For the last several years I have attended the Ogden Family History Conference at Weber State University. The conference sponsored by the Ogden Family History Center and is free to attend. I have learned a lot of useful information and I am grateful for the conference and the patience of the teachers. They have classes for many different levels of expertise from beginner to advanced. I am by no means an expert but it seems like I end up in classes where people are more concerned with learning how to use the Internet or they are not exposed to any Internet based resources. I am by no means the youngest person to attend these conferences but I am pretty sure I am on the young end. It seems like the technology learning curve is a hurdle that many of the teachers have to work around. I have had to be very careful to choose classes that will present information to me at an intermediate genealogy level and an expert computer level or I feel like the class is a review of what I already know.
RootsTech seems to present the opposite problem for me. With technology as the focus of this conference I am not sure what level of classes I should be taking. This year will be a trial of some sorts while I figure out where my skill level compares to others at this conference.
I found myself eliminating classes base on certain criteria to help me narrow down my choices. I thought I would try and explain my decision making process.
- I will not attend any classes for resources that I am already familiar with. I don't lessons about Family Tree, Ancestry.com, Newspapers.com, Photoshop, Dropbox, FindAGrave.com or Legacy because I use them every day.
- I will not attend classes for resources I have chosen not to use at this point. I am currently not interested in using Scriver, Youtube, Twitter, SmartArt, FindMyPast, MyHeritage.com, Flipboard, or Mac based products.
- I will not attend classes based on presenting my research. I feel like I am still in the discovery phase so I don't believe I am ready for those classes yet either.
- I will not attend any classes associated with DNA. I have nothing against DNA research for genealogy but I am still hunting and gathering. I will get there someday but I am not ready now.
- Ironically, I will not attend any classes focused on the LDS Church Member. I am not ashamed to be a member of the LDS Church, but I feel my skill level is above these classes.
- I will not attend any classes focus on areas that my research has not taken me yet. I currently do not have a need to study Jewish or African research materials and Spanish speaking classes or foreign language records
(I am not planning on attending any of the classes on Wednesday. They are focused on developers and I am not sure they are for me.)
Thursday, Feb 6
8:30 - Keynote - Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman
10:30 - Ballroom B - Can a Complex Research Problem be Solved Solely Online? - Advanced
11:30 - LUNCH
1:00 - Ballroom E - Accessing Land Records using new technology - Beginner
2:30 - Ballroom C - Common Surnames: finding your Smiths - Intermediate
4:00 - RM 251A - Deciphering Old Handwriting Online: Introducing BYU’s Enhanced Paleography Website - Intermediate
Friday, Feb 7
8:30 - Keynote - Judy Russell and Dr. Spencer Wells
10:30 - Ballroom F - Will your Family History Have Lasting Value? - Advanced
11:30 - LUNCH
1:00 - RM 251D - How the Internet Makes Us Sloppy Genealogists and How to Thwart the Trend - Advanced
2:30 - Ballroom G - Strategic Planning for Your Genealogy - All Skill
4:00 - Hall D - Basic Online Resources for the Beginning Genealogist - Beginner
Saturday, Feb 8
8:30 - Keynote - Todd Hansen and Stephanie Nielsen
10:30 - Ballroom A - Applying Technology to Each Step of the Genealogist's Research Cycle - Beginner
11:30 - LUNCH
1:00 - Ballroom D - Your Portable, Sortable Research Log
2:30 - RM 250DE - Presenting and Preserving Family History:
4:00 - Ballroom B - Big Sites, Little Sites - All Online
I also registered for the opening social and the late night at the Family History Library. I don't know if I am going to attend them but they were free and I wanted to keep the option, especially the evening at the library.
I have several alternate classes I think I may pop into if the original class I picked doesn't work out:
Game-Changing Trends in Simplifying Research Tools for the Masses - Thursday, 2:30 PM
Doing Time Prison Records as Genealogy Resources - Thursday, 2:30 PM
Using Tools and Organization for Creating a Valuable Family History Blog - Thursday, 4:00 PM
Cartography for Genealogists: Digitally Mapping Time and Generations - Friday, 1:00 PM