RootsTech – Setup Day (and a Few Talks)

Wednesday the 11th of February was setup day for exhibitors at RootsTech. Wednesday the 11th of February was also the first of four days of the FGS conference.

Going as an exhibitor (Unlock the Past Cruises), obviously my focus was the setting up of the stand. I must say that having been involved in exhibitions for many, many years, the actual setting up is often a drag, but seeing the setup, and everything getting organised is really exciting.

oh, so much to do!!!

oh, there’s still so much to do!!!

Unlock the Past Cruises at RootsTech 2015

we had our tables and that was about it

so it's on with our setup

so it’s on with our setup

getting there ...

getting there …

looks good!

looks good – almost ready for opening day

As our stand was surprisingly easy one, thanks to being largely limited to what we could fit and carry in suitcases, we actually had it all done before lunch.

So as that gave me a free afternoon, I decided to check the scheduling to see what talks were on in the afternoon, and I actually made it to three.

Each day has a ‘theme, and Wednesday talks were aimed at Societies, and how to do this and that for your society. So the three I went to all  had a society focus:

  1. The Ethical Genealogist (Judy . Russell)
  2. Tips for a Robust Society Website (Cyndi Ingle)
  3. Society Media for Societies: It’s not a Bandwagon, It’s a Freight Train (Roray Cathcart)

Now even though I am a member of a number of Societies, I’m not a board member of any. So I could have simply dismissed these as not being relevant. However as I always find, I did get something out of every talk I went to.

Judy G. Russell talking on The Ethical Genealogist

Judy G. Russell talking on The Ethical Genealogist

The Ethocal Genealogist by Judy G. Russell

the first slide in what was an enthralling talk

Judy, who is also known as The Legal Genealogist, kept the packed room enthralled with her talk on ethics. Starting with What does ethical mean? Being moral. What does being moral mean? Concerned with goodness or badness.

She explained that there are 21st century dilemmas for current day researchers that no-one in the past would have foreseen. Those such as:

  1. putting you tree online online with a big name company
  2. have a personal website (or blog)
  3. dna testing
  4. being tempted to take that document from the courthouse (or other archive repository)

She told the audience that she has three rules:

  1. Tell the truth
  2. Play nice with others
  3. Don’t tell tales out of school

She was explaining how as a Society they need to have and follow a code of ethics. As well as having the need to” tell the truth based on what the records say”. Although sometimes it is “not your truth to be told”, in otherwords it’s not your place to tell ALL family stories, if ethically they will impact others. Also DON”T publish anything unless you have written authorisation. While this talk was aimed at Societies, it is certainly just as relevant for individuals too. I could go on, as I took pages of notes, but that is the essence of the talk.

Cyndi about to start her talk (she's actually checking her phone to see how long until she starts)

Cyndi about to start her talk (she’s actually checking her phone to see how long until she starts)


and great tips they were!

It almost goes without saying that a Society NEEDS a website these days. But it’s not simply a case of whacking your details online. Cyndi gave oodles of examples of WHAT things a Society website should have, and even  WHERE they should be on a website, as well as reinforcing the need for you to make it neat and easy as this is often the first place people will come across you, and make it useful with coming events, members offers, where they can find you (mailing and physical addresses, and social media etc.)

For those unfamiliar with the name Cyndi Ingle, this is THE Cyndi, the one who runs Cyndi’s List. You can guarantee that’s see’s seen many thousands of society websites, so she knows what works and what doesn’t. So it would we wise for Societies to take her advice.


Facebook is a freight train, are you going to join in?

And Rorey’s talk on Facebook for Society’s reinforced the need for Society’s to be where the people are. Facebook is HUGE as continues to grow in all demographics from about ago 35 upwards. If you want your Society known and to grow, you need to be where the people are. Don’t just give your members the occasional newsletter or journal, communicate with them. So many have remote members, and this is a way of communicating with them on a more regular basis, and on a more personal level.



One Response to “RootsTech – Setup Day (and a Few Talks)”

  1. Great precis Alona. I attended both Judy and Cyndi’s talks and found them excellent too.

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