about revolutionising genealogy as well?
One of the most worrying impressions that I did get was of a digital divide opening up between the followers of RootsTech and those like me who can’t afford or don’t want the latest gadgets and who don’t have the time to worry about what format they are going to share their data in.
Everything seems to be turning towards more collaboration and social networking these days, but what if you are quite happy working on your own. I am much happier working on my own, at my own pace, pursing things that interest me. I would much rather be in a record office carefully researching some distant relation than worrying about data formats or Twitter followers.
I am not against technology and there is obviously going a place for technology in genealogy, but to imagine that the world of genealogy is going to be revolutionised by RootsTech seems a little far fetched to me.
In my small corner of Sussex this researcher is not going to be investing in any new technology, at least not until something breaks and needs replacing. I will probably upgrade my current family history software when the latest version comes out, because I know how to use it, because I happen to think it is the best and because it doesn’t try to tell me how to think.
Perhaps I will get overlooked by hoards of more technologically advanced genealogists who will never cross my path and vice versa, but perhaps that is really all I deserve? Is there a place for me in the post-RootsTech world? And if there is do I really want it?